Video games come and go, with sequels and future installments often deciding the fate of an intellectual property.
Some games often become long-running franchises. Meanwhile, others cease to exist after a sequel (if they get one).
Here’s a list of franchises that are so good they need a current-gen successor, and which ones will get a new entry after a brief hiatus.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the opinions of the author
Portal, Silent Hill and 3 other game franchises that need modern sequels
Hailing from the Nintendo 64, Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie has become a smash hit on the console.
The series features the titular duo, Banjo the Bear and Kazooie the Red-Crested Breegull. Together they traverse colorful worlds in a 3D collectible platforming adventure, usually to thwart the evil witch Gruntilda’s plans.
The franchise’s popularity peaked with the Banjo-Tooie sequel (also for Nintendo 64). However, its transition to Xbox following Microsoft’s takeover of the developer was rocky, with the latest entry being an Xbox 360 spin-off called Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Too bad that’s not what the fans wanted.
The series has since been dormant with no successor on the horizon.
Valve’s signature FPS puzzler featured two installments, both of which were declared masterpieces at launch.
Both games feature the protagonist Chell as a guinea pig for the rogue AI, GLaDOS. The second entry particularly emphasized new mechanics and expanded puzzles using the innovative Portal Gun.
With Portal 2 released in 2012, Valve showed no interest in returning to the critically acclaimed series. That said, their other overlooked IP, Half-Life, has seen a modern release in the form of Half-Life: Alyx. So there is some hope for Portal after all.
On a related note, both Portal titles were recently made available on the Nintendo Switch as part of the Portal Companion Collection.
A cult action-adventure game on PlayStation 2, Okami was developed by Clover Studio.
The game allowed players to control the sun goddess Amaterasu (in wolf form). She used the powerful Celestial Brush Technique to annihilate the demons that threatened the peace of Nippon.
The beautiful “sumi-e” art style was the highlight of the game, as was the polished Legend of Zelda-inspired gameplay design and hack & slash combat.
Okami received a sort of sequel in 2010 called Okamiden (for the Nintendo DS). Unfortunately, it was an even bigger flop than its predecessor, and the series hasn’t seen the light of day outside of the PlayStation 3 remaster ports since.
4) Silent Hill
Japanese developer Konami is renowned for its many iconic IPs, and Silent Hill is one of its best works.
The survival horror series first appeared in the 90s on the original PlayStation and was a massive hit, at least until Silent Hill 3.
The franchise was known for its tense atmosphere, creepy monster designs (particularly the iconic Pyramid Head), thrilling exploration, and gratuitous use of gore and violence.
With Silent Hill 2 considered the pinnacle, future installments have either missed the mark by being action-oriented (Silent Hill: Homecoming) or trying their hand at the classic scare factor (Silent Hill: Shattered Memories).
Silent Hill 2 was to receive a modern reboot in the form of Silent Hills, which was to be directed by acclaimed game director Hideo Kojima and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. However, that dream was dashed after the publisher revealed that the project had been cancelled.
inFAMOUS is one of the most underrated video game franchises in Sony’s vast catalog.
Sucker Punch Productions’ open-world action series has always had a niche since its origins on the PlayStation 3. It’s had multiple installments so far, with inFAMOUS 1, 2 and the standalone expansion Festival of Blood revolving around by Cole MacGrath.
The PlayStation 4-exclusive inFAMOUS Second Son and standalone inFAMOUS Last Light entry featured protagonists Delsin Rowe and Abigail Walker.
The franchise’s power-fantasy gameplay, chaotic combat, and interesting morality system have created some of the best experiences on PlayStation.
However, with the last entry released in 2014, it doesn’t look like the series will be moving forward any time soon.
Soul Hackers, Alan Wake and 3 other game franchises finally getting a new entry
1) Saints Row (Saints Row 2022)
Volition’s Saints Row series has managed to establish its identity over the years but seemed to go too far at the same time.
With Saints Row 2 considered the benchmark for all future sequels, the franchise lost its footing starting with Saints Row 4. A few lackluster side entries later, the future of the series looked bleak. That was until publisher Deep Silver announced an ongoing reboot, which is slated for release next month.
2) Soul Hackers (Soul Hackers 2)
The Megami Tensei series from publisher SEGA and developer Atlus has been around for decades and has therefore spawned a number of sub-series. From big names like Persona to more niche entries like Devil Survivor, there’s something for every type of JRPG fan.
Soul Hackers is an entry that debuted on the SEGA Saturn and received a Nintendo 3DS remaster in 2012. For the few who played it, it was a traditional SMT experience with a cyberpunk twist.
However, given the lack of marketing to the sub-series, fans weren’t expecting a sequel. That was until the surprise announcement of Soul Hackers 2. The all-new JRPG entry is coming next month and is the first cross-platform release of a MegaTen title.
3) Bayonet (Bayonet 3)
The Bayonetta series is undoubtedly PlatinumGames’ most renowned work to date. After a modest opening on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the future of the Umbra Witch was in jeopardy until Nintendo stepped in to save the day. Bayonetta 2 was released for Nintendo Wii U in 2014.
While PlatinumGames was grateful for a publisher’s interest in its DMC-inspired hack & slash series, many fans were appalled by the sequel’s exclusivity.
Eight years later, and we still have a third entry in the works, thanks to the Big N. Bayonetta 3 will be exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and is the most ambitious game the franchise has ever seen.
4) Alan Wake (Alan Wake 2)
Developed by Remedy Entertainment, 2010’s survival horror third-person shooter Alan Wake was a rising star in the Xbox 360 library. game, its unique concept and its captivating gameplay.
However, that was more than 10 years ago. While Remedy Entertainment has released several new games over the years, none had anything to do with Alan Wake.
Thankfully, fan prayers have been answered at The Game Awards 2021 with the reveal of Alan Wake 2, an all-new modern entry that puts an even greater emphasis on horror.
5) Baldur’s Gate (Baldur’s Gate 3)
The Baldur’s Gate series has always been held in high regard by RPG fans for its deep writing, extensive Dungeons & Dragons-based lore, and intricate RPG elements. However, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn was released 22 years ago. Fans have spent two decades wishing for a successor.
There was no other RPG studio that could have met fan demands other than Larian Studios. The Divinity: Original Sin developer is currently working on Baldur’s Gate 3, which is expected to be the biggest and most complex Dungeons & Dragons video game to date. It’s based on the Fifth Edition ruleset of the tabletop RPG and will be turn-based, unlike its real-time, paused predecessors.
Given the universal acclaim of Divinity: Original Sin 2, it’s no exaggeration to say that Baldur’s Gate 3 is in good hands.