Gold Masters Series Candidates
Image: Nintendo Life

We're big fans of Digital Eclipse's work, especially the studio's recent approach to documenting the stories of landmark games and their creators, exploring video game history in the medium's native habitat. Atari 50 was its first 'interactive documentary' title to launch, with The Making of Karateka kicking off the 'Gold Master Series' in August 2023 followed by Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story just recently.

Speaking with Wade Rosen, CEO of Atari (who acquired Digital Eclipse late last year), it seems that rather than curtailing licensing opportunities with outside companies, the firm's acquisition may open up doors that were previously closed and streamline negotiations for new projects.

Rosen told us that they'll "hopefully have more great projects that we can share in the near future with partners of [Konami and Capcom's] caliber," and given Digital Eclipse's sterling efforts on collections from hallowed Japanese devs (including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, and SNK 40th Anniversary Collection), the possibilities are incredibly exciting.

Digital Eclipse Gold Master Series Logo
Image: Digital Eclipse

With that in mind, we couldn't help spitballing some of those possibilities around the Nintendo Life office, and we've come up with a little wishlist of games we'd love to see Digital Eclipse get their hands on. Throw them the keys to the archives and we'd be fascinated to see the results.

With our picks below, we've tried, for the most part, to stay within the realms of possibility when it comes to licensing and the people/companies involved. Sure, we'd jump at a deep dive into Metal Gear Solid with interviews and prototypes and design docs and an exploration of the personalities and tensions involved in the making of that masterpiece...but the chances of that happening are extremely remote. And the messy rights-wrangling involved in getting, say, 'The Making of GoldenEye' off the ground doesn't bear thinking about, even if it would have made the perfect 'Gold Master Series #007'!

So, we've tried to keep things relatively simple and vaguely plausible because, let's face it, there are thousands of games that deserve this sort of attention. Let's join Gavin and Ollie as they run down a handful of video games they'd like to see Digital Eclipse go to town on...

NL staff key: Gavin Lane (GL), Ollie Reynolds (OR)

The Making of The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island
Image: LucasArts

Look, 'LucasArts Adventures: The Story of SCUMM' would be the dream, but that would be an enormous undertaking. If we're keeping things a little more realistic, let's instead go for a classic game that has never been released on a Nintendo platform (not even the 2009 Special Edition). Getting Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman, and Tim Schafer, in particular, involved to discuss this point-and-click all-timer would be fantastic.

Again, any individual game in the LucasArts point-and-click canon would be an ideal candidate for the Gold Master treatment (a Maniac Mansion / Day of the Tentacle edition, anyone?), and a simple Monkey Island compilation would be a hell of a thing, too. So much potential. GL

The Making of Myst

Already available on Switch in the form of realMyst: Masterpiece Edition, this classic would massively benefit from the contextual framing DE's documentary approach offers. It's hard to convey the 'wow' factor Myst had as CD-ROMs made their way into homes around the world 30 years ago. Games like this, Doom, Rebel Assault, the aforementioned LucasArts adventures, and a handful of others captured the spirit of a burgeoning medium like few others.

Even people who didn't like or understand video games in the mid-'90s had a copy of this sitting alongside Microsoft Encarta. Get some Riven in there, too. GL

The Making of Castlevania

Konami has already revisited its Castlevania series with the help of developer M2, releasing the Anniversary Collection in 2019 and the Advance Collection in 2021. That said, Digital Eclipse has a solid working relationship with the publisher after having recently worked on TMNT: Cowabunga Collection, so we reckon it would do a bang-up job of examining the original Castlevania for the FDS/NES.

There's a lot to dive into from a historical point of view, including obvious nods to Dracula veterans Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing during early development. The game also happened to launch on the 90th anniversary of Bram's Stoker's novel, so an examination of the similarities between Castlevania and Stoker's prose would be an absolute delight. OR

The Making of Prince of Persia

There's a big 'IF' here depending on Ubisoft's interest, and wrangling all the ports would be tough, but it's a natural progression from Jordan Mechner's Karateka, the first entry in the Gold Master Series. If I were Ubisoft, I'd jump at the chance to have with Digital Eclipse team come in and handle this, following the narrative threads from Karateka through to Prince of Persia and onwards, bringing in themes that carry through to the later series entries, including the recent Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown — a January 2024 game that somehow feels destined to be unfairly forgotten when GOTY season rolls around. GL

The Making of Adventure

Image: Atari

Warren Robinett's Adventure is perhaps the most prominent game from the Atari 2600 that has yet be properly revisited by the company beyond an unofficial sequel in 2005 (something Atari's own CEO is very much aware of). While the story of its creation is well-known at this point — including the addition of one of gaming's very first easter eggs — it would be wonderful to see the birth of such an iconic video game brought to life by Digital Eclipse.

Robinett himself has been eagerly chipping away at a book dedicated to the creation of Adventure for the better part of eight years now. Books take a long time to produce at the best of times, but we'd like to think that maybe it's taking a while to write because of the sheer wealth of information regarding the game's creation. Lots of fodder for a Gold Master Series entry, then. OR

The Making of The Oregon Trail

This is one of those influential games that I have no experience with, personally. The Oregon Trail was a massively formative title for many a US gamer, but it's not something many Brits came into contact with. There's a version on Switch already (and you can just play it in your browser), but I'd definitely appreciate some documentary context to find out what makes it such a nostalgic touchstone for so many people across the pond. GL

The Making of Pac-Man

This feels like a long shot considering how often Bandai Namco has dipped into its back catalogue for Museum-style re-releases, BUT there's a great story to tell here and plenty of ports to explore. Licensing may get tricky, but along with medium-defining giants like Taito's Space Invaders and dare-we-suggest-it Tetris, this is more than worthy of the wishlist. GL

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The Making of Resident Evil

Resident Evil
Image: Capcom

The origin and creation of the original Resident Evil is a fascinating story that started all the way back in 1989 with the release of Sweet Home, a horror movie direct by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure, Pulse). The accompanying video game adaptation for the Famicom would come to serve as the main inspiration for Resident Evil. There's simply so much that could be picked apart and analysed with the first RE Game, including its setting, its game mechanics, and the inexperienced group of actors that collectively made the opening FMV sequence so memorable (for better or worse).

