While some series are milked to the teeth with yearly entries, some of the best series have been missing for far too long. Here’s a list of ten franchises we hope to see making a comeback in the near future.
The last time we saw Kain & co was in 2003's Legacy of Kain Defiance. The game was a blend of both the Blood Omen and Soul Rever series' with play switching between the ghostly Raziel and his arch nemesis the vampire Kain. Following disappointing sales of Defiance publisher Eidos put the series on hold.
Recently, we've heard that a very different take on the series had been in development by Climax, the British studio responsible for Assassin's Creed Chronicles, but this was cancelled by Square Enix due to concerns over how the game would perform financially.
However, the multiplayer element does live on in multiplayer game Nosgoth. Although set in the same world as LoK, it bears little semblance to the legendary series outside of that. The world of Nosgoth is so rife with lore and atmosphere and in a time that release schedules are overcrowded with zombie titles isn't it about time vampires were given the spotlight?
Back in 2003, there was a Prince who was the golden IP in the land of Ubisoft. However, the Persian Royal was usurped by the powerful Assassin’s Creed. In the years that followed Ubisoft established the open-world stealth series into a yearly franchise. Perhaps this has left the developer giant with limited resources to focus on bringing PoP back to its former glory, or perhaps they’ve simply run out of ideas as to what to do with the series.
After a successful trilogy, a strange artsy addition and a lacklustre prequel that exists solely to cash in on Hollywood’s take on the series, the Prince has seemingly taken up residence in Ubisoft’s deepest darkest dungeon never to be heard from again. It's a series that may have lost its way slightly, but the time travelling acrobatics, stellar platforming and engrossing Arabian night’s feel of the earlier entries is definitely something that shouldn't be forever lost in the midst of time.
BloodRayne is another vampire game that deserves to rise from the ashes. Set during WW2, the original saw half-vampire Rayne going up against mutated Nazis and other unseemly beasts. Revelling in the extremity of its scenario, gore, and feisty main character, Bloodrayne was an over the top thrill ride. Its sequel, Bloodrayne 2, ended with the revelation that the Brimstone society, the shady organisation whose business Rayne’s been carrying out for the last 2 years now want her pretty red head on a pike. The game ended with Rayne proclaiming that “the next few years are going to be very interesting.”
Unfortunately, they weren’t.
A hard as nails side-scrolling platformer, that had absolutely nothing to do with its source material, a comic series and some of the worst video game to film movies known to man, made the years since Bloodrayne 2 distinctly uninteresting if not downright appalling. Its intriguing premise and captivating femme fatale make Bloodrayne a worthy candidate for a revival, not least to help distance its association with franchise-butcher Uwe Boll.
Before there was Dragon Age, before there was Mass Effect… there was Jade Empire. The game drew heavily from features established in BioWare's previous game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Players could choose their gender, romantic interest, and moral affiliation. There was also a choice between six different characters, granting the player different attributes, such as a focus on strength or magic. Battles were a refreshing blend of spells and martial-arts-infused action RPG combat.
The game was set in a fantastical kingdom that drew its inspiration from ancient China to breathtaking effect. A host of NPCs, a wealth of decision making that had a direct influence on events and a beautiful world to explore all make Jade Empire essential even seven years after its initial launch. It remains a prime candidate for a world that's definitely worth expanding on with a sequel.
Strong female leads are a dime dozen these days, but who remembers the form switching, no nonsense Jennifer Tate from PS2 action game Primal? Having the ability to transform into not one, but four demon forms, take on all manner of otherworldly beasts with an enviable rock-chick coolness, save her boyfriend as well as various realms, there’s little this lady can’t do… well, except produce a sequel.
Shortly after the games release, preliminary work did begin on a follow-up that would star Jen’s boyfriend Lewis. However, this would never see the light of day as developer SCE Studio Cambridge obtained a licence to produce a video game based on hit TV show 24. Development on Primal 2 ceased, the imaginatively titled 24: The Game was released in 2006 and sadly the studio has never looked back. In a time when console exclusives are more important than ever, Sony should look to revisiting this stellar single player co-op action adventure.
Perhaps… no, *definitely* one of the most underrated RPGs in existence is Shadow Hearts. The original was a skillful blend of horror, inherited from its prequel Koudelka, and turn-based role-play. Both Shadow Hearts and its sequel Shadow Hearts: Covenant showcased genuinely fascinating plots and a host of memorable characters. It’s a series that had a commendable uniqueness in its atmosphere; one minute it had you bewildered by its goofiness and the next reaching for the Kleenex as it delved into themes of love, loss and sacrifice that cut right to the bone.
