We're on a mission to find out which are the best game franchisers in the world. 64 of the best series are squaring off against one another, all in an effort to determine a winner. This time around we've four giants of gaming which made their names on PC. All of them are RPGs in some form, yet all of them take very different approaches to the genre. It’s Baldur's Gate v Fallout v Diablo v Deus Ex in a bit of a western RPG knock out. Each is competing to be crowned best game franchise in 2017. Over the course of 20 rounds, we will be pitting the biggest gaming franchises of all time against one another in order to determine the definitive list of the best game series.
It's total sales figures may be comparatively low for the series featured in this competition, but Baldur's Gate's footprint on RPG gaming is second to none. A then unknown BioWare turned up and delivered what would become one of the most influential and highly regarded RPG series of all times. Based on the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons campaign, Baldur's Gate has always offered impeccable storytelling, a vicious sense of humour and untold levels of depth. Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, and their expansions set a template for RPG world-building and story development that arguably hasn't been bettered to this day.
Series began: 1998
Total Sales: 8 million
Best-selling game: Baldur's Gate (2+ million)
- Baldur's Gate
- Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast
- Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
- Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
- Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
- Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear
- Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition
- Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
- Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2
The Fallout series was always a critical success, but it wasn't until Bethesda's acquisition of the franchise that it was truly thrust into the mainstream. Fallout and Fallout 2 are secretly two of the best games in the series, but the shift away from isometric role-playing to huge, richly detailed 3D worlds proved a huge move for Fallout. Fallout 3 became a truly iconic sci-fi RPG, giving players rich choices that felt as if they had a genuine impact. Few will forget the feeling of choosing to nuke an entire town during the early stages of the game. The reaction to Fallout 4 has soured somewhat since its launch, but it's still comfortably the biggest success for the series to date. In excess of 16 million copies have been sold, and its launch day on Steam is the fourth highest concurrent player count of all time.
Series began: 1997
Total Sales: 31 million
Best-selling game: Fallout 4 (16.5 million)
- Fallout 2
- Fallout 3
- Fallout: New Vega
- Fallout 4
- Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
- Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
- Fallout Shelter
Having made its name with WarCraft, Blizzard spent the mid-90's really establishing itself as a force in PC gaming. The launch of the original Diablo was revelatory, and many an employee found themselves bleary-eyed at work in the morning after clicking away in the depths of hell until the wee hours. An action-RPG at heart, Diablo and its sequels are the quintessential loot grinds, doling out that sweet dopamine fix that keeps players coming back for more and more. Fortunately, the gameplay, art design and lore that surrounds Diablo is great enough to back this element up. The series reached its zenith with Diablo 3. It's sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, making it the 12th best-selling game of all time, and the fastest selling PC launch in history.
Series began: 1996
Total Sales: 39.5 million
Best-selling game: Diablo 3 (30+ million)
- Diablo: Hellfire
- Diablo II
- Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
- Diablo III
- Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
The Deus Ex series has long been deified by fans and acclaimed by critics, but it remains an oddity that hasn't quite gained mainstream appeal. Diablo 3 above has sold more than three times as many copies as the entire Deus Ex series. What it lacks for in commercial success though, Deus Ex more than makes up for with its cyberpunk dystopia, fantastic atmosphere, and a level of player choice that goes above and beyond. A self-styled student of the immersive sim genre, Deus Ex is an underappreciated gem.
Series began: 2000
Total Sales: 9.1 million
Best-selling game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (4.2 million)
- Deus Ex
- Deus Ex: Invisible War
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
- Deus Ex: The Fall
- Deus Ex Go
Sadly only one of these illustrious franchises can make it through to the next round and potentially be the greatest game series in 2017. Every vote will count though when we tot these up and deliver the definitive list of the best gaming franchises. Have your say in the poll below, and let us know why you think it's the best gaming series in the comments section!
If you haven't voted on the previous rounds yet, you've still got time. Just follow the links below to vote for your favourite game series.