The release of God of War‘s soft reboot in 2018 breathed new life into the franchise and gave fans a brand new narrative that promised bold horizons for the God of War universe. The new tale couldn’t have come at a better time. After three games and several spin offs that had received mixed receptions, the series needed something truly new to show us that while Kratos’ escapades in Greek mythology might have seemed the end of his journey, they were merely the embers on which a new fire will burn for many years to come.
I would invite you then to wonder how your favourite, forgotten series might hold up given this same level of love and care. If someone felt as passionate toward your beloved games as Sony did for God of War, would it be just as successful? With that, I’ve made a list of five games that would benefit from a soft reboot in the same style.
For this list, I’ve compiled game series that would benefit from a refresh in which, like God of War, we explore the existing universe in an entirely new way. In essence, I want to explore changes that would bring a series back to high favour and allow it to be celebrated once again in the modern gaming space.
Rico Rodriquez – master of explosive solutions to dangerously large problems – made his debut in 2006 in Avalanche Studios’ Just Cause, and really found his footing with the franchises more handsome sequel in 2010. Just Cause 2 is some of the most fun you can have in an open-world game, creating a ‘Fast and Furious’ fantasy with even more chaos to boot. (Editor’s Note: Mentioning Fast and Furious in your first article is the best way to join the SMG family)
Unfortunately, like many of the dictators Rico took down, the series lost sight of its bright idea and rested too lazily on its past success. Just Cause 3 and 4 were received well but paled next to their predecessor, with many critics citing a refusal to evolve the series’ lacklustre narrative and mission design as significant issues.
The Just Cause series was onto something with the idea of ‘Mission Impossible’ meets ‘Oceans 11’ in a fiery car crash from which we walk away in slow-motion. That potential never left, and anyone passionate enough could put the resources forward to invigorate the series once again, with only a few minor adjustments. Like a revolution in the face of a harsh regime, it’s time for Just Cause to reclaim its home.
Moving location would be important in changing the game’s feel, and swapping Rico with someone or multiple someones with more vibrant personalities would be vital to the game’s longevity. Perhaps Rico could become a mentor to a new generation of revolutionaries?
Just Cause has always had the foundation of an excellent action-heist game, but has never leaned into the latter of those two ideas too heavily. A Bond-style infiltration game with explosive finales is what the series needs, should it return, and if the success of games like Teardown and Far Cry have taught us anything, it’s that people like to blow things up and look cool doing it.
Who knows? We might see some of those original ideas come to fruition in Avalanche’s upcoming heist game, ‘Contraband’, which is currently under development with no release date set.
One of Bethesda’s most beloved series, the Fallout games have firm roots in rich, complex RPG systems and a narrative that picks apart the romantic 50’s era Americana way of life and humanity’s tendency toward conflict.
When Fallout 3 was released back in 2008, it cemented Bethesda as a deity in the universal gaming pantheon. With its dark, humorous story-telling and charming, ‘Bethesdian’ technical quirks, Fallout 3 curated a gallery of funny, memorable moments that eventually led to one of the biggest franchises in gaming – and one of its biggest blunders.
Bethesda wanted to change the series’ direction, and their solution was Fallout 76, an online multiplayer game that encourages living in the post-apocalypse with your friends. Unfortunately, a rocky development schedule coupled with a slew of technical issues meant that the launch was less than stellar. Despite the game’s resurgence in recent years, fans’ excitement for the Fallout series is at an all-time low.
Enter a new Fallout game, rebooted with an entirely new take on the series’ gameplay and narrative. Get rid of the ‘go into the vault, something goes wrong, go out into the wasteland’ opening to the game and give us something new. Maybe we work for Vault-Tec? Hell, perhaps we aren’t human at all, and we play the game as a ghoul, synth, or even a super mutant. If Bethesda wants to lean into multiplayer, bring the scale back to four-player squad team-ups or a completely separate multiplayer mode, Call of Duty-style.
Alas, we haven’t seen anything Fallout related for some time, and while Fallout 76 continues to be updated consistently, games like Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI will mean we likely won’t receive any Fallout 5 news for some time.
Another series that made its debut in 2006, Lost Planet, filled a niche in the sci-fi video game genre but was outshined by its more polished counterparts, despite sharing so many similarities with them. This isn’t to say the series is poor by any stretch; the narrative is highly original, the third-person combat is free and fun as hell, and the second game was, and remains, one of the best co-op experiences I’ve ever played.
