12 Video Game Reboots That Revived Their Franchises (And 13 That Flopped)

Rise of the Tomb Raider

It's hard to see a long running franchise go stale, whether it be from the sequels being of lesser quality to an overabundance of titles fatiguing even the most avid fans.

When this does happen, a popular method of revitalizing interest is to go the way of a reboot, completely resetting the timeline or telling an entirely different story in the same world with new characters.

The reboot is often a failing franchise's last chance at coming back from the brink of obscurity. If the new version does not breathe new life into the property, then the whole series will probably be let go for good.

For this list, we will be looking at games where hitting the reset button worked, and at those where the move spelled disaster.

To qualify as an entry, the game has to either have a new timeline or use different characters in a different time period. This means that games like Resident Evil 7 and Metal Gear Solid will not be featured. Despite them both taking their respective franchises to new heights with new game play mechanics, they are still sequels in the truest form of the word and push the story forward.

It should also be noted that the failed reboots are not always bad games. There are many reasons why the fresh start did not grow further. Maybe the brand had too bad of a reputation or fans altogether were resistant to the idea of a reboot and were more interested in receiving an actual sequel.

So buckle up those seat belts and get ready for the 12 Video Game Reboots That Revived Their Franchises (And 13 That Flopped).

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25 Flopped: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5

The last great Tony Hawk game was 2006's Project 8. The following year's Tony Hawk's Proving Ground changed too many fundamental mechanics, becoming barely recognizable as a title in the series.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 was supposed to be a return to the glory days of the hyperbolic skateboarding game, but it missed virtually all of its marks.

It's clunky, buggy, and its graphics are ugly as sin.

If the game play was perfect for eight straight years starting in the late 1990s, how could a modern entry mess it up so catastrophically?

24 Revived: Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time

Jordan Mechner is the mastermind behind the Prince of Persia games. He has been involved in almost every project involving the titular prince, even the 2010 movie adaptation.

Perhaps this is why the 2003 reboot of the saga, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was so well received.

With the original creator on board to guide the team, the game felt like a true Prince of Persia game.

The series actually received another reboot in 2008, but fans liked this Prince so much that 2010 saw a return to this timeline with Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.

23 Flopped: Spec Ops: The Line

Captain Martin Walker, Spec Ops The Line (2012)

Spec Ops was never a renowned series, so it seemed bizarre to get another entry for the Playstation 3 in 2012. It was even stranger when the game turned out to borrow themes from Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now.

Spec Ops: The Line takes players through a brutal, unforgiving narrative that slowly chips away at the main character's sanity.

The players themselves are forced to make tough choices and even commit awful atrocities throughout the campaign.

Unfortunately, the stellar single player campaign and glowing reviews did not return high sales numbers, destroying any possibilities for a sequel.

Still, the game is a must play.

22 Revived: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Crash Bandicoot

Sometimes, when a series is led astray, the best thing to do is bring it all back home. The beloved video game marsupial did just this, and it worked wonders for him.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a remake of the original trilogy for modern consoles.

It plays just as smoothly as it did in the late '90s, and now it looks gorgeous too.

Since the game's release, Crash is a relevant name once again. Hopefully the near future will see a new Crash Bandicoot title that stays true to the original formula.

21 Flopped: Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando on the NES is notable for its relatively graphic violence for the time and being able to blow up Hitler's head, which is always a welcome addition to a video game.

After a long silence, Nathan Rad Spencer was brought back with 2009's Bionic Commando, with Faith No More's Mike Patton lending his voice to the lead role.

It's a fun game, but poor sales and a controversial plot twist involving Spencer's Bionic Arm have given the game a bad reputation.

It's especially sad that future games were never released, considering the fact that the story ends with a cliffhanger.

20 Revived: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

The original XCOM games were for a niche audience, as not every gamer was willing to learn the intricate mechanics or take on the franchise's difficulty.

After a small lull, the franchise was rebooted with XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

The title is more accessible than the ones that came before, but don't be fooled - there is still plenty of depth and difficulty to be found.

The success of the game spawned an expansion pack called Enemy Within and a full fledged sequel, XCOM 2, which also received high praise and strong sales.

19 Flopped: Splatterhouse

Splatterhouse 2010

Any readers who grew up in the late '80s and early '90s will remember Splatterhouse as the game that wasn't "appropriate for young children....and cowards."

Unfortunately, the 2010 reboot was not appropriate for anybody.

The brawler was panned for having poor controls and a terrible camera.

The only saving grace was its narrative and dialogue, done by comic book writer Gordon Rennie. However, what use is a good story if the game is no fun to play?

The game's poor quality can partly be attributed by a change in developer early in production.

