Nintendo We Series 2 Volume 3: Sin & Punishment: Fierce Deities
The franchise in question in this month’s addition of Nintendo We is an obscure and another largely derelict series of Nintendo’s, which for the longest time stayed in Japan; the first instalment of which not seeing either an American or European release until the late 2000s, when it was ported to Virtual Console almost a decade after it’s original release. The series in question is entitled Sin & Punishment.
Sin & Punishment is a saga of shooting games influenced primarily by a 1988 arcade game called Cabal, whereby players must move against and shoot tirades of enemies whilst scrolling through levels automatically. The game has largely been described as being like Star Fox on foot, with both Western and Japanese gaming critics giving the original game favourable reviews upon release, and was eventually followed up by Sin & Punishment: Star Successor for the Wii, which received even more critical acclaim than the first game from a wider array of reviewers. To me personally, although I spent a fair bit of time playing Star Successor in particular, and derived a great deal of enjoyment out of playing it, I did have issues with the game as well; mostly with it’s control scheme. I found that especially compared to Star Fox, the controls were quite stiff, and aiming felt like a chore at times; and so it became the biggest issue in the title that I wanted to address in my proposal for a new game in the series.
I believe a good catalyst for bringing back the series, or even rebooting it, would be to change the overall gameplay formula drastically, even in spite of the favourable reception it garnished; but to also change it in a way so that it still retains not only the intensity and the thrill in combat as the first two games, but in a way so it also retains the same sense of satisfaction in accumulating as many points as possible, whilst also offering something new, which would add greatly to it’s longevity. For a game series like this, I believe the best formula for Nintendo to adapt to this franchise would be isometric shooting. In recent years, more developers have adopted this style of play, and it has made for some particularly entertaining games, such as Helldivers and Lara Croft & the Temple of Osiris. However, there has been one developer in particular that has taking this formula and running with it over the last few years with their hit game Dead Nation, and their highly anticipated upcoming title Alienation, whom I think could work with Nintendo to bring a new and exciting kind of Sin & Punishment game to players everywhere; the Finnish indie outfit, Housemarque.
Aside from adopting the isometric shooting genre and making it their own, Housemarque in recent years have also developed some of the most addictive and critically acclaimed arcade games seen on seventh and eighth generation consoles, including Super Stardust and it’s many reincarnations, and Resogun; Resogun in particular being instrumental in establishing the PlayStation 4’s indie gaming presence early on into the console’s shelf life, and later being played by gamers all around the world, creating a massive fan base, and warranting the periodical introduction of new features to the game, such as ship customisation, and eventual DLC packs. I believe that a series like Sin & Punishment, with it’s dark story elements, emphasis on firearm combat and scope for exploration and expansion of it’s mythos, could seamlessly be adapted to not only the isometric shooting style of play but also to the arcade space shooting style of play incorporated in Resogun, which in my opinion, would give the series more variety than it has ever had before.
On top of that, many of Housemarque’s games also have endless modes, which again, could be incorporated into a future Sin & Punishment game created in a similar fashion to some of their most popular titles; in turn, giving a game like this infinite replay value. Housemarque’s extensive experience within the industry and eyes for creativity, along with those of Nintendo’s, could also theoretically provide scope to add even more new features and mechanics never before seen in any game like this prior, since Housemarque have been around for longer than many may have first suspected; the company being founded as Bloodhouse in the early 90s and releasing the first incarnation of the Stardust series as far back as 1993.
I believe that although Housemarque have finally had their big break in recent ears within the industry after many years of trying, there is still much more to come from them in the next five to ten years, and that collaborating with Nintendo could only mean newer and better things for both companies. And to me, a new Sin & Punishment game would be an ideal title for both developers to work on together.