Monday, July 8, 2013

What's Next From Night Dive Studios?

Night Dive Studios, the folks behind the rebirth of System Shock 2 from its years of purgatory, are planning a few new things behind the scenes that they cannot talk publicly about.  And for good reason!

From what they HAVE said publicly, however, they're creating a new game but also tracking down other games that, like System Shock 2, are plagued with thorny rights issues.

But, what other PC games could Night Dive be bringing back from the brink of purgatory and obscurity?  Let's take a look at six possibilities:

1) The No One Lives Forever series, which includes The Operative: No One Lives Forever, No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way, and Contract J.A.C.K.  This series has become almost as notorious as System Shock 2 for its thorny rights issues that are continually hampering the series' rerelease for those that remember the series and those that were always curious about the series.  This is, to me, the most likely candidate for a glorious return to form courtesy of Night Dive.  Hopefully these thorny rights issues are less painful than System Shock 2's were.

2) The LucasArts titles that were not in the Star Wars series, like Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max Hit The Road, etc.  Maybe even the late 90s PC FPS set in the old west called Outlaws could be included in this glorious rerelease of the rest of the LucasArts catalog.  Some of these games were already rereleased on Steam, including the Indiana Jones graphical adventure games, the first two Monkey Island games as Special Edition versions, Loom, and many more.  However, I have no idea what happened to the likes of Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, and all the rest of those games, as they have never seen any kind of rerelease on Steam or GOG.

3) This next one is something of a nostalgic choice for me, and that is a bizarre game that was online-only before widespread broadband penetration: Tanarus.  What Tanarus was was a massively multiplayer online tank shooter game, which thankfully had an offline component so people like me who had very little if any broadband at the time could play.  I'd love to see Tanarus make a comeback somehow, but I think this one may need to be left in the past, given how reliant it was on online architectures of the late 90s.

4) The only RTS games other than Command & Conquer and Age of Empires that I want to see again and be able to make them work with barely any tweaking are the first two Warcraft games, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.  Thankfully, this one will be a little bit easier to bring to the likes of Steam and GOG, even if Blizzard didn't totally acknowledge its past, which it doesn't, as they want people to think that Warcraft was ALWAYS an MMORPG, when the exact opposite is true.  In fact I would be very surprised if the first two Warcraft games eventually found their way back somehow.

5) Fifth on the list is a library that I am not at all sure who holds the rights to all of it anymore, and that is Epyx.  Apparently System 3 holds the rights to SOME of the Epyx titles like Impossible Mission and California Games, but I want to play all of the Epyx titles as they were originally, games like Summer Games, Winter Games, and almost everything in the Games series.  I would love to see a full-scale rerelease of the entire Epyx catalog to GOG that includes the originals, but maybe I'm crazy.

6) This final one isn't so much a game as a whole library with some of the thorniest rights issues of any of the games on this list: The GameTek library.  GameTek, for those of you too young to remember GameTek, was a publisher of many games for both PCs and consoles in the late 80s and early 90s that were based on game shows like Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Double Dare, Family Feud, and that's just the game shows that aren't obscure to modern audiences.  They also made games based on Hollywood Squares, Press Your Luck, American Gladiators, Super Password, Classic Concentration, The Price Is Right, and Now You See It.  Plus they were the publishers of the rather painfully bad Super Street Fighter II Turbo PC port, so there's that.  Apparently according to Wikipedia (which is why I say apparently, as they don't tend to get that much right), Take Two got at least some of their assets in the late 90s right before they closed.  But, I personally would love to be able to buy the GameTek library legitimately again, even with the super thorny rights issues.
And after all of that, I hope that Night Dive has some amazing stuff up their sleeves.  We know they can do the impossible, because SS2 was THE impossible dream for rerelease on Steam and GOG for the longest time.