Siliconera Speaks Up: What Franchise To Save?

By Louise Yang . September 13, 2009 . 8:00am


Imagine every game franchise barring one is going to be wiped from existence. Which one game franchise would you like to preserve and why?


Jenni: This may be the easy answer, but I’m going to say that the Final Fantasy franchise should be preserved. It’s a substantial series with wonderful storylines that many different groups of gamers have embraced and adored. Plus, each entry in the series is unique. Even more important, the series as a whole helps show the evolution of the RPG.



Laura: Since FF has already been taken, I think my answer will be a bit unconventional and stray from my usual RPG fandom. Let’s see, I’ll say the original Super Mario Bros. from the NES. While I’m not the most familiar with platformers, I know the series was one of the most popular back in the day, and many people just enjoyed playing them (my sister included, and I just enjoyed watching her play). I mean, I like RPGs, but they are fairly niche. The Mario series is something almost everyone knows that is original, fun, and just plain goodness.


On another note, being one of the most original early games, it’ll also give people a good base to start working on recreating a new set of games to replace the franchises that got blasted from existence. Then we can have more original games!


Louise: Like Laura, I would pick to save the Super Mario Bros. franchise. If you take the entire franchise, even including spin-offs like Mario RPG, Mario Kart, and Smash, it’s easy to trace how games have developed from the 80s to the present. Mario seems to span most of the popular genres except maybe FPS.


Super Mario Bros. is also a good pick because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. This makes the games just good, clean fun for children, while still being playable and not too ‘kiddy’ for adults.


Spencer: I’m going to go off on a limb and not save any. If every revered video game franchise vanished new ones would emerge and I’m all for new franchises.


It’s interesting that Louise noted Final Fantasy and Mario its many spin-offs. Super Mario Kart would have been great with original characters — say a family of kart racing crustaceans, but a theoretical Krustacean Kart wouldn’t sell as many copies as Mario Kart even if everything else was the same.


Final Fantasy is in the same boat with tons of distant cousin “spin-offs” like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and the upcoming Four Warriors of Light: Final Fantasy Gaiden. Crystal Chronicles is big enough to stand as its own franchise at this point sort of like Secret of Mana which, believe it or not, started as a Final Fantasy spin-off. The Game Boy game that started the series was called Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden in Japan and Final Fantasy Adventure here. If the Final Fantasy brand vanished these projects would probably still exist under new names.


Ishaan: I was going to say Final Fantasy, too, since it’s covered such a broad range of genres over the years. Since Jenni has already covered that I’m going to go with Mirror’s Edge.


Mirror’s Edge made us all re-evaluate how the first-person perspective can be used for games outside of regular shooters. It was part shooter, part platformer and part melee combat. I think EA could expand on what the first game did considerably and open up a ton of new sub-genres by evolving the platforming and combat and camera controls. There’s room for introducing stealth mechanics, a platformer / racing hybrid and even a “2.0” design which allows you to create your own levels. Mirror’s Edge can really be anything you want it to while still retaining what makes it special. Plus, there’s plenty of story possibilities and settings that could be explored through different Mirror’s Edge games.

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  • Bleccch. Honestly, there’s more to the world than JRPGs. If I had my chance, I’d abolish JRPGs.

    I suppose I’d have the KOTOR series continue on and on.

    • QBasic

      Then why are you on a game blog that covers JRPGs 90% of the time….?

    • Blecccch. Honestly, there’s more to the world than FPS games. If I had my chance, I’d abolish FPS.

      I suppose I’d have Gears of War series continue on and on.

      • First person is a perspective. Shooters have evolved so many genres, including RPGs (see: System Shock 2, Deus Ex, etc.)

        Frankly, I’d rather see another true System Shock game than another lame story about a spikey haired kid who has a sword bigger than his body with an adopted sister who wants to fool around with him, moody adolescent w-angst. Gaaaah.

