Dead Video Game Franchises We’d Like To See Return

Dead Video Game Franchises We’d Like To See Return

Everyone has a sequel they’re waiting for someone to greenlight. Some of our favorite video game franchises exist in a sad state of limbo. It’s only natural that after decades of companies making games and trying to earn the most money from them, that some good titles would fall through the cracks, never to become a big, annualized franchise like Call of Duty or Madden.

But what are some of those games that deserve another shot? We’ve rounded up a handful of dead franchises we want to see spring back to life.

Sly Cooper



The maddening thing about the death of the Sly Cooper franchise is Sucker Punch’s PlayStation 2 platformer series was done at one point and we could have just left it alone and not ended up in this mess. The trilogy ended on a high note in 2005 with Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. Then, Sanzaru Games, who worked on the PlayStation 3 remasters, pitched a fourth game to Sony all about traveling to the titular thief’s ancestors’ times and pulling off heists across the timeline. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was a solid new entry that managed to modernize the formula while staying true to its roots.. The problem was: It ended on a devastating cliffhanger. Sly was trapped in the timeline and has been stuck in Ancient Egypt ever since.

Sanzaru planned to wrap things up with a DLC set in Egypt, but Sony refused to greenlight it. Since then, there has been a planned film and TV series, neither of which got off the ground. Sucker Punch confirmed in 2022 that there were no plans to revive the series, so Sony damned one of its PS2 mascots to a life trapped in a different time. They’ll slap him on promotional material and throw a party for his 20th anniversary, but won’t save him. Give me Sly Cooper 5 Sony. Or make an animated short or even just an official art piece of him escaping Ancient Egypt. Save him! — Kenneth Shepard

Bionic Commando


Capcom / Cleverusername42

Sure, there was an arcade Bionic Commando, but let me be clear: The Bionic Commando everyone loved was the face-meltingly awesome NES game, the one in which you fire a bazooka right at Hitler’s face and watch it explode. (If you’re unfamiliar with this classic moment in video game history, see the above video.) Violence like that may be fairly par for the course today, but in 1988, it was totally metal. This was a game that went all out. Adding to its sheer, unrelenting awesomeness were all the incredible tunes and, most of all, the thrilling movement of our titular hero. There are still few games that have ever felt so satisfying to control, as you master the timing of your swings to swoop through the air and infiltrate enemy strongholds like the elite soldier you are. Yes, it got a sequel of sorts with the 2009 game of the same name, but it just didn’t deliver on the same level or make the most of the signature grappling mechanic. Rather than a new big-budget 3D game, I’d love to see a fresh take on the classic side-scrolling (and side-swinging) action. Let some inventive, crackerjack indie studio take the reins and see what they can do with that delicious movement. If Prince of Persia can get a sweet new 2D game in 2024, then I think Bionic Commando can get one, too. — Carolyn Petit



Capcom / IGN

Capcom’s Onimusha games carved out a distinct niche for themselves in the gaming landscape of the early 2000s. Superficially, they were reminiscent of the Resident Evil games with their pre-rendered backgrounds, fixed camera angles, and environmental puzzles, but they also fused sword-swinging samurai action with elements of demonic horror, giving them a vibe all their own. (At one point they even pulled French actor Jean “The Professional” Reno into the proceedings, and I gotta say, I respect the sheer audacity.) With the recent success of the TV miniseries Shogūn and more high-profile games than ever before being set in the era of samurai, I think the time is ripe for a new Onimusha game as well. Give us a tightly focused 8-10 hour game along the lines of Capcom’s recent Resident Evil remakes that lets us slash demons and vanquish evil without going the route of colossal open-world adventures like Ghost of Tsushima or the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed Shadows. — Carolyn Petit

Parasite Eve


Square Enix / Kisekai

Watching that intro movie above still gets me pumped for this moody 1998 role-playing game which showed that developer Square was willing to take big swings and depart from the norm with a modern-day, real-world setting and unconventional combat. Parasite Eve is great for many reasons, not least because of its outstanding use of New York City. Yes, absolutely bananas stuff happens in the game, and at least one key character crosses the line into stereotypical caricature at times, but New York itself feels authentic and layered here, as your journey takes you from high-society operas to museums to streets where the downtrodden reside. Protagonist Aya Brea’s quest is both thrilling and haunting, with explosive moments right out of an action movie and others that suggest low-budget body horror, all playing out in a near-empty city in that strange, liminal time between Christmas and New Year’s.

