Having had a good read of Adam’s Xbox One list, Dan’s PS4 run-down, and Sean’s fantastical-fantasy Wii U article, I’ve had a long think about the third-party franchises that have had the most impact on me as a gamer. It was a close run thing to pick the five I’d most like to see brought into the next generation, but any of these in full 8th-Gen HD glory would be amazing.
As ever, though, we want your input. Any you disagree with or would like to add to the list? Chuck your comments in at the bottom of the article and let us know the third-party games you most want to see re-born.
When anyone talks to me about PSOne, the first game that comes to mind is Kronos Digital’s excellent action horror, first released in the 90s. Technically it was a PlayStation exclusive (though Eidos published it), but there’s no reason a third party outfit couldn’t pick up the decaying old franchise and breathe some next-gen life into it.
The universe was suitably scary and the trio of anti-heroes added up to a grim yet likeable cast that carried the plot first through Hong Kong and then through several levels of Hell. The unique mix of Asian horror, American bombast and dark humour made for a compelling storyline, and the cel-shaded art style was beautiful. Bringing all that forward into the 21st Century and dumping nothing but the archaic tank controls (sorry, Resi fans) would ring all my happy bells.
Legacy of Kain
Although let down in the middle by a few poor entries, the Legacy of Kain series is the king of baroque fantasy, its unique spin on the vampire legend delivering some of the best scripting and voice work in the industry’s history. Simon Templeman’s turn as the titular overlord Kain, against Michael Bell’s conflicted wraith Raziel, was consistently brilliant, creating a core relationship as compelling as the deep background lore.
Although the story was tied up nicely in Defiance (the last full game, released on the original Xbox), the inclusion of immortal vampires, time travel and alternate dimensions makes it impossible to rule out the slightest possibility of a next-gen sequel – and no, the upcoming Nosgoth (despite its cool premise) doesn’t count.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
The first Star Wars game I ever enjoyed didn’t just grab me, it caught me in a full-on Force grip and smashed me off every available wall. BioWare’s pre-cursor to the Mass Effect series, Knights of the Old Republic married great writing with a genuine love and respect for the source material to deliver a mature Star Wars fable brimming with choice and consequence.
While MMO The Old Republic struggles to attract and keep a high number of players, a third solo foray into the dark history of the Jedi and Sith would not only look astonishing on PS4 or Xbox One, but would be capable of doing incredible things thanks to BioWare’s recent experiences with branching narratives and character development. It may not please Star Wars stalwarts but, for me, KOTOR is what Star Wars always should have been, deep, dark and mature.
One of the greatest games of the last generation, Fallout 3 was a sort-of sequel to one of the most popular PC franchises of the last 20 years. Boasting a massive open world, off the wall and unpredictable characters, a surprisingly immersive storyline and a fantastically wry sense of humour, Fallout 3 is a true modern classic.
So imagine the same atmosphere, the same open world, the same inventiveness and the same immensely playable survival adventure, but using a next-gen version of Skyrim’s Creation engine (minus the bugs, of course) to build and populate the world. Yeah. Wow, right?
The Chronicles of Riddick
While the movie franchise is a largely hit and miss affair, the overriding coolness of Vin Diesel’s shiny-eyed space criminal continues to put bums in seats and decimate mountains of popcorn. In a strange twist of fate, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is perhaps the only example of a game based on a movie that manages to out-class its source material, unless you count sequel Assault on Dark Athena alongside it, of course.
Given the popularity of Diesel’s most recent outing in last year’s Riddick, it’s safe to say there’s still an audience for the big baldy nutter with the penchant for elaborate knives and sniffing hair, and I can only imagine how amazing those gorgeous lighting effects would look on PS4 and Xbox One. Primarily stealth games with a reliance on the interplay between light and shadow, the HD remasters of the originals were beautiful enough, but they would be frankly eye-melting on next-gen machines.