Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SSX: Deadly Descents Divides (The Fanbase) and Conquers (Much of Their Sanity)...

Nice trailer... but, Holy Belfry, Batman! You'd think that EA drove over a an entire block full of little kids carrying baskets of newborn puppies while on the way to a church bake sale after visiting Grandma. Twice. Some of the responses I've seen to the SSX: Deadly Descents game trailer and new direction the formerly goofy and always exuberant fan fave are probably arrest-worthy and yes, completely unnecessary. Game History 105: Radical Entertainment (Prototype 2, among other cool games) and THQ tried out a mix of action movie and snowboarding on consumers "way" back in 2001 with a little game called Dark Summit. While it didn't exactly blow any sales doors off (or gain a huge enough following to warrant a sequel, for that matter), it received mixed (but mainly positive) reviews, was fun to play and manged to get in a bit of humor during the story. Hell, the whole game idea was pretty funny in a "Hey you kids, get off my secret government test area snow-covered lawn!" kinda way.

It's also pretty darn funny how many just want pretty much the same old game with a shiny new HD layer of snow, but some of these same folks will no doubt complain when they get that game that it's not "innovative" enough. Quick question for you guys out there ranting away: Did any one of you buy 2K's insanely creative Amped 3, Destineer's fun (and nicely realistic) Stoked or Stoked: Big Air Edition? If not, that may be a tiny bit of the reason behind EA Sports' adopting the more "serious" tone to the new game. I'd gather they looked at how the more exaggerated snowboarding games did at retail (plus what the Shaun White game numbers have been like) and decided to go in this darker (and Summit-er) direction. Here's the deal: Will they cave in to all this overblown pressure and re-redo the game into what the fans want (and perhaps see it not sell as well even if it's the best game of its type) or will they forge ahead with a "Wait 'til we blow your socks off at E3" attitude?

The third option is to do what they've done with other franchises such as Need for Speed or a few EA Sports franchises. Create two separate SSX SKU's, one geared those who want to relive the super-fun tricks of yore and another for those who want that "gritty" chocolate feel in their peanut butter snowboarding game experience. That of course, means sticking the more familiar SSX on the Wii, Kinect and 3DS, while crafting Deadly Descent on the PS3 (sans Move support) and "normal" 360 as its own game. Of course, even if they did this, they'd still be drawing the ire of the "hardcore" fans who ONLY want the games they want with no deviation from what they "expect" to play year after year. Sometimes you can't win, even if you're dealing everyone a winning hand...

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