Years of gaming undoubtedly creates a sense of nostalgia for the franchises of our youth. Unlike movies or television, actors can’t age out of playing a role or be unwilling to return to the franchise unless they back up the Brinks truck. The only restriction is whether a developer or studio is willing to invest in the franchise. The cost of developing a game on most platforms has swelled over time, and some creators feel the story has run its natural course; a sequel wouldn’t be fitting, or the IP isn’t worthy of a reboot. In other cases, sales never met expectations. But as fans of these games, we can’t help but wonder why a new entry into some of our favorite series was never released. So, because one list simply isn’t enough, here are 10 more game franchises in need of a revival.
Omikron: The Nomad Soul
Even you dropped acid, popped some shrooms, and had a few drinks, you still wouldn’t come up with the plot to Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Developed by Quantic Dream, the adventure game released on Microsoft Windows in 1999 but found its legs on the short-lived Sega Dreamcast console. It was the first of the sixth generation of video consoles squeaking its way onto store shelves before the competition. Sadly, sales were mediocre, and Sega eventually backed out of the console business, restructuring as the third-party publisher we know today. Fundamentally, Omikron never reached a wider audience.
The story is as oddball as they come. It’s as if director David Cage threw everything at the wall to see what sticks, but everything stuck. The plot involves parallel worlds, government conspiracies, ancient religious sects, demons, and David Bowie. Yes, that David Bowie. He played a small but pivotal role in the story and lent his talents to its musical score. Players are on a mission to hunt down a serial killer while trying to save their soul, literally. By launching the game, you’ve agreed to allow your soul to transfer to your in-game avatar because, you know, people enjoy meta fourth-wall-breaking experiences?
At its core, the joy of Omikron comes from exploring the wild open-world setting and the unique soul transfer system. You’re thrust into the body of a police officer accused of murdering his partner on an alternate world. But death doesn’t bring a typical respawn, as the titular “Nomad Soul” means you can jump from body to body to complete the incredibly outside of the box story. Each character you can occupy has unique skills and assets that provide variety and exploration.
A modern-day sequel could try to capture Cage’s madness combined with the massive processing power of today’s technology. Think of what Cyberpunk 2077 promised to be, combined with WatchDog: Legion’s mechanic to recruit NPCs, and you get the idea. When major game studios are hedging their bets and relying on bankable franchises, a follow up to Omikron could prove to be a successful franchise that is way outside of the box.
During Capcom’s heyday of action horror titles throughout the ’90s, Onimusha approached the genre from a different perspective, a ninja version of Resident Evil. As simple as it seems, the new take on the genre resonated with fans. Tapping into Japan’s rich history, Onimusha features historical figures as the protagonists for retelling stories with a supernatural twist. Featured prominently on the PlayStation 2, Onimusha is similar to Resident Evil and DinoCrisis, with a combination of adventure and puzzle elements but adding a greater emphasis on action than its peers. The hero changed with each iteration, but it always involved a skilled swordsman wielding the power of the Oni. Each hero was pulled from the annals of history.
After two successful entries, Capcom moved from pre-rendered environments to real-time immersible environments (but kept the fixed camera) and added a second protagonist, Jacques Blanc. Famous French actor Jean Reno portrayed Jacques, and in tried-and-true Onimusha fashion, the motion capture and character likeness were astounding. Onimusha hasn’t seen a proper entry for over a decade, leaving fans longing for a new release.
Poor sales of the original game’s remastering have all but destroyed the possibilities of a new entry into the series. But it’s easy to argue a remaster of an old format isn’t indicative of how fans may meet a new approach to the series — imagine taking the lush visuals and engaging gameplay of Ghost of Tsushima and adding the creative power behind the massive 2018 Resident Evil 2 remaster. Who do we have to talk to to make this happen?
Sunset Overdrive was the first, and arguably the best, Xbox One exclusive. It was a pleasant surprise to fans and critics alike (if they only gave it a chance). It’s no secret that Xbox One’s launch was received with ill will, all but limiting how many players had an opportunity to play this under-the-radar gem. Developed by Insomniac Games, Sunset Overdrive received great reviews and several award nominations.
It was another brilliant title under the Insomniac umbrella, taking a new direction into a post-apocalyptic world with a humorous tone. The world is cartoonish, pitting you against robots, monsters, and enough mutants to make the Ninja Turtles jealous. If profanity-laden comedy and wanton destruction is your thing, you’ve come to the right place. The game takes place in Sunset City, a place infected by Overcharge Drinkers (or OD for short) with zany weaponry even in terms of video games, and that’s saying something. When respawning, players were thrust back into Sunset City in a variety of ways with plenty of homages and callbacks to pop culture to warrant a smile or an “I understood that reference” moment. But it was the gameplay and tight controls that were the real star of the show.
