What I Want in 20XX

Originally published on MyIGN on January 1, 2011.

I read a recently published article on IGN featuring different editors and what each wants from the gaming industry in 2011. I’ll throw out some wishes of my own but I’m not necessarily limiting it to the new year.

Here goes my wishlist for 20XX.

Hitman 5

The Hitman series is my favorite video-game series. The games in it aren’t triple-A, nor are they GOTY material but I love them nonetheless. I appreciate how Hitman games still feature closed levels instead of one open quest or one giant world. And each level is infinitely replayable. I get the biggest kicks out of playing a single level multiple times to discover new and alternate ways to clear the objectives, both stealthily and with brute force. In an age where games try to implement the two (like Deus Ex: Human Revolution is supposed to do) I think back to Hitman and realize IO did the multiple-path thing years ago. No, it’s not perfect but it’s damn fun.

Speaking of IO Interactive, that development company is making me want to rip my hair out right now. Hitman: Blood Money was the last good game IO made and it came out in 2006. Kane and Lynch: Dead Men was pretty average. I didn’t play Mini Ninjas because I wasn’t interested in it and Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days was a colossal disaster.

I know that IO has to be working on the next Hitman because it is its best, most profitable franchise. It would be foolish of IO not to have another Hitman in development, especially because each entry in the series gets stronger.

I can’t for the life of me figure out why IO would put the funds and energy into making a second Kane and Lynch whenever Hitman is ripe for the developing. I doubt very seriously Square Enix was holding a gun to IO’s head telling its team to put out a sequel to Kane and Lynch. Either way, with the path cleared and Dog Days in the garbage, Hitman 5 has to be on its way.

For this entry I’m hoping for more creative levels, a better inventory system, more money-based objectives and upgrades, better AI and a longer campaign. Most of the levels spanning the entire Hitman series have been interesting and creative (if not a bit difficult) so I can see how upping the ante would be a chore. I would enjoy a level that takes place on a moving train. Or one in a supermarket or mall with the target(s) visiting many different stores. If IO were to tackle something like that, they better get the AI up to par because enemy AI has generally been the bane of the game’s existence. It makes you play by IO’s rules and they’re not always fair or consistent.

As long as IO doesn’t turn it into a cover shooter or make it look like Dog Days (and by that I mean Dog Shit) I think it will be fine. It’s sort of a “don’t fix what isn’t broke” situation. Except for the AI. And inventory.

Dino Crisis

The first Dino Crisis was nothing more than Resident Evil with dinosaurs. It did, however, set the stage for a strong female protagonist that has been long forgotten. Regina, the feisty redhead who took on the killer dinosaurs was a woman you didn’t want to mess with. She had brains, weapon skills, snark and enough bullets to last a dinopocalypse.

When Capcom made Dino Crisis 2, the series really hit its peak. Capcom eschewed the survival-horror gameplay in favor of an arcadey-action feel. Suddenly there was in-game currency, upgrades you could buy, a killer combo system and dinosaurs coming at you left and right. It was a helluva lot of fun.

Capcom also introduced Dylan, the frat-boyish follower as a secondary character. He and Regina each had their own distinct weapons, sidearms and campaign sections. These gameplay decisions were definitely ahead of DC2’s time.

I cannot figure out why Capcom made Resident Evil 5 instead of Dino Crisis 4. RE5 basically did all the same stuff that Dino Crisis 2 had done years ago; it was just prettier. Replace the Majini with Dinosaurs, add some forest areas and you have the next Dino Crisis.

A few months ago Capcom released a statement saying that it hadn’t forgot about the Dino Crisis franchise, it just couldn’t decide what to lucratively do with it. That statement made me want to fly to Capcom’s headquarters and punch them all in the faces. How could they not know what to do with Dino Crisis? They just made the next Dino Crisis except with a Resident Evil title and Majini instead of Dinosaurs. All they needed was Regina and a combo system.

I would settle for an over-the-shoulder remake of Dino Crisis 2 at this point. Capcom has something really special on its hands with Dino Crisis, it just won’t stop making excuses about what to do with it. This saddens me. Instead of driving Resident Evil into more action-packed lands, take it back to horror and let Dino Crisis take over for action. Dur.

Meryl Silverburgh Solid

Meryl Silverburgh, of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, is one of my favorite video-game characters ever. She came a long way over the course of two games. In Metal Gear Solid she was naïve, young and trying to find her way in a battlefield filled with masculine soldiers. She looked up to Snake to help her find her way. She thought she wanted to kill for a living but she just wasn’t there yet. She didn’t have the experience.

