2012 Gaming Nexus IP Draft: Rounds 5 & 6

2012 Gaming Nexus IP Draft: Rounds 5 & 6

Written by Jeremy Duff on 5/3/2012 for
More On: Gaming Nexus IP Draft
Welcome to the final day of the 2012 Gaming Nexus IP Draft! We had fully intended to wrap the entire process up after 5 rounds but then decided that we were having so much fun, we elected to add a 6th / bonus round.

Before we head to today’s picks, let’s recap the draft thus far:

Round 1

1. Final Fantasy (Sean Cahill)
2. Super Mario Bros. (John Yan)
3. Call of Duty (Travis Huinker)
4. Mass Effect (Nathaniel Cohen)
5. Mega Man (Russell Archey)
6. Grand Theft Auto (Dan Keener)
7. Angry Birds (Jeremy Duff)
8. Warcraft (Charles Husemann)

Round 2
1. Battlefield (Charles Husemann)
2. LEGO (Jeremy Duff)
3. Pokemon (Dan Keener)
4. Kingdom Hearts (Russell Archey)
5. Red Faction (Nathaniel Cohen)
6. Diablo (Travis Huinker)
7. The Elder Scrolls (John Yan)
8. Halo (Sean Cahill)

Round 3
1. The Legend of Zelda (Sean Cahill)
2. Star Wars (John Yan)
3. Star Trek (Traivs Huinker)
4. Red Dead (Nathaniel Cohen)
5. Borderlands (Russell Archey)
6. Madden (Dan Keener)
7. Street Fighter (Jeremy Duff)
8. FIFA (Charles Husemann)

Round 4
1. The Witcher (Charles Husemann)
2. God of War (Jeremy Duff)
3. Uncharted (Dan Keener)
4. BioShock (Russell Archey)
5. Assassin’s Creed (Nathaniel Cohen)
6. Fallout (Travis Huinker)
7. Minecraft (John Yan)
8. Resident Evil (Sean Cahill)

Now, onto the final round rounds!

Developer(s): Namco, Project Aces
Publisher(s): Namco Bandai
First release: Air Combat (1992, arcade)
Latest Release: Ace Combat- Assault Horizon Legacy (2011, Nintendo 3DS)

So with the RPG, FPS, Adventure, and Horror genres secured with my first four picks, I need to think outside the box with the last round. I need a title that spans over multiple generations, has a niche' following, and has managed to jump into another realm with the smartphone explosion. So what's left to lock down?  It's quite simple, really: I want a flight sim. I want a title that allows people to still get the feel of an FPS title, but make sure that it takes far more than just camping ability to be successful (I'm looking at you, CoD MW3) online. Yet, at the same time, I want a solid storyline.  I want to be able to have it in a world where futureweapons are at the forefront, yet keep it realistic at the same time.

In short, I'll take Ace Combat.

Here's a series that a lot of people forget about, considering the sales that it has racked up over its lifespan. The main reason for picking this franchise is the latest expansion it has undergone.  With being around on both Xbox and Playstation, it has moved to both handheld and mobile gaming, giving it exposure on all major gaming platforms.

Jeremy Duff: Ace Combat is an intriguing series to me because despite a lack of commercial success (compared to the industry juggernauts), it always manages to seel just enough to keep the sequels coming. This is a solid series and a great pick this far into the draft!

Dan Keener: While at first glance this is another “heart” pick from Sean, this franchise has been one of the best under the radar games in the current generation.  The IP has also made a very smooth jump to the mobile market as well.  As the only direct combat flight sim taken (although H.A.W.X. went later in the Clancy bundle), Sean did really good at this spot.

Developer(s): Bullfrog Productions
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
First release: Dungeon Keeper (1997, PC)
Latest Release: Dungeon Keeper 2 (1999, PC)

You know what,  I'm going to go something different with my last pick. I want something that hasn't been done in a while and something that can offer me a challenge to redo; perhaps, an IP that had a quick bite of popularity and quickly faded away, because the main guy decided to do some stupid RPG series for the Xbox 360 and some silly god game. With my last pick, I'm going for Dungeon Keeper.

