Feature: Five Forgotten First-Party Franchises That Should Be Resurrected for PS4
Posted by Sammy Barker
Trawling through the archives
Reboots are all the rage right now. With development budgets rising, publishers are opting to browse through their back catalogues in pursuit of bankable brand names that are ripe for re-imagination. However, short of Eat Sleep Play’s recent Twisted Metal revisit, Sony’s not been particularly accommodating of the practice. But with a list of first-party properties longer than the Bayeux Tapestry, which forgotten franchises deserve a second shot in the spotlight on PlayStation 4?
One of many futuristic racing franchises produced for the PSone, the brilliant Jet Moto never quite got its just deserts. Despite spawning three entries in just under three years, the franchise failed to make the transition to the PlayStation 2. Two additional sequels – Jet Moto 2124 and Jet Moto: SOLAR – were in development behind the scenes, but never saw the light of day. Now, with almost 14 years between releases, we reckon it’s time that the hovercraft franchise made a comeback on PS4.
The combination of aquatic and land environments would prove the perfect companion for the next generation platform’s power, while the fast-paced ultramodern arcade action would offer an alternative to the seemingly disbanded WipEout series. What’s more, it’s been a tragically long time since we last got a water-based racing game on any platform, and while a Jet Moto reboot wouldn’t quite fill the same void as a new Wave Race or Hydro Thunder, we’d take it over nothing at all.
Developed by British outfit Studio Cambridge, the tongue-in-cheek MediEvil was one of the PSone's stronger action adventure games. The title’s crude sense of humour and surprisingly deep swordplay made it one of the platform’s more popular first-party releases, selling almost a million units and spawning a sequel in early 2000. The first game was later re-imagined for the PlayStation Portable, boasting heavily reworked stages and plot points. However, despite strong rumours hinting at MediEvil 3 for the PS3, the title never emerged.
Studio Cambridge has since merged with Guerrilla Games, where it’s working on Killzone: Mercenary for the PlayStation Vita – but we still think that there’s room for a new entry in the developer’s historical hack-and-slash series. With Jak & Daxter out of favour and Ratchet & Clank’s popularity dwindling, the PS4 is in need a good family friendly action game – and judging by the response to Sir Daniel Fortesque’s inclusion in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, a new MediEvil could fit the bill.
One of the early standouts on the PlayStation Portable, the brilliant Pursuit Force and its sequel put you behind the wheel of a number of different high-speed vehicles – boats, cars, etc – and challenged you to take out a series of crooks in high-octane, er, pursuits. While the series was as hard as nails, its chief mechanic – allowing you to hijack other cars by jumping on them – has still yet to be accurately imitated in any other title, making the series ripe for a comeback.
While developer BigBig Studios is no longer around to handle the development, we’re pretty confident that any competent racing studio could pick up the reins. Switching production to the PS4 would pave the way for more impressive set-pieces, allowing the series to finally realise the Michael Bay-esque action it clearly always coveted. Imagine bombing down gridlocked highways, hopping between cars, and shooting down overhead helicopters along the way. Yeah, sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
Arguably one of the more popular PSone franchises, Syphon Filter was very much the Uncharted of its day. Fusing stealth action with third-person gunplay, the series was fairly innovative for its time, prompting the production of a whopping seven titles in the span of just eight years. However, since the release of Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow in 2007, the brand has been on hiatus, with developer Sony Bend turning its attention to spin-offs Resistance: Retribution and Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
There have been rumours of a PS3 reboot, but none of them have come to fruition yet. With the PS4 on the horizon, though, we reckon that it’s a perfect time to bring back Gabe Logan (he’s so not dead) and crew. The new hardware would facilitate fresh gameplay ideas, such as advanced AI routines and cooler gadgets. Plus, we’re eager to get a glimpse of supporting character Lian Xing in dazzling HD.
The brainchild of Brendan McNamara – who later went on to create L.A. Noire – The Getaway was a love letter to British gangland films such as Snatch. The PlayStation 2 exclusive was one of the first titles to truly strive for a movie-like experience, boasting a fairly minimalistic HUD and some impressive animation routines. Despite this, its bland gunplay and unbalanced difficulty prompted criticism from some corners of the gaming press – an issue that was accentuated in its 2005 sequel.
Nevertheless, a third entry was planned for the PS3, but was cancelled in 2008 in order to allow developer Studio London to focus on more casual projects such as EyePet. However, with Sony seemingly targeting core gamers with the PS4, we reckon that The Getaway deserves another shot at seedy superiority. Its sordid London setting offers a distinctly different tone to the tongue-in-cheek silliness of Grand Theft Auto, and with the additional processing clout of next generation hardware, there’s no reason why the series couldn’t finally achieve its cinematic ambitions.
Which classic PlayStation franchise do you think deserves a next generation reboot? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.
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