Video games have been a thing now for over half a century, and in those 50+ years, we’ve seen a lot of franchises come and go. Now, not every franchise can go on forever, but there are certainly quite a few that people feel didn’t get enough time and deserve to see the light of day again. It shouldn’t take long for even the most casual gamer to name a franchise they’d like brought back from the grave.
Unfortunately, due to ownership rights and certain companies just flat-out not existing anymore, it’s not possible for every franchise on this list to make a comeback. That said, fans would line up around the block for a new installment in these fifteen dead video game franchises that deserve to be brought back to life. We couldn’t list every franchise that deserves to be revived, so if you don’t see the one you think should be brought back, let us know in the comments.
Knights of the Old Republic
We’re not talking about the MMORPG; we’re talking about the original RPG and its sequel from the early 2000s that was available on PC and Xbox. Knights of the Old Republic and its follow-up sequel, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, are considered to be peak RPGs filled with impressive worldbuilding, entertaining combat, and gripping storylines that even non-Star Wars fans can enjoy.
Unfortunately, we haven’t had another game quite like these two since, with the promised 3rd installment in murky waters that don’t look good. Luckily, a remake of the first one is on the way, and if a success, executives might consider dumping more money into a 3rd.
Star Fox is one of Nintendo’s bigger IPs but receives almost no love. The last game that was released in the Star Fox franchise was in 2017, but it was Star Fox 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic, which should have been released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in the mid-90s, but it wasn’t. The only original title before that was Star Fox Zero for the Wii U, an abysmal console with depressing sales. It also marked a decade since the previous installment in the series.
Castlevania has a long history in video games, starting way back in 1986 with its release on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It got a lot of love over the years, with releases on different consoles ranging from the successor to the NES, the SNES, all the way to the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2014. The gothic horror universe of Castlevania has since been quiet, though, which is surprising considering that it is one of Konami’s most popular and successful franchises. Konami has since acknowledged fans’ desire for a new game, so perhaps this series will be brought back to life in the near future.
Anyone with a Playstation 2 or Xbox had a copy of Midnight Club. Fans have been clamoring for a sequel since the last installment in 2009. Midnight Club was praised for its open-world urban environments that spanned across the globe. Rockstar Games would do well to put another installment in the fire. It’s not like the racing genre is dead, either. Forza is still popular, as well as DiRT and BeamNG.drive.
This one is slightly surprising since almost every entry in the franchise was well-received, even the last installment from 2013, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. It may not have been as popular as the original trilogy, but it wasn’t exactly a bomb, either. Back in 2021, there were very shaky rumors, but nothing has been officially announced, still, and it seems to be a dead franchise at this point.
Jak & Daxter
There hasn’t been an original Jak & Daxter game since 2009, but there have been some rereleases of previous installments within the franchise on newer consoles. It seems that the developers, Naughty Dog, have been busy with other video game endeavors. If it helps, the director of the film Uncharted, based on their other IP of the same name, is working with Naughty Dog on a Jak & Daxter adaptation. Hopefully, that can hold you over until they start to work on a new title in the franchise.
Anyone who bought the PlayStation 3 at launch almost certainly had a copy of Resistance: Fall of Man. It was one of the first shooters available on the console and certainly one of the best games available at launch. There would be three titles total in the main series, with two spinoffs for the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita. The series is essentially dead at this point, as another installment was shot down after being pitched back in 2021 due to an oversaturation of post-apocalyptic games.
A great open-world game with stealth and elements of destruction, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction and its sequel, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, are considered classics for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. They almost had a 3rd game, which was amazing since the original developer, Pandemic Studios, had shut down in 2009.
The new sequel, being developed by Danger Close Games, would get canceled, and the series closed forever after the developers closed their doors in 2013. Pandemic Studios was also behind the highly popular Star Wars: Battlefront series, which Electronic Arts also kept dead for many years before reviving it with some bittersweet sequels.
Talk about a fall-off. It seemed like everyone had Guitar Hero or some other rhythm-style game in the 2000s. The original Guitar Hero would spawn numerous sequels and competitors, including the popular Rock Band, which makes it all the sadder to see what it had become when Guitar Hero Live was released back in 2015, and quickly failed after Activision shut down a major component of the game, reducing the song catalog from around 500 to just 42.
Guitar Hero clones, like CloneHero, are still popular on Windows, so there’s definitely a community lying in wait. Although, with a community creating custom charted songs and the ability to download every song from every Guitar Hero and Rock Band, do they really need Activision to fix the mistakes they made?
SOCOM U.S Navy SEALs was the original tactical shooter for the PlayStation 2 that allowed you to control a team of SEALs as they complete various missions. The equipment selection was amazing, the stealth aspects were great, and commanding your teammates to complete various tasks was the icing on the cake. The developers, Zipper Interactive, would be closed by Sony in 2012. With no new talk of SOCOM since then, it’s safe to say that this series is dead.
Turok is another franchise that spanned multiple consoles, ranging from the Nintendo 64 to the PlayStation and Xbox 360. The last installment, titled plainly Turok, was released in 2008 and was met with mixed reviews. A Turok 2 was planned and in the works but would never see the light of day after the series’ developer, Propaganda Games, was closed down.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell
While there are other Tom Clancy titles still alive and well, like Rainbow Six: Siege, the original Splinter Cell series has been dead since 2013 with no new title in sight. A remake of the first title was announced in 2021, which is nice and all, but remakes might be getting kind of old since that seems to be what every studio in existence is doing these days.
Rare has had a number of successful franchises under its belt, most notably Donkey Kong, Battletoads, and, of course, Banjo-Kazooie. Unfortunately for fans, Banjo-Kazooie hasn’t seen love since 2008 with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (speaking of which, Donkey Kong hasn’t had an installment in 5 years, although we won’t call it dead just yet). Fans interested in a Banjo-Kazooie sequel might want to check out Yooka-Laylee, a spiritual successor to the franchise made by former Rare employees.
Left 4 Dead
Valve has never ceased to amaze gamers at how a company can just continually ignore their most valuable IPs. Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 were some of the most popular zombie games when they came out and continued to be extremely popular for years. There are still people logging on to Left 4 Dead 2 almost 15 years later. A third installment would be insanely popular, especially considering that there aren’t too many co-op zombie shooters out there right now.
Speaking of Valve, let’s throw Portal and Portal 2 in the mix here. The long-running joke that Gabe Newell and Valve have a fear of the number 3 starts to seem to hold true here. Portal 2 was an immensely popular sequel to the original Portal, and it seemed like a 3rd one would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it seems Valve doesn’t have the manpower to create Portal 3 and do it justice at the same time, which might be a blessing for fans since a bad Portal 3 at this point might cause some to go crazy after having waited all these years.