In the ever-evolving world of gaming, some beloved video game series have faded into the background, leaving dedicated fans yearning for a comeback. These immersive worlds and captivating narratives once held us spellbound, and now it’s time to rally together and petition for their triumphant return.
Join us as we delve into the realms of nostalgia and possibility, exploring 12-game series that deserve a second chance in the spotlight. It is time to raise our voices, controllers in hand, and bring these dormant gems back to life.
Few developers have had a more interesting adventure than the one that Squaresoft created in the PS1 era. They were experimenting with a lot of new concepts when they weren’t making some of the best Final Fantasy games of all time, and sadly, they didn’t always get the love they deserved. But few of Squaresoft’s experiments from that period are quite as impressive as the Parasite Eve games.
The Parasite Eve games are the kinds of wild swings a developer at the top of their game shouldn’t be afraid to make. Unfortunately, that also makes them a source of relief in their times.
It’s challenging to discuss the early Def Jam games without leaning towards exaggeration. It can be strongly argued that these games weren’t just among the finest wrestling titles but also stood out as some of the most remarkable fighting games. Keep in mind that I’m referring to a collection of EA-published games featuring licenced musicians—a concept that might have seemed destined for failure.
Admittedly, the last Def Jam game we received (Def Jam: Icon in 2007) was somewhat of a letdown. While it’s uncertain if any studio possesses the capability to rival the sheer brilliance of AKI Corporation’s unexpectedly remarkable Def Jam games, I can confidently say that hardly a day passes without me yearning for the return of those games in our gaming repertoire.
The Oregon Trail
It’s nearly impossible not to nostalgically recall the Oregon Trail games, especially if you had the chance to experience them during school days. These ‘simulated’ westward adventure games not only provided an educational excuse to play but also offered genuinely captivating experiences that lingered well beyond the classroom.
So, what led to the disappearance of this series? The Oregon Trail essentially embodied a roguelike survival game intertwined with adventure, featuring a unique setting and premise. Put simply, it embodied the essence of the kind of indie game that swiftly climbs Steam’s best-seller charts.
Admittedly, modernising aspects of the franchise to align with our contemporary understanding of that historical period would be necessary, but the potential for revival is unmistakably present. At the very least, this cherished franchise deserves far more than the lacklustre 2011 mobile title that was its latest offering.
Among the multitude of horror franchises overshadowed by Resident Evil’s success, few deserved their fate less than the Clock Tower series. Remarkably, Clock Tower not only delivered gripping horror gaming before Resident Evil but also presented a style of horror that remained unmatched and unreplicated by most.
The essence of the Clock Tower games resembled that of an exceptional slasher film adapted into video games. Each instalment involved navigating eerie locales while evading menacing pursuers—a setup akin to classic slasher narratives. Unlike typical slasher movies, Clock Tower games induced genuine terror. Although the series might have been deemed excessively eerie for some, it’s plausible they would find a broader audience in today’s gaming landscape.
I was genuinely surprised by the numerous fighting game series that could have made it onto this list. It’s a genre often filled with ambitious titles that, for various reasons, never quite achieved the widespread recognition they deserved. Amidst this competitive landscape, the Bushido Blade franchise stands out as an unparalleled gem.
At first glance, the Bushido Blade games might resemble standard 3D fighters featuring warriors wielding weapons. However, what set Bushido Blade apart was its unique gimmick—the ability to execute a match-ending blow with a well-timed strike.
While a few games attempted similar mechanics, none truly captured the brilliance and strategic depth of this concept. Even without this defining feature, the series remains one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences within the fighting game genre.
Legacy of Kain
Similar to several titles on this list, understanding the fate of the Legacy of Kain series isn’t overly complicated. Even at their peak, these games catered to a niche audience, enticing those willing to immerse themselves in a peculiar vampire-centric world steeped in intricate mythologies. However, at their lowest points, the games simply fell short in quality.
Despite their numerous flaws, the Legacy of Kain games often displayed a touch of excessive ambition. With the refinements seen in the modern era of 3D action games, there’s genuine potential for this franchise to smooth its rough gameplay aspects and accentuate its exceptional world-building. The key lies in assembling a team prepared to tackle such a challenging endeavour.
