I wanted to get this done before E3, because it might be interesting to see if any of these franchises appear at E3 in good form. A few will definitely be there, but will they be anything to be excited about? But basically, this is a list of franchises that used to be awesome, and havenít been so awesome in recent times. This is not a list of retro franchises that havenít been around in awhile and need a revival, all of these franchises are still kicking in some form (at least up to last generation), and some are even still putting out respectable games. But theyíre not reaching the lofty heights set by their predecessors, when they really should be.
I'm also going to give a "likelihood" score which stands for the likelihood of an excellent game in this franchise releasing anytime in the near future. And no, I won't define the near future.
I consider this a bit of a throwaway choice, in part because it is so predictable, and in part because I never actually cared enough about Sonic in the past to be too concerned with his big downfall. In fact, Iím not even sure if Iím a fan of old school Sonic games, my experience with them has been minimal and I was never particularly impressed. But apparently they used to be pretty good. And theyíre not now. And it is important that they get good again, I think, because Sonic represents something important: one of the few major retail platformers left that is not from Nintendo. I donít want the platformer to die off, and I donít want developers to think that only Nintendo can pull it off.
Likelihood: 7/10. Sega seems to be discovering a few things about how to make a good Sonic game again, finally. It can't be too long before they make a truly excellent one? Or maybe it can.
Honestly, I didn't get super into this franchise until part 4, but I did play a bit of the games before 4, and they were pretty good. I absolutely loved 4, however. 5 and 6 were ok. But 7 and 8... not so much. Definitely two of the more mediocre games in the series. And 8 should have been so much more interesting, as it was the first motion controlled Mario Party game. The series seems to have taken a break (or been replaced by Wii Party) but I'd like to see it come back in better form, and quit rehashing the same stuff over and over and over.
Likelihood: 5/10. With Wii Party around we may not even see a new Mario Party anytime soon, and even if we do, will it be another rehash? Tough to say.
Lemmings? What is this, the early 90s? Who still cares about Lemmings? I do. The original game is, to this day, one of the highest quality and most unique puzzle games ever made. And then, a whole load of weaker titles and Lemmings kind of phased out to obscurity. I'm not sure if it even counts as a modern franchise, but there was a PSP version that supposedly had a few new levels. Anyway, I'd love to see this sucker come back in full force.
Likelihood: 2/10. The PSP game existing is the only reason I didn't give this a 1/10. I think I may have to admit to myself that this series is pretty much done for at this point. Boo.
WarioWare is still cranking out some good games, so I kind of hesitate to put this game on the list. Still, I really believe that both of the Gameboy games are the two best games in the series, Twisted! being the apex of the franchise and one of my favorite games ever. The Wii game was pretty solid, but I can't say that I was particularly pleased with either of the DS games. At least DIY tried some new stuff, and the game creator was pretty fun to mess around with, but ultimately the mini-games just weren't as fun.
Likelihood: 8/10. The series is pretty consistently good, and some might even argue against my views on the DS games. WarioWare seems to thrive best on new, unique hardware, and we have that in both the 3DS and the upcoming Cafe.
Remember Viewtiful Joe? He stormed onto the scene back on the Gamecube with a super unique, balls to the wall 2D action platformer, complete with Matrix-like slowdown powers and more. And then he got a sequel which some were disappointed in, but personally I loved (although it was a bit of a rehash.) And then... a lame fighting game spinoff and a mediocre handheld game, and nothing has been heard of him since. The loss of Clover Studios may have killed of VJ's chances of returning in glorious form, but I can still hope, can't I?
Likelihood: 4/10. Viewtiful Joe is a relic of an age when developers besides Nintendo at least had some chance of success with 2D retail games. It might come back on handhelds or as a downloadable at some point, but I don't expect much.
Oh god, one of my favorite games ever. Yoshi's Island may actually be my favorite 2D platformer. Although it wasn't a true sequel, Yoshi's Story kind of took the torch from Yoshi's Island, but I guess it was running out in the rain or something, because it sure didn't shine as bright. And then I got super excited when Yoshi's Island 2 was announced, but it wasn't developed by Nintendo, and it definitely didn't touch the original.
Likelihood: 5/10. On the one hand, Nintendo has been bringing back a lot of its 2D franchises in a big way on the Wii, from Mario to Wario to Kirby to Donkey Kong. On the other hand, I'm not sure if they really consider 2D Yoshi to be its own thing worthy of full support. We'll see.
