2015 is a year full to the brim with Star Wars mania. This December sees the release of the hugely anticipated Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the first film in a whole new trilogy. The massively popular sci-fi phenomenon is also going to hit the video game world in a big way with the DICE-developed Star Wars: Battlefront. During the recent Star Wars Celebration, news spread about the title’s tantalizing teaser trailer and its November 17 release date.
The Battlefront series is one of the most successful adaptations of an outside franchise into the video game sphere. The original games, released in 2004 and 2005, were well-loved classics, and held up as great examples of Star Wars gaming. Along the way, other IPs have tried to use the Battlefront template with mixed results, including 2009’s Lord of the Rings spin-off Lord of the Rings: Conquest.
That doesn’t mean that the Battlefront style will only work for the Star Wars universe, however, and there are a number of IPs that could benefit from a spin-off in the vein of the series. Here are our picks of ten franchises that deserve a Battlefront-esque project.
Borderlands has become one of the most popular game franchises in recent years, with Gearbox Software’s loot-based combat winning fans over the course of two console generations. The series promotes co-operative gameplay in pursuit of treasure troves of new goodies, and its eye-catching cel shaded graphical style and unique sense of humor help set the series apart from its contemporaries. As it stands, Borderlands could easily make the transition into a multiplayer, objective-based shooter.
The franchise benefits from a number of ideas that would be perfect for a Battlefront spin-off. There are already a number of strong factions in place, with violent bandits, vicious creatures, and the occasional cheery yet homicidal robot. Different skill trees and character classes will allow for Battlefront’s class choices and customization, and the series even has an explanation in place as to why combatants can respawn, with Pandora’s New-U devices.
The Transformers series could truly benefit from a Battlefront-esque release, as the story of Optimus Prime and Megatron has a number of elements that are seemingly perfect for the gameplay style. The sheer malleability of the Transformers themselves is a major factor, as the robots in disguise are capable of on-foot combat, vehicular warfare, and even air-to-air battles. With the addition of truly iconic personalities capable of acting as special playable characters, the franchise seems ideal for a multiplayer game release.
There are, of course, some major stipulations as to how Transformers: Battlefront would work. The battlefields themselves would need to be massive in nature, with enough room for players to partake in all different kinds of combat. Meanwhile, a Transformers spin-off could perhaps work best away from Earth, with the Autobots and Decepticons battling across different planets. After all, the most successful Transformers game for many is War for Cybertron, and it would be a shame not to emulate High Moon’s success with the title.
Mortal Kombat certainly doesn’t need any radical formula changes. NetherRealm just released the highly anticipated Mortal Kombat X, to great critical and commercial success. The title stays close to the franchise’s roots, with vicious one-on-one combat filled with gory fatalities and outrageous moves. There was, however, one new game mode that hinted at the potential that the Mortal Kombat series had to move beyond its origins: the Faction Wars game mode, which pits teams of players against one another vying for combat supremacy.
The new game mode isn’t the only reason that Mortal Kombat is ideal for a spin-off. The game’s universe is ripe for a Battlefront-esque release, with a number of violent parties constantly jostling for power over the IP’s various realms. Add in a selection of iconic characters available as unlockable specials and a number of varied stages, and Mortal Kombat: Battlefront seems all the more enticing.
Blizzard’s real-time strategy title is one of the most popular multiplayer tactical games in the history of gaming, with fierce competitions still taking place around the world. The developer has had huge success with the game and its sequel, StarCraft II, winning over strategy nuts with three factions fighting for control of the galaxy. Recently, Blizzard has stated that, although the Starcraft story will conclude with StarCraft II’s final expansion, the universe itself is not going to be retired.
That leaves space for the developer to branch out Starcraft into different gaming genres. Blizzard has already tried to make StarCraft into a more action-oriented game, with the failed development of spin-off title StarCraft: Ghost. The game was highly anticipated by fans, who were left disappointed when news about Ghost dried up. With the developer cutting its multiplayer shooter teeth with Overwatch, perhaps there is room for massive, player-on-player battles between Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss in a Battlefront-style shooter.
Starcraft is not the only tactical series that could work in a more action-focused setting. Fire Emblem, Nintendo’s turn-based tactical RPG series, also has potential to move beyond its current genre. The games already have the positive of being set in larger combat environments, with players commanding a number of troops through strategic gameplay.
What’s more, certain Fire Emblem characters have already made the leap into other, more combative genres. For example, both Marth and Roy joined the Super Smash Bros. roster with Super Smash Bros. Melee, and the most recent iterations of Nintendo’s fighter have involved Ike, Robin, and Lucina. Perhaps it’s time for Fire Emblem to make another step towards real-time action.
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