Here at the Cinematic Katzenjammer, we have a little segment called the Pick 6, in which we take 6 directors, actors, actresses, movies, etc. that we would like to see in a perfect world for a given topic. Since we are dawning upon a new era in video games, what better to start our topics than the only system that we know very little about to this point. The next Xbox, or the Xbox 720, will be revealing there system soon enough, but after the unveiling of the PlayStation 4 by rival Sony, Microsoft has their work cut out for them. The problem as the life of the Xbox 360 has continued is the lack of exclusives that have rattled the library of the system. While Sony has a bevy of tricks up their sleeve, Microsoft on the other hand has limped along, in terms of their own games, with only Halo and Gears of War in their hand. Sure you can point to games like Forza which has seen a recent title with Forza Horizon, but even that series is only on their fifth title in the series. Sony of course has titles of their own that have seen their fair share of releases like God of War, Ratchet and Clank, and Uncharted, but all of those series have found ways to stay relevant. Halo has done a superior job at revitalizing the series with Halo 4, and while Gears of War Judgment will probably sell decent; I don’t expect to see anything earth shattering from sales figures. So what can Microsoft do to bring consumers to the Xbox 720 (what we’ll call it for now) and keep them away from the PlayStation 4? They can do the obvious and develop some new IP’s but here are 6 game franchises that have seemed to drop off the face of the earth that are due another release, and by that we mean exclusives of course.
6. Breakdown (Last Release: Breakdown, 2004)
Namco’s Breakdown was a marginal title that saw its only release on the original Xbox, but the promise of something better rests in the premise than what was seen in its original title. The story starts with a man by the name of Derrick Cole, whose memory has been erased and he too has been injected with a drug that can creates super-soldiers. The game has a mix of fighting and First Person Shooter, but its gameplay and story has the chance to make something with the tech today, special. I see a new Breakdown with a Dues Ex: Human Revolution feel, but a Crysis set of visuals time ten. The game could build on the dark theme and change the doubt that was left after the first game. While it was unique for the time, there are plenty of titles out that that can mirror or be compared to a sequel, but a story can make the difference and a government corruption super-soldier here in the United States, instead of Japan, could make this something special.
5. NFL Fever (Last Release: NFL Fever 2004, 2004)
Many gamers will be saying “WHAT IN THE HELL?” Hear me out though with this one because there is good reason that it made the list. NFL Fever made its first debut on the PC, and was a solid football simulation for quite some time. With the launch of the Xbox, it was a no brainer for them to release a console version to compete with the likes of the NFL 2K series and Madden. I would be clamoring too for another NFL 2K franchise, but with the heavy focus on Basketball, I wouldn’t expect 2K sports after a 8 year layoff to make the jump back into the game. However, Microsoft has a prime opportunity to jump in and develop a fresh title that would cause Madden to squirm a little. NFL Fever was never a bad game, it just didn’t have the power standing behind it like an Electronic Arts, and as focus shifted to other venues the franchise stumbled and fell. Now with Electronic Arts exclusive license for the NFL up at the end of the year, Microsoft has a optimal chance to capitalize. While Electronic Arts has, in many ways, rested on their laurels, they have made some improvements, but so far not enough; fans bought Madden 13, but they are still looking for more. NFL Fever has the chance to take a page from the NFL 2K series and on top of that, do what MLB: The Show has for Sony, create a superior experience that can only be had on the next Xbox console.
4. Tao Feng (Last Release: Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus, 2003)
Tao Feng is one that could really be taken by some and left by others, which is the same way the reviews went. Whether you love it, like it, or hate it, the fighting games of today are the same old games, just in a different shell. Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Dead or Alive, and Tekken are established franchises, and are still fun to play, but giving gamers a blast from the past such as Tao Feng could rejuvenated the genre. No fighting game is about the story, it’s all about the style, and Tao Feng had plenty of that. Built with the premise that it would give gamers a brutal realistic experience, Tao Feng showed real time damage and interactive environments that gave special moves and abilities with more destruction. Something like Unreal Engine 4 and it’s particle system would give development a gold mine for damage and the ability to show brutality in a whole new way. While the characters and moves may not be something memorable, but they could be with the right attention to detail, graphics, and engine. Tao Feng could be a great fighter and one that gives Microsoft a fighting chance.
3. Conkers (Last Release Conker’s: Live and Reloaded, 2005)
This mischievous drunken squirrel charmed his way into the hearts of the gamers hearts on the Nintendo 64, but then came with an exclusive re-make on the original Xbox. Adding to the experience was multi-player, accompanied by the single player experience that consumers ate up for the N64. Many fans have a rancid taste in their mouth There is little doubt that gamers would love to see a continuation and not only that an High Definition title to his arsenal. Conkers, if your not familiar with the series, is about a squirrel, Conkers, that lives in a land in which an evil panther king maintains and rules. The panther king is in need of a leg for his table and he is told that a red squirrel would do the trick to solve his troublesome problem. It’s a silly premise, but there is no doubt that the comedy and racy style of platforming within the game are unique and something that gamers would love to grace their consoles again. There are endless possibilities for Conkers in an another title, because this is, of course, one of those titles that has such a narrow story line that each game stands on its own. Microsoft needs to move forward with Conkers and release another title in the franchise. With multi-player already being implemented, there is only room to grow from here, making an even bigger, better, and raunchier title.
2. Perfect Dark (Last Release: Perfect Dark Zero, 2005)
Perfect Dark Zero, was the highest rated launch title for the Xbox 360 upon launch, giving gamers a chance to see what a first person shooter was capable of on the next generation console. Flash forward eight years, and we have yet to see the slinky bounty hunter Joanna Dark back in action. When Perfect Dark Zero launched it came with much fan fare and for the most part delivered what fans had been waiting for. The series still has promise and even with the muddled genre of today, there is always room for a super sexy spy that can do some major damage to the adversaries. Microsoft stole Nintendo’s thunder when they nabbed the rights to Perfect Dark, and for them to use it in a one and done fashion is simply injustice to gamers. With a next generation console to breathe new life into the series it would benefit both Microsoft and consumers to provide another outing for Joanna, at least once per console generation.
1. Alan Wake (Last Release: Alan Wake 2010)
It took Microsoft long enough to get gamers a title that was first brought to light in 2005, but Alan Wake even with the development time that the game had, though a very good game, had its fair share of problems and holes. There is little to debate when it comes to the story of Alan Wake though, as the mood and tension that makes up the story of a troubled writer haunted by his very words that he penned, is one of the better cinematic experiences of 2010 and on the Xbox 360 in general. While the story was good, the ability to use light to breakdown the Darkness to a point that a firearm would work, as well as limited ammo provided a filler to the gap that has been left in the suspenseful horror genre for quite some time. The game that finally cape to fruition, needs to do the same on the Xbox 720 with a sequel.
The list for the Xbox 720 is concluded and we sincerely hope that Microsoft doesn’t continue to take comfort in the series that have become tirelessly re-tread over the life of the Xbox 360. Sure, continuing game series is important to the life of any company, but to abuse both the titles and gamers with the same thing slightly different to the point that Microsoft has is an unfortunate situation. While it is likely that Halo and Gears of War see next generation releases, giving them some much deserved R&R, and re-enlisting some underutilized talent would be in the best interest of all parties.
Check back tomorrow for what PlayStation needs to reinvigorate.
Any titles that you would bring back in place of these that were Microsoft exclusives? Do you buy a console based on exclusives? Let us know in the comments below!