In the video game industry, surprises play an important role in stoking consumers' enthusiasm for the future—if they're not leaked to hell and back, that is.
Each year sees its share of unexpected announcements and reveals, but with the sheer amount dropped on us in 2015, you'd think video games would screech to a halt in 2016 if publishers didn't pull out all the stops. Sony's conference at E3 alone hosted three of this year's biggest surprises, though 2015's game-related megatons weren't limited to this event alone. As this year comes to a close—finally giving us the chance to break the shrink wrap on things since marked 40% down—let's take another look at those games we thought we'd never play, but may actually get a chance to by 2017. (Fingers crossed.)
The Last Guardian
What is it? Game designer Fumito Ueda appeared out of nowhere at the turn of the century to become one of our industry's most promising new talents. The Last Guardian, once destined for the PlayStation 3, will be his first released game since 2005. Yep, we lost Ueda for an entire console generation.
Why should I care? An appropriate—though somewhat snarky—response to this question would be, "Go and play Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, then think of how we've been denied any further Ueda games for over a decade." But seriously, there's a reason anyone who played his past games desperately wants to see what he does next.
How could it go wrong? Well, there's always the possibility that productions trapped in "development hell" are there for a reason—for all we know, The Last Guardian's delays were due to Ueda and his team's inability to live up to their past work. But, even if the E3 2015 presentation proved this new game isn't quite the strikingly original experience that Shadow of the Colossus was, once The Last Guardian is behind him, Ueda can finally move on with his life—and hopefully, not disappear for another 10 years.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
What is it? There's this RPG franchise called "Final Fantasy," see, and part VII is the only one people seem to care about. Well, that's not entirely true, but the series' PlayStation debut carries an inestimable amount of nostalgia for RPG fans of a certain age. If your adolescent or early adult years coincided with the late '90s, odds are you've got a hankerin' for some Final Fantasy VII.
Why should I care? While the 1997 original stands on its own, its development was largely improvisational and experimental—which is why many still find it incredibly charming. But that now Square-Enix has nearly 20 years of experience developing polygonal RPGs, they can conceivably trim the fat from the original Final Fantasy VII to make a much more congruous experience. Plus, standards for video game localizations have increased to the point that we may actually be able to understand most of the plot this time around.
How could it go wrong? Well, it depends on what you want out of a Final Fantasy Remake. In short, this upcoming release is more of a reinterpretation than a flat-out remake, as we've seen with the recent announcements about its turn-based battle system and episodic structure. Given that the original was designed for the expectations of a 1997 audience, these changes could be for the best—simply recreating Final Fantasy VII with current-gen graphics would amount to a baffling experience that couldn't possibly appeal to the broad audience Square is targeting. But if you're a FFVII fanatic hoping Square would stay faithful to your favorite RPG, disappointment is a completely natural reaction.