RPG Franchises That Need To Return
Before I begin, I think it goes without saying that when I implore developers to bring back certain role-playing franchises, I don't want to see action games. I want an effing RPG. And you can mess with the turn-based if you must, but it better still retain some semblance of turn-based strategy. Oh, and want these on a console, damnit.
Where the hell is my Suikoden VI? I'm probably not alone when I say this ranks second on my all-time favorite RPG franchise list (only behind Final Fantasy); Konami always gave us great stories and characters, and those 108 Stars of Destiny...my God, how addictive was that? I just couldn't rest until I got 'em all! Plus, while it was always turn-based, they tweaked a bit in the latter installments; for instance, in Suikoden V, your position during encounters had an impact. Then there were those larger strategy-based, war-like segments that shook things up a bit.
If there's one RPG I want to see return from the ashes, it's this one.
Secret of Mana/Legend of Mana
Most really don't put the PlayStation's Legend of Mana in the same category as Secret of Mana, the classic RPG on the SNES. Indeed, the two gameplay styles were completely different. That being said, I'd like to see anything with "Mana" in the title. I'm not entirely sure how developers would approach the gameplay just because Secret and Legend were so vastly different; maybe they could try a hybrid mechanic of some sort, like the one in Final Fantasy XII. Role-playing fanatics have been begging for a new Mana for a very long time now, and I think it's long past time Square Enix delivered. Announce one and watch the fans return...
Chrono Trigger/Chrono Cross
Two of the greatest RPGs of all time; where's more Chrono? There was a rumor for several years that said "Chrono Break" was in the works but that project never materialized and since that time, we've heard nothing about another Chrono entry. One of the most appealing elements of Chrono Cross was the huge cast of characters, most all of which were playable, and many of which required you to be a crafty recruiter. And I loved the colorful, gorgeous atmosphere and well-written story. And oh yeah, make sure we get to time travel. I want that back.
Legend of Legaia
I really don't like fighting games, but the idea of selecting various attacks to form special combos in an RPG really got me. The second one, Legaia 2: Duel Saga was one of my favorite RPGs of the PS2 generation; it was just so much fun to find new Arts, and the traditional world design was just fantastic. I don't remember the storylines in either title being all that memorable, but they weren't bad and besides, I never ever got tired of random encounters in that game. And yeah, I cheated a little once...I looked up the combinations for the Super and Miracle Arts so I'd know them ahead of time. So sue me.
I really don't know why they don't try another title, as this was an action/RPG that actually might translate well to today's faster-paced environment. I really thought I wouldn't like the "action" part of this game but they did it so damn well - and I could still pause combat, which is crucial in my eyes - that I was instantly hooked. The story and writing was also spectacular and if I remember correctly, this was one of the first games that gave the player a lot of incentive to re-play the adventure. Didn't your character advancement transfer over to the new game+? And then you could just keep powering up? At any rate, this game ruled.
This is the only series on the list that sort of went downhill; it started great a good 15 years ago. The original Wild ARMs was one of the first great RPGs on the PlayStation (along with Suikoden). I really liked the second and third ones, too, but things started to degrade after that. There were different developers involved and the series really lost its sense of identity. I kind of liked the Western theme in WA3 and I was also a big fan of assembling a party early, and sticking with that same group throughout. It really made you care about the characters, you know? Given the right team, I think another Wild ARMs could be great.
I'm sure there are many others but these are the most pressing, I'd say. :)
6/24/2011 Ben Dutka