123 games with untapped franchise potential

41. Crush

PSP (Sega/Zoe Mode, 2007)

This Escher-esque platform/puzzler has you playing as an insomniac who must traverse the twisted corners of his own mind to collect all his loose thought-marbles. Crush featured a 2D/3D mechanic similar to Super Paper Mario, and won praise for its unique look and design. Alas, Crush is another one for the Okami column; pretty, innovative and no one bought it.


42. Grim Fandango

PC (LucasArts, 1998)

While the adventures of Manny and Meche don’t really warrant a sequel, Tim Schafer created something fascinating with Grim Fandango, which reimagined the Mayan underworld as a ‘50s-style, Latin-flavored backdrop for film noir adventures starring Dia de los Muertos skeletons. The story of its characters may be over, but there’s no reason we couldn’t go back and play in that world. The afterlife is a pretty huge place, after all, and in the right hands there’s the potential for some amazing stories to be told.


43. Star Wars: Republic Commando

PC, Xbox (LucasArts, 2005)

A rare foray into more serious, Jedi-free themes within the Star Wars universe, Republic Commando was instantly loved and then never heard from again. Putting players in charge of a fire team of four elite clone troopers, it mixed easy squad tactics with balls-to-the-wall shooting that put you right in the thick of events like the Battle of Geonosis, giant thundering war machines and all. We’d love to see another one set during Episode III, particularly if it could involve fighting Jedi after Order 66.


44. Sacrifice

PC (Interplay/Shiny, 2000)

Shiny’s creature-sacrificing, altar-defiling action-RTS won praise and devotion for its refreshing take on the genre, but Sacrifice was practically invisible to the gaming public. Sacrifice may well be one of the most underappreciated games of all time - nothing like it has been seen before or since. Double Helix Games, the studio that Shiny merged into, apparently owns the game now. We humbly suggest they stop taking lucrative, soulless assignments like The DaVinci Code and The Golden Compass and pour everything into Sacrifice 2. If we understand the economic rescue plan correctly, you’ll be able to pay your mortgage with artistic integrity. AMIRIGHT??


45. Scrapland

PC, Xbox (Enlight/Mercury Steam Entertainment, 2004)

The quickest way to describe Scrapland is GTA with robots. Mix in spaceships and a whimsical sense of humor, and you have a game that’s tough not to like. The hero, D-Tritus, is a lowly robot journalist who gets sucked into a robot conspiracy surrounding a string of robot murders. We’d love to solve and/or commit more crimes in Scrapland, if only that were possible.


46. Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: Tie-Fighter

PC (LucasArts, the ‘90s)

No game captured the feeling of piloting a spaceship in the Star Wars universe like the old X-Wing and Tie-Fighter games from the 90s. Defend capital ships from waves of incoming Tie-Fighters or bomb the heck out of a fleet of ships delivering supplies to some rebel scum. Although a few expansions were released for both games, we’d dig our old flightsticks out of our closet in an instant if only LucasArts would revisit these great games by giving them proper sequels.


47. Kung-Fu Master

Arcade, NES (Irem, 1984)

Sometimes we don’t want deep stories with tons of plot twists that try to shed some light on the human condition. Sometimes, all we need to know is that some bastard’s kidnapped our girlfriend and it’s up to us to punch and kick our way to justice. That’s why we think the classic 2D beat ‘em up, Kung-Fu Masters has some untapped potential for a next-gen follow up. It worked for Prince of Persia and Bionic Commando didn’t it? So somebody please give gaming’s most kickass gaijin, Thomas a next-gen sequel – and let us pull a Bruce Lee on some bad guys in beautiful 3D dojos.


48. Dead Man’s Hand

Xbox, PC (Atari/Human Head Studios, 2004)

Dead Man’s Hand was held back by a slew of technical problems that ruined what could have been a rootin’ tootin’ Old West shooter. The era continues to fascinate.


49. Auto Modellista

PS2, GC, Xbox (Capcom, 2002)

Auto Modellista had a unique cel-shaded look and about a million customization options, but was plagued by wonky handling. Fix the controls, and Auto Modellista could be a stylized breath of fresh air for the realism-obsessed racing genre.


