When it comes to Cartoon Network, the first thing that pops into my mind is Samurai Jack. The titular character was Genndy Tartakovsky’s magnum opus, a behemoth in the animation industry. Through carefully detailed animations, storytelling, and figures, he gave us one hell of a universe. We rarely talk about the franchise here on our website, so we thought now was a perfect time since a Samurai Jack video game was just announced. I can barely contain myself, how excited I am to see my favorite fictional samurai back in action. So let’s dive in and see what we know so far.
Samurai Jack’s story spans over a decade. While it began in 2001 on Cartoon Network, it would not remain on the same channel for too long. After 4 seasons, Genndy pulled his series from the platform, leaving Jack’s tale ambiguous. However, this was seemingly done due to creative differences, as Tartakovsky wanted to explore darker themes surrounding his protagonist. It was mostly sanitized during its initial 4 seasons, with our hero often opposing robot assassins.
Genndy was quiet on the matter for some time, yet in 2017 he reemerged with news of its final season. Now on Adult Swim, and with a Mature Rating, Samurai Jack finally became the blood bath everybody was craving. The character was explored like never before, diving into insanity, and even attempted suicide. It also allowed Jack to develop a darker view of the world he inhabited. After an encounter that left him scarred, he even develops a mutual respect and fondness for a newfound ally. Eventually, falling in love, as short-lived as it was. The ending was a bit rushed, but it was a closure many were waiting for over a decade.
Naturally, with such a cult following, Jack ventured into numerous media outlets. There were action figures, comic books, and naturally, video games. This isn’t the first time we see our protagonist get his own game release. Back in 2003, he was given a GBA release, with Samurai Jack: The Amulet of Time. It was a solid 2D action platformer, but nothing groundbreaking. In 2004, however, he got a full console PS2 and Nintendo GameCube release with Shadow of Aku. Again nothing groundbreaking, though far better than its 2D counterpart. This time in 3D, with all the familiar items, enemies, and locations from the cartoon.
So what do we know about this new one? Well, not much. Though from the trailer, it seems that the premise of the game will be similar to that of its cartoon counterpart. Most likely it will retell the story of all five seasons, but with much more emphasis on that samurai action we came to know and love. It will also tackle the same darker subjects of the final season, judging by the footage. A much older experienced Jack will be a playable character, complete with all his tools and gadgets.
The game also sees much of its beloved cast return to voice their characters, yet only the voice of Jack and Aku are confirmed, for now. By the looks of it, it’s most likely going for that classic, Platinum Games, hack n slash type, which is perfect in my opinion. However, my biggest concern is the studio behind it. While the publisher is Adult Swim, the developing process goes to Soleil, who aren’t really known for amazing titles. They had Devil’s Third, No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Back, and Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers. And each title was mediocre at best. I just hope this will be more in style of let’s say Nier Automata, rather than Afro Samurai 2. Oh boy, that was terrible.
All in all, I’m super excited for its release, though a little worried. Yet, many fans, including myself, will not have to wait long for it to come out. It does not have an official release date, but the team states that it will be out during the summer of 2020. It will also come out on all major platforms – PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Meanwhile, Tartakovsky went on to work on other projects such as the magnificent Primal series. Who knows, maybe we might see that grace our little screens as well shortly after. And if you want to see our review on Primal, you can do so here. Until then, be sure to follow us for more news regarding Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time.