Feature: Five Dormant Franchises That Deserve a Comeback on PS4
Posted by Sammy Barker
The industry may be fixated on reboots at the moment, but not every dormant series demands a full stylistic overhaul. Indeed, there are plenty of brands that have been sitting quietly on the sidelines for several years, waiting patiently in the wings to prove their worth once again. With the impending PlayStation 4 currently making a late scramble towards the retail touchline, we figured that now was an ideal opportunity to consider the five franchises that most deserve a comeback on Sony’s next generation system. But which of our favourites have made the grade?
Your schooldays are supposed to be the pinnacle of your existence, but our academic adventures can’t light a candle to Rockstar’s glorious educational endeavour, Bully. Sharing more in common with the lurid streets of Liberty City than a bona fide boarding school, 2006’s exciting excursion to the Bullworth Academy remains one of the most underappreciated gems in the PlayStation 2’s bulging back catalogue, making it ripe for a scholarly sequel on PS4.
There are numerous directions that gaming’s most controversial company could adopt with a new entry, but we reckon that a college-shaped successor would fit the bill best. Imagine the gross out gags and egregious escapades of a teen movie, combined with the sharp sarcasm of the Houser brothers. Interacting with campus clowns, sparring for studious superiority, and saving face amongst different cliques would form the perfect fodder for a follow-up, and we sincerely hope that Rockstar’s reading.
Believe it or not, there was a time when Activision was willing to bank on original properties not already belonging to larger entertainment enterprises. Gun, an enjoyable excursion to the American Old West, was one such example, concealing your poorly pedicured feet inside the spurred boots of Colton White, an apache adventurer with a fondness for lethal whiskey bombs and poker tournaments.
While the excellent Red Dead Redemption may have surpassed the third-person escapade in the competitive six shooter segment, we still reckon that there’s plenty of room for a new Western release in the three-letter series. An emphasis on gunplay over adventuring – perhaps switching to a first-person perspective – could give the series a new lease of life, and ensure that we’re chucking the prettiest Courvoisier-coloured projectiles on PS4.
Arguably the most anticipated sequel of all time, it’s been almost six years since Half-Life 2: Episode Two paved the way for desperate pleas from the first-person franchise’s famished fanbase. Distinguished developer Valve originally intended to release a third instalment in its celebrated series, but the popularity of Portal and its PC distribution platform Steam temporarily waylaid the company’s plans.
But with the PS4 no more than a gravity gun blast away, there’s never been a better opportunity for the studio to discard DOTA 2 and start focusing on the follow-up that really matters. General graphical improvements should help to breathe new life into Gordon Freeman’s alternate history escapade, while the usual lashings of polish and diverse level design would be more than enough to propel the title to the top of our wishlist.
Mirror’s Edge 2
Faith and her colourful collection of free-running friends promised so much in 2008. As the star attraction in Electronic Arts’ impressive ensemble of original content, Mirror’s Edge quickly formed a fanbase of out-of-puff platformaholics. Sadly, the title’s disastrous commercial performance quickly put a bullet in the franchise before it hit second gear – but with the PS4 knocking back fluids in preparation for a ten-year marathon, we reckon that it’s about time developer DICE sought out its sneakers.
With the original concept still wildly original, the Dutch studio could get away with merely iterating upon its initial ideas to make a super sequel. Drop the dreary Battlefield-infused gunplay from the latter half of the original game’s campaign, and put the emphasis back on the parkour perfection from the opening moments of the adventure. Diverging paths could help to augment a splash of replayability, while simultaneously distilling the drudgery of the path hunting found at times in the first title. Add in online multiplayer races, and you’d find us waiting at the starting line with an open wallet.
We’d like to think that Yu Suzuki’s financially crippling opus Shenmue concludes with Ryo Hazuki dropping his arduous pursuit of revenge in favour of a simple existence socialising with sailors, but we’d absolutely love to know for sure. All that’s needed is for someone to stump up the $70 million or so required to finally make it happen. We could probably contribute an elaborate phoenix-patterned mirror to the development costs if that’s any help.
Previous entries in SEGA’s ambitious ‘Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment’ endeavour were well ahead of their time, so we’re not sure that a hypothetical sequel would need to shake things up much. A new city filled with just as much character as previous entries would almost certainly satisfy the franchise’s vocal fanbase, though improvements to the controls and fighting mechanics wouldn’t go a miss. Honestly, we just want to know what happened between the series’ star and Shenhua in that grotto in Guilin. We’ve read plenty of fan-fiction, but it’s not the same.
Which dormant series do you think is due a comeback on PS4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section and poll below.
Which of the listed sequels would you most like to see on PS4? (65 votes)
Mirror's Edge 2
None of the above
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