The Current Trend Of “Other” Games

By Ishaan . September 19, 2010 . 6:40pm

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I’ll just come right out and say it. I love this recent trend of game publishers taking one of the usual “hallowed” franchises, complete with a rabid fanbase, laying their blueprints out on a large conference table and going, “Hmm. How can we give this a solid kick in the rear?”

 

Maybe it’s because I’ve recently watched my own favourite game series of all time get turned on its head by a developer no one would ever have associated with it. But lo and behold, Team Ninja gave us Metroid: Other M and I loved it.

 

Perhaps this is why I found myself in a state of zen-like calm while I watched the TGS trailer for DmC, the new Devil May Cry game in development at England-based studio, Ninja Theory.

 

The worst had already come to pass. Team Ninja, of all people, without their great and mighty leader of years past — because we all know every good game is developed solely by one person and everyone else gets paid to sit around sipping tea and eating crumpets — had directed a Metroid game and come away with possibly the greatest “tea table upturning” in Nintendo’s recent years — and they’d done a great job to boot.

 

How much worse could this possibly be? My theory was: “Not even close.”

 

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When I try to rationalize why I legitimately like the direction the new DmC is taking, this is the only answer I can come up with: someone forced me through an experience I might never have tried under normal circumstances, and I ended up loving it. Who’s to say another company couldn’t do the same?

 

And really, isn’t innovation what we ask for everyday? Isn’t change the first thing we anticipate when we hear an announcement of a new game?

 

Examining DmC’s trailer, it doesn’t look to me in the least like Capcom and Ninja Theory are trying to forego everything Devil May Cry has stood for over the years. In fact, Twilight-Dante (yes, I will give you that much) comes off as someone who could very possibly evolve into the white-haired, cowboy boot-sporting wisecracker we’ve known for the past decade.

 

Look at the way he uses his guns. Ninja Theory’s Dante might not be spinning upside down in mid-air while doing it, but he is dual-wielding a pair of pistols and he’s using them much like his future self would — to stall enemies and keep them at bay, rather than inflict any sort of serious damage on them.

 

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No, that’s always been reserved for air-combos and the like, just as it is in DmC. The combat, to me, looks like a variation of what you got in past games. Dante, too, looks like he has a lot more to him that we don’t know about. Rehabilitation centre? Just because Dante’s cool as a cat in his latter years doesn’t mean he was always like that.

 

No, something drastic had to have happened to turn him that way, and if DmC is in any way related to the series’ regular timeline, we’re going to find out just what it was. Isn’t that exciting?

 

And if it isn’t related…well, it’s not the same Dante, so why is everyone so upset? At least give the game a shot. Marvel did the exact same thing and it worked out just great, not only giving their characters a fresh start, but also helping lay the groundwork for a lot of Marvel movies.

 

And DmC isn’t the only game that’s doing it. Yakuza with zombies anyone? Team Ninja announcing a Ninja Gaiden 3 with a closer look at the Ryu Hayabusa behind the mask? Heck, God of War’s been doing it for the last three years.

 

And yet, I don’t hear anyone complaining about Kratos’s daughter. Is it because the drama has such little effect on the game itself, and that Kratos himself has remained relatively unchanged throughout the series? Why is that so appealing? Don’t you want to watch a character you like grow and evolve?

 

Sure, this ongoing trend of “Other” games is all part of a collective effort to appeal to a wider audience, and while it may lead to some questionable design choices, I do think it’s a bit of a stretch to act as if nothing good could possibly come of it. Again, look at Metroid: Other M.


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