Mega Man X
I'm probably a bit of a weirdo Mega Man fan, because I'd put X over the old school games in a second. Not that they weren't amazing, but X came along and truly took the franchise to the next level, in my eyes. And X2 was pretty sick as well. X3 was alright. X4 was kind of meh. You see where this is going, no? Capcom kept cranking them out, but they never hit the mark again. The Zero and ZX games on GBA/DS are pretty respectable, but I still want a fullblown, awesome X game.
Likelihood: 6/10. I don't think X has quite the same nostalgic appeal as the original games, but Capcom did bring back Mega Man in awesome form in Mega Man 9 and (to a lesser extent) 10, and a lot of fans are calling for X to get the same treatment. It could happen.
I think a whole bunch of us were addicted to the original Animal Crossing when it came out. It was a pretty awesome game, but even moreso, there was clear potential for expanding the franchise further and really taking it to the next level. Which is why it is such a huge disappointment that the subsequent DS and Wii games were about as close to a straight up rehash as Nintendo does outside of Mario Party. A new Animal Crossing for 3DS has already been announced and will probably be at E3, so I guess at this point it is just crossing our fingers and hoping for the best?
Likelihood: 8/10. I feel like this has to happen eventually, if not soon. Nintendo's designers have to be going through the same thing a lot of us are, feeling like there is a ton of untapped potential in this franchise. And the Wii version was a bit underwhelming saleswise, so Nintendo can't see much future in continuing to rehash this franchise.
Super Monkey Ball
Super Monkey Ball launched with the Gamecube and immediately became one of my favorite games of all time. I think the big appeal for me is that it is one of the few games with both a compelling single player and a compelling multiplayer. Outside of FPS, anyhow (although I hear many of those get gimped campaign modes nowadays.) The sequel was a bit less great, but still pretty fun. And the series has taken a long and torturous decline ever since. I want to see this franchise great again Sega. I need to.
Likelihood: 3/10. I wish I could say this has better odds of happening, but Sega seems pretty ok with just pumping these suckers out without much quality put into them. I don't even bother getting excited anymore when a new one is announced. And with Amusement Vision dissolved, the original creators will probably never get a chance to work on the game together again. I fear that it may have to go through a Sonic-esque drought before it comes back in full fury... it it ever does.
Full disclosure: I haven't put significant time into a Starfox game since 64. So maybe I have no right to be saying the series has declined. But I have messed around with a few of the Starfox games since, and they're just not the same. Heck, Sin & Punishment is a better Starfox game than most recent Starfox games. Starfox and Starfox 64 were two of the best received and best selling games on their respective platforms, and Nintendo just doesn't seem to care about this fact. Or didn't, until...
Likelihood: 8/10. Starfox 64 3D gives me hope. Sure, maybe Nintendo just picked it because 64 games are easy to port over while adding a graphical "upgrade", whereas anything Gamecube and beyond wouldn't look significantly better. But I have to believe that they also picked it because they know how much we love this game. If it sells well, maybe they will go back to giving the series their full attention? Please?
Yeah, don't even get me started on Animal Crossing.
I'd also try to find room for the Tony Hawk series in there... Tony Hawk 1-3 were such fun games. I'm really not sure what Activision needs to do to make the series relevant and fresh again, but I'd be happy if they somehow could.
Here, I'll give my thoughts on Zero's superb list really fast:
10. Sonic: As I said upthread, love the 2D games. Never played a wholly satisfying 3D one. But Colors was well reviewed, so maybe this one is already starting to change.
9. Mario Party: By the end of the Gamecube's life the Mario Party franchise was like a punching bag for the entire world of games journalism. So, regardless of quality, I think if Mario Party 9 came out, the complaining will pick up where it left off. "Another Mario Party game? Blah blah blah..." (And I actually liked the last couple of games in the series - the ones with the microphone controls. Not revolutionary but still fun.)
I think Ninty ought to see what they can do with the Wii Party games, first. If Mario Party is to come back, it should be in the middle of the Cafe's lifecycle and no earlier.
8. Lemmings: Now we're talking! I put a lot of time into the original Lemmings, too. Some of the younger folks may not realize, but this was a pretty major, popular PC game for a few years. I can easily envision a return of Lemmings in the handheld or mobile gaming markets. It was more fun than Angry Birds, that's for sure.
7. WarioWare: I said my piece about this in the Community Thread the other day. I still think this is a great series, but it needs to expand beyond the microgames at this point. (That's why I think DIY was a step in the right direction with its new game-creation aspect, even though the actual microgames are pretty uninspired). Either that, or it's time to call it a day. No matter what happens, Warioware was one of the legendary surprises from Nintendo in the 00s. Nothing can take that away from the series.
