Video gaming isn’t short of sequels, not all of them wanted. Marcus Mac Dhonnagáin takes a look at a few we would like to see but probably won’t
2012 proved to be a bit of a tumultuous year for AAA games. Disappointing sales meant that many developers were forced to close their doors. Others carry on with business as usual. So, what does this mean for the several games that released this year – games that were received well critically, but just didn’t manage to impress publishers with their sales? Here are five titles from 2012 that deserve a sequel, but unfortunately might not get one.
1. Max Payne 4
Though Max Payne’s return was fantastic fun, it unfortunately didn’t manage to impress either developer Rockstar or publisher Take-2. Max Payne 3 brought our tired, worn-out anti-hero and placed him in the middle of Brazil, fighting off paramilitary squads, corrupt policemen and gangsters galore. The shooting mechanics were refined to a tee, the slow-motion provided for more tactical depth (and was awesome to look at) and the multiplayer was well-designed. Yet because Max Payne 3 underperformed, Max Payne 4 might not arrive any time soon. It could have been set in Paris, where Max is forced to track down his kidnapped employer, fighting off a gang of human-trafficking gangsters while also contending with the Parisian police. In fact, don’t bother with Max Payne 4, Rockstar. Make an adaptation of Liam Neeson’s Taken!
2. Darksiders 3
Though Darksiders 2 impressed plenty of critics, THQ’s financial woes mean we might never see Darksiders 3. As Death, players traversed across a strange land, fighting a plethora of different monsters while also collecting loot. Darksiders 3 could place us in the shoes of another of the Four Horsemen, and change up the formula even more – although it’s hard to imagine what mechanics might come with playing as Famine. THQ is currently bankrupt and waiting for a buyer but hope might not be lost entirely, as another publisher might pick up the rights to make it. Here’s hoping we’ll get a sequel eventually!
3. Sleeping Dogs 2
After troublesome development problems, Activision abandoned True Crime: Hong Kong. Yet the game was then rescued by Square Enix, rebranding it as Sleeping Dogs. Combining GTA-style open-world gameplay with Rocksteady’s Batman combat system, Sleeping Dogs proved to be a lot of fun. Though the game might have been saved by Square Enix, it may be a case of jumping from the pan and into the fire – as it’s unsure if Sleeping Dogs met Square Enix’s expectations. The publisher claims the title is selling well enough, but it did cut its forecast for the ongoing fiscal year because a certain HD game sold sluggishly. It’s a shame really, as the game got a lot of things right. A sequel could have taken us to a new part of the world, such as Paris, where an undercover cop must find a kidnapped… I JUST REALLY WANT A VIDEO GAME ADAPTATION OF TAKEN! WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET ONE?!
4. Spec Ops: The Line 2 (sort of)
Now, you’re probably thinking, “What on Earth is this, Marcus? A sequel to Spec Ops: The Line? A game that in no way should get a sequel, as it’s not the sort of experience that lends itself to one. If it did get a direct sequel it be like Apocalypse Now getting a straight-to-DVD sequel titled, ‘Apocalypse Now 2: Now with more napalm.’ Why in the world are you suggesting a sequel for it?”
Calm down, I say. True, I would in no way want a direct sequel of Spec Ops: The Line either, but that’s not to say Yager wouldn’t be able to explore other themes in a spiritual sequel. Spec Ops: The Line drew from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. It was a critical exploration of games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Medal of Honor. It subverted their narratives, as well as criticizing their black and white morality. In no way should the game get a direct sequel, but Yager should work on another shooter that explores other conventions of the genre.
5. Syndicate 2
There’s little doubt that Syndicate massively underperformed for EA. Though it did receive mixed reviews from critics, it certainly wasn’t a bad game. In fact, the general consensus was that it was actually quite good. A sequel to Starbreeze’s reboot could see the gameplay being expanded, perhaps by giving its mind-hacking more versatility and depth. Not only that, but a sequel would allow for the game to expand upon the universe it created – we could certainly do more with more cyberpunk. Or, a sequel could return to the franchise’s original roots – a strategy game. XCOM: Enemy Unknown showed how well a strategy game could work on a controller, so why not apply the same logic here? Syndicate could go in a lot of different directions, but hopefully it’ll get the opportunity to do so.