Through a series of elaborate tweets from Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward and WayForward Technologies an Adventure Time game was announced. Before the announcement Ward had a habit of posting doodles of potential game ideas, but nothing concrete. Right now we have no idea what the game will be like, but we can still start to fantasize about what it could be.
I’ve taken it upon myself to list 10 things we all want from the Adventure Time game. Yes, I said we. Not just what I want, but what everyone wants! Don’t worry, you’ll agree with me by the end of this list.
Stick to 2D
Pen Ward has stated that he’s interested in open world games like Skyrim and Dead Island, but I believe Adventure Time would work best if it stuck to a two-dimensional landscape. It fits Adventure Time’s style more and would end up better looking than sharp 3D models. Wayforward is most experienced in 2D platformers anyway, so this route is to be assumed. That and, well, it is on the plain old Nintendo DS after all.
An emphasis on exploration
In the past I’ve asked myself “What’s the Adventure Time of video games?”, and the answer has almost always been Cave Story. So with Adventure Time actually getting a video game, I’m hoping it can be similar to Cave Story in being something of a Metroidvania. While the meat of the game would mainly be linear the option of exploring in hopes of finding secret items and hidden characters will always be present.
I wanna travel all over the Land of Ooo
There needs to be a full world to explore to make exploration worthwhile: this world is, of course, the Land of Ooo, the world Adventure Time takes place in. Ooo has a lot to offer in terms of locations to travel to, and I’m hoping the game takes advantage of those many places. Sure, we’ve got the Candy Kingdom and Ice Kingdom, but I want to see places that aren’t portrayed as often in the show. Even for the places that are seen a lot, exploring them in a game offers a different point of view compared to the non-interactive one we’re given when watching the show.
Let the art style shine
Adventure Time’s artstyle is simple, but fantastic. It’s very bright and speaks a lot about what type of personality the show has. I’d love to see that simple, hand drawn art style expressed in the video game also. Hand drawn 2D art is a rare phenomenon, but it has happened before. Both Skullgirls and A Boy and His Blob carry this aesthetic. The problem is that it takes a while draw all of those characters. Skullgirls took quite a while to release because Reverge Labs spend so much time on making characters and, even then, the game only ended up with a cast of about eight playable characters. Notice I said playable. I don’t even begin to factor in all the background characters. Wayforward likely has more manpower than Reverge, but even so they’d probably have a lot to work to do if they decide to run with this style.
Don’t force a story
Adventure Time is the type of show you can pick up and watch because most episodes aren’t directly connected. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it makes use of a non-linear narrative, but most episodes are their own little adventures. Adventure Time has a story, but it rarely forces it on you. It would be best if the game did the same and didn’t force a huge story on you. That doesn’t mean the game should lack a linear story, but let the player find bits of lore and figure out a few things for themselves.
Adventure Time’s game should include the typical main characters, places from the show, and what is expected, but there needs to be some originality too. Adventure Time’s world is an immense one full of creativity. There are loads of races, weird places, and tons of generally surreal things. The game should express that with a few original characters and places not seen in the show. The Adventure Time comic does something original by bringing back the Lich in its first volume in an original scenario separate from the show. The game should do something similar with its story.
Remember the source material
While a great adaptation should do what it can to make itself unique, it should also remember its roots. The Adventure Time game needs to make callbacks to the show and remember where it came from. With that in mind, it’s necessary that memorable characters and places are included in the interactive adaptation. More than that, the video game needs to have the same feel. The same aura of the show. A big part of that is Adventure Time’s soundtrack. It mostly consists of chiptune already, so that works perfectly with a game. Adventure Time also has a habit of breaking out into song every now and then. Usually, it’s Finn singing in auto-tune to express his emotions better than T-Pain ever could. These musical sections are an integral part of the show and often signify character development. Asking for voiced bits in DS game may be a bit much though.
Take advantage of the fact that this is a game
When making games some developers lose their way and end up creating something that didn’t need to be a game. More often than not it’s a cinematic issue, seeing as how games are all about utilizing interactivity to engage the player in the events around them. So, of course, my wish is for Adventure Time game to take advantage of the fact that it is a game. That means always remembering how important the interactive element is and how to use it correctly.
Unhand me Ice King
Hand holding in games has increased ever more in video games with each passing generation. The Legend of Zelda series exemplifies this, with Navi’s “Hey, listen!” in Ocarina of Time to Fi never shutting up in Skyward Sword. I don’t want the Adventure Time game to be the same. The fact that it will probably be targeted towards children puts it at a higher risk of being a victim of this. I’m fine with teaching the player controls, but don’t badger me too much. Let the player figure things out for themselves and solve their own problems. For the sake of accessibility, I’d be alright with an easy mode for casual players, but don’t force it on us if we don’t want it.
Oh Glob, let it be good
I can’t stress this enough. Most licensed properties that are lucky enough to receive video game adaptations squander the opportunity. We’ve all seen this with the trend of every single action movie or kid’s show getting a cheap, crappy video game for the sake of making a quick buck. With games becoming increasingly more expensive to produce, the industry has cut back on these quick cash-ins and may be moving away from this model. Batman Arkham Asylum back in 2009 showed that iconic franchises can have great video games if the effort is put into making them. WayForward themselves developed Aliens: Infestation, a side scrolling shooter based on the popular Alien franchise, so I’m hopeful that they’ll do a great job with the Adventure Time game. Just remember that there are a lot of people out there counting on this game to be the bee’s knees. So take your time and don’t let us down.