The newly-released Doom is a fast-paced, old-school gorefest, and a godsend to fans of the classic series that wanted something more action-based than the horror-inspired Doom 3 of 2004. But the success of the game raises an important question for fans of other long-dormant series: if Doom can make a comeback after over a decade of silence, why can’t their favorites do the same?
Whether a game series has simply entered into a deep state of silence or continuing entries have strayed too far from the series’ roots, sometimes a simple, polished, back-to-basics approach is required, and the new Doom game has provided an amazing template to be followed. These are the top fourteen game franchises that deserve a Doom-style revival.
15 Honorable mention: Half Life 3 and Mega Man Legends 3
These games are an oddity on this list, because while they’re both games that fans have been demanding for years, they represent continuations of stories that the fans love rather than starting fresh to preserve the spirit of the series, hence the honorable mention.
That being said, Half Life 2: Episode 2 was released in 2007, and Mega Man Legends 2 was released all the way back in 2000. Both games are classics, both sequels have massive amounts of fan support behind them, and the main things fans want to see are continuations of what they loved from their predecessors. Valve and Capcom are both venerated developers, so as long as they give it their all, avoiding a Duke Nukem Forever situation should be easy enough. What’s the hold-up?
14 Sonic the Hedgehog
Looking at him now, it’s hard to believe that Sonic used to be more popular than Mario. The Blue Blur’s fall from grace has been long, protracted, and tragic, with each new game that shows signs of quality and potential quickly being canceled out by games that are either wrong-headed or just plain rushed and unfinished.
After the unmitigated disaster that was Sonic Boom, fans of Sega’s poster-boy could use a new, back-to-basics take on the hedgehog, even if such a game would be more damage control than glorious return at this point. Sadly, several of the disastrous games that have tarnished Sonic so badly — like the 2006 release Sonic the Hedgehog — have been attempts to revitalize the franchise, hence his low placement on the list. As nice as a revival would be, Sonic’s seen enough failed attempts that it might be more constructive to put him on ice for a few years while Sega can figure out what they want to do with him.
What the new Doom is to fast-paced, monster-slaying shooters of the early 1990s, a new Timesplitters would be to the Goldeneye and Perfect Dark era of shooters that changed the genre later in the decade.
Timesplitters’ cartoony aesthetic, surreal humor, and wide variety of settings due to its time-travelling plot would be a breath of fresh air in the modern FPS landscape, as would seeing its Goldeneye-inspired gameplay updated with new mechanics and abilities, like how Doom augmented the series run-and-gun action with the ability to easily jump and climb on platforms.
Turok’s appeal as a franchise can be summarized in three words: guns and dinosaurs. There has always been a disturbing lack of dinosaurs in video games, and games that let you fight dinosaurs with crazy guns are in even shorter supply. Modern graphics mean that dinosaurs, and the giblets that result when dinosaurs get exploded with a drill gun would be more beautiful and realistic than ever before.
The last Turok game, a 2008 reboot of the franchise, strayed a little too far from the core concept of blowing up dinosaurs with a limited arsenal, too many human enemies, and stealth mechanics. A new game could appeal to the dinosaur hunter in all of us with a much larger focus on fights against the giant beasts, and take a page out of Doom’s book by letting the player carry all the glorious, dinosaur-destroying weapons they could ever want instead of limiting them to two.
We’ve mentioned before that Earthbound is a criminally underused franchise. Undertale’s runaway success proves there’s still a large contingent of gamers that want quirky, atmospheric RPGs with a large focus on creating a personal, unforgettable experience.
While this entry’s probably the biggest longshot on the list, as Nintendo has proven unwilling to even re-release the latest game in the series, let alone reboot it with a new entry, a completely new Earthbound game that delivers the same mix of interesting combat and unforgettable, irreverent characters could do very well amongst today’s players. A reboot would even be advantageous in that many fans of the series outside of Japan have only played one of the Earthbound games, meaning writers could feel free to tell a new story instead of continuing from an entry most people will never get to play.
10 Mega Man X
Between halting the development of Mega Man Legends 3, removing Mega Man from Marvel vs Capcom in its latest entry, and insulting fans angry over the Blue Bomber’s treatment with Bad Box Art Mega Man in Street Fighter X Tekken, Capcom has been severely underestimating the appeal of their former flagship franchise. Case in point: the developer put a stop to their rebooted “new” old-school Mega Man games, Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, before giving a similar treatment to Mega Man X.
Many fans consider the futuristic side-series to be one of the best in gaming, combining the classic platforming and shooting action of the 8-bit games with interlinked levels, a more complicated movement system, and lush 16-bit visuals. While Capcom could make a direct sequel to Mega Man X8 with identical graphics á la Mega Man 9, a reboot of the entire series with modern, stylized visuals but similar gameplay would be just as compelling, and allow them to compete with Mighty No 9.
9 Sly Cooper
Sucker Punch is a fantastic game studio, and nobody begrudges them for their decision to take a break from the stylish platformer/stealth hybrid series (starring a crew of animal thieves led by the titular raccoon, Sly) to work on the grittier superhero series inFamous.
But inFamous is sitting at three games across two consoles at this point, and the last Sly Cooper game, while decent, was marred by long load times and tacked-on motion controls. The PS4’s hardware could do for Sly Cooper what it did for the new Ratchet & Clank (which itself is an excellent example of the type of revival we’d like to see more series undergo), and with a Sly Cooper film adaptation in the works, a fresh new spin on Sly, Murray, and Bentley would be an excellent way to revive interest in the character.
