With the summer season approaching, first and third-party developers are preparing to launch remastered versions of old titles, sequels to popular series and some heavily anticipated titles.
Long-time gamers have several titles to which they can look forward. Vicarious Visions has announced a remake of one of the most beloved franchises from the original PlayStation.
From 1996 to 1999, Naughty Dog helped to shape the 3-D platforming genre with the “Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy,” long before earning critical acclaim for their subsequent series like “Jak & Daxter and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.” The franchise took an extended hiatus in 2010, but now the “Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy” collection marks its return.
Aside from new 4K HD graphics and a remastered soundtrack, several brand new features have been added to the three titles. Unified checkpoints, pause menus and save systems—both manual and automatic—and time trials, features will be implemented in the first two titles. Originally, they were introduced in the third game, “Warped.” The remastered titles will be released exclusively for PlayStation 4 on June 30.
One of Nintendo’s most promising new franchises for the brand’s home consoles is “Splatoon,” a third-person shooter that features human-squid hybrids shooting paint from a wide variety of weapons in a turf war. While the original game was intended to be the defining title for the Wii U during its original 2015 release, Nintendo hopes that Switch will have similar success. Other than an enhanced port of “Mario Kart 8” being released in April, this is the Switch’s first AAA exclusive since the release of “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” in March.
The gameplay of “Splatoon 2” is largely similar to the first game. As expected, several new weapons will be available for players to use against their opponents in the turf war. In addition, a new multiplayer mode is being introduced, Salmon Run. In this mode, up to four players team up in co-op gameplay to tackle waves of enemies in one map. There is once again a main campaign mode that sees the player go through levels fighting the evil Octarians from the first game. “Splatoon 2” is scheduled to be released on July 21.
With the release of “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” Naughty Dog has effectively brought the saga of treasure hunter Nathan Drake to its conclusion. The studio, however, is taking the series out for one more adventure with “The Lost Legacy.” While it is technically a piece of downloadable content for “A Thief’s End,” Naughty Dog is treating it like a new game all together, much like it did with “The Last of Us” expansion pack, “Left Behind: Eternal Forces.” This new storyline centers on the adventures of two secondary characters from the games, treasure hunter Chloe Frazer and mercenary Nadine Ross. Considering Naughty Dog’s track record of delivering games with a cinematic flair, this title looks to be another addition to its legacy. The pack will be available as a standalone download, and owners of the base game can also purchase it on Aug. 22.
If there was ever a franchise that had a roller coaster track record of quality games, it would definitely be Sega’s “Sonic the Hedgehog.” While the series’ 25th anniversary was celebrated without a new main title, Sega has decided to make it up to fans by releasing two mainstream “Sonic” games for the first time since “Sonic 3 & Knuckles” was released in 1994. The first game, “Sonic Mania,” is a love letter to its golden days on the Sega Genesis. This is the first 2-D game in the series since the “Sonic the Hedgehog 4” duology was released in 2010 and 2012.
While those games mixed classic and modern gameplay elements from the series’ history, “Sonic Mania” will directly pick up where the Sega Genesis left off. In addition to the classic gameplay style, “Sonic Mania” will recreate the classic visual style of the 16-bit era with HD sprites and retro backgrounds. Several classic levels, including the iconic Green Hill Zone from the original “Sonic,” will be returning. There will also be several new additions to make the levels fresh for both long-time fans and newcomers.
In addition to Sonic the Hedgehog playing the Blue Blur, Sonic the Hedgehog’s beloved supporting cast, Miles “Tails” Prower and Knuckles the Echidna, will be available as playable characters. Each will retain their move sets from the Genesis titles.
For the first time in the series’ history, Sonic Team will have no involvement in the game’s development. Helming the game are two American studios: Pagoda Studios and Headcannon. The lead programmer is Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, who previously released several updated ports of classic “Sonic” games for mobile devices. The game is slated to be released on Aug. 15.