Is it possible to exhaust a genre's potential? There may be only seven stories to be told in the world, but in the multitudinous hues of character and scenario it's possible to dress them in infinite ways - and so keep our bookstores stocked with novelty.
Not so game systems, which in their stark mathematical and tactile nature are near impossible to disguise. Tetris is Tetris, no matter what colour the blocks or which imagery is used for the background. And so it seems feasible that some genres can be exhausted, mined of potential permutations to the extent that there are simply no truly new games to be made in that particular form.
It's an argument given credibility by the story of the strategy RPG, that Japanese sub-genre that marries chess with Tolkien and anime eyes. From its origins in the Shining Force series through Yasumi Matsuno's Ogre Battle games up to his masterpiece, Final Fantasy Tactics, the genre quickly pressed up against its self-imposed boundaries, leaving precious little room for any newcomer to manoeuvre.
Konami's Xbox Live Arcade game Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgement will be released 20th January. A date for the PSN version hasn't been announced.
Konami plans to release Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgement on PSN and XBLA this winter.
Konami has announced a pair of upcoming downloadable games for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, reviving the Vandal Hearts series and jumping on the zombie bandwagon in the process.
The latter is thanks to Zombie Apocalypse, an up-to-four-player top-down survive-'em-up where you and friends battle through 55 days of battles across seven environments using assault rifles, flamethrowers, chainsaws and that sort of thing.
There's single-console and online gameplay, seven unlockable game modes and no word on price. But you can stare at some screenshots.