Five Sega Franchises Atlus Should Consider Developing Next
Posted on Wednesday, December 4 @ 12:30:00 Eastern by Daniel Bischoff
Altered Beast by Vanillaware
Three Sega franchises remain ripe for the picking following Vanillaware’s fantasy-focused brawler Dragon’s Crown, which Nick Tan said “evolves the beat-‘em-up genre to the next evolutionary step in overall gameplay and art design.” Beat-'em-up genre? Evolutionary steps? That's weird... because Altered Beast is a beat-'em-up with evolution in mind! This is the exact treatment ancient beat-down Sega franchises need to become relevant again, but Atlus and Vanillaware would really have their pick of a fine litter for this project.
Even if the fantasy, man-turns-into-animal hook of Altered Beast doesn’t appeal to the team at Vanillaware, there’s always core-fantasy Golden Axe and street-fighter Streets of Rage to tackle too. I still think Altered Beast would be the best choice thanks to dual skill trees for human and animal forms and the opportunity for the same wild art design as seen in Dragon’s Crown. Streets of Rage would be my second choice for a new Sega beat-‘em-up from Vanillaware, just to see what kind of insane character designs could come out of it.
Dragon Force by Sting
Atlus fans will remember developer Sting from the tactical RPG Gungnir, released on PSP back in 2012. The game didn’t make much of a splash but with new support from Sega and a classic, hardcore strategy and tactics IP in Dragon Force, Sting could become a key partner studio for the new Atlus and Sega team-up.
The original Sega Saturn release of Dragon Force didn’t make too many waves in the Western marketplace, but it’s continued relevance comes from classic Japanese-style character design, extensive replay-ability, and strategy gameplay hooks. Dragon Force wasn’t merely a Final Fantasy Tactics ripoff. It was an interesting board-game twist on strategy mechanics and taking the concept into an always-connected environment like modern gaming could make all the difference in reviving this dusty IP.
Phantasy Star by Atlus
Obviously, when you think Atlus you think RPG and when you think Sega RPGs, you immediately think of Phantasy Star. The franchise has continued to grow despite dormancy following the expansive and connected worlds in Phantasy Star Online, but Sega clearly hasn’t forgotten about it and Phantasy Star remains a powerhouse in Japanese gaming. Phantasy Star Online has even gone free-to-play recently, but it could be time for Atlus to bring the franchise back to its party-questing-across-the-stars, single-player roots.
Consider the masterful hand Atlus has had designing stellar RPGs in the past few years, understanding pace, combat, art design, music, and of course, the way players relate to their party. Maybe as you’re exploring the stars, you have to consider time just as much as you consider space in making moves. A jump through the heavens could result in altered objectives or a growing threat beyond the expansive blanket of stars. Phantasy Star could provide a galaxy-sized canvas for Atlus and the designers to paint a new RPG masterwork.
Gunstar Heroes by Arc System Works
Atlus most recently worked with Arc System Works to develop a Persona 4 fighting game and the studio has a long history of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue games, but how about challenging the team to bring Gunstar Heroes to new heights with high-speed, high-framerate, high-fidelity action. Gunstar Heroes doesn’t necessarily have to become a 3D game, but Arc System Works could make a killer cooperative experience with tons of sprites, frames of animation, and intricate visual filters and set pieces.
You could upgrade guns and melee alike, take down levels full of baddies over the internet for high scores, and even enter a competitive multiplayer arena mode where swarms of enemies and bullets fill the screen for four or more players. Arc System Works have proven themselves capable of handling an outside IP like Persona, but letting the designers run wild with a classic franchise like Gunstar Heroes could be the next step towards getting Arc to break out of its niche.
Skies of Arcadia by Persona Studio
Sega seems deaf to the cries for a new Skies of Arcadia game, so we’ll take any chance we can get to bring the topic up for discussion. Originally released on Sega Dreamcast and republished for Nintendo Gamecube, I don’t think there’s a modern Sega fan alive who wasn’t touched by the high-flying adventure starring Vyse and company. Bringing the IP back with established development talent like the team behind Persona probably sounds too good to be true.
In fact, most of these picks seem too good to be true. You know, we should caution that this list will probably wind up being nothing more than fantasy until at least after the storm of new Persona software has cleared.
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