The Six Forsaken Franchises
A look at some game franchises that are due a comeback.
Recently, Epic Game’s ‘CliffyB’ openly stated that he thought it would be “dumb” not to make more Gears of War games. With the third iteration approaching soon, Cliff and his team don’t plan to stop there and why would they? Along with Halo, Gears of War is considered Microsoft’s flagship exclusive series and a notable source of revenue.
Some years ago, Kojima publicly stated that Metal Gear Solid 4 was to be the end for Snake and co. Few took him seriously as Konami was in no state to abandon their magnum opus. Sure enough, two Metal Gear games were announced shortly after, though neither a direct sequel. Even when the stories run dry or the games become stale, designers have a plethora of ways to inject life into their flagship series, through a prequel, a spin-off or the increasingly popular reboot.
Not all series are lucky enough to garner such support. While some games are rushed to intensive care units and fountains of youth in an attempt to extend their life way beyond reason, others are forsaken early on and never allowed to fulfill their vast potential, often struggling to survive (or even make) the jump to next-generation hardware. Here’s a look at some of these unfortunate IPs, lurking in the shadows, waiting for their chance at a comeback:
Strider (Arcade, NES, Mega Drive, PS. 1989-2000)
Perhaps best known now as the glaring omission from the Marvel vs Capcom 3 roster (and an early hint of what is now known to be Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3), Strider was an engaging and fast paced side-scroller with a blade wielding protagonist.
Back in the late 80s, Capcom released the side-scroller on arcade as well as an NES version of the game shortly after. The two versions were completely different, even following different story-lines (the NES one closely resembling the Manga tie-in). A version similar to the Arcade game later came out on the Mega Drive but then around 10 years would pass before Strider Hiryu rode again (though its worth noting that Capcom did license out the Strider franchise in the mid-90s, however the games were mostly ports and a hugely unsuccessful sequel). Then in 2000, Capcom released an official sequel for the arcades and on the PlayStation. It was a 2.5D side-scroller and, though the game was easy and ridiculously short (the game could be completed in 30mins), it was hugely entertaining, Sadly however it was Strider Hiryu’s last outing as a game protagonist and now survives only as an extra character in Capcom fighters, not even fit for a starting role in Marvel vs Capcom 3.
Killer Instinct (Arcade, SNES, Gameboy, N64. 1994-1996)
A highly popular fighter when released in the Arcades and on the SNES, and was thought by some to have taken “the best of both worlds” (those ‘worlds’ being Capcom’s Street Fighter and Midway’s Kortal Kombat). Killer Instinct’s success saw it stripped down and ported to the Game Boy to take advantage of the popularity of Nintendo’s handheld system. An arcade sequel soon followed and though it was not ported to consoles, the N64 got a reworked version called Killer Instinct Gold. Both the arcade and N64 versions got their fair share of success but the series would stop there. Many of my friends still lament the days of Killer Instinct (limited though they were) and there may yet be good news on the horizon. Sometime last year, the silence was broken when rumors surfaced that the people at Rare (now a Microsoft studio) spoke of a desire to make Killer Instinct 3. Given the success of the recent Mortal Kombat reboot, a comeback may be on the cards.