‘Back from the dead’ is back! After a couple of months off, since my suggestions of which franchises Sega should revive, it’s back! This time we’re going to look at shooters. First-person shooters, 3rd-person shooters, and basically anything where you shoot a gun, are all fair game here. The one rule I am giving myself is that it has to be a game that hasn’t had a sequel for at least five years. This means that games like Medal of Honor, F.E.A.R., and Red Faction are counted out.
What was it: Half-Life is a science fiction first-person shooter series, following the adventures of Gordon Freeman. Thought there have only been two games in the series so far, they are some of the most critically acclaimed games ever. Both games currently have a Metacritic ranking of 96 and are regularly included in the upper echelons of different top 100 games lists. Developed by Valve, Half-Life was their first game and instantly put the company on the map. Their second game was Half-Life 2 and was even more successful. It brought physics puzzles to first-person shooters and also introduced the brilliant gravity gun.
Why should it be brought back: Did you read where I said that the first two games were ‘some of the most critically acclaimed games ever’? Valve is an incredible game developer and always puts out top quality products. If the company ever does get around to making Half-Life 3, I would fully expect it to be just as good as the previous games.
Chances of revival: Good. There have been rumours for years that Valve are working on it. I think it all just boils down to whether they can come up with a good enough concept and story to live up to the previous games.
What was it: TimeSplitters was a first-person shooter series from Free Radical. The original game was released in 2000 and spawned two sequels. The main thrust of the games is that a race of aliens known as TimeSplitters try and wreak havoc on humanity through a variety of time periods. TimeSplitters 2 released in 2002 and TimeSplitters: Future Perfect released in 2005. The games had a great cartoon-style to the graphics and put alongside some great surreal and sarcastic humour. The most important thing in the series though was the gameplay and how good the controls felt. First-person shooters were still in the infancy on consoles and the only two that had really worked before TimeSplitters were Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. It should come as no surprise then that the creator of TimeSplitters, David Doak, was one of the key developers on those games.
Why should it be brought back: First-person shooters are all so serious nowadays; it would be great to have a shooter with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek. The games were also some of the best playing shooters around.
Chances of revival: Pretty low. The franchise currently lays in the hands of Crytek, who were developing a fourth entry in the franchise, but when they started to struggle financially they got rid of the studio that was developing it. There is a fan remake being made, but who knows what the quality of that will be, or whether it will be released on anything other than PC.
Full Spectrum Warrior
What was it: Full Spectrum Warrior was an intriguing blend of real-time strategy and third person shooter, which started life as a training tool for the US Army. Though you never actually shoot, you do tell your soldiers exactly where to shoot and move to, when to lay down covering fire, or hold a position. The game aims to give you the experience of being in command of a couple of fire-teams on the battlefield. You control your team from a third-person perspective and can only move your team or fire at something that you can see. The game, which was developed by Pandemic Studios, was released in 2004 and spawned one sequel, ‘Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers’.
Why should it be brought back: The game was unique when it was released back in 2004 and is still unique now. With the added graphical and computing prowess of the new consoles this game could be brought back and be something truly special.
Chances of revival: Very low. The license was one among many that was picked up by Nordic Games when THQ went under, and like the majority of those licenses is just gathering dust. What’s more Pandemic Studios, the developer of the games, was bought by EA and then just over a year later shut down.
What was it: Black was a fast paced first-person shooter that showed a love for action cinema and fun. The game was developed by Criterion Games who used it as a palate cleanser between numerous Burnout games. It was one of the best-looking games on Xbox and has appeared in various top shooters lists. The story of the game is told in flashback as Jack Keller, the game’s protagonist, is being interrogated about the events that have gone on a few days before in Eastern Europe.
Why should it be brought back: Black would be a difficult sell as it occupies a similar gaming space to Call of Duty and to some extent Battlefield. Both of these games are massive though and there’s clearly a market for that type of game. Possibly the greatest thing about bringing it back would be to re-energise Criterion. Since EA bought the studio, the quality of their games has gone down and down. Developing a completely different game could really invigorate them back to the powerhouse developers that they were.
Chances of revival: Zero. EA would rather focus on their Battlefield franchise and keep Criterion making racing games.
What was it: XIII was a cel-shaded first person shooter based on a comic of the same name. In a plot similar to The Bourne Identity, you play Jason Fly, a trained agent who has lost his memory. The cel-shaded graphics weren’t the only thing to reflect a comic book though: important actions (like headshots or an important character appearing) would appear in cutaway panels and onomatopoeic words that would pop up. The game also had one of the best multiplayer sections of any game available at the time.
Why should it be brought back: Apart from how great the game looked and played, it had a fantastic story. With single-player campaigns disappearing from AAA shooters and the bland stories of the ones that do have them, the possibility of having a gripping story in a game would be great. The cel-shaded graphics would still set the game apart and the appreciation of the whole playable comic feel would be better than ever.
Chances of revival: Extremely low. Ubisoft owns the franchise, but has not shown the slightest inclination to make another XIII game. Even the TV series based on the property hasn’t fuelled any speculation of a new game.
Well that’s my top five. What do you think I missed? What would be in your top five? Feel free to share your choices in the comments below.