Why People Need to Chill Out About Reboots.

11 04 2012

First, before we begin, let’s talk briefly about what a reboot is.

It’s definitely not this.

Well, I guess I’ts kind of that, but that’s not what we’re talking about.  (And lord, never let me mention that again.)

What we’re talking about is a series reboot!  A reboot is basically a re-imagining of  a premise or base-of-mechanics of a movie/book/game/show/blah, while keeping the same general theme.  Most recently, we’ve seen headlines for reboots of the Devil May Cry series, a reboot for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (they’re aliens now?) and the Tomb Raider franchise.

A lot of people are getting CRAZZZYYY about it, saying that these series don’t need to be rebooted.  That we should be working as a culture to improve without change.  That rebooting these classics is a crime.

Those “a lot” of people are idiots.

Going back, we have a lot of things that have recieved reboots, even if we weren’t really paying attention to it.  Even if we didn’t know what reboot meant.

  • Super Mario RPG?
  • Megaman Legends?
  • MEGAMAN FUCKING X!?  (God, I love this fucking game.)
  • Ninja Gaiden?

Honestly, there haven’t been a ton of reboots that weren’t successful.  The outlying issue is that the fan base is so corrupted by loyalty to things that only exist in a metaphysical space, that they’re willing to hate the changing of it, even if it turns out to be brilliant.  Even before truly experiencing it.

This is prejudice.  This, to me, is the real crime.

Let’s start by addressing the upcoming Michael Bay interpretation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  He announced some early details, including a brief mention that they’re gonna be aliens.  Of course, this is followed by insane fan outrage.

“I’LL KILL YOU, MICHEAEL BAY!”

“IT SAYS MUTANT IN THE NAME, NOT ALIENS, YOU MORON.”

“SOMETHING GOT STUCK IN MY BIKE TIRE ON THE WAY TO THE LIBRARY, AND I HAD TO WALK MY BIKE FOR THREE MILES ONLY TO GET THERE, GO ON THE INTERNET AND SEE THIS CRAP ABOUT TMNT, WHICH MADE ME MORE MAD THAN HAVING A USELESS BIKE.  AND NO CAR.  THIS IS WHY MY MOM DOESN’T ALLOW ME ON THE INTERNET.”

But, let’s take a second, breathe, and think this through rationally:  When was the last time anyone gave an actual shit about the 20 year old story about the Turtles in the sewer?  Honestly, unless you’re planning to make money off of the franchise or you’re some kind of psychopath, you care very little about the future of the series.  In fact, if there weren’t talks of a reboot, you’d all be resigned to your daily life, perfectly okay with letting these teenage reptiles die, never even giving the next generation of movie-goers or gamers a chance to give a shit about them.

We’ve been exposed to the same exact story of these stupid Turtles for close over twenty-five years.  I’ve seen them fight robots, fight clones, cry, laugh, time-travel, and everything in between.  There isn’t a single situation you could put these turtles in and have me be honestly surprised, shy of killing one of them.  (It would have to be Raphael.  They would have to kill Raph.)

So, why bother hating on a chance to revive the story?  Granted, Michael Bay isn’t exactly known for making the most thought-provoking movies, but I don’t think many people disliked the first Transformers movie!  Sure, it got a bit over-the-top sometimes, but as a whole that movie was fun and innovative!  That was also a goddamned reboot.  Sometimes, we need a fresh perspective.  And a re-imagining isn’t always a bad thing!

Maybe being aliens can open up a brand new way to get these characters to finally develop naturally.  From the beginning, the characters have remained largely the same, with a brief increase in dramatic effort when Master Splinter died in the movies.

Taking Devil May Cry, for instance.  DMC and DMC3 were bloody amazing.  Few would disagree.  But what about four?  It was met with insanely mixed reviews.  Nero is an idiot, and the supporting cast was a joke.  The story had gotten out of hand, really.  Hardly anyone left the game’s epilogue with a lasting impression of why the series went in that direction.  Especially after the wild success DMC3 had with fans!

And let’s not even talk about DMC2.

So, that leaves us with a split.  Two good games, one decent game, and a game that was total horrible crap.  If I had to rate the games RIGHT NOW, on a scale of 1-10, it’d look something exactly like this:

  1. 9
  2. 4
  3. 8
  4. 6.5

27.5/4 = 6.87500

(This weeaboo moment has been brought to you by Ramen noodles, Japanese girls looking cute all the time, and walking to work.)

