The last console generation was no doubt a disappointment on the exclusive front for the Xbox platform. Microsoft have already made the right steps by fixing this issue by acquiring several game developers and publishers, in the hopes of bringing new and exciting IPs to their platform to compete with Sony & Nintendo.
Now, both those companies have no doubt done a great job of creating their own new IPs in recent years, but they have also done a great job of supporting their existing ones too. This is one area Microsoft can also improve, as right now you can only say: Halo, Gears of War, and Forza are the only notable long running franchises that are still getting new releases.
So, I thought I would have a look through the original Xbox catalogue and see what gems they can bring back to life with the Xbox Series X|S console generation.
Blinx The Time Sweeper
Blinx The Time Sweeper is an action platformer where you play as Blinx, a cat who uses a device that can manipulate elements of time to combat enemies and overcome obstacles in different environments.
The game’s graphics provided further evidence at the time for what the original Xbox was capable of and had plenty of character and cool gameplay elements to stand out from the rest of the platformer crowd. A sequel did release two years after its original release, but unfortunately it didn’t build on the foundation set by the original and didn’t review as well as a result.
Since then, we have not received anything from the franchise. In 2021, we saw two great action platformers release: Psychonauts 2 and Ratchet & Clank Rifts Apart. Over the course of the last five years, we have seen other great platformers like: Astro’s Playroom, Super Mario Odyssey, Sack Boy’s Big Adventure, and Crash Bandicoot 4.
The genre has made a comeback and I think now would be the perfect time for Blinx to make a return too!
Project Gotham Racing
Before Forza, we had Project Gotham Racing as the go-to racing game on the Xbox platform.
The first Project Gotham was a launch title for the Xbox and a sequel was released a few years later to critical acclaim. It wasn’t a racing simulator; it was more of an arcade racer similar to Ridge Racer. The game was fast, fluid, had amazing graphics and a nice selection of different cars to race too.
PGR also had its own unique gameplay mechanic, called Kudos. It was essentially a way for the player to build bonus points throughout the race by performing drifts, overtakes, and stunts to complete the challenges to progress further in the career mode.
I am a big fan of the Forza games, but I do like my arcade racers too. The Need for Speed franchise was the place for that. But their last few releases have been underwhelming. Microsoft could capitalise on that market, and who knows, maybe even make a Project Gotham Racing like the Underground series?
That is something many would get excited about!
An action RPG developed by Bioware, set in ancient Chinese mythology, you play as the last surviving Spirit Monk on a quest to save their tutor and defeat an evil emperor.
The game – even in 2021 – still looks like a work of art and the core gameplay will show you where Bioware got their ideas for Mass Effect from. The world building and immersion, the characters that you meet, and audio were top tier.
I very rarely watch playthroughs, but this was one game that I did and was so envious of the person playing the game. I wouldn’t oppose them sorting a remake first and then a sequel. But either way, this is one franchise I would probably want most brought back to life.
Another RPG but a top-down one this time, in Nightcaster you play as a new Wizard called Arran.
As you progress through the story, he himself grows older, even if it didn’t change much of the gameplay. I could see this already as an area for improvement if it got a modern sequel.
The gameplay was simple to pick up but had several challenges too. Admittedly the game was fairly short, and it was quite a linear experience, but if Microsoft decided to bring it back with a decent sized cheque for development, I can see this up there with other staples of the genre like Diablo.
The sequel was rather disappointing but did add co-op multiplayer. As someone who played a ton of Diablo 3 co-op with friends, I would welcome this feature being brought back too. In fact, I see this as a low risk but high reward project – bring back another title from The Original Xbox catalogue but modernise it and add more depth to the package and you’ve got new and old fans playing a great game together.
Story driven games have proven to still be a massive hit in this current generation and Nightcaster has plenty of potential there, and with this style of gameplay it really goes well together.
So those are my picks for Original Xbox IPs I would like to be brought back on Xbox Series X|S. But what are yours? Are there any that were multi-platform IPs from that console generation you would like to see make a return? Sound off below!