10 Video Games That Tried To Exploit Nostalgia (And Failed)

Play with nostalgia and you have to get it JUST right.

Star Wars Battlefront

Nostalgia is a powerful motivator when trying to sell products. People often gravitate towards the familiar; the comforting, and the games industry is no exception.

Publishers seek to capitalise on this, utilising existing franchises or creating spiritual successors. Sometimes they turn out brilliantly - like the recent Spyro and Crash Bandicoot remakes - but this doesn’t always succeed, with the rebooted Star Wars Battlefront games both coming under strong criticism.

Mobile gaming is another key offender, and many existing franchises have seen new entries where gameplay deviates significantly from the main games, often favouring free-to-play or freemium mechanics.

Crowdfunding has also contributed to this amongst indie developers, allowing a nostalgic public to pledge money towards the development of spiritual successors but these campaigns have gained a reputation for overpromising and underachieving.

It’s clear when publishers are looking to make lazy cash-ins but sometimes well-meaning titles end up guilty of this too. We’ve seen a number of examples of this in the last decade and here are some attempts that simply fell flat.

10. Star Wars: Battlefront (2015)

Star Wars Battlefront

If you ask a Star Wars fan what their favourite video game adaptation is, chances are that 2005's Battlefront II will be mentioned. Bringing in a narrative-based campaign, the ability to use Jedi and Sith characters and new game modes, it was well received and fans had been crying out for a third game since.

So when EA announced plans to reboot the franchise in 2013 with Battlefield developers DICE, initial anticipation was strong. It soon became apparent though that this would be primarily a multiplayer experience, featuring only a few single player missions and no dedicated campaign.

Releasing in 2015, EA’s reboot lacked depth, was sparse on launch content and critics took aim at the planned DLC being stuck behind a Season Pass. It was also seen to be aiming at casual audiences, a fact EA later admitted to.

It’s been completely overtaken now by EA’s Battlefront II, which released in 2017 and provided a single player campaign. So unless you have a Playstation VR headset and want to dive into the Rogue One mission, there’s little point in going back.