Once-Mighty Franchises That Faded – Vidjagame Apocalypse 298

With Onimusha and No More Heroes poised for a long-overdue imminent return next week, we spend this week’s show looking back on once-massive game franchises that have been silent for years, with help from returning guest and GameXplain/IGN alum Micah Seff. Then it’s on to New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, the latest shot fired in the Epic/Steam war, your most anticipated games of 2019, and more!

Question of the Week:
Which long-dead franchise would you most like to make a comeback?


RSS | iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | Facebook | Twitter

Theme song by Matthew Joseph Payne. Break song is Our Town by Iris DeMent. Haunting and beautiful New Releases Theme by David B. Cooper.


Get the Laser Time Classic Christmas Cartoon Festival, exclusively on Patreon!


If ya haven’t checked out the Laser Time YouTube channel, here’s something swell you might’ve missed!

It’s Vidjagame Apocalypse Gaiden! Get a Patreon-exclusive God of War Spoilercast simply by signing up for Laser Time’s Patreon!

Get our Avengers: Infinity War review/recap by becoming a Laser Time Patron

27 thoughts on “Once-Mighty Franchises That Faded – Vidjagame Apocalypse 298

  1. QotW: A franchise that died that I’d like to see make a comeback is The Getaway. I loved the PS2 games and highly anticipated the third one for the PS3. I actually preferred the more story driven/linearity of the Getaway over GTA at the time and was curious to see where they’d take the series next. Plus driving through London was so much fun! I can only imagine how a revived game can look and feel on the PS4, it has a lot of potential.

  2. QOTW: I would love to see a new Phantasy Star. I don’t mean a new Phantasy Star Online, I mean a new Phantasy Star. I want a single player space opera JRPG with old school anime art and a good story.

  3. QotW: Dead franchise I would like to see revived is the Goemon series. Loved the N64 games but Konami never released any of the later games here before basically killing the franchise. It could be revived as a pretty solid Zelda like game just like the old ones.

  4. QOTW: Despite being a “new release” for Switch on Jan. 17, Dragon’s Lair gets my vote for full-scale revival. The series has never had an actual “good” game, per se, but the world and art style are so undeniably charming, I’ve always felt there has to be SOMETHING there other than re-releasing the original games on every gaming platform in existence. The heart was there in Dragon’s Lair 3D for Xbox (the first ever game in 1080i HD!), but it just needed a more experienced dev team. I actually think a fully 3D version of the original game in VR could be pretty great. Just imagine swiping your sword with the Lizard King in your face or dodging waves of electricity as you take on the Checkerboard Knight, all with a Don Bluthian animated aesthetic surrounding your every move. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to settle for the Dragon’s Lair Easter egg I snuck into Operencia: The Stolen Sun — which everyone should totally check out at ZenStudios.com right now.

  5. Question of the Week: I would love to see a remaster of Panzer Dragoon Saga. It’s kind of ridiculous that to play the game in English you have to drop upwards of $500, especially when it is such a highly praised classic. A remaster of the game for modern systems would be great and maybe we would even see a sequel. A game that has gotten plenty of re-releases but could use a genuine sequel is Chrono Trigger. Chrono Cross is great but so very different from the original that they are barely recognizable as being related. Maybe Square could release an HD trilogy of Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, and Radical Dreamers, the unfinished, unreleased direct sequel. But those are all rereleases of existing games. How about a brand new Final Fantasy Tactics game? I’m a big fan of ARPGs like Tactics and Fire Emblem, but Tactics is my favorite by far. A new sequel, utilizing new advances and characters in the franchise would be great.

  6. I REALLY want a new Vectorman.
    I hate when there’s only two games and then poof!

  7. QOTW: I would absolutely love it if Nintendo brought back Advance Wars. It’s much more enjoyable series for me than Fire Emblem ever was. It’s a huge shame Nintendo hasn’t bothered to either bring the older games to the 3DS or release a true sequel. One can hope, that maybe the Switch will see some kind of release or re-release. Also ironic that this is my answer as it seems like 90% of last week’s episode had Advance Wars music playing in the background.

    1. I third this. I read in an interview that they want to incorporate some of the romance mechanics of the FE series into AW, and that’s supposedly one of the reasons we haven’t gotten a follow up: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-05-30-whats-keeping-nintendo-from-making-a-new-advance-wars. IF that’s truly a reason, I wouldn’t want a version that’s like FE in that respect. I love AW for it’s lighthearted approach to war and no-nonsense mechanics that FE has. It’s just strategy and some light RPG elements. No need for shipping bullshit or making Andy try and fall in love with other COs

  8. Gunstar heroes. Gunstar super heroes did some interesting stuff but felt like too much of a departure form the original. Give it the late 90’s treatment with gorgeous sprite art and anime cutscenes with a goofy ass docta wawee english dub.