First off, I’d make it expandable and editable via a user community and allow for building and interaction from web, mobile, and PC. Then I'd make it have a real time option where you could check in on your dungeon you want as well as be alerted by certain events such as when a hero gets to a certain area. I'd also allow for players to play both sides, as one can build dungeon while a group of friends would try and grab the treasure. Those that are successful can use the money and any loot to build their dungeon.

I'd also build a nice stats component so you can see a lot of data on how your dungeon is doing and what areas can be improved. Keep the game updated with new monsters and traps via DLC, but charge reasonably for them. Perhaps release large themed packs.

Sean Cahill: Do gamers today even remember this franchise?

Charles Husemann: Dungeon Keeper, the franchise that keeps being remade by different developers with no success?  That Dungeon Keeper?  My giant/evil publishing company  (I'm debating between calling it Chucktavision or Chucktonic Arts) looks forward to buying your publishing company (Yan HQ?) when you spend all your money on this gaming snipe hunt.

    John Yan response: Yes because Mario,  Star Wars, Elder Scrolls  and Minecraft are all     games that are going to bankrupt my company. Excuse
       me while I roll around in some     more $100 bills and light my fireplace with boxes of the Witcher.

    Charles Husemann response: Bah, we'll see who's laughing at the end of the year when
       Witcher 2 is raking in best RPG awards!

     John Yan response: Yes because awards always means top sales. </sarcasm>

Dan Keener: This was my worst pick in the draft. The IP had two moderately successful titles, and a third that never left the development floor.  The biggest concern is that the IP is owned by an Asian outfit that wants to bring a MMO to the Chinese/Asia market exclusively, which means no Euros or dollars going forward.

Developer(s): Double Fine Productions
Publisher(s): THQ
First release: Psychonauts (2005, Microsoft Xbox)
Latest Release: Psychonauts (2011, Mac OS X)

My final pick is one of my favorite games and deserves some attention. I'm going to buy Psychonauts and provide the world with a sequel that is so demands. In addition, Tim Schafer is included with the purchase as a bonus.

Jeremy Duff: Do we get to rule on the Schafer inclusion? Seeing as how this is the last round, I guess this serves as an adequate pick but it still ends up as a pick of the heart.

Dan Keener: This was a weird pick by Travis based on his strategy. Up to this point, he had grabbed power titles left and right, but then comes in with what is essentially an arcade game at best.  While there is some buzz about a sequel (shot down by studio Double Fine), this was a questionable pick due to the limited sales and exposure this IP can generate.

Developer(s): Visceral Games
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
First release: Dead Space (2008, multi-platform)
Latest Release: Dead Space 2 (2011, multi-platform)

I have to go with Dead Space and I picked it because it's a sci-fi universe that maybe isn't as big as Mass Effect yet, but has it's own very different ideas for what the future will be like. I just have a special place in my heart for franchises like Dead Space.  

If I was making a Dead Space game, I would continue to play up the Die-Hard-like nature on Dead Space 2 and the John McClain-like nature of protagonist Issac Clarke. More epic set pieces, more incredible scenarios that no one should survive, more exotic locations, more violent conflicts with the followers of Altman, and more story about the Markers and their role in the necro-morph phenomenon. What ever I do, I would never change Issac's arsenal of re-purposed mining tools he uses as weapons, and perhaps I would add mining vehicles to the mix.

Of course, with a budding future history like Dead Space, other genres could be in play as well.  Maybe a tactical FPS is in order starring a Marine unit (and the player could use the full suit of military weapons and vehicles), or perhaps an RPG set on some human colony or space station.  Dead Space already sort of has casting and upgradable armor and weapons.  It's not a long trip from there to a full RPG. They would all, however, revolve around the Markers and their role in the church of Unitology.

Travis Huinker: Definitely a lot of potential for that series as well! Imagine a "Aliens" take on the Dead Space series.That would be impressive! Mining tools? Not this time, we are coming prepared with machine guns and flame throwers.

Charles Husemann: Dead Space fell to the fifth round?  How did that happen as visceral has created one of the best action/horror franchses this generation.

Dan Keener: Nathan grabbed EA surprise IP hit and r n with it here. I like this pick based on where we are in the draft and how much of the game has yet to be tapped. A solid pick that should pay dividends down the road.