Parasite Eve got a few follow-ups but neither was as original or memorable as the first. I’d love to see Square Enix bring the series back today and try to create something that matches the desolate, moody tone of the 1998 classic, while also doing something fresh and original with the combat to create a greater fusion of role-playing and survival horror action. — Carolyn Petit

L.A. Noire


Rockstar Games

Full disclosure: I really liked L.A. Noire, but I’m also someone who has a weakness for the style and atmosphere of the period, and for stories of hard-boiled detectives operating within the all-consuming corruption of the L.A.P.D. (L.A. Confidential is one of my favorite films of all time.) I recognize that there were things about this game that felt unsatisfying to many players, and that’s a big part of why I think the concept of a detective game set in 1940s L.A. deserves another chance. There’s still so much potential in it! I think there must be tons of people out there who would love to play a great noir crime saga that sees you investigating murders, chatting up dames in smoky jazz clubs, and finding yourself in way over your head as the trail of evidence leads you to run up against some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the city. Let’s give it another shot, with clearer, more refined interrogation mechanics and character models that don’t inhabit the uncanny valley quite so blatantly. — Carolyn Petit



Titanfall Official

Look, I take no pleasure in writing about Titanfall here in this list of d e a d franchises. But ya’ll, we’re nearing 10 years since Titanfall 2 came out and, you know, sometimes ya just gotta accept that something you really want in life just ain’t gonna happen for you.

I get it, in a world of repetitive, mindless shooters, Titanfall was (and is) something special. On paper, it could’ve easily been Just-Another-Shooter™ stock with gimmicks to try and stay unique, but its wall-running and titular Titans worked exceedingly well. The guns felt good to shoot and reload, and the extra jump kit abilities allowed for unique traversal and combat scenarios rarely seen elsewhere. Add in the Titans, and Titanfall skirmishes were dynamic and explosive. True, some of that still lives on in developer Respawn’s Apex Legends, but you and I both know that’s no substitute (though you should give indie title Sprawl, easily one of my favorite games of 2023, a shot as it contains some engaging wall-running action and so much more).

It would be wonderful to see another Titanfall, complete with a great single-player experience that takes everything learned from the first and second games, and Apex Legends, and delivers an energetic, gravity defying shooter punctuated by epic and engaging gameplay with mechs. — Claire Jackson

Parappa the Rapper



NanaOn-Sha’s rhythm game about a rapping dog may not be the most complex take on the genre, but the Parappa the Rapper series is still incredibly distinct. Parappa is a regular teenager dealing with regular teenage problems, but he gets through them by rapping alongside different teachers. A dog rapping alongside a sentient onion as he learns karate or taking his driver’s test with a moose shouldn’t work, but Parappa the Rapper pulls off each of these scenarios with style, an incredible soundtrack, and a deceptively simple rhythm game with hidden perks for improvising. The sequel doesn’t have as many bops, but the jump to the PlayStation 2 let the team flex and create cooler music videos to accompany each song.

It’s all very silly, and even though there hasn’t been a new game in over 20 years, the main character and his silly little songs have persisted over the decades through merchandise and memes. A Parappa the Rapper 3 makes perfect sense as something Sony could drop on PlayStation Network for relatively cheap. This is the exact kind of project that digital storefronts are made for. — Kenneth Shepard

Gravity Rush



One of the all-time best feelings I’ve felt in any game I’ve ever played is free-falling in Gravity Rush. The series’ protagonist Kat is one of the most gorgeously drawn and animated characters I’ve ever seen, and she is never more expressive than when she is dropping from the sky. Gravity Rush’s camera swings anywhere you want it to go, allowing you to frame Kat’s free fall however you please. You can follow her from afar, ascribe to cinematography’s rule-of-thirds and frame her dramatically, or stick the camera comically close to her. Kat’s hair and clothes catch in the wind, which rushes past her as she twirls through the air and spreads her arms with reckless abandon. She’s like a little kid realizing that she can fly for the first time.

Gravity Rush had a lot going for it, like its gravity-defying combat, its beautifully drawn world which lifted design elements from classical French architecture, and its charming cast of characters, but its biggest draw is that it’s simply the most liberating game. Tons of games allow me to do far more than Gravity Rush, but few of them have ever matched the high of being suspended above a town and then just letting it go. There’s something intoxicating and empowering about Kat’s ability to reduce the world to a blur around her as she zips past it all. It’s just best-in-class movement, and it’s criminal that Japan Studio and Team Gravity aren’t around to give us more astounding worlds to float around in. — Moises Taveras



