Readers discuss what they’d do if they could reboot any video game franchise of their choice, from Halo to Lemmings.
This week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Roland and asks what you would do to fix a franchise you are currently unhappy with. It could be a soft reboot, which keeps the same continuity but focuses on new characters and gameplay or a hard reboot that doesn’t necessarily keep anything from the previous games.
It was mostly older franchises that got nominated, rather than anything more recent, with games from Sega and Konami the most popular choices – since there haven’t been any mainline entries for so long.
It’s got to be Castlevania for me. How this has not happened yet is a mystery to everyone I think, with the Netflix series and Metroidvanias in general never being more popular. And yet Konami has never done anything with it at all. The dream is to have FromSoftware work on a reboot, since Bloodborne practically is 3D Castlevania already but somehow I doubt Konami could get them.
Hopefully they could find someone to make something similar though and just make things a little easier and a little more camp and silly. Keep the amazing music though, obviously, and the whole Metroidvania exploration method.
I’m convinced it’d be a massive hit and yet we’ve not seen any sign of it ever happening. Nintendo made more effort including Castlevania characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate than Konami has in the last decade, and that’s a real shame.
All of the above
I could basically answer this question by just saying one word: Sega. Almost everything they’ve ever done could benefit from a massive reboot, because most of them just don’t exist as games anymore. Where is Altered Beast, Shinobi, Skies Of Arcade, Panzer Dragoon, Golden Axe, Crazy Taxi, and all the rest?
I know Streets Of Rage 4 has its fans I believe it’s pointless making new sequels, they all need to be rebooted and turned into modern games. The retro homages are all well and good but they’re mostly only going to be played by existing fans. We need something to move them forward, and not just remind us of the old days.
I mean, things like Shinobi and Golden Axe are such broad, widely appealing concepts I can’t see why it would be difficult to reboot them at all. It’s not like ninjas and barbarians fighting is a concept that’s impossible to update for the modern consoles.
For me the one franchise I would like to get a new lease of life on consoles, and of course PC, would be Lemmings.
I know there was a mobile phone version not so long back, and it wasn’t half bad, but I want to play it on my big screen.
I was a bit disappointed when it wasn’t included on the mini-Amiga as that was my first experience of the game but I still bought one nonetheless.
I would have multi-layered 2D levels a bit, like the Donkey Kong games of today where you can be fired back and forth from the different layers. Maybe even incorporate a lemming skill that could throw his fellow lemmings across into the foreground/background.
I would also have numerous power-ups that you have to find. These would be hard to reach spots the gamer has to find a way to get to with their basic skills, in order to get past certain areas to proceed. A bit like Samus finding an ice blaster to gain access through a door. I would then have the player keep it for the rest of the game as a skill, so in order not to let the gamer feel like they’ve earned something and have it taken away from them, just because the game can.
Finally, I would have a retro mode that could be accessed at any time during the game. This would revert the lovely graphics capable on today’s consoles to the endearing graphics and animation of the original, for old schoolers like me to revel in its charm.
Make it happen Inbox Magic!
GC: The problem with Lemmings is it was published by Psygnosis, which means Sony owns it now and while they have tried to make new games it’s unlikely to be a priority again.
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This was an easy one: Halo needs a complete reboot. Capcom is showing the way with their treatment of the Resident Evil franchise. As good as Halo was when it first released, some aspects have not aged well. It’s the level design and overall structure which would need a complete redesign. I just don’t trust 343 to reinvent Halo. At least not on their own, Microsoft need to recruit id Software to co-develop the game.
Microsoft would be advised to forget Halo 4, 5, and Infinite exist. Almost a blank slate is required. Go back to the beginning and provide a modern, much improved take on Halo 1 to 3. Persisting with Halo Infinite (the irony of that name) is only going to run the franchise further into the ground.
Last year there was a strong rumour 343 have shifted to Unreal Engine 5. Given the problems they’ve had with the Slipspace engine, which was created in-house, I find this rumour credible. There were some positives to Halo 4, and whilst I can’t forgive Halo 5, Infinite at least has some good fundamentals.
The problem is Halo Infinite is so bare bones, it looks and feels like an incomplete game. Too much time spent on developing a new engine, then getting to grips with it. I’m sure what went on behind the scenes would make for a compelling documentary.
If the rumours about a Halo battle royale game materialise, and it proves popular, it could be the ideal opportunity to hit that reset button. It’s the only solution that makes any sense to me.
Whilst I’m on this topic, Microsoft should do the exact same with Gears 1 to 3.
To be this good takes ages
I remember a game on the Mega Drive called Revenge Of Shinobi, which me and my mate played for ages and died for ages and tried again for ages and still died for ages! But it was a fun and addictive game which always brings me good nostalgic memories when looking back.
It was a classic side view platformer and definitely a difficult one. The Shinobi series in general was mostly okay regarding difficulty for a gamer of that time, as they’d be used to the non-saving progression on games, with pixel perfect manoeuvres needed. Although the end few levels were pretty tough to complete, with an especially near impossible to do jump in a stormy dock area just before the Godzilla boss!
