Later this year, Sega will be releasing “Sonic Generations” to mark the 25th anniversary of their blue hedgehog (who knew hedgehogs live that long?). By now though, Sonic must have taken note of his age, and is perhaps considering decreasing his busy schedule to accomodate his aging? After all, Mario recently turned 25, and there have been claims that the character is over-used. Perhaps it’s time for Sega to give some more attention to their other child?
In April 2007, Famitsu magazine revealed the title of a game that had been rumoured for several months in advance – “NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams“, a Wii-game sequel to “NiGHTS into Dreams” – a Sega Saturn game that debuted 11 years earlier. Journey of Dreams was released the same year (2008 in Europe) to mixed reviews – the majority of which pointed out the rather clunky Wii Remote controls (I personally use the classic controller…because yeah, the Wii remote controls aren’t perfect). However, with the advent of Wii Motion Plus and a powerful handheld with a touch screen (The
Vita 3DS), perhaps NiGHTS should be given another shot?
I will be honest, when Into Dreams was released, I was only four years old, so I haven’t played it. However, I picked up Journey of Dreams from a random corner store while I was in Norwich with my family for £20 some years ago – I got stuck on the first level and disregarded it. It was only when I recently picked the game up again that I really saw its worth. First off, the CG video clips are quite astounding, especially considering that the Wii isn’t considered the most powerful console on the market. Secondly, the art style is fantastic. If I had to describe it, it would be something like “Tim Burton on a good day” in that it has a similar flavour, but isn’t that creepy (Kind of like Atsushi Okubo’s manga series Soul Eater).
In recent years, Sega’s main mascot, Sonic, has gained quite the reputation as being rather cocky. Sure, NiGHTS isn’t a depressed jester; but s/he has a wonderful child-like charm; being incredibly kind to visitors, but also with a bit of a mischievous side, often acting without thinking of the consequences. However, as I said before, NiGHTS comes across as a child, which really steps up the adorable factor (Also, s/he has a British accent to boot!)
I mentioned earlier that the franchise should be given another shot – even Takashi Iizuka (head of Sonic Team, and co-creator of Journey of Dreams) has said he would love to do a third NiGHTS game, if Sega let him. I was thinking earlier about how such a game could happen, considering the flaws of the last one. I was also looking at the vast world the purple jester was floating around in thinking “This would look amazing in 3D”, then, like a mad scientist who had finally cracked the code to some secret formula, I grinned rather manically – we need a 3DS NiGHTs game, which I have rather playfully dubbed NiGHTS: 3Dreams (Well, Kingdom Hearts had already used the 3D thing with Dream Drop Distance, so what else was I supposed to do?). Now, picture this:
On the bottom screen is where the player will control NiGHTS using the stylus; with each stroke, s/he would float in that direction. Circles could be drawn to use “paraloops” – portals that absorb enemies and other things. While this is happening, on the top screen, you will be able to see NiGHTS floating across various incredible landscapes in full 3D – perhaps with the odd twinkle dust coming out of the screen? Also, imagine walking past another player in the street, and going home only to discover that you can visit their “My Dream” (an artificial life simulator where you can capture, raise and combine the inhabitants of the two worlds (Nightopia and Nightmaren) in a sandbox-like environment).
While I’m seriously backing the 3DS, there is also potential for the Wii U (After all, there has yet to be a handheld NiGHTS title). Think of the above scenario, just replacing 3D with HD, and the bottom screen with the Wii U controller; there could also be come kind of gimmick to the game revolving around the screen on the remote – maybe the controller shows the child’s day, and the actions taken there affect the dreams (much like in real life)? Sure, we’d lost the “StreetPass Dream” feature, but Journey of Dreams uses Wi-Fi connection to connect to someone else’s Dream, so that could always make a comeback.
It’s almost been five years since NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams was released in Japan and America (In fact, this year is the 15th anniversary of NiGHTs into Dreams’ release – Sega are just too busy hyping Sonic’s 20th). I definitely think that it’s time a new NiGHTS game was made; and as technology is evolving, so do the possibilities! (Also, Sonic games are too fast paced for my eyes…they hurt my brain xD).
How about you – do you think we need a new NiGHTS game, and if so, what platform? And what features would you like to see?