Boy, is this a depressing entry to write. Enslaved wasn’t perfect, but the game did so many things right – like pushing digital storytelling forward with what's possibly the best combination of motion capture and voice acting in the medium to date – that the miniscule chance of a sequel breaks our hearts. Enslaved's weak worldwide sales, along with publisher Namco Bandai's decision to scale back non-Japanese development, is a near-guarantee that Enslaved 2 won't be announced in 2011. Or ever. And yet there are so many reasons it should be (explicit details about the ending to follow)…
Throughout the original, a romance was developing between heroes Monkey and Trip. We applaud developer Ninja Theory for showing restraint and not ending the game with a corny Hollywood kiss, but some closure would have been nice. We have so many unanswered questions: Where will the pair go next? Will they continue to fight together, or part ways? And what was the deal with Monkey telling Trip to put the headband back on him? It was a strange submissive gesture when he didn't need it to remain loyal to her…
Then, of course, there's the Matrix-wannabe twist. On the one hand, we found it much too derivative. On the other hand, we were intrigued by the idea of a "bad guy" having good intentions. If he merely wanted to save people from the misery of a ruined world, though, why coldly murder those who resisted? And what happens now to all those he'd enslaved? Surely some of them are Trip's friends… will they join her and Monkey? All of these dangling plot threads could lead to fascinating developments and surprising directions, but unless Enslaved 2 is announced, we'll never experience any of them.
Mario is already confirmed to appear on Nintendo's impressive new handheld at least twice, but while we can't wait to see Mario Kart and Paper Mario in 3D, those are just side games. What we really want is another core, full-fledged Mario platformer. And not some half-assed New Super Mario Bros 2… we want a totally original 3D adventure that fully takes advantage of the evolution in technology.
Since every Nintendo system, whether home or portable, has had at least one main Mario in its lifetime, this is only a matter of time. Hell, Miyamoto even admitted to the game’s existence in a recent interview: “Of course, we are working on a Mario product for the Nintendo 3DS...” He went on to talk about how the handheld could finally address some issues 3D platformers have had since Mario 64: “When you are in a 3D world but on a 2D screen it is difficult sometimes to tell distance, whether an object you are looking at is in the foreground, in the background, is the object above you?... It's going to be really exciting for us to make that easier… using the Nintendo 3DS technology."
Above: And don’t make it a crummy port like Mario 64 DS, either
Could this inevitability be announced this year, then? Well, imagine it's mid-June with E3 about to begin. The 3DS has been out for a few months, everyone is pretty familiar with the launch games, and Nintendo needs to keep interest high for its new product. What better time to unveil the first original 3D Mario game for a handheld?
Coming up on six years since the release of Kingdom Hearts II, asking for a third full-blown Squisney Joint is every bit as futile as that announcement is unlikely. HOWEVER! There have been several new developments that make us dare to dream again! Take a look at this mock-up we made for a Kingdom Hearts III starring the sexy, sexy stars of Disney B-Squad back in 2009.
We concluded that, with the exception of half a dozen characters, the appearance of Final Fantasy stars are essentially wasted cameos in the Kingdom Hearts series. Those characters, their baggage, and their personalities are far better served by the Dissidia series – in fact, the very existence of that PSP franchise presents a slight barrier to once again adding them to the Mickey mix. Instead, we suggested omitting the Final Fantasy stuff altogether and replacing those tertiary roles with several obscure characters from Disney’s stable. We never actually expected anybody to do it… until Epic Mickey actually did!
Above: Note our suggested inclusions of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Black Hole made it in to Epic Mickey. Plus, the addition of classic games opens up another world of Disneyana!
In addition, Disney now owns The Muppets and fucking MARVEL! Like it or not, those characters will eventually be part of Disney legacy, and with all due respect to Cloud and Auron, isn’t that the true essence of Kingdom Hearts anyway? A Final Fantasy-esque game starring Disney characters within a Disney Universe? So, since GamesRadar has widened out its columns a bit since that last suggestion, we decided to expand the image to acknowledge the full potential of the acquisitions. After all, when you own everything, the sky’s the limit.