Experienced Points: Reviving The Classics

By Shamus Posted Tuesday May 7, 2013

Filed under: Column 97 comments

Last week I answered the question, “What Lucasarts games would you like to revive?” This week I ask, “Uh, what exactly do you mean by ‘revive’?” This entire conversation has also made me aware of just how flexible the term “classic” is. Like some people – young people I’m sure – think of games from 2004 as “old”. Man, I’ve still got some 2004 games on my “play soon” list.

Of course, this entire conversation is now irrelevant because it’s been announced that EA now has a franchise-wide exclusive lock on all things Star Wars. The only way we’re getting a new X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter game is if we get an Army of Two knockoff starring a couple of dudebros named XWing and TieFighter.

I’m not bitter*, I’m just saying it’s true.

* This is a lie. I am totally bitter about this.


From The Archives:

97 thoughts on “Experienced Points: Reviving The Classics

  1. qwksndmonster says:

    I guess Bioware will kick the tires on Kotor. I’m not really excited for how I think that will turn out.

    1. I’d really rather Obsidian did this, to be honest.

      1. Maybe they’ll take a page from Bethesda’s recent history and sub-contract it out… or at least hire some of the old dev team.

      2. Irridium says:

        Speaking of which, this whole EA exclusivity deal probably means Obisidan’s proposed Star Wars game isn’t going to happen.


        1. Supahewok says:

          I hadn’t thought of that yet. Doubledamn.

        2. Neko says:

          OR… they reskin it as their own space opera and out-Mass Effect Mass Effect. I’d like that.

      3. Humanoid says:

        I’m not dissatisfied with this outcome. I think Bioware is the better fit for the setting – a bit cheesy, a bit overwrought, but knowing they can have a bit of fun with it. If they can rediscover some form, good news, but if not, then no real loss. Obsidian hopefully gets to work on something more original where they can fully flex their creative muscles.

    2. Aldowyn says:

      I’m wondering if that’s just referring to more TOR. It could very well – the first expansion just came out not too long ago, and they do have a dedicated team down in Austin working on it, so… maybe. Or maybe it IS KotOR 3 as well, which would indeed be awesome.

    3. Richard Carboxsin 11 says:


  2. Allen says:

    But Shamus, when they get really angry, their “force” meter goes up and then they EXPLODE! and then their guns EXPLODE! and then their eyes EXPLODE! We were able to bring you this great gaming experience from High Definition Force Explosions engine (HDFEe).

    1. anaphysik says:

      Great, another HD fee to deal with ;P

  3. Brandon says:

    A lot of food for thought in this article. Interestingly enough, we’ve seen a lot of examples of all of these strategies, to varying degrees of success. Just off the top of my head, I wouldn’t say that any particular strategy has been more or less successful, either. People love re-releases/updates of some older games, some they aren’t willing to pay for. Sometimes the reboot of an old game goes over well, sometimes it doesn’t. This isn’t an easy question to answer, so I guess it comes down to less of “what does reviving a franchise mean in general” and it’s more of “what does reviving a franchise mean to the company that now licenses or owns the franchise.”

    Side note: I’m one of those youngin’ programmers you mentioned, and I 100% agree that having me go back and work on legacy C would probably be a disaster. I mean, I can write pure C, with no OO classes, string variables and pointer stew (Char ** for the win), but even with that experience and knowledge, really old “hacker” style C is gibberish to me. Like those short form, one line if-then-else statements. A prof showed me one once and the syntax boggled my mind, but apparently they were super common way back when. One one hand I am really glad that I don’t have to deal with code that looks like that. On the other, I think it would probably have made me a better programmer having to learn to code that way.

    Side side note: The Mass Effect reboot in 2027 is going to be terrible, won’t remain true to the original material at ALL, and it will be “fixed” so you can’t kill Miranda AT ALL (Also Miranda will be an Asari).

    1. Ingvar M says:

      “char **”? That’s not even approaching C declaration soup (admittedly, I think almost all C declaration soups are actually C++ declaration soups).