Sunset Overdrive offers terrific mobility as players would grind rails, run on walls, and use zip lines to keep the OD at bay. Combined with the variety of weapons at your disposal, long combos and nonstop runs across the city were standard fares. Bright and colorful, the setting is a far cry from the dystopian worlds we’ve come to expect. Microsoft missed the opportunity to pick up the pieces with a new entry and produce a sequel. But hope remains: Sony has acquired Insomniac Games, and if the beautiful trailers for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart are any indication, Insomniac can work wonders with new hardware. For the time being, gamers can still get their nostalgic fix on Xbox Game Pass.
I would argue that Fusion Frenzy is a better party game than the Super Mario Party series (don’t @ me on that one). The original Xbox launch title is a four-player couch co-op that features 45 different mini-games. Now, I’m not saying the series makes for a fantastic drinking game, but I’m not NOT saying that either. The studio had a knack for developing fun and engaging mini-games, allowing different skill sets to excel at any given game. The funky soundtrack was phenomenal and still holds up today; it was catchy, rhythmic, and added to the series’ frenetic pace.
With the breakout success of online multiplayer during these trying times, a new Fusion Frenzy series makes sense. You can up the ante with larger game lobbies, leaning into the battle royale/party game essence of titles like Fall Guys. Bring back everyone’s favorites and tack on a bunch of new games from the minds that brought us the OG Frenzy.
Earthbound (known as Mother 2 in Japan) was one of Nintendo’s first successful role-playing games that bridged the gap between Japanese and American audiences. The series chronicles the adventures of Ness, a 13-year-old boy on a journey across the world to collect the eight melodies to save the future from an alien onslaught. Despite its success in Japan, Earthbound was initially met with little fanfare in the states, but picked up steam years later.
The game’s mechanics were experimental in 1994, but are the status quo by today’s standards. Considered a pioneer in the genre, the plot was emotional, engaging, and far ahead of its time. Today, the game is applauded worldwide to amuse portrayals of American culture while approaching the RPG video game genre with tongue firmly in the cheek. It took some time, but Earthbound has become a cult classic. The sequel was released exclusively in Japan, leaving casual fans wanting, with only the hardcore collectors getting their hands on a copy.
Most gamers recognize Ness from Super Smash Bros. fame, and Nintendo should bank on Ness’s newfound brawler fame. Granted, many younger audiences don’t know about Earthbound, but Nintendo could lean into a new entry in the series based on Smash Bros. alone.
TimeSplitters is an FPS that Free Radical Designs created. The series is often compared to Perfect Dark and Golden Eye. It’s an appropriate comparison considering the games share familiar gameplay, design, and some development team members. However, TimeSplitters was more lighthearted, featuring a semi-cartoonish aesthetic filled with futuristic weaponry and time travel, allowing players to fight in a wide range of maps with an assortment of settings spanning multiple timelines.
Each entry involves a time-traveling mechanic focused on a temporal war against the TimeSplitters, creatures that traveled through time manipulating human history. Each new entry into the series got more involved and featured more substantial story elements, but the all-out controls and fun shoot-em-up remained.
Three titles were released in the franchise’s life cycle, ending on a strong note with TimeSplitters: Future Perfect in 2005. Both critics and fans praised Future Perfect, which begs the question — why isn’t there another entry in the series? Rumors of pulling the series out of the vault have made headlines, but none have come to fruition.
With the FPS genre dominating the gaming landscape, a new TimeSplitters – with all the elements that made the series a hit intact – would work well in today’s market. Imagine battle royal with a giant map; each zone pulled from the echoes of time and weapons that extend over time and space. Kill a foe with a wooden spear or a molecular disruptor.
Cars, combat, and kick-ass rock music; what more can you ask for?
Twisted Metal was a massive hit in 1995 as the epitome of car-combat video games. Players were provided a wide range of distinctive and offbeat characters, with vehicles in line with their personalities. Take control of vehicles ranging from motorcycles to ice cream trucks as you’re dropped into a map and set loose to destroy your opponent. The over-the-top action loaded up vehicles with guns, mines, and unique upgrades. The series has been prolific throughout PlayStation history, with nine titles spanning over generations of systems to become the longest-running franchise in PlayStation history.
