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Prognosticating the Year Ahead 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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Prognosticating the Year Ahead

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  • by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Monday January 02, 2006 @01:59PM (#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.
    • 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."
    • 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?
    • 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 to
  • The Sonic title that was just released on the NDS is 2D, but one of the best Sonic games ever.
  • by Phantasmo ( 586700 ) on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:32PM (#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.
    • 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
      • 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 li
        • 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 increase
        • 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.
      • 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?
    • 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
  • 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.
    • 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.

  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Monday January 02, 2006 @03:31PM (#14379984) Homepage
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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 inte
      • 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
        • 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
  • 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/co
    • 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 p

  • Duke Nukem Forever still won't ship.

    Too obvious???
  • 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.
  • 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.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken