The DS's Incredible 2007 Potential
Cody Musser gives us a window into his handheld hopes & dreams. Could the DS's 2007 line-up surpass the superlative 06?
Focusing on the handheld market in particular allows us at Modojo to take a look at the coming year a little differently than those who are watching the console scene specifically. While the large scale releases for consoles in 2007 are mostly laid out, and already under the gaze of gamers world over, handhelds are pretty unique in that the production time is genuinely shorter, and the releases come much sooner to their initial announcements. So, while we have games like Halo 3, Resident Evil 5, and Final Fantasy XIII for consoles that are pushing against 2008 already, there are only a minuscule number of portable games that have been announced for any later than this coming summer. Taking that into account, it's safe to say that there aren't just a few amazing games that are yet to be announced for 2007, but there's actually a mountain of them, especially when you consider that we have basically no knowledge at all of how the Holiday 2007 season will be shaping up.
We can only expect that with both popular handhelds having larger installed bases, and the DS in particular coming off an amazing year, the number of quality releases this Holiday should dwarf the already large number of games that dropped in 2006.
With that thought as our inspiration, we've taken the task of placing our bets on what 2007 could possibly hold for handhelds. Well, it's not as if we've dropped ideas in a hat and selected what we lucked upon, but using some serious number-crunching and hypothesizing, it seems as if some of these things are more than likely to be occurring within the year. Don't count on everything, as we couldn't possibly have them all correct, and definitely don't imagine that we're quoting some hidden industry information. We're not here to rumormonger, but only to look at what we feel is the realistic future. So, what exactly do we feel are some of the unannounced handheld happenings in 2007?
New Super Mario Bros. 2: The New-er
This is the most beautiful instance of how development time for handheld titles being shorter than a normal games development time is going to be beneficial to gamers. New Super Mario Bros. is still racking up sales around the world, but expect Nintendo to capitalize on never letting those sales falter. Just as sales for New Super Mario Bros. should probably be wrapping up, and we do say probably, sometime around next fall; expect New Super Mario Bros. 2 to be making its way to store shelves. This is THE DS game that Nintendo wants to have available for Holiday '07, and do you think they don't already know that? The announcement for this release will probably come sooner than later, and perhaps something could be revealed as soon as GDC in March. Mr. Miyamoto will be giving a keynote address, and it is just at moments like that, in which big bombs like this game tend to drop onto the radar.
Estimated Release: Fall/Winter 2007
Metroid DS. Dread Samus? Dreary Silence? Dropped Suit?
The announcement that Metroid fans have been waiting years for in 2007? Sure, why not? 2007 could very well be the Year of the Samus for all we know; and as far as we do know, it already is. Metroid Prime 3 will be released sometime in 2007 for Wii, Super Metroid, most realistically the series' crowning achievement will undoubtedly hit the Wii's Virtual Console at some point, and the time is finally ripe for Metroid DS to make its shocking debut. The interesting debate is of course, what type of game will Metroid DS be? Will it be a return to the 2D Metroid worlds that set the standard for the series, and that old-school fans are pining for, or will it be in the vein of Metroid Prime, or Metroid Prime Hunters? We've got our money on the return to 2D, as Nintendo has seemingly been comfortable going that route with almost all of their other popular franchises. If GDC isn't the time for Metroid DS to appear, then expect it soon after, perhaps at the Min-E3 conference. Although this game will probably be announced in 2007, this is a title that could realistically find release a little later, maybe slipping into 2008.
Estimated Release: Winter 2007/Spring 2008
PSP Redesign? No. Price-Drop? Yes
A little different than game announcements, is the announcement that Sony is going to be required to make sometime this coming year about the state of their handheld system. While many fear the announcement might require a priest of some sort, and an audience garbed in all black, that probably isn't the announcement we'll be seeing. The state of the PSP is probably going to be a little like the State of the Union, in which everyone says really good things about the past and the future, but never dares to mention the hideous, glaring faults that are actually eating away at their very souls. Somewhere in that announcement Sony will HAVE to officially announce a price-drop for their hardware. If they continue to refuse, then truthfully, retailers are probably going to start dropping the price themselves in order to push units, and be hit with less of a loss than they otherwise would. Expect the price-drop sometime in 2007, but more interestingly, we wouldn't hold out hope for the redesign that fans are clamoring for, and that the system really needs. Sony plays the redesign game rarely, and more often than not, years after the console's release.
Estimated: Summer 2007
Probability Price-Drop: 85%
Probability Redesign: 10%
Kid Icarus DS - The One from Left Field
The announcement that is eating at our core is probably the one we'll least likely be seeing, but we can't help but feel as if something is up. Nintendo's playing a pretty sly game including Pit, otherwise known as Kid Icarus, in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and being so hasty in releasing the original to the Virtual Console in Japan. Nintendo has Kid Icarus on the mind, and we've got a feeling it isn't just because they were feeling nostalgic. The Kid Icarus franchise is going to be making a very exalted, and much deserved return to the forefront of gaming, but alas, will it be for the Wii, or for the DS? The truth is, if the game is happening at all, it will probably be on the Wii. However, pending the success of Kid Icarus Wii, or Kid Icarus DS, whichever comes first, the game will surely appear on the opposite system in time. This hypothesis does have some pretty concrete facts on which to stand, but that doesn't mean it isn't the loftiest of the bunch. Here's hoping that our whining at least wins over someone important.
Estimated: Fall 2007 (Most likely on Wii)
The rest of 2007 is going to be filled with all sorts of other announcements that we haven't yet been able to foresee, or potentially foresee, or even imagine because of their sheer outlandishness. Luckily, we can think of a few more (slightly outrageous) things that 2007 might be known for come 2008, and here's the quick list:
Pokemon Diamond/Pearl cause riots upon their US release and bring about the apocalypse, albeit, a very cute and charming apocalypse. Probability: 65%
Another Sonic Rush game is announced for the DS, and it is again very good, continuing the proof that anyone can make a good Sonic game these days, just not Team Sonic. Probability: 85%
When Maple Story DS launches North Korea abandons all communistic traits and surrenders to South Korea, with the conditions of surrender that all North Koreans receive a free year's subscription to the game. Kim Jong-Il becomes the next person in a long line of Korean fatalities from those who refuse to stop playing video games past the 36-straight-hour mark. Probability: 10%
No less than four Mega Man games are released amidst the various handheld consoles, and all of them are, as expected, very average. Probability: 90%
Sega FINALLY announces some version of House of the Dead for the DS. Yeah, we're kidding. The world is not that awesome. Probability: 5%
I am given a raise, a penthouse, and Shigeru Miyamoto's home phone number, to call and discuss a few plans about 2008. Probability: 100% ... guaranteed to never, ever happen. Well, at least the raise bit; me and Shiggy party all the time!
Anything else that seems like it will be making an appearance in 2007? Will it be the year of Castlevania, or the year of Final Fantasy? Will Reggie kick more ass, but take less names? Let us know what you think, or why you think we're wrong by sounding off in the comments and forums.