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Prognosticating the Year Ahead

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the seer-of-seers-the-long-contained dept.

Games 37

Press the Buttons has an interesting and plausible sounding set of theories for the year ahead. From the article: "Sega will finally create an exceptional 3D Sonic the Hedgehog title when Sonic Team puts the entire extended cast (Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream, Blaze, Shadow, and the rest) back in the toy box for a while and focuses on what made the original Sonic games so much fun: blue skies and plenty of speed." Some of them may just be wishful thinking, though.

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37 comments

Make Sonic about Sonic and it'll be good. (2, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14379419)

I haven't been disappointed with the portions of the 3D Sonic that actually involve Sonic. Tails, Knuckles, etc haven't really done much for me in 2D or in 3D. I'd like to see a Sonic game that is actually about Sonic the Hedgehog and doesn't have Knuckles, Tails, Shadow, Team Dark, Team Kissyfur, etc trying to steal the show. This isn't a cartoon. It's a platformer. More characters don't tend to add more depth here. They just tend to muddy the waters.

Re:Make Sonic about Sonic and it'll be good. (1)

AndreiK (908718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14380378)

I personally enjoyed Shadow the Hedgehog. It wasn't a Sonic game by any stretch, and it contained too much shooting to ever be considered one, but it was closer to what I want in a Sonic game. I want a solid Sonic game, with just Sonic as a playable character, or maybe bringing back Tails as a Co-op, or Shadow as a rival - no weapons, no vehicles, and no "find the emeralds."

Re:Make Sonic about Sonic and it'll be good. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14381573)

I think that you have your causality mixed up.

That they have introduced many new characters and attempted to create a complex plot isn't the problem, but an effect of the problem. The problem is that translating the successful 2D gameplay to 3D is still proving very difficult for Sega.

I disagree that the non-gameplay extras necessarily spoil the games. But then again, I'm just a fanboy; how can I possibly fairly critique the effect of characters and plot on games?

Re:Make Sonic about Sonic and it'll be good. (1)

RickPartin (892479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14382054)

Yup there it is, the classic video game gimmic. Instead of improving the game lets add more characters! On paper it seems new and fresh but rarely does anything but change gameplay mechanics that were good to start with. My worst memory of this was MDK2. The first one was (and still is) a fantastic game. Number 2 forced you to play these tedious puzzle solving levels with the scientist, and then somewhat more fun levels playing as a gun toating dog. I came in wanting to play a MDK game but got something totally different.

Best Sonic in years... (1)

macshome (818789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14379547)

The Sonic title that was just released on the NDS is 2D, but one of the best Sonic games ever.

Re:Best Sonic in years... (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14391462)

I've actually been looking into that purchase...it is in fact 2d, but i believe that it also has 3d portions as well.

Re:Best Sonic in years... (1)

macshome (818789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14397514)

The regular stages are 2D, with a tiny polygon Sonic and a few 3D elements tossed in. Boss stages are 3D.

The GBA, Revolution, Rare (2, Interesting)

Phantasmo (586700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14379627)

another extension of the GBA line will be announced to sit alongside the SP and Micro models with new games consisting mainly of updated retro adventures and puzzle titles.
I'd be very surprised to see another version of the GBA. The Micro has sold decently and has made a little profit, but I think that Nintendo knows that the SP is about as good as the platform is going to get. It's perfect (especially the new ones with the backlit screens). They'll probably just invest in trying to find ways to make it cheaper.

As for converting non-gamers to the Revolution, all Nintendo has to do is flood the nation's Wal-Marts with nice displays. The controller is just too cool. A fair price and perhaps a bundled game will seal the deal.

I don't see anyone but the most die-hard Banjo-Kazooie fans buying an X-Box 360 just to revisit the platformer. It was really great, but I don't think either BK was as good as Mario 64. They'd probably just wait a few months for Mario Revolution. Halo, KOTOR and the rest are going to sell the consoles. Anyone who wants to play a good platformer would probably just buy a Revolution anyway. It's going to be cheap.

Re:The GBA, Revolution, Rare (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14379704)

I agree, it would be odd for Nintendo to release yet another variation on the GBA. I think we will see the DS growing in importance even more. It seems a perfect platform for Nintendo to get the idea out there that graphics aren't that important, having fun is.

