How To Save A Dying Video Game Franchise

How to bring a flatlining series back from the dead.

Crash bandicoot

Making a single great game is one thing, but spinning a hit title into an enduring franchise which continues to surprise and impress gamers for years or even decades? That's no easy feat.

Practically every long-running video game series sooner or later hits creative stagnation, often resulting in them outright floundering critically or commercially - if not both.

For many franchises, this will force them into a sabbatical of-sorts while their publisher tries to figure out what to do with them. The next step is absolutely crucial in determining the future of the IP.

Some publishers will simply decide to cynically cash-in on current gaming trends whether it suits the game or not, while others will spring for wacky, desperate new peripherals - let us never, ever forget Tony Hawk: Ride's plastic skateboard controller.

But there are smart ways for publishers to rejuvenate their ailing franchises, typically through a combination of sticking to what made people love it in the first place, and acknowledging how their respective genres have moved on in the years since they began to fail.

These steps aren't ever a guarantee for success, of course - or that the sales will match the reviews - but are certainly the smart ways to go about shocking a video game series back to life...

10. Remember, Nostalgia Always Wins

Crash bandicoot

If the last few years of video games and Hollywood have taught us anything, it's that people are extreme suckers for nostalgia, for having something altogether familiar re-sold to them in a shiny new package.

At its most base level, the easiest thing a publisher can do to resurrect a dying franchise is simply remind fans of how great it used to be, by re-releasing its most beloved games as part of a remake or remaster collection.

This worked extremely well with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and also Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, both of which are largely credited with resurrecting their respective franchises.

Then there are games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which didn't strictly remake the original 2007 game, but instead hearkened back to the stripped-down spirit of its predecessor, ditching the increasingly silly sci-fi nonsense for something a bit more down-to-Earth.

As much as we all might agree that nostalgia is one of the most powerful creative tools there is, deciding on the right way to exploit that nostalgia isn't always easy...


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.