Wednesday, March 6, 2013

PS All-Stars: Five Characters That Could Shamelessly Plug Upcoming Games

by Shawn McFadden

Oh, Playstation All-Stars. It has been a long and slippery road. Such high expectations and so little faith. I, for one, was an advocate of the game since its leak and eventual announcement. I always found that the Playstation ecosystem, though not as iconic as Nintendo's, had great potential to make for an interesting mash-up of characters that could quickly turn into something special. It's not to say that the guys over at Superbot Entertainment didn't do a great job, quite the contrary. They laid a great foundation for something that COULD have turned into a great franchise if given a couple tweaks in future installments (Though this doesn't seem likely due to the recent firing of Superbot from the project). Alas, Sony kind of screwed up with this one in a couple of different ways. One way was the complete and utter lack of marketing muscle used to promote the game. Sure, they made that live action trailer and it did turn out pretty cool, but it was simply too little too late. The majority of PS fans still do not even know the game exists. But the lack of a proper marketing campaign behind the game is not what this article is about.

The main reason why the game was unable to gain a proper following was the game's inability to round up a cast of characters that both properly represented the Playstation brand as well as played off of the nostalgia of its fans. After looking at the starting cast of characters and the newly announced DLC characters, it is painfully obviously that somebody at Sony wanted to make this game a big commercial for upcoming PS3 and Vita titles. How is Big Daddy a good representative of the Playstation ecco-system? Should Raiden, the character that is constantly hated for not being Snake, really be chosen to represent the MGS franchise? Alright, Snake is in Smash Bros, but they could have just used Big Boss or Old Snake in order to turn away comparison. Hopefully you are starting to get my point though. Superbot simply did not pick their characters wisely. I mean, would Super Smash Bros have succeeded if they put in Buck Bumble, Glover and the sheep from Space Station Silicon Vally instead of Mario, Link and Donkey Kong, simply because the new games were coming out? Surely, not. Dante was put in the game to advertise DMC, Big Daddy for Bioshock Infinite, and Raiden for MGS Rising. It wasn't that big of a deal, because with the exception of Big Daddy, the other two represented classic PS franchises. Sure, it would've made more sense to use classic Dante and Snake, but the newer characters were probably easier to get into the game. Then the DLC is announced. Who was it? Crash? Spyro? Other characters that everyone has been clamoring for? No, instead we get two of the most unpopular Sony characters in recent memory. Have any of you played Star Hawk? Does anybody consider Emmett Graves (Yeah, I bet you didn't even know his name) an ALL-STAR? Surely not. Kat from Gravity Rush? Why add a character from a game so new when you have so many years of history to include? They both turned out to be good characters but they were surely incapable of creating post-launch  buzz for a game that already did very poor in sales. After that who do they decide to include? Isaac from Dead Space? What? It totally doesn't seem like they are just trying to advertise Dead Space 3 or anything. Zeus from...Mythology? Yeah, I know that it's the one from God of War (Surely being used to promote the new game as well). Zeus was probably the most puzzling character choice yet. He not only is not a character that was highly requested but he was also from a franchise that is already represented. Not to mention the outcry from religious fundamentalists that this is sure to create. Well, you get the point I am trying to make. Since Sony seems hell bent on milking every last dollar out of this game in order to advertise upcoming releases, I thought I would select five characters that I think would help to advertise their new games but also would make sense in the PS Universe. So basically this is my list of characters that wouldn't piss off fans. Here we go:

1. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

Now we are talking. Lara Croft is a great example of a classic Sony character. I mean, she starred in five different titles on the PSOne alone and then went on to do several more on the PS2. She is also a character that has seen a recent reboot. Lara has always been a character that has always been about her looks. Although fans often complain about redesigns, making Lara look like a more realistic girl is something that nobody could complain about. This would give a lot of potential to advertise the new reboot of the series. Besides, who wouldn't love to see her square off against Nathan Drake?

2. Abe (Oddworld)

Abe, we miss you. You have always been such a unique and interesting character that was always good to Playstation fans. Sure, you took a slight detour on to the original Xbox with your old pal Munch, but we know that you never forgot your roots. The creators of Oddworld have publicly expressed that they want Abe in PS All-Stars. The fans have publicly expressed that they want Abe in PS All-Stars. Abe is even seeing an HD remake of his first game that is due out later this year. Why not do some cross promotion here? Give Abe away with every purchase of the game? Bam, instant sales. Make it happen, Sony.

3. Sora (Kingdom Hearts)

Being a Kingdom Hearts fan today has become rather depressing. We had two great games and then a flood (or should I say waterfall) of spinoffs and side stories with varying levels of quality. It is to the point where the storyline has become more convoluted then trying to read Shakespeare that has been translated into Chinese and then back into English. It is not surprising that Square-Enix has decided to re-release the first Kingdom Hearts in HD (That is the trend after all). It is also not surprising that they gave it some weird title that makes it totally confusing to the everyday consumer. But I digress. Sora should be put in the game. He is a classic PS2 hero that should see some love in PS All-Stars. This would be a great opportunity to advertise the new HD remake and make fans of the series happy. Give us something to do while we wait for Kingdom Hearts 3 to be released in 2035.

4. Rayman (Rayman)

Hey, remember that Wii U exclusive Rayman game? Oh, well it isn't anymore. So why not get Rayman, a character that got his start on Playstation, into All-Stars? Smash Bros can have the Rabbids, because Rayman belongs with good ole Sony. It would make even more sense now that Legends is finding its way to PS3. Plus, he is way more mascot-esque then Fat Princess. Since his revival in Rayman Origins, there's more love for the limb-less hero than ever. Why not throw him in the game?

5. "Papercraft...Boy" (Tearaway)

Okay, he's not a classic Sony character but just look at him. We still don't know the name of this charming hero, but it's safe to say that he will fit right at home with the likes of Sackboy. Sure, the PS Vita isn't selling well. This doesn't mean that Sony couldn't give some love to Media Molecule's new game. Plus, he is way more iconic then Kat and she is already in the game. If you're going to add a new character to the game, this guy makes the most sense. Or you could just give us Crash and Spyro.

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