Words by Lewis Empson and Marcus Yeatman-Crouch
There are some game franchises that release new titles annually like clockwork; Call of Duty and Fifa are series that drop a new title at the same time, every year, without fail, regardless of quality. However, some fan favourite franchises don’t get to relish in this luxury, as they are relegated to fresh instalments that are few and far between, inevitably fading away in obscurity with fans left longing for a new release. Some of these dead franchises have seen a new lease on life, such as Crash Bandicoot with the N’Sane Trilogy and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time proving how a well crafted remaster of classic games in dead franchises can spur on a new sequel, and revitalise the series as a whole. We’ve collected our favourite dead game franchises that we want to see make a comeback after being left on a prolonged hiatus:
Oh Konami when will you learn? Caught up in the whole debacle with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Kojima exiting the studio, we lost what could have been a triumphant return for the horror classic franchise. The reveal that P.T was as “Playable Teaser” for the upcoming Silent Hill reboot spearheaded by Hideo Kojima and sci-fi/horror film director, Guillermo Del Toro, sent ripples through the industry as these were some big names attached to the newest instalment of the series which had seen some pretty mediocre titles come before it. Silent Hills as it was revealed to be in P.T was set to star Norman Reedus (who would go on to star in Death Stranding with Kojima) and, more importantly, it was absolutely horrifying. Jumpscares and tense ghostly encounters set the stage for a hair raising new Silent Hill game which would have provided the necessary appeal that the series had been lacking.
Sadly, Silent Hills was shelved post Kojima’s departure from Konami and the IP has been silent (pun fully intended) ever since. It’s a shame because this could have been a truly revolutionary game, and its companion in the horror classics genre, Resident Evil, is going through a renaissance of its own, with a first-person horror reinvention much like what Silent Hills would have been. Combined with all the existing lore and horrifying creatures that exist within its world, a modernised and reinvented Silent Hill with new mechanics and story expansions would have been something truly special.
The most recent peep from the dormant franchise was a tie in with Dead by Daylight, otherwise it’s been neglected in a post P.T world. There have been plenty of rumours of a new title as of late but nothing official, the most recent of which inclined Sony to be eyeing up the forlorn franchise to add to its PlayStation Exclusives roster. Here’s hoping that Kojima’s vision can come to life in the future and that Konami will come to their senses, as their track record with their beloved franchises as of late has been nothing short of horrendous (anyone remember Metal Gear Survive?). Let’s hope that they do the right thing and hand over this classic franchise to a studio that actually know what they’re doing, and aren’t completely invested in Pachinko machines.
Now this is a series that is just begging for a revival. KOTOR, for short, is one of the most well known and beloved Star Wars IPs, with two RPG’s and technically an MMO (The Old Republic) under its belt, all with critical acclaim. Released in 2003, KOTOR was next-level: a modern RPG where you travelled the galaxy as a Jedi from one of three classes, taking part in round-based combat with a pair of companions and an array of Force powers. But it wasn’t all fighting – there were dialogue systems that changed based on your gender and skills, minigames interspersed through regular gameplay, and most interestingly an alignment system. KOTOR was a pioneer in choice-based dialogue and morality systems, where what you said and decided would add light and dark side points, tilting your character to either side and resulting in appearance and interaction changes, and different quests and consequences for your morality-shifting Force user.
KOTOR II was much the same, although with a larger party system, improved mechanics and further praise for the story; things looked bright for the franchise. KOTOR paved the way for the massively successful BioWare RPGs, Mass Effect and Dragon Age, which benefitted from similar alignment systems, party mechanics and story focuses. But there hasn’t been a new Knights of the Old Republic since 2004, and the MMO – while still popular amongst die-hard fans – is dated and no longer canon since Disney acquired LucasArts. In all honesty, the likelihood of a direct continuation for KOTOR is slim: lore-wise, they’ve closed the book on the Old Republic.
