Reboots are a messy business. If handled right they can mean a whole new lease of life for a lost gaming series. If handled wrong they might well mean eternal damnation for the series and even the poor studio that developed the reboot. Here’s five times that gaming reboots lost the plot.
Syndicate was an awesome cyberpunk action strategy game where corporations ruled the world with teams of elite cyborg operatives. As a bonus you could also set fire to things. And by “things” I mean people. Publishers EA who owned the series decided to reboot it for release in 2012 as a first-person shooter. While the game actually wasn’t too bad the story was a bit wonky, even with Bourne actor Brian Cox as the villain.
Thief was one of the first game series to make being a sneaky bastard over out and out slaughter actual fun. When it was announced that the series would be making a comeback fans got excited. That was until screenshots appeared looking like somebody had turned out the lights in Dishonored. The story is utter guff and the promised free-roaming, free-running gameplay was punctuated by irritating loading screens. Burglary was fun but there was so little of it that the game might as well have just been called Moderately Sneaky Bastard instead.
3. Metroid: Other M
The Metroid series never managed to make it to the Wii U and Metroid: Other M is probably the reason. Metroid: Other M had the unfortunate task of trying to follow the Metroid Prime Trilogy. Developed by Ninja Gaiden and Dead Or Alive studio Team Ninja, Other M went 2D (well, 2.5D) again but it was nowhere near as good as even the previous 2D efforts. Plus, they made the hero, Samus Aran, take her iconic helmet and armour off in flashback scenes and made her all moody and emo in the process. Not cool guys, not cool.
2. Need For Speed: The Run
This was an effort to revitalise a once great street racing series that had gone into decline. Since Need For Speed: Most Wanted (the 2005 one and not the 2012 one) the series seemed to be in decline. Publishers EA needed to do something about it quick so they dropped the open worlds that had dominated the series since 2004, instead choosing a Gumball-style race across America. The story was, blah, blah, blah, something about clearing a debt. It started out as a passable game though; right until the moment where the character gets out of the car for the first time in Las Vegas and you proceed to guide him in a foot race. At that moment The Run lost me and just about every other fan the series every had. A racing game where you get out of the car? Get in the sea!
1. Aliens: Colonial Marines
This was the game that was supposed revive the fortunes of the Alien franchise as games and bridge the story between Aliens and Alien 3 in the process. It was a spectacular failure. Initial screenshots showed promise but it kept getting delayed. Borderlands developer Gearbox were supposed to be handling development of Colonial Marines but, due to the surprise success of Borderlands, they contracted Timegate to finish it. Then more delays. Eventually publisher SEGA insisted on releasing the game in 2013. It was a broken mess, the Alien animations were almost non-existent, as was the AI and the game looked nowhere near as nice as the initial screenshots suggested it would, even on a high-end gaming PC. It sank faster than the Bismarck and prompted the kind destruction usually reserved for a Guns ‘N’ Roses break-up. Lawsuits ensued between SEGA and Gearbox over the handling of development and Timegate filed for bankruptcy, closing its doors in May of 2013, just two months after Colonial Marines released.