5 old (and 3 new) franchises that need to make an appearance for the next-gen

As the new generation of gaming consoles gets closer, we begin to close out on the PS3/360/Wii era, and say goodbye to some of the characters and universes we've come to love this generation.  Possibly just until a new incarnation surfaces on the next gen, potentially forever.  Many people's favorite series come to an untimely end, but it's not always the way. Every new generation brings the possibility of a revival of an older franchise, and these are just the ones I personally thought deserve a chance back in the spotlight the most.  With Strider and Killer Instinct already making a comeback, it’s only a matter of time before we see some other fondly remembered genres surface again.  So I compiled a list of five older IPs I'd love to see make a come-back on the Playstation 4/XBox One/Wii U, and three IPs that may have debuted on the Playstation 3/360/Wii, but deserve to continue. 

Let's dive right into it.

1.) Suikoden


Suikoden was always one of my favorite RPGs, because of the interesting battle systems, and unique art style and gameplay.   It was unique for a number of reasons: a gigantic cast of playable characters (while not all 108 were playable usually, at least half were), an art style that didn’t simply try to ape anime, plenty of political intrigue, and the one-on-one and army vs. army battles.  By far, it was one of the few non-Square or non-Enix J-RPG franchises from the glory days of PS1 and PS2 that stood out the most.  The last numbered installment, Suikoden V (whose intro is pictured above)?  One of my favorite games ever created.  Unfortunately the sales were a paltry ~200,000 in Japan (Suikoden 4 sold over 100,000 more, for comparison). That, and the resulting costs of the move to HD is what lead to their last two installments being released on portable systems only, and the last one wasn’t even brought to America.

But with a new generation comes new chances.  Suikoden V was released at the tail end of the Playstation 2’s lifespan, so the game series was largely fresh in most people’s memories.  But now, it’s been just long enough for it to be considered nostalgic for some gamers.  Yes, there have been new installments, but that just makes fans of the series want a console version even more.  If Konami threw enough money into producing a decent quality PS4 set in the original universe (none of this Infinite Worlds stuff), with the ability to travel to the continents of all the previous characters’ games, and its usual cast of quirky, interesting characters, great political intrigue plots and revised versions of the one-on-one and army-versus-army systems, they could have a brand-new hit on their hands.  And they wouldn’t even have to develop a new IP.  The age of the J-RPG may be over, but I don’t think people will ever be tired of quality games.

2.)  Jade Empire 

A long time ago, Bioware released an RPG on the Xbox and PC called Jade Empire, an action-RPG that had a wuxia-type setting.  The game sold decent, got rave reviews, and Bioware decided the world didn’t need a sequel to a game with a setting that’s under-utilized and whose ending in no way precluded a sequel of some sort, even if set in a different in characters but similar in appearance-type world.  Yeah, doesn’t make any sense to me, either.

Can you imagine the potential a game like this would have on the PS4/XBox One?  The advancements in technology we’ve had since then could easily lead to a fun, fluid fighting system, while the beauty of your typical wuxia film can be brought to an HD console with much more accuracy.  Think Age of Wushu, but with much better graphics, and a fighting system not gimped by MMO mechanics.   Who wouldn't want that?

3.) Star Fox

Star Fox is best known for being the first game of Nintendo’s to ever use 3D graphics, and for being one of the most fun games any Nintendo 64 fan ever had the privilege of owning.  A third-person shooter, Star Fox enjoyed a small amount of success on the Gamecube with Adventures and Assault before going on to do...absolutely nothing on the Wii.

With Nintendo desperately in need of any IP that has a hint of recognizability, now is honestly the best time for Star Fox to come back.  Create a game that’s an equal mix of on-foot and Arwing missions (a cross between Adventures and StarFox 64), with a focus on what makes the Star Fox universe special like his cast and futuristic weapons (no staffs and swords), and Nintendo could easily draw a ton of fans back to its system and remind people why they’ve been apart of the gaming world since the late 80’s.