18 Revived: Mortal Kombat


The year 2011's Mortal Kombat was a return to form for the legendary fighting series. It retells the first three games with a small time travel twist, and brings back the two dimensional fighting of the original trilogy.

While the game play was more than enough to win fans' hearts, the addition of an in depth story mode made the package all the sweeter.

Each fight was introduced with well written, detailed cut scenes that showcased the series' operatic melodrama in a way never before seen.

The year 2015's Mortal Kombat X only further proved that the series is back to its glory days.

17 Flopped: Syndicate

Syndicate Artwork

The original Syndicate games were brutal, intimate tactical games set in a cyberpunk future that would make William Gibson blush.

When the title was brought back in 2012, the new developers decided to ditch the isometric perspective in favor of a first person shooter.

While 2012's Syndicate is a valiant effort, it was not what fans were looking for, leading to lackluster sales.

As proof of fans' desires for the original game play, Syndicate Wars' director launched a successful Kickstarter for Satellite Reign. This game was more in line with what Syndicate fans want from a game.

16 Revived: Ninja Gaiden

Ninja Gaiden XBOX Skeleton Attack

Ryu Hayabusa had a whole slew of successful outings in the late '80s and early '90s for both consoles and arcades.

When 3D became the standard, the character went dark until Team Ninja brought him back into the limelight with Ninja Gaiden.

There is a whole new coat of paint on the series, but one thing remained familiar in the reboot-punishing difficulty.

The 8-bit games were not kind to anyone who was not an expert, and 2004's Ninja Gaiden was no different.

Initially an XBOX exclusive, it was later ported to numerous consoles and spawned two direct sequels.

15 Flopped: Thief

Thief Video Game

Looking Glass Studios made big waves back in 1998 with Thief: The Dark Project. In an age when first person games prioritized bombastic action and violence, Warren Spector's creation put the focus on stealth.

Th year 2004 saw Thief: Deadly Shadows hit the market, and the series went cold for ten long years.

Finally, a reboot of the series, simply titled Thief was released on both current and last gen consoles. The game was met with a warm reception, with all aspects being praised except for the level design.

It's been four years since then and there has not even been the slightest hint of a possible sequel.

14 Revived: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Castlevania's history spans almost as long as modern gaming itself, with its premiere outing debuting on the NES in 1986.

In 2010, the franchise was rebooted with some help from Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear fame.

Lords of Shadow was a critical and commercial success, meaning a sequel was inevitable. Lords of Shadow 2 did not garner the same critical reception, but still fared adequately.

Unfortunately due to an infamous restructuring at Konami in 2015, it does not look like there will be any Lords of Shadow titles any time soon.

13  Flopped: DmC: Devil May Cry

DmC Devil May Cry

Contemporary pop culture has been a little reboot crazy, sometimes resetting a franchise when all fans really want is a sequel.

DmC: Devil May Cry put Dante back in the player's control, but not the Dante they knew and loved from before.

What's more is that the prior entry, Devil May Cry 4, was the most commercially successful title in the franchise and was venerated by critics.

Fortunately, it seems like Capcom has come to their senses and announced Devil May Cry 5 at E3 2018, set to hit the market in March of 2019.

12 Revived: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Video Game Wallpaper

Deus Ex is a cyberpunk masterpiece directed by Warren Spector that can often be found on many "greatest game of all time" lists.

It garnered one less beloved sequel that strayed too far from the original formula.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution sought to bring back the player freedom that made the first one so iconic. To not be beholden to the first one, they made it a prequel with new characters and a new story.

The 2011 reboot was a huge success and spawned a sequel in 2016 called Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

11 Flopped: Medal Of Honor

Medal of Honor

The original Medal of Honor games are unforgiving shooters set in World War II. Each mission brims with tension, as one wrong move can mean failure.

The year 2010's Medal of Honor sought to update the setting early 2000's Afghanistan.

It's not a bad game, but it feels more like Call of Duty than a true Medal of Honor game. It came packaged with an excellent multiplayer option that stood out for putting the emphasis on calculated aiming rather than twitch shooting.

The game managed to spawn one sequel, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which was universally derided, sending the franchise back to a farm upstate.

10 Revived: Tomb Raider

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2013

Lara Croft has been a video game icon since her first outing in 1996. The game had a soft reboot in 2006 with Tomb Raider: Legend, whose witty action adventure vibe predates Uncharted.

The year 2013 saw a complete overhaul of the series, showing fans a young, inexperienced Croft on her first adventure.

While it was not an easily recognizable Lara, it was the shot in the arm the aging franchise needed.

