We’ve gotten to a point in the industry where only a handful of properties see any love from developers. So many excellent franchises have been abandoned and it’s shameful to reminisce and wonder what could be. Recently I sat down and went through my classic video games stored away. I found a dozen entries I completely forgot about, leaving me to wonder why we haven’t seen anything new in their respective series.
Some of these games at the time were the pinnacle of their genres. Now, they are no more than a memory and it’s about time game developers pull these properties out of retirement and create some new experiences.
Created by Sega in 1987 for arcades, the series spawned a dozen sequels on a dozen platforms. The original Shinobi starred protagonist Joe Musashi, and his backstory at the time was unlike few we’d seen at the time. Taken in by the Oboro clan, the young Musashi trained until he became the most skilled ninja of the Oboro clan. We’d see Joe twice more before the Shinobi series spawned various protagonists including Sho, Hotsuma, and Hibana. The most recognizable being Hotsuma who starred in the PlayStation 2 game that is still one of my favourite action games to this day.
In 2011, Sega worked with Griptonite Games and released a 3DS exclusive called Shinobi 3D starring Jiro Musashi, the father of Joe Musashi. Releasing to mixed reviews, the series has been in limbo ever since.
The first game launched in Japan on December 15, 1995, took off from there. In fact, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier believes Suikoden II to be one of the best RPGs ever made. I agree that it is good, it’s definitely one of the better games an RPG enthusiast needs to play if they haven’t already. The series, in general, is as good as it is because of Yoshitaka Murayama, who wrote, directed, and produced the first three games in the series – entries which focused on storytelling first.
Suikoden II arrived after Final Fantasy VII, and the world quickly forgot about this game. Which is a shame because despite being marred by translation issues, the themes and characters were catered towards adult gamers.
The last numbered game in the series, Suikoden V launched in 2006 in North America, followed by a number of spin-offs on handheld devices. In 2009, the excellent Suikoden Tierkreis graced the Nintendo DS but since then has been missing. It’s time for a return, even if Konami is focusing on pachinko slots over console gaming these days.
Launching in January 2001, the Sengoku-era hack and slash series is one that is sorely missed. Although an HD remaster arrived early this year, it simply isn’t enough. We haven’t seen a new game in the series since Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams launched in 2006. With the recent resurgence Capcom has seen, with the arrival of the game of the year contender Resident Evil 2 Remake, Devil May Cry V, and Monster Hunter: World, what better time for Onimusha to make a comeback?
Starring Hidemitsu Samanosuke, the first game pits our hero against Nobunaga Oda, a powerful daimyo in the 16th century. After discovering Genma are ravaging Japan, it’s up to Samanosuke to prevent the Genma from taking over Japan. Following the first game, two sequels followed with Oda continued his campaign of uniting Japan by using the Genma, and the third entry utilizing a time portal into modern Paris. Jacques Blanc and Samanosuke team up to quell Oda once and for all. A fourth game, Dawn of Dreams launched in 2006 and featured a new protagonist dealing with the Genma after a brief period of peace.
With the current technology, I’d love to see what Capcom can come up with using RE Engine and some inspiration.
EA killed off Visceral Studios but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get another game in the Dead Space series. Spawning two numbered sequels, the original Dead Space is known as being one of the greatest video games of all time thanks to how frightening the experience was. While I loved Dead Space, the sequel is easily my favourite of the three numbered games released. If only because of this:
To this day this achievement still haunts me.
A third entry and an excellent mobile game rounded out the franchise, but Dead Space 3 fell well below expectations and inevitably a fourth game was cancelled because of sales.
EA confirmed that the franchise wasn’t being actively worked on and that the series wasn’t dead. However, looking at the current slate of games releasing from EA, it’s clear they have no interest in this series (or any of their shelved franchises).
Another baffling decision from EA, the company was at one point developing the best skateboarding video games around. Skate 3 took over my life for some time and I don’t know many people who haven’t heaped praise over the Black Box developed series.
A fourth entry has been highly anticipated by fans of the genre, but EA is more focused on “surprise mechanics,” which is boloney in any which way their lawyers spin loot boxes.
Let’s not rely on the stale Tony Hawk series, which hasn’t seen a hit in over a decade. At one point, Skate outsold Tony Hawk 2 to 1, those sales figures being the final nail in the coffin for Activision’s reign on skateboarding games.
If you want to play Skate 3, it’s available as a backwards-compatible title on Xbox One – and when it was announced that the game was playable on current generation hardware, sales jumped on Xbox.
Final Fantasy Tactics:
Can you believe it has been 12 years since the enhanced Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions released on the PlayStation Portable? Subsequent releases on mobile not-withstanding, the Tactics series spawned two sequels: Tactics Advance and Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift.
Originally released in 1997, Final Fantasy Tactics introduced us to Ramza Beouvle, a member of the respected House Beoulve. Yasumi Matsuno served at writer and director, and created a rich, engaging, and devious world full of Zodiacs, betrayal, magick. This entry is known for its political strife mixed with religious tones and features one of my favourite battle systems to this day.
The years that followed introduced two sequels, but they were never able to capture what made the first so magical. With Square Enix on the rebound in recent years, it’s high time the Japanese developer considers returning to Ivalice once more. Matsuno even wants to make one more game in the series before he dies – so what are you waiting for, Square?