Last week saw the launch of XBLA game, Yar's Revenge. It's a sequel to a 30 year old arcade game, which pretty much means it has nothing at all to do with it.
And how can it? Those games lacked the technology to portray rich, imaginative worlds, so all we had were vague abstractions floating in space and only our imagination and some neat concept art to form our basis for what they represented.
That hasn't stopped loads of fanboys from criticizing the news Yar's game prior to release because it changed the titular alien robot insect into an anime cyborg tinkerbell who's essentially a hot girl with four arms. It's also become an on rails shooter ala Panzer Dragoon, but that hasn't seemed to insitgate nearly as much ire.
Going back to the aesthetic redesign, this new Yar's Revenge resmebles a cross between Hayao Miyazaki, Zone of the Enders, Jame's Cameron's Avatar, and Zone of the Enders. That sounds pretty good to me. Silly looking lead character aside, its environments are gorgeous and a bold reimagining of its psyhedelic universe.
I find it sad that fanboy outrage has become par for the course whenever a series changes a trademark aesthetic. People cried afoul when Dante premiered in the new Devil May Cry reboot with (gasp) BLACK hair, and Max Payne's grown a beard. Have gamers become so resistant to change that the way a character stylizes their facial hair makes or breaks a series?
I sure hope not. May I remind everyone that Donkey Kong originally didn't have a tie. These days, I can't imagine him without one.
Post contributed by Jeffrey Matulef. You can follow him on Twitter @mrdurandpierre or online at G4TV, Eurogamer, Paste, Joystiq, GamePro, and Kill Screen among other places. He's also a regular on the Big Red Potion podcast. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org