The Simpsons: Hit & Run

As the world reels from the shockwaves of the seismic news that Microsoft is acquiring the proverbial swamp of the video-game landscape, Activision Blizzard King, it only seems natural that our minds should now shift towards what the fallout will be for presumably years if not decades to come.

A lot of speculation and attention has been directed at what this means for exclusivity for multiplatform behemoths like like the Call of Duty franchise or whether a game like World of Warcraft could theoretically be brought to the Xbox ecosystem. And those doing the speculating are raising some fair questions.

As for me personally, I am thinking more about what this might mean for games that, for the most part, have faded from public view but could potentially be given a second or third chance at finding their footing and becoming real contenders in the gaming sphere.

And so, as is par for my course, I have cultivated a list of games I would love to see re-emerge from the dustbins of Activision for a second shot at life — or just an initial shot at redemption. I have included games that were not just published by Activision, but were also developed by studios that eventually fell into the Activision fold via acquisition.

So here are six games that I’d like to see Microsoft take a shot at reviving.

Prototype

Prototype

Released back in 2009, with a sequel that followed in 2012 (and rereleased in 2015 with both games in a bundle), Prototype was developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Activision. It was supposed to be this hot new open-world sandbox game full of insane amounts of gore, violence, and destruction.

In the original, you play as Alex Mercer (a name that I still remember to this day, mostly because of the tiny figure that came with the pre-order, which I still have for some reason). Mercer is a scientist, voiced by the incomparable Barry Pepper (Battlefield Earth), who wakes up in the morgue, presumably after having been, up until that point, dead. He suddenly finds himself with Venom-like powers, such as the ability to shapeshift his arms into destructive weapons like blades and wrecking balls. But this also came with a hunger to consume people for strength and their memories, which would give you valuable intelligence and plot background. The memory thing was mostly meant to be a back-of-the-box feature (cooler in theory than in practice), but the powers were in fact awesome and destructive.

The sequel didn’t do much to increase the middling public interest in the series, which was probably responsible for the cancellation of the proposed third installment. But even though Prototype would be taken out behind the woodshed for an unceremonious send-off, its design would influence a few games down the road, namely Saints Row IV, which cribbed Prototype‘s fast-paced sprinting and vaulting and flying mechanics almost wholesale.

For me, Prototype just needed a more focused direction and some smoothing of the edges for it to be a truly standout IP. And considering the newfound interest in all things superhero and superhero-adjacent, it feels like a great time to dust off the old Mercer leather coat and bring this series to the new generation of hardware. What was touched upon in the first two entries has a lot of potential to actually be delivered with the capabilities of gaming hardware today.

Singularity

Singularity

Activision has a cruel habit of relegating its studios to Call of Duty support status, and Raven Software is one of those studios. But long before pitching in on Call of Duty: WWII and Call of Duty Warzone, Raven made a first-person shooter that runs circles around CoD, 2010’s Singularity.

More of a narrative-driven FPS akin to BioShock or Half-Life, Singularity featured a cool take on time-bending, giving the player the ability to revert specific objects to an earlier, more pristine version. For example, you could un-collapse a staircase to gain access to an otherwise gated area, or repopulate an erased passcode on a chalkboard. You could also speed up time to degrade items for the opposite effect.

Oh, and this also worked on enemies to predictably ghoulish results.

There were also instances when entire sections of a maps or rooms in a building would time shift, giving the player glimpses into the past and future.

Singularity was a pretty heady game, and it’s now a bit of a lost gem, although you can still find it on PC storefronts like GOG. I would love to see a sequel to this title, or even just a spiritual successor. With the technology at the fingertips of developers these days, the possibilities are innumerable of how the time-shifting game mechanics could be better executed than they were back in 2010.

Guitar Hero/DJ Hero

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

It was just the other week, well before Microsoft’s big acquisition was revealed, that I found myself jonesing to play a little Guitar Hero. And considering I mostly just have current-gen consoles, I was struggling to find a financially reasonable way to accomplish that. After releasing I still owed a Wii, I managed to borrow my brother’s guitar and copies of two of the old games. As it turns out, I suck pretty bad compared to my earlier self. I refuse to believe my skill level has deteriorated this much, so I instead blame these results on ancient hardware and old peripherals. Of course, the only way to really find out would be to get my hands on a state-of-the-art, contemporary Guitar Hero guitar. And for that to happen… well, its time for Microsoft to kickstart a new entry in this long-running franchise.

Of course, they would be behooved to bring out an all-new take on the five-button plastic guitar in order to truly breathe new life into Guitar Hero. And the song list would also need to be killer, hopefully not tied to an online platform that could easily die out, leaving one with only the songs on their hard drive to toil away at mastering.