That’s failing in some colleges, and it no better than a D anywhere in the world.  When you have a series average of a D, in any rational opinions, it’s time for you to start considering a new direction.  Even if I were generous, and it averaged a 75, that would still only be a C.  When you have a series as prominent as DMC, average is not cutting it.  But what we have on our hands is a company dedicated to making Devil May Cry the best it can possibly be.  Even if that means they’re going to take it in a new direction.  How is this a bad thing?

Capcom is going to refine the combat system to provide an even better experience.  This would have been done, either way, since the people at Capcom are known for making huge advances in gameplay.  (Even if they aren’t welcome advances.  I’m looking at you, Street Fighter x Tekken.)  But now, Capcom is tasked with creating a new story for us to enjoy!  Instead of branching off the Devil May Cry series arcs AGAIN, we’re going to get a new experience, with new narratives, and new point of directive.  A brand new look at a series that has nothing but an average legacy to leave behind, so far.

It’s much easier to create a new story, than to elaborate and fix a broken one.

Sure, it’s the easy way out, but who gives a shit?  I rather have something I will enjoy, than something I could enjoy by continued relation.  This isn’t Harry Potter, or The Dark Tower.  This is a video game.  We have direct control of these characters, and we help the story unveil through decisions and due process.   It’s not always easy to relate game play and story, which is why we see the gist of the most highly regarded games being RPGs.  A lot of players who buy games from the action genre aren’t even aware of the story as a whole.  For the mainstream consumer, it’s about the main ideals of the plot.  “Details be god damned, I want to kill some shit.”

And that’s fine.  It’s made for entertainment.  If you like skipping cut scenes so you can cut things, that is fine!  But, that’s not who the reboot is for.  The reboot is for the people who believe that the story is just as important as the game play. (I’m definitely included in the latter group.)

So yeah, Dante is this guy, now.

He’s the lovechild of Johnny Rotten and what looks like a lawnmower.  Long gone is the smooth, suave lady-killer Dante of 2001.  Now, we have this truly Devil-May-CryCare bad ass who doesn’t seem to mind killing everything in his path for what seems to be no reason.  Maybe you like him, maybe you don’t.  But as of right now, it isn’t fair to claim to have a complete opinion, as we only have base details about the game, and this new breeding of Dante.  We just have to wait and see.

Oops!  A new set of trailers just came out!  More for us to see, with less waiting!  Check them out on Capcom-Unity’s blog:  http://www.capcom-unity.com/gregaman/blog/2012/04/10/dante_enjoys_the_carnival_in_latest_dmc_trailer

Now, last on my list of upcoming reboots is fucking TOMB RAIDER.  Tomb Raider has not had a successful entry in the series since November 1997, when Eidos released Tomb Raider 2.  Anyone who is against a reboot of this series is either a born-again hater, or a masochist.

First off, Lara Croft is ugly.  She always has been.  A large chest does not directly equate to a pretty girl.  Though, dual wielding pistols, while doing barrel rolls and shooting monsters is kind of hot, that’s character’s ability, not her physicality. Secondly, the game’s aging theme of I’M A COOL ADVENTURER, LET’S FUCKING ADVENTURE is staler than listening to that kid in high school talk about how the Beatles changed his life.  (Kid, you’re 16.  Fuck off.)

The new Lara is awesome.  She’s much more realistic looking, which is a plus in my book, but let’s not be one of those blogs who sits and gushes over how hot video game girls are, no matter how perfect their noses might be.  (/MYLOVE.)  Let’s, instead talk about how goddamn awesome the new Tomb Raider looks.  If you haven’t seen the E3 trailer from 2011, take a few minutes to catch up on the amazingness that is Tomb Raider 9.