Developer(s): Vigil Games
Publisher(s): THQ
First release: Darksiders (2010, multi-platform)
Latest Release: Darksiders II (2012, multi-platform)

The main reason for this pick? While I haven't played a lot of the original, what I played of Darksiders II makes me want more. The controls are nice and fluid, it's easy to pick up and learn the techniques, and I love the skill tree concept, though only having two seems a bit limited.  Then again, it's Darksiders, not Diablo.  Still, this is definitely a game I'll be picking up at launch and from what I've played, I ahve no doubt in my mind that it'll be as good, if not better than the original.

Jeremy Duff: Russell has made a solid late-choice here with Darksiders. It is a fresh franchise with a lot of fuel still left in the can. You could tell endless tales of the various Horseman of the Apocalypse, all throughout time.

Dan Keener: Russell did pretty good picking up such a young IP this late in the draft.  Just like Nathan’s Dead Space pick right before this, I believe the IP has room for growth and if done properly, will be a great pick.  The only concern will be if THQ can survive its current struggles.

Developer(s): Harmonix
Publisher(s): MTV Games
First release: Rock Band (2007, multi-platform)
Latest Release: Rock Band Blitz (2012, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network)

I debated taking the Spyro/Skylanders IP at this selection, but I simply could not pass up Rock Band at this point in the draft. While the future of the game, and the genre in general, is up in the air, what cannot be denied is the viability of the Rock Band Music store and the 100 million tracks that have been sold since November of 2007. That my friends is about a consistent revenue stream as you can get. While I do not know what else can be done with the game mechanics, I definitely would move to try and secure the rights to The Rolling Stones, U2, Led Zeppelin and the other digital music holdouts. Harmonix announced an arcade version at PAX East that will keep the game a bit fresh for the immediate future, but long-term growth is indeed in the music library of the title.

Jeremy Duff: Ooh, as good as the series is commercially, the future isn’t bright for this concept. The music / rhythm genre is on the downswing in a major way and aside from releasing more tracks, there isn’t much more you can do with this franchise.

Developer(s): Nintendo, Rare, Namco (among others)
Publisher(s): Nintendo
First release: Star Fox (1993, Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
Latest Release: Star Fox 64 3D (2011, Nintendo 3DS)

Just like most of the other staff members, I want a space epic in my portfolio. With the big names already being taken, I figured I would go with one that leaves a ton of room for interpretation and expansion: Star Fox.

Nintendo has toyed around with the series in terms of branching off into other genres but I think that there is plenty more to do. Aside from intergalactic space battle simulators, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure and action games as well as war sims. Nintendo had the right idea with Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox: Assault, but the execution was bad. I want to remedy that.

Dan Keener: I don’t know much about this franchise and I am sure Jeremy has a plan for it, but it seems a bit of a reach at this point with what went in the bonus round and some titles that weren’t even drafted at all.

Developer(s): Riot Games
Publisher(s): Riot Games
First release: League of Legends (2009, PC)
Latest Release: League of Legends (2009, PC)

What's the number one PC game on the market right now? Not so fast World of Warcraft as League of Legends is now the most played game on the market right now (excluding social/casual). The folks at Riot Games are growing like crazy and it is the perfect example of how Free to Play can succeed.  

Yeah, I went free to play and so have 32M people who have made LoL one of the biggest games on the market.  I know it's PC and it's probably going to be hurt a bit when DoTA 2 comes out but this is the future of gaming.

Jeremy Duff: I wish that I had thought of this earlier; fantastic final selection. The game has flourished on the F2P level and could easily shift to a revenue model... LoL fans are rabid!

Dan Keener: This is a hot game right now and several industry folks are into it knee-deep.  I think this was a good “futures” pick for Chuck and definitely a game you can get caught up in.

Developer(s): Wargaming.NET
Publisher(s): Wargaming.NET
First release: World of Tanks (2010, PC)
Latest Release: World of Warplanes (2011, PC)

I have to admit that I really wanted to go traditional here as well but after meeting with them at GDC I'm making another F2P pick with the "World of" games from Wargaming.NET.

Not a lot of people know this but World of Tanks has 23million customers and while only 75% don't pay anything that still leaves almost 6million people who pay for something in the game.  With World of WarPlanes and World of Battleships coming out in the coming years, this is going to quickly become one of the biggest free to play franchises on the market.

Mock all you want, I won't be able to hear you with all the money clogging my ears!

