The lights are on
Most gamers appreciate when a brand new installment releases in their favorite series. Despite complaints about “sequelitis,” getting too many entries is better than the alternative: getting too few. In Where’s My Sequel, we look at franchises that deserve to continue. In this installment we examine the classic 16-bit series Actraiser.
What it is
That all applies mainly to the original Actraiser. Actraiser 2 ditched the simulation elements completely (much to disappointment of fans) in favor of an all-action approach, so when fans think of the core Actraiser experience, the style of the first game is what they're picturing.
When it stopped
Actraiser 2 is the most recent entry, and it released in 1993. Since then, publisher Enix merged with Square, and developer Quintet has all but vanished. Square Enix still retains the rights to the franchise, but considering its been dormant for 20 years, the odds of a new entry are not great.
What comes next
If Square Enix revives the Actraiser franchise (against all odds), the company needs to keep a few key points in mind. First of all, bring back the two distinct gameplay phases. Don't focus on one or the other, and don't meld them into a single, unholy form of gameplay that tries to merge action and simulation. Part of the fun of the original Actraiser is how it scratched two completely separate itches – and Actraiser 2's failure to do so is a big part of why many found it disappointing. First have players do some action-packed combat, then let them settle down with some peaceful city building.
As much as that sounds like copying the blueprint of the first game, not everything needs to stay the same. I would love a new Actraiser installment that mimics the 16-bit style of the previous titles, but I wouldn't mind seeing the graphics and gameplay updated with a more modern flair – as long it doesn't end up terrible like another 3D reboot of a 2D classic. The concept of controlling the earthly incarnation of a divine force would work well with God of War-style action stages, and it would make players feel more powerful than the series' old-school jump-and-slash combat.
The simulation aspects could also be improved, drawing from the decade's best entries in the genre like Tropico 4 and Civ V. Actraiser shouldn't include the myriad layers of strategic depth that those titles have, but it shouldn't err on the side of being too simplistic (though I wouldn't mind seeing some inspiration from the Kefling games in there). Give players the chance to dig into their cities' systems a little bit, set up some supply chains, maybe even interact with other nearby civilizations. And, of course, cast an array of awesome miracles to impress villagers, frighten enemies, and optimize production.
Actraiser is a revered name from the 16-bit era, and as much as I'd love it to be revived, that isn't enough. I don't just want to see more Actraiser; I want to see more Actraiser done right, and that would undoubtedly include some surprises that I don't even know I want in a sequel. I'm just hoping Square Enix will someday demonstrate what those things are.
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ActRaiser was awesome back in the day, one of my most favorite games during the snes era, very good question is being asked here.. where is the sequel? with square-enix still owning rights.. could they perhaps bring it back.. 20yrs waiting and still no answer. Props to you joe for bringing this up. doubt it gets answered though.
Where's my sequel to X Men Legends? We need more X men games for this gen!
The screenshots remind me of Zelda 2.
Actraiser was awesome! Never got around to playing the second one, but that was mostly because I was told it stunk. Get on the 3D remake Square Enix!
Where's my Sequel?: Starfox Command.
Think it would be a good title if they kept it more towards the original, maybe do that 2.5D that is fairly popular with reboots of old series. Add some depth to the Simulation parts and open the world a bit so it is less linear and it could very well be something amazing.
This and Soulblazer were two games I really enjoyed back in the day, wouldn't mind seeing both revisited, give Final Fantasy a small break.
If Square Enix reboots Actraiser, it will probably have loads of in-game purchases
I completely forgot about Actraiser! Great feature Joe. A sequel would be nice. I had such a great time with the original.
Actraiser is up on my Top 5 "please revive this series" wishlist. I don't trust Square to do it right, though.
yeah i'd the a sequel to this too. i've never played either of the games but i watched the replay episode on it a while back now and it looked just up my alley. heres to hoping maybe one day we might get something similar to it again.
AHmazing music in this game. I remember the mode 7 zoom from heaven when you descend to the side scrolling stages. I loved the final fight, preceding with a boss rush mode of the previous area bosses. Actraiser 2 was an early example of a sequel doing the wrong thing; a good game but not as memorable as the first. Wasnt Soulblazer a spiritual successor to Actraiser? Overhead action with a cool world building mechanic...seems like it was somehow associated with Actraiser. Regardless, this game should definitely see a sequel or an amazing remake!