2012 Gaming Nexus IP Draft: Rounds 3 & 4

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posted 5/2/2012 by Jeremy Duff
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We’re back with 2 more rounds from the 2012 Gaming Nexus IP Draft. Before we get started with today’s selection, let’s quickly recap the sections from rounds 1 and 2:

Round 1

1. Final Fantasy (Sean Cahill)
2. Super Mario Bros. (John Yan)
3. Call of Duty (Travis Huinker)
4. Mass Effect (Nathaniel Cohen)
5. Mega Man (Russell Archey)
6. Grand Theft Auto (Dan Keener)
7. Angry Birds (Jeremy Duff)
8. Warcraft (Charles Husemann)

Round 2
1. Battlefield (Charles Husemann)
2. LEGO (Jeremy Duff)
3. Pokemon (Dan Keener)
4. Kingdom Hearts (Russell Archey)
5. Red Faction (Nathaniel Cohen)
6. Diablo (Travis Huinker)
7. The Elder Scrolls (John Yan)
8. Halo (Sean Cahill)


Developer(s): Nintendo (among others)
Publisher(s): Nintendo
First release: The Legend of Zelda (1986, Nintendo Entertainment System)
Latest Release: The Legend of Zelda- Skyward Sword (2011, Nintendo Wii)

I'm torn in about five different directions at this point but, in the end, I will go with the Legend of Zelda series. What more needs to be said?  It's a franchise that Nintendo releases at very proper times and has a very loyal fanbase that will always buy the game.  Spanning both the console and the handheld, it gives a long-running franchise options in the action/adventure genre quite easily.


Russell Archey: I would have picked this before Final Fantasy.  I have more knowledge of Zelda than the FF series, but I do know that the FF series has had it's fair share of criticism, whereas I've never played a Zelda game I don't like (CD-i not withstanding).

Jeremy Duff: Not a bad pick by any means and definitely one that give you some leeway in the future. My biggest issue with Nintendo’s handling of the series is the apparent lack of continuity in the series but drafting it gives Sean a chance to address that... just don’t turn it into Final Fantasy.

Dan Keener: Sean has a huge coup grabbing a round 1 talent at the top of round three. It’s Zelda, and as long as Nintendo is cranking out consoles, expect 1-2 new versions of the game each time.  If only we could find a way onto the PS3 and Xbox 360, then the money would really start to flow.


Developer(s): Parker Brothers, LucasArts, Pandemic Studios, BioWare (among others)
Publisher(s): Parker Brothers, LucasArts (among others)
First release: Star Wars- The Empire Strikes Back (1982, Atari 2600, Intellivision)
Latest Release: Star Wars- The Old Republic (2011, PC)

In picking the Star Wars franchise, more X-Wing vs Tie Figher games would be my top priority. Build up a solid engine and then spawn a main game that gets updated with some good DLC that features both new missions, areas, and ships to pilot.  I'd also resurrect the Jedi Knight series as well, but not produce as many. Work would be done to continue solidifying the MMO so that it brings in that subscription revenue stream. I'd also produce a few RTS games with fleet battles such as LucasArts tried in the past. Star Wars is such a vast universe that I'd produce a few different types of games, but not saturate the market with them.


Sean Cahill: Believe me, there were several options, but that's one I would kill myself on if I didn't pick it at this stage.

Jeremy Duff: Star Wars is a great pick because the source material gives you easy access to a variety of vide game genres. FPS? Check. RTS? check? Flight sim? Double check.  

Dan Keener: John went for the big bucks and grabbed the Star Wars franchise. The rights alone are worth a mint, but hopefully he can come up with a way to standardize the expectations and quality, as so many Star Wars games end up being all of the critical grading scale.


Developer(s): Digital Extremes, Cryptic Studios, 14 Degrees East (among others)
Publisher(s): Interplay, Sega, Perfect World (among others)
First release: Star Trek (text game) (1971, multi-platform)
Latest Release: Star Trek- Infinite Space (2011, PC)

With my funding secured by Call of Duty, I'll dive into some more riskier acquisitions. The recent box office success of the new Star Trek reboot made one thing clear, the game series also needs a reboot! Let's forget about pointless current MMO and upcoming Kinect game, I'll propose a Star Trek single-player experience similar to that of Mass Effect and offer gamers an open universe to explore; maybe even demand that BioWare take the reigns.

