XBLA’s Most Wanted: Crimson Skies
Crimson Skies is a very elaborate universe set during the 1930’s, or to be more accurate an alternate 1930’s. The United States is in ruins, having Balkanized into several small jurisdictions. Planes have become the most common form of transportation, leading to the birth of air pirates.
There have been two video game installments, Crimsons Skies and Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge. Both games revolve around Nathan Zachary, leader of an air pirate gang known as the Fortune Hunters. Crimson Skies always provided players with great flight controls, minor plane customization and a world that is deep, rich, and very intriguing.
What should change:
Take-off and landing – These have always been handled with a simple button press, activating a small cutscene. Powering up you plane to take off has always been a cool aspect that not enough games touch on. Same with the landings, slowing down, lining up and coming in just right, can lead to a small sense of accomplishment. Adding a small touch like this really could go a long way with players.
Deeper customization – Crimson Skies has a small amount of customization, giving you just enough to whet you appetite. It’s just not enough, though–not only should there be more customization to the plane, but to the pilot as well. One of the best selling points of a game is customization. It helps immerse players by making the game their own. Even that friend who says it doesn’t matter ends up customizing whatever they can.
Playable characters – In the first two games we only got to meet one main character and those intertwined with his world. This time around we should get several aspects to take the world on; there are several parts of the US that we have yet to explore. With a world this rich, there have to be other bands of air pirates.
What should stay the same:
Game style – Sandbox style games have always managed to draw in fans all kinds, young and old. Crimson Skies was no different. Being able to take to the skies and do things as you pleased was a concept that hadn’t really been touched on. It’s unique and well designed. It still feels new and original no matter how many times you go back and play it.
The world – Crimson Skies is a huge world and players have only seen a small part of it. The United States has collapsed and as a result is divided. Diesel Punk is becoming a way of life instead of just a passion and everyone is taking to the skies as a common form of transportation. Air pirates are starting to become abundant and everywhere you go there you run into interesting characters.
Xbox LIVE – Back on the original Xbox days, LIVE was still young and filled with many flaws. Unless you were a FPS fan, and sometimes even then, most developers weren’t sure exactly how to use this feature. High Road to Revenge seemed to do everything right, from including four fun game modes at launch and two additional modes that were free via DLC. These kept you entertained with a quick and easy matchmaking process.
Why it would succeed:
Crimson Skies is filled with, planes, pirates, tons of action, amazing multiplayer (both local and LIVE) and an awesome back story. Open world style games have proven as long as they’re made well they’ll succeed. Recent games like SkyDrift have proven that the flight niche can be popular, even in an XBLA setting. This game definitely has the “turbines” to succeed on the Xbox LIVE marketplace.