The fate of the Titanfall franchise is perhaps one of the most frustrating for modern gamers. The original Titanfall was a solid multiplayer shooter with an interesting take on mech action, tainted by a lack of content and its PC/Xbox exclusivity limiting its reach. Titanfall 2 made the leap to multiple platforms, but EA's release of the game was bizarre to say the least.
Titanfall 2 was released in the week between the launch of Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the two first-person shooter juggernauts of 2016. As a result, Titanfall 2 sold poorly during its important launch window, with gamers sitting out the game in favor of sticking with a better-known FPS franchise, meaning the community at large missed out on a stunning campaign and some of the best multiplayer seen that year.
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What makes this decision even more strange is that Battlefield 1 was a stablemate of Titanfall 2, and so EA was jeopardizing its own properties through these release dates. In the end Titanfall 2 underperformed, and developer Respawn Entertainment was purchased outright by EA in December 2017. The studio is now working on a new Star Wars game, but as Visceral has learned this is no longer a guarantee of survival.
Road Rash was one of the biggest racing franchises of the 16-bit era. The Sega Genesis-centric original trilogy impressed players with its rough-and-tumble street racing, with racers able to not only beat the opposition on the road, but also attack other riders with an assortment of weapons. It offered something different to the market, and fans lapped it up.
EA struggled when it came to bringing Road Rash into the 3D era, however. Road Rash 3D for the PlayStation was something of a fumble, with an emphasis on graphical quality coming at the cost of solid controls and - most importantly - a multiplayer mode. The lack of multiplayer meant that the game did not remain long in the memory of players, and overall the game was seen as a disappointment in comparison to the original titles.
The franchise would see two further releases, with Nintendo 64 exclusive Road Rash 64 an improvement over its PlayStation counterpart and Road Rash: Jailbreak proving to be the weakest in the series. After Jailbreak, EA shelved the property, although thankfully fans have had the Road Rash-alike Road Redemption to scratch that street racing itch.
The disappearance of the Skate series makes the least sense of all of EA's on-hiatus franchises. The first game was released back in 2007 and immediately jumped to the top spot of skateboarding games. Two sequels followed, with Skate 3 in particular gaining the love of gamers for its hilarious ragdoll physics and extremely fun gameplay.
After that, Skate was gone, and fans were left with simply the original trilogy and spin-off title Skate It for company. In part, the loss of Skate seems to have been down to some major restructuring that took place at EA, with developer EA Black Box seeing a number of layoffs back in 2012. On top of this, EA Black Box was shifted towards free-to-play gaming by its parent company and was subsequently closed down in 2013.
Since then, there have been numerous requests for the Skate series to make a return, but EA does not seem to be interested in bringing back the franchise at the moment. Whether the publisher will in future remains to be seen, but right now there's no indication that another Skate title will appear.
The story of Theme Park hits very similar notes to that of Dungeon Keeper. The series was also the brainchild of Bullfrog Productions, and its quirky look at the world of theme park management picked up a huge number of fans. The first game in particular was a standout success, helping to cement Bullfrog's place at the top table of the strategy and sim market.
After the brilliance of the first Theme Park, EA then took ownership of the company. The game's two sequels, Theme Park World and Theme Park Inc, both did well in their own right, albeit not having quite as much of an impact on the world of gaming as the original. Theme Park Inc, however, was the last game to bear Bullfrog's logo before the company's merging into EA UK.
After that, there was once again a misguided attempt to bring Theme Park into mobile gaming, and 2011's release was full of the same kind of deliberate slowing down of player development that Dungeon Keeper Mobile had. It was a sour final game for the Theme Park franchise, and one that is best left forgotten.