With the choice of many unique races and ship types, the Star Trek universe is just ripe for a gripping and deep narrative that every fan has been desiring. Plus, add in the gameplay perspective of Bridge Commander and it will blow fans and newcomers away with pure awesomeness.


Jeremy Duff: While not a horrible pick, this seems a little high for me. The success of the video games is too dependant on the rebirth of the film franchise, although things look very good at this point. Then again, there is an opportunity to craft a variety of games based on the different generations, which could attract long-dormant fans of the series.

Charles Husemann: This would have been a great pick in the 1990's when Interplay was cranking out great Star Trek games or in the mid 2000's when the Elite Force games were in full swing but the IP has been dead for years; especially after the failure of Enterprise to re-connect people with the franchise.  For most people of this generation William Shatner is known as much for being the Priceline Negotiator as he was for being Captain Kirk

Dan Keener: This is a shaky pick this early in the draft, as I think Travis is banking on the upcoming Star Trek film to boost interest in a tie-in game.  Hopefully he has a plan, as Star Trek online has been almost a disaster, with low scores and subscription model finally tossed earlier this year in favor of a free-to-play system.


Developer(s): Rockstar, Capcom
Publisher(s): Rockstar, Capcom
First release: Red Dead Revolver (2004, Microsoft Xbox, PlayStation 2)
Latest Release: Red Dead Redemption (2010, Microsoft Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3)

Red Dead Redemption was the best games of 2010. Yes, even better than Mass Effect 2 (and that's coming from me) because it was something no one had ever seen before. Before it came out, I joked that it should be called Grand Theft Equine, without knowing how close that was to the truth. It was a Grand Theft Auto game set in the old west with the same attention to detail and story maturity as Rockstar's other games. What other game simply rewards walking more than Red Dead Redemption? You literally never know what you'll see or what might happen. I once tracked a cougar as it hunted for Pete’s sake.  How can a game not specifically about hunting and tracking allow for that kind of emergent gameplay? That right there is why the IP is so valuable to me. It's a scripted single player game with an unbelievable level of emergent gameplay. Since GTA, the only game that rivals RDR in those particular qualities was already taken, RDR was a must pick.

If I was in charge, I could make a straight sequel to RDR following Jack Marsden set in the same environment as he seeks out everyone who wronged his father (Red Dead Retribution). More interestingly, I'd listen to what I heard players saying on message boards and maybe set the next one on and around the battlefields of WWI, or maybe during the Civil War (Red Dead Rebellion) or the Revolutionary War (Red Dead Revolution). Whatever the next game was, going beyond a simple wild west setting and exploring something more intense like war is probably the best direction to go in. Think about what you could do with multiplayer if you had a war setting to play with. Players could form their own regiments and battle other regiments (Rockstar is already doing something similar with Max Payne 3's Crews). I might even set the multiplayer in a persistent world where regiments have to capture and hold territory and the battlefield shifts over time.


Jeremy Duff: On the surface this looks like a solid pick, but I worry how much of the Red Dead appeal lies in the (time) setting. Can you repeat the success of Redemption with another Wild West game? Probably at least one or two more times, but eventually you have to evolve the game to a newer era, and the challenge will be to do that without turning it into GTA.

Dan Keener: Nathan grabbed a game here that I was looking to add myself with my next pick.  Rockstar seems to turn everything they touch into gold, as Rockstar continues to incorporate top-notch voice, music, graphics and storylines into their titles, they should continue cranking out hits.  Red Dead is the latest example and one of the only Western themed games in active production on the current gen consoles.


Developer(s): Gearbox Software
Publisher(s): 2K Games
First release: Borderlands (2009, multi-platform)
Latest Release: BOrderlands 2 (2012, multi-platform)

Me and newer games don't really go hand in hand. I tend to have an ADD-type disorder with newer games, where I play them for a bit, then go play something else. Then there is Borderlands; one of the only "newer" games that I've put in a lot of time with, both by myself and multiplayer.  I've been heavily anticipating Borderlands 2 later this year and think it has a good chance at being a Game of the Year candidate.


Jeremy Duff: Much like my concern with the Red Dead series, I worry about longevity with the Borderlands license. Luckily for Russell, the series is fresh enough that this won’t be too much of a concern for a few generations.

Charles Husemann: Fantastic pick as Borderlands has managed to create a brand new sci-fi franchise that is fun, deep, and interesting.  Of course it helps that all the games are co-op which means more copies sold as people try to get their friends to play with them online.