My wishlist would be:
- Legend of Zelda DS
- Starcraft DS
- An improved DS, about half the weight and thickness

Re:The GBA, Revolution, Rare (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14380024)

I'm going to second you on the weight comment. The buttons aren't as accessible as they could be, but the major strain the ds puts on my hands is on my wrists because the damn thing weighs so much. I don't have a psp to compare, but perhaps someone who does could enlighten me, does the psp feel more comfortable? The psp is about 40 grams lighter(about an ounce) and seems to have a better weight distribution, but that doesn't mean it is more comfortable. A lighter DS would be awesome, even if it cost a little more.

Re:The GBA, Revolution, Rare (2, Interesting)

Babbster (107076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14380347)

Is the weight really causing the problem with your wrists, or could it be the distribution of the weight, holding the bottom half with little support on the top half? Or perhaps holding the whole thing with one hand while using the stylus? I guess it doesn't matter since either way, an uncomfortable handheld is a bad thing.

In my case, I found the DS a bit uncomfortable at first but have since gotten quite used to it, hardly noticing the increased weight. For me, the only current problem is the increased size (for toting; once I'm playing I'm fine) and I'm hoping against hope that they'll show off a smaller revision at E3.

In the meantime, though, there are bells to be gotten [animal-crossing.com], so huge system or not it'll be in my hands a lot.

Re:The GBA, Revolution, Rare (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14383853)

For me, the DS would be far more comfortable if they cut the bottom left corner off to make it easier to reach the touchscreen and rounded the edges off like the sides of an iPod Mini.

Re:The GBA, Revolution, Rare (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14380432)

I'll be personally a little pissed if they release a new DS system, since I just bought one. Also, isn't Mario Kart DS linked to your unique DS system? What are the consequences of playing it on another system?

Re:The GBA, Revolution, Rare (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14380386)

I don't see anyone but the most die-hard Banjo-Kazooie fans buying an X-Box 360 just to revisit the platformer.

Yeah, I think the series actually peaked in the original Banjo-Kazooie. The later levels in Banjo-Tooie were actually too large to conceptualize well without more ways to orient the player, and adding in intra-level transport didn't help the situation much. The original BK's levels were just the right size -- it could have just used more of them, and it already had a lot.

(It could also have come through on the infamous "Stop N Swop" feature. I never quite forgave Rare for leading us on in that movie at the very end of Banjo-Kazooie.)

He wasn't even trying (0, Troll)

jcorno (889560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14379752)

What good are predictions if they're exactly what everyone expects? XBox 360 will do OK, but nothing spectacular. Halo 3 will sell very well. PS3 will debut with a new GTA title that will bring up sales. EA will be universally despised, but they'll still sell a lot of games. Sega will realize people like Sonic games about Sonic. It was basically nothing but platitudes and things that can be reasonably expected, with a lot of status quo tossed in for good measure.

GTA? I don't think so. (2, Insightful)

Perseid (660451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14379959)

I don't see a new GTA at PS3 launch.

First of all, launch titles tend to be quick, easy, short-dev-time games. GTA is clearly none of those. So unless Take Two wants to release a half-assed launch quality GTA game, I don't see this happening.

Also, Take Two said GTA4 was in the works and it would be for the PS2. Granted, this was some time ago, but they haven't said anything to the contrary.

It's possible. But unlikely. At least in my view.

Re:GTA? I don't think so. (1)

Song for the Deaf (608030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14382356)

It's possible. But unlikely. At least in my view.

Ahhh, but my friend, money makes all things possible. And likely.

Sony knows that GTA was the best kind of software, i.e. the kind that sells hardware.

The GTA franchise can really get away with murder at this point. It's like Tetris: the core gameplay is just plain fun. Just give it a well thought out wrapper, a couple of new and simple features and it'll be a solid game. Porting the engine to the cell (or creating a new one) is probably going on as. we. speak. If it's not done already.

GTA is exactly like Madden, except instead of a football simulator it's a thug simulator. The sheep requisite for financial success will be satisfied with a slight roster update, for sure.

Not farfetched for a reason. (2, Insightful)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14379984)

This pundit is just looking at the trends of the past 5 years and mentioning them in terms of the next year.

Sony trying to get people onto the PS3 via shortages? Sure, it's working on the 360, and worked on the PS2, etc.

Microsoft having lots of 360s on the shelf when PS3 comes out? It'd be dumb of them not to, especially when they've said Halo 3 comes out right then.

Nintendo continuing to cater to the new, larger, unwashed of gaming, rather than the hardcore? Business as usual.

