Ten Game Franchises That Could Use A Reboot


Ninja Theory's DmC was released not too long ago, and surprise, surprise, gamers are still complaining about the series' reboot just as much as they were back in 2009 when it was first announced. From gripes about Dante's attitude being too different to the game's easy-peasy difficulty, their grievances have been made loud and clear. But developers shouldn't let such a backlash to what actually turned out to be a pretty swell game completely turn them off from the idea of reboots—sometimes you really just have to hit reset. And that's especially true for the following gaming franchises.

10) Resident Evil: Before DmC was released, the newest installment of Resident Evil was a game many were getting into slap-flights over. Resident Evil 6 introduced the series to simultaneous moving-and-shooting, a mechanic that went did go well with all the Michael Bay-esque set pieces. While many would agree that the series just isn't what it used to be, for many RE6 was too much of an action-game—instead of returning the series to its survival horror roots, Capcom simply stayed the RE5 course and created yet another third-person shooter. There is no denying that the series could benefit from a reboot. Instead of following its humble origins from a single mansion in 1996, newcomers are often left scratching their heads over what's going on as the bio-weapon epidemic has already achieved complete global saturation. And considering how the series' core cast of Chris, Jill, and Leon are always popping up while secondary characters are tossed aside and forgotten, it's time the series take good hard look at itself and start over. Go back to Raccoon City and start from there.

9) Final Fantasy: While essentially caught in a constant state of reboot, the franchise's inability to produce quality titles can no longer be ignored. Many would agree that the beginning of the end came post-Playstation 2, where reception of Lightning and gang was less than what Square Enix may have hoped—i.e. it was garbage with its auto-battle system and an essentially town-less experience. It didn't get better when the equally bad FFXIII was churned out last year, either. But nothing prepared the world for the disaster that was Final Fantasy XIV. With complex unexplained mechanics, daily experience caps (seriously?), copy-pasted areas and a lag-ridden hidden UI, the online FF was so badly rejected by the gaming community that it has since prompted Square Enix to officially apologize and try again. Maybe that's not all that should be apologized for, and maybe, just maybe, it isn't the only part of the franchise that needs to be completely retooled.

8) Mana Series: In an age when online multiplayer is becoming a bigger and bigger of the industry, it's a shame that this cooperative action-RPG series hasn't made a single move on the market. Lately, the franchise has take the RTS route on the 3DS…which is nice, but leaves so much to be desired. What Mana needs is a full-fledged action-RPG in the vein Kingdom Hearts with online co-op capability, allowing players to jump right in at any given moment. Come on Square Enix, I know you got the resources to create the game Mana fans have been longing for. Isn't it about time that we go back to potatos!?

7) Onimusha: Modern gaming has had a dearth of sweet sword-slicing action. While Metal Gear Rising might satisfy the itch that can only be soothed by katana, dismembering robot dogs with a High-Frequency Blade isn't quite as timeless a charm as banishing ancient Japanese demons with a magical sword. Considering DmC's recent release and the likes of Metal Gear Rising and Killer is Dead on the horizon, 2013 is going to be ripe with slash-tastic titles, so why not throw this franchise back into the mix? Come on Capcom, I know you a reserve of Genma Souls laying around; use'em or lose'em.

6) Shenmue: Shenmue loyalists have been looking for info on a new entry to the Dreamcast series for a quite a while now. And while Sega has a spiritual successor of sorts with its magnificent Yakuza series, the popular GTA-like franchise doesn't have a day/night system, active weather and NPCs with their own daily lives—or a decade-old unresolved cliffhanger. In what would be a holy union between L.A. Noire, Heavy Rain and Yakuza with a measured approach regarding QTE, Shenmue needs to come out of hiding, and what better way than with a reboot.? Sega may believe that Yakuza has already filled its action-adventure quota, but the life of a gangster isn't for everyone, and a new Shenmue would be perfect for a schoolboy. 

5) Duke Nukem: Let's face it, Duke Nukem Forever has basically become synonymous with monumetnal disappointment and failure to perfom. After finally making it out of a 10+ years of development hell, Duke arrived back on the scene with outdated 90's era one-liners, sophomoric humor and cheeky misogyny that felt uncomfortably earnest. “So wrong, yet… so right,” Duke un-funnily quips as he tastelessly slaps what appears to be breasts on an alien wall. Not to mention the bland, outdated and repetitive gameplay that left gamers wondering why they wanted this game ever seeing the light of day in the first place. In what could have been an opportunity to create a pitch-perfect parody of modern-day shooters, the best Gearbox Software could slap together from decade-old assets was to have Duke Nukem say things like “Power Armor is for pussies…” when offered Master Chief's trademark suit. Just make sure you keep Jon St. John (the man is a genius), re-examine the formula, and make something that doesn't absolutely reek of try-hard self-consciousness.

