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6 deeply inappropriate but disturbingly plausible FPS reboots to ruin your childhood with

Game publishers frequently do things that seem to make very little sense. The most currently fashionable thing that makes very little sense seems to be the FPS reboot. Take an old, much-loved video game franchise, whip up fanboy hysteria by announcing a new entry, then reveal an only-partially-related-at-best FPS, containing a couple of elements which vaguely relate to the core conceits of the original game, albeit in a rather abstract way. Wayhay! FPS reboot! New players might like it but will never have heard of the franchise! Old fans of the franchise will be incensed and immediately hate what might have been a perfectly acceptable game if given a different name!  Absolutely no-one benefits! 

It's already happening with old favourite strategy shooters X-COM and Syndicate, and I reckon it's going to continue. So I've come up with a few concepts of my own, mainly so that I can at least take revenge with a stolen-design lawsuit when publishers inevitably start bastardising these particular parts of my childhood.

Sim City

The original was: A refreshingly original urban planning simulator, which tasked the player with designing and maintaining a metropolis while carefully balancing running costs, the revenue of buildings, industry and commerce, and the happiness of its population. You could also defend against natural disasters. Sounds incredibly dull, was actually dangerously engrossing.

How and why the suits would 'update' it: "Huge, open, urban environments are cool since GTA III. User-generated content is cool since consoles went online. Combining the two is a no-brainer! But now that we invest most of our money in the game engine arms race, why waste a huge tech investment on a distant overhead viewpoint? Let's get inside that city! In first-person! And let's really show off the quality of our tech via gritty, realistic, urban detail and believable, physics-driven destruction! Sim City Shooter! YEAH!"

How the spirit of the original would be 'reimagined': In a grim, dystopian future, cities are run by corporations, and corporations rule the world. Cities are now huge, urban war machines. Build the industry and defences of your own, then infiltrate those of your enemies, taking them down from within. Your overall mission is to find and murder the ruling council, but along the way you can also press a button to drop skyscrapers on dudes. You know, to screw up the city redevelopment budget and cause all kinds of financial headaches just like in the original game.

Shenmue

The original was: An RPG with grandiose vision. An epic, sweeping narrative of personal growth, enlightenment and revenge. Possibly the first truly successful open-world game, and certainly one of the most detailed RPG worlds of all time. Realism, emotion and believable storytelling were key. Sadly the planned decades-long story was cut short when the second sequel failed to appear.

How and why the suits would 'update' it: "Shenmue is a huge name. Its fanbase is utterly rabid for more. And now that we've invested so much money in the game engine arms race, we can really do its real-world realism justice. The only problem with the original (which we're contractually obliged to state that we have the greatest respect for) is that it had very little in the way of guns. A tale of revenge and the criminal underworld in which everyone uses martial arts instead of firearms? For a  realistic game, that's not very realistic. And those long combat training sequences really slowed the pace of the game anyway. So we're putting guns in. And a first-person perspective so that you can really see how much detail we have in the world this time. And so we can sell a few game engine licenses."

How the spirit of the original would be 'reimagined': The initial, heart-wrenching scene in which hero Ryo witnesses his father's murder at the hands of never-caught villain Lan Di would be resolved in seconds, as our man pulls out a beretta and plugs the hell out of the fool (just think of how many engine leases would be sold off the back of the wood splintering effects in the dojo!). The resolution that Shenmue fans have long craved would be served, and we wouldn't have to worry about another unfortunate never-ending cliffhanger if the sequel didn't happen. Lan Di would be dead. Ryo could spend the rest of the game tracking down the rest of the gang and shooting them up, or something. In co-op with his now-alive dad. Who would be there all the frigging time, even if only one person was playing. It would be just as brilliant as F.E.A.R. 3!

The Secret of Monkey Island

The original was: One of the highlights of Lucasarts' classic period as an Adventure game developer. Sharp, witty, and slyly clever in its treatment of both pirate lore and the conventions of its game genre (the swashbuckling insult duels remain one of the smartest ideas in creative game design to this very day), it spawned several sequels and a decent 2009 episodic mini-series by Telltale Games.

How and why the suits would 'update' it: "People like Pirates of the Caribbean."

How the spirit of the original would be 'reimagined': All of the supernatural pirate comedy would remain (because that sort of thing has only become more popular since the POTC franchise basically lifted it wholesale from Monkey Island and inserted an eye-linered Johnny Depp for the ladies), but Guybrush Threepwood would be reinvented as a hip, edgy hero for a new decade.

He'd be no nonsense, all action. He wouldn't take any crap from people demanding fetch-quests or riddle solving. He'd shoot his way to the answers. But to keep things 100% authentic to the original game's legendary literal verbal sparring, he'd have a Duke Nukem-humbling number of pithy one-liners to trot out each and every time he killed a goon. He would also be able to carry an infeasible number of weapons in tribute to the infinitely large pockets of the traditional Adventure game hero, and would ultimately have the choice of killing LeChuck with either a firearm or a blade, both of which would have different, hilarious consequences. Because that would be a bit like a puzzle. Just like in the original games.

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18 comments

  • rxb - October 19, 2011 6:38 a.m.

    Good article Dave. Although a bit sad that this is what gaming has come to.
  • Mezolitik - October 19, 2011 2:26 a.m.

