Game franchises that rose from the dead, and those that should have been put down again

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Being Halloween then it seemed fitting to discuss those game franchises which died, lay dormant, or maybe were kept on life support, for some years and then came back swinging. Not all manage such a feat and so should have been put down like the zombies they are. If you want to make it a bit harder we can probably all agree that the various classic games brought back as mobile phone games (looking at the likes of Dungeon Keeper mobile and Cannon Fodder 3) should not only have got both barrels but probably also have been seared from existence after that, give or take their value as a warning. On the flip side if we absolutely must then we also accept those times where the puppet masters move onto another host, or made a spiritual sequel if we are to use common parlance.

Taking an obvious example as a starter. Deus Ex from the year 2000. It started out as a work of some master devs and created what was then, and for some years afterwards, the pinnacle of PC gaming. Even today it is held as something of a high water mark, though some have started to debate whether it was a product of its time. Combined with the slow motion implosion of the developer also came the somewhat dumbed down and constrained sequel also available on consoles (even more of a bad sign back in 2003). The eventual owners of the IP tried a few more times (one attempt eventually becoming Project Snowblind) but it would be 2011 before we got Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While not maybe as great in scope as the first game it never the less managed to wrap a compelling and thought provoking story in a tight engine, and look good while doing it. Since then we have had a few sequels and side stories that also found themselves somewhat enjoyed, though speculation is that it might have entered into a second hibernation.

For the opposite then we have the Thief Franchise. The first two games plus expansions were legendary titles that in some ways were responsible for the glut of stealth sections in the years following them, to say nothing of many of the developers moving on to Deus Ex above. Ion Storm's decaying hand gave us the third game in the franchise a few years later as a parting gift to the world and it was not great. Some years later we saw Thief 4, at one point stylised as Thi4f but eventually becoming a "reboot" which probably tells you all you need to know there, though the uninspired levels, clunky mechanics, worse story and suspect graphics mean it probably should have been felled by a holy water arrow long before then. Fortunately around the same time we saw the first of the Dishonored games, and the modding community gave us both mods to take advantage of newer hardware, and something of a modder driven remake/spiritual sequel in The Dark Mod.

This is part of a series on GBAtemp where we discuss game culture, game mechanics, industry trends and similar such things. Last time we discussed things that were once quite radical but are now fairly commonplace, as well as things now missing in Back in my day we didn't have X but did have Y. Gaming edition.. We also have to thank Piotyr, one of our IRC channel ops, for the idea for this thread. If you have an idea then either make the thread yourself and it could get put on the portal, or get in contact to share some ideas.


So then what games rose from the dead to show us how it is done, and what ones should have stayed dead?
 

OkazakiTheOtaku

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Don't know if this counts, but Yakuza was basically completely dead in the west towards the end of the PS3 era. Between Yakuza 3's localization mess, the fact that very wonky Japanese games weren't as en vogue back then, and the absolute failure of Yakuza Dead Souls in the west, it was a miracle that Sega kept trying. Hell, Yakuza 5 for PS3 was digital-only in the west. It was basically dead.
Yakuza 0 changed it all with the last Hail Mary from Sega with its physical copy and special edition, and saved the series in the west, and now it flourishes. That makes me extremely happy as Yakuza is one of my favorite video games series and I'm glad it came back from near-death.
 

Taleweaver

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Ouch...this is going to hurt, because I've got to slaughter my own favorite games here... :(

1) Unreal franchise. After a great 3D adventure in a (then) new engine, the game morphed into a 'fight to the death' kind of arena brawler that defined first person shooting for a while. The original Unreal Tournament was awesome. Then they brought out UT2003, which had major flaws. UT2004 fixed these somewhat and brought a MASSIVE amount of content with it. But even so, UT3 was a bit of the nail in the coffin: it was as if you had a child that went goth for no reason. Not really a bad game, but it was no UT2004.
Then they (that'll be Epic games) tried to reboot the franchise as "unreal tournament", which showed they liked microsoft kind of counting. Could've been a decent shooter, but then all the effort went into that other powerhouse. What's it called? Fortnite or something. ;)

2) C&C franchise. This slowly went downhill after EA bought westwood studios. Red alert 2 was the pinnacle of RTS'es, but then lacked origality afterward. C&C 4 was "okay-ish". Red alert 3 was "meh". And once I heard they got rid of base building, I never even bothered to check (what was that? C&C 5?).
EA recently tried to reboot the franchise as a mobile game. I...didn't even continue watching the announcement. I really loved the franchise at one point, but PLEASE...let it stay dead!
 

