Finish this sentence, only apply it to gaming: “Wouldn’t it be so awesome if…”. If you’ve sat around a table with gaming friends, this conversation has likely come up more than once.
Let me take it a set further and ask, “What if this developer made that game?”. It wouldn’t matter if someone specifically developed for only one platform. There are no rules, no boundaries; only imagination.
A 1940’s Detective Noir by Quantic Dream (Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain)
This is the first and only unnamed title in this list. Quantic Dream aimed to create a close hybrid of a film and video game with their breakout Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy here in the States) and they nailed it. Unfortunately the story took a turn for the cheesy towards the end and spoiled an otherwise excellent concept. This time they aim to fix that with their PS3 title, Heavy Rain, aiming for an even more cinematic and immersible experience that features “everyday people”.
Now, the only reason I wasn’t able to pin a specific IP to this developer is that the strong point of Quantic Dream’s work is creating a game experience full of choices. Obviously, a pre-written story would not translate well to the gaming medium. Thus a new one would have to be penned from scratch, and considering the mood of both Indigo and what we’ve seen of Heavy Rain, it seems clear that these guys would do a great job of tackling a black and white 1940’s detective noir, where investigation, thinking, and choices play a large part of the story. Yet at the same time isn’t devoid of any violence or action to keep people on their toes.
World War Z by Ubisoft Montreal (FarCry 2, Assassin’s Creed)
Anyone who hasn’t read Max Brooks’ book based on the fictional oral history of the great zombie war needs to hit up a Barnes and Noble as soon as possible, and pick it up. Brooks is a madman who manages to think of every way a zombie outbreak could affect the world, whether it be what role a filmmaker plays in a post zombie apocalypse, to what the crew of the International Space Station would go through if the folks at Houston were among the living dead. The book spans many nations across the world and covers many professions and situations during the war.
Meanwhile, Ubisoft can put out games that span many nations across the world, from Africa and Jerusalem to Las Vegas. With combat driven games spanning from shooters like FarCry 2 to melee focused games like Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft seems to clearly have the range that would be needed to cover the expansive canvas of Brooks’ zombie world. Just picture countrysides carved out like the African sandbox of FarCry 2 along with metropolises as detailed and vast as the cities of Assassin’s Creed. Or perhaps flipping into Rainbow Six mode and being a cog in the army that fought in the books’ “Battle of Yonkers”. With such a large choice of scenarios, Ubisoft could surely pick out the ripe ones, crafting a heart pounding and epic story.
The Clone Wars by Infinity Ward (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
Infinity Ward is batting a thousand right now. Call of Duty 1 and 2 were great games that kept the WWII genre alive and kicking as long as it was, and then Call of Duty 4 just blew the series out of the water while simultaneously raising the bar. They succeed where most FPS developers fail: creating an exciting and compelling narrative. Not to mention that with each title, they get progressively better at scripting epic invasions and events that showcase the grand scale war is often fought on.
Rather than moving onto a futuristic war that most likely would end up looking like a Halo clone, how about moving onto a war that was never given its proper attention in a movie named after it. Enter Star Wars’ Clone Wars, a massive bloody conflict that pitches an endless army of Jango Fett clones against an equally endless army of droid soldiers. It would give Infinity Ward the chance to bring a radically different version of the war that hasn’t existed in the Star Wars films or novels. It would be a game that regains some recently lost respectability for the Star Wars franchise and knowing Infinity Ward, it would add a human element to the saga. Then if we were really lucky it would be a follow up to the LucasArts sleeper hit Republic Commando, but one can only dream.
Batman by Rockstar North (Grand Theft Auto 4)
I really honestly can’t imagine that anyone reading this right now doesn’t know what Grand Theft Auto 4 is. You’ve seen the game. You’ve seen how amazing and dynamic Liberty City is. That said; just imagine a Rockstar developed Gotham City. Amazing? I think so.
On top of that, whether it’s GTA 4, Bully, or any of their other games, Rockstar has talent when it comes to storytelling and cinematic cutscenes. So not only would they offer an expansive and massive Gotham City, but it would be paired with a quality story. Think Treyarch’s Spider-Man 2 done right. Alternately, Ubisoft could probably pull off a great version of Batman as well, if not better. The free running system from Assassin’s Creed would carry over well, allowing the Dark Knight to dash from rooftop to rooftop.
Oregon Trail by DICE (Battlefield 1942, Battlefield: Bad Company)
I don’t think I need to explain why this game should be getting remade. It’s a classic that was a part of many people’s childhood and I can’t be the only one who wants to revisit this journey with next-gen hardware. So why DICE? I assume in a 2008 version of Oregon Trail, the main two gameplay elements would be driving a wagon along a rocky trail, and a first/third person shooter aspect of your never ending hunt for food. Vehicles and weapons: the two things DICE does best.
Battlefield 1942 was an excellent WWII game that melds vehicles and weapons. Not to mention, due to the vehicles, most of the Battlefield 1942 maps were large scale, giving DICE the experience they need to craft the wide landscapes along the path of the Oregon Trail. Allow for online multi-player co-op and you’ll have yourself a game that fulfills your sense of nostalgia as well as a game that’s just plain fun. After all, who doesn’t love shooting buffalo?