10 Dead PlayStation Game Franchises That Sony Should Totally Revive (But Probably Won’t)
Sony’s doing a cracking job bringing old PlayStation franchises back from the dead (see God of War), so here are ten I’d love to see them pull off.
God Of War (alternative title - Dad Of War: Kratos forgets his son’s name) is nothing short of a masterpiece. Not just a fantastic return of the series, but an evolution of the universe and its characters. Analysing the emotional vulnerability of Kratos was something I never expected to do, but yet I’m looking on this character I used to go on murderous sex-sprees with in the past in a whole new light.
So, one thing is clear - Sony are doing a belter of a job reviving loved PlayStation franchises from the past. And I’ve been asking myself one question during my twitch streams… What would I want to see reborn?
Now, chances are none of these will ever happen, never mind at E3 2018 (and given Sony’s recent announcement, nothing really surprising will appear this year). But we can all hope.
10. Dark Cloud
Thanks to the likes of Professor Layton, Level-5 has quickly become one of the biggest developers around. But only the most hardcore of PlayStation fans will know that their story began as a contracted developer for Sony.
Starting with their Zelda-esque adventurer with a world-building twist Dark Cloud, the cartoony graphics and colourful charm stood out from the rest of the hyperreal launch titles. Then they improved in every area with Dark Cloud 2 (Dark Chronicle), and just as they hit their stride, deadly silence.
Not a single peep about Dark Cloud 3, and the JRPG audience moved over into new franchises. Nothing would pop the audience more than seeing a third iteration to the series and Level-5’s triumphant return to Sony’s platform.
Living out its final days as a manga series is not a way for one of the scariest Japanese Horror titles to die. Taking you out into remote mountain villages of Japan, Keiichiro Toyama’s Siren series provided fresh innovation to what was a bloated survival horror genre at the time.
With a severe sense of helplessness engrained into the game through a reliance on sneaking through almost total-darkness past the Shibito zombies, they also gave you weirdly awesome gameplay quirks like the “sightjack” ability - enabling you to telepathically tune in and see the game through their eyes.
To some degree, it’s kind of like Splinter Cell, but with an insanely terrifying setting. A remaster or total revival of this series in the new thriving world of survival horror would certainly be an exciting prospect.
8. Cool Boarders
SSX has come and gone…and come and gone all over again. Much like Skate 4, I’m chalking it up to EA seeing higher priorities elsewhere (probably in some more insane micro-transaction concepts) over reviving their original IP.
So, with this hole in the market to be filled, Sony are in prime position to take advantage and call on Deck Nine studios (previously known as Idol Minds), to bring the Cool Boarders franchise back from the dead.
Infuse the insanity of SSX Tricky with the quintessentially 90s look and feel perfectly captured by the atmospherics of Cool Boarders 2. Do that, and you’ll have yourself a bonafide hit on your hands.
You’d get the pop of the older audience just by mentioning the brand again, then capture the younger audience with the larger-than-life gameplay of something that mental!
On March 28th, 2014, the Resistance games breathed their last breath, as all online features were turned off. Ted Price, Insomniac’s CEO, said they “won’t be making any more Resistance games.”
And they are quite right to leave it in the past, with a keen focus on the upcoming Spider-Man.
But this was quick to become one of the more fun FPS experiences on the PS3, and I’d love another return to this war against the Chimera. Who could pick up the tab on reviving this franchise?
Well, there is one simple solution staring us in the face here… They also made a well-loved FPS staple of the PlayStation generation, stretched their creative muscles with the recent Horizon: Zero Dawn and (from the looks of it), don’t have that much to do at the moment.
That’s right, pop the team at Guerrilla studios on this project and you’re set to get at least a great shooter! Plus, if Sony really want to capitalise on the Battle Royale craze, an alien-infested map seems like a very interesting scenario to place said battle.
6. Dino Crisis
How on earth did Capcom manage to kill this cult-classic? They had one job… Continue to give us the Jurassic Park-esque survival horror titles we all loved of Regina’s previous adventures.
Instead, they decided to send Dino Crisis into space for the third iteration and singlehandedly murder the series.
But time heals all wounds, and I believe we’re at an inflection point where they could (if done properly), bring this back to a huge ovation. Jurassic World’s sequel is set to be a summer blockbuster this year, putting dinosaurs firmly in the minds of the public. The planets have aligned, and Capcom really should take advantage of it with use of the behind-the-shoulder gameplay system and this current gen’s (even though they’re probably not, but let a man dream)!
5. Heart of Darkness
This is the first game where I bend the rules of my own list a little bit, because Heart of Darkness released on PC too. But as the PlayStation was the only home console to receive this game (and receive it before the Windows release), I’m giving myself a pass.