What these predictions lack is any kind of foresight over new trends. How hard is it to predict new MegaMan games?! If this person had their finger on the pulse of these companies and could predict brand new, interesting games (like Ribbit King, Katamari Damacy, and Guitar Heroes), that'd be something really worth getting excited over.

Also, Nokia already said the N-Gage was a failure. Why mention it? The PSP is also a pretty spectacular failure, since you get the same games you could play on a nice TV with surround sound, but on a smaller screen with terrible battery life. Maybe the PSP get a game worth buying beyond Lumines, but not even the GTA rehash (one of Sony's big cards) for it is boosting sales.

Re:Not farfetched for a reason. (1)

wheany (460585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14380094)

not even the GTA rehash (one of Sony's big cards) for it is boosting sales.

Maybe because it has not been advertised anywhere. I was looking forward to the game and even I didn't know it had been released when I suddenly saw it on a shelf in a local game store.

Re:Not farfetched for a reason. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14381474)

Plenty of TV ads for in the UK over xmas. Pretty bad ones too - they seem to imply some kind of story (yuck) rather than a carjack rampage simulator (yay). I also saw about 1 DS advert an hour: Nintendo is promoting the hell out of that thing, presumably because they realise they're on to a winner. Showcasing a lot of games too, instead of just one for the PSP.

Re:Not farfetched for a reason. (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 8 years ago | (#14380323)

The PSP just doesn't have any momentum, and hasn't really had any. If every past situation like that is any indication, there's no way it can catch up to the DS, and the self-fufilling cycle begins. So a must-own system-selling title seems kind of out there. I'd think if you were a dev and you had something like that, you'd have pushed it onto the PS3 or DS(depending upon how far into dev you were) by now.

Harmonix(Guitar Hero, Amplitude, Frequency) is interested in making a Rev game. That should be interesting if it manifests. The Rev launch lineup should be interesting as well.

I'm also guessing Nintendo will put Rev kiosks in McDonalds as part of their launch, loaded with some tech-demo esque simple games and demos, mainly because they've already done a partnership with the fast food giant for the DS, and it'd be a win-win.

And I'd also guess we'll start seeing more PC RTS ports to the DS. Probably not Starcraft because blizzard is busy with WoW, but something. And there seems to be a ressurection of the adventure game brewing on the platform.

The PS3 doesn't really have me speculating at all. It's a PS2 with updated graphics. Not interesting at all. The things to watch this year imo are:
1. Take Two, can the company that was once so desperate they funded Derek Smart(may he not be summoned) get something out there other than GTA? They failed with "The Warriors", will they succeed with something else this year? Or is Take Two going to go back to being desperate and widely derided when we all get sick of GTA?
2. Live Arcade, and the revolution's download service, if online takes off this year, I'm guessing these two will be why and online play will be incidental.
3. The Revolution controller. Is it going to work? What features are games going to use? Is the modularity of the remote going to be a factor?

Re:Not farfetched for a reason. (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14382508)

I had no idea Harmonix made Guitar Heroes; I had commented to my friends how very much like Amplitude/Frequency the core gameplay was (the engine would need minimal modifications). I saw it more as Red Octane giving North American rhythm gamers what they wanted, since Konami likes to keep its Bemani line in Japan.

The only way I can see the PSP succeeding in any capacity is if it somehow got some system selling titles and a price cut. No one is going to buy something that expensive that can be lost, and it's not like a cellphone that you can use all the time and get on a plan to make less expensive. I doubt we'll see this, because the consoles will continue to take all the standard game ideas. I expect it'll just have ports till it dies.

The DS is so much cheaper and has so much more that's fun to play, but the same can be said about the GameCube, which has about 30 titles worth playing, and is cheaper, yet is behind the Xbox in North America!

Re:Not farfetched for a reason. (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 8 years ago | (#14388242)

Red Octane is the publisher, and I think had some say in the development process, like controller design or something like that.

Oh, and Harmonix also made an eye-toy game. Apart from frequency and amplitude, they're pretty big on peripherals, so I'm hoping they do something for the rev with the modular controller. But just about everything about Nintendo's new console is sewn up by a web of NDAs and thousands of bits of speculation.

And RE: the PSP. Part of the problem is game/UMD pricing. I'll be damned if I'm paying > $20 for a movie or > $35 for a portable title(that's only going to get used in the bathroom and on MAYBE 1-2 business trips a year).