4.) Project Justice/Rival Schools

I loved Project Justice as a kid.  It was an obvious, but unique and cute little concept that no one had ever done up to that point.  And, as far as I know, no one’s done since.  Dueling schools clashing against one another in actual  In my head, I’m picturing something that has a story mode like Persona 4 until it’s fight time, and then we get the same Capcom-esque fights that everyone’s loved for years, except...in 3D.  C’mon Capcom.  Give Sakura her game back. 

5.) F-Zero

To a certain extent, I've always enjoyed racing games, even though I'm terrible at them.  There’s just something exciting about it--the rush you get as you maneuver your car around your competition and take that first place goal.  But along the way, as things tend to do in gaming, things got kinda same-y.  Nowadays 75% of racers are either Gran Turismo in that they’re uber-realistic, or they’re Mario Kart-esque.  What’s left can probably be placed under “street racing”.  F-Zero brings something unique to the table with its futuristic setting.  Its not exactly a pioneer of the genre, but it’s probably going to be the first game you think of when someone mentions a futuristic racing title. 

For a new game, I’d suggest something along the lines of F-Zero GX, with a story mode to help flesh out Captain Falcon’s stories further, a deep customization aspect, and a balanced multiplayer/co-op to draw the racing hardcore fans in.  Since there’s no reason to be realistic, designers can go crazy with the courses and car designs, and to have it all rendered in beautiful HD would end in Nintendo revitalizing another classic, franchise.  They need it, right about now.

Now that we’ve looked at past series, let’s take a look at some current IPs that I’d hate to see die out on the PS3/360/Wii:

1.) Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

This was a fun game that showed tons of promise.  A talented team took an interesting story and built a beautiful world stuffed to the gills with content and one of the best battle systems in RPG history and released it to the world.  It sold *very* well and displayed tons of potential for growth.   

And then, because the head guy made some mind-numbingly stupid business decisions, progress on the game was brought to a complete halt.  In a perfect world, someone would buy the IP--the whole thing, since the lore was half of what made it interesting--ditch the MMO nonsense, and improve on what was already an amazing base (just make the story more personal and allow for more character growth) and they’d have an RPG juggernaut franchise that could one day stand alongside titans like Elder Scrolls to rely on.  

Too bad way too many people have already passed on it with the claim that “they make their own IPs”.  (It'd be cool...if you didn't call them IPs.)

2.) High Moon Studios' Transformers franchise


Aside from a very short list of games, the most fun I’ve ever had on the PS3 involved playing High Moon Studios’ Transformers games.  War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron were both great games with probably the best representation of Transformers in video games I’ve ever seen.

War for Cybertron sold well enough to get a sequel, while Fall didn’t do bad either.  What High Moon needs...is more.  A better budget, more time to develop, and expand to their horizons more.  Add in local co-op, improve the multiplayer, add a TON more characters, and if at all possible turn the base story into an open world game that allows the player to travel to different worlds.  The Autobot/Decepticon war is one that has lasted for millennia and spanned countless galaxies.   A game that could adequately capture the scale of the battles seen in IDW’s excellent comics would quickly go on to become a fan favorite, and a cult classic if never a record-shattering sales monster.  

3.) Sleeping Dogs

I've seen people claimed Sleeping Dogs as a GTA killer.  To call it that is to do a disservice to both titles, since in my head the only qualities they share are on the surface.  Initially True Crime: Hong Kong, the rights to Sleeping Dogs were bought by Square-Enix from Activision, and developer United Front Games quickly set about finishing this amazing title.   With a solid battle system, a compelling story that really made you feel like an undercover cop, and a beautiful view of Hong Kong that's stuffed with things to do to immerse you into the game, Sleeping Dogs was a surprising hit from 2012.

United Front Games isn't doing anything special right now, and this game made quite a bit of money, not just from initial sales but from DLC.  There's really, REALLY no excuse for this series not to see a return on the PS4.   Whether its with Wei Shen back in America, or with a new character set in some other asian metropolitan city, I want a game with this level of detail and quality to it again. 

These are only a fraction of the franchises that I'd like to see  make a reappearance on the PS4/XBox One.  I tried to pick series that were varied in genre, had a lot of fans to them, and hadn't already fallen too far off, quality-wise.  What do you think?  And what series would you want to see make a resurgence in the next-gen?


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