Content warning: This article has a lot of bad swears in it. If you are a child, go to bed now.
I want you to picture, in your head, the following paragraph – as if it was your first experience with a game you’ve not even heard of. Go ahead. Close your eyes and picture it!
…okay, you might need to keep your eyes open a bit.
Picking up the controller, you’re introduced to an immaculately rendered 3D city. It’s got all the bells and whistles. Havok physics. NaturalMotion’s Euphoria thingy. Unreal engines. Dolby surround sound. Bloom, probably. Textures. Bump mapping. Blast processing! It’s a fine city indeed; populated by a bevy of equally impressively rendered cars, trucks, buses, and people. It’s like something out of your favourite open-world game – Grand Theft Auto IV, Saints Row The Third, Prototype. Something like that. It’s a pretty cool city!
Suddenly, a giant fucking lizard’s foot steps down onto the asphalt! As it hits the pavement, the Havok physics makes bits of debris fly everywhere. The Euphoria sends citizens sprawling away realistically, scrambling to their feet in a confused and terrified daze. The bloom makes the resulting explosion of vehicles, as another giant fucking lizard’s foot steps down atop of them, blinding. The blast processor processes the blast, I think. Thank god for Sega and their not lies!
Amid the destruction, the camera pans up from the foot of this giant fucking lizard. Who is it? It’s fucking Godzilla! His scales have textures and bump mapping on them. The lighting from the surroundings emits a faint glow on the King of Monsters. The sense of scale is overwhelming! Godzilla lets out his trademark screech, which echoes across the city with thanks to Dolby surround sound. His horrifying – and instantly recognizable – visage is powered by… oh, I don’t know, MotionScan facial motion capture; the stuff used in L.A. Noire. He growls, and you can see, like, he’s properly angry, or something. Hell, perhaps Phelps could even tell if he was lying!
Den MechaGodzilla shows up and dey ‘ave a properly good ol’ scrap, mate.
What I’ve described to you is a Godzilla game powered by the amazing gaming technologies we have at our fingertips right now. A Godzilla game that is so technologically marvelous (though not overly pressing on current-gen hardware, certainly) that its spectacle is overwhelming. A blockbuster game, starring one of popular culture’s most instantly recognizable Japanese exports, with brawling, fighting, and destruction on a massive scale. Godzilla punches a building and maybe that GeoMod 2.0 stuff from Red Faction: Guerrilla kicks in. You know that’d be fucking cool, right?
Then why am I talking about a hypothetical goddamn videogame??
Godzilla has been featured in a metric fuckton of videogames, there’s no doubt about that. Wikipedia says that there are 21 officially licensed Godzilla games – and that’s not even counting games like Rampage and War of the Monsters that are pretty much unofficially Godzilla games. With this in mind: the last game with Godzilla’s moniker on it was 2007’s Godzilla Unleashed. Almost six years ago. …for the Wii. That can’t be fair, can it?
Times have changed. Maybe audiences just want military shooters now. Maybe there’s no room for a Godzilla game that makes true use of the technological future magic at our gaming box’s disposal – especially not one that sounds as expensive as the hypothetical one I described up above. Perhaps this jolly green kaiju and his rogues gallery has seen his time past as far as videogames go. Perhaps there will never truly be a AAA giant monster brawler, because… Godzilla just doesn’t sell.
BULLSHIT. EVERYONE WANTS GODZILLA, THEY JUST DON’T FUCKING KNOW IT. Here, I’ll design the marketing campaign for you.
The camera sweeps over a bunch of army soldiers doing army things. Suddenly there’s a roar, we look up and Godzilla’s standing menacingly over them! BAM! THE TEXT SAYS: “IN 2014 (or whatever year the game’d be out in I guess)…”
Bloody Mothra the big-ass butterfly lands behind the army guys, facing Godzilla. It screeches, and shoots some kind of disgusting buggy-web at Godzilla! Godzilla falls over, crushing a building using Havok and Euphoria and GeoMod. “THE KING…”
Godzilla stands up, charges up his fire breath, as an army man yells out, “Godzilla is so much bigger than us! And, through simple logic, if Godzilla is better than us army men now in real life, a Godzilla videogame would be superior to an army men videogame! That makes sense and it will influence my future product purchasing decisions.” “…HAS RETURNED!”
And Godzilla does his roar and the logo comes up and there’s a tagline that says “the next big thing.” And everyone laughs, because it’s a great pun; but in actuality, they’re laughing because the game is so great, and they can’t wait to play as Godzilla and rampage around a city and punch other monsters in the throat with Godzilla’s tail. And then they go to their local GameStop or EB Games or Game retailer, and they say, “give me one pre-order of the Godzilla game, please,” and the store owner says, “I am sorry, we are all sold out of game pre-orders, because the hype is so out of control about this game, there are not enough discs in the world to fulfill the massive demand! And the game company that made the game definitely has all the money now.” And the kid says, “it’s well-deserved, because everyone likes Godzilla; even me, a regular punter, and I ain’t even watched the films or read the comics or played the other games, I just like explosions and fighting in videogames, and this game has explosions and fighting in it!” And the GameStop employee and the punter stand quietly for a few minutes, smiling and nodding to themselves; contemplating how much better the very existence of this Godzilla game has made their very lives – how much the knowledge that they may soon be trading blows with Anguirus or SpaceGodzilla or MechaGodzilla 2 or King Ghidorah or Baragon or Destroyah or Biollante has enriched their every waking moment.
…there’s a game that’s supposedly in development. It’s called “Kaiju Combat” – you can support it ahead of its release by visiting their website. It’s a promising project, but it is far from the future for Godzilla videogames I’d have hoped. I understand, by the way, that the exhaustive paragraph I wrote about an entirely unhypothetical, true-to-life situation between seller and buyer is actually a demented pipe dream of a singular fan who just wants to see a new, great, giant monster fighting game. But… more than that. I want to be bored of kaiju fighting games.
I want to step into my game store and see pre-order posters for EA and Activision’s head-to-head annual kaiju fighting game release. I want to see them do yearly, supplemental updates, with superlative DLC and merely marginal improvements with each release. I want to roll my eyes and say, “what? Godzilla vs Megalon III? Didn’t we only get the second one a month ago?”
And then I want a hardcore set of people to set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund a niche, modern day, military action FPS. I want it to be a rarity; I want the fans of the military FPS to be hungry for more, while the mainstream audiences who have been lapping up kaiju fighters like sheep continue to buy into the generic, unoriginal and repetitive releases, year in, year out. I want them to live like how I have for the past six years – “oh, technology is reaching a peak! Budgets are leveling out. We’ll have a Godzilla fighting game any year now!” …no announcement. I have to buy IDW comic books to get my Godzilla fix, because Toho stopped making Godzilla films for ten years. I have to screw up my face as David S. Goyer touches the script of the upcoming Legendary reboot. I want them to feel that burning want – the burning want of CRPG fans, of fighting game fans, of RTS fans.
But most of all… I want the King of Monsters to retake his rightful place atop his throne; the pantheon of videogames long remembering the plethora of titles filled with gleefully stupid, action-packed dueling on a massive scale, that only he can provide. Alas, such games do not exist yet – and where they do seem to exist, they are shaky and fall apart when you touch them. Like Godzilla Unleashed for the Wii. Seriously, that shit was worse than the Roland Emmerich film. …no, I’m not just yearning for another Godzilla game. I’m yearning for a Godzilla game that is genuinely good, too.
Ultimately, the point of all this is twofold:
1) Where’s my next-gen Godzilla game you pricks
2) Kaiju Combat better not suck and if it does I will cry