Dan Keener: Russell was the first person to step out and grab one of the “new” IPs that have hatched in the last few years.  While I really like the pick for the draft, I think the game would have been there a round or two later. Expectations are high for the sequel, so the franchise could be made or broken based on how the game is improved over the original.


Developer(s): High Score Entertainment
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
First release: John Madden Football (1988, multi-platform)
Latest Release: Madden NFL 13 (2012, multi-platform)

It’s Madden, the yearly ca$h cow for EA; it is the gift that keeps on giving! While soccer titles (FIFA & Winning Eleven) annually sell more games and have more global players, Madden is the most anticipated sports franchise year in and year out by gamers and the athletes portrayed in the game.  There isn’t a lot to say other than I can’t believe I was able to get this with my 3rd round pick.


Jeremy Duff: Boo to your Madden pick... and not because it was on my list. We could do without that franchise for a generation or two. How about you do the industry a favor and take the license and hand it back to 2K Sports.


Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
First release: Street Fighter (1987, arcade)
Latest Release: Super Street Fighter IV- Arcade Edition (2011, multi-platform)

If you know anything about me, you know that I love fighting games. How can I pass up on the biggest franchise in the fighting game universe? Capcom’s Street Fighter series is so deep and expansive that it opens up an endless world of possibilities.

Capcom has done a little bit of experimentation with the franchise over the course of its lifetime, mainly with collaborations, but little has been done to move the franchise out of the fighting genre. Aside from Street fighter 2010, when have they made an attempt to craft something completely different? In addition to immediately beginning the development of Street Fighter 5, and remaking the original Street Fighter in a manner similar to the Alpha series, I would start branching off with new genres using the Street Fighter roster. You could expect intense action games starring Guile, Chun-Li, and Cammy, and even “campier” projects like a kart racer and perhaps even an action-RPG.

Plus, you can expect the movie rights for the franchise to be placed into capable hands and a little bit of respect to be brought to the series in that area.


Dan Keener: I called this one, as a couple of picks before I said that Jeremy was due for a fighting game.  At this point in the draft, I think this is a great pick, as the IP has so much going for it including an incredible history and the ability to sell merchandize and custom fight sticks.  As far as I know, this is the only fighting game selected, so Jeremy may have gotten himself a gem.


Developer(s): EA Sports
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
First release: FIFA International Soccer (1993, multi-platform)
Latest Release: FIFA 13 (2012, multi-platform)

Let's see... I've already got a solid re-occurring stream of revenue, and a shooter, now all I need is a sports franchise. I know people think Madden is the big seller but that's only in the US! The real money is in the “beautiful game” so I'm going to take the FIFA franchise with my third round pick. Not only does EA Sports manage to do something amazingly creative each year with the sport but they addition of the new FIFA Packs have created a hot new monetization stream for the #1 sports game on the planet.

It's the number one sports game in the world and EA has added a new meta level that's so addicitive it's gotten people to go out and aggressively go after illegally acquiring Xbox Live accounts. With the re-introduction of FIFA Street I've now got a two pronged assault on fans of the beautiful game.


Jeremy Duff: Knock it if you must, but this is the most popular sport in the world. Now, how do you make this franchise relevant in the U.S? That is Mr. Husemann’s challenge.

Dan Keener: Chuck grabbed the “other” football game two picks after I took the real one. This is actually a great pick, as global players and hackers alike love FIFA (especially on the Xbox 360!)  Just like Madden, this game is anticipated yearly and brings in boatloads of cash.  Unlike Madden, it actually has challengers for the soccer gaming dollar (including itself during every World Cup year) and does not have that mantle all to itself.


Developer(s): CD Projekt RED
Publisher(s): Atari, Warner Bros. (among others)
First release: The Witcher (2007, PC)
Latest Release: The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings Enhanced Edition (2012, Microsoft Xbox 360)

With my fourth round pick I'm going to add another cornerstone franchise to the portfolio, a RPG. The RPG genre is a staple of the industry and while Nathan selected the now mostly concluded Mass Effect franchise with his first round pick I'm going to pick the RPG that's just getting started with The Witcher franchise. While the game has only been on the PC for it's first two iterations, console gamers are going to get their first taste of this masterful, complex, and deep franchise next month when The Witcher 2 hits the Xbox 360. This is the game that the Dragon Age series aspires to be and it's got a ton of material to work with.

This pick might have been a round or two early but I believe that the Witcher is going to be the next big RPG franchise. Of course, no one really knows much about it outside of PC Gaming communities (where it's been gathering kudos for years) but that all changes as the game makes its way to the Xbox 360 where people will finally see what all the “hubub” is about.  