There's also a huge opportunity to explore the game's immediate sequels and Capcom's struggles in nailing down a solid direction for the series. 'Resident Evil 1.5' is relatively well known with hardcore fans of the franchise, but to have a comprehensive breakdown of how and why development was completely revamped would frankly be a dream come true. OR

The Making of 'The Frog For Whom The Bell Tolls'

Before landing on this, I naturally thought of 'The Making of Super Mario' and 'Zelda' (both of which would be brilliant) and others. Also, a 'Nintendo Famicom Disk System Collection'; something a bit less obvious that could really benefit from more exposure. I'm talking Nintendo-published games that never came to the West, like Time Twist, 3D Hot Rally, Alexey Pajitnov's Knight Move, Yūyūki... but the required localisation work, on top of all the archival work, would make it impractical. And I suppose commercial considerations must be taken into account. Nobody is clamouring for a Time Twist localisation. Mother 3 it ain't.

However, a game with obvious ties to Link's Awakening? Could be a good testbed. 1992's Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru for Game Boy never launched outside Japan, and an official release with DE's documentary touch would be unusual but amazing. Marvelous: Another Treasure Island might be a good pick, too.

Sure, throw DE the keys to every Nintendo game ever, please — we'd all love that — but if they're going to court Nintendo, digging into a lesser-known curio could be a low-key, canny way into the archives. You know, before blowing the doors off and going crazy with 'The Making of Every Nintendo Game Ever'. Just imagine the tales and prototype builds that could go into a Gold Master Series release of *whisper it* Mother 3! GL

The Making of Street Fighter II

The studio has form with this one, of course, with the excellent Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. However, if there's a fighting game with the popularity and influence to warrant a double-dip deep-dive documentary presentation exploring every facet of its evolution, it's Street Fighter II.

There are plenty of fighters worthy of forensic attention — we'd love to see what could be done with Tekken, Virtua Fighter, and KoF, for instance — and some might argue SF2 has already had more than its fair share. But given DE's established relationship with Capcom, and the game's status as a 'gateway' to the genre for non-fans, this feels more realistic as a first jab. GL

The Making of Out Run

Numerous vintage, blue-sky Sega games would make for great documentary subjects, but Out Run is maybe the best pick. A celebrated arcade classic that's been ported to everything (so there's loads of material to work with), the racing narrative from Hang-On and Enduro Racer to Out Run and Power Drift is a compelling one. There'd be plenty of scrubbing required to switch out those Ferarri logos (or imagine if they actually got the licence for this one!), but 'The Making of Out Run' feels like a title that marries specificity and a wider scope nicely.

If you really want to shine 'em on, you could broaden it into 'SEGA: The Super Scaler Story', which would also be fantastic. But at that point, you're only a step away from...

Yu Suzuki: A Man for the AGES

Shenmue 1 & II
Image: SEGA

Hang-On Space Harrier, Out Run, After Burner, Power Drift, G-LOC, Virtua Racing and Fighter, Shenmue...

I could flesh out entries for most of those on their own — especially at the end, there — but I love the concept of wrapping the timeline around a single creator, as with Jeff Minter, and Yu Suzuki has the back catalogue to pull it off.

For this to work, Sega would obviously have to be onboard. It sounds far-fetched, but hey, Sega throws all kinds of stuff at the wall, especially when it comes to compilations. Yu Suzuki could be a perfect focal point to anchor another Sega retrospective featuring some of its blue-sky greats. GL

How about a 'Micro Master Series'?

Digital Eclipse Gold Master Series 'Micro Master' logo mockup
Image: Nintendo Life

There are a whole host of games out there that, while they might not support a multi-chapter, historical deep dive, could well work at a smaller scale. So why not an EP-style side series that follows the same structure but perhaps only has a chapter or two?

There are so many stories to tell, whether you're condensing an entire career into an interactive timeline, or zooming in on a fleeting moment. This could apply to seminal titles which lack the archival material to expand into a full-blown experience, but equally to games like, say, Flappy Bird. Seriously, there's a story to tell there! If the Gold Master canvas is too broad, a smaller-scale version is worth considering. The 'Micro Master' name needs workshopping, but you catch my drift. GL

We had a few others here that we ended up trimming, 'The Making of Half-Life 2' being among them. Valve did a great job of charting the original game's development in an hour-long documentary back in November 2023, and with the sequel's 20th anniversary approaching, we're hoping for something similar (and wishing we could play them both on Switch!) — but let's leave that to Valve itself.

Another thought: 'The Disney Afternoon Collection: Origins'. This is what Capcom has been waiting for to get these on Switch, right? A blow-out exploration of every included game, speaking to every surviving developer, the Disney licensee folk of the era, the composers, the lawyers, the lot. Right!?...

Thanks to Thomystic for suggesting this Talking Point. Let us know below which of these you'd most like to see, plus any other suggestions. There are only THOUSANDS to choose from.

Think DE could jump through the necessary hoops to make ‘The Making of DOOM’ a reality? Here’s hoping!