Tell Us Dammit

Tell Us Dammit

Dammit, we want you to tell us stuff! Stuff like how you’d freshen up a stale series.

This isn’t some marketing survey or whatever. It’s an emotional investment in you. Yes, we’re interesting in knowing you, Kotaku reader person. You probably know enough about us — more than you even want to, we’re sure. But, hey, we’d like to know about you, too.

Anyway, here’s today’s question…

Which game series is in the most need of freshening up? And, more importantly, how would you go about reviving it?

Me? It’d be easy to say Sonic or Guitar Hero or any number of annualised sports franchises, but I don’t really care enough to revive them. They can die, for all I care.

But the Legend of Zelda, now that’s a series I did once care for. It’s a shame we haven’t seen a really good Zelda game since Majora’s Mask. Wind Waker was another rehash, as was Twilight Princess and all the GBA and DS versions in recent years. Sure, they’ve each come to the party with a curious gimmick (cel-shading, a boat, a wolf, a train, shrinking, etc) but the novelty wears off and you’re left having the same conversation all over again.

There’s a new Zelda coming to Wii. We don’t know much, but we do know it’ll take advantage of Motion Plus to greater effect than the Wii port of Twilight Princess managed to use the Wii-mote. I don’t think that’s enough. It’s another gimmick. The core structure of the game needs to change to rekindle my interest.

What if Nintendo pulled a Konami? Kojima tricked us into thinking Snake was the star of Metal Gear Solid 2, but really it was Raiden all along. What if you play as Link for the first half hour of the new Zelda, but for the rest of the game you’re actually playing as Zelda herself? Or Ganon? Or a chicken?

Who’s with me here?


  • Ive given up on Guitar Hero. When the next gen consoles came out, wasnt it an obvious choice to make Guitar Hero a StingStar like store? People could buy what they want, have all of their songs in one spot, and not worry about any more compatibility issues thanks to the nature of the game.

    But no, they blew it.

    GH has been going downhill. Game play peaked at World Tour, and song selection was best all the way back at guitar hero 2.
    Also, this is the order of the Guitar hero games i bought, and how many songs I remember liking:
    GH2 – 12, GH1 – 8, GH3 – 6, GH:WT – 4 GH5 – 3

    I was going to buy DJ hero, it sounded more like my music game, until i played it and realized i would only play 3 songs on the game more than once.

    • Guitar Hero is by far my favourite game. I totally disagree. I will never purchase one song via the Store. So bloody expensive.

      I prefer a song pack to come out like Rock Band or just the next instalment to come out every 6 months. Which i would purchase.

      The only thing this series needs is better music. I mean Taylor Swift in Band Hero WTF!

      They need an Australian Only game as well. They could easily get 80 songs that are well known world wide.

      Still one of my greatest nights gaming was completing the 87 full setlist in Rockband. It took 8 hours to complete. Was so tiring, as i stand to play.

      When the Pearl Jam rock band comes out my life will be complete.

  • The Crash Bandicoot franchise needs a dire reboot. It faded into mediocre obscurity during the age of the PS2.

    If I could reverse the question a bit, I’d tell the Final Fantasy franchise to turn 180 degrees and start walking back in its old direction. I think the attempts to freshen up its RPG formula since FFXII aren’t working. FFXIII was in some ways great but mostly disappointing when it came down to gameplay and sidequests. I just want a return to the days of old.

    The Ace Attorney series could also do with a little revival.

  • Oh, Commander Keen, where have you gone my little buddy? If you come back, I’ll buy you a new paddle wars watch.

      • Lol, there just is not enough pogo sticks in games these days. Not to mention, moon shoes are woeful. I want to see a generation of younguns out pogo-ing down the street. Such a practicle means of transport is sadly tossed aside…. Screw laptops for all school kids, Rudd needs to pogo the nation!

  • I would argue that by the time a franchise needs a freshen up it is time to move on and develop something else. In my opinion games like Zelda have a following because people enjoy the open world linked by dungeons and a new item gameplay. For these fans a slight variation is enough. Its like the SAW movies I enjoyed the first but that was enough for me and no matter of freshening that world up would entice me back. For others they like the security and the expectation of whats to come.

    Some game universes have had the luxury of cross genre games. Star Wars has been used well from FPS to RPG’s. Halo not so much. I think Bioshock 2 suffered as well from this. We have already searched through Rapture in a first Person perspective and seen what the world appears like from that view. For me that game only became interesting when I got to see the world from a different perspective. (Won’t give spoiler.)

    Money in the end though is the driving force. As long as Zelda slight variation games sell they will be continued to be made.

    • I was just about to write something similar. Once a franchise has reached a point, it’s hard to introduce freshness. At this point it would be better to leave it and move onto new things.

