Okay I’m sure you’ve heard lots of conspiracy theories, but this one is for sure true. I know it sounds crazy, but when you think about it, it’s crazy for it not to be true. We’re talking damning evidence here.
Let’s work backwards: What was Namco doing back in the good ol’ days after 9/11? That’s right, Ace Combat 04. Great game, really fun, but what system was it on? Right again, the Playstation 2. Dreamcast was still kicking then, could’ve made a big comeback if some things did or didn’t happen. That one game the system was riding on? Propeller Arena. Cancelled after 9/11. Direct competition with Ace Combat. Sega was still salty about SoulCalibur being a better port than Virtua Fighter 3tb, and the two companies decided the only solution was all-out war.
After finishing development on their time machine in ’85, Sega made bank taking arcade technology from a few years into the future, reverse-engineering it, and recreating it to become kings of the arcade in the present timeline. Unfortunately, they didn’t know the timeline they were leaping to was the one where consoles died, and arcades reigned supreme for eternity. After the failure of the US Saturn hit harder than they expected, they needed to revise their plan. Yu Suzuki went full-time starting in ’96 to revise the time machine. Its new functionality: jump to the future in a more current timeline. Sega’s goal: take games from the future and recreate their mechanics in the present. Yu Suzuki himself jumped into 2011, the furthest anyone had ever time-traveled. What he saw changed him forever.
The first on his list was to take Namco’s own games. He was pleased to find that the company was still putting out shovelware like Ridge Racer, Tales of, and Dark Souls, and they were avoiding any releases on Sega consoles, despite the platform holding over 60% of the console market. Namco’s only big release that year was Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. A new face for the series, Yu was sure the game would be a success. Taking the highly advanced, realistic mechanics from Assault Horizon and implementing it into a Sega game would surely deal a death blow to Namco in the past.
I know what you’re asking aloud at this article, “why didn’t he figure out about 9/11 when he went to the future he could’ve just looked it up?” Well, due to some course of events, the internet turned out to be a fad and everything just died out. The 7th gen game consoles didn’t have internet access, and an internet-connected desktop computer is something only found in universities and an anime fan’s room. Tablets really took off, though. Anyways, Yu Suzuki didn’t find out about 9/11 and only really went into game stores to find the hottest new games.
And the other games he found further inspired him to make new games. Of them, he took from the most fantastic masterpieces of 2011 back to 1999. Some of the greatest games of all time. You know which ones I’m talking about: Skyrim, Heavy Rain, and L.A. Noire. Yu Suzuki used these games to create his Dreamcast masterpiece, a game which will forever be known as a classic for the console, the first of which in his plan to save Sega and change the gaming industry forever: Ferrari F355 Challenge.
He had made a game so perfect nobody would have to play another video game again. But just to make sure, Yu Suzuki took on another project and called it Shenmue. He didn’t really think much of it and didn’t care about the project, since he needed to finish off Namco with a true competition for Ace Combat 4. Giving the reigns to Makoto Osaki, Sega AM2 started working on Propeller Arena: Aviation Battle Championship. Seeking to make the internet, and online games, more than just a fad from the 90s, Propeller Arena was made with a heavy multiplayer focus. Stealing from Assault Horizon, Sega implemented the DFM combat system. They made a perfect game. Aiming for a September 19 release, Namco knew they had to do something.
I know what you’re also asking aloud at this article, “it’s not beyond Namco to do something like 9/11 but how the hell did they pull it off?” That’s a very valid question. But don’t forget the company had another favor from the CIA to cash in from when they made Pac-Man to mind-control the people. So it was pretty easy to call them up and hatch a little plan to cancel Propeller Arena. After all, the game is going to extinguish the existence of the Playstation 2.
Anyways, you know what happens. Sega cancels Propeller Arena, the PS2 does well, and somehow people like Shenmue now? Yu Suzuki time traveled to 2015 so he could milk Kickstarter money while talking about Shenmue III. Every “appearance” he made between 2001 and then was obviously a body-double, that’s not even a theory.
How do I know this? Lots of reasons, but the last nail in the coffin was when Kenji Eno teleported into my room to tell me everything, before he was eventually brought back to 2013 to be assassinated. His ashes were subsequently ingested by Ken Levine so he could become pretentious enough to make Bioshock Infinite. Kind of a waste but I can’t complain.
Anyways, download a leaked copy of Propeller Arena and dream about a future where everything could have gone different and maybe better.
“Who thought of this? I don’t know!“
Also published on Medium.