Why can't Rocksteady make the next Ninja Turtles game?
Fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise all have different first memories with the series. For some, it was reading the comic books by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. For others it was watching the films which are, in my opinion, some of the greatest movies ever made. Still, others like me have fond memories of the awesome cartoon that used to come out Saturday mornings. Of course, there was also the Ninja Turtles line of video games. Man, those were some awesome games!
Looking back at the series, not every Ninja Turtles game has been a winner. There have certainly been a few duds, such as Turtles in Time Re-Shelled and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES. That said, there were multiple instances where the Ninja Turtles series of video games nailed it and delivered especially rewarding beat 'em up action. We haven't gotten a truly great Ninja Turtles game in quite some time, and damn it, I know I'm not the only who thinks it's about time we did.
Recently, a rumor surfaced regarding Ninja Turtles and Rocksteady Studios, the developer behind Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The studio was supposedly going to work on a new entry in the Ninja Turtles series. Naturally, gamers got totally stoked about the news and started imagining the possibilities. Would the game feature awesome and fluid combat akin to the Arkham games? Would there be an open world dynamic allowing players to take the Turtles through gritty areas across New York? How exactly would Rocksteady make a Ninja Turtles game?
Unfortunately, it looks like we won't be getting answers to any of those questions. The rumor that the developer behind the Arkham games was going to work on a Ninja Turtles title was quickly shot down when a particular image surfaced at the Toy Fair in New York this year. It turns out Activision is going to be working with the license. Now, "working with the license" is certainly a broad phrase that can mean anything, and as of right now, no one really knows what role Activision will take now that it has a stake in the franchise.
Personally, I don't really want Activision to create a new Ninja Turtles game. I've never been the biggest fan of the publisher, and I haven't really been impressed with most of its releases for several years. To be quite honest, Skylanders may be the first title published by Activision that I actually care about in years. Tony Hawk has seen better days, the Spider-Man games aren't that great, and I don't really care about Call of Duty in any capacity. I want to care and be stoked about a new Ninja Turtles game, but with Activision at the helm, I'm not so sure I can.
When I heard the rumor that Rocksteady was going to develop a Ninja Turtles title, I thought of how great the game could be. It would offer a dark comic book world with smooth beat 'em up combat. The story would be interesting, and the characters would all shine. Who knows? Maybe the cast from the old cartoon would make a comeback! Throw in an interactive world with hidden trinkets and optional side quests and you've got a robust package full of Ninja Turtles awesomeness!
Look at that awesome 1980s style!
I would have loved to see Rocksteady bring back classic characters. April O'Neil and Casey Jones could have acted as informants of sorts, offering the Turtles different missions, or each featuring their own mission strands. Then there are classic enemies like Bebop and Rocksteady. Remember those guys? And we can't possibly forget Krang and his crazy android suit. Even though I know it's not happening, I still get totally stoked just thinking about how Rocksteady (the developer, not the aforementioned character) would create personalities for all of these classic Ninja Turtles characters.
Sadly, knowing that Activision has its hands on the license gets me anything but stoked. I don't have anything in particular against the company, and I certainly don't hold some weird obsessive grudge against it. Simply put, I just don't think Activision is that good of a publisher. With the exception of the recent Skylanders and Vigilante 8 all those years ago, I haven't really given a damn about its products. Rocksteady, on the other hand, managed to take a great comic book license and create two stellar games around it. It's a damn shame it won't be doing the same with the Ninja Turtles.