      But do bear in mind that in old C, the following:

      int* a, b;

      is actually the same as:

      int b, *a;

      And in C++, they ain’t (can’t speak authoritatively for modern C, but I would be surprised if that has changed).

      1. Canthros says:

        Actually, I think that “int * a, b” is equivalent to “int b, *a” in both languages, but it’s been a long time for me, and I don’t have my copy of K&R to hand (and don’t own a copy of Stroustroup’s C++ book).

        Function pointers in C always struck me as downright unreadable.

        1. DrMcCoy says:

          Yes, the * binds to the variable and not the type in both languages.

          1. Ingvar M says:

            Oh? My recollection was that C++ used the whitespace to determine where it bound. Now I have to experiment…

    2. Canthros says:

      “one line if-then-else statements”? You mean the ternary operator? Like so:

      bool-expr ? then-expr : else-expr;

      Personally, I hate seeing that:

      * I can’t remember if all expressions are evaluated or not.
      * It always takes a moment to remember how to read it.
      * Some devs have a nasty tendency to liberally sprinkle 120+ character expressions using it throughout their code when a 5-line method with a decent name would take less space and be more readable.

      Sorry. Pet peeve.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        Well, want to know one of my pet peeves? Calling a ternary operator the ternary operator.

        1. Canthros says:

          In the languages I’m familiar with, there are no other ternary operators. None of which I’m aware, anyway.

      2. Atarlost says:

        Hint 1: It shouldn’t matter if the expressions are evaluated. If your code relies on expressions in a conditional not being evaluated it’s a sign you’re trying to be cute. See Hint 3. If you’re in a situation where that level of performance optimization matters you should probably be using assembler.

        Hint 2: Like all written languages it’s easier to read with practice

        Hint 3: The nasty habits of a developer are the fault of the developer, not the language. You can write terrible code in any turing complete language.

        1. Canthros says:

          Whether the expressions are evsluated or not is less a performance problem than a side effects problem. C# doesn’t evaluate the expressions that won’t be executed; I want to say that either C or C++ does. Or, there’s the difference between C#’s logical and bit-wise operators: the bitwise snd, or, etc do not shortcut. All of this is a problem with programmer style, but we don’t all get to work with programmers that don’t do such things.

          As for 2 and 3, of course! But! I would still contend that it’s best used sparingly, if at all.

        2. Jabor says:

          Short-circuiting boolean operators are similar and it’s definitely good to be able to use them. I mean, this structure is much cleaner than any alternative:

          if (some_var && some_var->needs_frobbing()) {

          And it would definitely be broken if both sides were always executed.

          You do get similar issues with the conditional operator as well – consider:

          Foo f = some_var ? some_var->get_foo() : default_foo;

        3. EmmEnnEff says:

          “If your code relies on expressions in a conditional not being evaluated it's a sign you're trying to be cute.”

          I have to call shenanigans on this.

          if (widget != null && widget.isActive()) {
          // This is well-understood, legible… and avoids NPEs by relying
          // on the fact that the second expression will not be evaluated.

    3. Cybron says:

      Reading C is always an adventure.

      I do have to say that the idea of games from 2004 being old is depressing. But then I’ve heard youngins talking about the PS2 as a retro console, which just makes me mad. If it’s a console with a primary 3D library, it’s not old you whippersnappers (and before some smart guy brings it up, no, the Virtual Boy does not count!).

      1. Trix2000 says:

        Old for me is the original grey brick that was called a Game Boy. Does that count? (or maybe the NES, but I didn’t have one myself)

        Oddly enough, I’m still trying to work through the PS2 library, since I only got one after I left college a couple years ago.

        EDIT: Scratch that, I almost forgot about my days with Windows 3.1 and running my dad’s games in DOS, like Jetpack and Brix (or whatever it was called).

