Franchises  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Franchises  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 8 Franchises We Want to See Return in 2018 Fri, 22 Dec 2017 18:48:26 -0500 Allison M Reilly

2018 is going to be an exciting year for video games. Many awesome titles have already been announced, including the new Mega Man 11 and Bayonetta 3. Other franchises have announced additions for 2018, such as Yoshi, Kirby, Fire Emblem and more.

2017 was a pretty remarkable year for gaming, so next year certainly does have big shoes to fill. There are a few franchises who don't have games announced for 2018 that would help fill those shoes a little. Here are eight franchises we'd love to see make a comeback next year.

Super Smash Bros.

Every major Nintendo console since N64 has had a Super Smash Bros. game. It's only tradition that the Switch has a Super Smash Bros. game too (and that one of Mario's moves is a hat throw.) Sure, there's Brawlout, but that's not the same thing. A 2018 Super Smash Bros. game that includes both new franchises (thinking Splatoon, Lego, Bomberman) and new characters from franchises already in the series (such as Knuckles, Ganon, the Broodals).

The Elder Scrolls

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out way back in 2011 and has already had, like, 12 remasters. Yes, Skyrim is awesome, but a brand-new Elder Scrolls game would be even more awesome! Skyrim doesn't need another remaster. If the new game took place in Elsweyr, the land of the Khajiit, or the Argonian homeland Black Marsh, then that would be really cool for the Elder Scrolls series. 

Donkey Kong

It's been a while since we've had a fun, solid Donkey Kong game. The last one was Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for the Wii U in 2014. A new Donkey Kong game similar to Donkey Kong 64 would be awesome. Sure, there's still rainbow coins and such to find in these old games, so maybe it's too soon for a new game. Nonetheless, a Donkey Kong 3D platformer for the Switch would be a great addition to the console's library.


Who doesn't love a good game about vampire hunters? The last Castlevania game was Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 back in 2014, and it's high time this franchise is introduced to new audiences. There hasn't been a Castlevania game in so long that a new title hasn't been released on any of the current consoles. Castlevania games are just cool, and a new Castlevania title in 2018 would be incredibly exciting.


If there's a franchise that could use both a remake and a new game, it's F-Zero. Not only has F-Zero not had a game since 2004, but later games have never had the appeal and the spectacle of the very first F-Zero. And Captain Falcon has gotten way more airtime than the series itself. 2018 is as good a year as any to bring back F-Zero and that fabulous soundtrack. "Big Blue" anyone?

James Bond

The first-person shooter genre needs a game that's suave and sexy, and a James Bond game fits the bill. You know, more stealth and less run 'n gun.

Nonetheless, the last James Bond game, 007 Legends, came out back in 2012. Although it makes sense to time James Bond games with their Hollywood counterpart, I don't see any reason to wait for the next Bond film before making another Bond game. Besides, a new James Bond game would be the perfect opportunity to have Idris Elba star as 007 himself, even if it's only in the voice acting.

Crash Bandicoot

Crash Bandicoot got a remake this year, but it's about time the silly critter got a whole new game. Surely, Dr. Neo Cortex hasn't given up taking over the world just yet. It would be pretty neat to get a 3D platformer/Crash Team Racing hybrid next year as the new addition to the franchise. Crash Bandicoot also hasn't seen anything on console for a long time, as many of the most recent games were mobile games. It would be great if the franchise return was also a console return.

Ice Climbers

The Ice Climbers literally have one game, also called Ice Climbers, which came out way back in 1985 for the NES. How have they not had another game, especially since they've been in just about every Super Smash Bros. game? More people have played as the Ice Climbers than actual Ice Climbers by this point.

Because there's only one game, it's arguable that Ice Climbers doesn't count as a franchise. But, if any character is deserving of a return in their own game in 2018, it's the Ice Climbers.


Even without the return of these franchises next year, 2018 will be an amazing year for video games. There's already plenty to look forward to, and a lot can happen in 12 months' time. Perhaps we will see the return of one of the eight franchises mentioned? There's only one way to find out: onward to 2018!

Why Can't Developers Make Classic Franchises Great Forever? Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

Mega Man. Sonic the Hedgehog. Final Fantasy. Resident Evil. Silent Hill. These are just a small number of franchises that helped define my personal gaming history. And they're also franchises with fans who react to new titles with less "oh, great!" and more "ugh, not again."