  9. I’m thinking there are two right now, both of which were both excellent in story and graphically for their time. They (or the last installments of them) were both in a ‘bargain box’ I got, mainly to get my own copy of Quake 2 on CD-Rom, a very long time ago (better than fifteen years) at a Business Depot (now Staples, as called in the United States, but not always in Canada).

    1) Dark Reign (2 being the one I’m familiar with), which beat out Warcraft III in release time for the first time I remember seeing a polygon-model RTS (as opposed to sprite-RTSes like Warcraft: Orcs and Humans in the mid-1990s, Warcraft II and the first Starcraft in the late 1990s) on the PC. I don’t even know if Dark Reign 1/2 was ever called an RTS (sometimes in those days, even Warcraft II was put under the banner of RPG or CRPG, ‘computer role-playing game’, which I suppose wasn’t unusual), but at least spiritually it was an early precursor to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War. If it wasn’t almost totally incompatible with my current rig, I’d almost certainly still have it installed today. It’s abandonware more because very few gamers today know about it, rather than it being abandoned by gaming deliberately, as it was a very, very good proto-RTS.

    2) Heavy Gear (2, again, being the one I have), which was based on the sometimes book-and-paper RPG, sometimes wargame (and briefly a CCG, like Magic: the Gathering) from Dream Pod 9 out in Montreal (Quebec), who are local enough to me in Toronto (and frequently attended local conventions) that I’ve met more than a few of the gaming company’s staff over the years. Its setting is in the moderately distant future, two or three to five or six hundred years from now, combining ‘anime robot mecha pilot adventures’ with a very Battletech-like ‘clan warrior’ aesthetic, dropships and interplanetary travel and multiple fields of battle spanning humanity’s colonies off-world, with the mecha not that much bigger than human size (and piloted by a single pilot) and uniquely powered by an augmented ethanol/alcohol combustion engine, rather than fusion or other chemical motors. I mean, putting ‘gas’ in your mecha has to be a little unique there? It was designed as a polymodel first-person shooter, with a considerable amount of roleplaying elements and a base solidly-set in the backstory it was based around and in.

    Of the two, while I would enjoy seeing a ‘modern’ Dark Reign sequel, I would absolutely love to see a graphically modern update or reboot of Heavy Gear. I know Dream Pod 9 is still together as a company (and I assume still have full control over the copyrights and backstory), so at least the background would be readily and easily supplied. (BTW: in case the curious would enjoy investigating: there seems to be a scammer redirect hijack controlling the dp9.com site, or autosteering visitors to the scam site. I would suggest visiting their Facebook page, not far down in a Google search for ‘dream pod 9’ for the time being, regarding that.) With what seems like a tremendous success in Paradox’s Battletech game (and more recently, its first expansion DLC in November), the genre is ripe for such a comeback, were it to be brought forth.

    BTW: a very late Merry Chrismantista, and Hap-Wikiparaz!

  10. QotW: You guys made this question really tough to answer because Contra, Ultima and Soul Reaver are probably 3 of my top answers for it as well.

    So I guess I’ll have to go with Ghosts ‘n Goblins, or better yet, Gargoyle’s Quest. But anything in that universe would be pretty great.

  11. QOTW: The game series I am desperate to have back is the Monkey Island series. After LucasArts stopped making adventure games after the 4th one I thought that was it, but then Telltale came back with the 5th game Tales of Monkey Island – alongside excellent remakes of the first two games. Monkey Island 3 and 4 recently got released digitally on Steam and GOG for the first time ever, but I would hate to think that was it for the finest comedy adventure series around. Double Fine, get on it.

    The game I am ASTONISHED that you guys didn’t mention is the Prince of Persia series. I mean, how many Ubisoft employees does it take to bring it up? I mean, I know that Assassin’s Creed and a bad movie killed it…

    Additionally, I think you guys understated the importance of Ultima Underworld. Ultima Underworld was a first-person RPG and immersive sim that inspired Elder Scrolls, System Shock, BioShock, Deus Ex and more. Between Ultima, Ultima Underworld, and Ultima Online, the series shaped the entire RPG genre – offline and online. And then EA killed it, as usual.

  12. QOTW: I repeat the requests for more Advance Wars brought up by other responses in this thread, I desperately want this series to come back!

