Shenmue taught us that you can literally make a game about anything—you spent half the series just doing menial jobs, and somehow it's still considered a classic. It made the everyday life of one dude into a seemingly epic quest.
But Shenmue 2's ending is like the average user review on Metacritic: wordy, meandering, and totally pointless. That doesn't mean we wouldn't have liked to continue the story, though. Shenmue was an innovative series, and just because Yakuza picked up the slack (sort of) when Shenmue fell by the wayside doesn't mean we should never get to play Shenmue 3.
The world of Beyond Good and Evil is as unique as they come, with a photojournalist running an orphanage in a lighthouse on a strange planet and with the help of an anthropomorphic pig, amongst others. Mix in some aliens and a high-level conspiracy or two, and you've got a compelling video game narrative.
And the end—which sees an important character infected by something sinister—perfectly sets it up for a follow-up. Hopefully someone somewhere is still working on Beyond Good and Evil 2, despite the fact that we've barely heard a peep about it in some time.
Psychonauts is the perfect example of what a creative mind—Tim Schafer's—can do with a singular good idea: a summer camp for psychic kids. It was quirky, unique, and fun, and it was everything we'd ever want in a video game.
Despite a satisfying resolution to the game's plot, there were plenty of things left to explore in the world of Psychonauts. Its cliffhanger ending didn't even feel cheap. Schafer's got other things on his plate right now (like raising millions of dollars on Kickstarter), but we're still hoping someone (Notch?) will make Psychonauts 2 happen someday.
Psi-Ops needed a sequel so badly that Midway was actually brazen enough to slap a "to be continued" right on the ending, as if guaranteeing that it would actually be continued. Needless to say, that didn't exactly pan out.
But Psi-Ops is still one of the only games to ever do psychic powers right—most Star Wars games can't even figure out how to let players use the Force. There are few things more satisfying than taking control of an enemy and making him shoot all his buddies before putting a bullet through his own face. Translate that to a modern reimagining, and you've got a hit on your hands.
While it's only been about five years since the last installment in the Half-Life series graced us with its presence, it's already on its way to becoming the next Duke Nukem Forever. With all the other projects Valve has been concerned with since then—including but not limited to Steam, Portal, Left 4 Dead, biometrics, and possibly their own gaming hardware—it's easy to assume that they've got no intention of picking up their signature franchise any time soon.
But the longer this goes on, the more cruel Gabe Newell seems to be to everyone left enraged by the game's last cliffhanger, in which an important and well-loved character eats it in a very real way. I've been aching to pick up where I left off ever since, and I know for a fact I'm not the only one. So Valve, if you're reading this, how about it? We could probably wait 15 years, just like we did for Duke Nukem Forever, but be careful—you just might be irrelevant by then.
Date: April 4, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*