It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ok, so maybe not the MOST wonderful time of the year, but dammit, it’s gotta be in the top 5.  I mean, it feels like fuckin’ Christmas in July here, what with all the announcements that are coming out of the woodwork.  Usually we’d have all these announcements by now, thanks to E3, but since the 3 of Es no longer has the renown or stature that it once did, many publishers are simply content to realize that there’s a lot of things they haven’t even told people about yet, and just fix that problem.  I know that if I were, oh say, Capcom, and I were used to announcing something at a big event every May, and that event was suddenly shitcanned, I probably wouldn’t be remembering to announce things until about July either.
The big trend that is starting to surface harder than it ever has is remakes, or at least revisits.  Video game companies are realizing that now is the time to start pumping the old-school wells for old material to come back to.  My theory is that it has to do with the global recession.  Less money going around (unless you’re in the upper 1%, and if that’s the case, fuck you) means people are spending less on their kids and more on themselves, as they feel a need to cut back but an increased need to indulge themselves, so as to distract themselves from how fucked they are.  Therefore, video game companies feel it’s a good time to release products that stroke the nostalgia button, targetting these older consumers with pleasant memories from the days of yore.
I’ve got no argument against their tactics, as it gives me plenty to drool over.  Just keep pumping ‘em out, video game industry, and you’ll keep us hardcore gamers happy as a LocoRoco.   Just in the past two weeks alone I’ve barely been able to have a day go by without having to change my pants mid-day.  I’ve started bringing an extra pair to work just in case.
We’re going to go other these on the show, but I figured I’d go over the recent announcements in-depth here.
MEGA MAN 9 – I don’t think anyone saw this one coming (not counting those who were paying close attention to the rumor mill).  We all counted classic Mega Man as dead and gone, lost to the way of Battle Networks and Zeroes and Advents.  But here we have it.  A classic-style Mega Man, done in the style of the original NES games, with Keiji Inafune himself attached to the project.  The graphics, the music, the gameplay will all be reminiscent of the originals (hopefully more like MM2 or MM3 than MM6).  The Robot Masters will be: Magma Man, Galaxy Man, Jewel Man, Concrete Man, Hornet Man, Plug Man, Tornado Man, and Splash Woman (which may be the first time Mega Man has actually had a female boss, instead of just incredibly effiminate male ones).  This is WiiWare only, so sorry, non-Wii owners.  Yet another thing for me to envy until I finally get one. >.<
DIABLO 3 – One of the worst-kept secrets in the gaming industry is officially no longer a secret.  Hack-and-slash treasure-hunters rejoice!  Vastly improved graphics, use of the Havok physics engine, and an overhaul of system features like auto-gold-pickup mean that PC gamers will have something to play besides WoW and Counter-Strike for a damn long time.  Not a whole lot more is known, except for the fact that it’s not going to be out anytime soon. I’d expect 2010 if I were you.  This is Blizzard, after all.
CHRONO TRIGGER DS – We don’t know a whole lot about this one yet, other than the fact that WE WANT IT.  It’s pretty much a straight remake, but it reportedly will make use of the dual-screen and touch features, while also featuring a new dungeon and wireless multiplayer.  Note that this will NOT have a graphical overhaul like the previous Final Fantasy remakes Squeenix has been doing.  It’s due out by the end of the year.
KIRBY SUPER STAR DS – Another title we don’t know a whole lot about, but those who remember the original no doubt freaked out when hearing about this game announcement.  Easily the best Kirby game to date, it came complete with the richest variation of copy-able enemies and the moves you could pull off with each ability, as well as a co-op multiplayer function that has yet to be repeated.  The Great Cave Offensive alone will keep you busy for weeks.
CASTLEVANIA JUDGMENT – This is one I’m not too sure about, but it bears mentioning.  It’s a Wii-exclusive Castlevania online 3D fighting game.  Anyone with any experience in gaming will be wise to be wary about this idea, but things more surprising than this have been pulled off before.  Here’s to hoping it doesn’t turn into a waggle version of Castlevania 64.
ROCK BAND 2 -  This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but it still bears mentioning.  Although no new additions to the game engine have been announced yet, Harmonix has stated that they intend to do some sort of songwriting feature (although different from GH4′s) and that there will be more community features.  Rumored artists include AC-DC, Linkin Park, Megadeth, Rage Against the Machine, The Guess Who, Billy Idol, Alanis Morrisette, Jethro Tull, Joan Jett, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, The Go-Gos, System of a Down, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Kim Wilde, Motorhead, Cheap Trick, Journey, The Who, and Dream Theater.
Ok, just typing up this article has rendered my pants in need of changing again.  I’m going to go do that while you continue trying to wrap your head around the awesomeness.