    4. DrMcCoy says:

      Now, as someone who has seen the source code of a few adventure games made in the early 1990s, how the code is written is always a kind of gamble.
      The code might be spot-clean and easy to rewrite, but there’s a chance you’ll find at least one of the following:

      – Comments completely in a foreign language you don’t understand
      – Variables and functions named in said foreign language
      – Horrible mess of spaghetti code and copy-pasta
      – Inline assembly for decompressors and audio/video decoders
      – Assembly through and through
      – Usage of old third-party libraries you don’t have the license to
      – Liberal use of portability problems like setjmp()/longjmp()
      – Using outdated operating system calls
      – Its own harebrained memory managements

  4. Lame Duck says:

    Hmmm…I guess I think of games prior to the Gamecube/Playstation 2 generation as being old.

    1. Humanoid says:

      I sort of associate age of games with the media it ships on. If it originally came on a set of floppies (or tape) it’s probably safe to call it old. If it shipped on CD-ROM, I’d call it middle-aged. If it comes on DVD, it feels contemporary.

      It’s a bit odd because both transitions started somewhere in the 90s, so it’s been a good while since the last reclassification. But it jives well enough with what a fair few of us would call the baseline fidelity we expect of a modern game, as Shamus has proposed a few times when talking about early-to-mid 00s graphics.

  5. DrMcCoy says:

    Of course, for “Grim Fandango, The Dig, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and other adventure games”, the work of “[going] in and [updating] all of that old code” has already been done with ScummVM and ResidualVM. :)

  6. False Prophet says:

    Well, we know what the topic of the next Two Minutes EA Hate on this week’s Diecast will be. I’m salivating in anticipation.

    1. Here’s the sad thing I keep returning to:

      EA, of late, makes really (in the end, like in Mass Effect 3) disappointing/crappy video games. The question is, can they make them worse than the Prequel Trilogy, and if they aren’t quite that bad, but still bad, are they violating the spirit of what Star Wars has become?

      1. Kanodin says:

        The spirit of what star was has become? I’d say the only way to violate that would be to not focus on commercializing it and appealing to the widest demographic possible. In that sense EA is the perfect choice.

        Now the spirit of what star wars was? Well that’s been long dead for me and I’ve nothing but sympathy for those who still believe in it.

  7. TouToTheHouYo says:

    The last Star Wars games of any importance to me were Jedi Knight II, Kotor II and Republic Commando, so the franchise has been more or less dead to me for quite a while. Though saddening, it’s hard to be disappointed in something when your expectations of it are nonexistent. At the very least EA can’t kill the modding community, how ever much it may try. Jedi Knight II has kept me satiated for nearly ten years. Far as I’m concerned, EA’ll never top it so screw’em.

    1. Hydralysk says:

      Yeah that’s one great boon to old games is when they have a great modding community that keeps the game fresh. I still always have Freespace 2 installed because of the amount of new content that comes out on a regular basis for that game.

      I mean both original games have been been given HD versions with new models and remastered music, as well as a bunch of free addon campaigns in the Freespace universe, as well as total conversions mods like Diaspora (BSG), The Babylon Project (Babylon 5), and Wing Commander Saga to name a few. It’s hard to feel that bad when I frequently see assets from the original game that I remember looking like this http://tinyurl.com/d6czzee being updated to look like this http://tinyurl.com/d55qevy.

      As much as I’d love to see new games in the space sim genre like a new X-Wing, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t satisfied with the amount of content produced on a volunteer basis by people who are motivated by their love of the subject matter.

  8. Dev Null says:

    You know how, in good horror movies, the suspense of waiting for something horrible to happen is far more effective than any actual badguys / monsters / etc? Once the worst has already happened, there’s nothing left to be scared of.

    In a sense, its a relief to no longer be afraid for the Star Wars IP.

    1. Nimas says:

      True, but some would claim the actual worst thing has happened ;)

      (I’m actually ok with Disney having Star Wars, they’re on a good run atm, but I really wish they had chosen a different director)

  9. Eric says:

    This problem can be easily demonstrated by looking at the recent Thief revival by Eidos/Square Enix.

