Y’know, Atari’s got a smart thing going. As a company with name recognition going back to the earliest days of home video game consoles, they can tap into nostalgia and curiosity about the games people played growing up. So, when they take a pass at re-inventing something like “Yar’s Revenge,” there’s a reflex to at least check it out. In that vein, they’ve just announced that they’re going to be reviving their “Centipede” franchise as a modern-day shooter for the Nintendo Wii and 3DS. Details below:
Centipede: Infestation is a post-apocalyptic action experience that features run-n-gun shooting style gameplay with tower defense-style objects, paying homage to the original Centipede while bringing the brand into the 21st century. Players assume the role of an orphaned teenager hero named Max as he trudges through the wasteland, fighting off giant bugs. During Max’s travels he encounters a young teen named Maisy who possesses a collection of seeds that hold the secret to bringing plant life back to the wasteland. Max and Maisy join forces to grow these gardens and protect the last natural resources on earth.
Trendy eco-centric story aside, the original “Centipede” had some gameplay mechanics that carry on ’til today. Destructible cover–such a big deal in modern games–was a key part of playing “Centipede” in the arcade. Atari used be in the AAA console game business, taking big risks on big properties (they did a “Matrix” game around the time concurrent to the sequels, for example.) Financial difficulties and market realities humbled them and they’ve since stated that they’re reorganizing as a digital download publisher. Smaller titles + being based on IP they already own and that people remember = less risk. When you think about it, that’s not a bad way to go. Of course, it helps if the game is good. We’ll see when “Centipede: Infestation” comes out this fall.