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Sonic Bust - Five Failing Franchises That Need To Take A Break Or Go Away

Jonathan Lester
Assassin's Creed, Final Fantasy, lego, Resident Evil, Sonic Boom

Sonic Bust - Five Failing Franchises That Need To Take A Break Or Go Away

Even the most stalwart old warhorse needs to take a break sometimes. Partly to recuperate and refresh, but also because it can't keep up with being ridden so hard to ridiculous deadlines.

Stuff the analogies; though the world of gaming is full of new ideas and fresh concepts, these great games all too often mutate into stodgy, bloated and rushed franchises that grimly release year on year with diminishing returns, often losing track of what made them great in the first place. We see it happen time and time again, and this year in particular, we reckon that it's high time for some of the industry's biggest franchises to step back, take a break and focus on how best to bring them back once we're good and ready.

If they even need to brought back at all. Seeing as it's been a while since we last ragged on Sonic, let's get this thing rolling.

Assassin's Creed

Sonic Bust - Five Failing Franchises That Need To Take A Break Or Go Away

We love Assassin's Creed here at Dealspwn. The core idea of a three-dimensional assassination sandbox is as brilliant as it ever was, while each game tried its best to present new time periods, characters, gadgets and meta-narratives to keep things fresh.

Unfortunately you can have too much of a good thing. Assassin's Creed did well to remain as good as it was for so long, Assassin's Creed III notwithstanding, but Unity proves that the insane annual release deadlines have finally caught up with us. A technical mess with half-baked mechanics, paradoxically shown up by its own last-gen counterpart.

So it's time to take a break, Ubisoft. Give us two years to start missing Assassin's Creed, then spend the time looking at what made the original games brilliant, and how best to bring the action into a totally new setting that really advances both gameplay, visuals and narrative. Plus, hell, the extra QA probably wouldn't hurt...


Sonic Bust - Five Failing Franchises That Need To Take A Break Or Go Away

Criticising the LEGO series is like beating a beloved family puppy. TT's LEGO games have been by our side for years, wagging their tails, bringing us adorable gentle fun and big laughs regardless of how old you are.

But beat it I must, because we now have Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, The Lord Of The Rings and LEGO City Undercover and The Chase Begins and DC Super Heroes and DC Super Heroes 2 and Rock Band and The Adventure Continues and Pirates Of The Caribbean and Ninjago and Nindroids and The Legends Of Chima and Marvel Super Heroes and Universe in Peril and the LEGO Movie and now Batman 3, which feels like a step sideways and backwards for the series. Many of these games were mediocre (especially some of Fusion's tie-ins), competed with each other and felt rushed in terms of bugs and challenge, coming to a head with The Hobbit that released before the third film had even finished production!

It's clear that the LEGO series is starting to run out of ideas, and taking a little break would allow TT to work out how best to create the next generation of LEGO games. It's high time they really brought building and creation to the forefront of the series given the success of Minecraft with gamers of all ages. A little time and planning followed by a blockbuster return to form would be brilliant.

Final Fantasy

Sonic Bust - Five Failing Franchises That Need To Take A Break Or Go Away

I'm not going to get on any Christmas card lists for this one, but bear in mind that I love Final Fantasy. I grew up with it, was enraptured  by its storytelling and great characters, and hungrily devoured every morsel I could regardless of platform.

Unfortunately Final Fantasy is a shadow of its former self these days, falling into the same trap as many modern JRPGs. Square lost sight of the fact that the story, characters and setting were the most important parts of the genre and instead started making to order, focusing on cosplay-friendly costumes, shiny visuals and all the peripheral trappings that just sweeten the formula, not define it. This came to a head with Final Fantasy XIII, which still hasn't really been fixed, since once again the characters and story are the weakest part of Lightning Returns! Yet, of course, there are loads of silly outfits.

It's the perfect time for Final Fantasy to take a break, frankly. A Realm Reborn is on hand to give us the fix we need, while putting the franchise out to stud would let Square and their partners work on both new games and old that embody the spirit of Final Fantasy without any of the baggage. Bravely Default is a perfect example, plus, come on, we're long overdue another Chrono sequel!

Here's hoping that Final Fantasy XV and Type-0 prove me wrong, mind.

Resident Evil

Sonic Bust - Five Failing Franchises That Need To Take A Break Or Go Away

Let's be honest. The time has come for Resident Evil to slink into the shadows for a while, leaving us the HD remake as a reminder of its former glory and coming back when Capcom actually know what direction they want to take it.

It's clear that the canon needs a reboot -- there's just too much baggage for a series that's just supposed to be about zombies -- perhaps by restarting the franchise under the Japanese 'Biohazard' brand to reset expectations. There's room for a more action-oriented zombie series, and no reason why Capcom couldn't get all the silly cinematic shooting out of their system with a new franchise freed from the creative restrictions of the Resi universe. Most importantly, though, taking time out would allow Capcom to fall in love with their franchise all over again, and painstakingly re-learn why the early games resonated with us before working out how to bring them up to date.

Hopefully the learning process has begun with Resident Evil HD, and even though Revelations' corridor crawling horror gameplay was mainly just a reaction to the 3DS' control and rendering limitations, there's potential for a decent sequel to tide us over too.

That said, being a massive hypocrite, I would like to see more of Sherry and Jake. Anyone? No? Just me then.


Sonic Bust - Five Failing Franchises That Need To Take A Break Or Go Away

Go away, Sonic.

Sorry, but nostalgic golden-age yearning can't disguise the fact that SEGA doesn't have a clue what to do with the blue hedgehog, and that some heroes just aren't relevant any more. Sonic is a relic, a mascot without a cause or a reason to exist now that SEGA consoles went the way of the Dodo, and he needs to go away before he embarrasses himself, soils his legacy and demeans us all any further.

Generations should have been the end of it. We're up for cameos, of course, but right now SEGA needs to do the honourable thing and take Sonic off the field for a couple of years, then think seriously about how to bring him back in a game that makes the most of his strengths.

Or lead him behind the woodshed for a tearful 12-gauge goodbye.

Add a comment2 comments
stevenjameshyde  Nov. 26, 2014 at 13:29

The franchises will take a break when the market tells them to. With something as staggeringly expensive as AC, I suspect that moment might be coming sooner rather than later. There's bound to be a good percentage of Unity's glorified beta testers who won't be taking the plunge on AC6, at least until it's had a price drop - how big does that percentage need to be before the franchise no longer makes money?

JonLester  Nov. 26, 2014 at 14:24

@stevenjameshyde: You're right of course. Following the money is the aim of the game. It's just galling that franchises won't take a break out of common sense, embarrassment or human decency though. :p

Last edited by JonLester, Nov. 26, 2014 at 14:29

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