After the huge success of Tomb Raider (2013), the game received a sequel and just completed a trilogy with the recently released Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

9 Flopped: The Legend of Spyro

Legend of Spyro

Any gamer who owned a PlayStation as a kid will have fond memories of the iconic purple dragon.

The trilogy of Spyro games on that console were pure 3D platforming bliss.

Starting in 2006, the hero was given a reboot with The Legend of Spyro trilogy. For these three games, more emphasis was placed on combat rather than platforming.

The trilogy was completed and received mediocre reviews, quickly fading into obscurity.

Similar to what was done with Crash Bandicoot, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a full fledged remake of the first three titles, which will hopefully revive interest in the dormant series.

8 Revived: Doom

Doom 2016 game

The first two Doom games still hold up more than twenty years after their initial release. Doom 3 shook things up by adding survival horror elements, to mixed reception.

When it came time to bring Doom back, the developers thought long and hard about how to translate the classic, fast paced game play to the modern era.

After years of toiling away, 2016's Doom was released, seeing a return to the brutality and carnage that made the mid-90's title so popular.

Currently, a sequel titled Doom Eternal is in the works.

7 Flopped: Mirror's Edge: Catalyst

The unique parkour game play of Mirror's Edge caused it to become a cult hit. Developer EA DICE teased a sequel for many years before finally announcing one in 2013.

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst was unleashed in 2016 to lukewarm reception. Critics praised the series' trademark traversal, but lambasted the combat and lack of variety.

The most disappointing aspect of the game is that it is a reboot, ignoring the first game and telling a new story, albeit with the same main character.

Given the disappointing reception, the series will probably not see another entry any time soon.

6 Revived: Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct Xbox One

The original Killer Instinct proved popular enough to warrant console ports and a sequel. Despite always being a beloved property, no new entries were made until a reboot was made to usher in the XBOX One.

The launch title, simply titled Killer Instinct, was free to play but would progressively add more DLC that players had to purchase.

There have been three seasons of content, with the most recent one dropping in 2016.

Not many games see new content more than six months after release. To see this one get a whole slew of fighters three years after is a sign of success.

5 Flopped: Bomberman: Act Zero

Bomberman Act Zero

How many people played Bomberman back in the day and though, "this is nice, I just wish it looked drab and depressing." It is doubtful that many did, but that did not stop Hudson Soft from making Bomberman: Act Zero.

The reboot does away with the colorful, playful tone and puts players in a dystopian future. This alone would be tolerable if the game was any good, but just about every aspect of its design is flawed.

Bomberman titles since then have returned to the original atmosphere that fans fell in love with all those years ago.

4 Revived: Shadow Warrior

It is not irrational to ask if there is still space in modern gaming for a character named Lo Wang. Polish developer Flying Wild Hog sought to confirm the answer when they made a new Shadow Warrior game in 2013.

The wise cracking lead character managed to be a success, and its sequel went on to sell even better than the first.

In an era where so many first person shooters are military based, it is refreshing to see a throwback to the over the top action of the late 1990s.

3 Flopped: SpyHunter: Nowhere To Run

Spyhunter Nowhere to run

The SpyHunter games managed to successfully transition into the twenty first century.

In 2006, Midway set out to up the ante by simultaneously releasing a game and movie starring Dwayne Johnson.

SpyHunter: Nowhere to Run failed on just about every level, and the accompanying film never even went into production.

Since then, only one more title in the franchise has been released on the PlayStation Vita and 3DS. This reboot also led to nowhere.

Enough time has passed since Nowhere to Run tainted the franchise's name, maybe it is time to take another crack at it.

2 Revived: Star Wars: Battlefront

The first two Battlefront games, released in 2004 and 2005, are fondly remembered for their large scale battles. A third part was in development by Free Radical, but languished and eventually was canceled.

When EA got the Star Wars license, they set to wake up the sleeping series with a multiplayer only title.

While a lack of single player was derided by some, the focus on a unique and balanced online mode made for a hit game.

Its sequel stirred up some controversy with its loot boxes, but the Battlefront brand is relevant once again.

1 Flopped: Sonic the Hedgehog

The blue hedgehog has always had a hard time in three dimensional gaming.

While the first two Sonic Adventure outings are solid, the series sought to reestablish itself with 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog for the XBOX 360 and PS3.

If there is anything good to say about it, we sure could not think of it.

The game is buggy, boring, and features an unsettling cross-species kiss.

After these dark days, it seems like the Sega mascot is seeing the light.

The year 2017's Sonic Mania brought back the traditional side scrolling mechanics to great fanfare.


Are there any other video game reboots that revived their franchises? Are there any that flopped? Let us know in the comments!

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