Shpeshal Nick’s Top 5 – Week 7

It seems I can’t shake my nostalgia kick and this week have decided I’d like to look at which Microsoft IPs I’d like brought back for the next Xbox. Much like they brought back Killer Instinct for Xbox One.

5. Kameo

Kameo began it’s development life on Nintendo platforms prior to Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare. As a matter of fact, Kameo was being developed on 4 platforms over it’s time. It started life on the Nintendo 64 before being moved to the GameCube. Then after the Microsoft buyout, development began on the original Xbox before finally releasing on Xbox 360 as a launch title.

Like many Microsoft IPs over the years, Kameo was one of those games that was just inches away from being something truly great. But even as is, it’s a really under-appreciated platform adventure game that pushed the 360 hardware very early on. With incredible texture work for the time and tonnes of enemies on screen at once, Kameo asked the player to transform into different creatures with varying abilities in order to solve environmental puzzles.

Given the dearth of platforming action adventure games these days, this could be the perfect opportunity for Microsoft to lead the revival of the genre on the next Xbox using one of their many new internal teams.

4. Jet Force Gemini

From a purely gameplay perspective, Jet Force Gemini on the Nintendo 64 doesn’t hold up all that well. But the premise and characters would still make for a fun and colourful third person action platformer in the vein of Ratchet and Clank.

Again, aside from Ratchet, no one is really tackling this genre in a major way and like Kameo, Microsoft could really lead the charge on this one and make something great.

3. Banjo-Kazooie

Talk about striking while the iron is hot. There is simply no better time to announce Banjo-Kazooie is coming back than now. Banjo’s Smash Bros. announcement showed that there’s still a tonne of love out there in the gaming community for the most famous Bear and Bird in gaming.

Yooka Laylee did it’s best to capitalise but the game itself wasn’t quite up to the standard set by Banjo 1 and 2. Nuts and Bolts – while a good game in it’s own right, wasn’t the Banjo sequel most were craving.

Unless Microsoft has been developing this in secret for the last couple of years, I wouldn’t be expecting a surprise new Xbox launch title anytime soon, but even an announcement of the game being developed would be incredibly exciting and Microsoft could really cash in by announcing a Switch version of the game too.

2. Viva Piñata

While I’m well aware that Rare’s Nintendo output is commonly viewed as it’s best, I’ve always been of the opinion that Viva Piñata stands toe to toe with anything Rare released on Nintendo consoles. An RTS in a fun colourful disguise, Viva Piñata was originally conceptualised for mobile, which is fitting given it would be perfect as a cross-platform game in today’s market.

Criminally ignored in the early days of the 360 due to it’s child friendly facade, today’s cross platform, mobile dominated gaming market would be the perfect one to relaunch this franchise in. Some may hate me for saying this, but I could totally see Viva Piñata working as a free to play title for Xbox, Switch and mobile with microtransactions for cosmetics, candy and garden accessories.

Honestly even in that form I’d still play it

1. Perfect Dark

Yep, another Rare IP, but let’s be real, Rare has a lot of classic IPs that Microsoft should be bringing back. In a time where the gaming world appears to be crying out for Microsoft to take a leaf from Sony’s gaming playbook, Perfect Dark would be the perfect franchise to come back as a stealth based, 3rd person action game in the vein of Splinter Cell.

While it’s been heavily rumoured that Perfect Dark is making a return on the next Xbox, nothing is confirmed and with all of Microsoft’s recent acquisitions, there’s a number of studios that could bring Joanna back.

Current rumours suggest The Coalition could be temporarily freed from their Gears shackles. Is it possible Shanghiest (the game Black Tusk were working on prior to being transformed into the Gears studio) could be revived and retooled into a Perfect Dark sequel? Maybe The Initiative could play it a bit safer and reimagine an existing franchise in order to give themselves an established fanbase to tap into. I also feel like Ninja Theory with Microsoft’s resources could do plenty of justice to a Perfect Dark sequel. Particularly given their penchant for and success with female lead characters. There’s a real opportunity there for a great story in that universe with Ninja Theory at the helm.

Hopefully the rumours are true and we get to see this classic franchise return.

Nick "Shpeshal Nick" Baker

Australian gamer, AFL Football fanatic and father of 2. Follow me on Twitter @Shpeshal_Nick

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