Never one to let a successful idea pass without making an imitation, it’s surely only a matter of time before we see an Xbox One release offering action comparable to Playstation Allstars Battle Royale or Super Smash Brothers. So, who would make the cut for what we’ve provisionally titled Microsoft Buddies In Arms: Conflicting Combat Evolved?
1. Alan Wake
Apart from Ernest Hemmingway, Christopher Marlowe and Jack Torrance, there aren’t many writers that can convincingly pass for dangerous. Alan Wake might just be an exception. As Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade taught us – “the pen is mightier than the sword” (and he’s a writer who presumably uses a pen if his computer isn’t working or his typewriter’s on the fritz).
Special attack: agh! A blinding flashlight! In my eyes! Two parts annoying, one part infuriating, three parts deadly. One further part irritating.
2. Marcus Fenix.
An easy in: Marcus Fenix. The Gears of War head honcho is a surefire inclusion for MCBIA:CCE, ready willing and able to put his locust-killing skills and gruff macho banter to good use. He might suffer a bit for his complete inability to jump (hey, that armour’s heavy) but find the man some cover and he can hold his own, no problem.
Special attack: there’s probably no greater sight than seeing a piñata gutted with a half-gun, half-chainsaw hybrid, exposing candy-laden innards which presumably have some kind of health benefit for eager scavengers.
Whether it’s the villainous Professor Pester or just a simple piñata, it would be remiss of Microsoft not to have some multicoloured fun with Rare’s most beloved game (after Goldeneye, Banjo-Kazooie, Jet Force Gemini, Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day… and Donkey Kong 64 and Battletoads).
Special attack: various piñata assemble and take the form of a giant baseball bat, ready to deal out sweet poetic justice. The only catch? Other piñata form a blindfold which blocks the player’s view – the playing field is thus slightly levelled. For those that might worry this would adversely affect offline multiplayer, not to worry – there probably won’t be any.
4. Lara Croft
If Playstation All-Stars can claim Dante and Big Daddy, then MCBIA:CCE needs a big marquee, multiplatform name. And who fits the bill better than Lara Croft? All ready to apply her dino ‘n deer killin’ attributes to living, breathing people (and piñata). Remember, she’s sensitive now, and will apologise before letting loose a mighty bolt.
Special attack: Thankfully, Lara’s more than a walking cross-section of a mountain pass these days, she’s a serious character for serious times. But… what if the touch of a button brought back the scud missile chest? She’d likely have someone’s eye out. Perfect.
5. Sam Fisher
If we’re classing this as essentially a rip-off of SSB (and we definitely, definitely are) then there’s an easy replacement for Brawl’s inclusion of Snake. Step forward Sam Fisher. Currently garnering less-than-favourable responses for the gameplay of the upcoming Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Sam will need a way to unwind and really put all that stealth nonsense behind him once and for all.
Special attack: Mark and Execute. The game dramatically slows while Sam tags opponents and lets fly his lead slugs of war to gratuitously spill brain matter all over the stage. Sure, this will bump the PEGI rating up a few years but Sam’s a complex character now, and for each successful execution we’d get a sufficient mourning period that would open him up to counters.
Oh, and there’s a chance that 6. Master Chief, 7. Cortana, 8. Arbiter and the rest of the Halo cast will make an appearance. Not sure how big a deal that franchise is these days.