    You forgot Bubble Bobble FPS. And you just ruined my childhood! I loved Dizzy, but it went to the dogs in the end. Quite surprised that it hasn't been re-made yet.
  • IceBlueKirby - October 18, 2011 4:09 p.m.

    lol, I like "an insatiable lust for killing" as an inventory item. I just wonder where modern FPS heroes keep that, seeing as, "realistically," there's no room for that in their inventory with those two guns and four or so grenades. Maybe it's small enough to stick in their boot, and that's why they like kicking things so much? Who knows. I've never played any of these besides Sim City and Shenmue, but I wouldn't be surprised to see any of these remade as an FPS. That said I think XCOM sounds pretty cool, and since I never played the originals it won't be stepping all over my nostalgia. Not sure about Syndicate yet though.
  • Tenlo - October 18, 2011 12:30 p.m.

    Why can't we just bring Dizzy back full stop, come one an egg with boxing gloves what's wrong with that as a main character!
  • Rhymenocerous - October 18, 2011 11:55 a.m.

    The only way I'm buying the new Syndicate and XCOM is if they include the originals on disc. Seriously, I would make those two purchases... I no longer have my SNES for Syndicate, and my XCOM is now simply FUBAR for some reason. Also trophies/achievements would be AWESOME.
  • Fetalspray - October 18, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    'apocalyptic smack-down of heroic vengeance' my new band name lol
  • Bawheidbob - October 18, 2011 11:34 a.m.

    I like write ups like this one just to get a reminder there are people out there playing games where old games are still Dizzy/Monkey Island and Flashback.
  • wintergnut - October 18, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    I don't get all the rage about the new syndicate. The original wasn't a strategy game, it was an arcade shooter that just happened to use isometric view. Sure, it had some strategy elements like augmentations and persuadertron, but the new one still has them.As for your squad, it was always better to keep them together, so turning it into an FPS would make sense.
  • bitcrusherrrr - October 18, 2011 10:37 a.m.

    Kid Chameleon, the US goverment creates a headset that transformers US soliders into terrorists and other enemies of the free world so they can infiltrate and destroy them. Shinobi, ninjas go high tech red steel meets vanquish. Tetris, cold war era shooter where the USSR drops mutated cubiod shaped paratroopers on the alies. Street fighter, follow guile as he takes on shadaloo in a wartorn near future with quick time event hand to hand fights.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - October 18, 2011 8:49 a.m.

    I'd be completely fine with these remakes if they just changed the name. If the Syndicate reboot was just named something different, I'm sure it'd be more widely accepted. ...That said, I'm sure XCOM and Syndicate will be great games. But if this really becomes a big trend, then something's gotta give.
  • bass88 - October 18, 2011 6:52 a.m.

    Other games include: Streets Of Rage (it'll be like Urban Chaos: Riot Response but with Axel and mullets) Mortal Kombat (it's dilly-dallied with other genres so it may as well tackle this one while it's popular) Tetris (where our hero takes on corporate entites by collasping their tower "blocks" against others. It'll be like Mr. Houghton's SimCity idea meets Jenga) Metal Gear ("Why the hell would you use pillars to hide when you can use them for cover? Phew! Fixed that broken game.") Twisted Metal ("Okay, last game didn't sell as well as we hoped. How do we sell this to the masses?" "Well, a lot of people think the vehicles are stupid." "Okay, we'll get rid of them. Anything else?" "Should probably change the characters. People don't think clowns carrying rocket launchers is realistic." "Yeah, let's turn them into gruff-talking marines. There hasn't been a game like that in, like, three days. And speaking of realism, wouldn't they only be able to carry two weapons at a time? "Yup. We should definitely implement that. We can also save money by just putting a HD filter over the levels from Black." "Great idea! Damn, we are creative!" "That's why we're the publishers."
  • taokaka - October 18, 2011 7:08 a.m.

    I know I shouldn't, but I really want that streets of rage reboot but only if they can up the mullet ratio.
  • rabidpotatochip - October 18, 2011 6:51 a.m.

    Came here to see Zork in the list, leaving happy! Also, if you want the best eaten by a grue meme ever listen to MC Frontalot's "It is Pitch Dark".
  • taokaka - October 18, 2011 6:44 a.m.

    This article has made my day, not because of it's great content but because I made a comment about all the possible terrible revivals of old franchises as FPS's on the syndicate reveal article and I believe that Mr David was so inspired he dedicated this entire article to me. Thank you Mr David, I know you're my biggest fan but this takes the cake for the best thing all my legions of fans have done for me.
  • Korvak - October 18, 2011 5:47 a.m.

    What are you doing man!! You can't give them ideas!
  • chrisbarker1980 - October 18, 2011 5:11 a.m.

    I have full confidence that all these will be made in the next ten years.... Since the arrival of HD remakes, Syndicate was always on the top of my list to get a HD make over. So when I first saw the headline that it was getting a remake my heart leaped, but then with the click of a mouse button it was crushed under a avalanche of seething anger and resentment by three simple letters...FPS.
  • bitcrusherrrr - October 18, 2011 4:57 a.m.

    You got shenmue all wrong, make it just like stranglehold, John Woo presents: Shenmue The revenge.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - October 18, 2011 5:02 a.m.

    Yeah, fair point. The revenge-driven killing spree could also work. Using a Space Harrier cabinet as cover, using sailors as human shields, and throwing out one-liners like "That wasn't such a LUCKY HIT for HIM!"

Showing 1-18 of 18 comments

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