Lost Planet had some badass sci-fi moments. How could you not enjoy enormous aliens (Akrids) swarming your even more enormous mech as the bullets from your chain gun tear through the creatures, staining your mech orange with energy-charged blood? The game’s narrative was also commendable, exploring the misuse of natural resources in the face of clear and disastrous consequences. Lost Planet 3, while receiving the worst reviews of the bunch, told an emotional tale about humanities’ failure to restart society and solve their own issues.
Capcom is sleeping on what could be one of the biggest shooters in the game. Think a multiplayer, first-person shooter that pits you against aliens and humans alike, fighting in massive mech-suits in dynamic maps reminiscent of some of the series’ more impressive levels. Couple that with an engaging single-player campaign that combines the best parts of the Dead Space and Halo franchises and a boost from the PS5 and Xbox Series’ massive tech capabilities, Capcom could make some serious coin.
Unfortunately, back in 2020, we got a brief glimpse into Capcom’s development plans from a data leak, and Lost Planet was nowhere to be seen. This is not a surprise considering Lost Planet‘s popularity is steadfastly out-shined by franchises like Monster Hunter, Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, and outside of a failed pitch in 2016, we haven’t heard anything Lost Planet from Capcom since the final game was released.
Bioshock is one of those games that will remain in the gaming hall of fame forever. The game shaped the way narratives are told and will eternally be the game cited most often in the ever-present ‘games are art’ debate at your university parties. Yet we haven’t seen much from 2K regarding the series since Bioshock Infinite and a few rumours regarding a potential fourth entry to the series.
Bioshock 1 and 2 flexed an ability to bring in and hold the player in a rich atmosphere. The horrors of a fallen utopia rear their ugly heads in a vast underwater city that shows its cracks in every hallway and room with mutated humans and terrifying Big Daddies around every corner.
Bioshock Infinite leaned into a more fantastical approach while maintaining a central focus on another failed scientific paradise, a city in the sky called Columbia. It was received extremely well by critics and fans alike, both claiming it would innovate the industry significantly in the years to come. Then the series went dark. That was 9 years ago.
It’s time Bioshock made its comeback and, with recent rumours of a fourth entry abound, it’s likely not too far away. We just don’t see games on a AAA scale that resemble titles like Amnesia and SOMA, and Bioshock 4 could be the action-packed, ‘dripping-with-dread’ style game that the industry needs.
The rumors of a new setting, character and narrative are promising. Supposedly set in a failed city in the Antarctic, the game promises an atmosphere drenched in the original game’s feel, but I fear the game might rely too heavily on its old mechanics. The shooting and hacking and blasting of the original games were never the strongest part of the experience. Bring in sharper, more refined combat in the style of DOOM (2016) or the more recent Arkane titles and combine it with smarter enemy AI design to place a harder focus on the combat encounters and challenges. If the next Bioshock can do that alongside an awesome story (which they rarely fail to deliver), then they might just be onto something game-changing (literally).
When Infamous was released in 2009, Sucker Punch pulled out all the stops to craft a dark-as-hell, superhero game – a stark contrast to their usual family-friendly romps with the witty and charming Sly Cooper. This new direction quickly grew into a hugely successful multi-generational franchise, with Sony pushing the third game in the series, Infamous: Second Son, to forefront as a PS4 launch title. However, several games and spin-offs later, Infamous’ hype died down, and Sucker Punch went on to try something new, releasing the incredibly successful Ghost of Tsushima in 2020.
Infamous needs to come back; it is irrelevant whether Sucker Punch develops it or another studio takes the reigns. One glance at modern media is all it takes to see just how popular dark and gritty superhero tales have become. Shows like Invincible and The Boys are sitting on top of the charts, and game studios are lining up down the street to make games like Wonder Woman, Gotham Knights, Wolverine and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League – the world is ready for the return of Deslin Rowe!
To make Infamous competitive in the current video game market, a new title would need to take advantage of its already original and highly engaging narrative – perhaps with just a new location to keep it fresh. Let’s play as superhumans around the world in interesting places, telling meaningful stories with new characters and exciting new abilities.
Sucker Punch has already laid out a clean model for a successful game in Ghost of Tsushima, with its balance of single-player and multiplayer perfectly translating over to a new Infamous title. An emotional, engaging story backed up by a fun, cooperative multiplayer mode is everything the series needs to become a must-have in anyone’s collection.
Unfortunately, Sucker Punch has not revealed their future development plans yet, and are likely only very early in development in their next project, whatever that might become.
So that’s it; while we might never see these ideas come to fruition, it doesn’t hurt to dream, right? Besides, these studios aren’t going anywhere, and their IPs are never really gone for good. For now, let’s enjoy the games we have, and we can hold out hope these series come back in some shape or form.
If I’m being honest, though, I don’t think we’ll ever see Lost Planet again.