Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Last month Sega announced that it was bringing back most of its classic franchises. That is amazing news.

Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Jet Set Radio, Crazy Taxi and Shinobi are all getting new releases in the next couple of years, and that has to be a good thing. Imagine having a treasure trove of much loved titles that you just sit on for year after year after year. With careful management and clever budgeting, these franchises can all be respectably successful and give fans a chance to enjoy something new.

I say imagine having a treasure trove, but we don’t really need to. Every publisher has a treasure trove of beloved IP that they’re just sitting on. Publishing games is a difficult business these days, and that’s why most are only putting out games that have budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars, or which are licensed from big IPs like Marvel or Star Wars.

So today I figured we’d look at some classic franchises that need to be revived. Keep in mind, this isn’t about remasters or remakes. Retro games deserve to see the light of day, for sure. Most games are locked on their original consoles or otherwise unplayable. It’s a discussion well worth having.

No, this is about revivals. New games in old franchises.

Skies of Arcadia (And Shenmue)

I don’t want to say you haven’t done anything for us Sega, especially since you’re what kicked off this article…

But how about Skies of Arcadia? The classic RPG is woefully under-loved. And while remaster or remake seems like the sensible way to go, it doesn’t need to be that. With the rise of cozy games, an RPG with flying pirate ships and such a good vibe would be awesome regardless of if the original characters returned. Have them in cameos, or have it be a fully-fledged sequel. It doesn’t matter, just bring them back.

I’m going to take a second to mention Shenmue too. Shenmue is one of the greatest games of all time, and it sucks that its creator has no sense of time. He aimed to make “four or five” games showing Ryu’s quest for revenge. And yet more than twenty years and one revival later, we seem no closer to an ending. And obviously it seems increasingly unlikely that we will.

Sega can get involved if they’d like, but really this is just a general beg that SOMEONE help make it – and finish the story before I die.

Infamous

I don’t know how a reboot of this franchise doesn’t exist in 2024. Imagine having Spider-Man as your most successful franchise, and knowing you have to give a huge chunk of each sale to Disney. And then knowing you have your own superhero franchise right there doing nothing, royalty free.

Obviously Infamous isn’t going to sell as many copies as Spider-Man, but it doesn’t need to. It just needs to sell enough copies to make Sony the same amount of money.

Honestly, the biggest issue for PlayStation here is who do they get to make it? Insomniac are busy, and Sucker Punch moved on. Still, if it had been before the superhero fatigue set in, this would have been a no-brainer. And yet here we are and it’s possibly too late.

Banjo-Kazooie

The classic N64 duo were brought back for one title on the Xbox 360 and a couple of handheld titles, then got unceremoniously taken behind the Microsoft bike sheds to meet an untimely end.

And yet there are rumours that the pair will be coming back. And not a second too soon. Xbox lacks family-friendly titles, and while Crash and Spyro will be helpful in fixing that, it’s a shame Banjo has been gathering dust for this long.

A revival would be huge news, even if it’s a smaller scale thing. It might not be a system seller, but it’d definitely be a show of good faith from team green.

Rogue Squadron

It’s nice that Star Wars is having a bit of a revival when it comes to games. Everything that comes out seems to be at least decent – even if Lego Star Wars wasn’t quite what we wanted it to be. Still, there’s one thing that’s missing.

The Rogue Squadron trilogy is fantastic. End of story. You run small missions flying some of the galaxy’s most recognisable space vehicles, shooting up baddies by the plenty. I don’t need epic graphics or massive set-pieces, just give me a level full of targets and a few simple mission goals. The fun is what matters.

Star Fox (Or Anything Nintendo)

Star Fox has been dead for longer than it was alive. You can kind of understand why. Although the titles were fun, the on-rails shooter kind of disappeared entirely, and evolving it into a third-person action game did little to help. What do you do with Star Fox to make it something special for the 21st century?

Well, I think the answer is probably simpler than its creators think. Make it small scale, make it cheap, make it epic. People want more Star Fox, and it doesn’t have to get above what made the franchise special to sell well. Like Sega, it’s about setting expectations sensibly.

This goes for any defunct Nintendo franchises. Donkey Kong, WarioLand, Golden Sun – they don’t have to be flagship games. They just have to be good, they have to be sensibly priced and sensibly made.

Personally I’m holding out for a new Donkey Konga. I don’t know how we’ll get it working – the connector is all wrong – but I’ve kept my drums for a reason. Make it happen, Nintendo.

Reviving Old Franchises – Conclusion

A lot of gamers are desperate for something that’s shiny and new. But those types of games are expensive and risky. There’s a sizable portion of the gaming community who are just as happy with games that have sensible budgets and are just kinda new. Look at the massive rise of indie games, but many publishers have just completely missed the point of that.

I hope Sega is successful, and that others follow suit. We could reach a new golden age for the industry, without all the risk associated with AAA development.

By admin

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