Shackpets | Available on iOS and Google Play Store

Shack Chat: What dormant Activision Blizzard franchise do you want revived by Microsoft?

With Activision Blizzard now joining the Xbox team, there are a whole lot of franchises that could come back from extinction.

30

Now that we've all had a moment to recover from the shock of Microsoft purchasing Activision Blizzard King for just shy of $70 billion, we've started to think about the franchises Xbox now owns. With such a large catalogue of titles developed and published over its long history, the collection of companies are bringing to Microsoft the opportunity to bring some back from the dead. So, let's toss a coin into the wishing well and think about what long-forgotten Activision-Blizzard game we hope gets another chance.

Question: What dormant Activision Blizzard franchise do you want revived by Microsoft?


Blur - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Activision Watcher

Stop me if you've heard this one before, long-time Shacknews readers, but I used to be a part of the Activision family. I was a contract/temporary QA tester, which put me a little below "fourth cousin twice removed" and "family dog" in terms of where I ranked in the family. I think that still put me above "pet hamster" in this analogy, but only slightly.

I spent a bulk of my time working on Guitar Hero titles (Remember when Activision thought to trot out three of those games in a single year? Those were good times, weren't they?) and the occasional Tony Hawk. However, there was one project that I was happy to be a part of and that was a game called Blur. Over ten years ago, Bizarre Creations (the team behind Project Gotham Racing, owned coincidentally by Microsoft) was picked up by Activision and tasked with creating what's basically "Mario Kart for grown-ups."

The result was Blur, which featured sleek-looking cars, crisp racing mechanics, and real-world, Mario Kart-style power-ups. The final product was a blast, but unfortunately, the marketing left a lot to be desired. That included… whatever the hell this commercial was supposed to be.

Blur wasn't perfect on its first outing, but there was a solid foundation to build on and room to make something spectacular in the future. Of course, this being Activision, the whole idea was shelved and the Project Gotham creators saw their studio unceremoniously shuttered, because the game didn't… you know… make all the money.

This is a long shot, but I'd love for a Microsoft-owned Activision to give Blur a second chance. There's still room for a more adult Mario Kart competitor and if it's marketed well, it can find an audience. Heck, pass it along to a different first-party studio like Playground Games and let them get to work.


Shrek SuperSlam - Donovan Erskine, Get out of my swamp

Shrek SuperSlam is without a doubt one of the most underrated licensed video games I’ve ever played. As a 2000s kid, I have fond memories of playing this 3D fighting game on Xbox with my brothers. With so many studios trying to get their own Smash clone off the ground, you could potentially spin Shrek SuperSlam to fit in that mold. Plus, I’m pretty sure there’s another Shrek film in development, so this would be a decent launch tie-in.

Shrek SuperSlam has developed a pretty strong cult following, with a fan-made remaster making the rounds a few years back. Please get me in a room with Phil Spencer so that I can pitch this to him.


Hexen - Blake Morse, Co-EIC

Between Master Chief and now owning both the Call of Duty and Doom franchises, the Xbox team has a lot of modern and sci-fi shooters on its roster. Why not throw in something more on the fantasy side? Hexen was originally put out by Raven Software and was made using the same tools that id had developed for Doom. It was a similar concept as well, only now you were waving wizard staffs instead of pulling the trigger on a BFG. It managed to keep the eerie horror vibes while also defining its own types of terror. It would be great to see it get a modern remake in a similar fashion to Doom (2016) and I would definitely be picking it up on day one if it did.  


Geometry Wars - Sam Chandler, The Final Shape

I’ve spoken briefly about my love of Geometry Wars before. The franchise first started as a tiny mini game inside Project Gotham Racing (an insane name for a racing series, by the way). Since then, there have been multiple sequels and even spin-offs across a myriad of systems. Now that Microsoft has Activision Blizzard in its corner, it's time to revisit the classic shape-shooting game by either releasing the originals in some kind of collection or by creating an entirely new entry in the franchise, and preferably one that returns to its roots. While Dimensions was neat, there was a bit too much going on. Retro Evolved and Retro Evolved 2 were definitely peak Geo Wars.


