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JOURNALIST HACKJOB: How to modernize On-Rails! ... I think.

The VGM Lover

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(Note: For this topic, I will be making sure that everyone, not just active members, but guests, and newcomers looking for info about the franchise, are covered and informed, so try not to facepalm too many times over details you will find obvious.)

Star Fox Zero, the most recent big On-Rails-focused game since 2012's Kid Icarus: Uprising, was released on April 21, and quickly disappeared from public interest in a matter of months after a mixed reception from seemingly all corners of the internet, and disappointingly low sales.

Some people blame this game's ultimate failure on the notion that maybe the On-Rails genre is no longer relevant to the modern era, that it's simply dead.

Let me just be as blunt as a sorta wannabe, sorta not wannabe journalist can be:

It's NOT.

A dying genre is NEVER a contributing factor to a game's failure. It's the other way around! In fact, if you ask me, a genre never dies. Like a Spartan, it's just missing in action. 

The only reason the genre itself seems to be disappearing off the face of the earth is because, well, seemingly no major developer/publisher at all BUT Nintendo seems to know it even exists, anymore! It's arguably one of the most ignored, and under-utilized genres in video game history! Why is this, though? I find it quite hard to understand, myself, as I'm trying to think, based on what little research I could make. Is it profits? Is it the industry itself deciding what genre is relevant, and what's not?

Or is it just that nobody in this day and age knows what a Rail Shooter even is? Then again, that's what http://www.giantbomb.com/on-rails/3015-169/ is for, isn't it? Hmm...let me try again.

Or is it that nobody in this day and age knows how to even make one anymore? At least, how to make one that speaks to the modern audience, to the modern age of gaming, gives us something that truly blows us away.

If there's one way to do it, we can focus on the franchise that defined a certain aspect of the On-Rails genre. This morning, while thinking about the Star Fox series, and how it could've been a royal masterpiece, selling millions and millions o' copies and actually reviving the franchise, I was reminded of this fan-made video at some point: 


Right at the 1:34 mark is what got me thinking. Just, slow down the pace a little to give the player some breathing room, throw in a bunch more enemies, scratch your teammates back, and actually have them scratch yours for once, and perhaps we could end up having one o' the greatest opening levels in On-Rails history on our hands. Kid Icarus: Uprising was successful in its own way, because not only was it visually pleasing to look at, it had style, it had drive, it had beautiful level design, filled with intense sequences of great enemy placement through massive lightning storms, jaw-dropping fleet battles, and mesmerizing space scenes. Needless to say, Star Fox needs a lot more of this in the future. The bar has been raised. If Nintendo really wants to impress us for the next Star Fox game, they've gotta have at least 2 of the things that Kid Icarus Uprising had.

That's without even mentioning the controls, however, and quite sadly in my opinion, the controls of Star Fox Zero, as many of you already know, didn't exactly bode well with a lot o' people because of how awkward they were to use. I've got a solution to it, however. To me, the control scheme was really the worst part. I would suggest putting it back to what it was back in Assault, but wait! The Wii U gamepad doesn't feature squeezable triggers, right? No worries. Just make the triggers into the tried and true 'barrel roll' buttons, and that'll be it. The best perk to having this control scheme is how fun it'll be to spam the boost button again, but I think this'll compliment the motion controls as well.

YES, I'm saying the motion controls should be kept. I can see why many have come to hate these controls, but oh man, that's a WHOLE other article, and who knows when or if I'll ever try to tackle that in detail! Basically, it needs calibration, and I mean some MAJOR calibration, but for now, the aiming reticle is also a cause for concern. It's placing on the TV screen was NOT thought out very well. When On-Rails, the second reticle looked squeezed back, like it was trying to avoid a wall. A wall that could literally be a mile from it. It should have been pushed way farther out to accommodate the draw distance of the game. Otherwise, we could've gone the Assault approach once again by letting the laser lock onto whatever can be targeted on screen. Either way, it can be done a lot more effectively, and with proper efficiency when the right amount of care and effort is put in.

Oh yeah. And don't forget to actually give us some online multiplayer, this time. Throw in everything I have stated above, and making the multiplayer work should be no problem, even as a mere afterthought. 

The potential. SO MUCH potential can be seen in the On-Rails genre. If we had at least some of these ideas put into a new game, we could, I don't know, potentially have a revolution in our hands! A brand-new mainstream opportunity is in our grasp. Someone, whether it be from Nintendo, or any other major publisher or developer, just needs to realize this, and get to work!


... This was the biggest collection of words I have ever made in my entire life. O_O So, how did I do? Do you think perhaps, I could pursue journalism as an actual job, at least in the freelance space? What about the article itself? Is it written well enough? Do you agree with it in some form or another? All comments and criticisms are very much welcome. Thanks for reading, everyone, and please have an awesome day!

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Honestly, I thought Zero did do some good things for the series such as transformations and co-op play. I think where the game chokes up is the lack of content and that challenging, arcadey feel 64 and the snes games had.  I just can't bring myself to replay Zero as much as I did with those other games.

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That's exactly how I feel about this game. The stuff I stated above should be just what the next game needs to rectify these shortcomings, I hope. Oh yeah. If the NX does utilize achievements, if we're to go with these ideas, it might need these achievements in spades, with proper rewards.

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