Another aspect that set Shadow Hearts apart from the flock was its battle system. Dubbed The Judgement Ring, in order for a character to attack they had to hit specific areas of the ring, miss and the character didn’t get to take their turn. This engaging method tested player’s reflexes and made battles in Shadow Hearts harsh yet satisfying.
2006’s Shadow Hearts: From the New World was more of a spin-off than a sequel, keeping the combat mechanics established in previous games, but foregoing the dark atmosphere of its predecessors. The game was met with a less favorable reception and poor sales of the series lead to developer Nautilus closing its doors in 2007. This is a series that deserves a revival or in the very least an HD collection, if only to garner it some degree of the recognition and success it so justly deserves.
Dear Shinji Mikami,
Can you please explain just what incarnation is going on in your latest horror game The Evil Within? Why is it so disjointed and why the heck does everyone keep ending up in baths?! On second thought, could you just get back to making the phenomenal Dino Crisis.
Yours sincerely, Every Gamer Ever.
Last seen in 2003, with its last decent entry going back as far as 1999's, this is a series that's almost as extinct as the ferocious reptiles it features, well give or take several million years. The point is that technology has advanced so much since the early Resident Evil-style survival horror featuring the fixed camera angles and tank controls of the series heyday.
Were the series to be revived now with same atmosphere that made the first two so intense, HD graphics and the kind of radical overhaul in gameplay seen in Resident Evil 4, we could have something very special indeed.
You would struggle to find someone who played games in the late nineties that didn't play Crash Bandicoot. Long before Naughty Dog developed the blockbusters it's known for today, it was home to the humble bandicoot. Platforming was king in the early days of PlayStation and Crash was a prominent mascot for Sony's original console.
But as platforming fell out of fashion, so too did this series. After four installments, development of Crash games was split between Traveller's Tales, responsible for Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex and Crash Twinsanity, and Vicarious Visions, who created a number of handheld games for the series. However, neither of these studios quite managed to capture what made the originals so enjoyable and addictive. More recently, the development of Crash has been the responsibility of Radical Entertainment, who rather drastically altered the character for Crash of the Titans.
Poor Crash hasn't been seen since 2008's Crash: Mind over Mutant, despite rumors that both Sony Computer Entertainment and Naughty Dog may bring the series back. Let's hope so as there now exists a generation of gamers who know one of gaming's most iconic mascots as nothing more than a washed up has-been.
Another Capcom franchise that has been tossed to the wind, Onimusha was Resident Evil minus the zombies and with a lot more Samurais and who doesn't love Samurais right? Well, apparently Capcom, as they've seen fit to leave the series in limbo since 2006. Well, unless you count the browser-based card game Onimusha Soul released in Japan in 2012... but it was awful, so we'll forget that happened.
Depicting legendary figures from Japanese history and retelling their stories with a supernatural twist, the Onimusha series always adapted and evolved, providing a new and exciting experience deviating from anything the franchise had produced previously. Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny wowed with its intricate player choice and new lead character. The third entry pushed the series even further, into modern day France in fact, and featured French actor Jeno Reno kicking some Genma demon butt.
Originally conceived as a trilogy, the popularity of the series spawned a follow-up Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams on 2006, modernising the series with its fully 3D environments rather than the pre-rendered backdrops used in the earlier entries. Almost 10 years later and there is still not even a rumor of a revival. Come back, Nobunaga, all is forgiven!
If ever there was a game that deserved a comeback based on hype alone it's Shenmue. Highly praised by fans and critics alike, its high-production budget meant Shenmue featured what was perhaps the most realistic interactive world of its time. It's highly detailed graphics and open world exploration blew gamers away.
The problem with Shenmue was that it was released on the Dreamcast. Given the huge lofty sum it cost to make, the platform that didn't have an install base large enough for the franchise to turn a profit. Shenmue did get a sequel which was released on the Dreamcast as well as the original Xbox. Shenmue II provided a more refined experience with a bigger emphasis on combat than its rather slow paced predecessor. It ended on a cliffhanger with a third installment planned, however, that has yet to become a reality.
A masterpiece is the eyes of those that did play it, could the series really live up to the hype and distance itself enough in today's more competitive and technologically-advanced market? There's only one way to find out.