Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Nothing Can Prepare You For This

We Chicagoans have a video game neighbor.  Midway was founded here.  They hit it big by bringing a Japanese arcade game called Pac-Man to the US. Since then, they've had ups and downs.  They've had games that just didn't do very well and a major franchise called Mortal Kombat, which for me, for years, was my favorite one on one fighter.

Midway recently filed Chapter 11, and revealed a stunning $240 mil in debt.  They have been trying to leverage projects to bring in needed cash and help them reorganize.  First shot came in the form of their Wheelman franchise.  Ubisoft bought the distribution rights for the game starring Vin Diesel (they didn't rename it for their own Driver franchise, but kept the Wheelman name), coming out at the end of March.  That was Phase 1 of the plan.  Phase 2 is to either come up with a scheme to keep Midway running, or to bring in cash by selling the Mortal Kombat franchise.

Years ago, I would have flipped out over this.  But talk of a "beloved franchise" is really so much hot air.  Ever since Midway started cooking up Mortal Kombat games that had nothing to do with one on one fighting (Mythologies, Special Ops, etc.) and then completely screwing up the series with a jump to 3D and the addition of weapons, and MK hasn't really been a fun time gaming since Ultimate 3.  (Note:  I haven't played MK vs. DC Universe, as I don't have a PS3 or an XBox 360.  Not that I would, since even the most generic superpowers in DC comics are stronger than any of the mortal fighters in the MK universe, no matter how much of a Bruce Lee knockoff Liu Kang is.)

So, who would get it?  With SNK out of the picture, that leaves two major names, Capcom and Namco.  Capcom puts a lot of effort into its games and treats them like special projects.  Namco just serves up reheated concepts (Numan Athletics) or adds challenge to the game by making the AI cheat (the Soul Caliber series).

I really don't care if MK gets sold, as I haven't played an MK game in years.  So I'm not going to cry over lost potential.  I just hope, if they do, that Midway can make the most of it.  A lot of great studios, like Pandemic Brisbane, have gone under.  It'd be a shame if the local talent goes under, too.
Tags: video games
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