I’m not sure how this one slipped under my radar, but Activision announced that they will be spear-heading the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles return to the living room a couple weeks ago. The first trailer for the first game out of a total of three they are producing, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, can be seen here:
Much like the Meagan Fox announcement, I held my tongue as long as I could on this, but there are a number of things that bother me about the upcoming game. I know it’s difficult to judge from such a short trailer, but here are my biggest concerns for the game based on what we have so far:
1) No Obvious Ties.
There does not appear to be any direct ties to any previous or current turtle media. I base this on the fact that the Turtles do not appear to be styled similarly to the current television show counterparts, or any other recent Turtles releases. The darker tone implied in the trailer could be pulling from the 2003 cartoon, movies, or original comics; however, with a cartoon currently running, and a new movie on the horizon, pulling from the original comics as the source material is really the only other reasonable conclusion.
Having no significant ties to other material isn’t a bad thing necessarily. It’s entirely possible that the developers have their own stories they want to tell, and decided a separate universe from other media was necessary to tell it. I’m all for that. I’m disinclined to think that’s the case, however, considering other evidence.
2) It’s a Downloadable Title.
Now, to be fair, Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires was technically a downloadable title too, but that was downloadable for various political reasons I won’t get into here. Since Activision is using a new IP (or rather new for them), and are an American company releasing in America, thus know the rules regarding retail releases, means it likely was never intended as a full retail release.
Now, they could still put out a good product, and the downloadable title could just be a way to test the waters with their IP, much like Capcom has been doing over the past year. Even considering that, however, I’m not sure much care would be taken in a “testing the waters” phase, or knowing the project is downloadable from the word ‘go’. All that really means, is they want put something (read: anything) out there with the Turtles’ name on it and see if it makes money. This is backed up by my third observation.
3) Short Trailer
The trailer isn’t even a minute long. Again, it could mean nothing — it’s a teaser, and teasers are there to do just that. I will gladly take back this assessment if we get a longer trailer later, but trailers that last less than a minute with only half of it being what appears to be gameplay footage worry me. It means they don’t want you to see what the game looks like, how it plays, or what it sounds like.
One could argue that the game is still in early development, but I certainly hope not. If it plans to come out this summer (or as some sites say September), the team only has a few months to finish work and prepare it to go live. That also leaves very little time to build up another trailer for it too.
4) The Developer
Red Fly is the developer on this title, and I’m not exactly enthused by their pedigree. In addition to them having worked on another cash-grab, licensed title Thor:God of Thunder, they also worked on GhostBusters: The Video Game. While opinions on that were mixed for the most part, I am particularly concerned regarding co-op and their development. Online co-op has been confirmed in Activision’s statements, but we have yet to know anything about local co-op. If Red Fly’s previous installments are any indication, there may not be any.
If this is true, it will be a shame, since many of the strongest entries in the Turtles’ collection of games have featured the ability to play with someone sitting next to you. Foregoing that for online play only is somewhat mind-boggling.
If it’s still a beat ’em up entry as it looks to be, I’ll probably buy it, if only to do a follow-up on this. However, my expectations are still fairly low. I really want to see the Turtles in a great new beat ’em up title, but I’m concerned about the strange decisions being made about their franchise, and the companies at the helm of their games right now.
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