Soldier of Fortune/Let Raven Loose - Chris Jarrard, Will probably never be acquired

Yeah, I gave lots of thought to wishing for a new Interstate 76 or even some Heavy Gear mech action, but if I stay true to myself, I know that I need more Raven Software in my life and, more specifically, I need to shoot holes through people and watch their guts spill out onto the linoleum floor. Yep, it’s time for the return of Soldier of Fortune. It doesn’t actually need to be a sequel, remake, or even tied to that dumbass magazine license. I just need Raven to make a big-budget game where disrespecting human anatomy comes before loot boxes and other shitty monetization. Left 4 Dead 2 showed us that progress in dismemberment and disemboweling was still possible. I know we can make more progress. God Bless. 


Power Move Pro Wrestling - Bill Lavoy, Co-EIC

This was harder than I expected. Thought I had a no-brainer with Ice Hockey, but it was the 1981 Ice Hockey and not the cool Ice Hockey from 1988 on the NES. With my hopes dashed, I went to Wikipedia and browsed through the laundry list of games Activision put out over the years. I finally settled on Power Move Pro Wrestling.

Now, I can barely remember last week let alone 1996, but I vaguely remember playing Power Move Pro Wrestling on my PlayStation. That got me thinking that the world could use a really good wrestling game. You can call it what you want, but I hope someone over at Microsoft is inspired by Power Move Pro Wrestling and secures the millions in funding they need to make a wrestling game. A good wrestling game.


Sierra adventures like Space Quest - TJ Denzer, Senior News Editor

It turns out Activision Blizzard owned much of the existing Sierra catalogue from back when it was Vivendi. That means that quite a few of the point-and-click classic adventures of my youth are in the hands of Acti-Blizz and, soon enough, Xbox. Now it might sound like a longshot, but I do so love me some Space Quest, featuring the misadventures of space-station-janitor-turned-galactic-hero Roger Wilco. I care so much that I keep an image of Wilco from Space Quest 3 handy for a meme regarding funny nightly thoughts before bed.

I would very much love to see something like Space Quest make a return once Microsoft has the reins. I know it’s likely far from the most pressing thing on their mind behind keeping certain overhyped franchises going, but it doesn’t stop me from pondering the possibility. Heck, bring King’s Quest and Freddy Pharkus: Frontier Pharmacist back while you’re at it.


Pitfall! - Steve Tyminski, Stevetendo show host, explorer type person

Activision Blizzard was bought by Microsoft this week and between you and me, it would be nice to have the money lying around that Microsoft has to buy up these companies. Anyway, it gets you thinking what series that haven’t seen the light of day for quite some time could come back to the scene thanks to this purchase. That being said, if there was one that I had to pick to bring back into the fold, it would have to be the Pitfall! series. Pitfall! is one of the most iconic games and it would be interesting to see an open-world adventure game where you have to explore the various temples and find treasure. It could have RPG elements to it as well where you find treasure and use that to upgrade your tools and abilities like being immune to poison from snakes or something. It would be nice to see a new Spyro the Dragon game too but beggars can’t be choosers.


There you have it, those are just a handful of Activision Blizzard games that we hope get another shot at life on Microsoft's platforms. With Xbox and PC an option, and Phil Spencer's desire to make cool games, we just might see one of these franchises return. How about you? What Activision Blizzard game do you hope gets revived for Xbox and PC?

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

From The Chatty
    • Zek legacy 10 years
      reply
      January 21, 2022 2:12 PM

      HotS

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 9:14 PM

        The best and only MOBA I really enjoyed.

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 3:46 PM

      Rock, N, Roll, Racing.
      also lostvikings.

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 3:49 PM

      World of Warcraft. It's not dormant, but it is terrible right now. So if they could fix it, that'd be great.

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 4:31 PM

        Several articles I've seen postulated how smart it would be to add WoW to Game Pass and include the sub price in that.

        • reply
          January 21, 2022 6:14 PM

          I would 100% sub to game pass if I could pop into WoW a few times a month.

