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Seven unique and original IPs just going to waste
by Chris Hawke

The industry is full of sequels, but which franchises aren't getting their due for follow-ups? Chris Hawke looks at seven titles in need of new iterations.

Despite what you might have been led to believe, people like change. Change is new and fresh, fun and exciting; it brings out your inner-child and lets it romp through unique experiences and original delights. Move past the façade of peripheral details, and you'll see people are getting bored of Call of Duty, because it's been the same since 2007, whilst Battlefield 3 is bringing something sparklingly virginal to our eyes. Every now and again, a developer likes to take a dive into the crisp waters of innovation and swim with the dolphins of vicissitude; out of this comes stunning games that blow away the cobwebs with unseasoned ideas and exploratory themes.

But, for some reason, many of these IPs (intellectual properties) never get fully used. Perhaps people forgot about them. Perhaps they were too before-their-time. Perhaps one of the developers pissed in the pool, and the pool turned an odd and wholly-unappealing colour, and everyone got disgusted and left, and the dolphins swam away.

Or something.

Whatever the reason, these are a handful of unique and original IPs that are simply collecting dust.

Mirror's Edge

Listen; it wasn't great. EA finally shrugged off the title of 'Evilcorp' in 2008 by taking risks and trying newfangled concepts with Mirror's Edge and Dead Space, rather than just milking the same old sports titles. They still do that, of course, but at least those sports titles are now awesome. Mirror's Edge was cutting-edge, intriguing and exotic, but that doesn't mean it was any good. The horribly facile story did disgusting things to the original theme - a silently oppressive city with a dark cop at its centre - and the game became full of piano concertos and flying doves. Mirror's Edge had problems, and one central fault; it was unformed. It was full of brilliant ideas and motifs, hurriedly scrunched together and chucked onto a disc. Mirror's Edge, as a series, needs a bit of time and practice to mature, and a second game is vital to that. We'll just have to hope that Dice understand the goldmine they're sitting on.

The Chronicles of Riddick

Stealth is dead. Thief 4, Hitman: Absolution, the new Splinter Cell; these might just be able to revive the limp, lank and lifeless corpse of my favourite genre. But for now, there hasn't been a good stealth game in ages; one that really focusses on staying hidden, slipping between shadows and silencing some unfortunate soul before sneaking back to secrecy. Riddick was at the forefront of that. It may not have been as flashy as the Splinter Cell series, but it was stealth in its purest form; you, two Ulak blades, and a spaceship full of bad guys. Nothing else is so immersive and enjoyable as The Chronicles of Riddick for silent violence, with visceral combat and a truly dark tone to the plot. Whatever Starbreeze have planned next, I hope Vin Diesel is ready.


Yep, another article from me where I fawn over Eastern European games. By now, you should get the point; all those Ukrainian developers like 4a Games, or GSC Game World? They're brilliant. And S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is the most haunting, stunning, surprisingly dazzling and preposterously magnificent thing you can play on your PC. A multitude of problems are swept away by the sheer single-minded passion for post-apocalyptic beauty. So why the hell haven't we had a proper sequel?!

Even in 2007, Shadow Of Chernobyl looked old and tired, yet the same engine had to bear the brunt of two 'expansions'. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has been confirmed, but nothing's been seen of it thus far. Before it's too late, GSC - before someone else steals your essence - make the most of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Tom Clancy's EndWar

Whether or not you think EndWar's key distinguishing feature - the ability to control units with your voice - was a gimmick or a revolution, at its core the game was rock solid. The basic gameplay features were well-implemented, the story did enough to drive you forward, and it was just good fun to play. Then, factor in the voice commands, and EndWar becomes something special. Yes, it's only because of those childish fantasies that come bubbling up to the surface, but speaking into a mic and have the units on screen react? Hell yeah.

It's more SingStar than Company of Heroes; you can feign panic in your trembling voice when under pressure, or triumphantly order everyone to move up. It's as much fun coldly telling troops to "leave no survivors" in monotone as it is to scream, "Hoorah! Great hit, Bravo Two!", imagining that, somehow, those little specks you survey are real and carrying out your every command with loving duty. EndWar gave you a God Complex, and it felt great. The sooner Ubisoft can pull EndWar 2 out of limbo, the better. My people need me.

Brothers in Arms

Yes, there's a Furious 4. And all the insipid bile that spilt from my mouth splatted on the keyboard and managed to turn into words. The long and short of it; Furious 4 isn't a true Brothers in Arms. No, BIA is a lot more than just mowing down cannon-fodder. Second World War may hardly be an original setting, but Gearbox's tactical first/third-person shooter hybrid gave an exhausted, weary and drab setting some much-needed life. The puzzle-like gameplay perfectly complemented a thrillingly mature, grown-up story - two things you won't find anywhere else on the market today. BIA is the very antithesis of cookie-cutter combat, and I can only hope it gets better soon.


The idea of building, maintaining, sustaining and advancing a city may seem mundane in 2011; in the saturated world of Cities XL and Cities in Motion, SimCity is surely just another endless pit of time-waiting, fruitless architectural escapism, right?

Shut your mouth and rinse it with razor blades. SimCity is the original; the daddy of all your micro-managing desires. There's something oddly addictive about a birds-eye view of your whole creation, and SimCity nailed that element of ownership. Your city was your city, a Genesis and Revelations all rolled into one, starting with a single plot of land and unstoppably expanding to the all of the four corners of the Earth. I only hope that when SimCity makes its jubilant return, it moves with the times; better graphics, more choice, and maybe a bit of politics thrown in.

Road Rash

"You get to hit people, on bikes". Those were probably the only words spoken at the proposal meeting back in 1991, followed by a slow nod and a growing smile from EA then-boss Trip Hawkins. There are games that let your crash a bit, sure; Burnout even makes it the central focus of the gameplay. But, even with such violent racers drifting about the place, Road Rash still has that unique, resolute desire for speed and brutality. Instead of constant corners and backtracking, it's just one long stretch of road. The other racers aren't forced near you by an invisible elastic band - you progress, you see them, and you chain-whip them into oblivion. EA say they're trying to get Road Rash into the next generation, and with concepts like this, I can't see why they've taken seven years to reboot the franchise.

I can only hope all seven of these underused IPs get back onto our platforms soon. In the meantime, what series would you like to see return? Tell us in the comments below.

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- Chris Hawke

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