When I was asked about 5 original Xbox games that Microsoft should reboot in time for Project Scorpio’s launch, I was an enthusiast. I mean, that console means a lot to me, it was the first Xbox in a row of three, a console from Bill Gates’ corporation – a man that has put his sign on the last two decades and probably will do the same for the future two. Most importantly, it defined the idea itself I have of the Xbox brand, and with me that of million other gamers’ out there.
That’s why we were all so disappointed about Xbox One when it was first revealed by Don Mattrick – it offered a TV filled vision that, quite frankly, none of us really cared about, since all we want from Xbox is huge joypads, huge and chunky consoles, black and green designs and dashboards, and core intellectual properties you don’t even know you need. Interestingly enough, Microsoft has done few steps forward, probably since Phil Spencer joined the team as Xbox head, in recovering some of the past glory from the original box, and that was important.
Previously, Microsoft has just tried to focus on Xbox 360, since the previous Xbox was a commercial failure they didn’t want to put too much under the spotlight. Now, well, it’s not like they’re very expansive about that platform but, you know, they’re not ignoring their past and, for example, they allowed the Voodoo Vince remaster to ship on Xbox One and PC, although from an independent developer, or worked on a Phantom Dust reboot that was cancelled but at least gave the kick off to a remaster to be released in the next few months. Which is great.
I mean, that’s what Xbox is all about. I love Japanese games, but Xbox has something else to offer and they should really focus on that, also considering Japanese developer don’t care about the brand at all. Anyway, from this consideration, it’s evident I believe Microsoft should reboot some franchises and properties from the original Xbox era, and bring them back to Project Scorpio. Do I think that’ll happen anytime soon?
No, not at all. That’s impossible. But everyone here likes dreaming, and a possible success for Scorpio would mean Microsoft could get more and more interested in taking risks and investing on stuff other than your usual Forza, Gears and Halo games. So, let’s take a look at some of those series, that not only come from Microsoft Studios but also from third party devs, that should be involved in the project. The Project Scorpio, of course.
When I said “that’s impossible,” I really meant it. Jade Empire is never, ever receiving a reboot, and even if it happened it wouldn’t be an Xbox exclusive like it was back in the original box era. Those days, things were pretty different. Microsoft was the publisher, and BioWare was considered a second party dev like Remedy was during the Xbox 360 era and early Xbox One days.
They also brought the original Mass Effect exclusively to the Xbox 360, so… Well, things are pretty different now. Microsoft doesn’t seem to be interested in having an expansive strategy when it comes to first party devs – many of them have been shuttered, especially in Europe (Lionhead, just to name one) – and partnerships are not happening anymore – I think Platinum Games Scalebound’s cancellation was just a tombal stone upon this topic for the Redmond giant.
On top of that, Electronic Arts is the publisher and BioWare owner, and we all know that, even though EA and Microsoft have a great partnership especially when it comes to EA Access, they focus on multiplatform releases. Nowadays no one would deliver such a big and expensive project only on one console. And even when someone do (Square Enix, for example) they also release on PC. I wouldn’t mind if Jade Empire 2 was multiplatform, of course. It’d be just great to have it over here, as meaningful as it was back in the days for the RPG scene. BioWare is about to introduce a new IP, and Mass Effect Andromeda just released and needs to be supported for months, so, again, it’s very unlikely.
Of course, Fable. It’s a great series, even though Molyneux and his team at Lionhead screwed things a bit up as they approached the second and third chapter of the story. He also said, in a recent interview, they were wrong in just going forward with the story so much, properly with the times. They should’ve just focused on a smaller scope, in the fantasy medieval Albion that was so lovely and amazing – which was what I loved so much in the trilogy, incidentally.
So things for a reboot would really set up to make great, great stuff out of the Fable franchise, after Lionhead, as said, was suddenly shuttered and Fable Legends, a free to play action multiplayer game no one really cared about, got canceled. On top of that, Molyneux also said he’s available to re-form the Fable team and reboot the IP all over again, which, paired with the interesting things he said about the mistakes he did on the original trilogy, could possibly make for a great exclusive RPG.
If I were Microsoft, I’d greenlit all of this in a blink of an eye. I mean, now it’s clear that Xbox needs its portfolio to extend horizontally, explore new genres that are not available yet or anymore – role-playing games, for example, are totally missing, while Sony is starting to look into them, with obviously an open world and monetizable formula, for the Horizon: Zero Dawn PS4 exclusive. So shooter games are ok, racing games too, strategy! great, but give us something more. The Fable brand is right there. Molyneux too. Come on.
Yes. Yes. It’s about time, Koei Tecmo. Team Ninja. You had fun doing Nioh, that was great. It was a refreshing mixture between Dark Souls and Ninja Gaiden. But it wasn’t Ninja Gaiden. So, return to the property that made you so popular on the original Xbox (and later you carried onto other platforms but that’s ok! I’m available to forgive your betrayal!), and do it good, just as good as Nioh was.
Ninja Gaiden 3 was a very bad game. Without Itagaki, it’s obvious Team Ninja lost a huge and very important piece of its soul, and that become clear when they delivered a very bad game that was trying to be a Hollywood B-movie instead of just pushing on things that made us all fall in love with the Ninja Gaiden IP. For example, it’s almost impossible difficulty, the combos, the puzzles, the jumps on the walls, the Japanese weird items, accessories, and lore.
That was great until Ninja Gaiden 2, then they completely forgot where their focus needed to be. They released the third chapter, they released Yaiba, Very cheap stuff a Ninja Gaiden fan simply don’t care about. But, a reboot is needed. You can’t just ignore the things that happened in Ninja Gaiden 3, both from a story and a quality perspective. You need to reset and think about the influence all the more modern highly challenging productions have had on games so far.
Back in the Xbox era, you were only, or just one of the few, a game that was forcing people to just throw their controllers into the tv screen. Now many other titles have that ambition after the Souls series got basically mainstream. So, Nioh is a good example of what you could be doing on Ninja Gaiden, also finding a good key not to offer a Dark Souls clone you would be playing with Ryu Hayabusa.
This is happening, sooner or later.
THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
What if Microsoft put in touch with Starbreeze and offered a chance to build a brand new The Chronicles of Riddick game? I mean, you already have a protagonist and possibly an origin story to unleash, so why wouldn’t you give it a try? Vin Diesel is very popular in the United States and in Europe, and also among gamers, after all, he has a good name. It all seems to say “success”!
I don’t really think this is going to happen, of course, but I have very fond memory of this game on the original Xbox. It was a great take on the first-person shooter genre, and also one of the first on consoles – the same console that delivered an amazing debut for the Halo series. It had a stealth component, it had a platform component. Maybe it was just missing an open environment segment, because of its dark nature.
Project Scorpio could really help push the boundaries, and as Starbreeze is active in the virtual reality field with its own headset and Microsoft sees the new Xbox as a VR-ready device… well, that would be a great way to both push on a popular intellectual property and give visibility to the virtual reality platform – which is clearly missing lengthy experiences with meaningful gameplay systems.
JET SET RADIO FUTURE
Just do it, SEGA.