One constantly fluctuating element of gaming is the quality of a long-running series.
That ain't a dig at the video game industry specifically. It's tough to maintain a consistent level of quality regardless of whatever medium you're working in. That much has been proven by Game of Thrones. As a result, a lot of beloved characters and franchises drop off the map. Although it isn't always down to a dip in quality that characters disappear, sometimes audiences just decide they've had enough and that leads to developers retiring them.
But occasionally, something wonderful happens: Those characters make a glorious comeback, sometimes seemingly out of nowhere. Be it after a lengthy absence or after absolutely tanking in popularity, is there any better feeling than seeing your favourite hero making a glorious comeback?
Answer: No. Especially when it comes to the following titles.
Here are some classic video game characters who made one hell of a comeback, and did it with style. As is usually the case, I've likely forgotten some very obvious examples, so leave a comment and maybe we can get another one going. Let's do this!
12. Sonic The Hedgehog - Sonic Mania
Is there honestly a sadder example of one of the greats crashing and burning in such spectacular fashion as Sonic?
Perhaps the series could have been preserved if they'd stuck with Sega America's original plan to make him a trash-eating track star from Nebraska named Sonny (seriously, look it up).
One reason was graphical improvements in video games. Sonic just never managed to make the jump to 3D particularly successfully, but still jumped five thousand sharks in the process.
Sonic Adventure was uneven, 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog had him kiss a human woman, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was a mess, and that's barely scratching the surface.
How do you fix a beloved franchise that is bombing so hard it can be heard around the world? First off, you hire a team comprised entirely of Sonic fans. Secondly, you take it back to its roots, and that's just what Pagoda West and Headcannon did.
Sonic Mania did what the series always did best: rapid, side-scrolling action that was colourful and, most importantly, fun. Even remixing classic Sonic levels. Sonic Mania is a testament to the fact that, just because things change with time, doesn't mean you have to.
Do what you do best.