    If you pay attention to the marketing, interviews and other stuff around the game, it’s very obvious that Eidos don’t really fully know what they’re doing. From the reading I’ve done on the subject, originally the game was going to be much closer to the first three Thief titles, but due to sitting in development hell and further market trends occurring, key people on the project left and now you’ve got a newer, younger team who probably doesn’t even understand the core appeal of the franchise to begin with.

    They’ve got this old beloved game franchise, yes, but it even in its heydey, it was a niche game, and the only people around who really care about it these days tend to be old grognards – exactly the kind of people that don’t necessarily want the kind of revival that a company like Eidos can actually supply them.

    In other words, that means that you have a publisher buying the rights to a game franchise that only a small number of people actually care about, making a game that for sales reasons is basically destined to upset the original fans, and meanwhile they’re releasing a game that appeals to a completely new audience of gamers because it has few similarities with the original games.

    This begs the question: why bother? Why buy the rights to this franchise so you can make a game that doesn’t capitalize on the original product’s popularity, that doesn’t resemble the original product much in terms of gameplay, and that will probably generate lots of bad PR for you? What’s the point of doing this, in an era where people are always complaining about sequels and that we’re starved for new IP? Why buy that IP and squander it rather than save money and make something new? Is it just a case of them buying up the rights and then getting in so deep over their head that now they just have to put out something, anything, to make up their expenses?

    1. Klay F. says:

      “Why bother?”

      Short answer: Nobody in the industry has a solitary fucking clue what makes a game successful.

      Based on that assumption, it it any wonder why the most publicly loved game designers are the ones that have basically said, “Screw whats popular, I’m going to make what I WANT to make.”

      1. guy says:

        That’s a near-universal problem across all forms of media, sadly. Frankly, I usually find that the only truly effective way to learn why something works as a piece of entertainment is for it to get an adaption, sequel, or homage that doesn’t work and then see what’s different.

        Usually, the people responsible simply claim that fans have a blind, reflexive hatred of things being different, which has the key problem that sequels, remakes, adaptions, and the like are sometimes wildly successful despite changing a lot.

      2. guy says:

        That’s a near-universal problem across all forms of media, sadly. Frankly, I usually find that the only truly effective way to learn why something works as a piece of entertainment is for it to get an adaption, sequel, or homage that doesn’t work and then see what’s different.

        Usually, the people responsible simply claim that fans have a blind, reflexive hatred of things being different, which has the key problem that sequels, remakes, adaptions, and the like are sometimes wildly successful despite changing a lot.

  10. MikhailBorg says:

    “Imagine if someone had given the Harry Potter books to the person behind Hunger Games. If the author of Snow Crash was given the Percy Jackson series. If Michael Crichton had been given the job of extending the Lord of the Rings into three more books.”

    That’s easy: Douglas Adams’ estate asked Eoin Colfer to write a sixth Hitchhiker’s book. It’s quite good – especially after the sour taste of “Mostly Harmless”, which Douglas Adams didn’t even like – but it’s clearly not Adams. (Which is as it should be.) I gladly recommend it to friends, but always with that warning.

    This all only supports your point, of course.

    1. Retsam says:

      It’s funny, I didn’t read the Colfer Hitchhiker’s book, but I could really see its effect when I read the next Artemis Fowl book. I feel like his writing style really shifted. It was just more humor focused than any of his previous books (though they were certainly humorous at times as well), and I noticed particular Hitchhiker’s idioms, e.g. that thing where the narrative stops to focus on something tangential to the plot, like the fate of some background scenery, before coming back to the plot at hand.

    2. Felbood says:

      Blood! You could go a step further.

      By the time he got to Mostly Harmless, crotchety old Douglas Adams didn’t sound like young, idealistic douglas Adams anymore.

