Original IP is a unicorn in the gaming industry. Today, it’s all about pounding the same golden goose until it’s squeezed its last egg, at which point it receives a dignified severance package of a bullet to the head before being promptly discarded.
Making a new IP is hard, and there’s only so many Call of Duty titles that can be released in one year. Luckily, there’s a few forgotten franchises that still have some road miles left in them. This list of five are the lost souls of the gaming industry, the great game series that were discarded in their prime, collecting dust in the darkest corner of a publishing house somewhere.
The MDK games, of which there were only 2 (3 if you count the HD remake), were actually awesome. I say “actually” because they bombed financially. A good game does not necessarily mean a money-making game; just ask Tim Schafer. That is a guy who has clearly pooped on a leprechaun, since anything he makes is bound to tank regardless of how good it is.
But damnit the MDK games were good; MDK2 has a Metacritic score of 83, and this is from a time when game reviewers were actually honest.
For the uninitiated, in MDK 2 you played through the game as a mad scientist, a dog, and a badass called Kurt Hectic. The game was challenging and witty; full of bizarre weapons, puzzles and plenty of action.
MDK 2 was released way back in 2000, with an HD remake appearing on Steam recently in 2012. For an entirely unhelpful reference point, Rose let Jack die an icy death while she clung to the clearly-big-enough-for-two-people door in 1997.
Chances of it happening: Mediocre. Publisher Interplay managed to rise from the dead due to the financial success of the HD remake, reopening its Black Isle studio. However, the studio is best known for its work on Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment and Baldur’s Gate, so any new games from them are likely to be pure RPGs.
4. Tony Hawk
I used to skateboard. It wasn’t pretty, but it was something that happened, like Duke Nukem Forever or Miley Cyrus’s career. The Tony Hawk games essentially occupied the time not spent face down in the street.
The last time we saw a (good) Tony Hawk game was way back in 2001, with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. There were a bunch of games after that, but I’m not counting them and neither should you.
There was Underground, Wasteland, Project 8, Proving Ground, Ride, Shred; the list goes on. Now why that may afford Tony the opportunity to build a skate-ramp made of gold and orphan tears, I myself have been consistently disappointed. If you’re reading this Tony, I hope that diamond toilet seat was worth it.
Chances of it happening: Poor. As soon as Tony runs out of swan-meat he’ll likely poop out a few more titles with variations on the word “skate”, but none of them will be any damn good.
What the hell happened to games like this? We used to run around bare-fisted picking fights with freakin’ dinosaurs, now its soldiers, aliens or zombies. Those are your flavours and if you don’t like it you can go play Minecraft by yourself.
I guess there’s an ebb and flow to these things, zombies are in, dinos are out. Maybe if the last Jurassic Park movie didn’t suck prehistoric balls, we’d all be shooting velociraptors in the eye with a crossbow right now.
Chances of it happening: Unknown. The last Turok game we saw was that reboot effort back in 2008. The developer has since gone bang, but publisher Touchstone is still going strong. I imagine this particular IP has been packed away somewhere, collecting dust; but if the whole T-Rex thing ever catches on again someone might just brush off the cobwebs and give it a second chance.
2. Monkey Island
I really miss these point-and-click (hell, I even miss the text-based ones) adventure games. The adventure game, as we knew it, is essentially a thing of the past now; bar the odd indie here and there.
Today we have crap like Assassin’s Creed masquerading as adventure titles. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great franchise and all, but Ezio is no Guybrush Threepwood. Adventure titles today, indeed 90% of games today, essentially boil down to kicking the ever-loving shit out of someone/something.
Protagonists like Monkey Island’s Mr. Threepwood knew that discretion is the better part of valour, preferring to turn tail and run whenever things got a little hairy. The game, and others like it, revolved primarily around exploring the world and solving puzzles, and trying your level best not to get randomly dead. These games generally had more things that can kill you than Australia,
Chances of it happening: Poor. Original developer Ron Gilbert left the rights behind when he left LucasArts, which has since been absorbed by Disney. Which means a) we’ll never see another Monkey Island game and b) Guybrush is probably going to show up as an NPC in freakin’ Kingdom Hearts or something.
Haha Chris, you might be thinking, very funny. But is it? Really? You think it’s funny seeing a grown man cry?
It’s been over six years since the release of Half Life 2: Episode Two. SIX. YEARS. It’s been five years since the last damned Turok game, and 16 years since that selfish bitch Rose took the Heart of the Ocean and bailed.
Gabe, you promised us Episode 3. You promised Gabe. What the hell am I supposed to do with crap like Left 4 Dead and Counter-Strike?
Chances of it happening: It’s not. Just pack up and go home everyone, there’s nothing left for us here.
Agree? Disagree? What franchises would you like to see given a second lease on life? Tell me about it in the comments.