Just remove the 3D and youre good (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14380524)

2D is awesome. 2D is very predictable and realistic compared to 3D. Anyone remember how Lucasarts killed Monkey Island by moving it to 3D? And how crappy it looked in 3D? Prince of Persia did the same, although theyve had more success with 3D.

The rendering may be 3D, if such effects are desired (NOT in Monkey Island). But it should be a 2D side scrolling game. People are still using genecy/kgens and running sonic roms because theyre still fun. You dont ABSOLUTELY ABSOLUTELY have to use that GPU on the PC/console to sell games.

To be fair... (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14382342)

The problems/advantages between 2D and 3D really depends on the genre.

I don't think anyone can imagine a modern 2D FPS game on anything weaker than a cellphone anymore.

Some/Few platformers have success in the change from 2D to 3D (Super Mario 64 anyone? Super Mario Sunshine to a lesser degree and the Crash Bandicoot series deserves mention).

Fighting games have (arguably) gotten worse with the change since development time and cost have risen without any major improvements to the genre. (Where the 4-8 player action? A royal rumble styled mode? Why is online play still spotty or flat-out not included? And could we get some new series besides Dead or Alive, Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter and Soul Blade/Caliber?)

Adventure games? Yes, development costs have risen and interest in the genre has dropped off the chart but given the fact that EA is allowed to recycle its own game engine, make minor graphical upgrades and virtually no gameplay changes every year, adventure games have no excuse (other than the problem of thinking up new adventures.)

Strategy games have simply adopted the same mentality as the majority of the game industry, Graphics != Better gameplay. See : Age of Empires 3, Age of Mythology, and Civilization 4.

E3 could be very big for Nintendo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14380538)

His prediction about Nintendo stealing the show at E3 is pretty easy for anyone to guess. 360 is a known quantity (ha! Pardon the pun..). And if Sony wants to launch the PS3 earlier than the holidays, they'll reveal most things about it before E3.

This leaves only Nintendo with the Big Questions to Be Answered At E3..
- How well does the controller really work with real games?
- How will the online service work?
- What is "the other revolutionary feature"?
- What's the selling point/gimmick/grab for the next Super Mario platformer?
- How much $$$???
- Release date?

Hell.. developers are still under NDAs to not talk about what games they're working on. In theory, Nintendo could have those NDAs lifted just as E3 is beginning, resulting in a respectable wave of game title announcements for the system. There'd be quite a chunk of buzz generated for the system, and those who preordered early in the year suddenly feel really smart about their decision to do so..

This tight-lipped business can work.. but ONLY if there's something to back it up.

Microsoft Will Pull The Plug On The 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14380614)

Microsoft has bigger problems to deal with than wasting huge amounts of their OS and office software profits to artificially support another console marketplace dud.

Microsoft and the 360 are looking like they won't even come close to Dreamcast installed base numbers. The hardcore Xbox crowd are going to be in a shock this year when they get a dose of reality and learn that Microsoft is a company like any other and not a charity.

If anyone still believes Microsoft doesn't care about hundreds of millions or billions in losses, it's time to wake up. The five year Xbox party is just about over.

Re:Microsoft Will Pull The Plug On The 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14380689)

Hmm.. I dislike Micro-notreallyagamecompany-soft as much as anyone else, but I'm not as optimistic as you are. Instead of pulling the plug, I see them slogging through this complete generation and losing even money. "Teh Halo 3" will arrive, a few million teenage boys will J/O to it, and it'll soon thereafter be forgotten.

It'll be the shareholders in the end will who put the stop to this nonsense.

Earthbound (1)

tratch (877620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14380726)

Fans of Nintendo's most obscure material (such as the original Mother and the various Japanese Satellaview and RandNet online materials) will be ignored when they demand downloadable versions of Mario Excitebike and BS F-Zero 2.

Son of a bitch.

