With every new Call of Duty release, there’s a dozen other franchises that continue to lie dormant gathering dust on a shelf somewhere. Below is a list of some of the best franchises that have been dead for far too long. Included on this list are some cornerstone racing titles, the heir to the GoldenEye 64 legacy, and two of the greatest series of all-time. You might have a favorite franchise absent from this list; feel free to add to this list in the comment section below!
The original TimeSplitters was the heir apparent to the successful GoldenEye 64, thanks to the original developer’s ties to Rare. The first game was an exclusive on the PS2 while the follow-up, TimeSplitters 2, also saw release on the Xbox and GameCube. The games were excellent FPS titles that provided smartly designed single and co-op experiences with an expansive multiplayer component. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect was the third and final game in the series and it was released to positive reviews in 2005.
We’ve been without a new TimeSplitters for over seven years despite lip-service from the current IP owner, Crytek UK. While the game sales aren’t as strong as some other titles, the pedigree of the game is worthy of another installment, especially on this generation’s modern hardware. TimeSplitters 4 was announced but appears to be stuck in development hell.
Four years ago, Criterion released Burnout Paradise to critical acclaim and decent sales. Since then, EA and Criterion have left the series dead while working on the Need for Speed titles. Sure, Burnout Crash! was released on PSN and XBLA, but it’s a Burnout game in name only. Missing are the spectacular sense of speed and explosive crashes.
While the Need for Speed games have benefited from Criterion’s involvement, fans and gamers have been left with rusty old copies of Paradise and Burnout Revenge to bide their time. This is one of the best car series of all-time and deserves to be seen from more than once every four years.
Speaking of dormant racing games, what the hell happened to F-Zero? Once the quintessential futuristic racing game, F-Zero hasn’t been heard from since 2004. For fans that can’t import Japanese GBA exclusives, the drought has been since 2003. This once and mighty franchise has been ignored by Nintendo while a variety of traditional franchises seem to get a new game twice every console cycle.
On its initial release, F-Zero was a breakout hit that showed a tremendous amount of speed and explosive futuristic combat. For SNES addicts, it was the perfect game to get amped about when taking a break from Super Mario World and the like. Apparently, there is an F-Zero mini-game in NintendoLand; however, we all know that’s just not enough and merely a tease until we get a proper sequel.
Eight years. That’s how long it has been since Doom 3 was released. Eight long years. John Carmack and Todd Hollenshead have been teasing us with news about Doom 4 for over five years and we have NOTHING official to show for it. For real. While it’s lovely that id Software has been making games for mobile phones, Doom 4 really deserves to be played alongside the best games of this generation. Instead, we’re stuck waiting for the return of the most famous space marine ever pixelated -- unless you count the upcoming Doom 3 re-release, that is.
While not on the shelf as long as Doom, Half-Life has been quietly absent for five years. Sure, Valve released The Orange Box in 2007, but where’s Half-Life 2: Episode Three or Half-Life 3? Gabe Newell’s unwillingness to discuss the next iteration in the series is reminiscent of the silence surrounding Doom 4. Gamers deserve good games and the silence of these developers might be for our own good. However, that doesn’t silence our anticipation. Instead, we’re just enveloped in additional frustration. Get it together, Valve, we want more Gordon Freeman!
Beyond Good & Evil
The last franchise on this list isn’t technically a franchise. Yet, the promise of Beyond Good & Evil 2 would have made this underrated gem worthy of the franchise tag. One of the best games of last generation has seen an HD remake released, but short of that the series has been quiet for nine years. There’s a ton of potential in this property and only Sam Fisher knows what is taking Ubisoft so long to make this game. Don’t worry, by the time it comes out we’ll be let down by all of the hype.