There are plenty of publishers out there with huge vaults of beloved IPs that sadly have no guarantee of ever again seeing the light of day. Capcom, Konami, Sega, Square-Enix, and I think there’s a playing card company who makes games or something. But there is one company who rarely gets mentioned when this topic comes up, but really should. Yeah, the one in the title. Sony actually has a vast collection of quality series, and their annoying habit of throwing series under the bus once they have three games has led to a lot of unjustly hibernating franchises from their camp. Although not technically a Sony series, the recent revival of Crash Bandicoot has pushed this to the forefront of my mind recently. I’ve decided to rank the top ten absent Sony franchises that need sequels. To qualify for this list, a game or series needs to have never had a new incarnation in its main series on an HD system. Meaning HD remasters and cameos in Move mini-game compilations or Smash Bros. clones don’t count. So, let’s jump in. I’ll disclose that I’m not an expert on some of the lower ranked series, but everything on this list at least deserves a chance.
The only game on this list that I haven’t played, in large part because the original release never left Japan, I was still fascinated by this game simply from reading previews of it. Vib-Ribbon is a very simple rhythm game, with its hook being that you can use music CDs to create levels in the game based on any song you want. Now imagine being able to do this with digital music files or streaming sites, and you can see how much potential this concept has on an internet enabled system. The original may have finally gotten a worldwide release, but there’s so much more a completely new game in the series could do.
9. Omega Boost
To be honest I didn’t play this game very much (look, no one wants to do a top 7 or 8 list, I needed 10 dammit!), but the genre alone makes me want it to get another chance. Rail shooters where you control a character instead of just a reticule are a rare breed, and Omega Boost is a well-liked entry in that genre. I can’t give a huge amount of details on what I’d want the sequel to be like, but a flashy mech rail shooter with PS4’s power could easily be an enjoyable experience. Give this game the second chance I haven’t yet, Sony.
8. Wild Arms
Yes, I actually have finished a game in this series. Of course, this series has several games, but still. Wild Arms combines turn based combat with Zelda style items and puzzles, something I wish more turn-based RPGs would do, it does wonders for avoiding monotony. With fantastic music and a fairly unique Wild West/steampunk setting, Wild Arms is one of the better RPGs on the PS1, and what I’ve played of the first sequel seemed even better. Wild Arms managed to survive multiple generations in its true form, which already puts it ahead of the curve for Sony series, so I think there’s plenty of justification for giving this series another chance. Maybe crossover with Wild Guns, no one can keep their names straight anyway.
While this may seem like a generic 5th-gen platformer at first sight, MediEvil is actually an interesting genre hybrid. Platforming, adventure game style puzzles, melee combat that’s pretty involved for a game of its time period and RPG elements, there aren’t many games exactly like MediEvil. While it definitely shows its age in some places, the game is certainly playable. But with melee action games having made colossal strides since the 5th generation, there is a huge amount of potential locked away in this game and its expensive sequel, which was never rereleased on PSN, unfortunately. As long as it took inspiration from the right games, a new MediEvil could be a fantastic addition to PS4’s library, and fill a seldom used niche these days (horror themed game that isn’t bleak or ultra-violent). Sony, we need MediEvil: Dan of the Third Day!
Back when almost all role-playing games on consoles were JRPGs, there was an obnoxious trend to call every single action-RPG a Zelda-style game. These games often had clunky combat that was practically turn based and barely any puzzles, which meant I was usually disappointed when I played the “Zelda-style” game. Alundra, though, has thoroughly earned the label of Zelda-like. Alundra is intensely difficult in both combat and puzzles, has a sometimes crushingly depressing story, but is a huge and satisfying game. The gameplay is very similar to the 2D Zelda games with the addition of a platforming element, and that is definitely a good thing. I haven’t played the sequel, which is apparently vastly different and much less well regarded, so I’d say Sony should just give us a direct sequel to the first game. Even without Working Designs around to translate it, a worthy sequel to Alundra would be a dream come true, and not the bleak, prophetic kind the game features.
5. Ape Escape
I’m half convinced the right analog stick on the original analog/DualShock controller was added solely so Sony could claim it had more stuff on it than the Nintendo 64 controller. I can understand why Sony didn’t want to use it much, it couldn’t be easily replaced by the d-pad on a non-analog PS1 controller like the left stick could, and no one wants to require accessories. Still, waiting almost two years for anything to use the right analog stick (at least in a meaningful way) is pretty bizarre. But at least the first game to require it was a good one. Ape Escape is a fairly standard 5th-generation collection based platformer, with its hook being that you can aim your weapons and items while moving normally thanks to the right analog stick. The collectables (escaped apes) all need to be caught by using a right analog stick controlled net, so the gimmick definitely gets used enough to justify the controller requirement. The sequels never felt quite as tight in gameplay as the original Ape Escape, but they aren’t bad games and there’s no reason a new game couldn’t match the original. This barrel of monkeys has been sealed too long, it needs to be opened again.