Sean Cahill: I'm really scratching my head with Chuck's pick of the Witcher.  It's a series that is known by PC gamers, but does it really deserve to even be picked in the top six rounds?  I don't believe so.

Jeremy Duff: When you make a pick as obscure as this (no offense to the developer) with a console crowd, you are opening yourself up to ridicule. I am going to simply take the high road here and just say this: worst pick of the draft.

Dan Keener: Chuck made a bit of a reach here in order to fulfill his RPG slot on his roster. The biggest concern is whether or not the series will translate well to the console.  Also, the books that spawned the game only number 5, so if this is to take off, at some point originally storylines and content will have to be created. This isn’t a bad gamble, but a gamble nonetheless.


Developer(s): Sony Santa Monica Studio, Ready at Dawn
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
First release: God of War (2005, Sony PlayStation 2)
Latest Release: God of War- Origins Collection (2011, Sony PlayStation 3)

Although the story of Kratos appears to be over, I think that there is plenty of potential left in the God of War series. As interesting as Kratos was as a character, I always felt that the stories were driven by his thirst for revenge and desire for power, which is something that transcends time. You could easily create this story in every time period known to man.

I envision the series following the passage of time after Kratos defeated Zeus. My versions of the game would continue with the heavy action-paced style and touch on the spirit of Kratos (and his will) taking hold of people throughout time. If you take a look at the direction that Ubisoft appears to be going with the Assassin’s Creed series, you will have a good idea of what I intend to do with God of War.


Sean Cahill: God of War jumps out at me immediately.  A good choice that can be expanded upon, even though it seemed like a three game series and that would be it.

Dan Keener: Jeremy grabbed one of Sony’s lead franchises this deep in the draft shows the depth of titles we have to choose from (and several reaches). What makes this a great pic is every new Sony console will always get a God of War title at some point.


Developer(s): Naughty Dog, SCE Bend Studio
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
First release: Uncharted- Drakes Fortune (2007, Sony PlayStation 3)
Latest Release: Uncharted- Golden Abyss (2012, PlayStation Vita)

By the time Round 4 rolled around, I had several big name franchises to choose from to get that “franchise” anchor to add to my portfolio. So one Pick after Jeremy grabbed one of Sony’s veteran lead franchises, I grabbed its current lead franchise: Uncharted.

I went with Uncharted, as it has broken through with the most main-stream commercialization of any character and still has plenty of legs left.  Naught Dog is one of the best development studios going, so I have faith they will continue to bring us high-end cinematic and great storylines into the immediate future. Not only does the series have four incredibly strong titles out, but has several books in the works, a comic in the works, and most importantly, a film on the horizon.  

Oh yeah, and Nathan can pimp Subway like no other game character before him.


Jeremy Duff: If we had done the draft just a few weeks later, I would have taken the Uncharted series very early on, as I am currently reminding myself how great the series is by running through them in order. Nathan Drake has plenty of adventures left in him and I feel that the series, as a whole, is just now starting to hit its stride. Hell, I could envision a side-series following Sully on his own adventures.


Developer(s): Irrational Games, 2K Marin
Publisher(s): 2K Games
First release: BioShock (2007, MicrosoftXbox 360)
Latest Release: BioShock- Infinite (2012, multi-platform)

And then there's Bioshock. Much like Borderlands, I loved going through the first two games, but I've seen and heard a lot of hype for Bioshock Infinite. I really don't think we'll be disappointed when it releases later this year.  If I had thought about it sooner, this would have been higher on my list, maybe swapping this with Kingdom Hearts.


Nathaniel Cohen: I toyed with BioShock for round 2, but felt all you can do with is continue to re-imagine System Shock 2, or at least that's all Ken Levine thinks can be done with it.

Charles Husemann: I'm kind of on the fence on this pick as Bioshock:Infinite looks fantastic but the long duration between games makes investing in something like this a bit of a gamble.

Dan Keener: Russell almost had my steal of the draft by taking a powerhouse franchise that has slipped off people minds a bit as we await the next installation.


Developer(s): Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
First release: Assassin’s Creed (2007, multi-platform)
Latest Release: Assassin’s Creed Revelations (2011, multi-platform)

Gamers love murdering people. It may sound depraved, but assassin games are always popular.  Assassin's Creed combined that with stealth, parkour, and a rich narrative to become one of the the most popular franchises of this console generation. That alone makes it a solid pick.