In the gap of time between Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Meryl flourished into what she had been seeking the whole time. Although she was always equipped with a quick wit, she now had the military experience to fill out her physical awareness. She was strong, vicious and battle-ready. She was even leading her own team of soldiers. Meryl doesn’t take shit from anyone and she can handle herself in a gunfight.

My question is: Why doesn’t Meryl have her own game? There was a mighty long gap between MGS and MGS4 and she did (what I’m guessing is) a lot between those two entries. I want to know what she did. I want to play what she did.

Instead of giving Meryl her own game, Kojima Productions decided to go with Raiden because they must think that if a cyborg ninja is involved, people will want to play it. Although that’s probably true, I want Meryl more. I want to know her story.

I also want to hear Debi Mae West’s sexy voice again. She doesn’t do much voice work outside of the MGS series yet she is still one of my favorite voice actors. Her raspy voice just makes me skin tingle. Yes, please.

Mirror’s Edge 2

With the success of the Mirror’s Edge installment on the iPhone and iPad, I’m hoping that will give EA DICE the boost it needs to keep working on Mirror’s Edge 2. Last I heard, EA had a very small team working on the second entry.

If you’ve skimmed my 1Up blog, you know I wrote an extensive blog about Mirror’s Edge a while back (that was even a community spotlight blog). Although ME wasn’t a perfect game, by far, it is probably the most original game I’ve played in a long time. It’s also one of the only game I’ve played that features parkour, which is something I’m wild about.

The visual design of Mirror’s Edge is the most original, most beautiful design I’ve ever seen in a video game. The white vista complemented by bright, solid colors is breathtaking. I’ve never seen anything like it in another game and I’m glad for that. DICE’s level designers really crafted something special with Mirror’s Edge and its team should be proud of the work it has done, even if the gameplay wasn’t wonderful.

I originally heard the Mirror’s Edge franchise was meant to be a trilogy but I always pictured it like Silent Hill or Final Fantasy where every game is its own self-contained story with a different (or slightly different) cast of characters. However, Faith is such an excellent lead character I would not be disappointed to see her (or be her) in future titles.

Basically EA DICE needs to keep the striking visual style, add more emphasis and variety to the parkour of it (if you need a motion capture actor for the parkour stuff, call me EA), focus less on combat unless they make combat more fluid and less frustrating and possibly make it open-world. I don’t care for open-world games much but ME would be perfect for it. Running is the most fun thing to do in it so simply finding your way to the next mission would be a blast. But I’m beating a dead (or maybe unconscious horse), check my previously written 1Up blog for the rest of my hopes for the next Mirror’s Edge, as well as comparisons ans contrasts to how it relates to real life parkour.

Those are the main games I want next. I don’t care when they arrive as long as I’m still alive to play them.

Now for some quick hits on some other games I’m keeping my eyes on or looking forward to.

Game Dev Story 2

I had more fun with Game Dev Story than Alan Wake, Medal of Honor and Metroid: Other M combined. I was addicted for hours at a time. But as soon as the calendar runs out and the game is “over” it isn’t terribly replayable. A sequel could fix this and add much more to the story mechanics.

Silent Hill 8

Silent Hill is one of my favorite franchises. I prefer to be creeped out to the extent of not wanting to open a door than to have 100 monsters running at me at once. Konami knows (or once knew, rather) the difference between intensity and fear and how atmosphere helps and hurts it. Silent Hill 3 launched in 2003 and it still has some of the creepiest, most creative level design in a game. Pulsating walls dripping with blood? It doesn’t get better than that. I’m not expecting another Silent Hill to ever knock number two off its pedestal but I’ll gladly accept a number two to number two. Get it?

The Adventures of Mona Sax

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a sucker for female video-game characters I’m also a sucker for side characters who should have their own games. Mona Sax, from the Max Payne games is about as sexy and badass as you can get for a femme fatal. Much like Regina, Faith and Meryl, she can handle herself. She is smart and evasive but she will use brute force if she has to. The half hour of playing as her in Max Payne 2 didn’t satisfy me enough. And I want Wendy Hoopes back to supply her sexy voice. Her game could be half stealth, half action. I don’t care, I just want her in another game. And I’m not sure I would trust Remedy to handle her anymore. Maybe.

That’s what I’m looking forward to in the next decade or so of gaming. If you agree, disagree or have comments don’t be afraid to write impressions below. If you’re not following me on Twitter, you should (@Coreymotley) and, as always, thanks for reading and have a fabulous new year!

 

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