Earlier this month, we welcomed the return of the greatest heroes in all the galaxy when Insomniac’s rebooted
Ratchet & Clank descended onto PlayStation 4.
It was a triumphant homecoming, too, with our
own Chandler Wood showering praise on the studio’s smart, funny and damn well beautiful adventure. Toeing the line between reboot and franchise revival, the Ratchet & Clank of PS4 is considered a re-imagining of the 2002 original, but not without the addition of new planets, bosses and wonderfully over-the-top weaponry.
From the Groovitron to the bat-shit insane Pixelizer, Insomniac did a stand-up job of ensuring the core spirit of
R&C remained intact, all the while fine-tuning the formula for a new generation. Going Back to the Well
It may not be perfect, but for an origins story of the titular, spacefaring duo,
Ratchet & Clank PS4 represents a stellar starting point for newcomers to the series. Plus, the fact that Insomniac opted to release the franchise revival for $40 as opposed to the standard $60 ensures the galactic platformer stands as an enticing prospect for those who are perhaps still on the fence.
Couple this with the imminent
feature film and there’s no question that Ratchet & Clank is back in business, ready to kick some asteroid all the way to the Solona galaxy. But what other dormant PlayStation franchises are in need of a little fan service?
Ratchet & Clank to the PS4 audience, Insomniac released a nostalgic adventure that deftly balanced the old with the new, all wrapped up in an enviable $40 price point.
Let’s suppose for a moment that other developers will adopt a similar strategy, what would those results look like? Moreover, with the advent of PlayStation VR, it’s worth keeping in mind that some of these titles could be reworked for Sony’s head-mounted device.
More Ratchet & Clank Reading:
7 Dormant PS Franchises in Need of Revival
Ready to Indulge in Some Wishful Thinking?
Jak & Daxter
It’s the obvious choice, really, considering that both
Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank peaked alongside one another during an era when mascot platformers were all the rage. That’s all changed now, particularly when you consider that Naughty Dog, fresh off The Last of Us and soon Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, have doubled down on mature storytelling.
That’s not to say that
Jak & Daxter will remain on the proverbial shelf in perpetuity, though ND recently conceded that, for now, the prospect of returning to the series “just doesn’t look right. It just doesn’t feel right. The types of stories we’re telling right now really are grounded in realism.”
Supposing that Naughty Dog will circle back to the fantastical well, this is arguably the one title that could emulate
Ratchet & Clank’s formula almost beat for beat, overhauling Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy for PS4 replete with new features to test and areas to explore. It was considered one of the best-looking games of its time, and we have no doubt that, should a reimagining ever materialize, Naughty Dog could reclaim that title for the new generation.
Arise, Sir Daniel? Not since
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale have we seen Sony’s clumsy undead knight brandishing his signature sword, and considering that Guerrilla Cambridge — formerly known as Sony Cambridge — is currently knee-deep in virtual reality with RIGS, that doesn’t look to change anything soon.
But what would it take to resurrect PlayStation’s Daniel Fortesque? Although a
recent fan-made project did offer some indication of how a current-gen Medievil would appear, running in buttery smooth fashion thanks to Unreal Engine 4, signs of a bona fide franchise revival are fleeting at best.
Truth be told, unlike our other candidates for the
Ratchet & Clank treatment, Sony’s Medievil franchise doesn’t stand the test of time. Clunky controls and a frustrating camera have always hampered the series from the get-go, and as longtime PlayStation fans, we often look back at Sir Daniel’s escapades with rose-tinted glasses.
That means that, should the opportunity ever arise, a total overhaul of the
Medievil series would require significant development resources to catapult Mr. Fortesque onto PlayStation 4, and most if not all of Sony’s studios currently have their hands full.
Wishful thinking? You bet it is. But as 3D platformers slowly but surely begin to pervade the mainstream once again, we’ll harbor an inkling of hope for a
Fall of Man to a heart-wrenching pilgrimage to the Big Apple, Insomniac’s Resistance franchise acted as a cornerstone of the PS3 generation from day one, and that’s despite it never attracting the player base it arguably deserved.
Retaining the studio’s knack for an insane arsenal,
Resistance had players go up against the deadly Chimera, an alien race that descended on planet earth during the early 1930s. As the sombre voiceover from Fall of Man notes: “We feared the Russians had developed a weapon of unparalleled power. The truth was far worse.”
