Next, the visualization of what we’re going to develop. A lot of these IPs will need a facelift for the modern age. To be clear, I’m putting my personal tastes aside for the most part because these games will need to appeal to the broader audience for the best chance of success, not the clique of hold-out SEGA fans. But you can also look at it like if you do well by them, you’ll do well by the rest of the public because they are vocal and love to spread the word.
The financial plan for these IPs is Low budget, small team, digital only releases… reason being is you only have to go look at the hottest selling Indie titles on XBLA, PSN, Steam, and Mobile devices to see that these small self-published teams made some of the best selling, most popular games in the last 10 years with a fraction of what we’d be spending if we act like a AAA publisher. The proof is everywhere. Our rebirthed classic franchises will be reimagined by small teams, either internal or outsourced to credible indie studios, and sold on this basis. My design philosophy is the less you have to work with, the harder you will try to make it the best it can be which rang true for the old days of 8 and 16-bit games being so limited by the hardware they ran on.
Now, what IPs are we going to revive? Well first of all, we’re leaving Golden Axe and Streets of Rage out of this and I’ll explain why in a little bit. What we can work with here for our low-budget, small dev team, 2D digital titles are Alex Kidd, Alisia Dragoon, Altered Beast, Kid Chameleon, Fantasy Zone, and Alien Syndrome. Alien Syndrome had a moderate revival earlier during this generation on PSP and Wii but it wasn’t the best use of the property and the name recognition was not even acknowledged.
Now, of this bunch, Kid Chameleon will be the most ambitious. Looking at the sheer size of the original, you’re obligated to deliver something as big or bigger and, to update the premise for the modern age, the setting is moved to cyberspace rather than a building-sized VR arcade game. You stylize the aesthetic to something marketable today and reuse & redesign some original assets to keep that association with it’s roots. It can even act as a half-sequel/half-reboot. Why not have the new "Kid" be the son of the original who is now the one with the power to send his son into cyberspace to take up his mantle as the Kid Chameleon? We can go in several directions here, I’m just delivering one possible scenario.
The same goes for the rest of the IPs mentioned above. Alex Kidd has the ability to come back as an adapted-for-the-modern-age platformer comparable to so many other great Indie platformers out there that sell so well.
Fantasy Zone can be adapted for the Bullet Hell genre with new quirky aesthetics and online play for two.
Altered Beast and Alisia Dragoon have SO many core elements that have suddenly become popular again. With Altered Beast, it’s the transformations and over-the-top moves. Alisia Dragoon, it’s the psuedo RPG elements and raising a pet companion that fights with you.
Alien Syndrome could again be in 3D like it’s earlier reboot but we restore the gameplay back to the static Top-Down perspective as a dual-stick shooter like Robotron and Smash TV but with 4 players local or online. I’m skimming over these, we could be here all day picking them apart one by one but I just wanted to give general examples that are currently selling right now for everyone else making these kinds of games today. You get the right endearing personality to sell these in adverts and trailers, you’ll work over enough people to pony up for them.
At the end of it all, given there were no hiccups, development went well, and reception was great, sales should be up, expenses should be down, and we’ve rehabilitated our dead franchises back into profitable IPs.
In PART 2, I will be touching on STREETS OF RAGE and GOLDEN AXE.