This trailer shows us a few things, that we should all consider important:

  • This is a new Lara.New voice, new motives, new character.The theme will be kept the scene.  Grave rob, explore caverns, be bad ass.  But now, without the limitations of staying true to the character, Lara has new ways that she can branch off.  Which, to me at least, it an awesome thing.  The old Lara was such a whiny bitch.
  • This looks to have an action feel similar to the Uncharted series.”BUT DIEM, ISN’T COPYING BAD?”  NO!  Copying is godlike!  The Old Republic would be doing much better for themselves if the combat was a tad more similar to World of Warcraft.  In this case, the Uncharted series is constantly acclaimed as one of the most impressive games on the planet!  The control, the feel, the aesthetic and ambiance of the environments.  All of these things seem to have a playful similarity to the trailed you just saw.What we need is for them to take the things that make current action games great  (Like Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil and Bioshock*), and the things that made the Tomb Raider games great (Genius puzzle mechanics, tight controls, a main character worth a damn), and have them breed into a stillborn that we can use the stem cells from to create an artificial gaming monster that can haunt our dreams and creep its leathery way into our very souls!
  •  “BITCH, THIS AIN’T A CUSCENE!  PRESS A!”  Taking a cue from games like Resident Evil 4, we’re going to be consatntly in danger in these under explored caves and ruins, making the player feel a bigger scare of desperation throughout.  In the action genre, I think this is a solid path to take.  Action games as a whole have a lot to deal with.  Game play has to be spot on, sure, but it’s really the grasp over the player that the environments must give, to truly set the pace of the adventure.  This is exacerbated by the character’s personality.

So, not only do you have a to create a character who the players will come to love and relate to, but you must create interactive environments and an air of disparity and need for the character’s to blossom in.  All the while keeping the gameplay rock solid, and the story top notch.  It’s certainly not an easy task.  As we’ve seen, few games in the genre have had truly, critically acclaimed success.

When trying to take a brand name (or problem, really) back to the top of it’s glory, I think it’s best to take a step back, examine the flaws, design a plan to alleviate the issues, and create the best product possible.  Sometimes, you’re going to have to start from scratch.  Most recently, this path was taken by NetherRealm Studios, a subsidary of Warner Bros studios.  Nether Realm decided to reboot Mortal Kombat.

Mortal Kombat was a fucking mess.  It had been well over a decade since anyone with a brain enjoyed a Mortal Kombat game for longer than 20 minutes.  Nether Realm was tasked with resurrecting a long since beaten franchise, all the while balancing being a bunch of nobodies (Plus a few people from Acclaim.  you know, the people who used to make WWF games for the SNES.  Oh, and Mortal Kombat.) and not only  reclaiming the calloused MK players of late, but gaining new fans on the trip to relevancy.

And you know what?  They did it in fucking spades.  Mortal Kombat 9 is a success in every single facet it could have hoped in.  They took the basics, created some bullshit story arc to give them the excuse to completely reboot the story, and got to it.

Not only was it the best selling fighting game of 2011, it’s was highly regarded as the best fighter of 2011, and by multiple publications.  Major tournaments held across the globe in the past year, including appearances at the Evolution series, Major League Gaming, and every where else you could find a neckbeard plugging in a MadCatz TE arcade stick.

But, the competitive scene, and a few journalists are hardly the entire world?  What about the casual players, who don’t give a damn about the fact that the top tiered and bottom tiered characters are almost close enough to consider even match-ups?  What about the people who just want to play some video games before work?

MK9 came equipped with a full fledged story mode, a 300 stage challnge mode, and more unlockable content then you could possibly imagine.  Rivaling that of the Super Smash Bros Series, even.

So, if a brand new studio with a broken franchise at the helm can reach the level of success that NetherRealm and Mortal Kombat could, then a studio like Capcom or a person with the budget of Michael Bay shouldn’t have a single issue ensuring their projects aren’t completely top notch.  It’s not about whether they stay true to the source material.  It’s about if they can stay true to the fans.  Show they love these series as much as we, the fans, do.  And if they can’t, let’s hope they’re willing to spend the money to hire people who do.  Because that’s the key.  The key is to love what you do.  Passion is what creates truly incredible things.  Not the crutch of former success.  Sometimes, you have to take a look at your creations objectively, cut the fat and losses, and strive to make something that truly fucking matters.

So, personally, I’m more than excited to see these games (and the Turtles‘ movie ) take a step in an unknown direction.  I’m pumped to see a fresh perspective on the things that have etched their essences into my heart.  If it doesn’t work out, then we will be in the same play we’re in now.  Stuck in a time without a good new Devil May Cry, TMNT movie, or Tomb Raider.  Honestly, it’s a chance we should all be taking.  (And a chance we should all be giving!)

So, what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Tell me about it!  Comment below, and tell me what you think!  And don’t forget to follow!

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