    3. Lisa says:

      I, for one, wish they hadn’t. I have noting against Colfer, but it really felt more like H2G2 fan fiction – like someone trying to write like Douglas Adams, without really understanding how Douglas Adams wrote.
      I gave up about 30 pages in after a whole series of Guide Notes that didn’t flow as they did in the original, but instead broke the story up horribly.
      All, in my opinion, of course. You’re free to like it. You’re just wrong ;)

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    No one really wants a reboot.Those that liked the original want the original preserved(or want a sequel),those that didnt like it dont want anything with it,those who never heard of it dont care.Only in hindsight,if the reboot turns out to be good,do people say “Hey,they were right when they thought of this”.

    1. gyfrmabrd says:

      I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Sometimes a franchise has been run into the ground so thouroughly that it’s basically beyond fixing. Sometimes it becomes so bad that enjoyment of the original itself becomes tainted, sometimes there are other reasons why you can’t just go back to part I.
      I guess Tomb Raider is a fairly good example of this (at least from what I’ve read and heard, haven’t gotten around to playing “New TR”.)

      For me personally, it would be the Shadowrun TTRPG. Man, I love the setting to pieces, but by now, the lore, and to a lesser degree the system, have been cluttered and clusterfunked so far beyond the pale that I’d rather see the entire line simply crash and be rebuilt by someone who gives a damn than having to watch its shambling bloated corpse getting dragged around town like this.
      Sorry, but I guess I needed that off my chest…

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        See, the problem with reboots for me is that I always get annoyed because it means throwing who knows how many years of continuity down the drain. To most people this may seem less painful if the IP has been severely messed up already but to me it’s still a waste because most often this means going through the same moves played out as if they were something extremely exciting and unexpected. This is also probably why I rarely replay games, even if they have alternate paths, unless enough many years have passed to make the memory sort of dim, and even then I often loose interest halfway through.

        1. MReed says:

          Um, you /do/ know that there is a turn-based Shadowrun game coming out in the near future, right? http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1613260297/shadowrun-returns

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            Was that addressed to me? If that’s the case then yes, I’ve heard about it, but with most RP systems I can sort of handle it because I think of the source material as the setting, it’s probably something I had to evolve to assimilate campaigns by varying GMs. What I don’t like is reboots like the NWoD, where we just throw the old setting away and make something that is close enough to look familiar and capitalize on the brand name while at the same time it is remote enough for all of the lore that has gathered over the years to be useless (though I do acknowledge that NWoD did some good, like the subsettings are now created to actually work with each other, unlike in the original WoD).

      2. MikhailBorg says:

        I’ve been running the Shadowrun tabletop game since First Edition came out. I’m not crazy about the latest rules system – that’s why I’m still using Second Ed. for that – but what’s wrong with the lore? My group is still finding it to be plenty entertaining.

    2. Nimas says:

      This is only me as far as I am aware, but seeing I just bought the Star Wars bundle on Steam (curse you cheap games!) I really want to see a reboot of Jedi Knight.

      Although I admit, I can see that going terribly, terribly wrong.

  12. Torsten says:

    As fun as it might be to have revival of Full Throttle, Monkey Island, all the Star Wars games and the rest of Lucas Arts games, are actual IP revivals really what we want? There is a difference in wanting a space combat flying simulator and wanting another X-Wing vs Tie Fighter. And people tend to have mixed feelings about IP revivals in general.

    Personally I would rather see new games taking influence from the classics rather than companies reviving said classics. I dont need another Mirrors Edge, but it would be cool to have another first person parkour game. Apparently nobody even knows who holds the rights to No One Lives Forever, fine, somebody can just make a game that parodies 60´s spy movies and has an interesting female lead. People would be interested in an adventure game that has motorcycles and heavy metal even if its name would not be Full Throttle.

    As for Star Wars, maybe it is time to let that stranded whale go and see if somebody could create some new science fiction world with space combat and laser swords.

    1. atomf says:

      Heck, there are _loads_ of really good universes available in the world of print science-fiction and fantasy. Use one of those!