      For example, the main Final Fantasy series is known for freshening up each game with new combat, settings, characters, methods of levelling etc. But each game has a similar feel and unless you are a die-hard fan, you tend to find things getting at least a bit bit stale after playing more than a couple of titles. At number 13, you’re really past the point of being able to invigorate a series, especially as the developers have been doing this all along.

      Likewise the GH franchise has seen its share of changes over the series. Not just in the addition of new instruments, but in the way the game progresses, as well changes in the style of music. You could marry the concept of GH with another genre (RPG, FPS, RTS, whatever you like) but the game that would result would be something new, not GH at all.

      There is a trend these days in introducing innovation and freshness in gaming as new IPs. For example, Mirror’s Edge, Assassin’s Creed, de Blob, Scribblenauts, Bayonetta, Little Big Planet, Batman AA, Mass Effect etc etc. Some of these titles are flawed from the beginning and require sequels to perfect the formula. But most of them are exciting because they bring something fresh to the equation, something that has been lost from established franchises.

      The thing is, every franchise has its own set of rules and conditions. For example, Zelda is about a boy called Link on a quest to save a princess and/or the world. And this set of conditions is very limiting. It means that when you introduce a train to the series, it becomes Link driving a train. But if you created a new game from the beginning around the train mechanic you have no such limitations. Suddenly you have an exciting new IP (on paper at least) about adventuring with a train. All that is left is the execution.

      And you know, maybe that is the major flaw of the Wii from a first-party perspective. At launch it presented a new way of playing games and drew people in with Wii Sports. But apart from the balance board and Wii Fit, most of Nintedo’s offerings have been old franchises with their own baggage and rules. It was the safe option, but utterly unexciting to anyone long tired of Mario or Zelda.

      Honestly, I believe what people want isn’t new rehashes of old games. They want to recreate the emotions they felt when they played those games for the first time. Rather than TP, people wanted the awe they felt at playing OoT. It is easier for fresh new IPs to stimulate the imagination, which is why they continue to have a place in the market.

  • River Raid: Burning Bridges
    River Raid was one of my favorite atari games back in the day. So lets see a revival i say! This time the camera will be trailing your Tomcat as you fly through the skies blowing stuff up for reasons never explained to you… but of course it turns out to be a government conspiracy leading to a boss battle with some form of zepplin!
    Honestly i don’t care about the story – blowing stuff up in a plane for no reason is good fun – just like the original

    Commander Keen
    I love this little guy.. and if they remade it as anything but a side scrolling platformer with killer kangaroos i would be sorely disappointed

    Bio Menace
    Cool game on my 386 – nuff said. This game has so much potential to be an ace remake. 3rd person shooter i’d like tho think.

    Mutant League Football
    Do i really have to explain why? I thought not.

    Plok HD
    I loved Plok, and a HD remake would look absolutely beautiful. Such a wonderful and colorful game!

    Vampire: The Masquerade
    Please for the love of god, someone listen to me and make a new installment of this game! Blood lines (minus bugs) was FANTASTIC!!! What we need in this age of Twilights and True Bloods is a game that shows how kick ass Vampires are and that they in no way shape of form F#@%ING SPARKLE!!

    You all may think i’m crazy – but i want another isometric fallout with gritty sprite based graphics. I love it. I can’t get enough of it. Make it turn based, make it vulgar and amusing and send it straight to me!

    I’ll give you some more when they come to mind. 🙂

    • Your freaking me out Loops with your Keen request, almost worded the same as me… Maybe you are me, only with a hot girlfriend!? 😉

  • I’m struggling to distinguish games series I’d like to freshen up versus old games series that “I liked”.

    So I’ll go with the latter opting to name game series that have been forgotten for a while now and I’d love to see return. For the most part the rumour mill and ‘confirmed’ titles have me pretty chuffed as I am or will be keen on any remakes of either Syndicate or X-Com.

    I’m one of the few that aren’t displeased with X-Com going First Person shooter, since my limited gaming time suits the often 6-10 hours need to complete the main campaign which usually takes me about a fortnight and then if the multiplayer is any good I’ll get another month or two our of the title.

    As for Syndicate I think the only way it should go is a full blows ‘future world’ sandbox game in the ilk of GTA IV or Just Cause with maybe elements of squad based combat four teams of four in the multiplayer mode.

  • Guitar Hero: Add support to plug in a real electric guitar. The software could handle various amplifier/ effects pedal combinations and have notation/ tablature for people who want to actually play guitar for real.

  • X-Wing, TIE Fighter (etc.)

    The actual games themselves worked pretty well so the core mechanics could be left intact with only a graphical update.
    I would like to see some epic online engagements with MAG style numbers, perhaps recreations of famous battles from the star wars universe.


