let's reboot

Let's Reboot... Command And Conquer

Richard Cobbett at

“Let’s Reboot” takes a look back at a classic in need of a new outing or a beloved series gone stale and asks how it might be best redesigned or given a kick up the backside for today’s gaming audience. The Rules: Assume a free hand, and a decent budget, but realistic technology and expectations. This week’s sacred cow – an attempt to make a revamped classic RTS, with a Nod or two to the old.

There was a time when Command and Conquer essentially was PC strategy - earlier games like Dune 2 and Herzog Zwei simply swept away in the face of the words "C&C clone". Now, it's at best a dusty franchise, with reinvention on the way in the form of a massive free-to-play online version, but the regular single-player side of things comprehensively killed by the abysmal Tiberian Twilight. Could there still be scope to bring back the story-driven core of the franchise though? Maybe so! Let's reboot...

Let's Reboot... No One Lives Forever

Tim Stone at

“Let’s Reboot” takes a look back at a classic in need of a new outing or a beloved series gone stale and asks how it might be best redesigned or given a kick up the backside for today’s gaming audience. The Rules: Assume a free hand, and a decent budget, but realistic technology and expectations. This week’s sacred cow – an FPS with jokes by Mel Brooks and Mike Myers, gadgets by Q, and bulletproof vests by Mary Quant."

Confusion over the ownership of stealthy Sixties shooter No One Lives Forever might be bad for budget release prospects, but it's great for those of us who spend our time pacing around inside hollowed-out volcanoes, fondling fluffy felines and planning the fourth instalment.

Let's Reboot... System Shock

Jon Blyth at

“Let’s Reboot” takes a look back at a classic in need of a new outing or a beloved series gone stale and asks how it might be best redesigned or given a kick up the backside for today’s gaming audience. The Rules: Assume a free hand, and a decent budget, but realistic technology and expectations. This week’s sacred cow – the cyberpunk adventure from 1994 that sparked the 'Shock series.

Ken Levine. Kenny Lovin’. Kenbo Baggins. The Manly Jowelbeast. I recall an interview with King Divine, in which he said that System Shock 2 was not, contrary to all common sense, a perfectly-realised vision of the authors’ intent. That the monotonous corridors of System Shock 2’s Von Braun were as much a product of technical limitations, as the thundering powerhouse of the creativity behind it. Learning this, I had a brief teenage response. I felt like a Belieber trying to process Justin tweeting, “Did I say I love my fans? Naw. They’re dicks, and that includes hypothetical ones like Anne Frank. #worldwarPOOmorelike”

I wanted to defend SS2 against one of the guys who made it.

That’s an argument I’d probably lose, so let’s just reboot the bugger. Commence spoiler warning klaxon for System Shock 1, 2 and BioShock Infinite: AROOGA AROOGA AROOGA etc.

Let's Reboot... Syndicate

Richard Cobbett at

“Let’s Reboot” takes a look back at a classic in need of a new outing or a beloved series gone stale and asks how it might be best redesigned or given a kick up the backside for today’s gaming audience. The Rules: Assume a free hand, and a decent budget, but realistic technology and expectations. This week’s sacred cow – one that's already been turned into low-grade burger meat, but never mind.

Dark streets. Electric nightmares. Perpetual rain drips down the side of silent chrome buildings, as the elite inside stare down at the dots below that dare to think of themselves as people. It's a cyberpunk nightmare, where cybernetic Agents act with impunity, and ruthless ambition is as dangerous as any gun. This is the world of Syndicate, dragged kicking and screaming back from the 90s.

But you know what it's not? It's definitely not a first-person shooter!

Let's Reboot... Crimson Skies

Tim Stone at

See this permanently crinkled forehead, these prematurely silver locks, and this twitchy eyebrow? This is how a person looks when he's spent the last twelve years waiting for a PC sequel to the best light flight game ever made. A chap can do a lot of sighing and head shaking in four and half thousand days. Happily, he can do plenty of pipe-dreaming too. Move those spanners and coffee cups to one side; it's time to unfurl the heavily annotated PC Gamer blueprint for Crimson Skies 2!


Let's Reboot... Age Of Empires

Richard Cobbett at

“Let’s Reboot” takes a look back at a classic in need of a new outing or a beloved series gone stale and asks how it might be best redesigned or given a kick up the backside for today’s gaming audience. The Rules: Assume a free hand, and a decent budget, but realistic technology and expectations. This week’s sacred cow – not the whole of civilizstion, but a good chunk of its glorious gory bits.