6. Viewtiful Joe: I liked VJ, but I didn't love it. Wouldn't be on my list, but I'd be happy to see a new one because I know how much the fans of the series would love to see one.
5. Yoshi's Island: Yeah, I need to really dig in and play the original Yoshi's Island. I think, as a teenager, I was too hung up on its differences from the Mario formula to really appreciate it. So I need to dig into the old one before I clamor for a new one.
4. Mega Man X: Eh... I think the appeal will be a little more limited if Capcom does this. It's a good idea and I'll bet there are Mega Man fans who'd buy it in numbers, but the X series just didn't cross over into the mainstream the way the original did. That makes me think we won't get another X game until Mega Man 15 fails to sell more than 8 copies.
3. Animal Crossing: Yeah, add me to the list on Animal Crossing. Actually, I think you can just about add the name of every fan of the original game.
2. Super Monkey Ball: Not really a fan of Super Monkey Ball. I enjoyed my playtime with these games, but I'll never be a big fan or anything. I'd rather SEGA put all their resources into de-sucking Sonic.
1. Star Fox: If you haven't given it a try, I think Command is worth your time. But Starfox is really made to be a home console game. Of all the games on this list, a great Starfox is game is probably the one I want the most at this point. So... good taste.
It was weird. That was my first game I bought for GC...even before I HAD a Cube. The game was on special with a free memory card so I grabbed it whilst I could. Didn't have the money for the actual system for another couple of months.
But I got it because I figured, "Rare meets Zelda", how could it go wrong? Plus it was all pretty and stuff, and using that staff to beat up on lizards was hell fun.
But then you look back and see how horribly linear it was. Doesn't hold a candle to Zelda. Upon realising I never wanted to touch it again I sold it. One of the few games I actually have sold, I usually hoard like a mofo.
I hoard as well. I was also lured to it by the same lie that befell you. It was more of a "Star Fox meets Zelda" thing for me though. Why didn't they just call it "Dinosaur Planet" and make it a totally different game? Why did they need to TEASE us with Star Fox? I can "appreciate" Nintendo/whoever wanting to do something different with a Franchise, but sometimes we DO want more of the same. We should've just had Star Fox 'Cubed' (How did we have 0 Gamecube titles named "Cubed" [as far as I know..] when nearly EVERYTHING on N64 was "_________ 64?" Come on!) with gameplay almost the same as Star Fox 64, but visually better and longer gameplay or something? What a shame.
Back to what I just said, the overwhelming success of New Super Mario Bros. Wii is proof enough that sometimes the public does indeed want the "same old, same old." I know I do.
I played Animal Crossing: "Population Growing" on Gamecube, and Animal Crossing: City Folk. I didn't play Wild World because I don't have a handheld.
I've spent ridiculous hours playing those, my Wii one had ~300 hours on it (like Monster Hunter), and I can't even begin to fathom how many house I have/had on my GC City. I was literally playing it every day for years. Every. Day.
I think its unfair (REALLY unfair) to say that "its the same thing" when someone like myself had never even played Wild World. City Folk was brand new to me, with tons of new items in every single category, not to mention that I can go online with my friends now (something that you couldn't do on Gamecube at all), TALK to them out loud, play games with each other, and the rolling barrel thing was certainly new as well. Not necessarily "better," but it was indeed "different," far from "the same thing."
--Do handheld people complain when a console game gets "ported" to a handheld? NO, they rush out to buy it and proclaim it the greatest thing ever. (ie: Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest games, Final Fantasy stuff, etc.)
F you, Wild Worlders. Stop complaining and ruining it for the rest of us.
As far as Mega Man X goes, I'd love another game along the lines of the Super NES trilogy, but I hope they don't get rid of the air dash. The recent Mega Man games took away Mega Man's ability to slide and to shoot charge shots. Mega Man X has always had the charge shot and dash though, so they wouldn't get rid of those, but I hope they don't think that getting rid of the air-dash would somehow be a good idea. I fucking love the air dash D:
@Mr_Mustache I was really excited for Dinosaur Planet when I heard about it back on the N64, but when it became a Gamecube game called "Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet", I just lost interest. Maybe it had to do with the fact I never played Star Fox 64, but having this game suddenly become a Star Fox sequel made it much less interesting to me.
Come on now. Don't say "F you" to the Wild Worlders. It's a Fact that City Folk did little to improve the series from their previous step. And for that, Nintendo does need to step it up. You have to look at it from the POV that most gamers try to follow the footsteps of their favorite franchises each way. It would be silly to ignore that on some level. HOWEVER in terms of pure console gaming, yes it was quite a leap from the original and a great one at that. Don't take it personal that people include Wild World in their discussions. But I think though, even now going from the Cube to the Wii, with the next one (for the 3DS) I think it's fair to want EVEN better from it. They did a lot of nice things but there is even more untapped potential. There is a lot of great content in City Folk, which is why I still HAD to buy it. I love Animal Crossing to the core. We all can get along here!
