We all know not every game franchise can live on perpetually. Some deservedly fade away while others end abruptly because of poor sales, developers shutting down, and a host of other reasons. Sometimes games don’t even manage to reach a “franchise” level and disappear after a single title. Today we’re going to be looking at five games that have vanished and, hopefully, nudging the universe in a direction that brings them back.
The last F-Zero game to come out worldwide on a console was in 2003 with F-Zero GX. While there were some handheld F-Zero games, the franchise has been dormant for some time. There hasn’t been any shortage of similar games being released though. Even on the Nintendo Switch we have games like Redout and Fast RMX both delivering that high-speed hover-vehicle racing. However, none have that memorable F-Zero silliness or mechanics that make it so fun and challenging. The Switch is ready for another iteration.
While Sega and Platinum Games have been more than happy to re-release this spectacular cover shooter, the past ten years haven’t created any movement toward a new game. The game’s over-the-top explosive gun combat and seizure-inducing visuals made the Vanquish as fun as Bayonetta for some fans. If it had been more popular, the game may have found similar success. Perhaps if this most recent re-release generates enough sales, Sega and Platinum might want to revisit this universe.
The Earthworm Jim series is one that fizzled out in its transition to the 3D world. The rumors of Earthworm Jim 4 have been fading in and out of the news cycle since 2008 and there’s still no confirmation a game is being developed. No number of re-releases of the classic series can truly satisfy the desire for another entry in this silly worm-based action platformer. We can only hope that years of hype and delays don’t leave it desecrated.
General Chaos is a much less well-known game than any on this list, but one I would love to see revisited. The cartoon-styled 16-bit game was one of the first real-time tactical games I’ve ever played. It had you picking groups of soldiers and facing off against other squads of soldiers in a push-pull campaign map. Battles were relatively quick and chaotic (as the name implied) but they were tons of fun to try to navigate. I’m not sure if it would work in its original form these days, but that doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t try!
The series of Desert Strike, Jungle Strike, Urban Strike, Soviet Strike, and Nuclear Strike sound like an expansive franchise, right? It managed to squeeze all of those games into four years between 1992 and 1996 though. While it made the jump from 16 bit to 32 bit, I can only speculate that people may have gotten burnt out on the style. Yet in the 24 years since then, few games have captured the unique multi-mission/single map helicopter goodness that made the series so enjoyable to play. As a kid, I didn’t find a lot of success in beating the games, but I had a great time trying. A game like this could be put together without a lot of resources or requirements and deliver similar “tough, but fair” gameplay. The only issue is getting convincing EA to get a developer to do it.
Numerous games out there could fit comfortably on this list. The ones I’ve listed are only the franchises and games of which I would love to see more. Some games, maybe even those listed here, may never see the light of day. They could be buried under partial ownership between numerous companies and the demand might not there for negotiation. However, maybe with some exposure and a little conversation, these publishers and IP owners will see the light and take a chance on reviving one of the classics.
What classic games or franchises do you want to see resurrected? Are there any that made an impact but failed to stick around?