50. Cy Girls

PS2 (Konami, 2004)

2004’s Cy Girls failed in many ways, with half-formed ideas and shoddy level design that had the player incessantly backtracking through levels. Some of Cy Girls’ core ideas, like the virtual/real world tie-ins, could be redone for awesome effect. Plus, there’s a whole line of Japanese toys (they’re the “Cool Girls” over there) from which new characters could be culled. Konami is in dire need of some new A material – Cy Girls could be it.


51. Dark Summit

PS2, Xbox, GC (THQ/Radical, 2001)

We need a good alternative to Shaun White’s ego vehicle and the tired SSX franchise. Enter Dark Summit, an emo combat snowboarding game that could provide the remedy to the shameless corporatization of the sport.


52. Outcast

PC (Infogrames / Appeal, 1999)

Cutter Slade, a former U.S. Navy Seal, must lead and protect a government expedition into the recently discovered parallel universe of Adelpha. Okay, so the hero’s name is stupid and the plot sounds like a rehash of Stargate, but trust us, this action-adventure game was revolutionary. You could freely explore open world cities, mountains and forests (two years before GTA III). You could commandeer extraterrestrial vehicles – in this case, dinosaur-like creatures - for quicker transport (two years before Halo). You could pick and choose missions in the order that suited your playing style (nine years before Fallout 3). The sequel was planned for PlayStation 2, but fell apart when the developer went bankrupt. Hopefully, these devoted fans can pick up the franchise torch…


53. Gunstar Heroes

Genesis, Game Gear, PS2, Virtual Console (Sega, 1993/2006)

Considered to be one of the best action games for the Genesis, Gunstar is a blistering quick side-scrolling shooter known for redefining the genre (hit points/large freakin’ bosses made of multiple sprites). Its popularity led to its release on the VC a couple years ago, but why not a sprite-based sequel ala Mega Man 9? C’mon Sega!

54. Haunting Ground

PS2 (Capcom, 2005)

No one really makes haunted house games anymore. Devil May Cry ditched its spooky theme long ago, Fatal Frame’s recent outing in Japan blows and Clock Tower has gone the way of the do-do. Bring back Haunting Ground with a sexy protagonist who runs from creepy dudes in the scariest of castles. You had a dog assist you in some cases, which is okay we guess. Could you imagine what a current-gen system could do to really freak the shit out of you? Could you!?


55. Blood Wake

Xbox (Microsoft/Stormfront, 2002)

This early Xbox game had cool water physics, slick graphics and outstanding multiplayer. Just replace the short, maddeningly repetitive campaign with a brutalicious story about Somali pirates, and you have yourself a franchise.


56. Dead Head Fred

PSP (D3/Vicious Cycle, 2007)

As the titular headless detective, you solve your own murder by collecting the heads of suspects. Each head gives Fred a different power and advances the plot. Dead Head Fred’s angry, sarcastic script won the Writers’ Guild’s first ever award for video game writing. Sadly, Fred was conscripted to the PSP ghetto and never really had the chance to shine. Sequels on more accessible platforms, please!


57. FantaVision

PS2 (SCE/SCEI, 2000)

What started as a tech demo turned into a highly playable puzzle game for the PS2 launch. If GalaxyWars can be a franchise, FantaVision ought to be as well. Perhaps people are confusing it with the orange soda?


58. Herdy Gerdy

PS2 (Eidos, 2002)

Criminally overlooked, Herdy Gerdy can best be described as a sheepherding sim. But it’s so much more than that. Animation straight out of a Don Bluth film [] and some peaceful game playing, we’re sure a revival would be more relaxing than PS3’s Flower. Yeah, we said it.


59. Legendary Wings

Arcade, NES (Capcom, 1986)

A top-down Greek mythos-themed shooter might seem a tad unreasonable today (seriously, who plays top-down shooters anymore?), but a third-person action game with flying? Sure, Capcom’s making Dark Void, but what if it was Greek-themed? We dare pose that question in this time of uncertainty.


60. GUN

Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox, PC, GameCube, PSP (Activision/Neversoft, 2005)

It might still be a little early to call GUN “untapped,” seeing as the game made a memorable splash during the Xbox 360 launch and sequel rumors have dogged it ever since. Good Western games are extremely rare – especially free-roaming, gory Western games like GUN. We’d hate to see it die off just because Neversoft’s too busy cranking out nine Guitar Hero games a year.