Rare / RarewareArchives

Putting Banjo and Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was a no-brainer, but I’m always wary of companies cashing in on a beloved franchise with zero commitment. It’s been 16 years since the last Banjo-Kazooie game, and even that wasn’t the platformer fans have been asking for since Banjo-Tooie in 2000. The company is busy with Sea of Thieves these days, but if Microsoft has enough money to acquire a bunch of studios then promptly gut them and shut them down, it could instead nurture the IP and talent it already has. — Kenneth Shepard

Viva Piñata


Rare / TheRareWhere

Speaking of Rare, Viva Piñata is a perfect video game. You’re telling me a garden simulator in which you build a home for living piñatas that reproduce by dancing doesn’t sound like the tightest shit you’ve ever played? Then maybe you should boot up the Rare Replay collection and see for yourself. Viva Piñata should have been huge. The games were great (well, with the exception of the Party Animals mini-game compilation) and Microsoft made it a multimedia franchise, so we got a pretty funny television show out of the deal that lasted a few years. But we tragically haven’t seen anything out of the series since 2008’s Trouble in Paradise and Pocket Paradise launched on the Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS, respectively. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine a version of Viva Piñata on modern platforms that doesn’t succumb to some insufferable live-service bullshit like microtransactions to buy in-game supplies or your character becoming “tired” if you don’t pay for an extension that day. But I can dream of another trip to Piñata Island in 4K. — Kenneth Shepard

Splinter Cell



How do we live in a timeline with hyper advanced ray-tracing graphics technology and no new Splinter Cell game? For that matter, how is that the case and we don’t have a major AAA stealth title that takes advantage of this tech? Or just one that exists period? (Sorry, I don’t count Hitman. Cry about it).

What little I had of a happy childhood was often spent between Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell. I came to MGS for the great gameplay and mind-bending story. But Splinter Cell was the more sophisticated stealth experience that got better with each game (until around Double Agent where things got kinda meh). Light, sound, precision movement through hostile territory, and, of course, impressive graphics that weren’t just flashy ways to show off your hardware, but were actually dynamic parts of the stealth action.

Gaming tech has only gotten more sophisticated since the last Splinter Cell games. I usually don’t beg for bleeding edge tech, but a new Splinter Cell (which apparently, maybe, might, sorta happen—and god help Ubisoft if Michael Ironside isn’t voicing Sam again), would have me salivating over how advanced lighting and rendering techniques could make the game look and feel amazing to play. — Claire Jackson




The first Killzone came along when I was far too young to reasonably play it, but the second struck at just the right time. Touted as PlayStation’s next big thing, the visually sumptuous shooter represented the very cutting edge of technology, and I took that bait hard. Killzone 2 was the game that taught me about the importance of visual fidelity and it just so happened to be an incredibly weighty and hardcore multiplayer FPS as well. I was forged in the insanity of Resistance’s all-out wars and Killzone’s tight-knit and punchy encounters.

Killzone was probably ultimately brought down by its ridiculously high production values, but some of the stuff in that game is still top tier all these years later. The brutal melee executions of Killzone 3 instilled a love of animation in my friends and I that we still haven’t shaken. I can still recall the satisfying pound of the shotgun in Killzone 2, and the brain-tickling tick that confirmed a kill in it and Killzone: Mercenary. Speaking of, Mercenary is one of the finest adaptations of a series to a handheld platform that I’ve ever played, and a criminally overlooked game in that series and on the PS Vita.

I’m the first person to often bemoan something that feels overproduced, but if I may be self-indulgent, I’d love to see another shot at Killzone sometime in the future. — Moises Taveras

Deus Ex


Deus Ex

My first Deus Ex was its first sequel: Invisible War. It’s an entry that’s not terribly popular with enthusiasts of the original game, but it remains a competent immersive sim that likely was my personal introduction to the genre and franchise.

I would eventually go on to play the original (though not to completion, which I really ought to do something about) and came to understand why it was so memorable. Its thick atmosphere of enigmatic conspiracy theories and gripping, unpredictable gameplay of interlocking systems—finding keys and codes for rooms, staying out of sight of enemy patrols—was a perpetual motion machine of espionage and high-concept science fiction themes that I just couldn’t get enough of.

But while Adam Jensen’s pair of imsim adventures were solid, they felt like they were leading to an eventual third release that’d combine the best of Human Revolution and Mankind Divided into an excellent, moody cyberpunk-esque adventure to save the world. Sadly, that’s unlikely to happen. Sure, there was a solid eight-year gap between Invisible War and Human Revolution, and we’re right around eight years since the last game, Mankind Divided. But tumultuous brand management seems destined to keep us from another Deus Ex title for some time yet. Perhaps forever.