And although I never played DJ Hero, my brother attests that it is every bit as awesome in its own right, so I am tossing that in to the mix. I mean, if Shaq is DJing these days, I’m sure there are millions of normies who would love to give it a shot. And bonus points if Guitar Hero or DJ Hero could actually teach skills that would transfer over to being able to play the real-world guitar/bass or turntable. A full-band experience would be okay, but I would be happy with just a focus on the old-school setup.

Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Conspiracy

Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy

A lot of hay was made when High Moon Studios released Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Conspiracy back in 2008. The game was hot off the heels of the highly successful and enjoyable Bourne film trilogy, in which Matt Damon portrayed the amnesiac badass Jason Bourne. But when it was revealed that Damon wouldn’t be reprising the role or even allowing for his physical likeness to be used in the game, fans of the films were a bit disappointed. This is similar to how the Marvel’s Avengers game mostly disregards the look of the MCU, but it was an especially confusing decision considering this game was effectively a prequel to The Bourne Identity film.

However, what we ended up with was still a pretty cool action-adventure title that was perhaps only hampered by the inclusion of key sequences from that first film (instead of a reinvention or total reimagining). The hand-to-hand combat was fairly satisfying and deep enough for a simple action game. I would compare this to the Constantine or Batman Begins games in that it’s not perfect, but it’s still surprisingly competent and mostly fun and enjoyable.

Given the right pedigree, and considering how removed the public mind is from the Matt Damon films (especially after the middling fourth film in that series), the time could be right for a re-emergence of Jason Bourne in video-game form. With a focus on the narrative, backed by incredible hand-to-hand combat and bombastic set pieces, this could make for a promising franchise.

And considering we still have IO Interactive’s James Bond game to look forward to, the spy genre could really be lit to pop.

The Simpsons: Hit & Run

The Simpsons: Hit & Run

Another gem from developer Radical Entertainment, The Simpsons: Hit & Run is perhaps still the best Simpsons-themed video game ever made.

This game blew my mind as a kid. It was really neat to see the main menu change from default to Halloween- or Christmas-themed when the time was right (based on the console’s internal clock). But beyond that first for my baby brain, the actual gameplay was just so fun, chaotic, and satisfying. And although there are innumerable YouTube videos and articles that claim to pinpoint the exact episode in which The Simpsons became not good, I think a follow-up to this game could be a cool little gem that would still find itself an audience. In fact, I think this would be perfect for Game Pass.

The Simpsons: Hit & Run mostly makes my list for nostalgia reasons, but I stand by it.

Scarface: The World Is Yours

Scarface: The World Is Yours

Scarface: The World is Yours was on my recent list of games I would love to see remade, remastered, or even just re-released. I went into depth about my reasons for wanting more Scarface in that previous article, but the Activision acquisition wasn’t known to me back then so I saw this as mostly just a pipedream. But with the landscape suddenly shifting, I think it’s safe to say we should probably adjust our expectations of what’s likely or even possible.

This was yet another game developed by Radical Entertainment, which goes to show how prolific the studio actually was before it was rolled into Vivendi, which later merged with Activision. I would love to see Scarface: The World is Yours resurface, either in the form of a remaster or possibly even a continuation of Tony Montana’s story (I acknowledge that the latter is a longshot).

If the world truly is mine, then make this so, Microsoft. Let’s introduce people to Tony Montana’s little friend.

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andrewsqual
andrewsqual
10 months ago

Wow, that is some awful generic stuff.
Microsoft won’t even touch the 10/10 Rare IP they are sitting on the past 2 decades. What chance have you with this muck?

Rezz
Rezz
10 months ago

Nah, need to fix call of duty warzone and maybe revive the heroes of the storm, need to revive the most popular games, what people are playing right now, not old crap, I don’t even know from where these games are coming(from YOUR list)…

Last edited 10 months ago by Rezz
AssCheeks
AssCheeks
9 months ago
Reply to  Rezz

It’s cuz ur just a little kiddy is why u ain’t interested in these great games, btw there coming from alot of people’s list. Don’t be rude either it makes u sound dumb.

CWG_
CWG_
4 months ago

My god I would love to see Scarface’s OG Xbox port from 2006 come to the Xbox One and Series X|S. I mean the game from the OG Xbox was backwards compatible with the 360 and was published by Sierra Entertainment and Vivendi Games which is technically now owned by Activison and soon to be Microsoft, so it would make sense to see this game come back as a backwards compatible title in the future. I played this game everyday back on the PS2 when I was only 6 years old. I’m 20 now. But yeah this game was a real part of my childhood. Love to see this game return.

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