A golden age of video-gaming is upon us. Endless choice abounds online, with hundreds of games released every day on various platforms. With online stores like Steam and the Epic Game Store, all of the various consoles, handhelds, emulators, and “classic consoles” on the market, gamers have more choice than ever before. Games can be played on mobile, in VR, on PC, or on your TV; we can use dedicated gaming machines or stream content to our devices. The options can be utterly overwhelming.
So, true to gamer form, what do we want more than anything else? To play the same old stuff we’ve always loved, of course! While we reserve our right to make wild, unreasonable demands concerning future content, we decided to revisit some beloved games and franchises from Sony’s first golden era to make a few suggestions about reviving them on the PS5. Hey, if MediEvil can get a remake, anything can happen, right?
We’ve tried to avoid the obvious stuff here; we all know that gamers want a new Crash game, and a constant nagging longing for more Jak & Daxter is a foregone conclusion. These are some of the lesser known early-generation titles – long shots that would surely cause squeals of excitement from a particular sub-section of PlayStation fans, many of whom are older, well established in their careers, and have lots of disposable income to spend on nostalgia gaming. Just sayin’.
Ten PlayStation Franchises We Would Love To See Revived on PS5
King’s Field is only mentioned these days as a precursor to the Souls series, a footnote on From Software’s path to greatness. This is dismissing what was at the time a groundbreaking, jaw-dropping series. King’s Field was the first 3D open-world game many gamers ever played. Combined with its first-person fantasy dungeon-crawling and blistering difficulty, from today’s perspective the series looks downright prescient.
Players were dropped into the middle of a moody and mysterious world with no explanation where to go, what to do, or how anything worked. Sound familiar? While some players found this dynamic confusing, gamers that took the time to get into King’s Field’s rhythm found a game that bordered on revolutionary. A serious argument could be made that King’s Field laid much of the groundwork for many modern games beyond the Souls series, with its influence clearly displayed in many Elder Scrolls-style RPGs.
To be clear, we don’t want a Souls-like game set in Kings Field’s mysterious universe. We want a King’s Field game. Absent from PlayStation systems since 2001’s PS2 King’s Field – The Ancient City, it is high time that this remarkable franchise makes a comeback.
Many gamers these days probably can’t relate to the orgasmic mind explosion that most of us old-timers experienced the first time we got our hands on an analog controller. For years, we had been playing flight sims, driving games, first-person shooters, and platformers with a d-pad, and the transition to analog controls opened up doorways that we hadn’t even realized were closed.
No other game released during the analog revolution felt as open or free as G-Police. Set in a mind-blowing Blade Runner-esque city-of-the-future, G-Police allowed the player to freely fly and swoop through its futuristic city streets in rotor-less helicopters. Dogfighting with enemies and dropping bombs on innocents, players were able to navigate however they wished, which was unheard of at the time.
But beyond mechanics that might seem quaint to modern gamers, developer Psygnosis invested in creating an interesting world for G-Police, which contained some of the best cut-scenes and story sequences ever seen at the time.
G-Police: Weapons of Justice was released in 1999, and after this second effort, the franchise was retired. While flight sims have come and gone, there has never been other game with design aesthetics quite like G-Police.
When the full list of games for the PlayStation Classic were announced back in October of 2018, gamers everywhere could be heard saying thing like “Intelligent Qube? What the hell is Intelligent Qube?”.
Intelligent Qube was a wildly inventive puzzle game released back on the original PlayStation – in an era when “puzzle game” pretty much meant “Tetris-like”. Players began each level as a little dude placed on a platform made of cubes. A second layer of cubes rolls relentlessly towards him, on a mission to squish the little nameless hero. The player must run around eliminating cubes in such a way that squishing will be prevented. Take a look at this video for a better understanding:
The minimalist aesthetic of Intelligent Qube – combined with the relentlessly increasing difficulty – made this a favorite of PlayStation fans, who would obsess over the game until they saw it in their dreams.
Intelligent Qube saw one sequel in 1999’s Kurushi Final: Mental Blocks before being unceremoniously retired from the public eye. The game’s inclusion on the PlayStation Classic was shocking – clearly instigated by one insistent employee who remembered those glorious evenings spent swearing at their television while bathed in cold sweat.
Arguably the most prominent franchise on this list, it is stunning that a property as huge as Wild Arms has completely trickled off to become dormant. At one time, Wild Arms spawned five in-line games (with a number of off-shoots and mobile adaptations), a manga series, a 22-episode anime series, and several soundtrack releases.
Known in its early incarnations for wild-west themes and awesome anime cut scenes, Wild Arms combined the level-up mechanics of early Final Fantasy titles with brain-bending environmental puzzles. Players had control of three primary characters, each of whom had a special “ARM” – a device that could be used to manipulate the environment and solve puzzles.
With a 3-D battle system utilizing chibi-style characters (before such things were common), the original Wild Arms was a stunningly beautiful game for its time. The sequel added the ability to rotate the isometric world to solve puzzles and discover secrets – ala FEZ – a new wrinkle in gaming not often seen before.
The franchise continued onto the PS2 before fizzling out with Wild Arms 5 in 2006. With a fully developed western fantasy world and gameplay tropes already in place, Wild Arms is ripe for a revival.
Possibly no game in the PS1 era generated as much friendly cursing and arm punching as Bushido Blade. Published by Square in 1997, Bushido Blade was perhaps one of the most infuriating releases for that system.
