Feature: What Rocksteady Studios Should Do Next

(See that up there?) PRECISELY! That is exactly what they should do, I reckon – taking on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and making a 3D Turtles game that isn’t complete and utter rubbish.

In my opinion, the last good Turtles game was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters on the Super Nintendo back in 1993. That game was effing brilliant from what I remember (despite being a relatively direct clone of Street Fighter), but, twenty years later, where’s the next good game? We’re still waiting, and rather impatiently, I might add. 2007 saw the release of the ill-fated (and really rather appalling) TMNT, released as a film tie-in for the film of the same name, but is that really the best that they can offer?  

The best who can offer? Well, in regards to the 2007 game, it would be Ubisoft Quebec, but, dusting them aside and locking them under the floorboards until they run out of air, what if Rocksteady Studios (developers of the fantastic Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City) took the creative helm and gave the Turtles the game that they truly deserve, with all of the characters; a fully realised setting of both above and beneath the mean streets of New York City; and, amongst other things, all with that long-lost nostalgic Turtles feeling and spirit?


Image this, but with Arkham City’s engine…


But would it be any good? Of course it would (providing they did it right), man! For one, the studio’s name is Rocksteady (an enemy of the Turtles, if you weren’t aware), so that’s an omen; and for two, just look at what they pulled out of the hat with those two Batman games. In the very near run-up to Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, the Batman games were nothing more than a sorry state of affairs (although there were some good Batman games at the beginning of its branch into video games), but, when the former arrived on the scene, it hit the world with such a bang that people practically crapped their pants from the reverberation, and still continue to do so to this very day! Do you see the pattern emerging between the two here? They started off good, slowly declined, and then – BOOM! – a properly realised title by a dedicated developer makes its mark and the whole world stares in gob-smacked awe.

What do I see in my vision? Well, for starters, I think it should be as open-world as the Batman games, complete with random encounters, acts of vigilantism, pieces of well-placed nostalgia for fan service, and the Turtles’ base in the sewers acting as the equivalent of the Batcave, complete with everyone’s favourite ninja rat Master Splinter as something of an overseer and, possibly, bearer of the odd optional objective; based loosely around the events of the first Turtles film (the awesome one from 1990), introducing April O’Neil, Casey Jones and Shredder into roles of the same importance as in the film, but also bringing villains such as the Foot Clan (of course), Dr. Baxter Stockman, Slash, Bebop and Rocksteady, Krang (complete with his mechanical suit), Rat King, and maybe even Tokka and Rahzar into the mix as well – all in the name of the plot and some pretty damn sweet boss battles as well. The inclusion of Leatherhead would be way too ripped-off from Killer Croc (and he’s a cruddy character anyway), so I don’t think his omission would hurt all that much.

As for how Turtle character selection would work? I would like to see the characters on scripted rotation depending on which part of the game you’re at, much like they do in – as much as the game sucks – 2007’s TMNT, only to much better effect by exploring each individual Turtles’ story as it progresses forth. I think the development of Raphael’s dark side and rage (and the hunt for that elusive sai) would be a very interesting plot element indeed, and, unless I’m on the completely wrong track, I reckon the story should start with him as the first character, rescuing and siding the rest of the gang with April, and having the rest of the game revolve around that. Hey, the tutorial level could even be Raphael’s legendary fight with Casey Jones in which the green one himself ends up inside a bin afterwards!

And the story? Well, a darker tone has already been speculated, and I couldn’t agree more, personally. Whereas a lot of people may think of the turtles as being all cartoony, colourful, fun-loving pizza-eating dudes, the reality of the Turtles’ background and the events covered in the first film couldn’t be further from the truth. There are themes of anger, revenge, vengeance, crime; you name it, it’s got it, yet this was all kicked off of the balcony in favour of a more child-friendly set-up in the next two Turtles’ films, but– well, if you’ve seen ’em, then you’ll know that they’re easily forgettable and don’t even enter within the orbit of the first one.


Oh shiz, son! That’s some crazy-ass Star Trek crossover stuff right there!


Now, I know that rumours of such a game (apparently titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Manhattan Crisis – a name not to far away from the 1991/92 title TMNT: Manhattan Project), have been shot down by an almighty cannon as false by an almost uncountable number of publications, but there’s always the chance of them reconsidering, right? Okay, that’s just wishful thinking, but as an idea for their next venture fuelled by fan demand and a great chance at a brilliant reboot, maybe? It’s got to be better than heading into the realms of Spider-Man, Captain America, or even, gawd forbid, Superman territory, right?

Think about it, Rocksteady. We’re counting on you…


If you would like to read more by Gary, you can always visit his blog Gamesoup or check out his Twitter feed at @GaryGamesoup.

Author: G H

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