There is some hope, though. After Jedi: Fallen Order released with massive success as part of a bit of an EA-Star Wars revival, the idea of a Star Wars RPG found its way into the fanbase once more. Combine that with the new literary expansion of The High Republic, a whole new era in Star Wars lore, and the question must be asked – are the pieces falling together for a spiritual successor to Knights of the Old Republic? We can only hope, but with rumours of a Mandalorian-inspired single player game failing to be quelled, our need for a new KOTOR could soon be realised.
Hey Ubisoft, we know you’re going all in on your Tom Clancy IPs with Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and The Division taking centre stage, but let’s not forget your most iconic Clancy character. Sam Fisher has been MIA for a while now… well sort of. There hasn’t been a mainline Splinter Cell game in way too long, 8 years to be exact, however, Fisher has become the “Nick Fury” to the rest of Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy “Avengers” titles. He’s popped up as an operator for Team Rainbow in Rainbow Six Siege, a valuable asset to your team of Ghost Stealth Operatives in both Ghost Recon Wildlands and Breakpoint, his trademark tactical stealth suit even shows up in Far Cry New Dawn.
So with all this recent love for Splinter Cell and its main protagonist, why haven’t we seen the franchise active since 2013? The Xbox One and PS4 never received its own instalment in the franchise, it just had to live vicariously through Ubisoft’s other IPs to see Fisher in action. We want Splinter Cell and Ubisoft isn’t getting the message. Well actually, they kind of are but good lord are they reading that message wrong. From “we want more Splinter Cell” they have decided that we shall not receive a new stealth action title but instead a Netflix series and a VR game… thanks guys just what I wanted. They’ve got the spirit I guess?
For real Ubisoft get your act together, Rainbow Six has the tactical competitive shooter market cornered, Ghost Recon Breakpoint was so reluctant to be single player that you had to add AI teammates in an update after players begged for them and The Division 2 sure is better than the first, but its no story driven single player espionage thriller that we’re clamouring for. IOI’s Hitman trilogy has bodied the market in this regard with satisfying and engaging stealth gameplay with an engrossing story. Now give Fisher his time to shine again to do the same thing; feel free to embrace this connected MCU style Clancyverse, but make sure to acknowledge its MVP first.
Medal of Honor is one of the fallen giants of FPS war games. It was prolific in the early 2000’s, with yearly releases from 2002 to 2007, with most of the original instalments taking place during World War II and the first 3 main titles even having stories made by Steven Spielberg. It was a blockbuster of a game, up there with Call of Duty as the standard for a military shooter. Much like COD, the single player campaigns focused on a mixture of WWII frontline combat, and special operations behind enemy lines, often following one character’s journey through the war. There were some incredible set pieces, like 2003 title Rising Sun’s monumental Pearl Harbour introduction, and compelling narratives that went beyond grunt work as a nameless soldier.
When COD really got going with their multiplayer in 2007 (the first Modern Warfare, which ranks high in gaming legend), it was hard to keep up. The decline came ironically, with the same genre shift as COD – Medal of Honor went modern with a soft reboot in 2010, and while the first game did relatively well and perhaps signalled a positive change for the franchise, it only took 2 years to enter full nosedive. Warfighter, the franchise’s final main title, absolutely tanked, receiving terrible reviews and sales that really left the franchise in the mud. Sure enough, EA announced a year later that they would be removing Medal of Honor from their rotation, and it hasn’t been seen since.
Until last year. Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond released as a VR game in 2020, marking the first outing of the franchise in 8 years. It’s nothing to really write home about, receiving average scores, but interestingly can be considered the first ever video game to receive an Oscar nomination for its content. As you progress through Above and Beyond (which goes back to the roots of WWII stories) you unlock ‘gallery’ short documentaries with veterans of the war. One of these, Colette, received the nomination, putting the game in a unique category for video game studios earning Oscar nominations. So, a rather low key return for Medal of Honor, but a history making one in its own right. The only hope now is that we can soon see the franchise return to consoles and PC in all its glory, and while EA is staying quiet on news about any other new instalments, seeing a first Medal of Honor title since 2012 is certainly a positive start.
So there are some of our favourite series that are currently on hiatus, let us know if there’s any franchises that you want to see make a return or any that you thought were dead and buried that have miraculously returned to the scene – Skate 4 anyone?