Here, I'll give my thoughts on Zero's superb list also:
10. Sonic: Yes. I haven't played Sonic 4, but I heard so many complaints. I wonder how they'll do further parts and I think already they've been taking too long to release further installments. Sega, don't try to overcomplicate things. Just do it and do it right.
9. Mario Party: Versions 1-5 were solid. They they went downhill. I believe that 2 was the true pinnacle of the series but I would really like to see this series back. I don't want the Wii Party series because I think it misses the charm but admittedly I haven't literally played it. I dunno. I'm unsure about that series. I know I want MP back though.
8. Lemmings: I wasn't that big of a fan of these games but I think it's like Sim City where I knew how to play, but not how to play effectively. I'd be interested in a WiiWare version or something.
7. WarioWare: Never played technically but I've heard so many things about it. I'd be willing to give a new one a shot, though I should just give the discounted old ones a shot.
6. Viewtiful Joe: Never played. Never cared. Still don't. /opinion
5. Yoshi's Island: Loved the original. Liked the DS sequel. Would LOVE LOVE LOVE another proper one on a console.
4. Mega Man X: Never played a single MMX game. I wanna try though. I can't imagine liking the sprites better than the originals but I'm open to seeing this series reboot and capture a new fan.
3. Animal Crossing: This is one of my top franchises ever. Despite City Folk not doing much to improve on Wild World, which I played more than even the original, I have high-high-hopes. I do think though that it's likely the next one will do a lot to freshen up the game. The early screenshots show a lot of subtle differences from the predecessors and so I am psyched yet again. For better or worse, this is one of those franchises which is like, "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, well I'm gonna buy the game anyway." Kinda like me and Harvest Moon but better.
2. Super Monkey Ball: This was and still is one of my favorite franchises of all time. The first two were awesome! I disagree with Zero though. I think the second even was better than the first, though they both are close. Every one I've played since has been enjoyable but mediocre. I want simplicity back. I want a proper Monkey Target. I want challenge. No gimmicky controls that hardly work. I want tons of levels and local multiplayer fun. It pained me to not pick up the 3DS version and I almost did but Donny, the Gamestop Manager, told me that I didn't need to. He knows my tastes and said not to bother with it.
1. Star Fox: The only Star Fox game I've played is Star Fox Adventures. Blasphemous around these parts sure. I will probably pick up the 3DS re-make as it looks like it'll be a ton of fun and utilize the 3D nicely. I would enjoy seeing more "core" games from this series cause I think while I didn't care back then, I certainly could now.
@X-pert74 If Mega Man X9 were a SNES revival, I seriously doubt they'd nix the air-dash. That's been around since the original, right? Or was it X2? I know the dash itself was the first leg upgrade but I can't remember if the upgrades went any further than that in the original...
Anyway, it was probably Inafune's obsession with MM2 that kept sliding out of MM9. Now that he's gone, I don't think a SNES-style MMX revival would be quite as pared back as MM9 was (though I agree with Inafune that the NES Mega Man games were better without sliding and charged shots).
@Mr_Mustache Ports are one thing, I mean, they're ports. No one is pretending they are new games. And to answer your unasked question, no, I don't get super excited about ports of games I already own... remember my Ocarina of Time 3DS poll? I'm not buying it. But yeah, for those of us who aren't totally racist again handhelds, Wild World already did pretty much everything that City Folk did. And that is even more sad since it is a console sequel to a handheld game, in theory console games that cost more should have a lot more.
@DrFinkelstein I can see the argument for putting the 2nd Monkey Ball over the first. It doubled the amount of multiplayer games (expanding upon the originals as well) and the single player was still pretty fun. I just felt like the single was a bit gimmicky at times, and overall, it didn't really have the freshness of the original. With that said, we go back to 2 for multi.
Wild World / City Folk IS essentially a port. The game even asks you when you start if you want a brand new town, or if you want to continue your one from Wild World, haha. I mean, come on. Like Fink said, I GUESS it sort of is unfair of me to say that, but at the same time, what percentage of gamers have everything / get everything? I really didn't think I was THAT much of a minority.
YOU'RE not buying Ocarina of Time 3DS, but TONS of people are. And tons of people HAVE. Over. And over again.
I dunno. Don't blame the world that you're addicted to Animal Crossing! Go play Rune Factory Frontier if you want a different Animal Crossing game.