If you’ve ever played this cinematic platformer telling the story of one boy’s journey to save his childhood dog Whisky from an alternate hellish dimension, congratulations. You witnessed what was probably a tour de force of single-player gaming perfection.
In fact, I’m going to say it… This was better than Abe’s Oddysee. While it’s true that Oddworld had the weirder, maybe even more captivating universe at times, playing through Andy’s tale gave you a better sense of accomplishment, told a better story and entranced the imagination of children the world over.
Oh, and it destroyed the innocence of any younglings with horrifying depictions of violence against a child - from shattering spines to completely tearing a human adolescent in half.
To see Éric Chahi’s masterpiece remade would bring me true joy.
Also, Éric - email me - been trying to find your contact details and I’m desperate to interview you about one of my favourite games of all time.
4. Dropship: United Peace Force
Combat flight sims seem to have taken a backseat in recent years, and I distinctly remember one that got a whole lot of coverage in OPSM2 magazine. After a cracking demo, I was hooked and fell in love with Dropship: United Peace Force.
Shelving the standard star-fighter combat for a near-future set in reality, this incredibly varied military combat simulator gave the player a series of wide open expanses to execute missions and take out the terrorist threat.
The idea was simple, but pulled off incredibly well. And I don’t bring this up as a request for a straight up remake. If you take a step back and look at the current gaming space, you have battle royale games the likes of PUBG and Fortnite dominating the airwaves.
Imagine using the near-future combat universe created for Dropship as a battle royale map with unique vehicles, along with the potential for big battlefield-style team combat. The opportunities are mouthwatering for a Twitch-dominating online combat experience to not at least consider.
Yoshiki Okamato and Keiji Inafune’s masterpiece franchise deserves a rebirth… There’s nothing more to say than that.
The whole series originated from Okamoto’s idea to create a ninja-based version of Capcom’s Resident Evil, named Sengoku Biohazard. But being stuck in copyright and development hell for a while led to the name Onimusha (standing for “Oni Warrior”), which was originally being developed for the original PlayStation. But as the PS2 arrived, the project was fortunately moved and we all got the captivating adventure taking you back to the Japanese Sengoku period.
And while it did come out on other formats (the first on Xbox and the third on PC), PlayStation was Onimusha’s spiritual home. There would be no better audience to reveal the revival of this series to than an unexpecting crowd of PlayStation fanboys.
2. Freedom Fighters
Yes, I know this wasn’t a PlayStation exclusive. But I just really want to see this return, so sue me.
The one game that a lot of PS2 players slept on when it was released, Freedom Fighters was a fantastically creative 3rd person team-based shooter that told the story of an alternate version of history, where The Soviet Union became a world superpower.
You are part of an underground movement, organising in the sewers and fighting to take back democratic control of America. It’s an inventive plot that is made all-the-more immersive through a stellar soundtrack, a changing visual landscape and the oh-so-sweet strategic gameplay.
There was buzz about a sequel, as IO interactive themselves responded as such in a couple tweets about it. But with their focus squarely set on Hitman, it’s left us all a fair bit frustrated at the lack of concrete details about a future of this franchise.
Let’s go ahead and bring this gem back from the dead, even if it takes a big batch of that Sony money to do so.
1. The Getaway
Picture the scene, fellow gamers. Sony’s Shawn Layden steps onto the stage one final time and thanks everyone for supporting PlayStation, paying particular homage to the insane success of the PS2.
“To close the show, here’s a sneak peek at one another PlayStation exclusive that needs no introduction,” he concludes, walking off the stage.
The lights dim, as the entire audience expects The Last Of Us 2. But the subtle swerve starts to begin as sounds of city traffic flood the auditorium, causing confusion amongst the audience.
And then… A cockney voice begins to speak.
“Soho. 1996. Me and the geezers in Collins Crew knew the score.”
Some audience members will know that reference to Mark Hammond’s old gang, but further story detail told over hyper-realistically recreated scenes of mid-90s Central London will show this to be the only logical option for a revival of The Getaway - a prequel detailing just how Mark was arrested for armed robbery.
I can only speak for myself, but the idea of seeing this game brought back from the grave is insanely exciting. If there was one franchise to actually encourage an outburst of hype the equivalent of when I heard about the remastered Crash Bandicoot, it would be this.
Changes would need to be made, of course, but the core gameplay delivers what many titles do nowadays - minimal UI, allowing for maximum experiential immersion.
Plus, thanks to the new time period of Mark’s life, many more elements can be introduced. Heist gameplay, multiplayer with fellow gangsters of the Collins Crew, a fresh layer of the 90s covering the whole thing including maybe a bowl cut on one of the characters and references to England’s performance in Euro 96.
This would be a dream come true. Please, Sony, make it happen. And give us another live-action trailer while you're at it, sunshine.