Gamers are notorious for expressing their love for dead franchises. Nintendo fans have been especially vocal and expressive over the years with not only requests, but demands, to resurrect F-Zero and Star Fox, but Nintendo fans are not alone in their efforts. Blizzard fans were demanding games like Diablo III and StarCraft II for what seemed like an eternity. Valve fans are still bitter at the absence of Half-Life 3. In an ideal world, the franchises we all know and love would never disappear, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Sometimes, however, I would argue that a franchise being dead is actually a blessing in disguise.
Take Star Fox as an example. For years fans wanted a new game. Nintendo even poked fun at all the letters and emails they received on the subject at E3 2015, but it appeared the company simply wasn’t interested in bringing Fox and the gang back. That is until the announcement of Star Fox Zero for the Wii U. Fans went crazy. Nintendo had finally listened and it appeared to be, on the surface at least, a true successor to Star Fox 64. None of that adventuring malarkey. None of that Assault or Command nonsense. A true, to the core sequel to one of the N64’s most beloved games.
Then it was released. Star Fox Zero almost ruined the legacy of the game which it tried so much to replicate, mainly because of the terrible control scheme. Implementation of the Wii U GamePad was forced on, almost as an excuse to justify such a terrible gimmick, and it was detrimental to the whole experience. It’s true that without the GamePad implementation the game probably would have been a solid entry in the franchise, but the end result was poor. As it stands the Star Fox franchise is at an all-time low, and the health of the franchise would be substantially better had Zero never launched.
So, are dead franchises always a bad thing? I don’t think they are. It depends on the context. When I think about the franchises I would most like to see return there is certainly a lot which, as much as I’d like to see them brought back, I know they would be ruined by the companies which own them. Do I really want to see Castlevania resurrected by modern Konami? The company which has brought us abominations like Metal Gear Survive and Contra: Rogue Corps? Do I want to see a new Silent Hill for the same reason? Even the last few Castlevania and Silent Hill games weren’t the greatest. Could I trust Activision to publish a new Star Control game and not make it a “live service” mess? I probably couldn’t. No, I definitely couldn’t.
But, there are other franchises I’d welcome with a warm embrace, from companies which I still trust, if they were brought back. I’d love to see a new Dragon Slayer game. The franchise technically still exists through its spin-off series The Legend of Heroes, but I’d love for Falcom to release Dragon Slayer IX at some point. With how varied the games in the Dragon Slayer franchise are it’d be interesting to see which direction Falcom would take it. Then you have a company like Sega, which for many years lost my faith entirely, but have in recent times slowly started to regain my trust. I’d love to see Virtua Fighter 6 and Panzer Dragoon Saga II. They’ve finally reached that point where I can risk trusting them to make these games once again. Hell, Sega has already announced a revival of Streets of Rage and I can’t wait for that.
Dead franchises aren’t always ideal but sometimes they are a necessity. I’d rather a franchise remain dead but precious than be ruined forever.