It’s a shame because there’s just nothing like Deus Ex and the world is starved of great immersive sim titles. — Claire Jackson

Red Faction


THQ Nordic

My friends used to make fun of me because I liked Red Faction. I don’t know why. But I do know that their distaste of this futuristic, working-class revolution-themed shooter franchise was their loss. To be fair, my memories of the earlier days of this franchise are a little fuzzy as I get on in years, but the more recent Red Faction: Guerilla remains a satisfying game to play. Sure, it falls victim to the condition of having a large open world that is a little too empty, but the destructive physics systems which detail intricate and satisfying collapses of buildings and objects never gets old.

And hey, with a game that is about literally smashing the status quo to build a better future, there’s a narrative cohesion between the game’s systems that makes the whole experience just more entertaining and immersive. It’s also been 15 years since Guerilla’s release date (it was re-Mars-tered six years ago), and 13 years since it’s so-so follow-up Armageddon, so it’s safe to say this one’s probably gonna continue sleeping for the unforeseeable future. Which, like many other dead franchises, is a shame given how computing power has grown since Guerilla arrived on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 release a decade-and-a-half ago. I mean, look at stuff like Teardown!

Our gaming machines are so much more powerful these days and I long for more wildly destructive physics simulations while uniting the Martian working class. — Claire Jackson



Insomniac Games

Hello, it’s me, your resident PlayStation FPS freak. At the outset of the PS3 era, Sony had two major franchises fostering entirely unique shooter experiences. One of them was viscerally realistic and grim Killzone, and the other was my beloved off-kilter Resistance. I didn’t play the original, but one of my older cousins had picked up the second title on PS3. If you ask most folks my age, the formative FPS title of their youth is probably a Call of Duty title, specifically Modern Warfare 2. While I’ve certainly got room in my heart for that legendary game, my love for the genre is entirely predicated on Resistance 2 and the sleepless nights me and my cousin spent duking it out in its massive 60-player Skirmish matches with one of the greatest armories of any FPS title.

Resistance was simply everything to me. It was massive and it was weird as hell. In the brief time that we had with the series, it ran the gamut of tones. The bookends of the trilogy were bleak post-apocalyptic shooters (Resistance 3 is particularly great), but the middle installment was cartoonish and all over the place. Nathan Hale and Joseph Capelli, the trilogy’s protagonists, could not be a greater representation of the series’ unique schisms across entries. Resistance was, above all else, fun as hell though, and it’s where I got my sea legs. Resistance’s weaponry, which took inspiration from Insomniac’s main series, Ratchet & Clank, also remains burned into my brain. The Augur remains one of my favorite weapons in any game and I learned trigger discipline while carefully placing tags on enemies and shooting them from around corners with the Bullseye.

Letting the series go has been one of the hardest pills to swallow over the last decade, especially because Resistance 3 really felt like it finally settled on a tone and formula that worked. Sure, it also brought the story to a pretty natural close, but there were enough interesting threads, especially as far as the origins of the invading alien species known as the Chimera, to expand upon the series and turn it into a pulpy sci-fi saga. I miss you all the time, Resistance. — Moises Taveras

Syphon Filter


Bend Studio / Syphon Filter Universe

In the ‘90s, I didn’t play Syphon Filter nearly as much as I played another sneaky, espionage title: Metal Gear Solid. And you know, for good reason. MGS was just more on my wavelength, but I enjoyed cheering Syphon Filter on from the sides. It didn’t seem to have the narrative-heavy experience I craved, and wasn’t as sneaky, but to me that always made me more curious about it.

It’s been some years since I gave the first Syphon Filter a try, and I’m feeling a return to it is necessary for me. But I’m also kinda bummed that the franchise doesn’t exist prominently in Sony’s catalog. As has been exhibited with Resistance, Killzone, and SOCOM, PlayStation has been home to off-beat shooters that I wish the company would maintain a presence in instead of just prestige AAA titles of the kind they mostly invest their money in.

And in a world without an active Splinter Cell, and whilst MGS still wrestles with its post-Kojima identity crisis, what an opportunity for Syphon Filter to make a return with excellent espionage action, tense shootouts, world-ending consequences, and insurmountable odds that you’re expected to sneak, shoot, and survive your way through.

