The lights are on
With the reveal of the next-generation Xbox less than a day
away, we've chosen nearly 20 games we'd
like to see come back on the console. We've picked only games that were either
Xbox or Xbox 360 exclusives, or those that were best known for their presence
on a Microsoft console.
Then we asked the Game Informer editors to vote on the
likelihood that each would return, to come up with a (marginally) educated
guess of whether our dreams for a new installment in each franchise might come
Check out our list, and share your hopes for Xbox games that
should come back in the comments below.
Chance of Return: 35%
The supernatural horror game garnered enthusiastic fans, and
the world of Alan Wake seems like it could easily support future installments.
However, the franchise probably wouldn't be worked on outside of original
developer Remedy, and after such a long development cycle for the original Alan
Wake, the team may be ready to focus on something else. That makes a new Alan
Wake a possibility, but not an especially strong one.
Chance of Return: 45%
The family-friendly bear Banjo and his friend Kazooie made a
splash in 2008 with Nuts & Bolts, proving that the action/platform stars
could do something new after all these years. Microsoft is undoubtedly eager to
make the next-gen Xbox friendly to families, but some kids just don't care too
much about these two mascot-like heroes, keeping the likelihood of another
installment below 50%.
Chance of Return: 5%
The excellent RPG from Mistwalker and Artoon was well loved
when it released in the States in 2007. Blue Dragon followed mostly familiar
Japanese RPG conventions for combat and exploration, but had some gorgeous
music and art that captured the eye and ear. Nonetheless, the Xbox consoles
have always had trouble gaining a foothold in Japan, and the audience in North
America is limited for these types of games. Plus, a sequel came to the
Nintendo DS that did not do well commercially, so the chance that Microsoft
will return to this franchise is very small.
Chance of Return: 10%
The foul-mouthed squirrel got a lot of love in his day for
attempting to push a more "mature" approach to character platform games,
dominated by poop jokes and cursing. The franchise undoubtedly still has its
vocal fans, but we can't imagine Microsoft wanting to put Conker front and
center as one of the voices shaping next-gen gaming. Don't expect a sequel any
Chance of Return: 50%
Open-world, third-person sandbox games still garner big sales,
and Crackdown is a franchise that Microsoft can claim all to itself. Next-gen
tech could do a lot to play up the destruction and weaponry from earlier
installments. Even so, no one would highlight Crackdown as the centerpiece for
any next-gen strategy - especially after the disappointing Crackdown 2. The franchise
may be left behind as Microsoft focuses on bigger, better-known properties.
Chance of Return: 20%
If the fervent dreams of longtime gamers were enough to make
a game exist, then we would have had a sequel to Crimson Skies a long time ago.
Unfortunately, the excellent flight game is likely to stay in our memories, as
Microsoft hasn't made any moves on the property in years. Great potential for
social-oriented multiplayer and an exclusive flight game on the console might
be enough to bring Crimson Skies back, but we doubt it.
Chance of Return: 80%
Dance Central has been one of the most popular titles for
Kinect, and Harmonix is the undisputed leader in the delivery of quality music
games. We'd be surprised if we didn't see a new installment on the next Xbox
that takes advantage of new capabilities for the next iteration of Kinect.
However, any new installments should ideally come from Harmonix, so the timing
may depend on that developer's availability.
Chance of Return: 90%
Developer Lionhead has seen a lot of changes and staff departures
in recent years, and the recent Kinect-exclusive Fable: The Journey received
poor critical and commercial response. Nonetheless, Fable has been a fixture of
the Xbox lineup for years, and RPGs are still popular, so we expect another
installment at some point. Will it be one of the first games announced for the
new console? That's seems less likely, as Microsoft may aim to put some more
space between the last installment and any new announcement.
Chance of Return: 95%
Most of our editors have no doubt that Forza is coming
back; every new console aims to have a quality racing title to hang its hat on,
and Microsoft has no reason to back off the successful Forza name. Plus, a
pretty car game can be a great way to show off the graphical power of your new
console. We predict Forza may be one of the first new games we hear about in
the coming weeks.
[Next up: The only game all our editors agree will absolutely be back next generation, plus the Xbox games that should remain dead.]
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.