By Quentin H. / January 8th, 2020
When a new console is released, it is a prime opportunity for companies to take risks on new IPs and to revive older ones. For example, with the Nintendo Switch, Super Bomberman R and 1-2-Switch and with the PlayStation 4, we got Knack and Killzone Shadow Fall. With the recent announcement of the Xbox Series X that will be coming for Holidays 2020, I have picked three classic Microsoft/Xbox IPs that this new console would be perfect to bring back as either launch or first-year console titles. These three IPs have laid dormant for quite awhile now, and there is soon to be a new generation of gamers who will be able to take advantage of their potential in a way that the prior Xbox generation consoles could not.
And no, Sneak King is not on this list to make an Xbox Series X comeback.
Sneak King aside, these three IPs are honestly classic titles on the Xbox consoles that they were released upon, and it is more than a little baffling that they have remained dormant in the years since they were first published by Microsoft. Also, if you want more original Xbox Series X content, feel free to check out my other article, Top 4 Unanswered Xbox Series X Questions After the Reveal, to see what Microsoft needs to tell us about their upcoming console before it launches next Holiday season.
So without further ado…
Developer(s): Remedy Entertainment
Publisher(s): Microsoft Studios
Platform(s): Xbox One / PC
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Quantum Break is one of the most ambitious video games ever, as it is a science fiction action-adventure title that told its story across an intertwining video game and TV show. Quantum Break (the game) starred Jack Joyce, who could manipulate the passage of time to levitate enemies, dodge attacks, and even freeze the world around him in its tracks. In Quantum Break (the live-action TV show), which would pop up between game play acts in the video game, the player would then make plot choices from the viewpoints of the antagonists that would then influence the next act and the next TV episodes. In other words, this game is best described as a mash-up of third-person shooter and SEGA CD-era interactive movie video game that both lead into many different branching paths.
Quantum Break was a bold experiment when it was first released.
When the game was released, it turned out to be a smash hit: this bold experiment of a game turned out to be the best-selling new Microsoft IP, according to Microsoft in the game’s release month. Since Quantum Break was released simultaneously for Xbox One and PC, we have heard nary a whimper about a sequel coming out from Remedy Entertainment (who later made the excellently-reviewed game Control) or from Microsoft Studios. With the Xbox Series X featuring 120 Hz frame rates and a custom AMD processor, and Microsoft now creating TV shows based around series like Halo, there is so much potential to bring this series back to life with not just better gameplay but to have quality TV-episodes between acts in a way that could not be imagined before.
Developer(s): Insomniac Games
Publisher(s): Microsoft Studios
Platform(s): Xbox One / PC
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Second on my list is the most predictable Microsoft-exclusive entry for this Xbox Series X list: Sunset Overdrive. Here, you play as a former FizzCo employee who is trying to escape a dystopian city that was created by FizzCo’s latest energy drink, Overcharge Delirium XT, that turns people into mutant monsters (called ODs, or Overcharge Drinkers) when they consume it. The world surrounding you is a color-soaked and hilarious environment that encourages you to grind on rails, rooftops, and bounce off cars to both get around the world and to wage combat against the ODs as you explore the linear story line and meet characters with unique personalities and quirks. In an interesting twist to this gameplay formula, every so often you will go back to your ‘base’ to do a tower defense section by setting up crazy ‘traps’ that will slow down the hordes of ODs just enough for you to bounce around the arena to destroy them first. Finally, there is the ‘amp’ system: the more combos you do by moving around and defeating the enemies, the more your meter fills up that will let you do truly ridiculous combat abilities based upon the gear and badges that you collect.
Explosions, action, and speed are all you need to know to know that Sunset Overdrive is an amazing title to play.
Sunset Overdrive is, hands-down my favorite Microsoft IP on the Xbox One to date. The story and dialogue is hilariously written and the color palette is absolutely beautiful to look at. The combat and gameplay movement is smartly done as well, as the game actively slows you down if you try to walk along the streets or sidewalk instead of grinding on (at the very least) power lines that are literally everywhere. Sunset Overdrive is Jet Set Radio Future on steroids, which is only slowed down by the tower defense sections that are just slightly less fun to play than the rest of the game. The original game is absolutely beautiful to look at, and it is an absolute ‘gimme’ when it comes to what games would be a real show-stopper franchise with the Xbox Series X and its 8k graphic potential. And yes, even though Sony now owns Insomniac Games, this game is simply so good that it deserves a sequel on the Xbox Series X platform (even if it’s as cross-platform title).
[Edit: This article has since been updated to reflect that Insomniac Games is currently owned by Sony.]
Blinx: The Time Sweeper
Publisher(s): Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: October 7, 2002
The last game on my list of franchises that Microsoft should revive is from a series that most people have probably never heard of or played- Blinx: The Time Sweeper. If you haven’t played Blinx, then you’re missing out on a game franchise comprised of two games, 2002’s Blinx: The Time Sweeper and the properly-maligned 2004 sequel that somehow…didn’t star the titular character and should honestly be ignored. In Blinx: The Time Sweeper, you play as Blinx, one of many ‘time sweeper’ cats who are charged with keeping the flow of time stable across dimensions. When the Tom-Tom Gang (pigs on motorcycles) kidnaps a princess from one dimension, Blinx steps up to save the princess while correcting time ‘glitches’ along the way.
What sets Blinx: The Time Sweeper apart from every other platforming franchise out there (and even Quantum Break) is how this game manipulates time. There are six types of time crystals that exist in each level: Pause, Slow, Rewind, Record, Fast Forward, and Retry. When you collect four time crystals, if three of them are the same, you then gain one use of that gameplay ability. With each level being ten minutes, that means you can potentially ‘rewind’ the gameplay (yes, everything goes backwards) to minute ‘one’ when you are at minute ‘nine’ if you want to re-do something. Or you can just use ‘record’ to record your gameplay for the next ten seconds, during which time you defeat enemies and solve puzzles, and then the game will shunt you back those ten seconds for you to play alongside your recorded copy.
When Blinx: The Time Sweeper came out, these time manipulations were only possible because of the Xbox’s revolutionary new hard drive that came inserted into every new console with a whopping 8 gigabytes of space on it. When the Xbox Series X comes out, nearly eighteen years after Blinx: The Time Sweeper first launched, eight gigabytes will likely be the size of the console’s Day One patch. There is simply so much gameplay potential of being able to take Blinx not just ten minutes into the past as on the original Xbox, but being able to revisit levels played hours beforehand and have Blinx solve more single-player puzzles by interacting with the player’s prior level runthrough or by manipulating other player’s games via the Xbox Live service and Microsoft Azure (Microsoft’s own cloud computing service).
Online storage, large hard drives, and cloud computing capabilities make this title an obvious winner for Holiday 2020, and so Blinx deserves a second shot by Microsoft in 2020, and I sincerely hope that this game (along with the other two IPs on this list) get another try by Microsoft as we head into the next console generation with the Xbox Series X.
And that wraps up my list of the three IPs that deserve an Xbox Series X revival!
What games do you think I missed? Do you think that Ryse of Rome deserves another shot at glory?
Let us know in the comments below!
BlinxBlinx: the Time SweeperMicrosoftQuantum BreakSunset OverdriveXboxXbox 360Xbox One