Ubisoft has retreated from the classics in recent years. With the exception of 2011’s spectacular Rayman Origins, France’s publishing giant has stuck with games all less than fifteen years old, including: the Tom Clancy outings, the Assassin’s Creed adventures, Far Cry, and maybe a dollop of Just Dance. Even the vintage Prince of Persia franchise has been put on hiatus. On Thursday though, Ubisoft announced that it’s going way back to 1992 for one more spin on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Ubi is remaking Flashback.
Designed and written by Paul Cuisset at Delphine Software, the original Flashback was a platformer ported to almost every machine of the era, from the Sega Genesis to Philips’ long-lost CD-i. It was an action platformer with the same methodical pacing as Jordan Mechner’s original Prince of Persia and the studio’s previous game Another World, but with an even greater emphasis on movie-inflected storytelling. Like those games, it also used rotoscoped animation, but was far more colorful and vivid than both. The game was a huge success, but after its sequel Fade to Black failed to find an audience the series was shelved.
In 2011, Cuisset’s studio VectorCell was given an approximately $394,000 grant from the French government to begin work on a game called Flashback Origins. Two years later that game has appeared, simply called Flashback. Based on the trailer released (below), the game will be a complete overhaul with new voice work and graphics.
The game looks immediately similar to other downloadable platformers released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in recent years, particularly Chair Entertainment’s Shadow Complex for Xbox 360. The only remnant of the original Flashback’s pastel and neon style appears to be in some of the game’s city settings, which look quite a bit like Ubisoft’s other ‘90s throwback, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
It’s a good thing that Cuisset is returning to his roots for VectorCell’s next game. The developer’s 2012 original Amy, a survival horror game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, was savaged by critics for being almost entirely unplayable, and ignored by players almost entirely.
As long as Ubisoft is getting wistful for the old days, how about an update on Beyond Good and Evil 2 in time for the tenth anniversary, Mr. Guillemot?