As controversial as this statement might be, we’re going to go on record and say that one of gaming’s best golden-age franchises deserves better than a themed pachinko machine with a sleazy “erotic violence” theme.
Konami evidently doesn’t know what to do with Castlevania anymore, as evidenced by the switch from stellar Metroid-inspired handheld games to less consistent 3D games and, finally, gambling machines. The answer couldn’t be simpler: take Castlevania back to the 1980s and 1990s, where it lives and thrives. A Castlevania reboot would actually be much easier for Konami than reboots of other properties might be, as fans would likely welcome either a game based on the original NES and SNES era hard-as-nails platformers or the PS1 onward “Metroidvania” titles.
7 Resident Evil
When the first Resident Evil came out in 1996, it was praised for its tense, survival-horror gameplay. As time went on, however, subsequent games -- while well-executed experiences in their own right -- began to shift the focus to convoluted storylines and characters. Resident Evil 4’s simpler, self-contained story, along with a return to truly terrifying, tense battles against monsters, is part of why the game is considered among the best in the series, if not one of the best games of all time.
Unfortunately, its follow-ups have begun to stray from this tight focus once again, becoming convoluted and less scary in the process. The last main series Resident Evil game, Resident Evil 6, came out four years ago, which likely means a new game is soon to be announced. Why not deliver something completely different with a game rooted in either the first or fourth game of the series? Resident Evil is at its best when it’s about tense, horror-based action, and moving away from the more bombastic entries while keeping the polish and visuals offered by modern hardware would be an interesting move.
6 Monkey Island
The Monkey Island series actually had an episodic reboot by Telltale Games that wrapped up back in 2012, but those games didn’t quite nail the incredible humor of the originals, and the puzzles left a lot to be desired. The success of Telltale’s own Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us games, along with the incredible reboot of King’s Quest, prove that the adventure genre remains alive and well.
A true-to-its-roots retelling of Guybrush Threepwood’s first adventures, with new jokes, visuals, and puzzles, would be a fantastic, lighthearted romp in a time where such games are in short supply.
More than many Smash Bros characters, Captain Falcon has become incredibly popular despite his last game being well over a decade old. Gamers love Falcon’s fondness for flavored beverages and his repeated demands to see people’s moves, but many have no idea that he’s the protagonist of his own series of games.
Not only is there demand for a new F-Zero game, especially on Nintendo platforms starved for games (as the success of indie game Fast Racing Neo demonstrates), but the timing of such a game would be fantastic for Nintendo no matter what they wanted to do with it. Need something to keep people playing their Wii U’s? A new entry in a beloved franchise could help with that. Want a killer app to encourage early adoption of the NX? A reboot of F-Zero could help with that too.
The last Banjo-Kazooie game, 2006’s Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, took the light-hearted platforming series everyone loved...and turned it into a mediocre car racer. This was an incredible missed opportunity on the part of Rare and Microsoft. 3D platformers once dominated the video game medium, but over the years they’ve dramatically decreased in quantity.
The only 3D platforming series that releases consistently these days is the Super Mario series, and as amazing as those games are, even they could improve with a little competition. Games like Super Mario 3D World and the Ratchet & Clank movie-tie in have shown how amazing classic platforming gameplay can be when paired with modern graphical horsepower. A new Banjo-Kazooie should be a cinch; there’s no need to reinvent the wheel (or, in the case of Nuts and Bolts, four wheels and a chassis).
3 Jak and Daxter
With Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End seeming to bring Naughty Dog’s action-adventure series to a strong conclusion (at least in the realm of video games), the company’s next project remains a mystery. One suggestion: bring back one of the best Playstation-exclusive platformers of the past decade.
The Jak and Daxter series brought a unique mix of minigames, myriad weapons and abilities, and a darker, more in-depth story to the classic 3D-platforming formula gamers know and love, and Naughty Dog’s incredible writing and development work with the Uncharted series and The Last of Us means a rebooted Jak and Daxter could bring more interesting writing and more mind-blowing visuals than the originals ever could. The only caveat: stick to the core platforming action of the first two games, the stuff that worked the best across the entire series. Sorry, Jak 3 racing sections.
2 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a serviceable MMO, especially if you’re a massive Star Wars fan in need of something to play, but the fact of the matter is that nobody really wanted The Old Republic. Fans wanted Knights of the Old Republic 3, a single-player adventure that could deliver the more varied, in-depth questlines and better-paced storytelling that an MMO simply can’t.
As fascinating as a direct sequel to Obsidian’s underwhelming Knights of the Old Republic 2 would be, Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars, and subsequent negation of the pre-existing expanded universe, means that a reboot is both timely and necessary. If Bioware returns -- with the lessons they’ve learned from Dragon Age and Mass Effect in tow -- to kick-start the new expanded universe’s old-republic era with a new RPG, there’s little doubt that the game would be a tremendous hit.
There are many puzzling decisions Nintendo has made over the years, but perhaps among the most puzzling is its treatment of the Metroid series. After 2010’s experimental and critically panned Other M, the company has benched Samus almost completely, with the franchise living on only through a co-op shooter on the 3DS that has very little in common with the atmospheric, exploration-based games fans love.
What video game franchise reboots do you want to see? Sound off in the comments.
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