Most of you know this, but gaming is a business. Business doesn’t care about art, either; business cares about cold, hard, sometimes crypto, cash. If art doesn’t get the business any of that, guess what, art can piss right off.
While I’m sure that we’re all looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2’s imminent release and we’re getting ready to get look online for RDR2 cheats, spare a thought for the games that are not going to sell millions of copies.
Too many games have fallen victim to the dreaded condition of ‘critically acclaimed, financially underwhelming, or CAFU, an acronym I just made up. Most of the time, the gaming community surges in disbelief at the axeing of a promising new IP, or a sequel to a beloved series. Almost all of the time, developers and companies, smile, shrug, and ignore these cries.
But sometimes, just sometimes, the Gods of Gaming look down upon us and say “Ya know what? Let them have one.” Today was one of those days.
These are some games that deserve sequels, and we all hope they have their day.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
The Amalur story (until today) was long and sordid, and serves as a cautionary tale. Essentially, a studio bought other studio, repurposed assets into decent game, then spent all the money on a Faberge egg omelette or something equally ridiculous, because this could have been glorious and instead is a flawed gem.
Amalur isn’t a phenomenal game, but it definitely could have been if all the funds and attention weren’t being funnelled into Project Let’s Burn All The Money For The Pure Unadulterated Hell Of It (a.k.a. Copernicus). It had an amazingly fresh high fantasy world, superb combat mechanics, innovative crafting and a story that, while it didn’t make sense, was at least pretty fun. Remove the invisible walls, add some jump attacks, shoot everyone who did those ludicrous Irish accents for the Tuatha (which I’ve talked about before), and you’ve got Game of the Year.
THQ Nordic have, gloriously, saved this IP from the ashes of 38 Studios immolation, and have the potential to birth a glorious phoenix of a game. Am I being overly dramatic? No. I’ve LONGED for this, and cannot wait to see what they do with it.
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect remains, to this day, the greatest FPS of all time. I will hear no arguments against this, because it was the first shooter I played with my friends and gave me some of the best experiences of my life.
Yes, I know that’s very sad. But let’s move past it.
Look, I can overlook Free Radical’s brief insanity with Haze, which I bought at launch and am still upset about because FFS guys what the hell was that. Now that they’re done with Crysis, we can have another TimeSplitters game. There’s certainly demand for one, as gritty realism in shooters has been hiccuping lately, and a number have been trying to recapture that frenetic action, bizarre settings, great humour, and general confusion that we got from the TimeSplitters series. Wildly sexist jokes in a zombie level? The baddie thinking he’s his own grandfather? 8 v 8 matches with nothing but syringe rifles that make your enemy explode? What’s not to love?
A lot, actually. Some of this has not aged well, but I would pay valuable dollars to have Carly-Beth objectify Cortez back decades later. Make it happen, FR.
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
A game I thought everyone but me had forgotten about, Psi-Ops had you playing as a soldier with laughably useless guns and the best physics engine of its time. Seriously, I shot a gun like 18 times throughout my first playthrough, choosing instead to fling enemies into each other with telekinesis, setting them on fire with my brain, and eating their brains with lightning to recharge.
It. Was. Awesome.
It even teased a sequel at the end, with a classic “I remember everything now” TO BE CONTINUED. It was clearly intended to go somewhere. Then Midway imploded.
Someone owns this IP now. Whoever you are, please, do something awesome. We need it.