This is kind of an inversion from the earlier days of gaming; I remember that there was once an unofficial rule that movie sequels were always terrible while game sequels were always good. In several of the above cases, the franchises even have provided some great games along the way, but they're also games that didn't connect with the long-time fans who would have been eagerly awaiting the next installment.

So why aren't older franchises evergreen? Why do the games you loved two decades ago not lead to more games in the same style now? The answer is that there are a lot of reasons why classic franchises aren't great forever, and it's helpful to understand why that's the case.

The people responsible have left...

When people start listing the great Silent Hill games, they always include the first three, usually including the fourth with a bit of a grudging nod, and pretty much never include the later games. Incidentally, the first four games were the only ones developed by Team Silent at Konami, with each subsequent installment developed by a completely different team.

Does that surprise you? It shouldn't. The creative team behind a game can really inform a lot of what goes into the actual game, and that goes beyond just saying that the original designers are always the best at designing a franchise. Teams that work together and develop multiple games can often produce games that feel very similar to one another in a positive way, but once people move on or new people come on board, the games they produce often feel very different even if they have the same core ideas. When Inafune left Capcom, that didn't stop the publisher from making more Mega Man games... but it also meant that the original creator wasn't there any longer, and that was after several staff and platform changes.

You can't just hand off tasks to an endless series of different people who don't necessarily understand the appeal of the original games. Watching a team really nail a franchise for multiple installments is a thing of beauty; witness the past few Persona titles, for example. But it's never permanent.

...and they might not have the spark left anyway

Here's a fun fact: Hideo Kojima wanted to leave the Metal Gear franchise after every single title. Why does Metal Gear Solid 2 end with such a bizarre, nonsensical cliffhanger? Because Kojima never intended to resolve it. He didn't want any lingering cliffhangers after the first Metal Gear Solid, he wanted to make that and be done with it. But he kept getting pulled back for another one, resulting in an ongoing contest of wills in which the franchise just would not die.

It's not just a matter of spite, though; playing through Mighty No. 9 repeatedly made me think that maybe Inafune needed to hang up his hat, that he just didn't have any more Mega Man in him. The reality of that, is that it's fine. Games are art like any other form, and it's fine to hand off the reins to someone new after a while. It just means that you are going to see a different sort of game, probably one that doesn't exactly resemble the originals.

The franchise has evolved past your memory

Final Fantasy was Hironobu Sakaguchi's last game ever. That was the plan. He made a game he never expected to sell as a wild experiment, so he could leave the field happy. Instead, it wound up becoming a huge success, resulting in a long-running series that has always brought on a wide variety of different developers and storytellers to make a series of games that are not meant as direct sequels to one another.

When people complain that, say, Final Fantasy XIII feels so different from classic Final Fantasy games, it stands out simply because most of those classic games also feel so different from one another. The franchise is built on doing something new with every single installment, and while some of the conceptual walks are further than others, you'd be hard-pressed to find a single pair of games that feel like the same game with a different set of wrappers.

The bright side is that it means that each new title is something fresh and different. The down side is that if you buy Final Fantasy XIII expecting Final Fantasy VI but new, you're going to be disappointed. The exchange for a franchise never getting stale is that it doesn't maintain the same shape indefinitely.

The environment has changed too much

You could not release Resident Evil today as a brand-new game without the weight of the franchise behind it. The game's awkward controls and pre-rendered backgrounds worked in no small part because of when it was released; if it was launched today it would be panned for bad acting, bad storytelling, weak gameplay, and poor graphics.

All that is fine. But there's an attached point that's easy to overlook: every new release in a franchise is the first release for someone. Yes, you've been playing Sonic the Hedgehog since the oddly stutter-stop motion of the first game in the series, but to someone out there, the most recent game starring a blue hedgehog is the first one they've ever played. And the fact of the matter is that these franchises need to evolve, simply to continue marketing themselves against legions of other games who have been inspired and influenced by these originals.

This is particularly true of older games that marketed themselves on punishing difficulty designed to artificially extend the game by eating up quarters. (Even if you didn't actually have quarters.) No one is willing to buy a new game for $60 that you can blow through in an hour but takes you time to beat because you just keep getting killed consistently. That means that designers need to bulk out the game in some way, and in the case of franchises that traditionally work on the basis of straightforward smashing sequences, it means that the core needs to change to account for the new gaming environment.