My predictions (0, Redundant)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14381131)

Here are my predictions concerning each of the areas he wrote about:

  • Of course MS will make sure the 360 is well-stocked during the PS3 release. Halo 3 will be released just before the launch of the PS3 to make the 360 just that much more enticing compared to the PS3 (note: this isn't a prediction; MS stated this). However the tactic won't improve sales much (who goes in to buy a PS3, can't find one, and comes out with a 360? Sounds like a stupid thing to do to me), but like Matt said, pretty good sales overall.
  • My guess is that the PS3 will be released in July or August, but there will be some shortages until the Christmas season, at which point there'll be enough to go around, but even at that time some people will still be worried about shortages even though by and large they won't exist. Gran Turismo and Killzone should be available before Christmas. My gut's telling me no GTA until early-to-mid 2007 for some reason.
  • Nothing special will happen to the PSP. A few good games will come out for it, and it will drop in price slightly. UMD production will be steady.
  • The Revo won't "steal the show" because people were already having visions of using the remote control at TGS. The extra material (Smash Bros and Zelda demos for sure) will be exciting, but other companies will have good games to show as well. Kiosks will be Nintendo's most important weapon; not everyone listens to E3-goers, but everyone goes to stores. The kiosks will be placed where non-gamers will see them, ie, not in an EB Games. Miyamoto's new franchise... that's a tough one... I'll say he will be ready and it will be available near launch like Pikmin was.
  • No new GBA, no new DS ('cept maybe new colours, that's it), probably a small price drop ($10) for all their portables. The mainstream media won't shut up about New Super Mario Bros precisely because the gameplay is so "old". I think the main flaw of the game is that Mario/Luigi will have slow running speeds, and possibly won't be maneuvarable enough in the air.
  • I think every last game Nintendo has made for the NES and SNES will be available at launch. N64 games might be delayed for possible additions (again, not a predicion, Nintendo is actively considering making games like Mario Party online). They'll try to get other companies to offer their games as well, of course, but they probably won't agree to it at launch. Any game that was complete but cancelled will probably find it's way to the Revo sooner or later. Japan Only games will probably be available untranslated, in fact I'll say that Nintendo's portal of games that you can buy online is international, so someone from the US can buy a Japanese game, after being warned that it's untranslated. They might even translate Mother, but don't count on it (unless it's already been translated? I don't know). Incompleted games: Nintendo won't want to spend their time finishing them, especially since they'd have to work with old NES/SNES programming.
  • Will Sega make a good Sonic game? Hard to say. On one hand, Sega promised they'd re-invent Sonic [gamespot.com], on the other hand, Sega has had a bad track record with their mascot as of late outside of the portable realm. My money's on the new console Sonics being slightly better but still weaksauce, but the new portable ones still being pretty good.
  • As for Capcom I'll say... RE5 will be another awesome game but a little too much like 4, nothing big for Street Fighter this year, and a mediocore Mega Man game that will be available for the PS2/XBox/(maybe GCN), and a promise for a good Megaman game in 2007 on the new consoles.
  • I also think there will be footage of a very dark Castlevania for PS3/360 at E3. Not so sure about a compilation, though.
  • EA: same old. Some the new stuff that they just acquired will be good, most of the old stuff will be the same as last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. In my opinion.
  • Oh man, this one's really out there. Halo 3 will sell to the "kiddie" Nintendo audience which will make MS stop production Banjo-Threeie? You gotta be kidding me. "Ok, we've got the old Nintendo fans hooked, let's pull the plug on a game all of them would pay us money for". I say Halo 3 will appeal to anyone who liked Halo 2, no more, no less, end of story. It will innovate just a little more than Halo 2 did, so few people will be "dissapointed" but few will be "amazed", but at least the story will wrap up nicely. Rare will announce a new Killer Instinct (I'd put hard-earned money on that) and definately a couple more, considering this pitiful page [rareware.com], but I don't think Banjo-threeie will be among them. One of the titles will be released in 2007, the rest in 2008.
  • Nokia will release a new version of the N-Gage, which will be better but still sell horribly. Tiger will likely give up on the Gizmodo. Infinium Labs and their Phantom will still be alive and kicking at the end of the year. A smart investor will buy many of Acclaim's NES/SNES games and make a deal with Nintendo to put the games on the Revolution game portal, where they will sell decently enough for a good return on investment.


You heard it here first :P

My prediction (or at least wishful thinking). (1)

justchris (802302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14382940)

Nintendo will hire the Working Designs team and create a new localization studio to translate all their original Japan only Famicom & Super Famicom releases for WFC release in the US & Europe. This will give them a semi-steady release of "new" games to attract gamers in these markets, while they continue to sell well in Japan due to the quirkiness of their game designs.

My prediction: next gen will hurt industry (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385906)

Not entirely a prediction, I think we're seeing the beginnings of it already with the 360 and the holiday season being down from last year. I think with all the wait-and-see types out there not buying games for current generation systems in favor of next-gen ones, we're in for some tough times.

I think this effect will become more apparent as we lead get through the first half of 06.
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