Kotaku once asked, “Why should a gaming franchise die just ’cause you don’t like it?” and I kind of agree. I don’t think franchises should die because I have stopped enjoying them. That would be shallow.
I still do think these following game franchises need to die, however, and it’s for a whole other reason. It’s not cause I think they are bad, it’s because I think they are causing their parent companies to stagnate. When you become too attached to a brand, you throw all your power behind it, and sometimes you end up sinking with the ship, so to speak. I personally think that if these franchises died, the gaming world would be better, not because they’re awful but because they would free up their creators to do the innovative work they were known for before these titles struck it big.
So without further ado, here are the top ten gaming franchises that need to die. It’s for the good of us all.
God of War
God of War gets put way down at the bottom of the list because, frankly, I’m not sure if it’s still alive. We haven’t heard a lot of news coming out of Sony Santa Monica lately, and unless Kratos makes a showing at this year’s E3, I’m comfortable with letting him stay dead. (He’s died like, what, five times already?) Sony Santa Monica is a brilliant development studio, and the original God of War was a triumph of innovation. But Kratos’s story is over, and instead of trying to constantly extend it with prequels and midquels I want to see a new action game come out of the studio that made God of War big in the first place.
Dragon Ball Z
Most Dragon Ball Z games are just selling on brand recognition now. The anime hasn’t been alive since 1997, if you count Dragon Ball GT . Most of these games are just button-mash fests with not even a casual nod toward balance… and they are made by Bandai Namco! Bandai Namco makes Tekken ! Bandai Namco makes Soul Calibur ! Bandai Namco made the latest Smash Bros .! I’d much rather see Bandai Namco spend their energies on trying to make a new and innovative fighting game IP that has a place in the competitive world, rather than simply cash in on the same old anime titles and sexualizing their fighting game IPs that already work.
Sorry Maxis, but I think it’s time to put the cash cow to bed. Yes, I know people like The Sims a lot. But there are so many other sim titles that I want to see Maxis take a stab at again. SimAnt ? SimEarth ? SimLife ? Remember all of these? They were incredibly fun, and the closest we got to seeing sequels were the half-baked ideas in Spore . Speaking of Spore , I wouldn’t mind seeing Maxis try a Spore 2 and actually deliver on what they promised this time around. Heck, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Sim City that didn’t suffer from online DRM problems. I have a feeling all of this could be done if The Sims wasn’t being milked for all it’s worth.
Bungie already made my argument for me when it comes to the death of Halo . We’ve already seen what they can do when they aren’t focusing on the Halo franchise. It’s called Destiny , and it is awesome. Now Halo has been turned over to another studio just to keep the Master Chief name alive but… why? New and innovative shooters are making a huge splash in the market right now, and I’m sure that 343 Industries could cook up something great as an Xbox One exclusive that would really narrow the race between that console and the PS4.
Mario Anything That Isn’t a Platformer, RPG, or Kart
When Nintendo focuses on what makes Mario Mario, then we get awesome games like Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D World . When they don’t, we get things like Mario Strikers , Mario Hoops , and Fortune Street …. whatever that even is. Even Mario Party hasn’t been fun for a few years. Mario still has a TON of potential, though, as we have seen with the most recent Mario Kart and Mario and Luigi releases. So I’m not saying we should axe all the spin-off games, just most of them, and instead focus on things fans really want. Like maybe an actual Super Mario RPG sequel? Where the heck is my Geno, Nintendo?
Capcom has been suffering in recent years because, in their own words, they haven’t been putting out original titles. Great! I’m right on board with you, Capcom. So if you need to take focus off a non-original franchise, maybe think of pulling the plug on the Resident Evil franchise. Resident Evil 6 didn’t turn anyone’s head. Heck, Bethesda proved they could do Resident Evil better than Capcom with The Evil Within . Zombies are so 2005, (I can’t believe I said that seriously) so let the undead rest and work on something else. Maybe a new Mega Man ? Eh? Eeeeeeeh?
Assassin’s Creed games are being produced so quickly that their characters don’t have faces… literally. Have you seen the bugs in Assassin’s Creed Unity ? Heck, the main arc of Assassin’s Creed , which focused on Desmond, is over! At this point it feels like the series is just stalling for time. But Ubisoft has a ton of other properties it can focus on. Heck, whatever happened to Prince of Persia ? I wouldn’t mind seeing another one of those. Ubisoft is very good at creating puzzly action games. They could turn back to that style of gameplay rather than riding the open world train off a cliff.
Arguably, Square-Enix hasn’t made a good Final Fantasy since Final Fantasy X , or earlier depending on how jaded you are. The online Final Fantasies are their own thing, the three Final Fantasy XIII ’s just kept getting worse, and now Final Fantasy XV sounds like it’s going to be a spiky-haired road trip with summons. You do know you have other RPG franchises… right Square? Secret of Mana ? Vagrant Story ? The SaGa series ? Bahamut Lagoon ? Star Ocean ? Valkyrie Profile ? Drgaon Quest ? Ogre Battle ? The World Ends With You ? Chrono Trigger ?Seriously I can keep going on here! Make another Actraiser for all I care! You have all this potential and you spend all your effort on the same franchise filled with spiky-haired emo boys… and I’m not even saying I don’t want to see spiky-haired emo boys! Just a different franchise of spiky-haired emo boys. Oh man, I want to see another TWEWY …
Call of Duty
Activision already made my argument for me when it comes to the death of Call of Duty . We already saw what they can do when they aren’t focusing on the Call of Duty franchise. It’s called Destiny , and it’s awesome! I feel like I’ve already typed this. Anyway, it’s not even controversial anymore to say Call of Duty needs to die. Activision has three separate studios working on it at the same time just so that they can churn out yearly releases. Heck, most of the games don’t even have much to do with each other anymore, both in terms of mechanics and story. You can keep making shooters, Activision, but honestly, try something different! Like a sci-fi RPG-style shooter! That would be awesome! Right?
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic Boom .
Oh, I’m sorry. I have to make more of an argument than that? OK. Sonic 06 ?
More? Sonic and the Secret Rings ? Sonic Unleashed ? Sonic and the Black Knight ?
OK OK, I know I promised that I wouldn’t base any of these arguments on how bad a franchise was, but rather on disproportionate effort spent supporting it. Fine. Sega is capable of making a LOT of great games. We just never remember them because we are so busy hating on Sonic . Valkyria Chronicles was Sega. Virtua Fighter is Sega. Heck, Alien: Isolation is Sega. Sega has some real talent under their umbrella and yet they spend millions, literally millions, on trying to support this blue hedgehog in all the wrong ways. Face it, Sega. Sonic is dead, and you killed him. Walk away from the battered corpse with friction tape all over it, and focus on your other franchises. Like Shenmue ! Or Crazy Taxi ! Or Zaxxon , I don’t care. Just anything but Sonic: The Hedgehog , OK?