That’s right, even in an article entirely dedicated to Sony, the Super Nintendo still manages to crash the party. The only pre-PlayStation game on the list, Skyblazer is a hidden gem on SNES that has needed more attention for decades. Skyblazer can best be described as MegaMan, MegaMan X specifically, with melee combat and a magic based setting. You jump, punch, and wall climb your way through levels, some of which you can choose the order of, and kill some great bosses to get special moves from them. The game is begging for a modern big budget character action game/platformer hybrid, Skyblazer with the budget and scale of God of War could be absolutely amazing. I’m not expecting this game to ever actually get a sequel, but that hasn’t stopped some other games I loved, so there’s always hope. In the meantime, if you haven’t played this game, try to track it down, a growing cult following is the first step to a series getting a miraculous sequel.
3. Jumping Flash
Is the robotic rabbit you play as in this a jackrabbit? Was I missing a reference pun this whole time? Either way, Jumping Flash was ahead of its time and holds up amazingly well considering. Before Quake or Super Mario 64, Jumping Flash is a first person fully 3D platformer that showed up with PlayStation 1’s western launch in 1995. Controlling a projectile and rocket equipped robotic rabbit, Jumping Flash and its very direct sequel (can’t say anything certain about the Japan only third game) are quality platformers that manage to still play well today despite how many opportunities there were to screw things up in hindsight. With DOOM 2016 hopefully igniting a resurgence in non-realistic, action based first person shooters, now would be the perfect time for Jumping Flash to return. The game’s signature gigantic jumps combined with dual analog shooting and current-gen draw distance make me salivate. This is another long shot (well, most of this list is), but a new Jumping Flash would be a… no, I’m not making that song reference, it would just be painful.
2. Parappa the Rapper/UmJammer Lammy
See, not everything in the top five is a platformer! In 1997, I was extremely loyal to Nintendo, the playground “my system can beat up your system!” kind of blind devotion. Despite hating everything PlayStation related on principle, Parappa the Rapper was so unique and charming that I still wanted to play it. I actually rented a PlayStation just to play it (the system or game was defective and I had to return it the same day, that didn’t help my system war issues). By the time I got over my one company mindset and actually got a PS1 of my own, the sequel/spiritual successor Umjammer Lammy had been released, which I loved even more. I didn’t love Parappa 2, but the PS1 games have some of the best music and characters of all time. The gameplay needs some work, which is precisely why we need a new game! Describing exactly what happens in the games feels like a disservice to anyone who hasn’t played them, but if you have played them before, I guarantee you remember them. While I’d prefer Umjammer Lammy 2 (Parappa had his chance and I just like Lammy’s music style better), any return for these paper pop stars would be incredibly welcome.
The newest game on this list, the Jak series got a decent amount of attention in its heyday, but I think it still deserved more. For one thing, are you wondering why I said Jak instead of Jak and Daxter? That’s because Jak 2 dramatically improved the series and never got the credit it should have. Yes, it’s darker and clearly took some influence from Grand Theft Auto, that doesn’t change that the gameplay is dramatically improved from the original’s fairly generic collect-a-thon style. Jak 2 and 3 have tons of variety, some of the best platforming of their generation, and great stories that are not just angsting. Jak 3 may have resolved the story arc of the trilogy, but it also set up a new story arc that was never given any games. Naughty Dog became obsessed with realism (which apparently makes dark tones okay while Jak is nothing but an edgelord) and auto-platforming while the Jak series got nothing except lower profile sequels of varying quality that never advanced the story in any real way. I don’t know if we’re ever going to get Naughty Dog back to their platforming glory, but someone needs to make a real Jak 4, fans of the series have waited way more than long enough. I’m still furious that Naughty Dog taunted fans of the series by saying they almost made a Jak 4 but canceled it to make The Last of Us (and that they planned to make it play like Uncharted), Jak is number one on this list not only because it’s my favorite series listed but because I feel that Sony genuinely owes its fanbase a new game. People have been shown to still really love Crash, a 3D Mario platformer is getting more hype than anything in its genre has in at least a decade; it is time Sony, give us Jak 4.
So there you have it, ten Sony franchises that deserve their chance to shine and bloom in HD. Who knows if any of these will actually get that chance, but it’s not impossible (Sly Cooper not qualifying for this list was a pretty big surprise). I don’t know why Sony is so inclined towards throwing series away once their generation and/or trilogy is over, but they have a surprisingly rich staple of franchises that could give them the true exclusives needed to make their library stand out from Xbox and PC. As Crash N. Sane Trilogy shows, PS1 era nostalgia has arrived and PS2 era nostalgia is around the corner, take advantage of this Sony, and give these series the sequels they deserve!