Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Why Sega and Nintendo should collaborate more.
Wow, if there is one thing Sega knows how to do well still, it's making exciting trailers that really pump you up for their upcoming games. Just recently we had a new trailer for NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams and just yesterday the second trailer for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, which can be seen above.
If you've found this blog you were probably around for the "16-Bit War" between Sega's Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo, and knowing what the relationship between two companies at the time was, finds this new Wii and DS title to be the most unexpected team up in video game history. Back in the early 90's Nintendo and Sega were seen as bitter rivals, who would constantly slag each other off in their respective commercials, "Sega does what Nintendon't" being the most familiar of these.
As a kid I was on the Sega side and my best mate was on the Nintendo side, but we didn't fight over who was best, we used it as an opportunity to play both systems without having to own them both. I would pop over to his house to play Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island and Donkey Kong Country, and he would visit mine to play Sonic 3, Streets of Rage and Golden Axe. This way we got to see the best of both.
I still remember reading magazines like Sega Power and Mean Machines Sega and getting to the fan art section in which you would be greeted to artwork of Sonic brutally killing Mario in sometimes rather inventive fashion, and this wasn't just going on amongst the "violent loving" Sega fans, as flicking through a Nintendo magazine would bring up the complete reverse. I don't have any of these magazines anymore, but you can probably use your imagination.
Once Sega were out of the console business, they started to insert their fingers into all sorts of pies in an aim to become the world's number one video game publisher. For a short while, Sonic was to be exclusive to Nintendo systems, starting with Sonic Advance on the Game Boy Advance and ports of the Dreamcast Adventure titles on the Gamecube. This soon ended when Sega saw that it would make more sense to sell Sonic on everything, but just seeing Sonic on a Nintendo console was something we could have never guessed would happen back in the 16-bit days, let alone Sonic and Mario starring in a game together like we have now.
Sega's first collaboration with Nintendo was the Gamecube and Arcade title F-Zero AX/GX. This was a match made in heaven: Nintendo passed on their long running F-Zero racing series, which debuted as a launch title for the SNES,
to Sega's Amusement Vision, who were known for Daytona USA of all things. Sega are known by many as the kings of arcade style racing games, and here they were working on a classic Nintendo franchise. Developed with the same engine as Super Monkey Ball (a stroke of genius if ever there was one), the game turned out be like a futuristic Daytona, with instantly additive gameplay and a sprinkle of Sega arcade magic. Simply put, the results were wonderful.
This is why I believe Sega and Nintendo need to collaborate with each other more. The two studios have their own ways of running things and their own disciplines, and I think when they work together something magic happens. It's just like when Warner Brothers and Disney decided to team up on the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and got Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse on the screen at the same time. It just worked so well, and I think the two could learn a lot from each other.
For example: It's no secret that Sega has been struggling to find the right direction to take the Sonic series in recent years. Mario & Sonic is being developed by Sega, but supervised by Shigeru Miyamoto, who you should all know is the creative mind behind Mario, amongst many other Nintendo characters. Even Nintendo's own Mario sports series doesn't normally get Miyamoto's attention (they are mostly developed by outside developers), which means he clearly wants this game to as good as it deserves to be. Miyamoto is known to only let games he works on out of the door once they are as good as they can possibly be, as seen with all the delays that went into Zelda: Twilight Princess. Where I think Sega has been going wrong is by sticking so closey to their originally planned release dates. With another year of development, Sonic the Hedgehog on the 360 and Playstation 3 could of been much, much better game, but what we go was rushed mess full of half baked ideas and sloppy programming.
The newly formed Nintendo Tokyo EAD development studio started their production line with the Gamecube bongo based game Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Maybe it's just me, but this game really felt like a Sega game.maybe it was the simple yet deep control and combo set up, and arcade style game play. Currently this team is working on Super Mario Galaxy, and personally, I think these guys would do a mighty fine job developing a Sonic game. Just imagine the kind of imaginative gameplay these guys could bring to the Sonic series, while also going back to the series' roots which, to be honest, seem to have been forgotten in some of the recent Sonic games. The Nintendo mentality of not putting a game out until it's really ready could really benefit Sega's projects.
At the same time, Nintendo have been struggling to get the Starfox franchise back into gear. Starfox Adventures ended up as a bad move, and the Namco developed Starfox games of recent did nothing to bring the series back to the glory days of the SNES and N64 titles. This is where I think Sega could help. They could get the guys that developed After Burner Climax on this and give us a engaging, exciting Starfox game that we haven't had in a long time, with that Sega arcade magic sprinkled on.
So come on Sega and Nintendo. You've shown you can work together well...let's see more of it!