Everyone loves a good video game revival. Just look at the way “Mega Man” fans eyes light up when you show them this footage from the upcoming sequel-in-everything-but-name “Mighty No. 9”:
But some series — no matter how much promise they might have had, or how many fans clamor for their return — are just gone from this Earth. I recently took a long dive into the reasons some fan-favourite series disappear. Here are four I learned will almost certainly never come back.
'Midnight Club' was the 'Need for Speed' franchise's darker, more worldly twin in the underground street race genre. Players raced across cities like Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo, fending off cops and rival street racing gangs to earn cash for car upgrades and to rule the streets.
The game's tone and unbounded open-world racing style stood out from its competitors, but explosive internal beefs among its developers and the crushing dominance of 'Need for Speed' helped kill its future.
'Mercenaries' sat at the nexus between the open world of 'Grand Theft Auto' and the explosive grittiness of war games like 'Call of Duty.' Open-world, nihilist, and pro-mayhem, the series dropped players into imagined Korean and Venezuelan war zones to unleash the machinery of war for fun and profit. Leaving aside the cynicism of that premise, grim even by anti-moral 'Grand Theft Auto' standards, 'Mercenaries' was a clever new spin on a popular genre.
But Electronic Arts shut down the series after only two titles; EA told us there are no plans to bring it back.
'System Shock' invented the first-person-shooter adventure game in the '90s. Fun, plot-driven, and gorgeously sound-designed, the series spawned successors like 'Deus Ex' and 'BioShock' (not to mention countless more indirect descendants). These modern titles are now so beloved and successful that there just isn't any call to bring back the grandparent that gave them all life. Consider us shocked if it returns (pun intended).
'Black and White' should be one of the greatest strategy series of all time. Its concept was unique and dynamic. Unlike 'Civilisation,' 'Age of Empires,' or 'Rise of Nations,' which put players in the drivers seats of state institutions, 'Black and White' made its players into gods. The first-person god experience came with special powers, rival deities and -- most importantly for gameplay -- titanic beasts to build your cities and fight your battles.
The game dealt with good and evil, war, and divine power and introduced an all-new style of gameplay. It should have been a game changer. But ultimately it failed in execution and was eventually named one of the most overrated series of all time. Like the 'Star Wars' prequels, we can pine for what could have been, but have to live with what we got.
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