Two weeks ago we told you which long-running franchises we thought really needed to get the hint and quit while they’re ahead. Or in some cases, no longer ahead. But we’re not completely ruthless game-killers, and for every franchise that tries its luck by asking us to invest annually in their new product, there is another stone-cold-dead gem of a series lost in the mists of time that really, really deserved another outing.
As we all know, there is an unchanging mathematical rule in gaming. The rule I speak of is, of course, that Game+Time=Nostalgia, and there are many occasions upon which I reflect on games I played in 2005, 2000, 1998 and wonder what became of the IPs that spawned them, or much beloved series that hate slowly trickled into obscurity.
Crash Bandicoot (1996-2008)
No, Activision, step away. After your hideous redesign of everyone’s favourite gaming marsupial, an Activision reboot of Crash Bandicoot following on from 2008’s extremely mediocre Crash: Mind Over Mutant is not what we fill our gaming daydreams with. We want back to basics; the original Crash Bandicoot games were challenging platformers that pushed the visual technology of its time to the limits. Ubisoft Montpellier proved beyond measure with Rayman Legends that it was still completely possible to make a long-running platforming franchise fresh, enjoyably and visually breathtaking without resorting to the bizarre design choices and gimmicks we saw in the final Crash Bandicoot games.
Let’s be honest, we really want a Naughty Dog/ Sony Crash Bandicoot again. Yes, we know it’s about as likely a scenario as EA being voted “games publisher of the year” by gamers, but we can dream, right? It has only been 6 years since the last Crash game, however, and although rumours of Sony regaining the IP proved to be unfounded, we can still hold out hope of a decent series reboot at some point.
Likelihood - 6/10
Resident Evil (1996-2013)
Yes, yes, I know. Two weeks ago I put this franchise on a list of game franchises I wanted to die. I stand by that decision; if future Resident Evil games go down the same route as in recent years, I’d happily see it killed without a second thought. But the older Resident Evil games still hold a special and deserved place in my heart, and the hearts of a hell of a lot of other people, too. Rebooting the series to recapture the survival horror and suspense elements of earlier games would be a noble pursuit, and one I would welcome with open arms.
Likelihood - 4/10
Theme Hospital (1997)
Any gamer born between about 1980 and 1993 will almost invariably hold fond childhood memories of Bullfrog Productions’ endlessly entertaining Theme games. Peter Molyneux might be too busy cramming his current productions with bizarre micro-transactions, but we remember his older work with fondness, and heck, we do love a game with Alien DNA and Invisibility diseases. Since none of us at GD have actually played this game since the turn of the new Millennium, we’re not actually entirely sure to what degree our longing to play this game is merely childhood whimsy, but we’re going to go ahead, take a punt and say it’s almost certainly worth a reboot.
Molyneux is currently working on Godus, which is due out this year. It claims to be the “spiritual successor” to his 1989 hit Populous, but right now we’ve got our reservations about his so-called “invest-to-play” model. How about a reboot of Theme Hospital? Or Black & White, maybe?
It is mind blowing to think that there is a whole generation of young gamers who, when they hear the term “Warcraft”, have no frame of reference other than WoW. Yes, it makes us all feel terribly old to think that it’s 11 years since Warcraft III was released, and to be honest, we really think it’s time Blizzard did something about it. Every year we sit patiently through Blizzcon only to be told of yet another World of Warcraft expansion. I have nothing against WoW expansions. But is there no room for Warcraft strategy funtimes anymore?
It seems Blizzard have their RTS-based hands full with StarCraft II and accompanying expansions right now, as well has having Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone on the development conveyer belt, so any hopes of a Warcraft reboot aren’t looking so plausible, especially considering Blizzard’s tendency to delay every game they make without fail. Maybe in a few years time?
Probably only about three people on the face of planet Earth are asking for this one, but at Jon's request this one makes the cut. Jon - It feels like the world has most definitely forgotten about the rock-hard Commandos series, blending delicious real-time strategy with strong stealth elements. Limited to a group of up to six elite commandos, each with vastly differing abilities, this was as much a puzzle game as it was RTS, forcing you to think of ways of turning impossible-looking missions to your advantage.
The sequels tailed off a bit, veering into dangerous 3D territory after the gloriously isometric originals. A reboot would be tricky but as a Commandos fan I'm not picky, more of the same would work wonders!
Likelihood - 2/10
Age of Empires (main series 1997-2005)
Ah this takes us back. Reminiscing the hazy days of yore when Microsoft Game Studios actually put out quality gaming content for us PC gamers. since the Xbox brand picked up steam we've been left out in the cold, feeding off scraps such as Gears of War and Halo ports.
One day hopefully Microsoft will remember the gamers using the operating systems they sell a hundred million copies of every year. When they do it'll surely mark the glorious return of the Age of Empires series. I'm a base builder myself, venturing out to go attack someone can go do one in most instances. There's nothing better than building the largest and most impenetrable fort the world has ever seen, like Alacatraz and Colditz getting it on and having giant fortress babies. More please.
Likelihood - 7/10
Dino Crisis (1999-2003)
It may be the bi-annual rumour-fest that the Half Life series is, but Dino Crisis has had its fair share of reboot rumours over the years. It's unsurprising; the game was a cracker, an excellent addition to the survival horror genre at the peak of dino-fever in the late 1990s, when Jurassic Park was king and pretty much every kid in my class wanted to be a palaeontologist.
But there have been some truly awful dinosaur games pushed out in the last few years, and the horror we've felt playing them has been more related to the fact we forked out cold hard cash for such polished turds. Telltale's Jurassic Park was mediocre, Orion: Dino Horde/ Dino Beatdown was dire. I was personally less than convinced by the bizarre man-dino-morph-cameo in Resident Evil 6, too, which felt like it belonged ... well ... in Dino Crisis.
We were actually talking about how much this game needed a reboot for the last week, so you can imagine our delight when we heard on Wednesday the rumours that this is actually happening, courtesy of Capcom. So a reboot is likely, then. Now it just has to be decent.
Likelihood - 8.5/10
Chrono Trigger (1995 - 1999)
Chrono Trigger was genius. I would even go as far as saying it might just make it into the greatest games of all times. There are literally dozens of innovations within the first game that changed the RPG genre on its release.
Whilst we are all for bowing out with dignity before everyone gets a little bored, the mere two games we were gifted in the Chrono series seems an unbearable cruelty, especially when you consider that rival JRPG franchises such as the Tales games and Final Fantasy have had more outings than I’ve had hot dinners, as the saying goes. We know we’re not the only ones who want this; the game has been highly ranked in pretty much every gaming poll ever. Sure, since the original release, the RPG genre has changed a lot, and maybe what was innovative and wonderful about Chrono Trigger a decade and a half ago wouldn’t translate so well into the modern gaming market.
But screw that logic; give us more Chrono!
Likelihood - 3/10
We’ve noticed that the bulk of our list is taken up with RTS games, a genre that, tragically, seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs (sensing a theme here). The StarCraft franchise, the undisputed king of RTS, has even been losing ground in the eSports department as MOBAs like League of Legends and DOTA 2 continue their astronomic rise.
Still, things can change quickly in the world of games. Last year we were complaining about the absence of RPG titles on the market, only to be hit this year with what can only be described as 2014: The Year Of The RPG, in which even those of us still craving turn-based combat look set to obtain our wildest dreams. Perhaps 2015 will do the same for the Strategy game?
Which franchises do you think deserve a reboot? Do you agree with our choices? Let us know in the discussion area.