Six Late-Gen Success Stories

by Joe Juba on Oct 08, 2012 at 01:45 PM

The release of Dishonored tomorrow is notable for many reasons. It's a good game (which is the most important reason), but it is also a rare new property in a landscape that is dominated by big-budget sequels. While uncommon, a successful new game surfacing late in a generation isn't unprecedented. Here are six other well-known titles that came at the tail end of a hardware cycle.

Release: October 17, 2006

The Xbox 360 was out for nearly a year when Bully released, and the PlayStation 3 was only a month away. Even so, this PS2 title displayed Rockstar's trademark blend of humor and open-world gameplay, becoming an instant cult hit. Bully was successful enough to warrant a next-gen move to Xbox 360 and Wii, but the PS2 version started it all.

Release: April 19, 2005

Psychonauts may not have been a huge financial success for developer Double Fine or publisher Majesco, but the game has received an absurd amount of love in the years since its release. The next generation of hardware was on the horizon when this title first released for Xbox (and shortly thereafter on PC and PS2), but the anticipation didn't prevent gamers from enjoying this quirky gem.

Jade Empire
Release: April 12, 2005

BioWare had some major next-gen tricks up its sleeve with Mass Effect, but it closed out the previous cycle in style with Jade Empire. Mixing elements of kung-fu movies and its Knights of the Old Republic series, this action/RPG hybrid initially had the potential to become an extended franchise. While a sequel never materialized, fans still look back on Jade Empire and its unique setting with fondness.

God of War
Release: March 22, 2005

Kratos is such a large part of PlayStation's identity that it's hard to believe that his first entry only released seven years ago. With its amazing graphics and brutal gameplay, this exclusive showed PS2 owners that the console still had plenty of life left in it. God of War was such a hit that its sequel also released on PS2, despite the fact that the PlayStation 3 was already on store shelves. 

Paper Mario
Release: February 5, 2001

The Dreamcast and PS2 were already available when Paper Mario came out for N64, but this charming title still stood out among its flashier peers. By giving Mario a new 2D look and embracing the approach of Super Mario RPG on SNES, Paper Mario gave N64 fans a memorable last hurrah in the Mushroom Kingdom before the release of the GameCube.

Perfect Dark 
Release: May 22, 2000

Following up on the success of GoldenEye, Rare's Perfect Dark used proven FPS mechanics to introduce its own character and universe. Joanna Dark may not be as well-known as 007, but the gameplay in Perfect Dark saw improvements across the board. Many people see Halo as the turning point for console FPS titles, but don't underestimate Perfect Dark's role in giving gamers an appetite for that experience.