Good morning weary and bleary eyed readers. I have the fortune of penning the site’s first post of 2015, and yes it will be a sort of list. Lists are easy to compose, as I have said in past listicles posted here, as they are easy to read. Today, in a post-celebratory fashion of easy-going, I have prepared such a one as might be unique among the lots of lists, the reams of ranks, and the groups of GOTYs. I want to celebrate the games that did not come about this year that I would have greatly enjoyed, games that would have otherwise made it onto a list of more traditional comport. Some of these games are surely on their way, might have release dates or might never materialize. They are all, however, games that would very probably have been among my favorites of 2014.
Final Fantasy XII HD
Final Fantasy X HD got its time in the sun this year for real, but I never was a X guy. I was initially lead to believe the game was not all that great and, having not played many games in the series prior, I stayed away until a while after release. X was a fun romp while it lasted for me, I never strove to do much of the extras and I have only ever completed it once. But when XII hit the shelves, despite similar early trepidations, I was smitten. An HD re-release might have come amidst a sea of other HD re-releases (and more to come, no doubt) but it would have been the only one I bought. The inclusion of the laughably named International Zodiac Job system would have helped to breathe new life into a game I need few excuses to dive back in to. About the only other thing that would need fixing are the damnable inverted camera controls. Sorry, Lusi, but today we call that crap “inverted”.
The Last Guardian
Ah, I have some good memories from the past Team Ico games. They were not the typical affair, and while I have not played through Ico or Shadow of the Collossus more than once, once is quite enough for these quietly emotional puzzle platformers. Last Guardian could conceivably be in the same greatly under represented vein of games, and deliver yet another unique story about companionship and loss as told through some light puzzling elements and platforming gameplay. This time around it would be with the benefit of beefier game consoles, not that Team Ico has proven that entirely necessary given what they accomplished even in the early days of the PS2. Though, by today’s crisp standards, the new hardware could give them that much more room to build. Perhaps this is what is keeping the game from release in reality, but for the purposes of my list of fake games, Team Ico hit it out of the park!
Skies of Arcadia 2
This game would have blown the other AAA titles out of their glitchy, fetch questy socks. The art direction coupled with a bold step in gameplay design aimed at removing as many comfort zones as possible would have shouted out the competition. It is an unusual thing indeed when a developer of a very mainstream popular game allows this many revisions and redesigns of the formula. Where other directors of a series try to stay in the boundaries of what they perceive to be a sweet spot, Bloodborne director Hidetaka Miyazaki has proven capable of knowing what makes a game good instead of essentially caving to fan demand. Dark Souls II in comparison to Bloodborne will likely be the strongest example of the differences between creating from talent and creating from demand. It will not be entirely alien from the others in this loosely connected series, but I feel comfortable leaving it up to Miyazaki to know what to keep and what to toss despite how many upvotes people give Solaire gifs in Disqus comments sections.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Wii U ONLY!!
No, this is not the Wii U version of the latest Smash title, this is a hypothetical version that exists that was not shackled to the 3DS’s limitations. For a game already exceedingly demanding to develop for, asking series director Masahiro Sakurai to tack on a 3DS version and then attempt to maintain (partial) parity between the two versions only diverted time and energy away from making the Wii U version as good as it could have been. Look no further than the game’s roster that includes the most clone-y characters to date. Lucina and Dark Pit differ from their originals in fewer ways than any other clone-type ever have. The Ice Climbers, which many enjoyed, were cut entirely. The game’s second single player mode, aside from Classic Mode, was split in to two unsatisfying minigame collections instead of potentially one more robust and actually entertaining mode. From there it can only be speculated what other adjustments or additions would have been made to this (admittedly feature rich) game had time not been required for the runty 3DS version. Maybe there would be more stages with better platform composition instead of the half dozen lazy floating platform stages that fly around and land.
Beyond Good and Evil 2
About the only Ubisoft game I could possibly be interested in after being disappointed by nearly everything they have put out lately, and being repulsed by the rest of their offerings, BGE 2 would be a breath of fresh air. Ubisoft has rested on their laurels in ways that go a fair bit beyond their peers of Activision and EA. The latter two companies might be pinned for releasing iterative game titles in Madden and Call of Duty, like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed, but at least those games are largely competitive and conducive to being updated frequently with fresh content. Ass Creed is a single player adventure that they have been iterating on since the release of its predecessor Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time back in 2003. Nevermind that EA and Activision release working games in their worn out series, Ubisoft can not even be bothered to proof read the work of their leading franchise. BGE 2, even if it were a beat-for-beat iteration of the original but with updated controls and higher production values, would still be a fresher piece of meat than the old dead cow Ubisoft refuses to stop milking.
If you, aching readers, have any additions to make of your favorite games that did not get released yet, please feel free to add some! Have a qualm with a game on this list? Think I am being too optimistic about some of these titles? Fill out a qualms form and mail it in triplicate. We have a PO box conveniently located inside every dumpster!