This past week, I rediscovered Split/Second, a high action, arcade-oriented racing game thanks to Microsoft’s Games with Gold service on the Xbox One. Split/Second invokes a lot of what makes games like Burnout so fun: rewarding the player for driving fast and dangerously. It’s also a game that was criminally overlooked due to a terrible launch date which saw it not only go head to head with Alan Wake but Red Dead Redemption as well.
I think you all know how that went…
Considering how unlucky the game was, it got me thinking about other franchises that deserve a second chance. These are game franchises that, at the moment, don’t appear to be coming back anytime soon, and in my opinion, that’s a crying shame. A few of these games were really well made, but just never hit it big for whatever reason.
So here are my top games that could use a second go around. Have any games you’d love to see return in the future? Let me know in the comments!
I’ve always been a big fan of this franchise mainly because it put a priority on fun over realism. This because especially true with SSX: Tricky, which is easily up there as one of the best games in the franchise. Pulling off insane tricks while hitting massive jumps and still pulling out a first-place finish was exhilarating and fun.
In 2012, EA released the latest (and sadly last) title in the franchise called SSX. While all of the hallmark gameplay elements were there (speed, massive tricks, iconic characters), it added a new layer by taking real-world locations and essentially tricking them out, SSX style. I loved the marriage between these real-world locations and being able to use actual gadgets like wingsuits and pickaxes with the more arcade style elements of Uber tricks and grinding on basically anything with an edge. Plus, the nine deadly descents, challenging boss battle style levels, were always a huge thrill and mixed in new gameplay elements.
Ultimately, the game reviewed well and was a commercial success for EA, but I just don’t think they value the franchise as a big hitmaker anymore. I hope I’m wrong because this franchise has so much potential, especially with how connected SSX became with leaderboards, and trying to one-up scores from friends and random players. I haven’t heard anything from this franchise in quite a long time and I’m a bit concerned that isn’t accidental.
Probability of coming back: While EA has been silent on the future of the franchise, I’d like to think that it’s not impossible, just unlikely: 25%
Channeling the tactical nature of Fire Emblem, the Advance Wars style of games focuses on more modern combat with tanks, infantry, planes, and more. It’s actually the series I started with before Fire Emblem, which is likely why my passion for it is greater. Predominantly seen on Nintendo’s DS handhelds, Advance Wars and its sequels featured turn-based combat, as two or more factions battled each other to capture points of interest. Each game featured different commanding officers to select from, each with their own personality and abilities.
What’s mind-boggling to me is that the last true Advance Wars game called Days of Ruin actually came out 10 years ago in 2008. Interestingly enough, it was also the game that took the fun-loving and colorful characters and presented a darker, and more mature storyline. Gameplay was generally the same and I appreciated what the developers were going for.
With the 3DS nearing the end, It’s likely that this series would now need to appear on the Switch, which I think wouldn’t be a problem at all. Just imagine a tactical game like this on the Switch pad. Nintendo could do some masterful things with this for sure.
Probability of coming back: While Nintendo is a lot more interested in Fire Emblem, I’m feeling pretty good about Advance Wars coming back down the road: 30%
Mixing Mario Kart with a semi-realistic arcade racer from Bizarre Creations, the studio behind Geometry Wars, should have been a recipe for success. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
While we don’t quite know why, Blur released in the Spring of 2010, a very busy year not only for racing games thanks to Split/Second and ModNation Racers, but for mega-AAA games as well like Red Dead Redemption. It’s likely that this game is a casualty of being overlooked or releasing at a horrible time (i.e Titanfall 2).
With sales downright dreadful, Activision quickly pulled the plug not only on the game but the studio as well. It’s sad because I felt the game had a significant amount of potential. Racing through tracks based on real locations like London, LA, and Tokyo while picking up powerups to use against other drivers was fantastically fun. I remember the soundtrack to be quite good as well, really fitting with the game’s theme. The career progression felt good, and the online multiplayer was a great time as well.
Probability of coming back: While I never want to say never, I’d be massively surprised if Activision bothered to do anything with this franchise considering it’s not Call of Duty or a Blizzard game: 0%
Arguably my favorite racing franchise of all time, the series has basically gone on hiatus since Burnout Paradise launched all the way back in 2008. (Editor’s Note: Burnout Crash launched in 2011, but let’s be honest, it’s not a true Burnout game.) There was just something novel about a racing game that didn’t care if drove perfectly and actually rewarded you for driving like a maniac. Road Rage is still my favorite thing in a racing game, using your car as a battering ram was just so satisfying, especially when you were having a bad day. It seems EA doesn’t agree however as Need for Speed has been predominantly in the spotlight for the last few years.
