In an interview with IGN earlier this week, Patrick Bach from DICE touched on two IPs that left fans frantic for sequels. Concerning Mirror’s Edge, the executive producer proclaimed, “of course we haven’t killed it, because it’s too good to kill.” Similar things were said aboutBattlefield: Bad Company, a series that has lain stagnant since Battlefield proper became EA’s attempt to outdo Activision’s unstoppable animal that is Call of Duty. As blunt as can be, Bach stated, “We haven’t killed Bad Company 3.”
As I read through the recap of this interview, I started thinking: What other dormant games from this generation are too good to kill as well? Without restraint, this list could be endless, leaving you with a scroll bar of infinitesimally small size. To remedy that obvious issue, I’m following the same parameters set by both Bad Company and Mirror’s Edge. To be eligible for consideration, a game or series must be an original IP from this generation with no more than two titles to its name. What’s more, only IPs that have been left lifeless for at least two years can be considered. Finally, any IP with an explicitly planned sequel, rerelease, or reboot is disqualified from potential nomination.
And that’s when I realized how rampant sequelitis has spread throughout this entire generation.
Every halfway-decent release from earlier in this console cycle has been forced into an ongoing franchise, it seems. I turned to the obscure with Valkyria Chronicles, only to remember that the series became a trilogy within the confines of Japan — Denied. For a quick second I thought Okami could work, then recalled that the gorgeous game began as a PlayStation 2 title — Denied. Beauty led me to Bastion, which surely should work, right? But no, that one was from the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade just last year.
Although I struggled in my search, I eventually did come up with a list, albeit a much shorter one than originally intended. Nonetheless, a list it is, and I’ve graciously left room for all of you to add your own entries in the comments below.
Now let’s get started.
Red Dead Redemption
It’s the very first “too good to kill” IP on the list and I’m already cheating, and cheating in more than one way. Well, partially cheating, at least. Maybe. While Red Dead itself doesn’t exactly fit the particular parameters I’ve set up for myself, Undead Nightmare also takes us into hazy territory as it was technically released less than two years ago.
Okay, so that “technically” isn’t needed. Undead Nightmare was indeed released less than two years ago. Fact.
Still, that zombie spin on things isn’t exactly a sequel, rerelease, or reboot. Hell, it isn’t even a spin-off. Officially, it’s some decidedly-spectacular downloadable content and standalone expansion; I’m running with it anyway.
Yes, I know Rockstar threw a wrench into my inner-workings last month, too, telling us all in this Asked & Answered post to “stay tuned for further announcements.”
Oh, right, this masterpiece is a spiritual successor to that good-but-not-great last-generation shooter, isn’t it?
…You see how much this sucks?
Dammit, Red Dead Redemption is too good to kill regardless of my many restraints. So there.
Grabbing a nearly-nonexistent genre and cranking it up to 11, Red Dead revolutionized everything we thought we knew about Western video games. The “it’s just Grand Theft Autowith horses” naysayers shut their traps in a hurry as soon as this seminal open-world chunk of cowboy greatness was released. Stellar shooting, unique multiplayer, and a truly engaging story ensured Red Dead Redemption won numerous Game of the Year awards in 2010, and more than a few Rockstar devotees now prefer this gritty sandbox to the modern city-side one that the developer is known for. We saddled up on our Grand Theft Auto with horses, and what little I’ve seen of GTA V hasn’t given me a reason to get off.
No More Heroes
This one’s a tad tricky too when looking at my limitations, although nowhere near as disastrous as Red Dead Redemption ended up after my fruitless attempts at justification. The two main entries on Wii are A-ok, yet the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 received snazzier versions toward the tail end of last summer. While I specifically set a two-year buffer, I’m scooting around this one by pointing out that Japan got this high-def edition more than two years ago.
Also, Suda51 might have let a little something slide to Destructoid about No More Heroes 3 on the Wii U, but that was in June of last year. With no word since, I’m granting myself permission to entirely ignore it.
…This article was a bad idea.
It goes without saying, but No More Heroes is pure unadulterated madness. One needs to look no further than the development history for Grasshopper Manufacture to know that. Killer7 was experimental to say the least (and crazy to say the most), and the more-recent Shadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw share that same Suda style that everyone should recognize in an instant. Notable as one of the first Wii releases to do away with gimmicky happy-go-lucky minigames and never tricking its audience that it could be used as a fitness trainer, No More Heroes was both mature and immature in ways that weren’t what we’d come to expect from the kid-friendly console. We sliced and diced our way through the vulgar world, spewing curse words that could compete with the children of South Park. Strong reviews couldn’t save the sequel from poor sales, but I still hold out hope to someday take Travis Touchdown on another adult-themed, middle-school-humored adventure.
We could celebrate the fact that the Wii Sports franchise needs no number-finicking or technical explanations to remain a viable option as the third and final IP on this list, but I see in your eyes that you’re still waiting for me to tell you it’s all a joke. “Wii Sports, Luke? You can’t be serious…”
I understand if it sounds dumb, but I couldn’t be more serious. In fact, Wii Sports just might be the least killable IP out there.
Find anyone who does a good bit of video gaming on at least a semi-regular basis, and only then to play it safe. Ask them about Wii Sports, and I’ll bet (and bet hard) that he or she will have, at minimum, one fond memory of great times together with friends, gathered around the television to beat each other up in boxing or break a once-beautiful vase after an especially-energetic golf swing. What other current generation game holds that same certificate? Not a single one, and that’s something special. Short and shallow, sure, but Wii Sports touched so many that only a fool would throw out its importance or ignore its immediate attraction. The perfect pack-in for Nintendo’s vastly-different direction, this game introduced us to the motion-controlled capabilities of the console with easy to pick up (and hard to put down) bite-sized experiences that the whole family can and did enjoy. As cliché as that statement comes across, no one can deny the truth behind it. I’m sure I spent more time with Wii Sports and its sequel than any other game on the system, and it would be a damn shame if it’s forgotten throughout the life cycle of the Wii U.
Also, let’s all agree that we’ll take Wii Sports 3 over Nintendo Land any day, okay?
And so I’ve come out of the Do Not Kill trials unscathed, but will you? Discover an IP worthy of saving while still fitting within my clear-cut requirements, and share you ideas in the comments below!