Thursday, June 12, 2014

5 games that could turn Sega into the best third party around.

Sega, a former industry leader and one of my favorite game development companies. It is a tragic tale, the one of Sega's fall from grace and how they went from been a world class enterprise to a simple third party company. The really perplexing thing is that even as a third party company, Sega still carries some of the power it had in the past and that power comes in form of games that on the most part are not been used. 

Don't get me wrong, the Sonic games are good, Bayonetta 2 looks great (and it's a must buy for any Wii U owner) and Alien: Isolation has the makings to be an awesome survival horror game, but deep inside we all know that there are some games that really define what Sega is as a game developer and would probably catapult them into gaming stardom again. Here are 5 of those games that would be part of a Sega's newly found awesome-factor if they were released:

1) A fully "AAA" Phantasy Star classic JRPG game.

The saga of Phantasy Star (online) games, born since the first Phantasy Star Online on Dreamcast has been going on for more than 10 years and they are all good games with a nice mix of action, exploration and looting, but it also has been more than 20 years since a full blown JRPG Phantasy Star experience has been released. We all know there have been some games attempting to tell a full new story in the series, but it is also very noticeable that they are still using the same style of the online games. Just imagine for a moment a new Phantasy Star game with the JRPG quality of Xenoblade Chronicles. Be it on Wii U or any other console, a game like that could pretty much become a genre leader just on name alone since deep inside, the franchise is still in pristine condition with the online games been clearly seen as spin offs.

2) Shinning Force IV or a bundle of the Shinning Force 3 series.

Shinning Force is another game that hasn't really gotten any love in its original form (which is a very dynamic tactics rpg). One thing Sega could do with the franchise, now that re-hashes and remakes are in style is to bundle the Shinning Force 3 scenarios on one game and sell them as digital on different platforms, they could even sell them separately if they wanted, just clean up the graphics a bit and there you go. Normally I am not a fan of re-hashes, but the Shinning Force 3 saga (which spawned 3 games) had only the first one coming to America because it was one of the last games made at the end of the Sega Saturn lifespan on our shores. They even have the translation work done for them by fans so it would be an even easier task to do.

The other way to deal with this franchise in its original form is to finally make a Shinning Force IV. It really doesn't matter if the game is released on handhelds only as it would compete with games like Fire Emblem, along with other tactic rpg games out in the handheld market and it has a great chance of winning if the game is well advertised.

3) Shenmue Chapters (or something like that).

First of all let's have a healthy dose of realism. A new complete game about a project as ambitious as Shenmue is simply not possible with Sega's current financial prowess, but it doesn't have to become a dead franchise either. One thing that would be cool is to make it a chapter based game. Let's say that when we first get the game, we have a all of the city to explore at our leisure with some storyline content as well as side-quests, mini games and stuff. 

Then, when we have completed a "chapter" the game would basically let us do whatever we want with all the side-quests and character development (practicing your moves), earning money at a job, etc, but leave the storyline at a "to be continued" state (for example let's say that the guy helping Ryo Hazuki (some kind of informant) dissapears for a while looking for information on the whereabouts of Lan-Di) and when he returns (a new chapter is released), giving Ryo new information with new stuff to do so the story continues.

It can even have PVP fighting if for example Ryo gets an apprentice (which would be fully customizable) and you can train him/her and fight with other apprentices online while new chapters are been developed. See? anything is possible with this game. Also throw in some micro-transactions like sets of clothing, pets, stuff for Ryo's room and the typical goodies (without the game becoming a pay to win) and you have a Shenmue game that kept the original formula, but evolved without losing its charm.

4) Revival of forgotten franchises from the Sega Saturn days.

The Sega Saturn was plagued by many things like the war between Sega of America and Sega of Japan, the fact that is was very difficult to develop games for the console and bad business decisions, but it never suffered any lack of games. Sure, most of the popular games were on other platforms, but the Saturn had a very strong library of its own and some of those games could come back from their slumber and still be as good as they were all thanks to the digital age. Besides, not many people got to actually play them, so showing them now would make them to be seen almost as new (unless you were a Saturn fan back in the day).

Many of those Saturn games could be brought up as re-mastered editions and sold as digital only on various networks. Games like Astal for example which is a beautiful platformer that has graphics that resemble many of the good indie platforming games of our times, Burning Rangers which was a short, but intense game with a style that can be used for leaderboards (time attack) and even be awesome with an online cooperative coop and Fighting Vipers which was a very good fighting game that could be revived as a free to play deal (sort of like Namco did with Soul Calibur). Other possible Saturn games that could use some revival are Mr.Bones, Mystaria, Die Hard Arcade, Legend of the Oasis, Dark Savior, Bug, Clockwork Knight and so on.

5) Skies of Arcadia 2

Of all the games mentioned on this article Skies of Arcadia is the most recent (coming from the Dreamcast days to the remake that they later released on Game Cube). This JRPG gem is one of those games that instantly became a respected name in the genre coming from the ground up and without any previous glory to back it up. It combined a great storyline with an interesting turn based fighting that consisted of fighting on the ground and epic airship battles even taking on a giant flying whale in Moby Dick fashion.

The game deserves a sequel in all its right and would be something big to see on next-gen consoles with its colorful visuals, extensive and cleverly designed dungeons/places, fun storyline and challenging battles. The really cool thing is that with the acquisition of Atlus by Sega, a Skies of Arcadia 2 game has never been more possible, so let's just cross our fingers and see what happens.  

To wrap this up

Sega is a company with so much hidden potential that you would be amazed of what they could come up with if they had the will to do it. Nowadays, between Pachinko machines and arcade spin offs, the Sega of old focus on games seems kind of lost, but in this industry anything can happen and who knows if on a near future we find ourselves once again chanting the the classic ♫SEGA♫ a little more often.

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