10 retro game franchises that deserve a revival
Let’s get back, in the future.
Every generation has its nostalgia, and while there’s debate over what qualifies as “retro,” there’s one thing all gamers can agree on: there are lots of dormant franchises that deserve to come back. Some developers have been a bit lax on these IPs — looking at you, Capcom — but there are several series we want to see revived. We’ve gathered a list of ten of them here, listed in alphabetical order.
Related: The 10 games that most need a remake
This one seems inevitable after Armored Core 6 screenshots leaked at the start of 2022, but there still hasn’t been any official announcement. Developer FromSoftware is best known for Dark Souls and Elden Ring these days, but this mech suit battle series was one of the first hits for the studio.
Sorry, Nuts & Bolts doesn’t count. The last true Banjo Kazooie platformer was Grunty’s Revenge on the Game Boy Advance in 2003. Rare is obviously busy with Sea of Thieves these days, but remakes of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro proved that mascot platformers still have a place in today’s game market. Toys for Bob, the team that handled those remakes, would be a great choice to bring back Banjo. Crash Bandicoot 4, an original game from the studio, fits right in with that beloved franchise.
These days, you’re more likely to see the Darkstalkers cast in crossover fighting games than their own title (especially if a new SNK vs. Capcom comes to fruition). The 2022 Capcom Fighting Collection includes all five games in the series, but the last new one was in 1997. It’s time for a new monster mash.
Here’s another Capcom classic that’s missing in action. As Resident Evil is to zombies, so Dino Crisis is to prehistoric predators. With the Resident Evil series getting so many remakes and remasters, survival horror fans have been asking to see this dormant franchise brought back from the amber. A reboot was reportedly pitched at one point, but it didn’t come to fruition.
Earthbound / Mother
There’s been a demand for a global English release of Mother 3 for nearly two decades now, and we’ve seen beautiful tributes from fans who want to see the follow-up to Earthbound (as it’s known in the West) get localized. If Nintendo doesn’t want to do that, then maybe we could get a full-on Mother 4 instead.
Another long-lost Nintendo franchise is F-Zero: the last game in the series was F-Zero Climax in 2004. Just like with Darkstalkers, you see Captain Falcon in fighters like Super Smash Bros. more than behind the wheel these days. At least F-Zero X is available via the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack.
There are only two Okami games, but there really ought to be more. The gameplay borrows a lot from Zelda, but it has its own strong identity thanks to a story based on Japanese folklore, a beautiful watercolor art style, and ink brush mechanics. Director Hideki Kamiya left Capcom to form Platinum Games in 2006, but he has teased a sequel in recent years.
We got three TimeSplitters games before the franchise went dark, but they’re some of the most imaginative early 2000s shooters you can experience. As the name implies, the story weaves through different time periods, and our heroes even met future versions of themselves at one point. It’s the perfect meta-narrative to pick up again, should EA decide to do so.
There have been several canceled Twisted Metal games, but the last complete one launched a full decade ago. In the years following, other action-packed car games like Rocket League have made a big splash, so the market seems ripe for a return to Twisted Metal — especially with a Peacock TV series on the way. Rocket League owes a lot of its success to debuting on PlayStation Plus, and that also seems like the right route to take here.
We’ll wrap up this list with one more Capcom creation. Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but Viewtiful Joe has also appeared in more crossover fighting games than in his own adventures recently. This is another Hideki Kamiya joint, and he’s been upfront about wanting to return to it someday. Four games and an anime series just aren’t enough.