Industry analyst for Niko Partners, Daniel Ahmad (who we’ve cited in a past issue of The Index), took to Twitter recently to share some bullet points from a recent Activision Blizzard earnings call. Those announcements included news that the next Call of Duty title is scheduled for a Q4 2020 release (duh!), World of Warcraft Classic will be getting new content, Diablo Immortal will be entering testing in the second half of 2020, Activision expects to earn $6.45 billion in revenue this year, and the company is working on a number of remastered and reimagined titles set to be fully disclosed later this year.
The minute that any large publisher announces that they’re working on not just one, but multiple remakes and remasters, our brains kick into overdrive. With Activision Blizzard, whose combined back catalog extends decades, these unnamed remakes and remasters could be from any number of beloved IPs. We’re obviously pretty excited by the premise, you know, so long as they don’t end up like Warcraft III: Reforged. (We wouldn’t wish that upon our most disliked franchises, let alone their poor fans.)
Despite our jab at Activision Blizzard for their huge misfire with Warcraft III: Reforged, we have to give them credit where credit is due. For example, remakes like the Spyro Reignited Trilogy and the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy have our full seal of approval here at The Game Manual, as well as among long time fans in general.
In going through the back catalog of Activision, there’s a few titles we’d like to see them bring back from game graveyard, such as Shrek Smash n’ Crash Racing (high on our list for the memes alone). On a more serious note, a certain little vehicular combat series called Vigilante 8 would bring a smile to our faces. It’s long overdue for that sub-genre to make a return, anyway, especially with all of the options modern online play affords.
An extremely underrated first-person shooter, one that we’ve always found to be one of the more unique games to come out in the last generation (amid a sea of Call of Duty clones) is Singularity. Bringing that back with a new “Definitive Edition”, with all the bells and whistles that new hardware could provide, would be great. All good games deserve a second chance.
A reboot of the Nightmare Creatures IP would be a welcome announcement as well. Any ’90s kid who was fortunate enough to get to play either of the entries in this series always spoke fondly of them. Now, just imagine those monster designs with the type of horsepower we have under the hood of our consoles and PCs today.
Jumping into the Blizzard side of things, something we’ve been wondering about for years now is, “What about World of Warcraft for consoles?” We did get an official release for vanilla WoW, so why not go this route? Keyboards and mice work on consoles so long as the developer actually allows for the option, which we already know other MMOs like Elder Scrolls Online utilize the feature. Better yet, a fully reconfigured control scheme tailored to consoles would be even more apt, given several other PC MMOs have done just this, such as Path of Exile.
Personally, we would love to bring back a specific game that never made it out of development hell. Even as you’re reading this, you likely already know what game that is: Starcraft Ghost. Of course it’s Starcraft Ghost. Yes, after all these years we would still like to see it happen, and yes, it would be just as celebrated as it would’ve been upon its initial release all those years ago.
In our hearts we want to say remake Diablo II, because, it makes sense, right? It’s only one of the best PC games of all time, after all. We’d even accept a port of it to modern platforms, since it still holds up visually, but why not go for something a bit more underappreciated from the Blizzard camp of games? They’ve produced so many over the past few decades.
How about Blackthorne. Yes, that Blackthorne. The one that appeared on the 32X (it was actually really good on there). The one that time has forgotten. A cover-based shooter version of Blackthorne, with an expanded narrative and fleshed out level design: There’s infinite possibilities right there.
Truthfully, we could go on for hours about games from both Activision and Blizzard, but the company as a whole may just play it safe by porting sure-fire hits that already have large fan followings. Sadly, in the current economy of video games, they’d need to invest millions into advertising to get people interested, let alone hyped, for all but their most famous classics. We old, nostalgic fans are the minority.
We’ve already seen quite a few ports from last gen, however, like some of the Call of Duty games and Deadpool, and we’re sure there’s a few more we’re forgetting. Remakes are an entirely different beast, though, and only time will tell what Activision Blizzard chooses to serve up. Regardless, we’ll be keeping an eye out like the rest of you.