The game would probably only be rebooted in an indie style of game. The series was popular and had many titles and spin-offs, including Shadow Dancer: The Secret Of Shinobi, which I remembered putting a few coins in the arcade machine at my local shop on many occasions.
Possibly a pipe dream but not out of the impossible and I can imagine if taken on by enthusiastic developers it could turn out rather well for those who remember it or those who could experience it for the first time and want a good retro challenge.
Restart the Crisis
Given the recent news I’d say a reboot of Beyond Good & Evil would come in handy but what I was really going to say is Dino Crisis. I know it’s almost a running joke in the Inbox but I would love a remake of the first one and then a full series reboot, because all the sequels sucked.
I don’t know how Resident Evil with dinosaurs doesn’t sound like an instant win to everyone but it certainly is in my book. Especially as they could go with the more action orientated take from the Resi remakes, which would actually be quite similar to Dino Crisis 2 in some ways.
I’m not sure what to start with as an opening gambit on this one, so I’ll settle on Metroid Prime Remastered is the most glorious and successful effort to do justice to what is arguably the best video game ever created.
This isn’t lazy hyperbole. The game itself is just that good! Of course, I remembered its graphical fidelity with rose tinted lenses. The graphical overhaul perhaps feeds that memory and, in knowing this, it is all the more impressive for it. Textures and models have been re-made (seemingly) from scratch and look as amazing as I remembered.
It must have been a daunting task to convert the Metroid formula from 2D into 3D at the time and even I raised at least one eyebrow at the level of ambition stated. Try? Retro Studios did and set a benchmark of the re-invention of a franchise. It worked perfectly. To get an up-to-date version that looks blooming delicious is the definition of doing things the right way. It was a love letter to fans and hopefully has garnered a new audience moving forward.
The stealth drop of its launch was unexpected, which made its impact all the more resonant. Coupled with the release of Metroid Dread, this franchise is finally becoming the third tentpole of the trinity of Nintendo franchises, up there with the peerless Mario and The Legend Of Zelda series.
The game itself is a perfect example of ‘show, don’t tell’. The player gets out of it what they put in. The lore can be overlooked and that’s fine, but the scan visor gives access to a deeper understanding of what is going on should the player be so inquisitive. It is a lonely experience for sure but that is exactly what I’m sure the developers intended.
It never feels hopeless though, as the feeling of empowerment from gaining an upgrade to armour or weapons and the knowledge that there is more around the corner is so motivational. I love the morphball’s quasi-2D sections too. They act as a sort of palate cleanser to the first person perspective and require a level of dexterity akin to playing a round of loop on a stick navigating electrically charged wire. A delicate touch is needed on some (entirely optional) sections.
The 3D map is simply amazing. I think a reader of GameCentral mentioned that the control of it can’t be inverted on the Y axis and it’s a (very, very minor) flaw this game has. It’s that good! Another niggle I saw mentioned was that areas with upgrades on offer aren’t signposted à la Dread. One thing I discovered was that by playing with earphones in, you can hear the upgrades humming away in the background, which is a feature I’m not sure existed in the original version. I never played the original with earphones.
It’s all very glorious and as previously mentioned, it looks stunning for a game this old. It is testament to its fundamental design that good games really are timeless. The updated control options mean that anyone new to this experience won’t feel out of place embarking on Samus’ mission for the first time.
The environments are cliché on paper, especially the fire and ice themes, but they are so well realised that it is an absolute pleasure when back-tracking across them for the umpteenth time. They never feel that they outstay their welcome and more often than not, offer something new that wasn’t there before pre-upgrade.
The aforementioned gripe about the map withstanding, and the fact that the final boss is a bit of a slog, are just simply minor blemishes on what is one of the most accomplished video game experiences of all time. A lot of fans just wanted a lick of HD fidelity. What was delivered (so nonchalantly, Samus-esque) is probably the perfect example of a video game done right and repackaged to include a new demographic of modern gamers.
The question now is: can Metroid Prime 4 ever come close to capturing such lightning in a bottle again? The fact that production was shut down and restarted is encouraging, because it’s a sign that Nintendo acknowledges the fact that they have a goose that lays golden eggs and rather than attempt to fatten it up for foie gras, they have an appreciation for this series going forwards.
Nintendo, Retro Studios, Iron Galaxy and of course Samus, I salute you.
GC: We agree with all that, but we’re not sure it has anything to do with this Hot Topic?
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Roland, who asks if you could reboot any series what would it be?
What franchise are you currently unhappy with and what would you do to fix it? It could be a soft reboot, which keeps the the same continuity but focuses on new characters and gameplay or a hard reboot that doesn’t necessarily keep anything from the previous games.
What are your main issues with the franchise at the moment and why is an ordinary sequel unlikely to fix them? Do you think the reboot could’ve been avoided if changes were made earlier or do all series need them from time to time?
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