Jeremy Duff: Another F2P game? I got ridiculed for taking the F2P Angry Birds, yet Chuck gets away with 2 of them and an obscure PC-RPG? This commentary is biased!

Dan Keener: I’m not sure about this one. There seems to be a lot of interest from gamers when a new version of these games pops, but I worry about the viability of releasing so many titles and trying to keep them all fresh and updated.

Developer(s): Redstorm Entertainment, Ubisoft Entertainment
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
First release: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six (1998, multi-platform)
Latest Release: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon- Future Soldier (2012, multi-platform)

Ok, I really wanted a shooter for my portfolio, and my original plan was to take the Resident Evil franchise and spin it off a couple of different directions, including a shooter... but Mr. Cahill screwed that whole plan up.

So, my decision then becomes which kind of shooter should I take? Tactical? FPS? Squad-based? Dan then asked me why not take them all and he was SO right: Tom Clancy.

What a genius idea! The Tom Clancy franchise may have started off as strictly tactical but it has evolved into so much more. I would love the chance to continue taking each of the different franchises encompassed by the Clancy name in a variety of directions. My first priority though would be to bring the strategic aspect back to the Rainbow 6 series, but on a cooperative level. It would be all about 2 teams facing off against each other in tense situations. I am not talking simple team deathmatch here either! I want a planning and execution aspect to the game that rewards players for crafting plans and executing them with success.

Sean Cahill: I love the Tom Clancy pick here. A solid selection of espionage style titles give plenty of room for expansion on a solid series

Dan Keener: This is my steal of the draft. This series has so many genes of games in it, as well as the power of Clancy books behind it.  There are several Clancy novels that haven’t even been touched yet, so Red Strom Entertainment could indeed grow this franchise even further with new IP to go with the strong existing ones.

Developer(s): Insomniac Games, Toys for Bob, Vicarious Visions (among others)
Publisher(s): Vivendi, Sony, Konami, Acitivision (among others)
First release: Spyro the Dragon (1998, Sony PlayStation)
Latest Release: Skylanders- Spyro’s Adventure (2011, multi-platform)

I lobbied hard for a bonus round because I wanted to get my hands on the Spyro franchise... just for Skylanders! After getting a chance to review the game last year, I was very impressed with the gameplay as well as how unique and cool it was to use the integrated characters into the game.  The recent addition of the iOS Skylanders: Cloud Patrol seamless integrates with the console version of the game (via unlockable code) and has become one of my favorite time-wasters on my iPhone. With two kids under the age of 10, I had a unique perspective of how well the game was to be received and accurately predicted that it would be one of the “It” toys for Christmas 2011.  Even today, some three plus months later, it is still difficult to find any individual characters at retail outlets.  As soon as they come in, they are sold.  When a retail game starts showing the same characteristics of a new console or Apple product, that is a must have for me.

Jeremy Duff: Steal of the draft, without question! Toys for Bob is onto something with their Skylanders-model and they are doing exactly what I intended to do with the Pokemon franchise... had done not taken it in the second round.

Developer(s): Sonic Team, BioWare, Dimps (among others)
Publisher(s): Sega
First release: Sonic the Hedgehog (1991, Sega Genesis)
Latest Release: Sonic Generations (2011, multi-platform)

Oh boy, now I have to defend this one. Well, Sonic's glory days were back in the 80s and 90s with the Master System, Genesis, and Game Gear.  Beyond the Dreamcast though, console Sonic games seemed to have gone to the Green Downhill Zone (rimshot). The portable games though have been pretty good, such as the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush series.  I can't say much about Sonic Chronicles and Sonic Generations for the DS/3DS as I haven't played them, but Generations on the PC is pretty good except for the occasional lag, and I've heard that Sonic Colors was an improvement with the console games.

Charles Husemann: How bad of a job has Sega done that a core franchise of the 1990's goes last?

Jeremy Duff: Sonic was definitely on my short list for late round acquisitions. The character and its universe, despite being somewhat tarnished over the past decade, have as much flexibility to them as the Mario franchise, if not more-so. You can take Sonic and his pals into much darker territory than you can Mario or anyone in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Dan Keener: Although the parent company (SEGA) is languishing a bit, Sonic is about a recognizable a character as Mario, which is a good thing.  A steal this late in the draft.

