It’s without a shadow of a doubt that E3 is my favourite time of the year, especially now that I’ve entered the socks and shampoo phase in terms of Christmas presents. The yearly tradeshow extravaganza has thoroughly supplanted the jolliest holiday on the calendar in terms of sheer enjoyment and delight, no doubt due to the plethora of mind-blowing game announcements that insight levels of uncontrollable exhilaration within my quivering body.
Unfortunately, even amongst the scything hailstorm of hot new announcements, sometimes I’ll be left dejected when a game/premise I so want desperately to come to fruition fails to make so much as a fleeting appearance. I’m left exacerbated, cold and alone, my dreams dashed against the cruel, jagged rocks that line the base of all the major gaming publishers. That’s why I’ve decided to begin a new semi-regular series, one which will chronicle all the wishful gaming ideas and hopes that permeate my thoughts. This week, I’ll be lamenting the lack of a certain battle mech anime from the triple-A gaming sphere.
The franchise in question is Zoids, a series that is near and dear to my heart. Now, some of you might well be throwing inquisitive towards your computers, questioning what on earth I’m talking about. While Zoids has certainly garnered a fanbase over the years, the majority of people still live in blissful ignorance to its brilliance, no doubt confusing it for some new, confounded catchphrase spewed forth by the scruffy one from Scooby-Doo. So, dear readers, let me introduce you to this mechtastic franchise.
Zoids started out life as a model-kit toy line, featuring gigantic mechanised animals based on everything from tigers and dinosaurs to whales, turtles and gorillas. These robots are piloted by human, who work in tandem with these partly living creatures in ferocious confrontations known as Zoid battles. It is, undoubtedly, an awesome premise. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch fifty-foot robotic animals bite and blast the living hell out of one another. The series has featured numerous toy lines, four anime, and a handful of videogames dating back to the sepia-toned days of the ZX Spectrum, so clearly there is a ravenous fandom out there. Yet despite the existence of several game instalments, we have yet to see the franchise conquer the current-gen console market. This perplexes me, as I can’t help but think that the cogs of the industry have aligned in perfect harmony for a triple-A Zoids game.
It would be a thing of majesty, utterly befitting of the noble yet grossly overlooked franchise. The game I so desperately envision would take inspiration from Overwatch, featuring a vast roster of playable ‘heroes’ – ala giant death robots – who duke it out on sprawling multiplayer maps. Game modes would feature everything from 1v1 high noon showdowns to full 5v5 team-based battles. There are hundreds of different Zoids in the lore, ranging from the up close and personal Blade Liger to the head-popping Gun Sniper, so players would have plenty of options of offer, suiting all possible playstyles.
On top of this, you’d be able to fully upgrade your Zoids, changing out weapon configurations, movement options and more. Fancy turning your long-ranged Gun Sniper into a mobile Armageddon platform resplendent with Gatling guns, missile launchers and laser cannons? The upgrade system would let you do all of that, and more. A customisable paint and decal system, along with a full singleplayer story mode (Zoids features highly detailed lore narratives known as Battle Stories) would be the icing on the roaring robotic cake, with everything culminating together to create an incredible gaming experience for both Eastern and Western audiences.
I firmly believe that the path has been laid for such a premise to be a wholehearted success. With the likes of Titanfall 2 and Hawken proving that mechanised combat is growing in popularity, the possibility for a franchise as Belgian chocolate rich and delectable as Zoids to find mainstream triumph is strong indeed.
Yet, of course, this is all but wishful thinking, and the likelihood that we’d ever seen such an idea manifest in the triple-A gaming market is bleak at best. The dark clouds of improbability would snuff out any future for such a game, leaving my wishes and ideas to forever float through the synapses of my heavily depressed brain.