There's no longer a market

It barely needs to be said that the gaming market and environment is very different now compared to where it was in, say, 1990. And yes, some of that is as simple as the fact that video games are no longer exclusively sold in the back reaches of department stores who might put one or two on the shoe racks if they find the box, but it goes much further than that. The availability of gaming devices, the ways we engage with games, the budgets of big titles... everything is different.

This means that even old franchises need to adapt and change, as mentioned above, but it goes beyond bulking out games. Our patience for some features has evaporated, while our patience for others has increased. When Blizzard first launched StarCraft, online play was a novelty that was essentially just a bonus; when StarCraft II came out, it was a major component of the game.

Unfortunately, it does mean that some of the stuff you loved from back in the day just doesn't stick around. But on the bright side, it means that there's a neverending stream of new things. We live in a world with such a maddening surfeit of gaming options that even if your favorite franchise goes in a direction you no longer care for, there are still so many new games out there. You can almost certainly find something that appeals specifically to you.

Or you can just play Pokémon. I mean, let's be real, that gameplay isn't changing much until the heat-death of the universe.

Top 5 game franchises that should be rebooted Mon, 19 Oct 2015 17:08:12 -0400 Senior Saxon

We all have that game franchise that we cherish, whether it's extremely popular, like Legend of Zelda or Sonic the Hedgehog, or not so well-known, like Rampage or System Shock. Either way, we all want our childhood games to make their way to next-gen consoles at some point in our lifetimes, so here is a top five list of game franchises that should be rebooted.

5. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

I am not going to lie, I love these games. This action RPG is possibly one of the best games that was ever developed under the Star Wars name. But there were some downfalls. The control scheme was a little wonky, and the combat system was unique but confusing, with a weird third-person perspective that was hard to get used to. Sure, this was the basis for the popular Star Wars MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, but I would not really consider that a reboot - it's more of a cash grab for people who want to live in the Star Wars universe, even if it is not canon anymore.

If this game franchise was rebooted, they would be able to do so much with it. They can fix the camera issues, revamp and rehash the combat system, make it a little bit more interactive, and actually allow you to customize your character rather than picking from a random face. I imagine it would be some kind of Mass Effect and Fallout lovechild. That would be just be fantastic.

4. Clock Tower

Clock Tower, for those who do not know, is a horror game franchise that is considered to be the granddaddy of survival horror. It first was released in Japan on the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo) in 1995. This precedes the releases of both Silent Hill (1999) and Resident Evil (1996). The Clock Tower games are actually really terrifying once the main antagonist, Scissor-Man, comes into play. He has the ability to basically come from anywhere and kill the player at any time.

Even in the Super Nintendo era, these games were able to truly capture the horror of the situation, and players had to think quickly on their feet if they wanted to survive. And I believe that this is the reason why it should be rebooted. The last canon Clock Tower game came out in 2005, and there has been no word on developing a new one. If it's done right, a reboot of Clock Tower would be scarier than P.T. and truly give gamers a run for their money.

3: Psychonauts

Now I know that this isn't technically a game franchise, BUT IT COULD BE! Psychonauts was a game that was very mature for its tone, but very childish in its presentation - I mean that in the best way possible. Psychonauts was and still is a masterpiece of a game. Every single character was memorable and relatable their own way. And the game as a whole was really freaking funny.

I am not asking for Psychonauts 2, I am asking for Psychonauts, but revamped. When the game released, it flew under the radar, and it still kind of does, so if developers announced that they are making Psychonauts 2, people would ask "What the hell is Psychonauts, and why is a second one being made?" However, if they rebooted the game into next-gen and made it as amazing and awesome as the original, then a franchise could be made from it. Those who have played Psychonauts truly understand where I am coming from.

2. F.E.A.R.

F.E.A.R. was one of my personal favorite action horror games. The story was intriguing, and the mix of horror and action was pretty cool until the third and last installment was released. Don't get me wrong, I loved F.E.A.R. 3, but the game had way too much action incorporated into it after the first level.

I feel that if this franchise were to get a reboot, it could go back to it's roots as being way more horror/story driven, rather than a supernatural shooter. Plus, a next gen F.E.A.R. game is always a nice thing in my opinion.