  13. Tektotherriggen says:

    You can’t very well just distribute it in its current state and tell the customer, “Go download DOS Box and then read this FAQ to get the game running.” If someone is paying for a game, they’re going to go into it expecting that it will have a simple installer and that the game ought to work out of the box without any technical fussing.

    This is kind of what does happen at the moment though. I got Dark Forces (1995) through Steam, and they pretty much just bundled it up in DOSbox with a fancy installer. I think GOG.com do the same thing, and they have some pretty ancient games like the original Populous (1989).

    This suggests that a “straight” re-release isn’t quite as hard as you imply, although it might just be that these are the “low-hanging fruit” of games that are very easy to package. I quite agree that doing anything more advanced with an old game would be a nightmare.

    1. Felblood says:

      Yeah, but many of the DosBox steam re-releases are pretty buggy.

      X-COM Interceptor (I know! I got it in a bundle, okay.) basically doesn’t work at all. I have this wierd bug where my character is an infinate distance away from every object in the universe. It’s hard to explain.

      1. Hitchmeister says:

        He’s a geographical oddity! Two weeks from everywhere!

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      To be fair GOG does deliver the game in a nice package (most of the time) ready for launch on a modern system without the level of fiddling that Shamus mentioned. And I think they were initially going almost exclusively for the nostalgia crowd (plus an occasional archaeology fan) probably obtaining those old titles for cheap, since they were on every single abandonware site in existence and they weren’t earning anyone any money anyway, then just jamming dosbox into the installer and keeping the re-release cost to a minimum.

  14. Look on the bright side Shamus, at least EA knows more about PC and Console games than Disney does. (I juft thew up in my muth a liffle)

    1. Felblood says:


      I think I need to lie down for a while now.

  15. Vagrant says:

    Kotor 3 by Bioware and Battlefield 3 by Dice. If this happens I will forgive the fact that there will be no Sephiroth/Darth Vader Boss fight in Kingdom Hearts N+1. It could be worse.

    1. krellen says:

      We’re talking post-EA BioWare, here. We’re talking post-doctors BioWare here. What makes you think a BioWare KotOR 3 made today will be anything like the original?

      1. Thomas says:

        I’d be mildly optimistic. Bioware have improved on a lot of their mistakes from the KOTOR era, party members interact with each other, they’ve even experimented with party members who react based on your actions (le gasp!), they’ve messed around with their 4 planet formula, come up with more than The Five Bioware Character Archetypes, found combat systems which are fun to play. They’ve created plots that don’t completely focus on one big twist (okay all those plots sucked, but they were trying to break out of the box). They’ve found ways to make the ‘investigate’ dialogue flow into one-another instead of being an ‘and then’. We’ve got interrupts, loyalty missions. And if Bioware rehire there ME1 artists, KotoR set the bar pretty low visually with not much in the way of a vista anywhere.

        If I was excited about KotoR 1 I think I could get myself excited for a Bioware KotoR 3. Improving the party interaction would probably be worth it by itself

        1. Kiiratam says:

          The ‘Five Bioware Character Archetypes’? Which ones would those be, again? By my last count, I identified eleven (not all of which they use all the time, but they’ve steadily been decreasing their number of NPCs).

          1. Felblood says:

            1. Naive “teenage” girl who gripes constantly, over personal trivia.
            2. Friendly dude who grumbles a bit, but goes along with whatever.
            3. Hard bitten, but affably evil, soldier of fortune/assassin
            4. A wookie.
            5.”Wise” older woman who gripes constantly, over philosophical trivia.

            Re-use as many of these as needed, with a humorous robot or gay elf version to fill out the party roster.

      2. ACman says:

        I could like with a Mass Effect-y KOTOR. As long as they didn’t decide to make the thing a massive 3 game trilogy where they don’t at least sketch out the basic plot beats first.

