[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 06/02/02 ] = Nothing Says Aloha Like Trash Piled In Ditches

As sort of a follow-up to the GameCube Hysteria article I wrote last year, recent waves of news from the industry bring news that Sega, Nintendo, and Namco have planned a joint hardware project. My first reaction to this was the immense happiness and surprise that two long-running enemies, Sega and Nintendo, were not only in a project together, but in a joint effort to make new hardware. Now, those who have witnessed before when Nintendo and Sega were bitter enemies can understand the feeling of a long-running war finally at rest. Sure, Nintendo and Sega shaking hands with real smiles on their faces was a completely historical moment as Sega moved to develop games for other hardware. Sometimes I sit back and think, all in disbelief about what we never thought would happen. But, the thing that surprised me the most was the announcement of the third, most unexpected ally: Namco. Namco? What? Namco actually looking at other developing options other than Sony-powered hardware? Namco interested in what Nintendo has brought to the table? Yes. Seeing as how Namco has primarily supported Sony more than any other hardware developer in the industry, everyone has been taken by surprise.

Lately, Namco has been notorious for putting most of their eggs in Sony's basket (not counting the three or four they put in Nintendo or Sega's, of course), so the very fact that they are searching elsewhere to develop after the seemingly yesterday release of the System 246 is interesting. Namco seems to go where the most financial support is, and although Namco will be supporting the System 246 a little more with a trickle of releases, it's amazing that they are already not only looking elsewhere, but planning to help create that elsewhere. Confused? Well, the reason it is so interesting is because Namco has been so loyal to Sony, and so it is rather peculiar to see them sort of drifting away from Sony to sort of help create a base by working with Nintendo in hardware development. It's not like Namco dropped Sony's hardware like a bad habit or anything, but it is obvious that Namco sees they can better profit with a cheaper, more simple hardware to develop for. So just what exactly is this new development that Sega, Nintendo, and Namco are so dilligently collaborating on? Complete with a double-meaning and a revolutionary purpose, Sega, Nintendo, and Namco's new hardware collaboration is called the Triforce.

The Triforce is essentially the GameCube hardware in architecture, and will function as a next-generation multi-purpose 3-D arcade board. Those who are militant 2-D gamers now in livid anger, stop a minute; although it has been planned that the system will power 3-D games, it should also be noted that neither Nintendo, Sega, or Namco have denied the possibilities for powering 2-D games.







With the TriForce hardware, the three industry giants ultimately plan to create a more effective cost-performance environment that gives developers more freedom in the creation of new games. By giving developers more freedom, Sega, Nintendo, and Namco plan to use the Triforce hardware to widen the arcade game market, allowing for a wide selection of titles to be under one system. This plan is very similar to the legacy that the Naomi hardware had lived; a wide selection of titles from different developers were created for the Naomi due to its ease of programming and cost efficiency. Also, in addition to the new media support, the hardware also supports Sega's Naomi GD-ROM media. With that in mind, it seems that with Sega on the team, the Triforce could actually carry on the legacy of the Naomi, bringing Capcom into developing their future projects on the GameCube hardware. Since Capcom developed generously for the Naomi hardware, it is very possible that they might set the Triforce as their choice hardware for their next generation of games.




Now would be a good time for Capcom to be looking for a stable piece of hardware to establish development on, since Capcom VS SNK 2 and Gundam DX pretty much marked the end of Capcom's long established development for the Naomi hardware. Therefore, it would make perfect sense if indeed Capcom did choose the cost effective and powerful TriForce hardware to create a beautiful follow-up to Street Fighter, the next chapter in the 19XX series, or another Darkstalkers game. With the ease of programming and potential power of the Triforce, I'm really hoping the system's perfect medium between cost and power brings it success. The backing of three big industry players should lead this hardware to success, if the other developers realize ultimately the goals of the hardware and its potential. From what we've seen of the GameCube up to now, it would be nice to see more developers actually show what else the hardware can do. Nintendo themselves have shown what the hardware is capable of - just look at the beautiful screens of the new F-Zero and you'll see what I am talking about. I think that once developers see what Nintendo's done on the GameCube hardware with beautiful games like F-Zero, not only will some of the bigger developers start more development, but the smaller developers as well. Just imagine what greatness developers like Cave, Psikyo, or Takumi could design with the Triforce!




With the hardware's specs, these developers could design some amazing shooters with original ideas like that of which Psikyo did with Zero Gunner 2 on the Naomi, or like what Irem did with R-Type Delta back on the PlayStation hardware. I'm hoping with all I've got that the next wave of manic shooters from any of the mentioned shooter developers hits this hardware. Some may be frightened at the fact that because it's been said to be 3-D hardware that it won't get any 2-D games, but Capcom is already busy working on Capcom VS SNK 2 EO, which looks absolutely fantastic. The great thing is that since the hardware supports Sega's Naomi GD-ROM system, developers who already got close to the Naomi hardware might feel at home in developing new games on the TriForce hardware. Since Namco is also a part of the project, the Triforce supports Namco's system style and utilizes the Triforce without GD-ROM media. So, taking these options into consideration, developers can have more freedom in choosing the system style they want to develop for, which paves the road for some potentially great titles to come.

It's hard to tell what will happen with the various hardwares hitting the market now, and nobody can know for sure which of those hardware will be chosen by most developers to make games. However, it seems that in the midst of development for the Naomi2, System 246, and talks of the Naomi3, the Triforce offers similar graphical power and potential at a level of efficiency that may appeal to many developers.

With the signing of more and more developers, the GameCube hardware can unify and widen the market for development, resulting in the development of more quality titles at a faster rate. With big developers like Capcom, Sega, and Namco using the GameCube hardware to develop, it would be nice if they influenced some of the smaller developers to act similarly. As mentioned earlier, it would be great to see revisions of some older games. Just as the Naomi hardware had both the power and efficiency that developers took an advantage of, I think the TriForce can follow in those footsteps and hopefully not only have just as many titles developed on it as the Naomi had, but even more as time progresses. Though I like the Naomi2 and the greatness of its potential (Virtua Fighter 4), as well as the System 246 (Street Fighter EX3, Maximo, Silpheed), the Triforce hardware reminds me a lot of the appeal that the Naomi had upon its release. Capcom developed amazing works of art with the Naomi - Street Fighter Alpha 3 Saikyo Dojo, Vampire Chronicle, Project Justice, and Giga Wing 2 - seeing what Capcom did with the Naomi, I would like to see them embrace the GameCube hardware and repeat such greatness in developing. Because of my fondness for the Naomi (it will always have a place in my heart), I am hoping that the Triforce with its similar attributes, is successful as well.