While there are companies such as Nintendo that revere their major intellectual properties, and third-party developers who may focus on one or two of their franchises, there are so many promising series that have been one-hit-wonders or otherwise lost to the annals of time for one reason or another.
Thanks to improved backwards compatibility or support for emulation in new generation consoles, games released today may be available for years, if not decades. However, games from especially the fifth to seven generations are at risk of becoming impossible to play on modern hardware legally. This can be for many reasons, from rights disputes, developers going out of business or based on initiatives that are no longer actively pursued. This prevents newcomers in the gaming industry from appreciating many gems that might not hit the levels of Final Fantasy or Call of Duty but deserve to be enjoyed.
Although it is more or less impossible to whittle down a list of all the games deserving to be revived down to a list of just 5, I would like to start what will very likely be a multi-part series with five which I think deserved to be looked at over the coming years.
5 ModNation Racers
While it never managed to reach LittleBigPlanet’s heights on the PlayStation 3, ModNation Racers is a product of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s broader ‘Play, Create, Share” initiative for the console. With the PlayStation 3 being the first Sony console with support for huge game sizes, built-in online capacity and the hardware to back up player-created ambition, we saw development teams putting custom-built development tools into the hands of players to let their creativity shine.
ModNation Racers from the development team at United Front Games was their attempt at doing this for kart racing games. It was a game with excellent karting controls, incredible mid-race challenges and some superb content in the pre-made single-player campaign. But it was the creation tools that really shone, tailoring to both those who just wanted to draw a track and populate it in two minutes and those who might spend hours lovingly creating their dream track. Throw in character customisation and kart customisation, and you have one of the few racing games which could match or even surpass the Mario Kart juggernaut.
While a sequel was released on the PlayStation Vita in 2012, the intellectual property has received no more attention in the last decade – with all servers being shut down as of 2018. Here’s hoping that, especially with the PlayStation 5’s enhanced capabilities, that Sony Interactive Entertainment might be able to resurrect the franchise and perhaps provide something fresh to a rather stagnant genre of gaming at the moment.
4 The Classic Persona Games
Of all franchises from the developers at ATLUS, virtually none can claim the same popularity level as the Persona franchise either in Japan or internationally. This fame comes primarily from the school-life chapters, which began with Persona 3 and most recently saw the release of Persona 5 Royal – along with anime adaptations, film adaptations, manga, spin-off games and more. It is no surprise why this is the case, combining addictive RPG gameplay with stellar music, captivating storylines and a level of nostalgia around school life.
The first three games in the franchise however – Persona, Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment – were very different from the modern chapters and never received the level of attention I would argue they deserved. Although all three received PlayStation Portable versions (only two of which were published internationally by ATLUS), reception to them were mixed, were more remasters of the original releases, and have ultimately fallen to the wayside compared to their successors. Therefore, while you can certainly expect the characters from Persona 3, Persona 4 or Persona 5 to pop up in future games – characters like Maki Sonomura, Kei Nanjo, Eriko Kirishima, Maya Amano and Tatsuya Suou probably won’t.
I do not believe that making Persona 6 more closely aligned to the earlier games would be a smart move. However, I do think ATLUS should take some of the approaches that Square Enix has with Final Fantasy, and not letting their older games go uncherished or unaccessible to players. Perhaps for the series’ 30th Anniversary, it would be great to see one of the three games remastered for current generation consoles, aligned closer to the current games in terms of gameplay, pacing and visuals. After all, I think the big deterrent about these games is that they are so slow.
At least, I can wish…
3 Snowboard Kids
Here we go; Sam goes on another rant about Snowboard Kids not being available on consoles other than the Nintendo 64. Hey, I will stop once this becomes a reality! Again on the topic of more casual racing games, a genre which has been unloved on consoles for some time now, ATLUS West and Racdym partnering once more to bring a remastered Snowboard Kids 1&2 collection to the Nintendo Switch or other platforms would be more than welcome.
Why do this? Simply because, it might not be revolutionary in any one way, but it is ultimately a cute, charming and occasionally chaotic snowboard racing game which tricks and traps that can be even more devastating than the infamous Mario Kart blue shell. That is, of course, if your friendships aren’t terminated by a 4-way tumble to get on the chairlift first. Even today it has proven to be one of my favourite classic games to pull out at a party, but there are limits of how well it displays on modern televisions.
While I should have written this off as a cult classic from yesteryear that had no chance of receiving a modern-day release… FanGamer has started selling official merchandise via their website. At least let me hold on to this little fragment of hope…
2 Tales of Xillia
There isn’t a shortage of Tales games available on current-generation consoles, with Tales of Arise expected to hit store shelves this year and 2016’s Tales of Berseria worth checking out still if you haven’t played it already. But locked within the confines of the PlayStation 3, Tales of Xillia and its sequel Tales of Xillia 2 remain unavailable on any modern hardware. This is a real shame given its more picturesque locations, well-paced compelling storyline, likable yet complex characters and a few unique ideas such as having dual-protagonists.
I believe Bandai Namco Entertainment should look at releasing a remastered Tales of Xillia 1-2 collection for the PlayStation 4/5 and perhaps other consoles as well. In my opinion, the game by itself doesn’t need a second sequel or too much treatment outside of bringing it up to modern-day aesthetic standards.
Also… the game’s mascot character (Teepo) is one of the best in the Tales series by far.
1 All the Classic Harry Potter Games
What is a list like this without at least one more controversial, out there opinion? Tying in with the release of all eight Harry Potter movies, a video game (sometimes multiple) instalment was released as tie-in games published by Electronic Arts. Some of these were pretty terrible or disappointingly short, but others across the board proved to be pretty innovative and fun.
For example, The Prisoner of Azkaban required players to switch between the three protagonists, while Half-Blood Price offered a version of Hogwarts castle that was pretty darn fun to run around. Plus, pretty much all of them showed a more… sadistic and dangerous side to the lessons, putting students (or at least Harry) in peril through a series of complicated obstacle courses.
There may be multiple versions of some of the earlier adaptations in the series, back in the day when the GameBoy and Gameboy Advance were will on the market, but having one game for each of the eight movies, in one collection, at least supporting modern hardware would be a good collector’s item.
Alas, with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment handling games like Hogwarts Legacy, this is wishful thing and I would argue very unlikely.