Gabe, I never got to know ya like Snake and Sam, but damn if right now isn’t a perfect time for a new espionage thriller from this classic franchise, I don’t know when is. — Claire Jackson

Viewtiful Joe


Capcom / IGN

Looking back on Viewtiful Joe, Capcom’s short-lived side-scrolling beat-em-up, I was surprised at just how quickly the series came and went. The first game in 2003 was part of the “Capcom Five,” a five-game initiative from the company to bring original games to the GameCube (it was a whole drama back in the day). The sequel solidified Viewtiful Joe as a series the next year, but the spin-offs that followed in 2005 failed to set the world on fire. In the years since, creator Hideki Kamiya (who went on to co-found Bayonetta developer PlatinumGames) has said he would like to return to the franchise, whether that be with a remake of the first game or with a third entry. For now, we’ll just have to be content with the title character being playable in Marvel vs. Capcom…oh wait, they took him out in Infinite. — Kenneth Shepard



EA Sports

For a time during the PS2 era, the SSX games offered up awesome extreme sports action, letting you do sick snowboarding tricks while listening to “It’s Tricky” by Run-D.M.C. It’s been over a decade since EA tried to bring the franchise back with the more realistic and well-reviewed SSX for Xbox 360 and PS3. Even though that last entry sold well, it seems EA isn’t convinced the world wants zany snowboarding action anymore. What a shame.

While I’m not sure a big AAA SSX game would sell in 2024 or is the right move, I don’t think that’s the direction the franchise should take. Instead, look to Tony Hawk Pro Skater and its recent remake of the first two games as inspiration. I bet there are a few studios out there that would be willing to remaster or remake the first three games into one rad package for modern consoles. Or just make a new SSX that is free-to-play and borrows its economy from Fortnite. I don’t know, just bring it back in some form EA. Let me do a sick 2160 off a snowy cliff again as Eddie. — Zack Zwiezen

Dead Rising



Some franchises on this list feel like they were never given a chance to become something big and successful. Then you have a series like Capcom’s Dead Rising, which feels like it’s been given a few chances and yet has exploded in the way you’d think a game about killing thousands of zombies would have. I think the problem isn’t just zombie fatigue, but that Dead Rising as a franchise is extremely inconsistent. Beyond the crowds of zombies and the ability to kill them all using anything you find, the games have changed a lot and that’s made it hard to develop a fanbase.

If I were to give Capcom some advice, it would be to look back at that first game and try again. But this time, embrace the harder and less flexible format of Dead Rising 1. People love that shit nowadays. Games like Elden Ring and Baldur’s Gate 3 show that players crave challenges and difficulty in a way that maybe they didn’t back in the early days of the 360. And leverage the newer consoles to make the biggest zombie game yet, too. Imagine an open-world zombie game 10x bigger than any previous Dead Rising, but as hard and unforgiving as Dark Souls. That shit would sell like hotcakes! — Zack Zwiezen

Left 4 Dead



Sure, technically Valve has sort of (kind of) continued to update Left 4 Dead 2, sometimes with the help of fans, but I still consider this franchise dead, like most other Valve franchises. Which is sad, because Left 4 Dead ruled.

Valve did what Valve does best, and crafted two online co-op shooters that were perfect to play. Shooting down hordes of zombies with friends or hunting down other players as a special infected was a blast. Even if you played online without a mic, Valve built L4D1 and its sequel in a way that made it totally possible to play without talking. (Though chatting did help!) It also crafted characters, like Zoey and Ellis, that people cared about. I still think about Bill sacrificing himself in the final L4D1 DLC to this day. Hopefully, someone else at Valve is also thinking about Left 4 Dead. I hope so, because this franchise and its fans deserve a third entry. — Zack Zwiezen

PlayStation All-Stars



Okay, hold on. Come back. What if I told you Sony’s attempt at a Smash Bros. crossover fighter ruled, actually? Yes, it didn’t take off the way Nintendo’s brawler has, but it had some cool ideas, and in between the characters clearly added to advertise an upcoming project, the roster is pretty fucking solid. But even if you think PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was a garbage copycat, we’re not here to retread the mistakes of the past. We’re envisioning a better future.

In the 12 years since PlayStation All-Stars launched on PS3 and Vita, Sony has gathered a lot of new, much-loved characters like Astro, Ellie, and Aloy to add to the roster, and has more cultural cache than they did during the PS3 generation to negotiate better guest characters. What if we got actual Dante instead of the DmC: Devil May Cry one because Capcom was clearly trying to make the game an ad for its upcoming game? Sony could secure egregious omissions like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro to properly represent the PlayStation brand’s history. I just want them to get a second chance to do it right, and PlayStation’s certainly in a better place to do that now than they were when the PlayStation 3 was in last place. — Kenneth Shepard

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