    This isn’t really QOTW but I figure I’d mention some other dead, formerly major game franchises that I think are worth a mention:
    – Dead Space (Last seen in 2013)
    – Medal of Honor (Last seen in 2012)
    – Splinter Cell (Last seen in 2013)
    – Ridge Racer (Last seen in 2012, excluding a couple of more recent mobile releases)

  13. Answer of the week: : SIMPSONS

    Which long dead franchise do I want to make a return? Well I’m not sure if it counts but I want to see the Simpsons road rage/ hit and run (more so hit and run) come back with a hit and run 2 or just a remake of the original, can’t remember how many hours my friend and I sunk into these games

  14. QotW – I wish Shining Force would come back. It still exists in some form in the mostly awful “Shining” branded series (and in some part, the Golden Sun series which was also made by Camelot) but none of them since Shining Force III on Sega Saturn have been that same grid based SRPG tactics style that I love so much. My love for the genre moved over to Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics but I would love to see Shining Force come back.

  15. hi there,

    i have a question that MUST BE ANSWERED in your next episode. I stumbled across “https://www.retrozap.com/argcast/”, which is (surprise) a retro-game podcast. Not only do that episode titles remind me of your show, but also one of the hosts sound EXACTLY like Mikel Reparaz.

    How is this possible? does Mikel have a lost twin brother? (Or is this just a 100% ripoff?)
    It is impossible to me to listen to this podcast, since by brain connot compute the cognitive dissonance.

    Anyway: Mikel is the best and only Mikel there is i guess. Thank you,

  16. QotW: Since Matty already covered SSX, I’ll go with another forgotten snowboarding game: Snowboard Kids!
    I spent countless hours playing the second game on N64 when I was a kid. It had a quirky cast of characters, as well as Mario Kart style races (rockets, bombs, etc.), and trick events. The best/worst event was the newspaper route, which was a time attack-esque mode requiring precision aim for getting those newspapers into mailboxes and top notch boarding, shredding…..whatever. It was fun and soul crushingly difficult at times.
    Anyway, it was easily one of my favorite game series during the N64 era. A franchise revival was attempted on the original Nintendo DS in the mid-2000s, but the game was a dumpster fire. I think a new game could do well if released on the Switch, but its been so long at this point that, that seems like a pipedream. (I would absolutely love a new SSX or F-Zero game though. SSX 3 was my jam!)

  17. Hey VGA! Long time listener first time responder, never a patron…. sorry! But if Chris antista commits right now to season 3 of elm Street nightmare (possibly featuring Halloween!) I will pause this podcast and subscribe to the patreon right fuckin now! I probably owe the Watch Out For Fireballs and Retronauts boys a few bucks too. So there you have it, 3 new patreon subs for you and your friends for one more season! Balls in your court Antista!
    Ok, enough extortion and on to the question! Hands down I’d love to see :
    Parasite Eve
    Front Mission
    Dino Crisis
    A current gen version of parasite Eve and Dino Crisis would be amazing! But leave front Mission exactly how 4 was!
    Thanks for the podcasts! (I’ll probably sub anyway! Been meaning to do it for a while!)
    Brian A

  18. QotW: Speaking of forgotten Nintendo franchises, 1080 Snowboarding needs to come back in a big way. People seemingly have more fond memories of its sister series, Wave Race, but 1080 has always been the best snowboarding game on the market despite having less features and less characters than its rivals. Why? Speed! 1080, especially Avalanche on the GameCube, is one of the best arcade racers ever made. It just so happens to also be a hell of a snowboarding game. I do love SSX, but even the reboot failed to capture the white knuckle adrenaline rush the avalanches in 1080 Avalanche caused. Bring it and F-Zero back, Nintendo. You had the best arcade racers ever made on the GCN and then you abandoned them both!

  19. VGA, long time listener first time poster, I typically dont have a unique enough answer, but I have to post just to hear if you guys have any great memories of these games, that I may be the only one dreaming of.
    Lands of the Lore series, top pick being the second game, but the first cannot be denied, it did after all star Patrick Stewart.
    The Phantasmagoria, it was just such an awesome experience. After a local sunday computer expo, I helped my high school friend put together a state of the art Cyrix 686 200mhz computer. We pulled an all nighter finishing phantasmagoria and phantasmagoria 2. Side note, what happened to local computer expos, I miss buying parts from shady russians.
    Finally Dungeon Keeper. This series was so unique compared to other army building games. You dont build the army, the army chooses you to lead them. You have to sacrifice units to strengthen others, and main note, You are the bad guy!!
    I know alot of these are forgotten and looked down on some but they brought me back to gaming after giving up the hobby mid cycle of the snes. I have not put gaming down since.

    Keep up the great show.
    ps I know I am a mooch but will sign up for the patreon someday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.