Gaming

Lara, B.J., Kratos: Who’s Next? 5 Games Ready for a ‘God of War’-Style Reboot

God of War Hands-on Preview | Kratos telling a story to Atreus
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Kratos has returned, and he is better than ever. The recent revival of God of War not only rejuvenated a franchise and a character that were celebrated in their prime but also gave them a newfound relevance and maturity that no one expected. The response to this transformation has been overwhelmingly positive, with many considering it a game that defines an entire generation.

This isn’t the first time a game franchise has experienced a resurgence by infusing a fresh, modern perspective. The 2012 reboot of Tomb Raider successfully revitalized an iconic character who had become somewhat outdated in recent years and transformed her with a compelling backstory and contemporary gameplay.

The triumph of these two revived franchises leads us to ponder: Who should be next? We have compiled a list of older video games that we believe would benefit from a thoughtful and modern reboot.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
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This Native American warrior, who traverses time to hunt dinosaurs and demons in a parallel dimension, made his debut on the Nintendo 64 in 1997. At a time when console first-person shooters were in their infancy (a few months before the release of GoldenEye 007), players and critics were enthralled by its stunning visuals, expansive levels, and intense yet fantastical action. The game spawned a few direct sequels and an unsuccessful reboot in 2008, but apart from a remaster in 2015, the franchise has remained dormant.

Many fans may not be aware that Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was adapted from a long-running comic series from the Silver Age. The game drew inspiration from a 1992 comic reboot of the franchise, which introduced science-fiction elements such as robots and rocket launchers. The original series, which ran from the 1950s to the 1980s, followed the adventures of a pre-Columbian Native American trapped in a valley where dinosaurs never went extinct. With such diverse concepts as a time-traveling space marine and a Stone Age survivor, there is ample room to create an intriguing narrative. Horizon Zero Dawn showcased the immense potential of a game that involves hunting colossal creatures with primitive technology. Additionally, Native Americans lack representation in popular media, and Turok remains one of the few protagonists who could fill that void even today.

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Duke Nukem

Lara, B.J., Kratos: Who's next? 5 games ready for a 'God of War'-style reboot
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The hyper-masculine, ass-kicking, bubblegum-chewing action hero Duke Nukem makes Kratos seem positively enlightened, even at his worst. After appearing in several side-scrolling platformers, Duke rose to fame with the groundbreaking first-person shooter Duke Nukem 3D in 1996. Unlike his silent predecessors, Duke injected oodles of personality into the role of the protagonist, which until then had often served as a mere vessel for players. The franchise lost its steam when its follow-up, Duke Nukem Forever, languished in development hell for over a decade before finally being released to a tepid reception in 2011.

While Kratos’ violence and misogyny were rooted in Greek mythology, Duke Nukem embodied the quintessential American dirtbag. The sexist undertones that were considered edgy in 1996 now come across as downright repulsive, and the gaming industry is all the better for moving away from them. If Kratos can be reimagined to be relevant, if not entirely redeemed, perhaps Duke still has a chance? It’s hard to fathom a serious, narrative-driven approach making sense for Duke, but maybe there is room for a game that satirizes him instead of perpetuating his problematic traits. Striking a balance between mocking problematic tropes and reinforcing them is a delicate line to tread, though, and it may not be worth pursuing in this particular case. Nevertheless, it’s an intriguing thought experiment.

Ecco the Dolphin

Lara, B.J., Kratos: Who's next? 5 games ready for a 'God of War'-style reboot
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During the ’80s and ’90s, video games had the freedom to explore a vast array of concepts before genres became rigidly defined. One curious relic from the 16-bit era was the Ecco the Dolphin series, a collection of 2D platformers for the Sega Genesis. The games followed the adventures of Ecco, a solitary dolphin searching through space and time for its kidnapped pod, taken by aliens. While water levels had already been a staple in platformers since Super Mario Bros, Ecco broke new ground by introducing vertical exploration mechanics and emphasizing breath management.

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Although Ecco may seem kid-friendly on the surface, it possesses an eerie quality that evokes a sense of horror. Exploring the depths of the ocean while facing terrifying extraterrestrial threats and constantly risking drowning creates an incredibly tense atmosphere. The gripping combination of underwater exploration and unnerving encounters with otherworldly beings brings to mind the fantastic game Subnautica, which ranks among the most immersive survival and exploration experiences available. Additionally, there have been several successful games featuring animal protagonists, such as Shelter. Revisiting Ecco’s world with modern technology would be a treat for fans of the original and newcomers alike.

Prince of Persia

Lara, B.J., Kratos: Who's next? 5 games ready for a 'God of War'-style reboot
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The original Prince of Persia, released in 1989 for the Apple II, left an indelible mark on an entire generation of gamers with its cutting-edge rotoscopic animation that depicted gruesome deaths caused by spike traps. Its 2003 reboot, The Sands of Time, revolutionized 3D platformers with its fluid, acrobatic gameplay and innovative time-rewinding mechanics, exerting a profound influence on the genre. However, subsequent entries struggled to find the right tone, venturing into the gritty violence that defined AAA games of that era and losing the series’ sense of whimsy and joy. A lackluster film adaptation starring Jake Gyllenhaal in 2010 further stifled the franchise’s progress.

Speculations arose when early leaked images from Assassin’s Creed Origins appeared, leading fans to believe they were for a new Prince of Persia game. Ubisoft has hinted at a revival, though no concrete announcement has been made. While it may be challenging to envision anything other than Ubisoft’s signature open-world formula with copious RPG elements, a swashbuckling action puzzle-platformer set in ancient Persia holds great promise.

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BloodRayne

Bayonetta wasn’t the first leather-clad, ass-kicking video game heroine. In the wake of The Matrix‘s Trinity, who epitomized badass femininity during that era, Rayne emerged in the 2002 3D hack-and-slash game BloodRayne for the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube. Taking place in the 1930s, Rayne, a half-vampire or dhampir, embarks on a quest to exterminate other vampires, who, unsurprisingly, turn out to be Nazis. The game received one direct sequel and a poorly received 2D platformer on Xbox Live Arcade. However, the franchise’s downfall was ultimately sealed by a trilogy of films directed by the notorious game adapter Uwe Boll.

A game featuring a half-vampire annihilating undead Nazis sounds akin to “Blade meets Wolfenstein,” doesn’t it? The critical and commercial success of the rebooted Wolfenstein series has shown a strong demand for Nazi-slaying adventures infused with fantastical elements, providing an escapist experience that remains relevant even in 2018. If B.J. Blazkowicz can be remodeled into a sympathetic and multi-dimensional character, there’s no reason why Rayne can’t follow suit.


This article has been written for OnSpec Electronic, Inc. To learn more about their products and services, visit OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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