OPINION: “Golden” Games Should Stay in the Dark

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

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Finally, I thought, a fantastic RPG that wasn’t developed by Square-Enix. An RPG that dared to compete with the 90s without all the security of being under the umbrella of a pre-established franchise. The two Golden Sun games did a lot of wonderful things. But more than anything, it seemed like the two games were meant to establish the mythology of the land versus try to tell the story of Isaac or Felix.

Speculation was abound about a possible sequel, as more and more fans reached the conclusion of the second game. Some insisted that the stories of Isaac and Felix would continue, while others, like me, figured a Golden Sun sequel would take place hundreds of years after the first two games, whereupon the events from before would be equated to legend or folklore. No one got the chance to be proven right though, as the Golden Sun series faded away for quite some time. For almost eight years, fans waited on the sidelines for some mention, any mention at all…

And then, during E3 2009, something no one expected happened.

Golden Sun DS was announced; the long-awaited third entry to the series could finally be enjoyed by all! I was so excited that something I always hoped for in the back of my mind was finally coming to light! More than a year went by between the game’s announcement and its release. The entire time, everyone was absolutely gushing with anticipation for what was to come.

And despite the positive direction this seems to be headed towards, allow me this: No game ever ends up being as good as its hardcore fan base anticipates it to be.

Every single aspect of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (2010) fell short of its predecessors. The gameplay, story, soundtrack, and ambiance were all there to reel in fans new and old, but even series veterans like myself will be hard-pressed to say that Dark Dawn amounted to a truly worthy successor. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn had me eager to pay the price of admission; it may have even kept me satisfied throughout my journey. But looking back on it after playing through the originals again—it just seemed to capitalize on the nostalgia of longtime fans. It never truly attempted to evolve the series.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still support a sequel to Dark Dawn if E3 yields a surprise announcement. But, now that I’ve experienced Nintendo’s version of the game I dreamt of for eight years—I would have rather the Golden Sun games have been laid to rest ten years back, only to be fondly remembered as classics, as hidden gems.

What I mean to say is—maybe all this clamoring for Chrono Break should stop? The “Chrono” series of games, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, had a “sequel” announced about a decade ago. Fans wait in the shadows, eager of some announcement of a game that…might not live up to even a tenth of the expectations they have in their heads.

Everyone clamoring for Kingdom Hearts 3, after Tetsuya Nomura has spent game after game making the overall plot of Kingdom Hearts (which used to be simple) unnecessarily complex… maybe Sora’s story should end?

Even Nintendo has dropped the ball when it comes to evolving their more niche franchises. Just look at the reception of Metroid: Other M.

Why can’t well-respected franchises be peacefully laid to rest in favor of developing the next Golden Sun, instead of taking the chance of ruining the perfect image of certain games that we’ve created in our heads?

There are exceptions to every rule, of course (and this is the part where we all take a moment of silence for Mega Man Legends 3), but…

The games you love, do you really trust their revivals to be handled by today’s nostalgia-driven developer?

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