Developer(s): Volition, Inc.
Publisher(s): THQ
First release: Saints Row (2006, Microsoft Xbox 360)
Latest Release: Saints Row- The Third (multi-platform)

It's a wildcard pick to be sure and it overlaps with several of my other picks, but no other game offers the same kind of "anything goes" spirit that Saints Row does. Many adult gamers still have a 13 year old boy living in them somewhere who is just dying to engage in some good old-fashion scatological gaming. Slightly older inner children (and even adults) may appreciate the more subversive nature of Saints Row's content. It's a bit like the Animal House of gaming where you can beat someone over the head with a guitar one minute and then play peeping tom the next. There will always be a market for that kind of stuff.

If I was making the next game, I'd hire 20-13 year olds as my creative team. I can't even imagine the levels of insanity and depravity that would make it into the next one, but that seems to be what people who thought GTA IV was "boring" want. Why not a minigame where you have to steal babies out of strollers and sell them on street corners before the ever increasing gang of enraged parents catches you. Maybe you could promote unusual animal fighting rings.  Like snake fighting or rat fighting. Instead of running around the city flashing people, why not have a gun that dissolves other peoples' cloths.  And as far as the story missions go, how 'bout space, time travel, underwater cities, aliens invasions, or maybe Armageddon itself because what deity wouldn't want to erase the Saints Row universe from all of creation?

Jeremy Duff: Nice steal for the last round: the game that out-GTA’d GTA. The best thing that Volition ever did with this series is throw any and all seriousness right out of the window.

Charles Husemann: Late round thievery at it's best!

Dan Keener: Originally panned as a GTA knock-off, this THQ title has held its own and corralled a loyal fan base.  For being late in the draft, this was a solid pick to add to Nathan’s collection.

Developer(s): Flagship Studios
Publisher(s): Namco Bandai, Electronic Arts, HanbitSoft
First release: Hellgate- London (2007, PC)
Latest Release: Hellgate- Eternity beta (2011, PC)

I'm going to restart the Hellgate: London series and provide everything that was promised in the first and focus on other areas of expansion like a single-player focused game and such. In addition, imagine it expanding to other cities like Hellgate: Tokyo or something.

Jeremy Duff: Please take this series and do everything that we (gamers) were originally promised!

Dan Keener: I think Travis was looking to diversify his portfolio more than anything with this pick.  It may be an up and comer, but the original didn’t really take off with gamers as much as hoped.

Developer(s): Valve Software
Publisher(s): Valve Corporation, Electronic Arts, Sierra Entertainment
First release: Half Life (1998, PC)
Latest Release: Portal 2 (2011, multi-platform)

I'd release the game ON A REASONABLE TIME SCHEDULE. That's it. Just release it.

Charles Husemann: A sentimental pick that would have gone sooner if Valve had actually done something to keep people interested in the franchise.

Dan Keener: John grabs another stories franchise that needs a bit of a reboot and update.  A pretty good pick this late in the draft if there is a solid plan on how to modernize the series.

Developer(s): Maxis, The Sims Studio
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
First release: The Sims (2000, PC)
Latest Release: The Sims 3- Showtime (2012, PC)

I had to go through the list a few times to make sure no one picked this...and I can't believe it didn't go into the first five rounds! Over 150 million copies in this series of mindless drones.
I never liked this series...but no arguing it's popularity: I will take The Sims.

This is a franchise that has an incredible amount of backing and gives me access to both the SimCity and The Sims titles. The Sims on the PC is a constant moneymaker for those who play the time-wasting style of games. SimCity, SimEarth, etc....those titles can and will always make money.

Dan Keener: It is tough to go wrong with The Sims, with so many games and expansion packs sold.  The only concern is the flood of challengers from the mobile market in this genre.

About Author

If you have been here before, you know the basics: lifelong gamer, father, and of course, certified news monkey. I have been blogging on the industry for close to a decade now, in some form or another. It wasn't until I landed here at Gaming Nexus that I really dove in head first. Now, writing about games has become what I do for fun (and sometimes work) and something I intend on doing until the day I die.

I'm a huge fan of just about everything you can interact with using a controller, no matter how old or new, good or bad. If you put it in front of me, I will play it... end of story.

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