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 5:35 PM

        As somebody who has played a ton of WoW, I don’t really know what they’d have to do to make it feel fresh again. The formula feels very grindy and stale, and I’m not sure if their core audience has a strong interest in three hour raids anymore. Mythic+ dungeons are a great addition, but those start to also feel just… used up after the first six months of the expansion. And they’ve intentionally gated certain types of stuff behind the raids. But why would anybody do raids if they didn’t have to?

        I don’t know if there’s a solution there that can make everybody happy. I feel like they need to find some way to rekindle the sheer sense of scope that the Vanilla world had, but there’s no way to deliver that with the density of detail that people expect nowadays.

        But yeah, they’d probably pick up some folks if it were included in Gamepass.

        • reply
          January 21, 2022 5:36 PM

          I think it'd require a completely new game, which I don't think the community would like anyway.

          • reply
            January 21, 2022 7:30 PM

            I don’t think a sequel is on the table. They’re very committed to extending rather than replacing.

        • reply
          January 21, 2022 9:21 PM

          A few things that would probably make a lot of people happy:

          - Getting rid of all the "borrowed power" system
          - Getting rid of post-max-level chores/grinds that are required for player progression
          - Making PvP about skill and not gear, so that new players can jump in and play without getting 1-shot by twinks or high-level players
          - Solo queue for PvP and M+

        • reply
          January 22, 2022 5:32 AM

          They could revamp professions and do something like FF14 level sync to make older zones worthwhile again. (not just time walking dungeons). I'd also like to see the mount drop rates greatly increased. I used to enjoy collecting mounts, but now there's so many but the drop rates are so low, there's no chance of collecting them all. I gave up on Mimiron's Head a while ago.

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 5:43 PM

        If they pulled out the spiteful grind and committed to regular content , I’d be a happy subscriber. Grinds are part of mmos - I’m ok with it - but not the way it was up through 9.1. 9.1.5 is a step in the right direction.

      • reply
        January 22, 2022 6:06 AM

        WoW 2

        Make it the best looking MMO ever released. The tech is there to basically make the game look as good as their cutscenes. Unreal Engine 5 (or 6 I guess) WoW 2 please. Imagine the first trailer - everyone assumes they are looking at a cutscene for a new expansion but suddenly there’s a UI and you realize someone is playing a game that looks that good.

        Take all the lessons learned from every MMO over the last 25 years and apply them to the new game. What are those lessons? I don’t know!

        The hype alone would guarantee some huge sales numbers at least initially. And if it was actually good they’d have another money pig for the next 15-20 years.

        • reply
          January 22, 2022 6:13 AM

          If they haven’t already started something like that, it’s gonna take them like, 8-10 years for them to develop something like you’re describing.

    • DM7 legacy 10 years
      reply
      January 21, 2022 4:32 PM

      Rock and Roll Racing would be fun.

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 4:33 PM

      Does activision own soldier of fortune?

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 4:55 PM

        Most likely yes, either due to publishing the game for PC or buy owning Raven.

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 5:21 PM

      SiN: Episodes...episode 2, please!

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 5:25 PM

      Kaboom, Decathalon, Little Computer People, Interstate '76 & Interstate '82

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 5:31 PM

        The Interstate games...yes!

        • reply
          January 21, 2022 6:14 PM

          Yeah those would be great contenders to get a revival.

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 8:08 PM

        It would be an amazing thing to see Interstate get a revival. Then we could look forward to TWO resurrected car combat classics!

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 5:33 PM

      Battlezone--those were some cool fucking games! Hell, I'd also take a Battlezone style game in the StarCraft universe. Microsoft can make these dreams come true!

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 5:43 PM

      Heroes of the Storm, honestly

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 6:14 PM

        This would be great

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 6:54 PM

        Honestly they need to kill the current version and come out with a new, updated engine. Things like reconnecting in a reasonable amount of time, not having your purchases being region locked, and better replay system are all things they absolutely need to include. They could also expand it to include different tournaments like in Rocket League. There's just so much wrong with the current game that was wrong from the beginning.

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 5:43 PM

      I bet we’ll see new F.E.A.R. And SWAT games down the line.

      • reply
        January 21, 2022 6:03 PM

        WB owns F.E.A.R.

