Ever since purchasing the legendary studio, Bethesda’s handling of id Software has been interesting. Each franchise the studio created, from the moneymakers to the flops, got some sort of redux for a modern audience. From Doom‘s amazing adaption of Hell to Quake‘s fun but flawed stab at rocket arena, it’s a great example of a company recognizing what they have and making it relevant again. Heck, it’s a miracle that that Wolfenstein would return after Raven’s cult classic failed to move copies. This strategy has been a great success even outside of id. Flying Wild Hog sanded off the outdated edges to Shadow Warrior and created a pair of over the top masterpieces that speak to the modern day. Electronic Arts even got its hands dirty, although they chose to adapt a strategy game rather than one of their action titles. On the eve of the fourth Wolfenstein release since that game’s debut, let’s go back to the past and find a few classic FPS games that deserve a reimagined revival.
Powerslave Reboot | Enter the Risen Osiris
Created by Lobotomy Software and published by the company that made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys back in the day, Powerslave isn’t a shooter that comes up every day. Still, its Egyptian theme and unique backtracking design has earned it a cult following since its 1996 release. Almost 20 years later, the opportunities gamers have to face off against mummies and giant scarabs are still relatively slim. This retro shooter offers a unique theme and an entire pantheon of gods to draw inspiration from.
This isn’t the first time Powerslave has come back into the limelight. Retro shooter necromancer Kaiser ported the unique PlayStation 1 version of the game to PC back in 2015. That version swiftly vanished from the internet for legal reasons. Nevertheless, the release sparked further interest in this otherwise forgotten classic. Kaiser now works with Night Dive Studios, and they’re supposedly still working on a re-release of the updated/legal version of Powerslave EX. Perhaps once that’s finished, they can get a team together and try for something more modern, System Shock style.
CyberMage: Darklight Awakening Reboot | Cyberpunk 1995
We live in the age of Cyberpunk 2077, which is being heralded by the internet’s boyfriend, Keanu Reeves. If the general public is even half as excited as him about this game, other studios should start jumping on the bandwagon now. Enter Electronic Arts, a company that really could use a few notches in the old win column. It has a wealth of retro franchises languishing in their vaults, as well as the perfect franchise to revive at a time like this.
Meet CyberMage: Darklight Awakening, a Doom-esque shooter from 1995 originally developed by Origin Systems. Its integration of magic spells is what set it apart from other shooters at the time. Alongside your typical array of shotguns and pistols, you had all manner of spell projectiles to take down foes. In fact, this mechanic would become a staple of the developers, who’d move on from Origin eventually to form Arkane Studios, the makers of Dishonored. Your character also flashes the devil horns whenever casting a spell, which is a great touch that would make a great reference in a reimagining.
CyberMage is on the obscure side, even for people who live for games off the beaten path. However, that’s the beauty of this style of reimagining. With the right idea, any franchise can be the talk of the town once again. Where was Fallout before its revival? How many people were kicking down the doors for a new Ninja Gaiden before it poofed into existence on Xbox? If the inspiration is there, an old name can become something great. Speaking of…
Chex Quest Reboot | Cereal killer
Out of every retro shooter out there, Chex Quest has the most potential to succeed in 2019. Let’s go over the landscape. The most popular games in the world right now are Fortnite and Minecraft, which are two properties that appeal to family audiences. Add on to the fact that ironic brand marketing is at an all-time high. Fast food Twitter accounts talk about depression and play games on Twitch. To our own personal horror, the internet at large seems to think that’s hilarious. Finish it off with the ever-growing ’90s nostalgia that already fuels reboots like Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Doom: Eternal. What series perfectly encapsulates all of these trends and more than the Doom clone inspired by breakfast cereal?
General Mills already cashed in on Chex Quest nostalgia earlier this year with the official release of Chex Quest 3. Despite that, there’s so much more that could come from a modern take on this inherently ridiculous concept. Fully voiced cutscenes imparting the plot of the invading goo monsters from another world would be ironic gold. Go full MCU with the property and bring in other General Mills brands for power weapons and cameos. Not many cereal companies can claim that they have a genuine stake in video game history. We’ve already seen the reaction stemming from revivals of Bubsy and Shaq Fu revivals, and those games were never good. Let’s combine that surrealist nonsense with a release that actually has a chance at greatness.