If there’s one thing we can all learn from the current media landscape, it’s that classic franchises never die. They go dormant, sure, sometimes for decades. But sooner or later someone with pull gets it in their head to bring it back and dumps a bucket of money on a developer’s doorstep to have it made.
Of course it’s not quite so simple, but the fact remains: Classics make comebacks. Here are eight classic video game franchises you’ll get to experience again, in spirit if not in name.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
It’s kind of amazing how resilient the Ninja Turtles brand has been since its introduction in the 1980s. This bizarre quartet seems to please each new wave of kids thanks to new cartoon series and movies launching every few years. While the best games in the franchise (Turtles II on NES and Turtles in Time on SNES) may have happened in the ’90s, the modern day isn’t barren thanks to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, which landed on modern systems on May 24. Throw in the Turtles movie that debuted June 3, and you’ve got a whole new wave of fans (even if neither game or movie were good).
The original Doom from 1993 was one of the first and best first-person shooters. It’s such a seminal video game that it was among the first six to be inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. With this new installment, which retains what made the original so good while modernizing the gameplay, Doom is back. If you’re interested, read our Doom impressions here.
3. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
It seems like there are as many Warhammer video games as there are grains of sand (seriously, check out this list), but one sub-franchise is a classic for fans of strategy games: Dawn of War. The second installment came out seven years ago, an eternity in this age of fast sequels. Dawn of War III is being made by the same developer, and promises to deliver the same satisfying, futuristic strategy action. No release date is set, but the trailer looks pretty hot.
4. Chrono Trigger
With a plot that leaps from the Stone Age to the distant future, and characters from each time period in between, Chrono Trigger is one of the most beloved and original role-playing games ever made. The spirit — and the real-time combat system — of this classic lives on in I Am Setsuna, a game Square Enix is publishing in the U.S. on July 19. Whether it will live up to its highly esteemed inspiration remains to be seen.
5. Dragon Quest
Speaking of classic role-playing games, the Dragon Quest series has been quiet in recent years, with its last non-handheld installment coming to PlayStation 2 in 2004. (To be fair, 2009’s Dragon Quest IX on Nintendo DS was fantastic.) The franchise is poised to make a huge comeback, thanks to the Nintendo 3DS ports of the seventh and eighth installments launching this summer, as well as Dragon Quest XI coming to PS4 and the 3DS by next year in Japan. No word yet on whether the new installment will make its way Stateside, but for a franchise this beloved it’s a safe bet.
6. Mega Man
Keiji Inafune is best known as the creator of the Mega Man series. But when he left Capcom in 2010, many worried that would be the last we’d see of the Blue Bomber. Mighty No. 9 is Inafune’s next game, made with his new independent development team, and you don’t have to squint to see the similarities to Mega Man. Both games are side-scrolling action platformers starring boy robots. In both games, you can choose any stage to play in any order, picking up new weapons as you progress. Basically, if you like Mega Man games, you’ll want to check out Mighty No. 9.
Konami has shown virtually no interest in making video games since the release of Metal Gear Solid V in 2015. But even though the Japanese developer is happy to let its beloved franchises collect dust, the creators of those franchises are rising to the task. One of those creators is Koji Igarashi, the mastermind behind the timeless classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Iga, as he’s known by fans, ran an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign to make Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a game that hews very close to what made Symphony so special.
For years it has seemed that Nintendo was the only company interested in making 3D platformers in this day and age. Now a group of former developers from Rare have banded together to bring the spirit of Banjo-Kazooie to a new generation of players. Yooka-Laylee looks so similar to the classic Banjo games that it almost borders on copyright infringement. But thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, audiences should get the game in October. It’s a good time to be a nostalgic gamer.