        • reply
          January 21, 2022 6:04 PM

          Dang, do they own NOLF too

          • reply
            January 21, 2022 6:06 PM

            I haven't kept up, but it seems there are multiple rights owners of that game, some out of business.

          • reply
            January 21, 2022 6:32 PM

            Yes. NOLF was under Vivendi who then merged with Activision in 2007

          • reply
            January 21, 2022 6:33 PM

            NOLF's rights are somewhere between Fox, WB, and Activision but no lawyers for these groups wants to check that out to confirm

            • reply
              January 21, 2022 6:44 PM

              My understanding is that NOLF was owned by Vivendi

              • reply
                January 21, 2022 8:35 PM

                The likely owner was Fox which was sold to Vivendi and then merged with Activision. But there's evidence to suggest that Warner, Activision, and even 20th Century Fox (now Disney) have a stake in it. Each of them threatened to potentially sue the small dev who was going to try and fix it up and rerelease it on GOG. Honestly, the only way to find out who owns it is to essentially bite the bullet and force their hand.

                Microsoft might be more inclined to go and figure out if they own anything though.

                • reply
                  January 21, 2022 8:37 PM

                  The story I recall is that both GOG and Night Dive Studios don't want to release a version of NOLF that they know doesn't have a green light on copyright, as to operate as cleanly above the board as possible. Night Dive says they have the code even, its just a matter of one of the three acknowledging they own the rights and giving a license to Night Dive to go ahead and release, but none of the three companies seem willing to even have desk jockeys search their paperwork archives for the original contracts.

                  • reply
                    January 21, 2022 8:40 PM

                    And just checking, WB objected to a trademark that Night Dive had put in for NOLF which according to their statement, they didn't want to have Fox or Activision come running to them with lawsuits.

        • reply
          January 21, 2022 6:13 PM

          Wow I need to read up on how that happened.

          • reply
            January 21, 2022 6:17 PM

            Monolith was acquired by WB, and they had expressed to them from the start of negotiation that they wanted to do F.E.A.R. 2, entirely separate from the expansions that had already been done. So WB ponied up and bought the property from Vivendi Universal in order for it to happen.

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 6:00 PM

      SpaceQuest

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 6:10 PM

      Pitfall

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 6:12 PM

      StarCraft

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 6:33 PM

      The Movies

    • reply
      January 21, 2022 9:48 PM

      River Raid, for real. A nice 3D update with rogue like elements.

      Spy hunter would be great too, but that’s a different studio.

    • reply
      January 22, 2022 5:13 AM

      WarCraft Adventures

    • reply
      January 22, 2022 5:35 AM

      There isn’t a ton that I care about. EA are the ones sitting on a ton of old PC ip that is love to see revitalized, Crusader no remorse pls.

      • reply
        January 22, 2022 6:29 AM

        Crusader reboot would be great. I heard The Ascent is kinda close to that.

        • reply
          January 22, 2022 7:43 AM

          The Ascent is more like a twin-stick Diablo. Has some jank but I find it strangely relaxing to play at night. Been working through it the last couple months and hopefully finish before it leaves Gamepass whenever that happens.

          • reply
            January 22, 2022 7:46 AM

            Wait, so games come and go from gamepass? Like if you download it to your pc/xbox, potentially it could just get pulled and you can no longer play it?

            And also, I guess I misunderstood what type of game it was so I want to re-iterate how awesome a crusader revival would be.

            • reply
              January 22, 2022 7:51 AM

              Yep, removed at some point if not MS / First party. Sometimes the come back. Sometimes.

    • reply
      January 22, 2022 6:13 AM

      What about using existing franchises for new types of games?

      A Witcher-type game set in the Diablo universe. Dark and gritty apocalyptic fantasy with deep stories and mind numbingly good graphics.

      Bring back StarCraft Ghost but make it a Hitman-style stealth game where you planet hop around to do missions.

      Instead of an RTS, make a CIV style game with Warcraft. Oh man - futuristic elves and dwarves with nuclear capabilities please

      Shit, I want all of these plus the WoW 2 I described above.

    • reply
      January 22, 2022 6:25 AM

      Hexen would be fun! Give it to machine games

    • reply
      January 22, 2022 6:25 AM

      Pitfall

Hello, Meet Lola