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E3 2006: Golden Axe Returns!

Sega made a surprise announcement today that shocked fans. After more than a decade of dormancy, Golden Axe is sharpening its blade for a comeback! The announcement comes a little more than a month after it was revealed that Sega had purchased the San Francisco-based developer Secret Level. Sega informed that the group would be working on reviving a classic franchise, but declined to share which one.

Golden Axe will return as an action/RPG for both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 sometime in 2007. The change in play style may come as a surprise to many, as the series is mostly known for its hack-‘n-slash nature. I would, however, like to remind gamers of the little-known Golden Axe Warrior, a Zelda clone for the Master System that fgeatured great graphics and an awesome quest. Could this be a sequel?

Plot? Who Needs Plot?

Story has never played a big part in any Golden Axe game, save for the aforementioned Warrior. This newest entry is no different. Supposedly, a band of riders is out to defeat their enemy before he exterminates their race. That’s about it, and to be honest, it’s not all that important. Action is what’s key in this franchise, and if Sega and Secret Level can deliver the gameplay we all know and love with some next generation bells and whistles, fans will be more than content.

According to Scott Steinberg, Sega’s VP of marketing, “Golden Axe is one of our most treasured brands and is a complete re-imagining of the story that will take gamers on an unforgettable journey. The vision we have for the remake of Golden Axe is nothing short of remarkable and it can only be realized on the PlayStation 3 system and Xbox 360.”

It’s a bit hard to believe him after the train wreck that was the remake for the Sega Classics Collection, but I’m willing to give him a chance.

Choose Your Character?

It is unknown at this time if the Tyris Flare, Gilius Thunderhead, and Ax Battler will be the stars of this newest sequel, but I can tell you that you will still have the ability to mount animals and use them for attacking. This has always been an integral part of the Golden Axe games, and it wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t get on a dragon and toast our foes with fiery breath.

Magic will also still be an integral part of the gameplay, and it will be interesting to see the new effects the PS3 and 360 can muster. Hopefully those mischevious little imps that took your bottles will still be around.

Some sources are hinting at the ability to recruit allies for battle, as well as ranged combat. Sega presented a trailer (look for it later today) that showed Tyris Flare riding away from pursuers on one of the mighty beasts that Golden Axe is famous for providing as “offensive transportation.” I’m still not sure about her new look though…

Tell Me More!

Unfortunately….we can’t. There’s not much more to tell at this juncture, as Sega is pretty tight-lipped about the project. Perhaps more details will surface as this week progresses. If not, we will definitely be there to report any updates as they appear.

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