I'm a seasoned gamer who's actively watched the many shifts in the gaming industry over the years, and several of those shifts have been beloved series being handed off to different developers. It's always hard seeing one of your favorite gaming franchises get into the hands of another studio, we fear what changes they have in mind as they envision the installment they're making or just if it will be a quality game in general. We all know how the story goes; new developers are given a long running series to continue and most the time it ends up in disappointment. Sly Cooper's story of getting another development studio has a happy ending though, and it's all thanks to Sanzaru Games.
For those who are unfamiliar with who Sanzaru Games is, they are a development team who took it upon themselves to create a Sly 4 after Sucker Punch flat-out told them they were too busy with the inFamous series to make one. They got the money together for a PS3 devkit and created a Sly 4 prototype that was later pitched to Sony who along with Sucker Punch were so impressed by it that they gave an enthusiastic "Ok" for them to make their very own Sly Cooper game. Fast forward to February of this year with Sly Cooper: Thieves of Time finally releasing, it's safe to say that Sanzaru Games not only delivered but made the series better than ever before.
Being passionate about a gaming series is one thing, but being a talented developer studio that can take someone else's series and not only stay true to it while making it even better is something you rarely see happen with video games. Sanzaru Games are in fact huge Sly fans, there wouldn't be a Sly 4 if they weren't, but the job they did with creating Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time showed what quality developers they are. Their work before the latest Sly game ranged from small, quirky Wii/DS titles to ports of Sony titles to other PlayStation platforms and it was clear those projects were too minor to let them show the kind of games they are capable of making. Given the opportunity to make a full PS3 game that took advantage of the console’s power, they proved that it went beyond passion for Sly and they just could make a great game that impressed in all areas. If they were tasked by Sony to do what they did for MediEvil what they were able to do for Sly Cooper, then I have no doubt they'd be just as successful.
Why MediEvil though, you ask? Well Sly Cooper and MediEvil share that they are both charming, cartoony series that have fantastic universes you can't help but be immersed in. It's hard not to fall in love with MediEvil every time you start up the PSOne Classic and watch the opening movie that pulls you in with the amazing atmosphere it sets. It's wonderfully grim, Tim Burton-esque visuals and soundtrack are largely what made the MediEvil series so impacting and without staying true to those aspects a new MediEvil wouldn't work. When Sanzaru Games were making Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, they made sure to get the same composers who worked on the previous Sly games as well as the original voice actors. It's not that they'd just be able to capture the charm and humor of MediEvil, but they actually respect and understand gamers taking the proper measures to retain the essence of the series they are making a new installment for. I'm confident they'd contact artists who worked on the original MediEvil titles as well as the composers of the series' music while also getting Sony's Cambridge studio (now merged with Guerilla Games) involved ensuring we get a true new MediEvil game.
It's not entirely about just successfully recreating MediEvil's universe to the last detail though, I also trust Sanzaru Games to make their MediEvil game to play and control as fun and responsive as the made their Sly game. MediEvil has a lot of catching up to do in the gameplay department as it is a series from the PS1 era, and as spectacular as it is going through the story and seeing all the spooky settings and grotesque enemies there are in the game, it controls rather poorly. That's pretty excusable given how dated the game is while control precision has gotten only better as the years have went by and it's fully expected MediEvil will be up to the standards of today's games.
Delving further into gameplay, Sanzaru Games displayed that they are full of great ideas when it comes to making new play styles and game mechanics with all the additions they made in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. Sucker Punch introduced the idea of disguises for Sly Cooper in Sly 3, but Sanzaru Games took it a step further giving each disguise its own abilities and gameplay styles that only made Sly's gameplay feel more expansive than ever. Sanzaru also made Sly's ancestor's playable in the game for the first time, playing like Sly but with unique powers and skills that made them different to each other. That alone was a great showing of all they can do with core gameplay and even take it up a notch with already implemented gameplay ideas. Given that MediEvil already has a wide variety of weapons for combat and different armors/forms that change up the abilities of Sir Daniel Fortesque, there are just so many possibilities of what Sanzaru Games would do as they evolve and expand upon each mechanic.
Sanzaru Games is simply the studio that's needed to finally bring MediEvil back and the perfect match for the series. As I played Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time it was hard not to picture Sir Dan walking through the levels, but imagined in a more Halloween-like setting, with how fitting the engine they created would be for a new MediEvil game. It seems like there is never the right time to bring back some cherished PlayStation series with how busy Sony's studios are, but Sanzaru Games can definitely be trusted with revitalizing another one with how impressive Sly: Thieves in Time was. I'd love for them to do a Sly 5, and given that they recently said though their Facebook they have a "flurry of announcements" to make later this year they may already be working on it. It just needs to be said that they should definitely consider working on the MediEvil series next.
No matter how many years go by since the MediEvil franchise went dormant there’s still fans clamoring for a new game in the series. With the exposure Sir Dan was given in PlayStation All-Stars and the launch of the PlayStation 4 this holiday season, now’s the right time to start planning the return of the series. PlayStation prides itself being a platform with lots of diversity when it comes to its game selection and a new MediEvil would only add to the PS4’s library. If the PS4 is truly hoping to be a “renaissance” with the level of diversity in game genres this gen that lives up to the PS1 era then let’s have Sanzaru Games work their magic and awaken Sir Daniel Fortesque for another adventure.