In the last seven years, the PlayStation 4 has cultivated an impressive library of quality titles that simply can’t be experienced anywhere else. Moreover, just when it looks like we’ve had our fill with the likes of Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, and Until Dawn all releasing to critical and commercial acclaim, a nice surprise like Marvel’s Spider-Man will swing on over to reinvent how people think of open-world superhero games forever.
Yes, PlayStation has continued to champion quality over quantity with its many first-party exclusives this generation, but nobody can deny that there have been a few franchise casualties along the way. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, then, and decide which PlayStation exclusives deserve to make comebacks.
From 19th-century werewolf hunters to alternate-history space aliens, we’re holding out hope that these seven PlayStation gems won’t stay gone for good…
While 2014 did see Sucker Punch’s hallmark superhero franchise blast its way onto PS4 in a big way with InFamous: Second Son, a shallow narrative and unlikeable protagonist was enough to indefinitely place the series on ice. Delsin Rowe simply rubbed players the wrong way, a bit too full of himself at times, despite offering a healthy mix of rock, neon, and video-based superpowers. Previous leading man Cole MacGrath was a lot more sympathetic, by comparison, aided by the fact that player choice affected gameplay and story outcomes massively in 2011’s InFamous 2.
However, this isn’t to say that InFamous has nowhere left to go. A whole world of conduits and cool abilities are just waiting to be explored in this universe. It might be tricky to bring back MacGrath given certain decisions made in InFamous 2’s canonical ending, and PlayStation may have since filled its superhero slot with Marvel’s Spider-Man, but we’d give anything to be able to re-enter this unabashedly original comic book world in the future.
Espionage and spying were all the rage in the ’90s (thank you, 007) – and old-school PlayStation fans no doubt got their fill of this through the exploits of special agent Gabe Logan in the acclaimed Syphon Filter series. 1999’s original game seamlessly blended third-person shooting with elements of stealth and puzzle-solving, going onto spawn a series of sequels on both PS2 and PSP that iterated on the “GoldenEye meets Metal Gear Solid” formula further.
However, Mr. Logan’s has been on leave for the past few years, with original developer Sony Bend having gone on to work on newer projects like Days Gone. It’s been such a long time since players have been able to sink their teeth into the joys of a true spy thriller on any platform, let alone PlayStation. And with Ubisoft continuing to deny us a new Splinter Cell game, the potential is there for Syphon Filter to return.
The Order: 1886
The Order: 1886 is a textbook example of a franchise in training, where the core ideas being explored had a lot of potential but weren’t necessarily executed well. Set in an alternate version of London plagued by an underground war raging between werewolves and vampires, this was Ready At Dawn’s first attempt at a console release following years working on other people’s franchises for PSP. As such, it had a few teething issues. As a PS4 technical showcase, the graphics were stunning, but a lot of other aspects felt noticeably undercooked.
Despite this, The Order: 1886 succeeded in building a universe already steeped in history and lore. It’s a shame that we’ll likely never go on further adventures with this particular interpretation of Sir Galahad and the Knights of the Round Table again. Ready At Dawn was only just finding its feet, and should the developer be able to take a crack at a sequel, it could solve a lot of the original game’s issues with length, challenge, and repetition.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
The idea behind it was sound enough: a crossover fighting game which brought together a suite of PlayStation gaming icons to duke it out for superiority. It may have ultimately been a cheeky spin on Nintendo’s popular Super Smash Bros. series, but seeing such matchups like Sackboy vs. Jak and Daxter still set our pulses racing. Better still, the idea of having winners be determined by how many supers were activated rather than the number of platform knock offs was unique to PlayStation All Stars. Everyone stood a fighting chance.
Sadly, a game like this would only ever be as strong as its character roster. PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale had an odd mix of first and third-party fighters. Yet, a sequel could do much better in that respect. The lineup of PlayStation characters has expanded quite a bit in the PS4 years, with the likes of Aloy, Delsin Rowe, Ellie, and others now ready to enter the fold. So why not have another go?
Call of Duty may dominate the current landscape of modern military shooters, but that wasn’t always the case. PlayStation had a similar feather in its cap by way of the SOCOM series of gritty third-person shooters, which placed a heavy emphasis on squad tactics alongside tight gunplay. This style of game is something presently missing from PlayStation’s lineup of exclusives despite there being a gap in the market, and we think there’s room for SOCOM to return.
The most recent SOCOM entry was released in 2011, but it unfortunately coincided with the infamous PlayStation Network outage that saw any online functionality turned off for 23 days. That’s not great for a military shooter that lives or dies on its ability to cultivate a healthy multiplayer base, inadvertently handicapping the game before it could even get a running start. Zipper Interactive might now be defunct, but there’s no stopping another dev from giving the series a fresh spin.
Resistance was one of two major exclusive first-person shooter franchises to dominate the PS3 era, but while Guerrilla Games gave Killzone one more shake of the stick with PS4 launch title Shadowfall, Insomniac’s alternate-history series is still nowhere to be seen. That’s a shame considering how things were finally getting moving with the last entry, shifting focus to a more character-focused story with new hero Joseph Cappelli and giving players a litany of creative weapons to shoot the Chimera enemies with.
Resistance 3 was a lot more stripped back than previous games, working as a post-apocalyptic road trip of sorts that saw Cappelli and scientist buddy Malikov venture into the heart of New York to try and stop the alien forces for good. It also introduced a markedly more somber tone, dabbling in themes such as isolation and survival horror to make for a truly mature first-person shooter where it still felt satisfying to pull the trigger. The series has had its fair share of portable spin-offs, yet this has only whet our appetite more for a full-blown sequel on a home console.
What’s not to love about an anthropomorphic raccoon who’s dedicated his life to thieving? Sly Cooper fulfilled this oddly specific power fantasy way back in the PS2 era, setting players off on four light-hearted adventures around the globe. More so than the cool locations and fun collectables, however, it’s the joyful cast of characters that we remember most fondly from the Sly Cooper series. Sly, Bently, and Murray all embody what was so great about the time when character-platformers were all the rage: endless personality.
That’s why it makes so much sense for Sly Cooper to make a comeback in 2020, what with the returned of other celebrated video game mascots like Spyro and Crash having already set the stage. Nostalgia is big business for all the currently-released consoles, so why not continue this with another entry? 2013 saw Sanzaru Games pick up the developing reigns with Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, complete with a cliffhanger tease. We’re still hoping for a resolution…