Rooted in a dark alternate history, the
Resistance franchise evolved into a fascinating web of science fiction, spanning mooted conspiracies with the Cloven and the elusive Dr. Malikov. Indeed there’s plenty of stories still to be told in the Resistance universe, and if Insomniac replicated its revival of Ratchet & Clank with the studio’s dormant sci-fi gem, it could result in the series’ PS4 debut.
Alas, as one of the most consistent devs in the business, the team at Insomniac are busy bees, presiding over three intriguing VR titles —
Edge of Nowhere, The Unspoken and Feral Rites — along with July’s maritime adventure, Song of the Deep.
Nevertheless, we’re retaining a flicker of cautious optimism that the studio will one day return to a world ravaged by the Chimeran virus.
Ten years after the release of
Ape Escape 3, Spike and those pesky band of chimps are still no closer to their PlayStation 4 debut. But could that be about to change over the course of the next few years?
Of course, reports suggest that the cult series will make its bow on current-gen hardware thanks to Sony’s recent PS4 emulation, even still, fans have been crying out for a new installment for years. Could PlayStation VR be the answer?
Ape Escape may be known for its third-person perspective, lending players full view of the Stun Gun and Time Net, but if the platform series was overhauled as a PSVR title it could lend the franchise the revival it so needs. Let’s not forget either that Ape Escape was the first game to make the DualShock controller mandatory thanks to its rumble features. Could Sony’s Japan Studio be bringing Spike and Co. to virtual reality? It is, after all, the Year of the Monkey, according to the Chinese zodiac.
It was the electrifying poster child for 3D graphics all the way back in ’95 and since then, Sony’s blistering, futuristic racer has spent the past few years collecting dust on the shelf. Much of that can be traced back to the closure of Studio Liverpool in 2012, soon after
WipEout 2048 lit up the PS Vita during its formative years on the market.
When quizzed about the possibility of a comeback, Head of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida hinted that the PlayStation faithful should “
never say never.”
“Because our resources are limited – the number of teams we can have working on titles are limited – we have to make choices. In the future there might be a chance for us to come back to WipEout.”
An all-new and revamped
WipEout that harnesses the power of the PlayStation 4 is an enticing prospect indeed and at least for now, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that a franchise revival could well be on the horizon.
PlayStation’s iconic car combat series displayed a flicker of life late last year when
Twisted Metal: Black premiered on PS4 thanks to the system’s PS2 emulation but beyond that, there’s been nary a mention of a new entry into the series since the launch of Twisted Metal four years ago.
Plus, now that series stalwart David Jaffe currently has his hands tied up with the punk cocktail that is
Drawn to Death, Eat Sleep Play are the developers attached to the vehicular series. But since the most recent game arrived in 2012, Eat Sleep Play has since moved into mobile development, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for the future of Twisted Metal. Reflecting on the uncertainty, Jaffe recently conceded that: “Hope the TM fans out there have dug some of the 'what could have been' stuff from what I am fairly certain will be the last Twisted Metal game made. At least for a very, very long time!”
Looks like Sweet Tooth, Mr. Grimm and Dollface have been placed firmly on the back-burner for the foreseeable future. But considering
Twisted Metal stands as the longest-serving PlayStation-exclusive franchise, it’d be foolish to completely write off Sony’s cult series.
Perhaps the biggest curveball on the list, a potential reboot of
Crash Bandicoot also happens to be the one rumor that just won’t go away. After nurturing the anthropomorphic bandicoot into a bona fide PlayStation mascot, Naughty Dog has since moved on to pastures anew, and despite several middling reboot attempts over at Activision — the current license holders — talk of a franchise revival is wishful thinking at best.
If the stars aligned and opened up the path for Sony’s wayward marsupial to make his debut on PlayStation 4, it’s more likely another developer would be drafted in to reboot the dormant series. After all, ND capped off its
Crash trilogy with the release of Crash Team Racing in ’99, admitting that it had no desire to continue the franchise if it meant rehashing what has come before.
With that in mind, a studio in the vein of Sumo Digital would be a fine candidate to introduce
Crash Bandicoot to the PlayStation 4 audience, be it a new iteration or a cut-price slice of fan service that revamped the beloved original. Whether it’s Rare’s crowdfunded Yooka-Laylee or Insomanic’s adorned Ratchet & Clank, there’s still a remarkable demand for 3D platformers in 2016. Could it be time to welcome a blast from the past?