        I’m just sad about X-Wing/Tie Fighter. The actual “Star” part of ‘Star Wars’ has been excised from the universe. I don’t want to be a Jedi. Or a Sith. Or a Alliance/Republic trooper.

        I wanna be a pilot. A smuggler in an Elite/Privateer style trading game for preference. Or a small cog in a big machine Tie pilot carving out order in the Galaxy after the fall of the Republic.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Random note: They did sketch out the basic plot first. They just changed their minds, which is possibly worse.

    2. Zukhramm says:

      Kingdom Hearts N+1

      It’s funny because that could literally be a title to a Kingdom Hearts game.

      1. Vagrant says:

        honestly. that would be the only way i bought it.

  16. Jay says:

    The best idea is probably to shop the IP around to developers who have funny indie adventure games. Giving some obscure but funny game a reskin and calling it “Grim Fandango 2” would give an obscure game enough visibility in the market to succeed even if some of the profits go to the licensor.

  17. Decius says:

    I would probably like the first two results if EA bought some company that could do a spaceflight simulator and had them make a new X-Wing.

    The problem would be that X-Wing vs TIE fighter 4 would suck ass, and the studio would be a burnt-out husk where all the best talent fled to different indie studios where they made “Not Star Wars space combat” games that couldn’t use George Lucas’ beautifully minimalist spaceship designs.

  18. I’m really surprised you didn’t mention the Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition. I was happy to pay money to revisit that game after they cleaned it up even though the new content wasn’t all that impressive–except I really liked the new painterly cinematics. I found them much more appropriate and cool than the hideous clunky animation, oddly enough.

    1. Kiiratam says:

      Now someone just needs to make a mod that integrates the new cinematics into the Baldur’s Gate Trilogy gigamod…

  19. rayen says:

    oh it won’t be dudebros, no we’ll sit behind the X-Wing/TIE fighter and shoot laser’s down their iron sights. yo know like the new star trek game.

    1. harborpirate says:

      This is so spot on, it should be hilarious…

      But I can’t laugh, because the thought that this is exactly what we’ll get if EA ever bothers to do anything with the X-Wing IP is dominating my mind with anger.

      You like shooters, right? Yo, I made you a shooter in space!


      1. Ronixis says:

        It just occurred to me: I think EA now owns the IP for every space flight sim I’ve ever played.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Hmm, let’s see. EA owns Wing Commander, as far as I can tell, but Microsoft owns Freelancer and Starlancer, and Freespace as far as I can tell went to Deep Silver, which, going by Dead Island, is probably worse.

          1. ehlijen says:

            Does Freelancer count? It was fun, but not really a conventional space shooter.

            Also, who owns Tachyon – The fringe? I mean not that anyone cares enough to make a sequel/reboot, I’m just curious.

            1. Bubble181 says:

              Now there’s one I’d like a reboot of.

          2. Phantom Hoover says:

            The Freespace trademark also got bought a few months back by some random developer nobody’s heard of, the main IP rights all still belong to whoever had Interplay, and IIRC Volition kept something as a keepsake which is probably what you meant.

  20. lurkey says:

    This right now is a perfect time to dust off that smug “EA guy” for a comic strip. I imagine he has a lot of enlightening, cheerful stuff to say about the whole situation. :-)

    1. Hal says:

      It is so weird when I see him show up in other places. (He is a stock photo, after all.)

  21. Ithilanor says:

    Interesting article; a lot of good points, and a lot of foo for thought. The linked story about finding the source code for Prince of Persia was really neat.

  22. Felblood says:

    I would probably actually play an Army of Two game starring xWing and TieFighter, if I still had someone to play it with, but alas, I no longer live near my AoT friend.

  23. Hitchmeister says:

    In my fantasy world, Disney hands EA these franchises to make games, then tells them, “Listen, you’re not allowed to foist the kind of crap you’ve been giving your customers the last few years on our customers with our name on the box along side yours. So get it right!”

    And then I wake up.