The games surrounded the titular Twisted Metal tournament, a to-the-death demolition derby run by the mysterious Calypso. And the prize for all this death and destruction? The winner is granted any wish they choose, whether bringing a loved one back from the grips of death or altering reality itself.
The series is a beloved franchise but has been in several developers’ hands, never truly finding a new home. Considering how influential online multiplayer games have become, and with esports and gaming dominating the entertainment market, it’s perplexing that we haven’t received a new Twisted Metal.
Square Enix is no stranger to remakes and remasters, but one exception is Parasite Eve. If you combine the horror elements of titles like Silent Hill with a turn-based RPG, you’d start to understand what made Parasite Eve so special. The story was fantastic and played out in beautiful cutscenes, with strong gameplay mechanics to glue it all together.
Players take on young officer Aya Brea’s role as she battles “Eve”, an ancient evil threatening all life on earth. The biological thriller involves hidden mitochondrial powers that can be upgraded along with Aya’s weapons to defeat grotesque – but incredibly designed – mutations. The combat was almost turn-based where players had to select a hostile enemy to attack rather than freely attacking. Rather than remaining in a fixed fighting stance, they can move and dodge within a given combat zone.
Since its release in 1998, the series has seen two sequels: Parasite Eve II in 1999 and The 3rd Birthday in 2010. The series is basically on ice, but a sliver of hope remains: Eagle-eyed gamers spotted an Easter egg in for Parasite Eve in the Final Fantasy VII remake. It seems like developers aren’t pursuing a new installment anytime soon, but it remains in their minds. Is there enough there to return to the series? I wish I knew.
When it comes to platformers, a game is either dead on arrival or strikes a chord with fans for years to come. Few franchises can give Mario a run for his money, but Banjo Kazooie made waves during the Nintendo 64 era. Fans are still clamoring for a new entry into the series (and no, Nuts and Bolts doesn’t count)!
Upon release, Banjo Kazooie was critically acclaimed and sold roughly three million copies worldwide. The sequel, Banjo-Tooie, also received rave reviews and adapted many of the original’s mechanics while implementing features that the developers couldn’t squeeze into the original. It’s easy to see how the title appealed to fans: Banjo Kazooie is a lighthearted, fairy tale-esque collectathon infused with British wit seeping with sarcasm, toilet jokes, and enough innuendos to make Pixar jealous, all while maintaining its E rating.
Exploration and collection are at the heart of the gameplay, and players are rewarded for their efforts. Collecting and exploring motivate the player to search every nook and cranny of the 3D world. Rewards ranged from learning a new move to opening new worlds, and even unlocking cheats. Many modern games were heavily influenced by the work Rare put into Banjo Kazooie.
In 2002, Microsoft acquired Rare, seemingly putting the kibosh on any new Banjo Kazooie titles. Some of Banjo Kazooie’s team worked on what some consider to be a spiritual successor, Yooka-Laylee. While sales haven’t been healthy, Yooka-Laylee proves that the team behind Banjo-Kazooie still has plenty of tricks up their sleeve. With renewed interest in the characters since joining Super Smash Bros, and Nintendo and Microsoft seemingly playing nice, nothing is off the table for good.
When considering stealth games, two franchises stand atop the mountain: Metal Gear and Splinter Cell. Boasting seven games altogether, beginning with 2002’s Splinter Cell, Sam Fisher – and his eerily recognizable trifocal goggles – are due for another go.
Upon release, Splinter Cell was met with widespread acclaim and massive sales. Protagonist Sam Fisher, a former Navy SEAL, is recruited by the NSA to work for the Third Echelon, NSA’s enigmatic branch. Using stealth, military tactics, and a near-future gadgetry, Sam undertakes numerous black ops missions.
The game encouraged players to remain hidden, selecting alternative routes to reach goals and avoid guards when possible. Patience, timing, and an awareness of your surroundings were key. There’s nothing like completing a level without alerting a single enemy or triggering any alarms, moving in silence. But when all else fails or rage sets in, you go for broke.
Pandora Tomorrow introduced two-on-two multiplayer, but the real breakthrough came from Chaos Theory’s cooperative mode. Certain obstacles can only be traversed with the aid of another agent, and nothing is as satisfying as working in tandem to take out your enemies like ghosts in the night. Each iteration built upon the stealth combat formula and the Hitman series’s success has proven that there is still a yearning for a series within the genre.
A film adaption has been in development hell for quite some time. However, an anime series adaptation of Splinter Cell is in the works, with Ubisoft and Netflix teaming up to bring the series to life.
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