How Could Titanfall 2's Campaign Influence Other Games?
Many critics are hailing Titanfall 2’s campaign, and rightfully so. The bond Jack Cooper forms with BT is more than just a pilot-link, it’s a bond. Stories involving bonds and friendships draw us in and immerse us more than most others. Terminator 2 remains one of my all-time favorite movies because of the relationship between John Connor and the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger voicing a Titan would be amazing). Whether we feel a similar bond with a pet, friend or family member, it’s nonetheless a relatable feeling. Recent games have done the companion thing well in some ways; Mass Effect is well known for its romantic relationships between characters, and BioShock Infinite created arguably one of the best video game companions ever in Elizabeth.
Depths of character
Respawn Entertainment's game got me to thinking about series that could benefit from a story involving friendships and bonds. Not only can it provide some levity in typically grim and violent series, but also provide depth to existing stories. Some of them have been or are in current game series. Others I mention could only use a game reboot.
Voltron: The Legendary Defender
The old 1980s cartoon is not the subject of discussion. Netflix’s new series is superior in nearly every way. The way the pilots must form a bond with the robot lions is a significant aspect that adds complexity to the series. The pilots must also form a bond with one another to combine their robot lions and form Voltron. Transferring this story into a game, possibly similar to Titanfall 2 but not rated ‘M' certainly sounds appealing. I can certainly imagine the bond creation implemented into multiplayer as well; players would be encouraged to party up and play together often. The more a group plays together, the stronger their bond rating becomes which provides perks and stat boosts.
I’ll admit it; I bought Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. Like many others, I had hoped for something at least comparable to Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. So I have a personal need for new, fantastic Transformers game. The human and robot relationship could provide a new take on the series. Many people complain about the focus on human characters in the Transformers movies, but in a game that could be a great thing. The more you fight with an individual bot, the more abilities you unlock. Again, taking cues from Titanfall 2 and maybe even the recent Godzilla movie would help this series. Playing as a comparatively weak human character in a world of clashing alien robot factions can add a level of scale not often seen in a Transformers game, aside from maybe Metroplex in Fall of Cybertron.
My Neighbor Totoro
Totoro is still a thing, even after nearly 30 years. There might be some obscure game out there somewhere based on it, but we need a fulfilling Totoro game. It’s been almost three decades, so why not tell the story of some other child that meets the weird forest-spirit-thing? This would also be an opportunity to make a great game featuring little to no violence. A story purely about a child’s bond and friendship with Totoro, the Catbus, and other Miyazaki-style creatures exist in that universe. I sure wouldn’t mind hearing that catchy title song in a game either.
Batman and Robin
We've been privileged to have some fantastic Batman games thanks to Rocksteady. The one thing I found lacking was the partnership between Batman and Robin. Since the Batman: Arkham series is apparently over, and the Telltale series is not an action game, what lies ahead for the Dynamic Duo? Is it possible to we could get a game in which we don't even play as Batman? What if a new Robin was the main character, and we had to impress Bruce Wayne? It's a twist I would welcome. The more Batman trusts you, the more autonomy you get for missions, and eventually graduate into your own crimefighter persona (like Nightwing and Red Robin).
Yeah, that's right. I give the games credit for at least trying to have some friendship mechanics, even if it is tedious and repetitive. The portable games are not my target here. If and when we finally get a full console version of a Pokemon game, it doesn't have to be an enhanced version of the 3DS games. A new entry in the series could take cues from the anime, focusing on the bonds between you and your friends. Maybe there are more factors besides simply earning a Gym Badge that determine whether a Pokemon cooperates with you.
The Bigger Picture
All of these suggestions are for more than just making great games. When I was younger, my friends and I often played Ninja Turtles in my neighborhood. Surprisingly, none of us pretended to be the bad guys. We always wanted to work together as the Turtles. Later on, it was Power Rangers, and the same thing applied; we worked as a team. Now, I work with kids and often see them play-fighting rather than teaming up. They want to imitate more adversarial games like GTA and Call of Duty. Creating more games where the focus is the story of friendship and teamwork can have lasting effects on those experiencing it.
What other series could use a reboot inspired by Titanfall 2? Do you agree or disagree on the effects a bond has? Any tear-jerking stories of your own to share?