I never played much of the original Age of Empires, but I owned and adored Age of Empires 2, its second cousin Rise of Nations, and had an almost worryingly passionate fling with Age of Mythology. Age of Empires III I didn't really click with for a few reasons, some of which can be tied to its release date, others to the sheer headache that emerged with the realisation that the single player campaign involved evil cultists and the Fountain of Youth - presumably a result of someone at Ensemble dropping the print-outs from a couple of design documents and nobody realising until it was too late.

A straight sequel, minus the weirdness, wouldn't go amiss, though looks unlikely at the moment. Ensemble Studios is gone, and while Gas Powered Games' free-to-play Age Of Empires Online continues to run, actual content development on it has been frozen. Still, just because there's no sequel on the horizon doesn't mean we can't have a bit of fun making one up, so... let's reboot!

Let's Reboot... Ultima

Richard Cobbett at

“Let’s Reboot” takes a look back at a classic in need of a new outing or a beloved series gone stale and asks how it might be best redesigned or given a kick up the backside for today’s gaming audience. The Rules: Assume a free hand, and a decent budget, but realistic technology and expectations. This week’s sacred cow – the RPG with its sights set on honour... and eight other virtues too.

The next few months are either going to be really good, or really, really heartbreaking for Ultima fans. Officially on its way, we've got Ultima Forever, which will... ah... hopefully be better than it looks so far. Original creator Richard "Lord British" Garriott is also launching an independent revival of the series' core themes, if not the Ultima brand itself, with the online/offline Kickstarter project Shroud Of The Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. What neither of them are though is a classic RPG casually redesigned for the sake of a quick thought experiment. So, in the name of Britannia... Let's Reboot!

Let's Reboot ... Call of Duty

Tom Senior at

Call of Duty - what a monster. With clockwork precision a new edition pops up every year and sells millions without fail. It's doing perfectly well, but in spite of an audacious shift to a far future setting in Black Ops 2, it's becoming increasingly repetitive. It's become a slapstick dose of noisy annual nonsense with an arcade multiplayer mode attached. It's a game about gun-lovin' superheroes who are 90% bicep and 10% stubble shooting hundreds of enemies, shouting and occasionally getting into knife fights.

Activision have found a golden formula for mainstream success that has changed the genre. Call of Duty perfected iron sights aiming and ushered action movie set pieces into shooter environments, but those set pieces have gradually subsumed the challenge and tension of the series' rolling street battles. The series' ballooning love for noise and bombast masks a dearth of substance, and its ability to deliver those famed set-pieces is increasingly hindered by an engine that's starting to fall behind the pack.

Activision and their army of CoD developers are surely plotting a next-gen leap right now, so let's pip them to the post with a few ideas. Changing CoD is a monolithic endeavour, influential as it is, so perhaps it's better to think of this as a wish list for war games. What do we like? What do we hate? What would we love to see from gaming's glorious future?


Let's Reboot... Unreal

Marsh Davies at

Unreal’s most enduring legacy has been its engine tech. It’s a shame. Not because Epic’s awesomely powerful development toolkit is undeserving of its industry-dominating status, but because it now overshadows one of the most spectacular and evocative singleplayer experiences in gaming history. Unreal needs to come back, and it needs to use Epic’s ever-increasing engine grunt to deliver a shooter as exotic and expansive as was suggested by the original.

But to truly deliver on that vision, it might have to make a departure from the kinds of shooters that Epic now tends to make: linear cinematic shooters. Unreal suggested a future not of tightly controlled set-pieces and cut-scenes, but of sprawling landscapes, complex histories and interesting alliances. An Unreal of today - at least, the awesome Unreal I can imagine - would have to be more open, perhaps even an open world, and allow for a richer interaction with its inhabitants than was possible by waggling an Eightball at them. I want Unreal by way of Far Cry 3 with a little bit of The Witcher on the side. I don’t ask for much. Well, okay, I do - but surely no more than Epic’s deep, deep pockets can fund.


Let's Reboot... The Secret Of Monkey Island

Richard Cobbett at

"Let's Reboot" takes a look back at a classic in need of a new outing or a beloved series gone stale and asks how it might be best redesigned or given a kick up the backside for today's gaming audience. The Rules: Assume a free hand, and a decent budget, but realistic technology and expectations. This week's sacred cow - the series that made us all want to be a mighty pirate of the Caribbean.

Ah, The Secret Of Monkey Island. One of the most beloved games of all time, a king amongst adventures, and home of some of PC gaming's favourite characters. Even thinking about laying hands on and poking around in such a classic is likely the height of heresy and arrogance. So let's! Just for fun, here's how we'd take Guybrush Threepwood back to his roots, without rooting him in the 90s.