  24. Disc says:

    It’s a shitty deal for Star Wars, but that’s personally still not as worrying as the possibility of this actually happening: http://bitbybitgaming.blogspot.pt/2013/04/bioware-has-acquired-space-marine-ip.html

    What baffles me the most is people making comments on the internet along the lines of how this could “possibly save the franchise”. I don’t know how much worse it could get. With their track record, it’s like a career pop artist suddenly deciding they want to make a serious shift into black metal. It’s just outrageous and unbelievable.

    I do wish I could be happy at the possibility of getting something different from the standard cookie-cutter RPG, but all the bets have been off ever since ME3.

    1. Felbood says:

      Is there any chance of this coming out looking like anything other than:

      A. Gears of SPASE MAREENZ!


      B. A Dark Heresy Fanmod for Mass Effect.

      Actually, that second one sounds pretty awesome, in a guilty pleasure kind of way, and therefore EA will never make it.

      Actually… How hard would it be to come up with dialog wheels for the Edge of Darkness, or Shades on the Twilght modules?

      1. Klay F. says:

        For a second there I had a good laugh at the thought of EA hiring Matt Ward to write an Ultrasmurf story, and C.S. Goto to put multilasers on everything…then I threw up in my mouth.

    2. Khizan says:

      A lot of the problem seems to be that people -want- the standard cookie cutter RPG.

      For every person I’ve seen making legitimate complaints about DA2(reuse of maps, the last two bossfights feeling forced), I’ve probably seen two making complaints about things like “There was no overarching big bad enemy”, “There were no good guys”, or “Where was my ancient evil to defeat?”

      I know that one flack takes a lot of flack for saying something like “DA2 was just too ambitious for a lot of people”, but I can agree with that in many ways. It’s one of the very few RPGs I’ve seen make an attempt at a story other than “Hero beats Evil, saves day”, and right up till the ending, it did a pretty good job of it. So many of the complaints I see, though, boil down to “I want Hero versus Orcs part II, and that’s not what this is!”

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        See, for me the ending needs to be satisfying, and I will admit that destroying an appropriately cool “great evil” can deliver a nice bang, but most of the time it’s just annoying (which is why I have a problem with Starcraft 2. Really, a chosen one of prophecy and a great evil coming to destroy everything is just what this IP DIDN’T need) but there are other ways of handling it than this particular cliché. For all its faults the fact that DA2 was placed in one city and we could see it evolving over the years and being affected by the PCs actions (though not quite as much as I’d like) was one of the two things that I really liked about the game. I would like to see it expanded upon with more branching and more changes rather than suddenly being shoehorned into fighting the same two bosses and getting a non-eding in the final act.

    3. guy says:

      Fortunately, the license may have already ended up with a TBS developer back in March. That depends on exactly how the license agreements are structured, though. It may be that EA got a third-person shooter license and the TBS guys got a TBS license.

  25. wererogue says:

    I *just* turned 30, so I’ll curb my ire over the idea that young programmers can’t function in old C code.

  26. Loki J says:

    X-Wing! TIE Fighter! All-time favourites; I put about 500 hrs into TIE Fighter and the expansions for it, and about 100 into X-Wing, XvsTIE, and X-Wing Alliance each :)

    I miss that whole genre, though managed to find a free-to-play space-shooter on Steam that has “Moon” and “Break” in the title that recaptured some of that feeling, even if it’s stripped down somewhat. Too bad dev support for it got pulled to build another game :P Not talking about Star Conflict, though; that one was…boring.

    (note: not trying to spam a game or anything, just trying to pass on knowledge of another game and roughly how to find it without breaking any spam rules; please don’t ban me)

  27. Lupus_Amens says:

    Hey shamus is there a chance that we ever get to see your games to play list together with a recommended games list?
    Maybe put it on the site and keep adding.

    1. Gabriel Mobius says:

      I like this idea. I’m always on the lookout for new games to investigate, and I’ve found Shamus’ tastes close enough to my own to make this super-useful for me.

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