4) Silent Hill: So survival horror has been in a bit of slump lately. Resident Evil has long since abandoned the horror aspect of the game in favor of cinematic action-filled set pieces, and its hard to feel vulnerable in Dead Space when you're playing as a wackadoo engineer that half the time looks like he's auditioning for STOMP! and the other half blasting the limbs off of mutated baddies… and now its got co-op! Suffice it to say, it's takes the likes of indie darlings like Lone Survivor and Amnesia: The Dark Descent to rise up and show the big boys of horror how its done. Not to be out-spooked by smaller studios who apparently 'get it', Silent Hill, the once -king of the survival horror genre, seriously needs to up its game. While Downpour showed a whole lot of promise, the series' careful pacing, enemy design, and haunting atmosphere have crumbled away into a rust-covered world of jump-scares and abysmal combat. Perhaps a fresh start is in order? With Konami reportedly talking to Metal Gear superstar Hideo Kojima as a possible candidate to take on the franchise, Silent Hill is a franchise that deserves to be broken out of its dark dimension of mediocrity.

3) Snatcher: Speaking of Hideo Kojoma, it's pretty safe to say that his Golden Child , Metal Gear, will always get its fair share of love and attention. Even Zone of the Enders is getting in on a little of the love lately with a new title on the way following its predecessors' recent HD re-release. But of one of Kojima's children, sadly, remains neglected. Snatcher, a Bladerunner-inspired adventure game, featured detective Gillian Seed, who would “look,” “investigate,” and “talk” in order to track the titular body-snatching robots. It's safe to say that the adventure game has made a comeback, what with games like The Walking Dead being so well-received. Let's also not forget that Snatcher is actually part of the Metal Gear canon—Gillian's robot partner, Metal Gear, is explained to have been based on and named after the “Metal Gear menace of the 20th century.” So right off the bat you have two groups, the adventure fans and the Metal Gear fans, who, along with the game's own cult following, would be in full support of a reboot.

2) Earthbound: Among Super Smash Bros. Brawl's all-star cast there are exist a handful less-recognizable fighters, including a pair of psychic boys named Ness and Lucas. For the uninitiated, the pair hail from Nintendo's Mother series (known as Earthbound in the US). If you haven't heard of Earthbound, you aren't to blame: Nintendo only released one of the series' games in the US, and they sort of bungled it. What most of us missed out on was an RPG featuring unsupervised children and social rejects setting off into their world, a fever-dream parody of Western society, to fight off invading threats. The series has a fanatical following that translated the Japan-only Mother 3 (Earthbound 2) when it became clear Nintendo had no intentions of localizing it.Such a dedicated fan base coupled with SMS recognition, and a reboot could very well be a 'SMAAAASH!!' hit for Nintendo.

1) Tenchu: While most ninja enthusiasts get their kicks from Ninja Gaiden, ninja purists demand something more. For them, if it ain't slinking in the shadows and slitting throats in ancient Japan, it ain't a ninja. Unfortunately, after the series' legendary PSone heyday, the Tenchu series has been a mediocre shadow projection of former itself. With so many of free-form assassination games snooping about—Hitman, Dishonored, Assassin's Creed—there's no lack of inspiration for the genre's grandaddy granddaddy. If running on rooftops, throwing ninja stars, and awesome stealth kill animations aren't a good enough hook for the modern market, a Tenchu reboot could always rework their old insane acrobatic deaths-from-above.  And letting players go toe-to-toe as the game's bosses a la Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven would be absolutely divine.

So there you have it. If DmC has taught us anything it's that good things, despite backlash, can indeed come from a reboot. Whether it's to bring an old franchise back from the land of forgotten titles or to reinvigorate a series that has gotten a bit stale, developers shouldn't hesitate to pull the plug and start over from scratch. Granted, it doesn't always work out the way it should. But if you look at DmC, and even further back with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (which paid off in a big way for Konami), it starts to become clear that we shouldn't be so quick to demonize reboots of the industry's greatest hits. We should, at the very least, try to greet them with an open-mind. And if they suck, THEN we can bitch and moan until the end of time.

What do you think? What franchises do you think could use a fresh coat of paint? Sound off in the comment section below.

Written by Associate Staff Writer Bryan Le.  Questions for the author? Send an email to bduyle@gmail.com

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