    I’d start by taking everything Mechassault and firing it out of a great big bloody cannon directly into the sun.
    I liked Mech4, I thought it achieved the balance between hardcore and accessable… so much of it could remain. I’d get rid of the 3rd person option and add melee and tanks / aerofighters / infantry (much like “living legends” only without the Crysis requirements).

    And I’d love to see another Rebel Assault game.

    Dark forces could also stand to go back to being a solid FPS, with FMV cutscenes (JK 1) and Kyle could stop dressing like a farmer.

    Damn you Lucasarts, get it together.

    Oh, and insert obligatory Duke Nukem Forever comment.

    • Having never played a Guitar Hero / Rock band game… I can’t really say.
      But I’d like the controller changed so that people actually learn the instrument. That’s one of the larger sledges against GH / RB, so why not make it so that kids get taught guitar?

      It might improve sales with parents who want their kids to learn an instrument.

  • Alex Kidd in Miracle World. My little 8-bit hero and the first game on my first console ever !! I know Wii refurbed that loveable little tyke with an attitude, but I’d love to see him remastered in his original form, still side scrolling, a sidekick for 2 player madness, new levels and available on all consoles for everyone to enjoy.

    Holy testicle Tuesday I was thinking of Commander Keen just the other day as it so happens.

  • Ghost ‘n’ Goblins is right for the picking. So many different things they could do. Could do a Zelda type game or a God of War style remark. Or just keep it a classic side scroller but in HD with cool new weapons and baddies.

    • They’ve kinda done that already, did you ever play the PS2 game Maximo (Ghosts to Glory)? or it’s sequel Maximo vs Army Of Zin?

      They were actually pretty good, it was a 3rd person adventure game, still hard games, but not as hardcore as Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins

  • My problem with series that have been around for a long time is that I’m tired of seeing either the same damn characters or the same damn mechanics.

    There are plenty of series that majorly need revamping, recent examples are Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider & Guitar Hero. But as Dean said, by the time it needs major rejuvenation perhaps it would be better if they drop it instead and go with something that’s new and up to date. Series that have endured despite the falling number of sales will always be remembered only by its golden era title, a shining example would be Final Fantasy VII. Once you have this silly stigma unfortunately it isn’t gonna go anywhere. You’re better off moving to another series entirely or try to distance from your past with a differently named game (like the new Lara Croft). This is why I’m a bit twitchy at the mention of Action Adventure Call of Duty if the rumours are true. The stigma of CoD = FPS have been embedded a bit too deep that anything different will always be classified as ‘the spin-off game whose purpose is to bloat the franchise and inflate developer’s ego’. Of course there is also Nintendo who’s pretty much running around with their key characters (Mario, Link, Samus and Pokemons) and try to make as many varied games as possible before people realize that they aren’t really moving anywhere with the series.

    Anyway I’m rambling since it’s a boring day at work. That said I would like to see a ‘comeback game’ of a sort of Crash Bandicoot. Kind of like a once off reunion tour before they close the curtain for good 🙂

  • I’m thinking a quality Star Wars game needs to come out. Something along the lines of Jedi Power Battles for the PS1, anyone remember that? That was awesome. Battlefront 2 was pretty good as well.

    • cannon fodder was an absolutely awesome game. No doubts there.

      But how could you refresh it other than giving it a makeover? You couldn’t really change any mechanics of the game surely?

      I mean you change it and you may as well be playing any other number of squad based tactical shooters..

  • I’d love to see a return to 2D point n’ click Lucasarts games. Good puzzles, great humour something you can sit down with someone of any age and enjoy just playing.

  • I was going to say Monkey Island but the remake has been enjoyable (and with the 2nd one on the way!) and Telltale have done a decent job with Tales of Monkey Island.

    So instead I’m going to have to say The Mana series.
    I grew up playing Secret of Mana finishing it several times with my brothers in my misspent youth but ever since the series left the SNES I’ve had hopes for an enjoyable sequel and have been disappointed everytime.
    I even went to the trouble of importing Legend of Mana from the States when it came out and although it did keep me occupied and interested for a little while (I put that mainly down to a great soundtrack) in the end it was still a letdown.
    I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how I’d revive the series but maybe go back to what worked in the original series and stop trying to make it into a genre it’s not. I’m looking at you Heroes of Mana……

    • I would love to see a proper English remake of seiken densetsu 3. Give it that “HD Retro” look and let her rip.

      Still one of my favorite RPG’s of all time next to chrono trigger

  • “Hello”

    I’d love to see something return from the Oddworld. That world promised so much but we didn’t get enough. I remember when I first got Abe’s Oddysee and read within the manual that it was the first of five games to be set within the lands.

    At first it seemed to be optimistic, but by the time Abe was finished, only wanted more…

    We only really got 2 of those 5 planned games, as Abe’s Exoddus and Stranger’s Wrath aren’t considered as apart of the planned five.

    “Follow Me”


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