As expected, this year’s E3 has had its fair share of new announcements and first looks at upcoming sequels and new IPs, but it’s also been a year filled with surprising nods toward cult classics and games that have either faded with time or haven’t been relevant in years. Here’s a list of the biggest (and most surprising) out-of-nowhere cult classics that were resurrected and mentioned at various points throughout the week.
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Phantom Dust takes place after the collapse of the world. A mysterious dust covers everything, and those who are exposed to it lose their memory over time. Some even gain the ability to project their thoughts into actions, leading to the game’s emphasis on psychic ability combat.
Phantom Dust coupled mechanics of classic deck building games with fast-paced combat for a fluid (and surprisingly well-detailed) action game. It might not be the most easily recognizable name in the Xbox lineup, but its existence is nonetheless important. The original Xbox has a long history of fantastic games, many of which managed to slip under the radar. The fact that Microsoft is willing to acknowledge this and make good on bringing it back gives us hope that we’ll see more cult reboots on the Xbox One.
CONKER (IN PROJECT SPARK)
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The appearance of the binge-drinking squirrel Conker during Project Spark’s feature at the Microsoft conference, was both a warm hug and giant middle finger for fans of classic Rareware. Ever since his days in Conker’s Bad Fur Day on the Nintendo 64, Conker has been a beloved character for his brash and rude sense of humor.
Ever since Rareware was purchased by Microsoft and moved to developing Kinect games, he and all of Rare’s other beloved properties have gone dark. His appearance in the Microsoft press conference was a brief moment of bliss, but the fact that Conker is only a playable character in a content creation game was a pretty big disappointment. It did, however, give hope that we might one day see him return in all his glory.
FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0
Once a Japan-only title, Final Fantasy Type-0 will finally be coming to America.
Originally released for the PSP in Japan in 2011, Type-0 has long been sought after by fans, many of which even took to making their own English translation of the game. The story of the twelve magic students of Class Zero will, for the first time, finally be available for western gamers. It’s an encouraging announcement that bodes well for Final Fantasy fans and shows that Square Enix really does want to do right by them.
Quite possibly the strangest mention during the entirety of E3, Vib Ribbon came up twice onstage during Sony’s press conference. The strange part? It wasn’t an announcement of the game’s future arrival, but more of a gesture from new SCEA president/CEO Shawn Layden to connect with Sony fans.
Although it hasn’t achieved the same immortal status of PaRappa the Rapper, it was still a revolutionary rhythm game on the PS One that created entire levels out of the tempo and rhythm of a player’s personal music choice and had them guide a rabbit-like creature through the spikes and spirals formed by the song. It was kind of a cruel tease for many, but perhaps a mere mentioning of the game will lead to it making another appearance at some point in the future.
Easily the most surprising news of the Sony conference was that of a remastered Grim Fandango making its way to the PlayStation 4 and Vita. Frequently lauded as one of the best adventure games of all time, Grim Fandango was among the first to use computer graphics over pre-rendered backgrounds.
Its noir film and Latino culture influence made it even more unique, and it was the humor inherent in so many of old LucasArts games that capped one of the most beloved games ever made. Obtaining the license and ability to remake the game is something of a miracle, and it gives hope to classic adventure game fans that maybe we haven’t totally lost many of the greats to the ages.