10 Times Hell Froze Over In Video Games
Never say never in video games. As we recently saw with MLB The Show going multiplatform, the seemingly impossible can still become reality, whether in the form of the revival of old franchises, unthinkable crossovers, or wild business decisions. The unpredictable and unlikely moments are part of what makes the game industry a lot of fun to follow. Here are just a few examples of times when pigs sprouted wings, dogs and cats got along, and skepticism was stomped into dust.
Square Enix Remakes Final Fantasy VII
For many years, a remake of Final Fantasy VII occupied the short list of predictable gamer demands that you were sick of hearing about. Even I, a big fan of the game, grew tired because I accepted it was just never going to happen. Then E3 2015 rolled around and I, along with everyone else, collectively gasped when Square Enix announced it was actually happening. Not a port of the PC version of the original. Not another spin-off title. An actual remake of the 1997 classic, but Square would reinvent the experience instead of just polishing up the graphics. Based on the generally positive reception around Final Fantasy VII Remake, I don’t know what’s more shocking: that Square Enix actually made the game, or that it manages to live up to its impossible expectations
Valve Finally Makes A New Half-Life
No, Half-Life: Alyx isn’t Half-Life 3, but the fact that Valve made another full-scale Half-Life title is, frankly, astounding. Remember that Half-Life 2: Episode Two launched in 2007. That’s long enough to accept that the series had gone the way of the dodo. Plus, I’m pretty confident Valve doesn’t need to make a game ever again thanks to Steam’s success. But it did anyway, and much like Final Fantasy VII Remake, took a chance. In this case, making its hotly anticipated prequel available only to a small audience of VR owners. Whether you played Alyx or not, the fact that it exists renews hope that Half-Life 3 could finally happen.
Shenmue III Released
You could almost copy and paste everything I said about Final Fantasy VII Remake and Half-Life: Alyx here. Shenmue II’s cliffhanger ending left fans hanging for 18 YEARS, which is why they joyously wept when the third game’s Kickstarter campaign was announced at E3 2015. Yu Suzuki didn’t have to ask fans twice to throw tons of money at him to make it happen. The campaign raised $2 million in its first seven hours and was the highest funded Kickstarter game ever at the time. Even still, fans had to endure several more years of waiting through multiple delays before Shenmue III finally saw the light of day in November 2019 (to a mixed reception). Scratch another name off the gamer wishlist
Someone Made a Great Batman Game
We’ve become so spoiled on good Batman games that it’s easy to forget that, prior to 2009, the Dark Knight had a famously lousy track record in video games. A scant few titles got close (I have a soft spot for The Adventures of Batman & Robin), but for every step forward there were multiple steps backwards, whether they be Batman: Dark Tomorrow, Rise of Sin Tzu, or the myriad of terrible licensed movie games. For a character seemingly tailor-made for games, it was baffling to watch so many studios get it wrong. Then out of the shadows came an unknown studio named Rocksteady who finally cracked the code and created Batman: Arkham Asylum, the first truly excellent game worthy of the Caped Crusader. It felt like a curse had been lifted. Now if only Superman can get the same treatment.
Super Smash Bros. As A Concept
Super Smash Bros. lobs Freezies at Hell on a regular basis because its entire existence is about defying the impossible. This series blew minds when it was just “All your Nintendo favorites in one place!” but it’s expanded into basically a Mugen fighter with a budget (not a bad thing), cramming so many disparate franchises that would normally never cross paths into one title. Fighter reveals like Sonic, Solid Snake, Cloud, and Banjo-Kazooie (owned by Microsoft) made jaws drop, and it’s gotten to the point where it seems like anyone or anything could step foot in Nintendo’s squared circle.
What’s happened in games that you never believed would? Let us know in the comments!
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