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  • scorch3000 - July 11, 2013 3:15 a.m.

    Finally, i know the name of that game I used to like, PN 03 on gamecube, i was thinking of a ps2 title for some reason.
  • Mominito - January 14, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    Have I had to wait until 2013 to realize the existence of this article? I don't see the author's name anywhere, but I can be sure of one thing: this man or woman has the best taste of the history of all the game magazines. Congratulations, I wish have the pleasure of seeing more articles like this some day in the future. Now I can die in peace, thanks.
  • Titchwolffenriz - December 28, 2011 7:03 p.m.

    So many memories this list mentioned. i remember flashback and that was a game i played constantly in my childhood along with lemmings, desert strike, zool and another world. eternal darkness needs a sequel, black needs one, okami needs one. theres some that REALLY need one because of unfinished storylines for instance there needs to be a shenmue 3. im very surprised that wasnt mentioned as this site has mentioned that many times. There needs to be a new legacy of kain too. And theres other games i love that i feel warrant one. Incredible hulk ultimate destruction, there should be a mercenaries 3, despite its VERY short campaign i loved kane and lynch 2. However great list of games here.
  • pneazy - April 11, 2011 1:53 a.m.

    No love for Tomba? Am I the only person who really liked that game?
  • Moondoggie1157 - April 10, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    When i was a kid I wrote Sony begging them to start a Legend of Dragoon sequel, I even made a book haha... I was so alone. It will always remain my favourite, so underrated.
  • LadyHetsura - April 3, 2011 1:54 a.m.

    More than any other game I've ever played, I believe Okage: The Shadow King deserves a sequel! It's my favorite PS2 game, next to Dark Cloud
  • Groteth - September 28, 2010 11:14 a.m.

    BLACK was awsum! i still got it i still play it but damn im still stuck in the final scene where there just too damn much enemies.....but damn that game put my tongue on it how good i think it is
  • jnewco81 - September 26, 2010 8:30 p.m.

    @Phade3 I know that Zombies and Lost Vikings did get sequels back in the day... Would love a Zombies remake
  • jnewco81 - September 26, 2010 8:28 p.m.

    I loved Oni, it was always in the bargain bins though!
  • ShokuaHyuga - September 26, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    Damn straight, it's about time Legend of Dragoon was brought back from the grave. However; even though it was left wide open for a sequel, I think it has been to long for one to match the priginal in awesomeness. I think an HD remake for the PS3 is the way to go with Legend of Dragoon, as to not unintentionally insult it; plus it'd finally give me reason to buy one.
  • Shake - September 24, 2010 10:45 p.m.

    When are people gonna stop riding SotC's jock already? Yeah, I said it. It was a mediocre game made far worse by shitty controls. That said, base wars would be freakin' awesome in 1080p.
  • phade3 - November 2, 2009 11:12 a.m.

    Tobal, Tomba, Shandowrun, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Lost Vikings, Bonk's Adventure to name a few that were omitted !
  • soundeurope - October 24, 2009 5:39 p.m.

    shadow of the colosus did have a sequel, it was called ICO.
  • soundeurope - October 24, 2009 5:36 p.m.

    shadow of the colosus did have a sequel, it was called ICO.
  • StoneSpore - October 22, 2009 6:39 a.m.

    i really think it would be great to have a geist 2 although i never really played gamecube, when i did, geist was the way to go also black would be great and would turn into like a fps gears of war or cod
  • Viroxide - August 6, 2009 4:53 a.m.

    Thanks for the memories. Alot of these games could definately make for some epic next gen sequels in the right hands.
  • youtouchedme2xtdar - May 12, 2009 4:25 p.m.

    Alter Echo was a great game, when i asked my friends about it, they had NO idea what the hell i was talking about, if a publisher could reinvent this game i think cream would abundently overflow my pants
  • Siela - May 11, 2009 7:46 p.m.

    Jet Force Gemini, Okami and Chaos Legion are ones I would kill to see sequels for! Although I don't see Drakan anywhere on this list - it's yet another game I would like to see continued.
  • Juggernaut140 - May 11, 2009 3:10 a.m.

    "Enter Dark Summit, an emo combat snowboarding game" God damn it GR. I facepalmed in real life
  • SketchLemon - May 10, 2009 12:44 a.m.

    comix zone please kthnxbai