We Need A New AAA Top Gun Game
It seems like this past week has seen the entire world feel the need (the need for speed), and it's not a moment too late.
The 1986 Naval Aviation propaganda flick-cum-homoerotic volleyball movie Top Gun is a classic for a reason, boasting Tom Cruise as the ever-charming Pete "Maverick" Mitchell taking on training at TOPGUN, kicking some ass and losing some friends along the way (spoilers, by the way).
The film's sequel, that nobody asked for but everyone is delighted to receive regardless, has been making a splash this past week, proving itself to be one of the year's very best blockbusters yet, with the return of Maverick, this time training a new rag-tag group of pilots to take on their toughest challenge yet - and it's got us thinking.
Where on earth is that blockbuster Top Gun game we deserve?
It's About Time For A New Top Gun Game - This Time, With All The Frills
Though we may not remember, there have actually been a lot of Top Gun games over the years. The last was 2012's Top Gun: Hard Lock, a title developed for the Xbox 360 and PS3, and before then was a Nintendo DS game, Top Gun: Combat Zones for the PS2, Top Gun: Hornet's Nest for the PlayStation, and Top Gun: Fire At Will for the PC in 1996. Remember any of them? Thought not.
It's interesting that a film that has now become a staple of cinema in the '80s, and for many different reasons, has had so many forgettable titles, when realistically, the formula for a successful Top Gun is pretty simple. Give us some fiery dogfights, set it all over hours of Kenny Loggins anthems and give us a little peek at Maverick's psyche every once in a while, and we're pretty much there.
Plus, taking narrative hints from the new legacyquel Top Gun: Maverick could be just what the game needs, putting you in the cockpit as a new recruit for the Naval Fighters Weapon School under the wing of Maverick himself, training you for the biggest operation that TOPGUN has ever seen. Frankly, the game could steal the narrative of the sequel entirely, and would still be a blistering success.
Fighter Pilot Games Need To Make A Comeback
It seems very much like we're in something of a drought for some good old-fashioned dogfighting in video games. Sure, some games will have their own sections that let players clamber into the cockpit of a fighter jet and go nuts - but we haven't had much in the way of games that put a little more focus on air combat.
The last in-flight game that made anything of a splash was Microsoft Flight Simulator, which despite its Maverick DLC introducing some exciting time trials, it still stands as the super-realistic simulator which doesn't quite match the dogfighting intensity that players want.
Ace Combat still pleases fans, though realistically, it isn't as popular as it should be. Perhaps this is where a new Top Gun game can prosper, and bring the genre shooting back to life. The newfound popularity of the franchise could help to fire dogfighting back into the spotlight for video games. It's long overdue, and if anyone can do it, it's Maverick himself.
There's No Better Time To Pounce Back On Air Combat Games
Without falling back on its accused military propaganda, Top Gun: Maverick has brought interest in air combat all the way back, and with its miraculous box office draws bringing in $156 million in the first four days, making it the biggest Memorial Day weekend opening in history, there's a market here not yet cornered.
Top Gun now has more than enough pull behind its name and image to redefine the air combat game. Though tie-in games are aggressively out of fashion, there's no reason that Tom actual Cruise can't be the one to bring it back to life, and in F-14A Tomcat no less. Whoever we need to ask in the gaming industry, we're happy to beg - send us into the danger zone.