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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Shvitzel's Forever Blue Preview

Looks like Shvitzel has come through yet again with an amazing preview. Enjoy this lengthy, but incredible preview.

Nintendo has successfully launched the Wii now and sales show no sign of stopping anytime soon. And yet, we’ve now entered that drought of games that always occurs right after a system’s launch and usually begins in January for any console. However, the silver lining on this dark cloud is what will be coming by the end of 2007. We’ve got a big titles coming like Battalion Wars II, Super Mario Galaxy, Brawl, but the focus of this discussion will be a less known title, one that has been around since we first saw footage from Wii games. Today, we’ll be discussing:

Forever Blue

The game is published by Nintendo but developed by a small company in Japan called Arika. Arika was founded by former Capcom employees and brought a few Street Fighter games and Mega Man games to consoles. Oh, they also made some games called Everblue for the PS2, but more on that later.

Footage of Forever Blue was first seen in the big E3 video comprised of Wii games last year and again at the Nintendo conferences held around the world in September. This footage was significantly improved and offered some new sights, but still, the footage was limited to about eight seconds.

The game, to the public’s knowledge, takes place in the ocean or in the sea where you, a scuba diver, can interact with the animal life and investigate it. Footage of the game has shown our friendly character swimming amongst whale sharks and manta rays around beautiful coral backgrounds. There was also a small clip of footage with a first person perspective showing a fish around coral. The Wiimote is supposed to be used in a variety of ways to perform diving maneuvers, but no controls have been confirmed at this time.

Nintendo has said that the ocean and weather in the game will change depending on the time of day and season. This probably means that at different points of the day and during different seasons, you’ll be able to see different fish and marine life. You could compare this to being like the fishing in Animal Crossing. Also, the game will be featuring Wi-Fi so you and friends can meet up and dive together!

As I said earlier, Arika developed some games for the Playstation2: Everblue and Everblue 2. Do the names sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so. IGN reported on this in early January and they believe that due to the history of Arika and the title of the game, Forever Blue will be either a direct sequel or a Wiimake of the game. The titles received minimal reviews from IGN, who said that the experience was very fun, "a sometimes beautiful scuba diving experience, but lacked character and story development." Perhaps this is Arika’s chance to redeem themselves while giving the Wii an exciting and innovative, although un-conventional title. But then again, isn’t that what the Wii is all about?

The game is due to hit in Japan in 2007 and it is presumed it will hit in the U.S. by 2007's end as well.

Now, I’m going to sit down with Kaiser_Glider to have a little discussion about this game. We each ask a question and then respond to the other’s response. It’s a little something new we’re trying in previews, so we’ll see how it goes. Let us know if you like the debate! So, I ask the first question:

Shvitzel: How do you think this will affect sales on the Wii? Will it draw in more nongamers? Attract traditional gamers?

Kaiser: I really don't see this title garnering much attention really, not from gamers, and not from non gamers. The problem with these kind of games is the lack of marketing and the fact that only people who are willing to search al of the information regarding the title will know it.

Shvitzel: That's an excellent point. This game has gone under the radar for this long and there is no evidence of that changing anytime soon. However, I feel that this has the potential to be a sleeper hit, something we saw a lot on the GCN. That might inspire people to pick it up a few years after it launch. Also, once we get more footage of it and Nintendo starts to comment more on it, the response to it might change.

Kaiser: Oh most definitely, if Nintendo decides to hype this game up then the response and the attention will go up; there is nothing wrong with sleeper hits, but I can't help but think that the lack of sales that these games have will affect the company, not developing a sequel, prequel or whatever, afterall without solid sales there is no future.

Shvitzel: I think that there always is the chance for the game to show up again. Everblue didn't sell well and it would appear that Arika is already trying again.

Kaiser: Yeah, and chances are this Forever Blue will be kind of a remake, or so it seems. The game has a lot of potential, IGN confirmed online play when the title was first announced and also it seems the graphics look amazing; this would make a title a little better known, but it doesn't seem that way.

Second question:

Kaiser: What makes this game interesting to you? Is is the fact that it's a different kind of game, is it the thought of exploring the vast ocean with friends, or what would you say has gotten your attention?

Shvitzel: I don't know what about it is so appealing but from the moment I first saw the video of it, I was so intrigued. I guess it is just because the title appears to be so un-conventional. It is different. It isn't what we've played time and time again. Wi-Fi sounds good and I'm sure it will be fun, but it's just the premise that has me so interested. I'm eagerly awaiting more news because everything I've heard this far has been only kept me interested.

Kaiser: The game really seems fun, in a not so conventional sort of way, similar to what the Touch Generations on the DS is doing, titles that are "out of the norm" per say, but turn out to be pretty fun. What has gotten me excited about Forever Blue is the fact of exploring the ocean, be it with a friend or alone, and maybe, just maybe take snapshots and send them to friends on my Wii Address Book, just like I told Kezay. As I said before the game has a lot of potential.

Shvitzel: I think they should be called Point Generations! It's un-conventional, but looks fun. That's just what Nintendo seems to have a lot of the time. Hopefully, titles like this will continue to pop up. Who knows what the next one will be....

So, what do you all think of this title? Interested, or would you rather have another more traditional title? Why are you interested if you are? Also, what are your responses to Kaiser and my conversation? Does this title have the power to attract nongamers or traditional gamers?

It seems like Nintendo was looking for a hit, and I think they found it. What about you?