Worse yet, Criterion has seemingly been pulled off of lead developer status and has become a support studio. After their most recent racing project was put on hold, the team has since gone on to assist in development for other EA titles like both Battlefront games and some of the recent Need for Speed titles. A few of the studio co-founder also left to form their own indie studio as well. I feel like EA values Need for Speed a lot more than Burnout, but I remain hopeful that the publisher will do something with the series considering it’s plenty different from NFS.
As an aside, I’m glad a Remastered version of Burnout Paradise is arriving in the next few weeks. Part of me believes this could be a testing ground, as EA sees how well this game does to determine if a new game is viable after all these years. Who knows, perhaps I’m reading into it too much. Or maybe not.
Probability of coming back: Higher than some of the other games on this list, but still not very good. 40%. (No, I’m not counting Burnout Paradise Remastered since that’s technically not a new game).
Longtime readers are likely well aware that I’m a massive BioShock fan. I know fans absolutely love SHODAN and the System Shock franchise, but for me, my first introduction came with BioShock back in 2007. It captured my imagination, exploring this odd and broken underwater city filled with deranged citizens called Splicers, while trying to deal with hulking monsters known as Big Daddies.
The shooting felt great and customizing your character through upgrades and power-ups was a great time as well. The major element which tied everything together was the story. Who is Atlas? Why is he helping me? What is Andrew Ryan’s end game? Is he really as bad as the game makes him seem? Oh, it was fantastic experiencing all of the twists and turns the game threw at me. Loved every minute of it. Bio2 and Infinite were still great in their own right, but didn’t quite hook me as much as the first game. I enjoyed each of them in their own right, however, and exploring the floating city of Columbia was just magical.
Compared to some of the other games in this list, the shock series hasn’t been as dormant as BioShock Infinite launched back in 2013. I know Irrational Games has rebranded itself as Ghost Story Games and has a significantly reduced staff, but you have to wonder why 2K wouldn’t hand the franchise back to Ken Levine, the man who basically put the Shock franchise on the map.
Probability of coming back: Honestly, I think it’s pretty good. No idea what 2K/Take Two is planning in terms of development, but I can’t see them sitting on this well-regarded franchise forever: 70%.
Another personal favorite series of mine, I was reminded of how much I missed this stealth/action series after finally playing Splinter Cell: Blacklist again the other day. The evolution that this series has experienced since it originated back in 2002 is truly incredible. Originally debuting as a hardcore stealth game, the series slowly evolved into a more thrill/action style game, while managing to retain its stealth roots.
Sure, it lost its way a little bit with Double Agent, but Conviction and Blacklist really pushed the series in a fantastic direction. With Blacklist, I absolutely loved how the game rewarded you for playing how you wanted. It gave players multiple ways to tackle a level, letting the stealth purists do their thing, open up for the hybrid players, and even provided an avenue for third-person shooter fans to flex their muscles. Sadly, Blacklist didn’t hit its sales targets, which is (IMO) the main reason Ubisoft hasn’t focused in on the next game. With the rise of live service games like Rainbow Six Siege, For Honor, The Division, and Ghost Recon Wildlands, Ubisoft certainly has a full plate. Hopefully, Splinter Cell can get that treatment sooner than later as well.
Every E3 I wait to hear the familiar hum of Sam Fisher’s night vision goggles power up and so far, I’ve continued to wait. However, this past E3 gave me hope as Ubisoft directly mentioned that it hasn’t forgotten about the series. While the company doesn’t have anything to say at the moment, fans should stay tuned.
Probability of coming back: Very high, though I’m not sure Ubisoft is planning anything in the near future: 85%
Prince of Persia
Of all the Ubisoft franchises, I’d imagine this would be the hardest to turn into a microtransaction/live service style game. If Ubisoft can find a way to revive this franchise like they did for Rayman, then anything is possible.
Probability of anything coming back: I know they said they’d like to bring it back like 4 years ago, but at this point, I’m pretty sceptical: 10%
Anything from Valve.
Seriously, Valve. Come on.
Probability of anything coming back: ERROR. CANNOT COMPUTE