Everyone knows that EA has a penchant for rebooting shit. In the month of February alone, we're getting two reboots - Syndicate is being reimagined as a first-person shooter and SSX is being brought back from the rigor mortis status that On Tour and Blur cursed the franchise with. Both have a lot of marketing around them, and even a decent level of hype. We've also seen a reboot of the Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit portion of the NFS franchise, which turned out to be a fantastic game that pulled in out of left field. There are even rumors that reboots of Army of Two and Dead Space are in the pipeline (one of which thoroughly confounds me to no end).
However, there are many franchises that fans have been asking to have rebooted...and yet it seems that those words fall upon ever-deafening ears. What's even weirder is the fact that EA has the studios in place already to make these reboots happen pretty easily. The question is "why not?".
For instance, there are millions upon millions of Madden fans around the world, but the biggest problem you face is the constant criticism of how the games are always the same. Sure, the easy answer is to say "IT'S FUCKING NFL FOOTBALL, HOW THE FUCK DO YOU WANT IT TO BE DIFFERENT, YOU WHINY SHITS?". However, the proper answer would be to reboot the Mutant League series of games. For many of us, Mutant League Football was a fond memory of blood, violence, and pigskin mayhem that we are ready to see again. Beyond that, it would give you a chance to change the rules, make football something a bit more interest, and yet you could still keep Madden to your "simulation" style all the same. It's a win-win situation, and with the largest team of developers dedicated to sports in the industry as well as a penchant for rebooting classic over-the-top franchises like NBA Jam and NFL Blitz, there should be little to no reason why you aren't expanding your portfolio with some Mutant League action.
Another prime example of how perfectly things can come together is to take a look at the Strike franchise. David Jaffe recently mentioned Jungle Strike in a brief pass-by during his DICE 2012 keynote and it got me thinking: people have asked for years why the Strike franchise has just been sitting around to rot, but EA has given us no answer. What's more interesting is that EA dumped resources and time into trying to make Medal of Honor such a huge hit because of the popularity of not just Call of Duty but modern wartime games in general. However, they had a game franchise that was already involved in political ideals as well as wartime scenarios that could've easily been used. Bringing a new version of the Strike games out with that same isometric camera angle but with modern day graphics and sound technology would be pure gaming sex. Where is the reboot of this heralded franchise, EA?
The crowning jewel of mistreatment from EA falls on the shoulders of a one-time behemoth, the mightiest of the mighty: Road Rash. This high-speed mixture of racing and brawling was on the road to high success...and then came Road Rash 3D and Road Rash 64 (the latter of which was actually developed and published by THQ), two games that failed to be either financially or critically successful. What went wrong? It's a perfect and relatively easy formula to figure out: go fast and beat a motherfucker up while you do it. Can you imagine going at 100mph in a game based on today's technology, whipping a chain in the air and causing a guy to get plastered into a wall? CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW FUCKING AWESOME THAT WOULD BE?! You have Criterion sitting over in the corner with rumors swirling for a while that they are secretly working on a new Road Rash game. Are they?
These are three sacred franchises from EA's past that many fans have been rabid to see reboots for. Why hasn't this happened? Many of those fans may not realize this, but it could rest squarely on the shoulders of what was a seemed attempt by the company to garner interest in the games for a new generation: EA Replay. This compilation featured all three of the franchises talked about in this blog: Road Rash, the Strike franchise (specifically Jungle Strike and Desert Strike) and Mutant League Football. The compilation was not only poorly advertised, but it was made exclusively on a handheld system that was notorious for its ease of piracy. In turn, EA Replay only sold around 70,000 units, thereby damning any chances of the franchises coming back...
...or so it would seem. Another game featured on that same compilation is seeing a reboot release this month: Syndicate. Therefore, the question stands: is there enough interest amongst the gaming community to get EA to support reboots of these beloved franchises?
Until next time, piece.