Everybody and their mother has heard of Call of Duty and Final Fantasy, but for some franchises, this notoriety wasn't always the case. While some franchises resonate with the public straight away, some others don't manage to garner popularity until later sequels.
These series are like the scrawny kid in gym class who transforms into a beast after hitting puberty. So join me as I chronicle gaming's late bloomers!
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When a new Grand Theft Auto title is announced, the entire world goes into a frenzy, whether it's fanboys experiencing sleepless nights until release day or Fox News attempting to scare parents into thinking Armageddon is around the corner.
But it wasn't always this way. Before the revolutionary Grand Theft Auto 3 was released, introducing us to its open world sandbox, the series mostly flew under the radar as a top down shooter. It's amazing to think that one of the most influential franchises in gaming history had such humble beginnings.
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Bethesda makes an appearance more than once on the list due to their ability to take somewhat niche franchises and turn them into some of the most anticipated releases in gaming culture.
One of these franchises, of course, is the Elder Scrolls series. Now, unless you're a hardcore Elder Scrolls fanatic, you'd be hard pressed to name the subtitle to the second game in the series or if there even was a second game in the series. Everybody has heard of Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, but what about Daggerfall? No? Well neither had I - I had to look it up for this list.
But then came Morrowind with its sprawling open world that was unlike anything before it, and from that point forward, Elder Scrolls has been one of the most popular RPG series out there.
Much like the Elder Scrolls series, Fallout was given a new lease on life through an overhaul in gameplay and scope. What was once a top down RPG became more accessible as a massive first person world for the player to explore.
Of course, that world is filled with monstrous mutants ready to tear you limb from limb.
Fallout 3 was an instant hit, nabbing the attention of gamers everywhere, as well as getting rewarded with multiple Game of the Year awards. With gamers even more pumped for Fallout 4 later this year, it's clear this series has journeyed from obscurity to being eagerly anticipated by all gamers.
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Okay, I already know what you're going to say: 'But I've been playing Final Fantasy since Final Fantasy V!' or 'Final Fantasy VII has nothing on Final Fantasy VI!'
While both of these may be true, it was Final Fantasy VII that brought the RPG juggernaut over to the West. While Final Fantasy may have already been a success back its home country of Japan, it was the 7th entry that wowed the U.S. with its amazing graphics and cinematic cut scenes.
Now, when a new Final Fantasy is announced, fans from all over wait in anticipation, watching every subtitled and overly convoluted trailer as to speculate on what is sure to be a mind-bending story.
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Back when the original Assassin's Creed came out, it was mostly met with lackluster reception. From its rinse-and-repeat gameplay to a surprisingly limited world, gamers and reviewers alike just weren't feeling it.
Then the sequel was released. Assassin's Creed 2 did everything the original promised, with amazing parkour mechanics and clever stealth. From this point on, every game in the franchise would follow this blueprint, turning Assassin's Creed into one of the most successful, albeit oversaturated, franchises out there.
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Speaking of oversaturated, it's hard to imagine a world where Call of Duty isn't giving middle school children something to talk about during lunch time. Back in my day, Call of Duty was nothing but a buncha WWII shooters that would collect dust in the GameCrazy bargain bins!
Kids these days don't know how good they got it, I tell ya!
Before the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came around and wowed us with its pretty new guns and well, modern setting, we were stuck fightin' nothing but Nazis! Now, a decade later, we're patiently awaiting the release of Call of Duty 76. Thanks Call of Duty 4!
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What is probably the most confusing and defended series ever conceived started off as a mostly unknown NES title. Before the time of PlayStation and 3D graphics, Snake was doing what he does best - sneaking past 8 bit soldiers and guard dogs in Metal Gear.
If it was any other franchise, it would have probably fallen by the way side after its sequel, but when CD based gaming became the way to go, Metal Gear Solid came along and created a legacy that would forever cement cardboard boxes as the top echelon of stealth based technology.
Oh yeah and it gave us nanomachines. Lots and lots of gabbing about nanomachines.
Image source: Kotaku
Unless you were an avid PC gamer, the original Witcher seemed to pass by unnoticed. But lucky for everybody else, when the Witcher 2 finally came around, it was eventually ported to the Xbox 360, allowing a new group of gamers to witness one of the best modern RPGs out there.
With its expertly told story and well-written characters, it's a wonder why it didn't catch on sooner. But with the hype that was behind the sequel's release, the eyes of gamers were watching eagerly, waiting to find out more.
And they were not disappointed.
Image source: The Gamers Drop