Gabriel Knight 4
What lies ahead for this acclaimed series? A dedicated fan, Toni-Pekka Kähärä, has initiated an online petition urging Activision Blizzard, with support from fellow enthusiast Sean Parker and a captivating promotional video, to either produce a new Gabriel Knight game or grant character licencing back to Jane Jensen.
Surpassing 1,800 signatures, the petition has garnered attention, with Dean Erikson, a long-awaited interviewee on AMO’s list (stay tuned), even commenting on the video.
Additionally, Robert Holmes, renowned for his musical contributions to the series and married to Jane Jensen, hinted at positive interest—a promising sign. (P.S.: Don’t miss his insightful 2011 interview with AMO!)
No One Lives Forever
While I attempted to limit this list to franchises not solely remembered due to the internet’s adoration, No One Lives Forever stands as a notable exception that the online community consistently cherishes.
The No One Lives Forever games cleverly masqueraded as spy movie satires within early 2000s first-person shooters. Their genuine humour—a rarity in gaming—alongside remarkably crafted campaigns solidify their position among the finest solo adventures in FPS history.
Despite seemingly being trapped in a convoluted licencing limbo, this franchise undeniably deserves the enduring adoration it receives from devoted fans.
The PlayStation 2 undoubtedly stood out as a haven for RPG enthusiasts. While not every exceptional PS2 RPG franchise could sustain itself through subsequent gaming eras, it’s disheartening to realise how few of these remarkable RPGs were allowed to evolve into the modern gaming landscape. Among these overlooked titles is Dark Cloud.
Dark Cloud was an action RPG featuring town-building aspects, tasking players with dungeon-crawling to gather resources for reconstructing the world. It presented a rare RPG experience—immediately enjoyable yet equipped with the depth to captivate players for extensive playtime.
Despite potential reasons for its limited success—such as dated graphics or an unconventional premise—those shortcomings seem insignificant when compared to the depth and richness it offered.
Back in 2005, Mercenaries emerged as a game-changer. In an era where open-world games were still finding their footing, Mercenaries, true to its subtitle, delivered a ‘playground of destruction.’ It stood as a no-frills sandbox, offering a handful of objectives and a multitude of ways to simply revel in fun.
In an era where many open-world titles lean towards guided narrative-driven experiences, I find myself yearning for the straightforwardness of Mercenaries at its pinnacle. Few franchises have matched the unadulterated joys of this series, which always held a touch more creativity than it openly revealed.
While I’m an avid supporter of the Red Faction series, I’m aware of the factors that prevented it from attaining higher levels of success. The franchise always harboured promising concepts that somehow failed to coalesce into a major hit. From a business perspective, I comprehend why the franchise met an uncertain fate.
However, from a gaming perspective, I remain firmly convinced that this franchise holds untapped potential. The prospect of leading a worker’s uprising on Mars, empowered by Red Faction’s remarkable environmental destruction mechanics, holds immense appeal. What’s needed now is for someone to take a renewed leap of faith in a series bursting with latent possibilities.
I almost omitted SSX from this list, assuming we had a new SSX game released recently. However, that ‘recent’ game dates back to 2012—SSX: a well-intended (albeit misguided) effort to update the franchise.
What’s truly needed is a contemporary SSX game that recaptures the essence of SSX Tricky. We crave a modern SSX title that embodies speed, exhilaration, style, and pure fun. Even amidst the extreme sports gaming peak, few titles matched the allure of the finest SSX releases. Today, those games exude an almost enchanting quality.
In the dynamic landscape of gaming, numerous beloved franchises have slipped into obscurity, leaving passionate fans yearning for their return. These immersive worlds and captivating narratives once captivated us, and now it’s time to unite and campaign for their revival.
Delving into realms of nostalgia and promise, we’ve highlighted 12 game series that merit a resurrection. It’s an opportunity to wield our collective influence, wielding controllers as our rallying cry to breathe life back into these dormant treasures.
As gamers and enthusiasts, let’s raise our voices, reignite our fervour, and advocate for the comeback of these cherished franchises. The gaming world eagerly awaits their triumphant return, beckoning a new era of adventure, creativity, and beloved memories.
And for design agency Manchester enthusiasts, coders, and aspiring gaming developers seeking inspiration, the revival of these iconic series could spark a renaissance in storytelling, visual design, and immersive experiences, forging new paths and setting the stage for gaming’s next extraordinary chapter.