Players faced off against each other in one-on-one armed combat in fairly large 3-D arenas, with no timer and no health bar. In Bushido Blade, almost any hit would be instantly deadly, ending the match. With a variety of weapons to choose from, players could run around exploring the arena, looking for an edge on their opponent. Matches could go on for hours with opponents playing cat-and-mouse, or they could be over in seconds.
This level of flexibility in the fighting system allowed for an incredible variety of strategies and fighting styles, demanding precision and brutally punishing new players that were brave enough to face veterans.
After the publication of Bushido Blade 2 in 1998, the franchise was retired. But a modern take on Bushido Blade could be one of the most exciting things to happen in eSports. Why is this not a thing?
A single level of Downhill Domination was included on a demo disc that was distributed by Sony in 2002. By the time the full game released in 2003, many players were already experts in Downhill Domination, having played that single level hundreds of times.
Downhill Domination is a downhill bicycle racing game, with mechanics reminiscent of SSX, if SSX allowed you to pelt your opponents in the head with well-aimed water bottles and send them flying off a nearby cliff to their deaths while busting sick Tony Hawk-style tricks.
White-knuckle racing down mountainsides with multiple pathways, competition was fierce and brutal, with opponents swinging back into your path from seemingly nowhere. Split-screen multiplayer was awesome, but the career mode was where the real action happened, with players able to buy upgrades to increase speed, handling, and brutality. Modern games like Steep only wish that they could duplicate the intensity of this long-lost PS2 gem.
Downhill Domination did not sell overly well, despite Sony’s inflated expectations. The game never received a sequel, though it has garnered enough of an audience to be considered a minor cult classic. With the recent success of games like Lonely Mountain: Downhill and the Trials series, now seems like the perfect time to set a small team on the task of reviving Downhill Domination.
All right, whoever has the rights to Twisted Metal: listen up. This one is for free: stop trying to reinvent Twisted Metal as a AAA $60 prestige title. In the modern gaming environment, the square peg that is Twisted Metal just doesn’t fit into that top-shelf round hole.
Twisted Metal is dirty, gritty and kind of disturbing. It is therefore a perfect fit for the free-to-play market. Players start with every car available from the beginning. Much like games modeled after Overwatch, players can buy things like skins and battle passes to support the game. Slowly release new characters (and cars), maps, and goodies.
Trust me, Twisted-Metal-Rights-Holder-Person. I’ve got it all figured out. Throw in a couple of modes like team deathmatch, capture the flag and battle royale, and this franchise could be a license to print money.
Parappa The Rapper
“Kick, punch…”. An entire generation of gamers can complete that phrase. So why on earth has there not been a sequel to Parappa the Rapper in the 18 years since Parappa 2? And no, Um Jammer Lammy does NOT count.
I’m not going to posit that suddenly, with the advent of the PS5, that the gaming environment is ready for a new Parappa game. I’m saying that the gaming environment has ALWAYS been ready for a new Parappa the Rapper.
Ten years ago, when rhythm games were kings of the console world, would have been a great time to bring Parappa out of mothballs for a visit. But there are likely still more than enough fans of the original games to make the development of an inexpensive sequel worth Sony’s time.
Parappa the rapping dog is such a strange bit of videogame weirdness, it would be a shame to see the character completely disappear. This isn’t Croc we’re talking about, after all. However, we’re afraid that we must insist that no mumble-rap will be tolerated.
Colony Wars was the second part of Psygnosis’ 1997 one-two punch that began with G-Police. Like G-Police, Colony Wars used the then-new PlayStation Analog controller to deliver unprecedented freedom of movement.
Colony Wars was an outer-space dogfighting game in which players used one of seven starfighters to help defend the League of Free Worlds from the evil Earth Empire. This generally involved zipping around in the most realistic space environments ever seen in a game and shooting bunch of bad guys.
What made Colony Wars feel so unique wasn’t just the ability to control your ship incrementally, but also how smooth the entire experience felt. It was one of the first console games that allowed players to completely abandon the concepts of “up” and “down” and think more spatially in the heat of battle.
Like G-Police, Colony Wars had a well-developed world, and the game was loaded with tons of top-shelf cut scenes and voice overs. Colony Wars also had a unique-for-the-time branching mission structure, where winning or losing certain battles would send the story spiraling off in different directions.
Colony Wars eventually spawned two sequels in 1998 and 2000, but never made the leap to the next generation.
Vandal Hearts stands as one of the best console tactics games ever produced. Preceding the release of Final Fantasy Tactics by nine months in 1997, Vandal Hearts was many gamers’ introduction to grid-based tactical gameplay.
Players took control of an amazing cast of characters with a variety of classes and abilities. As the game progressed, various advanced classes unlocked, allowing for an amazing level of team customization and strategy options. With an awesome story, great characters, and geysers of splurting blood, Vandal Hearts has never had a worthy follow-up.
Vandal Hearts II was an utter disaster, moving away from turn-based strategy to an incomprehensible simultaneous movement system. And 2010’s Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgement was a complete snooze-fest, with subpar graphics and a sluggish story.
Seeing a game like Vandal Hearts updated with current graphics, while retaining the simple but satisfying gameplay and story would be completely gratifying. Just don’t lose the blood. The blood is very important.
What other dormant franchises would you love to see come back for the PS5? Let us know in the comments below!