        (See Ben Croshow’s review of Valkyria Chronicles for Evidence A: )

  • I wouldn’t “save” any. I was discussing this with a friend of mine earlier, and aside from a few notable standouts, we just haven’t been impressed with the stories or characters presented in games lately. I propose instead of “saving” these dried-up shells of once-great franchises, we “rescue” ones that were never quite treated proper. I’ll be cornering myself into JRPGs since they’re what I know the most about.

    My vote: the Lufia franchise. For its time, nothing really compared to Lufia 2 for me. The characters were fun, the story was basic but enthralling, and the ending was gripping, moving, and left enough questions to be answered in later installments (well, Lufia 1, technically, but it didn’t really answer much).

    What happened? The franchise had a 3D installment in the works, but it got canned and moved onto the Game Boy. Where it suffered, died, and became an abysmal couple of side stories… and one “canonical” story that seemed copied right out of RPG-trope-formula weekly.

    Bring it back. I’m sick of sissy-boy pretty heroes with problems and 12-year-olds that can save the world over evil organizations of hardened murderers. …And sorry for the huge post. It’s early and I’m waiting for my coffee.

    • unsunghero

      I agree, although my personal pet franchise would be the Chrono series. Sooo much potential there. And even after all these years, I’m still a little miffed about the whole Chrono Brake/Break thingy -_-”

      But FINAL FANTASY???! Come on people! Like it or not, the FF games are gonna be here for quite some time, Dragonquest, Chrono, and just about any other square enix franchise save Kingdom Hearts be damned! So that would be the last franchise in need of any saving. We get it, the first final fantasy kept a bankrupt squaresoft afloat and in the game, but with literally umpteen sequels and even more spinoffs, I think the franchise has been thanked enough. If anything, I think it’s time for some new blood!

      Thank God I’m wearing asbestos underwear!
      (Let the flaming commence!)

  • Dasuzero

    good questions don’t let you redefine them.

  • Jirin

    Shin Megami Tensei, hands down. All of the new games I’ve really loved in the past three or four years fit into one of three categories. Shin Megami Tensei games, Mario games, or games that begin with ‘Valkyri’.

    Jonah: There’s more to the world than JRPGs, but not WRPGs. They pretend to be nonlinear by having a lot of pointless interchangeable sidequests to do and giving you very superficial good/evil choices to make, and the gameplay always just descends into pointless level grinding. The only one I’ve ever played where the plot isn’t pointless and boring is Mass Effect.

    • Okay, give me an example of a not-more-of-the-same-JRPG plot. (again: ) Been there, done that.

      On the other hand, System Shock 2 is far different than KOTOR which is far different than Fallout 3 which is far different than Deux Ex which is far different than Alter Ego.

      • mirumu

        Valkyria Chronicles is more of an SRPG than JRPG despite what Yahtzee says. The story isn’t especially amazing though I agree. Something like Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne would be a better example of a JRPG with story. JRPGs often tend to be stronger in characterization and I think this is one of the areas where they tend to beat WRPGs. More character customization has benefits, but it does tend to dilute the personal impact of the story to a degree.

        WRPGs aren’t always that different either. Bioshock being a case in point given how much it copies from System Shock. In my opinion Fallout 3’s story was pretty poor, but the gameplay and atmosphere compensated for it (Enough that I’d say it was one of my favourite games in the last year or so). Bioware RPGs, as much as I like them, tend to have some common story cliche’s all of their own similar to the accusations leveled against JRPGs.

      • Jirin

        I’m not going to get into the sophistry of debating which plots are similar to or different than other plots. As easily as you lump JRPGs together I could make the generalization of WRPGs that either they’re Tolkien-plagiarizing fantasy plots or B-movie survival horror plots. (Or in the case of Star Wars games, pale photocopies of Star Wars movies and novels).

