A little under a month ago I covered a list of PC ports I’d like to see from Capcom that I thought actually had a chance of happening. I might end up just going down through all the major Japanese publishers on this subject. Right now it’s Namco’s turn.
With Namco however I won’t just talk about PC ports. Namco’s actually released a few games on Steam already. What we haven’t seen much of from Namco are HD remasters of any sort. They’ve released the first couple Soul Calibur games and Tekken Tag Tournament in HD on PS3 and 360, and that’s it, along with a PS3 version of Tales of Symphonia (oh, and Tales of Graces f if you count that). I don’t know if Tales is any indication of Namco moving forward with these plans — Namco did indicate HD releases of the Xenosaga games are possible, but there’s still a lot from them that I’d love to play in updated forms.
I’d be one of the first people to jump on top of a theoretical PC port of Soul Calibur, but as of January 2013 Namco’s shown resistance to the idea. Katsuhiro Harada — basically the guy who runs Tekken, still isn’t convinced fighting games can be popular on PC. It really seems only Capcom and Netherrealm Studios are convinced they can sell at all. Like a lot of games, they probably wouldn’t be as popular as on consoles and arcades, but Capcom’s continuing support for Street Fighter on PC at least shows the market for them is sustainable.
Harada still has one point though — no one has really tried to release 3D fighting games on PC in a big way, and that’s pretty much Namco’s main thing. Namco’s only tried the Naruto games so far. Technology-wise 3D fighters shouldn’t be any harder to get running but we don’t actually know that the market for them is fully proven. There’s also the awkwardness of 3D fighting controls on a keyboard. Keyboards aren’t any less precise than arcade sticks, especially for 2D movement, but something like Soul Calibur’s eight-way-run might not translate perfectly. Namco did after all port Soul Calibur to iOS.
One of the most requested re-releases I keep seeing in discussions on the subject is the Ace Combat franchise, specifically the PS2 games Ace Combat 4, Ace Combat 5, and Ace Combat Zero. Some people include Ace Combat X on the PSP as well as Ace Combat 6. The last releases we got were the free-to-play Ace Combat Infinity, the PC port of Assault Horizon, and a 3DS retelling of Ace Combat 2.
I think it’s safe to say at this point that the franchise is in some kind of limbo. Namco tried to bring it in line with modern western action game franchises with Assault Horizon which just angered existing fans. The games are great but the gameplay formula reached a sort of logical conclusion a while ago (as far as jet warfare is concerned anyway). As old as the PS2-era games are they’re still extremely playable because subsequent games haven’t definitively improved upon them… which is all the more reason for Namco to re-release these games. The only aspects that wouldn’t hold up are the 2D art assets — textures, user interface, story scenes, etc.
As far as PC goes, Ace Combat is in an interesting position. Flight simulators have a well-established audience on PC, but Ace Combat is kind of a middle-ground game that feels enough like a simulator but is still an arcade game at heart. It probably wouldn’t fully grab old Microsoft Flight Simulator fans but could attract some more casual PC flight fans — the kind of people who play Wing Commander maybe?
I have no idea what the economic viability of a TIme Crisis collection would be, but it’s the one thing I want the most from Namco. The games are some of my favorite arcade games of all time and I’ve pretty much always wanted a way to play them in my home on modern hardware. I’ve been screaming for something like this for several years now.
The biggest hurdle is obviously the gun controller. Namco already made the GunCon 3 for the PS3. The PS3 port of Time Crisis 4 is already compatible with both it and PlayStation Move, and I’m pretty sure the PS4 is already compatible with the latter in some form. In any case, Namco’s already working on Time Crisis 5 and I’m sure a console version has already crossed their minds. Another possibility would be Nintendo’s hardware. I’m sure they could get all the games running on the Wii U with the Wii Remote and Zapper. PC is a much less likely scenario here, but I’m pretty sure PC games already exist that use gun controllers of some kind.
I thought about other franchises too like Tales and Katamari, but I’m not sure there’s any chance Namco would find a reason to update older games in those series.
The thing with Katamari is, Namco seems to be in a pattern of making just one Katamari game for each system, just so each platform can have one. It’s kind of Now Nintendo treats its franchises. I think only PS2 and iOS have received more than one Katamari game, and each of those only got two. There’s the XBox 360 game, the PSP game, the PS3 game, etc. If Namco keeps making Katamari games they’d probably just make a brand new PS4 one, a brand new Xbox One game, a brand new and different game for Wii U, and another different one for PC.
Other than Symphonia I guess I’m not up enough on the Tales series to know which games Namco cares enough about to re-release. Tales of Hearts R counts I guess and we will probably see more remakes like that and Graces f in the future, but I don’t know about HD-remasters like Symphonia. I definitely don’t think we’d get any kind of HD collection of games in the near future.
- The first playable backer build of Liege. codagames.com/still-here/
- Amazing Chris Rock interview. http://t.co/REMwqk1miG
- Well this is the best story I’ve ever read of someone playing Crysis. http://t.co/yVwUNJNy8H
- I think I can close the book on Wolfenstein: the New Order. It’s the first game for which I’ve gotten every achievement.