Predator: Hunting Grounds came out in April, and I was supposed to do a review piece for it. However, I couldn’t carve out enough time from my busy Animal Crossing schedule in the last few months to try out anything else! (Relatable, huh?)
My idea of riding out the pandemic as I continue to expand my Animal Crossing empire seems like a far-fetched one at the moment. It’s evident that we are in this for the long haul, and we need to accept the current situation as the new normal.
And one way to return to normalcy is to diversify my gaming time. As awesome as Animal Crossing: New Horizons is, it is keeping me from relishing other gaming experiences. Predator: Hunting Grounds is one of the many other games I plan on checking out in the coming weeks.
Even though my review for the new Predator game is a long way off, I wanted to share a story related to the franchise today. It’s not about an Predator game that already exists; it’s about an Alien Vs. Predator title that came very close to happening but never did.
In March 2019, the National Videogame Museum of the USA published some concept arts for a canceled Alien vs. Predator game in a blog post. The game was supposed to be about a cosmic football league featuring the Xenomorphs and the Predators. Yes, you read that right. Aliens and Predators were about to take their rivalry to the gridiron in this unreleased Sega Genesis title!
Dark Horse Comics (copyright owners of both the Alien and Predator franchise) and Sega both made some weird crossover decisions over the years. However, very few could have foreseen Archie vs. Predator comic books and RoboCop Versus The Terminator video game before their announcements. So it’s no wonder both parties were able to cook up such a bizarre idea together.
We also have a synopsis for the game, titled Cosmic Hard Bowl. Here’s the translation from the original Japanese text:
Mankind had neutralized the 400+ year war between Aliens and Predators. Now they have agreed to finalize the conflict by American Football on Earth. The Alien Football League and the Predator Football League were born and fierce battles engaged for the Super Bowl Title. There was only one new rule. The quarterback must be human.Cosmic Hard Bowl
I had so many questions after reading the synopsis. But one particular query that puzzled me the most is why on earth a human being would agree to line up alongside a bunch of bloodthirsty monsters? At least in Mutant League Football every player was some sort of creature.
The game was to be set in the year 2702. The eternal rivalry between Aliens and Predators has transitioned to American football from the lawless violence both parties have been involved in for centuries. Similar to the regional conferences in NFL, both groups had their own leagues and had to qualify from their respective competitions to qualify for the Super Bowl.
The Anchorage King Salmons, the Los Angeles Blade Runners (that’s awesome), the Houston Exterminators, the Chicago Dirty Heroes, the Dallas Jet Flying Kickers, and the Washington D.C. Bashings were the teams in the Alien division. All these names are rough translations of their original Japanese ones, so I’m pretty sure they would have sounded different or more polished in the official English edition.
Amusingly and threateningly for the human players, the league motto for the Alien division read, “My mother owns all teams. I long for some fresh human-quarterbacks.” Yep, those poor human quarterbacks were definitely going to get slaughtered during the post-game interviews. That’s also a nice nod to the menacing Alien Queen too.
On the other hand, the Predator division teams were the Seattle Samurai Mifunes, the San Francisco Black Catfish, the Detroit Big Three, the Las Vegas American Dreams, the New York Psychic Murders, and the Miami Dolphins. Their league slogan, a bit more bland than the Alien slogan, read, “My chieftain is the team owner. I will turn you into a fully-grown quarterback warrior.”
There’s no information regarding why this project got scrapped and which studio was developing the game. However, Sega Genesis did have the aforementioned Mutant League Football, which was also about a violent football league with monster players. Is Electronic Art’s Mutant League Football the evolved version of the Aliens vs. Predator football game? That remains an unanswered question as well.
Even if Mutant League Football grew out of Cosmic Hard Ball, it’s just not the same. I think any fan of Alien or Predator would have loved this weird and irreverent take on the franchise. Maybe we’ll get a release on the PlayStation 5.