Let’s Talk About the Sequels We Really Want (Part One)

Credit: Crea-ture Studios
Video games are a business, at least that is the primary framing of the industry big boys. While there is the growing indie market more focused on customer satisfaction over sheer profit, this doesn’t help a lot when it comes to sequels to old AAA releases. It was hanging out with some friends, nostalgia tripping over the ‘good-old-days’ that we had the idea for this article – what old series do we want a sequel to, and why are these so special to us? At least with some of our old series, we might expect a crowd-funded pseudo-sequel but, if Mighty Number 9 is an example, these might not quite measure up to the originals.

Tony Hawks Pro Skater

This might surprise some of our younger readers out there, but the Tony Hawks games were once one of the biggest gaming series in the world. The first game on the original PlayStation and Nintendo 64 captured the imagination of 90s cool and skater culture perfectly, and the sequels on the PlayStation 2 generation added to this in both mechanics and scope. These were arcade perfection, with a focus on score and fun over anything approaching believability. Following this generation, however, the series fell into disarray. Starting with a new engine which just felt off with Project 8, pushing into terrible gimmick controllers with Ride, and the abomination which was the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 rush job, rarely has there been cases of series falling from such heights.

So what would it take to get us back into Tony Hawk game? How about we go the simple route first, to keep costs as low as possible and to bring back the original fans? Keep the hilarious character creator, keep all the playable characters, keep all the classic maps from the PS1-2 generations, and keep as much music as possible. This, right here, would have been a guaranteed way for Tony Hawk’s 5 to become a success. Alternatively, this could have been the path of the HD remake, which followed in the modern footsteps of unmitigated failure.

Still installed, and we still got the touch.

Lock it at 60 FPS, find some ridiculous way to link all maps together into one cohesive but nonsensical whole, and allow dedicated servers with plenty of concurrent players, and you have a chill-out game to surpass all others. Unfortunately, with the rights for the games now shifted from the original Activision, there is little chance we’ll ever get the follow-up we want. We can dream though.

At least we aren’t completely past the concept of high-quality Skating games, as the Skate series shows there is still significant enough interest to draw in major developers, and the recent announcement of Session does get our hopes us.

Help us Session, you’re our only hope.

Half-Life

You probably saw this one coming, well done. The original Half-Life began a revolution in gameplay and level design. Featuring a heavily story-based campaign, a setting which made the world feel incredibly real (maybe save for Xen), and AI which still beats out many modern contemporaries, Half-Life is often regarded as one of the best and most influential games of all time. Hopes were high for its sequel, where Valve showed the world they had not merely been resting on their laurels. Not content to just release the base HL2 game, Valve engaged in what is considered a forward-thinking attitude of episodic releases.

The first two of these episodes continued the story from the main HL2 campaign, with the second ending on one hell of a cliff-hanger. Fans were frothing (at the mouth) in their anticipation for the final of the three episodes to bring this entry to a close, only it never came. In what is now one of the most famous gaming memes, Valve not only abandoned the third episode, they have also made precisely zero announcements on a full-fledged third entry.

The stated reasons for this from Valve is that after the timing mess-ups which led to the cancellation of HL2 Episode 3, they wanted to wait until they could create a sequel as progressive as the first two were at the time of their release. Critics have pointed out that perhaps Valve’s reluctance is more due to their focusing on Steam as a money printing machine, with video games now being more a side project than their primary concern. At least we have some diligent fans in the Half-Life community who have dug up considerable information about what the third episode would have been like. This is well worth a look for those interested in game conception and creation.

YouTuber Phontomen lays out the cancelled HL2: Episode 3 story.

TimeSplitters

If you owned the original Xbox then chances are you were playing Halo. If you owned a PlayStation 2 or GameCube, however, and you wanted to get in on some classic split-screen cooperative or head-to-head FPS combat, then you probably went with TimeSplitters. Developed by the now-defunct Free Radical Design, this trilogy wore its GoldenEye and Perfect Dark inspiration on its sleeve. Makes sense, considering Free Radical Design was founded by a group of ex-Rare employees.

The story in TimeSplitters generally involved chasing aliens through time and attempting to stop the eponymous Time Splitters from creating a fascist and authoritarian future. This meant a huge range of environments and weaponry, in what are some of the most diverse settings included within a single series. This carried over into multiplayer, where users could play against their friends and bots with their own customized weapon sets and game-types.

Even better, TimeSplitters came with its own map editor. This was a powerful tool which is somewhat analogous to the modern DOOM Snapmap feature, including a variety of themes, and customizable events and triggers.

Time0to0split shows off the TimeSplitters 2 Mapmaker.

Unfortunately, Free Radical design saw financial difficulties which led to its ultimate sale and renaming to Crytek UK. While this company has still proven successful with games like Ryse: Son of Rome, and Crysis 3, they do not appear to have any plans to create another entry in the TimeSplitters series. While there is a fan recreation project happening on PC, development is slow and potentially stalled.

Thing is, you’d think to make another entry in this series would be a developers dream. Not only do they have the experience when it comes to first-person-shooters, the range of settings afforded by a time-travelling story would give an enormous amount of choice and flexibility to the involved staff. This is a game rife for creative exploitation, with a still very supportive fan-base, so we have to wonder what the hold-up might be. Hell, at this point we’d settle for an HD trilogy remaster. We know they have the tech, as per this Homefront easter egg so please, Crytek, give the people what they want.

Why do you tease us so?

So there it is, our first entry into our series of much-desired sequels. Which of these three would you want, or which others are overlooked that you miss? Hell, if we build up enough excitement as a group we might even inspire somebody to action. At least, we can hope.

 

 

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