It’s quite amazing for a game that’s been around since 1997, ported to numerous different platforms and achieved relative success on all of them, not to have had at least one recent sequel. Surely there’s an audience for it? If SEGA ever were to develop Sega Bass Fishing 2015, the following is a discussion of what I’d like to see included.
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room first. Any game from 1997 is going to look dated - even if it came from the tragically underrated Dreamcast. A sequel would need to look modern - the playable area would need to be larger, water effects, a more detailed and rich environment and more complex weather simulation would give the sequel a good graphical base - perhaps it could be created in the delicious Unreal 4 engine.
There was a disappointing lack of multiplayer action, especially for a game that has spent most of its life on pre-Internet consoles. This is something that a sequel would need to address, especially in a game based on a competitive sport. Allow local and online multiplayer modes to push that competitive nature of the game and keep an active player base that will continue to support it long after release. An active multiplayer scene is absolutely vital for the long term success of a game in today’s world.
There’s a great opportunity for SEGA to run official weekly and monthly tournaments, or allow players to create their own tournaments of varying lengths. There could also be a ‘duel’ system, where players are able to take on single opponents.
Easier Key Rebinding and Proper Controller Support
The lack of on-the-fly key rebinding and full controller support in SEGA Bass Fishing was a little lazy on SEGA’s behalf. These are both features of a PC game that are taken for granted by most of the audience, so it stands out when they’re not included, or when they can’t be changed within game, as is the case in the original. It’s a simple and quick bit of development that should never be overlooked when developing for PC, and they’re both something that a sequel absolutely must improve upon.
The original struck me as a game that’s ripe for VR. It’s just the sort of the game that can be transformed by a hyper immersive platform, and one that would work well given the point of view that the original uses as well as the focused nature of the gameplay. ‘Simpler’ games will often benefit more from VR as they are the ones that can undergo the greatest improvement without actually having to change much of the game itself, whereas more complicated and hectic games can suffer from being overwhelming in a VR environment.
There would need to be some tweaks to suit the platform - immersion needs to play a key role - so they’d have to add things like a more involved casting process that relies on motion control (I believe the Wii version already had this). There’s an opportunity for a great piece of VR theatre, too - keep the point of view of the lure as the fish charge toward it and gobble it up, before changing the camera to an external view.
A follow up game could include several new maps, or at least one large, but entirely different primary location, rather than just remaking the original in higher detail. Many of us know that modding is a large part of the PC scene, so allowing players to create their own areas and environments would be another way to ensure longevity. It would also help to keep the game a little fresher from a visual standpoint, rather than always starting a tournament in the exact same place, which happens in the original.
More Game Modes
There are only two game modes in SEGA Bass Fishing - arcade and ‘original.’ What’s more, the differences between the two aren’t that great - one is a little more ‘gamey’ than the other, but the end objective is still pretty much the same.
A sequel should include a couple of extra modes for people to get their teeth into. For example, there could be a mode where the aim is to catch as many fish as possible, rather than solely relying on total weight. There could be another where the objective is to catch a particular specimen - this specimen could be the only fish in the area and hooking it needn’t be a challenge, but it could be a super-hard task to reel it in without losing it
Does it have to be Limited to Bass?
Obviously the original only had one species of fish to catch. Whether this was a conscious design decision on the part of SEGA - maybe they happened to have an adviser who was an expert Bass fisherman or woman - or whether it was due to the limitations of the platforms available at the time, I’m not sure.
Perhaps this is blasphemous to some, but would it have to be Sega Bass Fishing 2/3? Couldn’t it be SEGA Fishing 2015? Wouldn’t it be great to give the sequel an entirely new scope - sea fishing, fly fishing, spinning, river fishing? Taking a page from Let’s Fish book and allow players to catch hundreds of different species of beautifully rendered and intelligently programmed species. Perhaps this is a lofty goal to set, but it’s certainly an exciting prospect, nonetheless.
I’m still amazed that SEGA Bass Fishing has been around and as consistently successful as it has for 18 years without ever receiving a proper sequel. It still clearly has an audience, and I think some of the ideas discussed above could breathe new life into the franchise. What do you think? Am I onto something, or am I way off base?