If I got my hands on it, I'd have to set a game in the modern day, where climbing skyscrapers and assassinating (made up) public figures would be the order of the day. Along with the hidden blade, you could wield an assortment of non-lethal weapons that stun or distract along with silenced modern firearms. However, as an Assassin, up-close and public executions with the hidden blade would be required, because they're not just killing a person, but an idea. It's murder as a form of protest. Besides firearms and blade weapons, any number of modern gadgets would come into play. You could track people via GPS, hack mobile phones or security feeds to eavesdrop, tail vehicles in your own vehicle, use a wingsuit to glide from the top of a skyscrapers as part of a daring escape, or even use a grappling hook to use helicopters as unknowing taxi services. The possibilities are endless.


Jeremy Duff: Nathan has the perfect plan in store for this series. Much like my intentions with God of War, the strength of this series lies in its “idea”, not necessarily the characters that we have come to know thus far.

Dan Keener: Nathan grabbed yet another quality franchise in Rd 4.  This game has devout fans and an almost limitless storyline.  A good pick this deep into the draft.


Developer(s): Interplay, Bethesda, Obsidian Entertainment (among others)
Publisher(s): Interplay, Bethesda Softworks (among others)
First release: Fallout (1997, PC)
Latest Release: Fallout- New Vegas (2010, multi-platform)

After hours of mental debate and coercion from John, I'll be taking the Fallout franchise. Bethesda's reboot of Fallout 3 and New Vegas by Obsidian clearly show their is great potential for future games. In addition, the loads of DLC that people eat up for the previous games will help as well.

We all know what the next move is for the series: creation engine. Skyrim + guns = Fallout 4. Oh, and we will leave dragons in the game to add a new twist to the series.


Jeremy Duff: I am seeing a running theme here: series that depend more on the strength of their ideas than their characters. Then again, you could market the hell out of a variety of Vault Boy products!

Dan Keener: Travis grabbed a great franchise that Bethesda seems to have a solid plan for.  Now that it has been established, if it can be parsed out the way the Elder Scrolls franchise has, gamers will be happy for years to come.


Developer(s): Mojang
Publisher(s): Mojang
First release: Minecraft (2011, PC)
Latest Release: Minecraft (2012, Xbox Live Arcade)

You don't have to do much with Minecraft but I'd continue to improve the graphics and offer up new features on a consistent basis. This is one game that benefits from a rapid release cycle, so I'd still focus on giving out many updates, but not change the core of the game. Definitely take the public suggestions on this one, and see about improving the game through that as well.


Charles Husemann: This is a steal this late in the draft given how the game is going to be exploding on consoles and other platforms later this year. You do have to wonder if the game will suffer a bit with Notch moving onto newer games but this is a new IP that's going to be around for years.

Dan Keener: John may have stumbled a bit at this point in the draft grabbing this limited java title to put in his portfolio. While critical ratings are high, the game seems destined for a cult-like following rather than the mainstream commercial success similar titles have seen.


Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
First release: Resident Evil (1996, Sony PlayStation)
Latest Release: Resident Evil- Operation Raccoon City (2012, multi-platform)

I have been juggling roughly half a dozen franchises for this pick since I already know what my final pick will be. I thought about tapping into the racing genre, but I was never a fan of it and feel that the market is saturated with too many mediocre titles. I feel that I need a franchise that is known and has plenty of potential for a very strong following with a big title. Considering that this franchise has a game that is immediately on our horizon, has a series of movies, and certainly has the strength to be in the industry in many facets, I think I made the choice much easier than I thought.

I'm going with Resident Evil. A horror/adventure series that has gone across three generation of systems, it has seen a nice rekindling ever since the fourth game came out. With a new title about to be released, it shows that there is still plenty to work with in Raccoon City. Multiple titles are still present with this game, especially with the familiar name. I wanted to take this a round earlier, but felt that it was better suited here in the fourth round.


Jeremy Duff: Can I get a judges ruling here, Sean stole this from me! RE was going to be my next pick and I had so many good plans for the series... now you will never get to enjoy them thanks to Cahill’s selfish-drafting techniques.

Charles Husemann: Remember when Lindsey Lohan was hot?  That's the last time Resident Evil was good.

Dan Keener: Sean went and grabbed one of the most recognizable and commercialized game franchises late in round 4. If there is another game that has actually had more consistent success with film tie-ins, I would like to see it. A good pick with an established fan base and potential for further exposure.
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