1. Banjo Kazooie

Oh Rareware, you tried to bring back Banjo Kazooie and failed miserably. Why did you have to be bought out by Microsoft? I think it comes as no surprise that this lovable franchise is at the top of this list. Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie were masterpieces. These games are held as probably the best games of all time to most people, so it's a wonder that there has not been a proper reboot of the franchise. Rare tried with Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, but, as we all have witnessed, that did not go as planned.

Luckily this franchise is not completely dead, as the spiritual successor, Yooka-Laylee, has been fully funded on Kickstarter and is currently being developed. There is so much that this game has to fill, but if this game flops, Rare will have another shot at bringing Banjo and Kazooie back from the dead.

Did you like this list? What game franchises would you like to see rebooted? Let me know in the comments below! I love seeing other people's opinions!

Late bloomers: A look at popular franchises that weren't always that well known Tue, 22 Sep 2015 19:30:01 -0400 katlaborde

Resident Evil ser-

Hey, wait! Nobody likes you anymore, Resident Evil! You're on the wrong list!


What games were you introduced to mid-franchise or were you already playing these games long before everyone else caught on?


Brag about it in the comments below! 

The Witcher series

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

Metal Gear Solid series

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

Call of Duty series

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


Image source: Get Into PC

Assassin's Creed series 

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. 


Image source: Amazon

Final Fantasy series

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. 


Image source: B-Ten

Fallout series

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.


Image source: PC Games

Elder Scrolls series

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 MorrowindOblivion, 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.

Grand Theft Auto series

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. 


Image source: Blogspot




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!


Image source: Cinema Blend

The 5 Nintendo franchises we wish were coming to Wii U Fri, 28 Aug 2015 09:38:00 -0400 Michael Slevin

Nintendo has a vast selection of properties to choose from when it comes to games.

The problem Wii U owners face, however, is that many of Nintendo's finest properties have not gotten titles on the system. With abysmal sales numbers along with the NX on its way, I can't help but fear that many great Nintendo franchises will not get new titles for Wii U. Here are the five Nintendo franchises that we wish would come to Wii U.


As someone who loves racing games, F-Zero seems like a perfect candidate for this list. Fast-paced, high-octane racing has been the series' trademark and the F-Zero courses in Mario Kart 8 have only made me wish for a true F-Zero title.

With the Wii U ushering Nintendo into the HD era, I feel that an F-Zero with stunning graphics and aesthetics would be right at home on the system. And before you even think it, yes I am aware of Fast Racing Neo and my rebuttal is that there is no Captain Falcon. I rest my case. 


This one is another no-brainer. A gorgeous HD Metroid game would make me so happy. When the opening cut scene in the beginning Smash Bros. Wii U goes to Samus, I just like to pretend that there isn't a void in my heart where a Metroid game for Wii U would go.

I am imagining another Metroid Prime game, however, I would love a side-scrolling Metroid as well. Just give me Metroid.

Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem is great as a handheld franchise, however it has had strong home console entries and the GamePad could be a great tool in Fire Emblem gameplay. I am actually a little surprised that this hasn't happened because I feel that Fire Emblem could be a game that shows us why the GamePad is so great.

That said, Fire Emblem Awakening was set to be the final game in the series, so that may explain the absence of a Wii U entry.

Mario Baseball

This one might be a bit of a niche pick, but Mario Super Sluggers is actually one of my favorite Wii games. It's really fun, and if you haven't played it I suggest picking it up. Mario Super Sluggers was a staple in my dorm room the past two years, and I can't say that there are many games that I have had more fun with.

The game is just complex enough to require some skill in playing and selecting your team, but not so complex that a new player can't enjoy it. Maybe I'm the only one, but I love the Mario Baseball series and would be thrilled to have a new title on Wii U. 


Although the Wii's Punch-Out!! came to Virtual Console, it isn't the same. I feel like now is actually a good time for Nintendo to make another Punch-Out game. Many people (like me and my friends) who didn't really care all that much about Little Mac now have a new appreciation for the character, and his franchise, thanks to Super Smash Bros.

Like Marth and Ness before him, perhaps Super Smash Bros. will give Little Mac the exposure he needs to get more focus from Nintendo and their fan base.

What do you think of my list? What game franchises did I miss? Let me know in the comments.