Microsoft has been knocking the next generation console out of the park. The coverage for the American technology company’s upcoming console has been nothing short of exceptional, providing insights from developers and engineers that have maintained clarity about the system’s capabilities throughout. It’s understandably got gamers very excited.
While there are going to be details about the console right up until release, what the fans want to know is what games they can expect Microsoft to come up with. Now that the publisher has several studios to help with first-party game development, we could start to see the return of some old favorites that have become lost in the mire of time.
Here are the game series we want to see Microsoft bring back on Xbox Series X.
Arcade racing games have gone somewhat out of fashion in this generation. They have usually been kart racing games, with the majority of the Xbox One’s racing titles coming in the form of semi-realistic racers, like Forza Horizon, and sim-like racers such as Project CARS.
Sometimes, an arcade game racing through town as fast as you can, smashing into cars and pedestrians without needing to worry about how your ride ends up at the end of a level is just what’s needed after a long day. With the game laying dormant since Midtown Madness 3 on the original Xbox, and Microsoft having racing specialists Turn 10 and Playground Games under their command, they have the prowess to bring true arcade racing back to the Xbox brand.
Viva Piñata (Rare)
Back in 2006, Rare introduced us to living piñatas. There were many available that you could add to your garden, and the level of customization meant that you could fill it with all manner of vibrant, colorful stuffed critters. It was weird and wonderful and sold rather well, well enough that it received some sequels in quick succession.
Now is a brilliant time to bring it back. With the success of games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it shows a definite market for these types of games, and with the power of the next generation, it could help to drive the more casual audiences back to the green brand.
Steel Battalion launched on the original Xbox as a competently made and enjoyable tank simulator, but the game itself isn’t what raised eyebrows. To purchase the game, it set you back $200. Why? Because it came with an enormous console that emulated tank controls. There was also a sequel for the Xbox 360 that used the Kinect, but terrible controls due to the unreliability of the Kinect camera meant that the game was not enjoyable.
However, the game’s concept is perfect for VR. Being able to control a tank from your view and engaging in tank warfare sounds like a match made in heaven. With a solid implementation of the tank controls and thrilling battles, Steel Battalion could be an incredible introduction to VR on Xbox Series X.
The Fable series will have a place in the hearts of many gamers. With the Xbox and Xbox 360 being the consoles for a generation that lasted over ten years, games such as Fable and Fable II were the first exposure to a traditional adventure game for many, and they were excellent games in their own right.
Attempts since have offered mixed results. Fable III wasn’t a bad game but it did suffer a noticeable drop in quality to its predecessors, while Fable: The Journey was an on-rails adventure that required the Kinect, and not a full one. Not only would bringing Fable back be a huge incentive for those that grew up with the original games to return with the Series X, but it would be an excellent showcase for the capabilities of the console too. While original developer Lionhead Studio is no more, there would be no shortage of developers who would love to bring the series back.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Ninja Theory’s Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is possibly one of the most underrated games of the Xbox 360/PS3 era. It was a charming adventure game that explored a beautiful grassland with some exciting environment traversal, and a great look at how to build a relationship between two misfit characters, with a particularly excellent performance by British actor Andy Serkis as Monkey.
The idea of a sequel has been floated to Ninja Theory before, but, understandably, they took on the Devil May Cry series when given the opportunity, and success with Hellblade meant that it’s not been possible previously. Though the sequel to Hellblade is their priority, a new Enslaved game would be a very welcome addition to the Xbox Exclusive family.
Project Gotham Racing
Forza Motorsport is undoubtedly one of the best racing series on the Xbox brand, but before Turn 10’s series, the premier racing game on the Xbox was Bizarre Creations Project Gotham Racing. Originally a series released as Metropolis Street Racer on the Dreamcast, PGR was an excellent racing game that was a good middle ground between simulation and arcade, with gorgeous visuals and some outstanding track design.
Like Lionhead, Bizarre Creations closed after game releases on Xbox 360, with original racer blur proving to be a big enough sales flop that it caused the developer’s downfall. However, if there’s a way to help honor the legacy of the veterans at Bizarre, a new PGR to introduce a new generation of gamers to Xbox would be a great way to do that.
Microsoft’s answer to Mario Party, Fusion Frenzy, was released exclusively on the original Xbox and brought a vast amount of party mini-game action to the green brand that meant three friends could come over and have fun together. The sequel on Xbox 360 wasn’t quite up to scratch, but it still represented a genre that is criminally under-represented on the Xbox.
If the essence of the original can be captured for a new version and utilized on the new console, with upgraded features, it could still have a place even amongst older gamers looking for an easy game to relax with friends.
1 vs 100
One of the most unique and ambitious live-service games ever created, 1 vs. 100 was a short-lived game on the Xbox 360 that pitted 1 player versus 100 others, all real users, in a live quiz show format similar to the popular TV game show.
What made 1 vs. 100 so unique, though, is that the game was played like an actual game show, featuring a live presenter offering questions in real-time, and players had the chance of winning real prizes over seasons of shows. It was immensely popular, but considering the resources that it took at the time to make it work, it’s no surprise that it was only around for about nine months before Microsoft shut it down. Now though, with how easy it is to integrate into the system and the huge social pull, this would make for an amazing way to get players into the Xbox family again.
Otogi: Myth of Demons/Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone that remembers Otogi. Both games released within about a year of each other and sold incredibly poorly. That’s not to say that the Xbox exclusives from SoulsBorne developer From Software were poor games. Far from it in fact as the spectacle fighters that had a closer resemblance to Devil May Cry, but with the Souls aesthetic, was a great pair of games.
While it’s unlikely that the game will make a comeback, the idea of the Xbox brand getting its own Bloodborne is likely a tantalizing one for Microsoft, so after they are done with Elden Ring, Microsoft would do well to get From Software to bring this back.
Classic titles by Rare have been kept under lock and key for most of the part. The one time that Microsoft attempted to create something new from an existing Rare franchise, gamers got Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, which was about as big a black sheep in the family as it gets.
However, if there’s one franchise that could very well work in modern gaming is Perfect Dark, a classic cyberpunk shooter for the N64 that built upon Rare’s success with Goldeneye and created a world with fascinating lore and rock-solid gunplay. An Xbox 360 sequel was less successful but still very competent.
CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 is proof that when made well, the cyberpunk theme is a major attraction. If Microsoft can harness the expertise of their studios, Joanna Dark would make for an excellent mascot in the Microsoft brand next to Master Chief for the Xbox Series X.