Thanks to the continued runaway success of Pokemon Go two months after its launch and Nintendo's recent announcement of Super Mario Run, CEOs everywhere have been contemplating whether or not to go for a slice of the mobile gaming pie. Earlier this week, Sony finally decided pull the trigger with their CEO Kaz Hirai naming Pokemon Go as the key inspiration for the Global Electronics company's decision to step into the mobile gaming business.
Sony is no stranger to competing with Nintendo in the gaming space. The two having been crosstown rivals in console gaming since the Playstation launched back in 1994. Pokemon is just one of many icons in Nintendo's arsenal, but after more than 20 years in the business, Sony has developed quite the portfolio of video game franchises themselves. If Sony is really hoping to replicate the success of Pokemon Go under their brand, they are going to need to dig deep into the history of their most successful gaming mascots.
With so many possibilities on the table, we name the 15 Sony Pokemon Go Knockoffs We Want To See.
LittleBigPlanet is easily the cuddliest franchise Sony has under their belt making it the go-to choice. Sony is going to need the cutesiest firepower in their arsenal if they hope to out-charm Nintendo's rosy cheeked Pikachu. This is where Sackboy & Sackgirl's infinitely customizable wardrobe come in handy.
A LittleBigPlanet smartphone game that functioned similarly to Nintendo's very own Miitomo life simulator would be the perfect way for Sony to go toe to toe with their old rival while also bringing the undeniably adorable character to mainstream. The shareplay nature of the franchise already lends itself to the same positive gaming experience Nintendo quickly established with Pokemon Go. To incorporate augmented reality, Sony could establish hot spots in order to buy, sell, or trade accessories with other players. To bring a more competitive angle to the game, Sony could even incorporate weekly or monthly pageant events where player could vote for their favorite Sackboy or Sackgirl. If this charm doesn't make Sony an instant winner, we're not sure what does.
One of Sony's lesser known franchises that could get a second life on a new platform is the Playstation 4 launch title Knack. The game didn't exactly wow players or critics, but just about everyone who played it praised the game's core idea and old school Playstation aesthetic. If a new mobile game developer was brought in to rethink the entire premise on the smartphone platforms, we believe Sony will have a pretty enticing game on their hands.
The core idea behind Knack was that you started as a small living relic that slowly collected bigger relics in order to become large enough to defeat enemies. This premise would make for the perfect augmented reality competitor to compete against Pokemon's "gotta catch em' all" collection mechanic. A mobile Knack would function pretty similarly to Pokemon Go's "collect to level up" system. Players would traverse the world to discover smaller relics they could battle. For each victory, their Knack avatar would get bigger until they were ready to go to the "definitely not a gym" boss fight near a major landmarks. Passing up the opportunity to both take an existing property into the mobile market and relaunch a brand like Knack would be a missed opportunity.
13 Gran Turismo: On the Road Again
One way Sony could actually get the upper hand on Nintendo is to develop an augmented reality game that did not involve leveling up or beating opponents. What if they got really ambitious by giving players the excuse to hit the open road with a Grand Turismo smartphone game? Before you start shouting "TRAFFIC ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN!" let's think about the driver-safe ways this idea could work.
Sony could mark up a number of pit stops and landmarks across each state, territory, or province that contained new parts and digital in game money players could collect in order to fill in their sports car collection. Players would be rewarded extra dough for clearing more territories and racking up the miles in their car. The benefit for Sony is that this lends itself particularly well to micro-transactions. The benefit for the rest of us? We'd all have an excuse to take that coast to coast road trip we've always dreamed of.
12 Ratchet and Clank
Ratchet and Clank is one of the biggest family-friendly franchises in Sony's arsenal (pun very much intended), which makes it another obvious choice for the move to mobile. One of the coolest things about the Ratchet franchise is its dedication to creative weapon customization. This mechanic matched with augmented reality technology could make for an absolutely outstanding smartphone first person shooter.
Players could start with a very basic laser and level up their weapons by defeating more AR enemies. The phone could serve as the sights for all of wacky weapons including the disc blade gun, the holoshield glove, or the groovitron. Players could trade weapon parts with each other and unlock "chests" full of in game currency and upgrades. The cartoony art style matched with the game's very distinct brand of personality makes it the perfect Link's Crossbow Training style launchpad for Sony's smartphone ventures.
