We’d Love To See New Life For These Games
Last week, we brought you a list of ten gaming franchises long gone which could really use a revival. We appreciated all your enthusiasm and the suggestions fans made for other series which could be featured. While not every series needs a revival, gaming has a long history, and there are definitely still more games which we’d love to see make a return. So here are ten more series we’d love to see receive new life.
The ground rules are the same as last time. The series has to have gone at least 15 years without a new installment. Remakes or ports in that time are allowed, but no brand new games. Mobile games and spin-offs count as new games. Series with a new installment already announced weren’t considered.
Releasing during the heyday of the original PlayStation, the Colony Wars series had a few big moments. Releasing three titles in under three years, somehow the team at Psygnosis managed to make the blocky polygons of the era feel like epic space battles. Each of the series’ three titles received wide critical acclaim.
Such space combat games have become a rarity in recent years, with demand definitely there. Look how much money Star Citizen has been able to raise, despite years of development seeming to go nowhere. With that being the case, Colony Wars would make an interesting option to return.
Despite this, Colony Wars, more than most games on this list, has received little talk of a return. Part of that may be due to the studio responsible for it no longer being around. Sony bought Psygnosis in 1999, turning them into Sony Liverpool. While they continued to develop their popular Formula One and Wipeout series, anything that wasn’t a racing game seemed to go out the window. Despite disbanding the studio back in 2012, Sony still seems to own the series, and it feels like a perfect fit for VR, which they’ve put so many resources into. So if you want to see new life pumped into this series, you know who to let know about it.
I commented in our original article about Capcom doing more than most to keep their series alive, but I may have over judged their ability. A full five games on this list are from Capcom, demonstrating a long legacy sitting dormant. Darkstalkers, in particular, is a series that always feels like it should have taken off, yet never fully has. Releasing three terrific fighters in the 90s, this gothic horror-themed series has a strong identity. Yet the last new title in the series was released in 1997.
Series producer Yoshinori Ono has described making a new Darkstalkers as his dream game. For a time in the early 2010s, it looked like that might even come to fruition. Capcom gave the series a chance with an HD compilation of the series 2nd and 3rd games, Darkstalkers Resurrection. Despite critical acclaim, however, this collection reportedly underperformed, and those who previously seemed optimistic about the series returning slowly shifted their messaging.
Characters from the Darkstalkers universe have remained a bit more relevant. Protagonist Morrigan is one of Capcom’s most recognizable characters, appearing in a slew of crossover titles. Other characters like Felicia, Anakaris, B.B. Hood, and Demitri have found opportunities to show up now and then as well. With Capcom even slowing down on crossover games, however, it has really limited the opportunities for these guys to show up. Unless you count an occasional costume pack for something like Street Fighter V or Monster Hunter. We don’t. It’s hard to feel too optimistic about new life for this series in 2021, but if given another chance, hopefully, this cast of ghouls and goblins can shine.
This is another of those series where one poor entry put it on ice for good. Dino Crisis hit big for Capcom on the original PlayStation. Following the Resident Evil formula, but now with dinosaurs, it fit in well in the 90s when Jurassic Park was all the rage. While a bit too much like Resident Evil for some, it was generally well-received and went on to see Dreamcast and PC ports.
A follow-up just a few years later found success as well. Dino Crisis 2 was more action-focused than the first, which turned some fans off. Sales were down from the original title as well, but there was a lot going on at the time. It was released less than a month before the PS2 hit shelves in North America. It still did fairly well and even saw a light gun spin off a couple of years later.
Dino Crisis 3 was another matter. This one seemed to make all the wrong moves. First, they took what started as a dinosaur survival horror series and put it in space hundreds of years in the future. While dinosaurs in space sounds like an insane but fun concept on its own, why attach it to a series it has so little connection to? You can’t make a second series that happens to feature dinosaurs? Capcom also made the strange decision to release the game only on Xbox. While the original game did see those ports I mentioned, the series was primarily associated with the PlayStation. Making the sequel an Xbox exclusive kept fans of the series from playing it and kept those who could play it from trying the original games.
Where does that leave the series in 2021? Seemingly nowhere. Capcom executives over the years have cited the failure of Dino Crisis 3 as a reason to avoid the franchise. Still, it seems like going back to basics, even with a remake or reboot, could work well for Dino Crisis. Dinosaurs are big again, especially with the successful revival of the Jurassic Park films. Perhaps Capcom needs to follow the lead of their original series’ inspiration once again.
There was a time when I would have said the Final Fight series should stay dead. After a series of successful beat ‘em ups back in the 90s, Capcom seemed lost with what to do with the series in later installments. In the late 90s, the expectation was that every 2D series would move to 3D, yet beat ‘em ups never really found their groove in the third dimension. They tried turning it into a traditional fighting game, but the less said about Final Fight Revenge, the better. They went back to the genre that birthed the series with Final Fight: Streetwise, attempting to move the series’ traditional gameplay into 3D, but this was widely panned.
If gaming were still in the place it found itself in 2006, I’d say to let Final Fight rest in peace. That’s no longer the case, however. The advent of digital-only titles proved a huge boon for 2D gaming. It’s hard to sell a 2D game at full retail price, but the digital option allows games to succeed at a wide range of prices. Many 2D series’ have returned to their roots, and the original Final Fight has been released time and again.
In 2006 Final Fight felt they had to move to 3D, and it didn’t work. In 2021 though, Final Fight could release an excellent 2D brawler and get everyone excited. 90s contemporary Streets of Rage provided a blueprint for how to give a dead series new life just last year. It’s time we returned to the streets of Metro City once again.
You might think it from reading the last few entries on this list, but Capcom aren’t the only ones sitting on beloved IP. Namco Bandai’s Klonoa series was one of the few 2D series to get their start in the PlayStation era. With wonderful gameplay, beautiful graphics, and a great design, Klonoa won the hearts of those who played his game. A series of handheld titles and a full sequel on the PS2 followed.
Despite consistent acclaim, however, the series struggled to find an audience. Perhaps it was just the era. Maybe those who didn’t play the game weren’t drawn in by the titular character, a strange combination of a dog, a cat, and a rabbit. Whatever the reason, the series hasn’t taken off. When a remake of the original game on the Wii again met with critical acclaim but again didn’t sell, it seemed to be the end of the road for this guy.
Maybe not, though. Fans have never fully forgotten Klonoa. At one point, a potential anime adaptation was in the works, though that would eventually be canceled. Trademark filings in recent years could even point to reasons for optimism for fans if they squint hard enough. Still, such filings are never a sure sign of a sequel being in the works, and even if something is under development, it doesn’t mean that it will see release. With so many 2D titles finding success today, there may have never been a better time for Klonoa to find new life.