Justinde75

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Don't know if this counts, but Yakuza was basically completely dead in the west towards the end of the PS3 era. Between Yakuza 3's localization mess, the fact that very wonky Japanese games weren't as en vogue back then, and the absolute failure of Yakuza Dead Souls in the west, it was a miracle that Sega kept trying. Hell, Yakuza 5 for PS3 was digital-only in the west. It was basically dead.
Yakuza 0 changed it all with the last Hail Mary from Sega with its physical copy and special edition, and saved the series in the west, and now it flourishes. That makes me extremely happy as Yakuza is one of my favorite video games series and I'm glad it came back from near-death.
Well I think the reason why yakuza is so successful now is because they released both 0 and kiwami at 20 when they first came out. For all the content thats a steal. Alot of people really liked it and went ahead and got the other games
 

banjo2

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding the topic, but...

The h*ck is this new Commander Keen game? Yeah, it's not out yet to be fair, but it looks nothing like what I played all those years ago. Seems like they just slapped "Commander Keen" on a generic mobile game. I would've preferred a complete collection (but maybe that's a thing already, I don't know)
 

OkazakiTheOtaku

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Well I think the reason why yakuza is so successful now is because they released both 0 and kiwami at 20 when they first came out. For all the content thats a steal. Alot of people really liked it and went ahead and got the other games
What? No, neither of those were $20 when they came out. I know this, because I preordered them, and I never preorder games.
Yakuza 0 on launch was a full $60 and Kiwami 1 was $40.
They were $20 when they launched on PC. But not when they first came out.
 
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eyeliner

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Duke Nukem should have never been out of retirement. 90's tropes don't work these days, if ever again.

Shenmue should not rise from the ashes. It is bound to failure and I can't believe that a game that bombed hard, spawned a sequel that bombed hardest and will see a third entry bomb yet again.

From the top of my head, these.

Also, who farted? Smells bad, yo.
 

RedoLane

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It didn't come out yet, but Streets of Rage 4 already looks like a promising revival. It is also a good example of "why collaborations are important", as we see so many incredible people are involved in that project. Some directors and producers understand that it's not about the quantity, but the quality of the people they choose. A lot of IPs which are considered for revival should take that approach if it's affordable.

BUT, as much as i hate to say it....Bubble Bobble should've stayed dead. the new game, Bubble Bobble 4 Friends, just doesn't feel right to me. I loved it in the 90s, when it proceeded to the 16-bit dimension with Bust-A-Move/Puzzle Bobble, i also liked it's successor, Rainbow Island, but that's pretty much it. that kind of game was fun for a while when i was a kid, but growing up into more complicated, graphic heavy, and unique games in many art-styles and genres, Bubble Bobble 4 Friends seem forced in order to satisfy people with nostalgia.
 

raxadian

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Spyro and Crash are back baby!

You know after so many horrible games the Warth Of Cortex game is not so bad... on the PS2 and depending on the version you get.

Same about Sonic Heroes... the game is kinda good compared to later games even if all teams play the same stages.
 

Justinde75

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What? No, neither of those were $20 when they came out. I know this, because I preordered them, and I never preorder games.
Yakuza 0 on launch was a full $60 and Kiwami 1 was $40.
They were $20 when they launched on PC. But not when they first came out.
Well when it became 20 thats when alot of the people got into it
 

gameboy

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Spyro and Crash are back baby!

You know after so many horrible games the Warth Of Cortex game is not so bad... on the PS2 and depending on the version you get.

Same about Sonic Heroes... the game is kinda good compared to later games even if all teams play the same stages.

lol spyro can crash have many other games besides the first 3, and they were boring
 

wurstpistole

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Shenmue should not rise from the ashes. It is bound to failure and I can't believe that a game that bombed hard, spawned a sequel that bombed hardest and will see a third entry bomb yet again.

I don't know if you are one the same planet as me but the two Shenmue games have had a huge fanbase to this day. I know that, despite selling millions of copies, they were no commercial success because of their massive development costs, if you mean that by 'bombed', but you surely can not be speaking of the games' quality. They were years ahead of their time back then and universally acclaimed, Shenmue 2 even more than the first one.
I'm not sure about Part 3 myself tho. I backed it a few years ago, so I'll be getting a copy of it anyway and in a few weeks we can see for ourselves.
 
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Ev1l0rd

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Metroid is probably the franchise that exemplifies this.

Releases are sparse, the series oft seems little cared for and at one point we pretty much had a release drought for over a decade (I refuse to see Other M as a Metroid game), yet whenever it comes back, it comes back in full swing.
 
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