On December 8th, 2017 the teaser trailer for MediEvil premiered at the Playstation Experience (PSX). Before the trailer was shown Shawn Layden, the president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America and Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios, had this to say
“I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on the title MediEvil. It’s a really important title in my personal journey in my career. We worked on that when I moved to London. We would like to bring it back on Playstation 4. We think Sir Daniel needs one more resurrection and this is the time to do it.”
The teaser trailer was then shown and viewers across the globe (including myself) jumped for joy in excitment seeing the title “MediEvil for Playstation 4” in 2017 along with Sir Daniel Fortesque’s brief rendition of Messiah by George Frideric Handel.
(Teaser Trailer for the new game)
The first time I watched this teaser trailer I was overjoyed at the thought of Sir Daniel Fortesque running around the land of Gallowmere in 1080p resolution on Playstation 4 and 4k resolution on Playstation 4 Pro. To be able to fight Zarok, and the undead again in 60 fps with buttery smooth controls with the usual gothic horror aesthetic that we have all come to love and to be able to listen to the beautiful gothic horror music fully orchestrated.
After I watched the trailer I was overjoyed at the thought of MediEvil finally coming back, but then I wondered something. Will this be a remaster from the ground up of the original playstation 1 game, or the handheld remake MediEvil Resurrection? My mind was filled with curiosity of this new project. I watched the trailer again after calming down to see if I missed anything and noticed something different about it now that I wasn’t blinded with excitement. After making comparisons to earlier games in the franchise with this teaser trailer I would like to make a bold presumption that MediEvil on Playstation 4 will be a remastered port of “MediEvil Resurrection”
For anyone who has played the previous games in the MediEvil series, they will notice that the voice cast, art silhouettes, and story shown in the teaser trailer are from the Playstation Portable (PSP) title “MediEvil Resurrection” a handheld remake that was given mixed reviews upon release for lack of innovation, framerate issues, and cumbersome camera controls, but was overall given positive praise for the game’s humor, voice talent, and graphics for the time on a handheld (2005). This could just mean that they are adapting the PSP remake’s story, and art direction while keeping to the classic gaming formula, but I don’t believe that is the case.
At the end of the teaser trailer we are given an extremely brief “in-game cutscene” from the game in order to tease at what the art direction looks like for the game. Does it look like the original game’s art style, the psp remakes, or is it completely new? The zombie that was shown is not only similar to the PSP remake’s art style, it is just the PSP remake’s zombie rendered in 1080p resolution!
MediEvil – PSX 2017: Teaser Trailer (0:40)
MediEvil: Resurrection – All Cutscenes (4:43)
“…We think Sir Daniel needs one more resurrection and this is the time to do it.” – Shawn Layden
This could be a coincidence in the way Layden phrased the announcement, but instead of a remastered game built from the ground up like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy that was released earlier this year, MediEvil fans will possibly just get a port of Resurrection one more time for modern day consoles.
To many this doesn’t seem that much of a big deal but there were many changes in Resurrection that some fans did not enjoy compared to the original. Chris Sorrell the director of the original Playstation 1 game and writers Jason Wilson and Martin Pond created a game that was unique for its time. A gothic horror adventure game with dark undertones and unsettling areas to explore in, but had some comedy to make it so the game wasn’t serious all the time. The tone of the game I would say could be similar to that of Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” film. A slightly lighthearted, but dark gothic horror comedy meant for teenagers and primarily adults.
The PSP version “Resurrection” produced by Piers Jackson and written by Patrick McCarthy, Martin Pond, and Dominic Cahalin was given a more lighthearted approach similar to a Disney film like Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” which is gothic horror-esque, but is still enjoyable for all ages. Resurrection also added new elements not found in the original game such as more in-game content like mini games, a sidekick named Al-Zalam that would crack jokes and assist the player at certain times, lighter tones to the overall atmosphere, and more comedy to the series than ever before. To some this makes Resurrection worse than the original game, but I believe both have their merits to be fun games in the series and is simply opinions at the end of the day.
Some might be disappointed with the idea that this game is just a port of Resurrection, but this isn’t entirely bad news for fans of Sir Dan. There could be countless ways they can fix and fine-tune this game to make a fun, engaging, and memorable experience for new and old fans alike. Dare I say it could surpass both the original version and the psp remake and become the penultimate version of the first MediEvil games.
What changes can we expect from MediEvil PS4HD?
Most of the issues with Resurrection were camera controls, framerate issues, and lack of innovation. Most of these problems can possibly be fixed with ease on modern day consoles.
Since Resurrection was originally on the PSP, that means that the game never had access to a second analog stick for camera controls. This was an issue for many games on the handheld such as “Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker,” and “Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.” When those games were ported over to the Playstation 3 with camera controls, they were a lot more tolerable and thus made the games more enjoyable. Like the games stated earlier, those also had minor framerate issues because of the hardware the game was originally released on, but were not as bad as Resurrection simply because those games were released later on in the PSP’s life cycle.
Resurrection was first released in 2005 as a PSP launch title. Because the game was intentionally designed for the original PSP 1000 model, it had a low 222MHz locked CPU power to be designed for. This could have been the cause for the framerate drops during intense parts of the game. On a playstation 4, if they find a way to uncap the framerate (which I am guessing they will), then it will be able to run at a stable 60 frames per second at all times.
At the end of the teaser trailer it stated that more details will be announced soon, and I believe that even though this game could simply be a remastered port there could be new additions to MediEvil HD. To compare again to Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, developers Vicarious Visions released cut content from the original Crash Bandicoot game as downloadable content. Along with adding new levels, they also added new additions to the series such as a new playable character even though it was just a remaster of the first three Crash Bandicoot games.
In 2003, the developers for MediEvil Resurrection “SCE Cambridge Studio” originally wanted to make the game for the PlayStation 2, but were commissioned to develop a launch title for the PSP instead. Due to the time constraints, they decided to remake the original MediEvil and some content was cut. This is where the lack of innovation comes into play as like Vicarious Visions, they could add the cut content into the game in order to have new content for MediEvil fans of old and new to enjoy. There could possibly be new weapons and costumes to unlock, new areas to explore, new characters to interact with, and maybe new modes such as time trials or a new difficulty option. The best possible scenario could be that this could also have an unlockable port of the Playstation 1 game when the game is finished to completion. This would let new players enjoy the remastered game, and old school players would be given a nostalgic treat for supporting a series they love.
At the end of the day this could just be a simple port, or a new game altogether. Not much information has been released to give us a clear distinction of what MediEvil HD really is going to be, but more information will be announced later on in the beginning of 2018 and I predict they will have a full gameplay trailer or a demo ready to go for E3 2018. There is one thing that everyone can unanimously agree upon. Sir Daniel Fortesque is back from the grave and people now have their eye out for what this game has to offer for us in the near future. Hopefully my presumptions are true and that Sony can see that the demand is there for a new MediEvil title. Maybe one day we will get a MediEvil 3, but in the mean time let us all be excited for MediEvil remastered coming to Playstation 4 and Playstation 4 Pro.