At the 2004 Game Developers Conference (GDC), Keita Takahashi demonstrated Katamari Damacy a week after its Japanese release. You can revisit this presentation via the GDC’s YouTube channel to see how the PlayStation 2 classic was presented to the West.
Katamari can be beautiful, surreal and funny. Oh and that magical soundtrack. But since Takahashi’s departure it has also been a game of recycling, with newer games revisiting earlier ones a bit too much. With no new releases since 2012’s Touch My Katamari on the Vita, what next for the series? More of the same or does it need something to freshen it up?
This seems like a logical step, right? A huge user base to play it on the go! Experience the wonderful world of Katamari on the train or while avoiding conversation in a restaurant. Touch controls! Or um…broken controls? (as in I Love Katamari or some say - that’s Katamari Amore). Pay to unlock more levels! Did you enjoy that two minutes? Okay now give us some money. The mobile Katamari games have not fared too well and with Katamari Amore recently pulled by Namco Bandai it seems mobile is not for Katamari.
Touch My Katamari, despite the name had the option of dual sticks and was pretty enjoyable. However, with the smaller Vita user base perhaps the 3DS would be a good option? But with the lack of a second analogue stick it just wouldn’t work. The nub on the New 3DS could help and Katamari could be exposed to a new and growing audience. Also Prince for Smash Bros?
A great Katamari game is long overdue and this is where it should be. On the big screen and with the best controls. This is where it will look the most beautiful. This is where it can be on the grandest scale. Imagine rolling up atoms and galaxies in the same stage.
But this on its own might not be enough to breathe new life into the series. So how about user-created levels? This would be a huge challenge to execute correctly. Just think of the sheer number of objects there could be to roll-over. The interface to design levels needs to be spot-on and intuitive. Maybe the Wii U GamePad could be a useful tool. That said, user-generated levels could offer up even more strangeness and wonder. It doesn’t just have to be levels created by me and you though. Special user-created levels made by respected game designers could fill the void of Keita Takahashi.
But we’ll probably just get another recycled game. Tom Bramwell, then writing for Eurogamer sums it up well:
“…if Takahashi were to come back and make a new Katamari game today, it would probably have to include a level where you do nothing but roll up new Katamari games”
Where would you like to see Katamari go next?
You can find me on Twitter at @time_sandwich