One Port to Rule them All
Vanquish fans rejoice! Atsushi Inaba, co-founder of Platinum Games, recently had an interview with Kotaku. Amidst an array of other questions, he was asked whether it was possible Vanquish could get a PC version, as SEGA recently had been working on bringing some of its old IP and console exclusives to the PC platform. Inaba answered "(smiling) Hrm. I wonder... If you stop recording, I can talk about that. (laughs)". At this stage, information the likes of this can only count as speculation. But for fans of the game, it could be enough to rekindle the hope of the game seeing release on the PC platform.
To outsiders the excitement surrounding a title like this may seem odd, as on the surface Vanquish looks like a typical third person shooter. However, in terms of gameplay, it centered around the Augmented Reaction Suit, which allowed the player to perform various feats all revolving around mobility and reaction speeds. The high speed at which the protagonist Sam Gideon could slide around the battlefield was exhilarating, combined with an Augmented Reaction mode (read: bullet time) your task would be to balance usage of these powers out with an overheating meter.
Visually, the game set itself apart with a futuristic aesthetic with a weapons system that did things differently. The Battlefield Logic Adaptable Electronic Weapons System, or BLADE, could scan any weapon and remember up to three weapon designs at one time, shape-shifting into the one the player selects. And while the game does feature a cover system, the player score actively penalizes players who spend too long behind the easily-destructible cover. Combined with enemies that approach from pretty much all directions, it incites a feeling akin to bullet-hell games which encourages a speedy playstyle that requires you to mix run-and-gun tactics with cover based shooting.
Truth is, while the game received positive reviews at release for its strengths, it did sell very poorly and was possibly even considered a commercial failure. We can only hope a proper PC port will change this and give new life. There is certainly potential for this, as Valkyria Chronicles only did okay on the PS3, but would prove to do incredibly well on PC. Now that it's been six years since the release of Vanquish, it could be right up SEGA's alley to port the game to PC.
To me, Vanquish is a gem of a game that's been criminally overlooked. The gameplay alone felt so typical to Platinum Games' identity of fast paced games that even as a shooter it couldn't stop me from feeling the connection to some of their other games such as Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. If I were to blame anything, I'd point the finger at the console exclusivity. But regardless whether that is the true culprit or not, seeing that changed will certainly be for the games' benefit.