11 Final Fantasy Go
We realize Final Fantasy is not technically a Sony property, but since the Playstation 1 era they've been most closely associated with Sony's consoles. This smartphone game could be the augmented reality chocobo simulator we've all been waiting for! Players would be able to explore the world and witness different creatures from the final fantasy world and use them to mine resources for new costumes, weapons, and the player's very own home. It would be a unique combination of Minecraft meets The Sims.
To keep the family-friendly aesthetic of most mobile games, this version of Final Fantasy would feature the cuddlier plush versions of the characters from the upcoming World of Final Fantasy. If the runaway success of Facebook games like Farmville or Clash of Clans has taught us anything, it's that people love resource management simulators. We believe that Final Fantasy combo-ed with the Poke-capture game mechanics could make for a runaway mobile gaming hit that fans of the series and newcomers alike would both enjoy.
10 Everybody’s GO to the Rapture
Everybody's Gone To The Rapture seems like a strange first choice to people who have not played the recent indie hit. If you've experienced the game and are familiar with its exploration based gameplay, it's not hard to imagine the possibilities. The game revolves around the player as they explore a seemingly abandoned 1980s English village full of orbs that give the player clues in order to unravel the mystery. It's a simple story driven game mechanic we believe would make a really great transition to an augmented reality game.
Instead of exploring an English village, players would be able to take their smartphones outside and into their hometown to search for orbs that would reveal tidbits about a new mystery that has befallen their local area. Each month would feature one story with extra "chapters" or "novels" available to purchase for players with an appetite for more. We live in a generation that loves a good story they can pick up and engage with at any time, which makes the premise of Everybody's Gone to the Rapture such a great experiment for the mobile gaming experience.
Spyro is one of the great legacy franchises Sony hasn't done much with since the Playstation 2 era. After a recent return to consoles with Skylanders, we think Spyro is ready for a full blown renaissance. Like Pokemon Go, a mobile Spyro game could feature a number of enemies from the games that players would fight. Instead of catching them, the players' Spyro avatar would gain different skill points from defeating each enemy in preparation for the game's bosses.
Different locations on the map would feature different types of enemies with bosses appearing at specific key locations. The social dynamic would revolve around the battling. Players could also have their Spyros fight each other by betting the skill points they have collected. The winner would take home the gold. This would make way for tournaments and a shot at getting big in the competitive gaming scene. This could be Sony's chance at bringing their very favorite dragon back to the forefront.
8 Jak and Daxter
Before they made Uncharted or The Last of Us, one of Sony's flagship developers, Naughty Dog, gave us Jak and Daxter. It was one of the company's biggest and most beloved franchises during the Playstation 2 era and die hard fans are still asking when we'll see the next entry. The platformer turned third person shooter series has some real potential in the mobile gaming market as an RPG shooter. Initially it would start as a simplistic augmented reality shooter that would evolve into a more nuanced RPG as the player levels up.
Players will be able earn different types of Ecto by completing different tasks in different areas from their local maps. Each type of Ecto would level up different weapons and gear in the player's branching skill tree. Eventually players will grow enough to take on different types of missions and fight more specialized enemies. A Jak and Daxter mobile game would be trickier than many other franchises, but we're certain that this would create the worldwide die hard community of players Sony is looking for.
7 Sly Cooper
The Sly Cooper games are all about being smart and stealthy to steal the loot. Pokemon Go's mapping and augmented reality systems would lend themselves well to a different genre of mobile gaming. The world could be filled with different hotspots that are guarded by augmented reality characters that players must avoid in order to steal the loot and upgrade their sneaking equipment.
A Sly Cooper mobile game would be less about how much walking you do and more about how you do it. The cartoony nature of the series lends itself to a simple art direction that would translate well to a mobile device. The ultimate goal with this game would be to encourage critical thinking and developing a strategy. It provides Sony a smart way to make a game using the same technology as Pokemon without actually having to go head to head in competing for people's attention. We believe this non-competitive strategy could equal a home run for Sony's pocketbook.
6 ModNation Racers
Modnation Racers was the Playstation 3's long awaited answer to Mario Kart. It featured infinitely more customization options and even a relatively simple track maker. The core idea of having customizable tracks so simple your mom could make one is exactly what Sony needs to take to their first venture into mobile gaming. Players could travel to certain pit stops around their local area to collect new parts they could use to build cars for a more traditional kart racing game they could take on the go. Players could use a 3DS streetpass style sharing system in order to try other fan made tracks.
