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Bubsy Returns In The Woolies Strike Back

Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back!

In the 1990s when video game publishers everywhere were searching for their own radical mascot to star in a 16-bit platformer adventure, many characters answered the call to compete with Sonic the Hedgehog.  There was Awesome Possum, Radical Rex, Plok, my beloved Aero the Acro-bat, and poster child of them all: Bubsy the BobcatDebuting in 1993's Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, he would later go on to sequels in Bubsy 2, Bubsy: Fractured Furry Tales for the Atari Jaguar, and Bubsy 3D for the Sony PlayStation which was so poorly received that it killed the franchise dead and, not long after, saw publisher and rights holder Accolade go down too.  In the years since, Bubsy has become something of a gaming punchline, a shorthand for "lazy bad radical game", and a meme star.  There's also that aborted cartoon pilot kicking around online that he'll never live down.  He deserves much better, so I'm glad to see that Bubsy is returning in a new game for the Sony PlayStation 4 and PC.  Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back! is due out later this year.

Bubsy: the Woolies Strike Back! is an all new Bubsy adventure featuring Bubsy in a bevy of exotic locations as he travels the planet looking for the beloved Golden Fleece. Bubsy must use all of his classic moves and a few new ones to dodge and out bobcat a battalion of Woolies, not mention the gnarliest UFO bosses to ever grace a Bubsy adventure. The wisecracking lynx also adds over a 100 new one liners to his lexicon to keep fans guessing what he’ll say next.

You'll find many other gaming websites covering this news with cynical ho-hum trying hard to not care attitudes such as "why is this happening?", "nobody asked for this", and so on, but just the idea of Bubsy coming back has me excited.  It's popular to hate the character and his games, but the original two 16-bit titles are enjoyable and offer some fun challenges once you get past the learning curve and beef up your patience stamina.  This new Bubsy title comes to us from a reborn Accolade, although it's just a revived name owned by Chinese firm Billion Soft out of Hong Komg and is developed by Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams studio Black Forest Games.

It's such a Black Forest product, in fact, that there's talk that Bubsy is outright reusing assets from the Giana game.  I would hope those are just placeholders, but with a release date coming up before the end of the year, I wonder about that.   I want this game to be everything I hope it to be and for it to do well.  Bubsy can be something special in the right hands, and while I'm not yet convinced that Billion Soft and Black Forest Games are those right hands, we have to start somewhere.  Or, as our hero would say, "What could possibly go wrong?"