Let me start by saying: I'm an old school gamer. I started playing games in 1990 on the NES and I KNOW the meaning of "Nintendo hard". Not that I'm bragging, I'm sure there's lots of older and better skilled gamers on this site. I say this because over the years, I have seen franchise after franchise waste away with the sands of time. Passing into memory and eventually... myth. A lot of younger gamers will look at me and say "WUT?" when I mention games like Star Control, Phantasy Star or Rocket Knight Adventures.
I suppose this is partly me just reminiscing about the great games that we have lost but I am tired of seeing great franchises go to waste and so, even if none of these games get announced at E3, I want to let it be known that there is still at least one dude on the interwebz that still loves these games and wants more of them!
I'll mostly mention franchises that have been forgotten/ignored. I won't be mentioning high profile series' like Half-Life, Chrono Trigger or Star Fox since those are well known and you almost can't go a week without someone whispering rumors about those juggernauts of the gaming world. I also won't mention franchises that are getting spiritual successors like Banjo Kazooie>Yooka-Laylee, Castlevania>Bloodstained or Mega Man>Mighty No. 9 since they are still with us in some form (thankfully).
And now, my top 10 franchises that are missing in action:
#10 Prince of Persia
I loved this series and still play Sands of Time and Two Thrones every so often. One of the great platformers of all time. There are lots of reasons to hate the Assassin's Creed franchise but the fact that it killed Prince of Persia is mine. My contempt for Ubisoft grows every year that another PoP game goes unannounced.
#9 Earthworm Jim
Goofy Comedic Platformers are all the rage these days with the likes of LittleBigPlanet and Rayman tearing up the sales charts but Earthworm Jim started the trend and is still one of the best games of the 16-bit era. This franchise holds a special place in my heart with it's well animated sprites and AMAZING soundtrack.
#8 Shining Force
Nowadays fans of tactical RPGs mostly talk about Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics and Valkyria Chronicles but for most Americans, our first taste of this genre happened on the Genesis with Shining Force I & II. Having recently played through the whole series, I can say that Shining Force is every bit the showstopper that Fire Emblem is. The fact that this series died has me facepalming in Sega's direction. The fact that Sega let Valkyria Chronicles become handheld only has me raising my middle finger. Seriously Sega, F U!
#7 Command & Conquer/Red Alert
My very first taste of the RTS genre and an absolute obsession with my family and friends. I can quote Kane's lines from memory and tank rush your base in less than 5 minutes. EA deserves a lot of the hate they get simply because of the disaster that was C&C 4. May it never be spoken of again...
#6 Lucasarts Adventure Games
I'm bundling these together since they are all made by the same guys. Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, The Dig and many other classic adventure game series' have been missing for a long time. Thanks to kickstarter, some of these have made a comeback but the fact that there was never a Full Throttle 2 or Maniac Mansion 3 leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Hopefully, Disney can better manage those assets.
#5 Star Wars Rogue Squadron
Far and away my favorite Star Wars video game series. I probably played more hours of these games on my N64 and GameCube than any Nintendo first party game. The fact that the mediocre Rogue Squadron III was the last we saw of this series is just WRONG! Where the hell is this series? Why was Lucasarts more interested in making terrible games like The Force Unleashed and Kinect Star Wars than more of Rogue Squadron? I seriously hope Disney runs a tighter ship.
#4 Star Control
A lot of people are excited for E3 because they want to see the first glimpses of Mass Effect 4. But for me, the title of best open galaxy sci-fi RPG series was already taken back in 1992 with Star Control II. Mass Effect borrowed (and even stole) wholesale ideas and concepts from Star Control. The reason that Star Control still holds such a high place in gaming history for me is the humor. Mass Effect is a glum, joyless adventure in comparison. Stardock recently bought the rights to Star Control and the thought of a new StarCon game has me 1000X more excited than seeing ME4.
As great as C&C and Red Alert are, Warcraft was the trendsetter and more polished series. This series is definitely not forgotten but it is ignored. Unfortunately, Blizzard pays more attention to StarCraft and World of Warcraft than to the next Warcraft. Hopefully that will change soon as I have a huge love for this series. The upcoming Warcraft movie has me breathing heavily as I await it's trailer.
#2 Advance Wars
Fire Emblem has been getting all the love lately and I am ecstatic about that but poor Advance Wars has almost disappeared in response. Intelligent Systems needs to start work on another ASAP. We haven't had an Advance Wars game release in 7 years!
Quite possibly the most forgotten stealth series out there. The bloody assassinations, the dark feudal Japanese setting and the epic boss fights once made this series my all consuming obsession. I loved replaying the missions just to try to go through and kill everyone without them even seeing me. The mission editor had me creating new and more devious missions to kill through. The first 3 games were so special to me that I even stopped caring about Metal Gear Solid after MGS2 left me underwhelmed. Please bring this stealthy bloodbath back!
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Of course there are many other worthy franchises that deserve another shot. Most of these disappearances are due to legal issues or corporate stupidity (see: Capcom & Konami). It's truly a sad thing that so many of these will never see another sequel:
SHOOTEMUPS like R-Type, Truxton, Thunder Force, UN Squadron, Axelay, Desert Strike Series and Gradius.
PLATFORMERS like Shinobi, Bonk, Ghosts & Goblins, ActRaiser, Out of this World, Skyblazer, Gargoyle's Quest/Demon's Crest, Shatterhand, Vectorman, Rocket Knight Adventures, Metal Warriors, Crash Bandicoot, Klonoa, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Spyro, Jak & Daxter, Super Monkey Ball and Ape Escape.
RPGs like Phantasy Star, Lunar, Ultima, Wizardry, Breath of Fire, Wild Arms, Lufia, Earthbound, Arc the Lad, Suikoden, Legend of Dragoon, Vandal Hearts, Brave Fencer Musashi, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Parasite Eve, Grandia, Valkyrie Profile, Skies of Arcadia, Vagrant Story, Shadow Hearts, Jade Cocoon, Dark Cloud, Lost Odyssey and Rogue Galaxy.
COMBAT SIMS like Wing Commander, MechWarrior, Star Wars X-Wing/Tie Fighter, Colony Wars, FreeSpace, Crimson Skies and Freelancer,
RUN & GUNS like Commando, Gunstar Heroes and Contra.
BEATEMUPS like Double Dragon, Final Fight, Streets of Rage, River City Ransom, Batletoads, TMNT and Guardian Heroes,
STRATEGY GAMES like Herzog Zwei, Laser Squad, Dune, Dragon Force, Age of Empires, Ogre Battle/Tactics Ogre, Homeworld, Front Mission, Commandos, Freedom Force and Silent Storm.
FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS like Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Star Wars Dark Forces/Jedi Knight, Turok, Unreal, TimeSplitters, No One Lives Forever, Brothers in Arms, Prey and Perfect Dark.
THIRD PERSON SHOOTERS like Wild Guns, MDK, Syphon Filter, Mafia and Zone of the Enders,
RAIL SHOOTERS like Virtua Cop, Time Crisis and Panzer Dragoon.
ACTION ADVENTURE GAMES like MediEvil, Legacy of Kain, Shenmue, Fear Effect and Onimusha.
FIGHTING GAMES like Rival Schools, Bushido Blade and Power Stone.
ADVENTURE GAMES like Starflight, Gabriel Knight and Beneath a Steel Sky.
PUZZLE GAMES like Lemmings and Katamari Damacy.
Thanks for reading and reminiscing. What are some of your forgotten favorites and what do you hope is revealed at E3?