With not one but two XCOM reboots in the making, not to mention new StarCraft and Diablo games on shelves, it's no secret that resurrecting an aging PC franchise can be good for business. Gamers in their late twenties and thirties can be a nostalgic bunch, and we love the familiarity of a classic setting. What's more, some of the games we grew up with actually hold up well, so a remake can draw in the younger generations.
Here are a few old PC titles that could use a fresh coat of paint and a time machine to the present day. If I missed a classic PC game that should be remade for the current generation of gamers, please let me know in the comments.
If you've ever played a first-person RPG like Skyrim, you've played a descendant of this game. It inspired many of today's most popular developers, even some whose games are nothing like it. And yet Ultima Underworld isn't really around anymore—the closest thing is Ultima Online, an MMO that's fifteen years old and does not use a first-person perspective.
The Elder Scrolls is going to test the MMO waters soon. Why shouldn't its grandfather in first-person RPG excellence try the single-player world again? The market is getting a little crowded—success on the order of Oblivion and Skyrim tends to inspire lots of knockoffs—but certainly it's big enough to accommodate what was once a leader in the genre.
I know, I know—Fallout 3 and all that. I love Fallout 3, and I can't wait to see what Fallout 4 will look like on the Creation engine (the one used in Skyrim). But simply put, Fallout 3 leaves room for a more traditional sequel to the old school Fallout games.
No doubt, some people were rather surprised when GOG.com offered the original Fallout for free—not just by the generosity, but also by the grid-based combat that ruled the series through Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics. No one would want Fallout 4 to return to this setup—a lot of people find it tedious—but fans of the old series no doubt wouldn't mind a more traditional follow-up.
XCOM is doing a similar thing: a classic-style game for the faithful and an FPS with big explosions to win over new fans. Why doesn't Bethesda create an old-school, downloadable Fallout game for the hardcore?
The original Marathon games were some of the first Doom clones, and they were never anything more than cult classics. What makes them worth bringing back, you ask?
As it turns out, their developer was Bungie, the folks who came up with Halo a few years later and recently decided they were done working with Master Chief. Part of their new contract is that they'll devote some of their staff to a new Marathon project. I wholeheartedly endorse this idea.
Today, you can download the Marathon franchise for free, and frankly it's hard to tell what some people see in it. It's time for Bungie to harness the power of its experience with Halo and show us why Marathon is a worthwhile franchise with a unique set of ideas.