This week we cover the revival of two franchises in the US, and the possible milking of another.
Andrew Passafiume: +340
Graham Russell: +109
Eric Schabel: +65
Shawn Vermette: +185
Microsoft working on new Project Gotham Racing
Ever since Activision bought Bizarre Creations in 2007, Microsoft has been sitting on their PGR series. Considering how well-received and popular the previous games in the series were, it just doesn’t make sense for Microsoft to stop making them just because the studio that historically makes them can’t anymore. That said, is Microsoft getting ready to revive it with a new entry?
Andrew: The Project Gotham Racing series has been pretty successful for Microsoft, possibly even more so than their Forza games. I think a new racing title is just what Microsoft needs, and I think with the right studio, they could bring the franchise back. And with no big racing titles on the horizon in 2011, it would be the perfect time to release it. However, I can also see them focusing their efforts on the next Forza game (which seems like it might include Kinect support as well). 80%
Graham: That’s a tough one. 2011 looks like a good time to release a racer (unlike the too-crowded 2010), and Microsoft doesn’t have Halo and Fable to ride them out next year, so it’s worth trying some things. That said, they seem to have focused their efforts on Forza, and is there room for an arcade-but-still-realistic racing game in today’s market? I’ll have to push. 50%
Shawn: I actually haven’t played a single game in the Project Gotham Racing series, though I picked up PGR 3 for $5 awhile ago. That said, it is one of Microsoft’s top first-party franchises, and to keep it garaged this long is unusual. The lack of top tier racing games after GT5’s release this month tells me that the time is right for it to make an appearance once again.85%
Sledgehammer Games working on sci-fi Call of Duty
We know two things regarding Sledgehammer Game’s current assignment. First, that they are working on an offshoot of the Call of Duty franchise. Second, that it is supposed to be an ‘action adventure’ game, rather than a pure military shooter. That said, is Activision truly preparing to go head to head with the other 800 lb gorilla in the industry? Rumors have it that the Sledgehammer Call of Duty entry may have a sci-fi setting which could potentially set it up for a battle against Halo for sales.
Andrew: We’re apparently getting at least one new Call of Duty game next year, and if the cycle continues, it would be an Infinity Ward project, despite what happened to the studio this year. Modern Warfare 3 is the obvious choice for next year’s title, but it seems like Activision might want to release multiple games a year. Rumors have also been floating around about Infinity Ward wanting to make a futuristic Call of Duty game, so at this point it’s pretty hard to tell who will be doing what with the franchise. Although, if anything, taking the series in this direction might just be what the series needs to keep it from getting stale. 50%
Graham: Sci-fi has a lot of possibilities. It could be an exaggerated Modern Warfare, set on Earth in the near-future with crazy weapons. It could be a deep space drama like Mass Effect. There could be time travel. (Please let there be time travel. As long as the game’s better than Darkest of Days.) So why not? If they’re developing a spinoff, it may as well have some nonexistent tech in the mix. 70%
Shawn: We know that Sledgehammer Games is making a CoD game, and there’s been rumors flying for a long time about a sci-fi Call of Duty…would there really be two different CoD games in development that are NOT Modern Warfare or the Treyarch series? Knowing Activision, it is possible. However, I think it is more likely to be the Sledgehammer Games entry, if any at all. And I have to say that there is room on my gaming shelf for both Halo and CoD in Space. 65%
XSEED to announce US publishing deal for a Tales Of title by end of 2011
It’s been awhile since a Tales title has made it stateside, Tales of Vesperia in August 2008 was the last one. That said, there’s a rabid fan base in the US for that series that has been waiting for any announcement of another game making its way over here. XSEED has publicly said they are interested in publishing a Tales game in the US. They’ve published games over here for Namco Bandai before, but the question is whether Namco feels it would be profitable to do so.
Andrew: As mentioned above, the Tales series has a pretty devoted fan base here, and I’m absolutely sure that they would love to see some of the newer Tales games (such as Tales of Graces) make it over to the States. XSEED is a really good publisher and localization team that could do the series justice, as it is apparent Namco Bandai wants nothing to do with localizing the series themselves, so XSEED taking over this process might help convince them. If anyone is going to do it, it’ll be them. 85%
Graham: It may not make much money for Namco Bandai, but for a tiny publisher like XSEED, Atlus or NIS America, a franchise like Tales is a prize. If Namco really has given up on localizing it themselves (as it seems they have), they’ll make more money licensing it than just sitting on it. Sounds like I’m convinced, right? Well I’m convinced a deal will work out, and the ball’s rolling with XSEED’s comments, but I’m factoring in the possibility of Ignition, well, pulling an Ignition and poaching another game from XSEED’s potential lineup. 80%
Shawn: Oh please let it happen! I may not be the most rabid Tales fan, having only played Vesperia, but it is still one of my top 360 games and I look forward to playing more of them. Also, XSEED does a great job with localization and exporting games that would otherwise never reach us. My question is whether Namco would allow it to happen, even if they don’t have to do any of the work. I’m gonna vote yes, just because I want it to be so. 80%