Microsoft has been struggling this generation. The Xbox One is a great console, complete with fun games like Sunset Overdrive, Gears of War 4, and Forza Horizon 3. Although I love my Xbox One, the biggest problem with the console is its exclusives.
There’s no denying that Sony and Nintendo both knock it out of the park with diverse, critically acclaimed video games. As a gamer who prefers using my Xbox One X (full disclosure: I own a PlayStation 4 Pro and Nintendo Switch), seeing the console fall behind the others in the exclusives department is disheartening.
I’ve heard the argument many times that Microsoft needs new IPs. New properties have tremendous development cycles. Instead, why not use IPs that haven’t been seen in a long time?
Microsoft has over 40 IPs that are not in use anymore. While some are dormant, others were developed by studios that no longer exists. Take a look at some of the franchises Microsoft owns.
- Blood Wake
- Blue Dragon
- Cobra Triangle
- Fusion Frenzy
- Grabbed By The Ghoulies
- Jet Force Gemini
- Kung Fu Chaos
- Lost Odyssey
- Perfect Dark
- Powerstar Golf
- Project Gotham Racing
- R.C. Pro-Am
- Viva Pinata
- Voodoo Vince
In 2017, Microsoft released Voodoo Vince Remastered, an updated version of the original 2003 adventure platformer. In 2015, Rare Replay gave Xbox owners a chance to revisit some of Rare’s best games, including Blast Corps, Jet Force Gemini, and Battletoads. Lastly, thanks to original Xbox backwards compatibility, Fusion Frenzy, Conker: Live and Reloaded, and Blinx: The Time Sweeper are now available for Xbox One owners. There are so many excellent properties that Microsoft owns, and it upsets me that many of these haven’t had a new installment in years.
I’ve advocated that Microsoft could revive some dormant franchises by giving them to new developers. Imagine a Banjo-Kazooie game done by Moon Studios, the team behind Ori and the Blind Forest. What if Playground Games or Turn 10 Studios took a year off from doing Forza and took a crack at Project Gotham Racing? Jet Force Gemini is another game that could come back in a wholly-overhauled way. MechAssault, a staple of the early Xbox Live days, could come back and bring players tense online firefights. New experiences are great, but the past offers a lot of enjoyment, too.
The original Xbox launched in 2002, and since it was the “new kid on the black”, plenty of gamers didn’t get the chance to play many of the console’s awesome games. They would have missed out on fun games like Blood Wake, Brute Force, and Sudeki. Rebooting games that haven’t been used in such a long time not only helps Microsoft use properties they already own, these IPs also bring new experiences to those people who may not have played them the first time. The list above shows diversity, showcasing a substantial catalog full of platformers, action games, shooters, party games, simulations, RPGs, and racing games.
Microsoft is obviously aware how the video game community talks about the company’s exclusive situation. Companies like Nintendo have built its business on a selection of core franchises that people adore. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe were all games based on popular properties with previous generation releases. While Switch will see some new IPs later this year, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, and Super Smash Bros. will make returns. It goes to show that you don’t always need new IPs to thrive, It only takes engaging, quality exclusives.
Microsoft understands the importance of the IPs the company owns. Backwards compatibility strengthens game preservation. Original Xbox backwards compatibility is a fantastic way to revisit the past. What better way to pay tribute to classic Xbox games than to make sequels or reboots? I’d love to see a modern take on Brute Force or a new version of Crimson Skies, now that Xbox Live has evolved since the original Xbox. When Microsoft purchased Rare, they took possession of 15 pre-existing IPs, having only four being used since 2002.. Rare Replay was a fun-filled package of nostalgia, so why stop there?
I’d love to see Jet Force Gemini reimagined as a squad-based shooter. Imagine SabreWulf as an open-world adventure game akin to Indiana Jones. Slalom could benefit from a modern take on the extreme sports genre. I’d love to see a new Conker with tighter platforming controls and an overhauled version of the stellar multiplayer mode from Conker: Live and Reloaded.
There’s tons of potential for Microsoft invest in the properties they already have. While I enjoy seeing fresh IPs like Sunset Overdrive, Ryse: Son of Rome, ReCore, Sea of Thieves, and Quantum Break come to the console, that doesn’t mean older properties don’t deserve a time to shine.
Whether it’s getting Kudos in Project Gotham Racing, hearing a potty-mouthed squirrel in Conker, playing mini-games with friends in Fusion Frenzy or shooting down enemy planes in Crimson Skies-the possibilities are seemingly endless for the Xbox One.. I’m all for looking towards the future, but maybe a little some inspiration from the past is what we need right now.
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he’s usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89