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What examples can you think of where handing a great franchise off to a new dev turned out super well? [roundtable]
I was thinking a bit about how nervous I get when great franchises get handed off to new devs. A lot of times it doesn't seem to end well.

But there are also times it turns out very well, right?

For instance, giving F-Zero to Sega / Amusement Vision led to F-Zero GX, the absolute best game in the series.

Retro Studios was given a chance to bring Metroid into 3D, and they did it in an amazing way with Metroid Prime, which stands up there with the best of them. They also did great things with Donkey Kong Country (for that matter, you can argue Rareware also did, before them.)

Inti Creates managed to make the best Mega Man game in years in Mega Man 9.

Next Level made a Punch-Out!! game on Wii that I think most people would say is as good or better than the best of the series. They also took Luigi's Mansion to the (no pun intended) next level.

I could probably think up many more, but now it is your turn!

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Posted: 01/31/20, 22:03:21
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I mean, "super well" seems like a pretty high bar to clear, but maybe I'm taking this too literally (and per your examples it seems I am), hee hee.

I thought CapCom made good Zelda games with Oracle of Seasons and Ages.

Also, I sort of feel like you contradict yourself here, by saying a lot of times this doesn't work out, but then saying you could think of many more times it did work out. So which is it?! For me, I think for Nintendo at least, it's worked out more often than it hasn't.
Posted: 01/31/20, 22:11:58
@Mop it up Well I more meant "a lot" in the sense that I get nervous whenever it happens because I'm not sure what to expect, so even if only like... 25% of the time it doesn't turn out well, that is still high enough for me to be concerned. I think the whole Metroid Prime 4 having to restart development with Retro on board thing got me thinking about it, clearly whoever the new devs were (did we ever really find out? I think Namco was related on some level?) didn't work out and Nintendo decided to trust Retro again, at least in some form (it's not clear if it's their main project or they are just helping or what.)

Plus I'm thinking beyond just Nintendo too. Stuff like the Batman games and God of War and such seemed to drop in quality once they brought in other developers to handle them.

I don't have exact numbers in my mind though.
Posted: 01/31/20, 22:18:04
MercurySteam did a solid job with Metroid: Samus Returns. Capcom's Flagship team handled the Oracles and Minish Cap games pretty well. Sonic Mania's team too.
Posted: 01/31/20, 22:22:22
Metroid has always been in good hands as far as I'm concerned.

Team Ninja, Retro, Mercury Stream all did good work. Other M is the outlier, but fuck the hate, it's still a good game.

Namco has been on Smash since 4 so that should count.
Posted: 01/31/20, 22:52:49
@Zero Ah, I see, thanks for elaborating and clarifying. Yeah, it probably does work out less in general than it does with Nintendo, though I also don't pay much attention to that stuff. This did remind me of when Bungie stopped working on Halo though, which was a big controversy, and a lot of people were worried how Halo 4 was going to turn out with a new dev. It seems it wasn't unfounded either as people seem to like the previous games more than Halo 4 and 5. This didn't personally affect me, but it was a big deal at the time so I had heard about it.

Looking at examples you listed, I actually was worried about Luigi's Mansion 2 meself, since Next Level hadn't made a game like that before and I didn't care for their previous works. Fortunately it all turned out fine!
Posted: 01/31/20, 22:55:13
Tomb Raider is one of the best examples. Core Design was killing the series dead. Eidos took it away and gave it to Crystal Dynamics, and now it's still going strong.
Posted: 02/01/20, 01:45:43
Wasn't the third one clearly a step in the wrong direction?

I loved the reboot, and I'm currently making a second attempt at playing the second (I've enjoyed up to where I've gotten so far).

Isn't the third one faux open world or something? Anyways I remember hearing people bitch about it, though that's not really saying much.
Posted: 02/01/20, 02:22:29

Has it? Haven't gotten around to playing that one yet. Even if so, they took over in 2006, so they've had a very good run so far. None of the games have been GOTY masterpieces, in my opinion, but they've been solid and mostly favorably received. The series would likely be in the grave with Core Design if Crystal Dynamics didn't take over, a relic of the 90's alongside Duke Nukem.

Lara Croft for Smash 2020.
Posted: 02/01/20, 02:37:17
I remember hearing something about it being too different from the first two.
Posted: 02/01/20, 04:18:57
With Nintendo's oversight, I think it works well more often than not. F-Zero GX has gotta be one of the best examples of this kind of synergy. Luigi's Mansion, Donkey Kong Country, Fire Emblem 3H, Smashhh...

I think Nintendo should do this kind of thing more, especially for small franchises which they don't plan to return to. Give something to WayForward! Give Mach Rider to someone! Or StarTropics! All of the lost NES classics could be distributed to good indies.
Posted: 02/01/20, 14:31:58

I think they should give StarTropics to Next Level. They said awhile back they'd like to make a Zelda game... well, that probably isn't happening, but how about a similar action adventure game that can be revived with all the creative freedom in the world? Then we can go ahead and get their Mike Jones redesign in Smash.
Posted: 02/01/20, 15:26:47
That would be awesome. Next Level should expand, so that they can start kicking out some Mario Sports games, in addition to their Action/Adventure games.

I think that it's a good time to start the Mario Sports train back up. I loved Mario Tennis, and it did fairly well, I believe. Mario Baseball from Namco, Mario Golf 3DS DX from Camelot, Mario Strikers from Next Level, Mario Basketball from 2k, maybe, Mario Football from... EA?

Maybe expand the scope to include all Nintendo franchises? Have, like, Link batting with a sword or Samus shooting baseballs out of her arm cannon?

The Switch has very few realistic sports options, but arcade sports games feel so at home on it. Tecmo Bowl came out this week, and then there's Football Heroes Turbo, Super Mega Baseball 2, Baseball Stars 2, Neo Turf Masters, Super Blood Hockey... all good shit. I'd love a good NBA Jam or NFL Blitz port, too. I miss those Midway arcade sports games.
Posted: 02/01/20, 15:40:42  - Edited by 
 on: 02/01/20, 15:43:20
I promise I didn't come all the way back just to rattle on about Sonic the Hedgehog. But taking that franchise away from Sonic Team and giving it to some rando fan developers for Sonic Mania was one of the few good decisions SEGA has made in the last 20 years.
Posted: 03/10/20, 01:06:03  - Edited by 
 on: 03/10/20, 01:06:27
Zero listed the examples I would’ve mentioned off the top of my head.

But one I think should happen should be Team Cherry (Hollow Knight) making a 2D Metroid game. If this doesn’t happen at some point, it’s a crime against gaming.
Posted: 03/10/20, 01:31:04  - Edited by 
 on: 03/10/20, 01:31:35
Nintendo has done pretty well with their franchises in this regard. Metroid Prime w/ Retro, Zelda w/ Capcom/Flagship, Metroid w/ MercurySteam as well. F-Zero GX/Sega. MGS: Twin Snakes w/ Silicon Knights, technically Nintendo was involved in making that happen (I think it's a good remake, even if a lot of people take issue with the cutscenes).

I'm trying to think of some good examples outside of Nintendo. I think Bethesda has done some good stuff in recent years (Wolfenstein: The New Order from MachineGames, and Prey from Arkane).

Eidos Montreal did a good job on the two Deus Ex games they got to make, especially Human Revolution.
Posted: 03/10/20, 02:01:46
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