Thursday, October 13, 2011

VG Talk #6 To Reboot or Not to Reboot

Video Game discussion.

Reboot! It's not just a memorable television show from our nostalgic past but a buzzword that gets thrown around more often than I can take a piss. Rebooting is exactly what it sounds like. The intention is to restart a franchise and give it new legs which usually involves redefining the series as well. Thanks to the sheer amount of rebooting going on in different media (The film industry being rather notorious for this), the term has gained a negative connotation. Is the term deserving of disdain or should we hold out hope for our nostalgia to be reunited with something we once cared for?

Before we dive deeper, let's take a look at a successful and recent reboot. Mortal Kombat was released in April of 2011 and sales skyrocketed right out of the gates. Not only is the title itself rebooted (Mortal Kombat instead of MK9), the style, the game design, and even the story itself has relaunched the series as a newborn. This reboot has done double duty (not that kind) by luring back the Mortal Kombat players of old and siren singing in all new generations of gamers. As a side note, let's not forget that the movie franchise is going to reboot as well.

Now let's take yet another glance (If you missed out, check these links here and here) at the reboot that's raising hell: DMC. The Devil May Cry series has a strong fan base that isn't quite keen on the current reimagining of the series or its protagonist Dante. While the title isn't out yet (and so comparing MK9 with DMC is out of the question), it hasn't garnered the reception that Capcom and Ninja Theory were hoping for and this heavily shaky start to a reboot might ruin the eventual launch of the game.

Two other upcoming titles are notable reboots: Tomb Raider and Twisted Metal. Tomb Raider has quite the challenge ahead as it needs to distance itself from the Uncharted series at all costs (which is the current top dog in games based on raiding tombs). So far it seems that the survival aspects of the gameplay will be the primary focus of the title which could be the distance it needs but only time will tell. Twisted Metal currently has no competition and with David Jaffe at the helm, there's plenty of potential here.

I've only scratched the surface of recent and upcoming reboots but I want to hear your thoughts. To reboot or not to reboot? That is the question. Also: what franchises do you believe deserve a reboot?

This is Kylak signing out and wondering how you feel about parties getting crazy.


  1. I personally like the idea of rebooting a series. The thought of taking a new spin on an old tale is always pretty cool. Just like anything that anyone can do or make, it can be good and it can be bad. The Devil May Cry reboot? I don't know honestly, because I haven't tried it. I remember seeing him use a scythe at some point. I do indeed love scythes so that's a plus in my opinion. As for an emo-esque Dante? I don't really mind that thought. If he still kicks everyone's ass and makes witty, or at least funny, jokes about them while doing it I'll probably still like him. The only thing I won't accept about the game would be a sudden lack of gameplay quality. You can completely change the look of the game, the characters and the story with loose callbacks, but once you mess with the gameplay and it's not as fun you've crossed the line. That's something that only time can tell though so we'll all just have to wait.

    I wasn't aware MK had a reboot at all. I vaguely remember hearing about a new MK game but I did not know it was a reboot or that it had even come out yet. Good for them in my opinion, I feel like they needed a fresh start for MK. It felt like it was slowly dying out otherwise.

    I think anything is deserving of a reboot assuming it had any popularity or fanbase to begin with. I honestly can't imagine that any game series we know today, or any popular ones that began in the earlier history of gaming at least, will ever truly die out. I feel like Mario, Megaman, Sonic and the like will get rebooted several times(Can you count X, .EXE, Starforce and such as reboots? I'm not sure on that one) as long as people continue to remain interested in them. Even after all the creators die out I feel like someone from within the company will take on the reins and keep the series going. Assuming they don't fail utterly at this, I don't think the series will die. And even if they do fail, someone else can take a shot at it until the company itself gives up(And if that happens someone will probably buy the rights to the game and try themselves) and decides they don't want to lose any more money.

  2. I have to agree with Opee on the general opinion of ReBoots as a whole. Of course there are some that are not as well received but when weighed against the number that have been its almost clear to see the "correct" view point.

    Thanks to a video i saw recently about the gaming industry i now know that one key thing about doing a reboot properly is time. Im not sure about DMC or Mortal Kombat but the last time a tomb raider or twisted metal came out was just a few years in the past so i think that bodes well. As long as the devs have done the research and see that there is a fan base ready to buy their product then they should be good to go.

    Hmm perhaps i should try and think of some game series that i would like to see get a reboot...

  3. @ Opee and Tevye
    Thank you both for the eloquent posts. I'm on the same page with everyone and personally enjoy a well done reboot myself.

    To answer the Mega Man question: those are all spin-offs.

  4. I would agree that if there is a fanbase reboots can do well as long as the developers are careful to keep key elements such as game play and have a great story. Many of the failed reboots I've played or heard about have lacked one of these two things. And I'm not saying that they need to keep the same storyline as the originals. Merely that they need an interesting new one that isn't totally off the wall different from the original series. Some of us may be amused to see Dante dropped into Sonic's world, but I wouldn't see that floating well with most mass consumers.

    Personally, I would love to see a reboot of the the Legend of Dragoon game. They had scheduled to make a sequel but plans fell through and it never released. This made me a mega sad panda, and I feel like that had a large fan base. It also seems like a type of game that is getting harder to find since that type of RPG is becoming more regarded as a niche game. PS3 seems to be distinctly lacking in the FRPG's that I used to see for PS1 and 2 and drool over in the game stores. Now I walk in and look around for 15 minutes and walk back out feeling entirely dissatisfied and dissapointed.

    Also on a side not and possible fodder for Kylak's next VG post; PS3 really needs to develop more coop games that are not shooters. There are tons of coop games on the shelves but almost all of them are games like Gears of War and Call of Duty but very few out there like Hunted, and Dungeon Siege.

  5. @ Avaelendil
    "Build it for the fans."
    I agree. Even smaller properties have serious fan followings and it's important not to exclude them.

    Should Legend of Dragoon get a reboot, sequel, or a prequel? I'm not even sure anymore. By all technicalities the best answer is all of the above but there's no telling if they've dropped the concept all together or not.

    Co-op games! *goes to write about it*

  6. did write it. And I am totally excited to go pick some of those up ASAP. Also as a note to a comment I made on Hunted; what the hell was that about. The first 5 minutes of that game are insane even on the easy setting. Which my boyfriend and I had to switch to after dying 10 times in the first 2 minutes of play in the medium setting. This was a totally new experience to me. I've played some pretty difficult games before but never felt this level of frustration and total WTF that early on. If anyone has played it and has a few tips as to what the hell is going on there, then please feel free to share. I would like to give the game a chance but I prefer not to want to kick our nice new TV.

  7. Also, my boyfriend says they should get to reboot when a gamecube falls from the sky.



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