        It’s not about particular elements of the plot or particular cliches that get overused, it’s about the narrative style and presentation. The main character is always an avatar for you, so with the sole exception of Mass Effect, your character is a passive participant in every conversation. The NPCs kind of talk over you, then you get one decision: “I AM GOOD” or “I AM EVIL”. (Or maybe “You can come with us” or “No you can’t”). Because WRPGs want to give you such absolute control over your party, no NPC ever has a committed role in the plot. Some of the atmospheres are cool, but I end up never being drawn in. Why should I get emotionally invested in the characters’ fates if the characters’ fates are entirely based on my whims?

        JRPG plots may be mostly based around the same cliches, but at least at some point they get you emotionally invested. At least they don’t consider any immutable bit of content to be an imposition on the players sovereignty.

  • Since everyone’s got the JRPGs covered, I’ll throw in the Katamari series. I’ve always had a soft spot for them, and its a game that I can play on and off and still be addicted to even after I’ve stopped playing. Not to mention the music’s fantastic.

    • I’m very surprised you didn’t mention Rune Factory or Harvest Moon.

      • I’m very surprised I had not remembered that either. I blame it on me posting late at night. My other choices would have been the Suikoden series and Fatal Frame series, with a Silent Hill thrown in for good measure.

        But you’re right, I think I’d want Harvest Moon / Rune Factory first, and then Katamari. You know me well ^^

  • One series to be left behind?

    Does one game count? Xenogears in that case. So much info, so much charisma, so much to do, so many promises, so much feeling. Just a great game.

    If one game doesn´t count it then at this very moment the SMT: Persona franchise. Every game so far has made me wonder about things and just enjoy the gameplay.

    • shihe

      Xenogears! Definitely!

  • conchobhar

    Definitely Castlevania. Not only is it a long-spanning series with over twenty games, but the majority of them are excellent, and they each have their own ‘feel’ to them. Castlevania IV, Rondo, Symphony and Harmony are all pretty vastly different, for example.

  • shihe

    I’d revive, from Nintendo: StarTropics, Nazo no Murasame Jo and Balloon Fight.

    From SEGA, Ristar, Comix Zone, Golden Axe (not the Beast Rider atrocity), Streets of Rage…

    from Square-Enix: A new sequel to Chrono Trigger. We’ve been waiting for one since 2003.

    from Capcom: Perhaps a new Little Nemo game would be nice. New characters based on the old comic, new animal suits, etc.

    These are the ones I can think off the top of my head.

  • thaKingRocka

    it ain’t even a question …
    Street Fighter

    it needs no elaborate defense as to why.

    • Gringovic

      Amen, brother!!

  • Hello_Hello

    If I can only have one, probably Final Fantasy.

  • mirumu

    I’d have a hard time deciding between Shenmue and Shin Megami Tensei. I guess it would have to be Shin Megami Tensei simply due to the amount of potential there is yet untapped. I might have said Final Fantasy many years ago, but in my opinion the franchise has been off the rails for years now and there doesn’t seem to be much of value left worth saving.

  • Joanna

    I guess it would be Final Fantasy (like Jenni), even if the latest entries aren’t as good as the older ones, I still enjoy them quite a bit.

  • eliel

    Mischief Makers for n64 best 2-d side-scroller eva

  • x3ni1992

    I’d save The Legend of Zelda series, just because its so goddamn epic, and there’s no possible way you can NOT like it

  • Prolly Sonic…if its just one franchise i mean his game were there for me during my childhood some of my fondest emories invole me and my sister and our cousin sitting in front of a tv playing STH2 until we could beat it -sigh- good times

  • Banang

    Gosh, nobody here’s said Zelda yet?

    I just think it’d be a sad world without the Zelda franchise. I might not have gotten into video games in the first place if it wasn’t for A Link to the Past. Ocarina of Time got me into console gaming and Majora’s Mask helped me appreciate more off the wall games.

  • Wow. Not a single mention of the Dragon Quest OR Genso Suikoden series on a mostly-JRPG site. I’m amazed. How about if we spared a single designer? The great Yasumi Matsuno-san for RPG’s, no doubt. I can’t actually pick a single series as I love them all way too much. I’d just let everything burn in that case and be a jaded gamer about the good ol’ days. Wait, I think I already am…


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