What Xbox Franchises Should Return On The Next Xbox?

by Matt Miller on May 20, 2013 at 01:35 PM

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 true.

Check out our list, and share your hopes for Xbox games that should come back in the comments below.

Alan Wake
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%.

Blue Dragon
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 time soon.

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.

Crimson Skies
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.

Dance Central
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.]

Gears of War
Chance of Return: 90%

While the main story of Gears of War wrapped up at the end of the third installment, developer Epic Games has shown that it's more than willing to explore other aspects of the world through the recent release of Gear of War: Judgment. That latest title was very recent, so don't expect to see a new Gears of War right away, but this franchise is too big to be left by the wayside.

Chance of Return: 100%

Halo popularized the original Xbox, and sales of new installments inevitably draw in the crowds. Moreover, Microsoft established new developer 343 Industries with the sole purpose of shepherding its most valuable property. 343 has already promised that Halo 4 was the beginning of a new trilogy. There's absolutely no chance that Halo won't show up on the next Xbox, and we suspect that Microsoft is eager to make it happen as soon as possible.

Jade Empire
Chance of Return: 20%

With the close of the Mass Effect trilogy, BioWare might be looking to return to one or more of its older properties and flesh it out as a next-gen installment. Jade Empire was an Xbox console exclusive when it first released, and we'd be delighted to see a return to the Chinese mythology inspirations of that world. BioWare may be focusing on more recent and popular series, but we can dream.

Xbox Games That Should Stay Dead

While a few of our editors disagreed, the prevailing opinion in the Game Informer office is that the following Xbox and Xbox 360 games should not make a return next generation. Disagree? Sound off in the comments below.

-Blinx: The Time Sweeper
-Fuzion Frenzy
-Perfect Dark
-Too Human

Chance of Return: 40%

Kinectimals was undeniably cute, and helped to show off the potential of the Kinect device as a plaything for young players, but whether the game made enough of an impression to expand out into a regular series is debatable. We'd like to see the soon-to-be announced Xbox try to cross the uncanny valley of adorability with this one, but we're not counting on it.

Left 4 Dead
Chance of Return: 50%

While Left 4 Dead has plenty of players on PC, console gamers got their dose of zombie killing on the Xbox 360. The incredible cooperative play would match up well with Microsoft's increasing focus on social gameplay options, but Valve has always been an unpredictable developer, so we just can't be sure if another installment is in the cards - even if it is, the likelihood of it remaining a console exclusive on the Xbox is limited.

Lost Odyssey
Chance of Return: 5%

Like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey has devoted fans, but probably not enough to bring us another full installment of the series. We can still cross our fingers for a sequel on the basis that Microsoft may want to cater to that small but enthusiastic crowd of players who love traditional Japanese RPGs. But that's a slim hope, especially since the original Lost Odyssey offered a satisfying completion to the tale.

Shadow Complex
Chance of Return: 20%

One of the best games on Xbox Live Arcade offers a modern-day variation on the familiar Metroid formula, and players have longed for a second installment ever since it came out. However, developer Chair Entertainment has since found incredible success developing the Infinity Blade games on iOS. Returning to the less profitable arena of downloadable console games just may not be in the cards, no matter how much we wish to see more Shadow Complex.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Chance of Return: 70%

The recent announcement that Electronic Arts has acquired exclusive rights to create console titles for the Star Wars license has reignited the hope for a new installment of KotOR. EA has said that BioWare is one of three developers working on Star Wars-related content, and players have been begging for another installment for years. While The Old Republic continues to persist in the online MMO world, we're hopeful for a new single-player RPG in the beloved series sometime soon.

Viva Piñata
Chance of Return: 25%

Rare's smiling Piñata animals made for a refreshing change of pace on the 360, and it's been a while since we had a true new installment. While Viva Piñata isn't a sure thing for Microsoft, it's a franchise that would help speak to the broad reach of its catalog, so we can hope that the family game might make a return to continue that heritage in the next generation.