Twenty-five years ago the team behind the Last Ninja series produced an innovative new title for the Commodore Amiga. Featuring beat’em up action mixed with exploration and RPG elements, First Samurai pushed the limits of 16 bit graphics. Now, Mev Dinc and Raff Cecco hope to recreate that success with a complete 3D remake called Super Samurai.
Seeking $112,112 in funding on Kickstarter, Super Samurai will be a complete reboot of the original game for modern hardware. The game’s digital release is projected for May of 2018 on PC, Mac, and Linux. The boxed version is expected around June of 2018 with PS4 and Xbox One versions planned for release about two months afterward.
Despite a strong start on Kickstarter, Super Samurai has a long road ahead to reach funding. The majority of its backers seem to have been fans of the original First Samurai. This makes it difficult to say what potential backers who don’t have the advantage of nostalgia goggles will make of the game.
Remake Vs. Reboot, Or Is This A Sequel?
Compared to the original 16 bit visuals, the updated version looks like an entirely new franchise. The downside to this being that old fans won’t recognize the now 3D protagonist or his world. Developers, Pixel Age Studios have included ample assets from the first game to bridge this gap, which makes for a confusing mix of a campaign. Too much reliance on goodwill from Amiga fans without focusing enough on what will surely be an entirely different gameplay experience on new systems.
It doesn’t help that despite their use of campaign jargon like “cutting-edge” and “pushing limits,” Super Samurai isn’t actually breaking any ground visually. It looks decent, but nothing particularly noteworthy. It’s hard to say if this is due to the very limited amount of in-game footage or just the early nature of the images. This may explain Pixel Age advertising the game as a remake rather than a reboot or direct sequel. On it’s own merits, Super Samurai doesn’t hold up under the scrutiny of modern games.
It’s interesting to see a remake from the original team, but I worry that Super Samurai will fall into a sort of backer limbo. Being both too different from its source material, but not different enough to stand out to attract new fans to the series. Only time will tell if either group, new or old fans, will be enough to rally behind the project.