The mobility and 3G connection makes it even more ideal for players who want to meet modded cars and opponents from around the country. There would be an in game store for players who would rather quickly purchase parts instead of traveling the country's pit stops for free add ons. Kart racers have long been a genre used to bridge the hardcore and casual gamer gap which makes Modnation Racers the ideal brand for Sony's first mobile game.
5 Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot is one of the original Playstation mascots that simply cannot be forgotten. The Crash games always revolved around the player avoiding obstacles while running through each level. This could make for an entirely new breed of exercise app that encourages players to do a number of off the wall routines. What if the app put you on a new workout plan that required moves similar to what Crash Bandicoot does in the game?
Like the series, the app could feature boulders that roll at a certain intensive pace, a predetermined number of logs or obstacles players must jump over within a workout period, and a number of bonus power ups that would make workouts easier the more players do them. With the newfound emphasis on family workout culture in the west, this app could be Sony's most marketable option yet. What's even better is that this mobile game could bring the franchise to a new generation who weren't around during Crash Bandicoot's heyday in the 90s. If Sony wants to keep the brand alive, we can think of no better way than to utilize the thriving mobile gaming market.
4 Fat Princess
If Sony wanted to go for a fiercely competitive mobile game, we suggest they indulge in the downloadable Playstation network hit, Fat Princess. Imagine an augmented game of capture the flag players could drop in and out of at any time. Every neighborhood would have rally points for red team and blue team, and like the online hit of generations' past, players could hop in and gain experience hauling that princess all the way to the other castle before dropping out.
Sure, there would be a number of technical hurdles to overcome, but the payoff of witnessing people of all ages hustling up and down the street in attempt to win enough points for their next power up would be worth it. If witnessing neighborhoods full of people marching toward each other West Side Story style in the name of social gaming isn't enough to inspire Sony, we're not sure what will.
3 Uncharted Go
Uncharted just released its fourth entry on the Playstation 4 and it's more popular than ever. There's no way Sony would be able to bring Nathan Drake's third person shooting experience to a smartphone, but they could make a really impressive treasure hunting game based on the Uncharted adventures. If Sony could secure the same detailed maps used in Pokemon Go, they could have an instant mobile gaming classic treasure hunt on their hands.
Imagine having to collect a certain number of clues or map pieces as you head outside for a walk. Each piece of the map would be used to lead the player even closer to the ominous boss defending treasure. Players would have random encounters with pirates and other obstacles in the augmented reality along the way that would require weapons and other tools. Each treasure would help upgrade weapons which ultimately makes the player's adventure to the next "X marks the spot" easier. This would be a beautiful way to explore wooded areas, beaches, mountains, and any other sweet spot on the local map. It may be years before we see our next Uncharted console experience, but we think Sony would be smart to keep the brand alive by bringing it to a smart phone near you.
Resogun was the free smash hit game that launched with the Playstation 4, which makes it the perfect contender to be front and center for Sony's first steps into the mobile gaming market. If you aren't familiar with Resogun, it's a side-scrolling space ship shooter not unlike the R-Type arcade games. An augmented reality version of the game would definitely be a transition, but we think the results could be something gamers will be very excited to see.
The phone would function like the cockpit for the player with the game primarily being about shooting down incoming ships. Players could use it on the go and travel to certain rally points in order to face bosses or buy new lasers. The benefit of playing while mobile would be the ability to travel to new areas to unlock different types of lasers and weapons. It could bring a really exciting new edge to smartphone augmented reality games while also giving Playstation fans the Resogun sequel we have all been asking for.
One of the PS3's very best games was the downloadable darling, Journey. The game was very simple: walk, explore, make friends. There's not a better game in Sony's catalog that could make for a map based augmented reality game. Players would be rewarded for exploring their backyards, nearby parks, or the parts of their cities they've never seen before. One of the biggest rewards of Journey was occasionally encountering other players who were adventuring in the same area as you. In the mobile version of this game, players would be rewarded with extra ruins (which could double as the game's currency) when they encounter other people playing the game. Players who have covered the most territory would be rewarded with different medals and badges. With so much of the world to see, players would never really finish the game as much as they would be able to mark their progress with photos, trophies, and memories of their new locales.
Journey is an exploration game in its purest form, and if there's been one thing everyone appreciates about Pokemon Go, it's that it has a number of us going to places we've never been before. If Sony is interested in getting into the smartphone gaming business, they need to tap into that awe and wonder we all have when we discover somewhere new.
Did we cover your favorite Sony franchise? What are some games or mascots you would like to see make the move to mobile gaming? Let us know what you think by posting in the comments below!