The release of Wing Commander Saga reminds us of three types of hope for reviving beloved franchises believed to be dead.
Word has just come through the convolutedly titled Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn, an unofficial fan-forged total conversion that’s a continuation of the Wing Commander series, has been released for download. As I was adding it to my download list, I found myself pondering the cool ways that a dead or dormant franchise can be revived: two of which can be done by the community.
On the whole, we gamers are an apathetic bunch when it comes to, well, a whole bunch of things. Sure, we have loud caps-lock-fuelled internet voices, but when it comes to action, we’d rather just game or otherwise go on living our respective lives. Light a fire under our collective butts or get one of us to trailblaze a cause, though, and it’s a whole different kettle of fish.
Case in point, the recent validation of online petitioning from the PC community in the forms of an Alan Wake adaptation and, if the rumours prove true, the soon-to-be-announced Dark Souls port. This can only help to spur on other gamers who believe that their beloved series is in need of a port, sequel or HD remake.
This one requires a whole lot more motivation, effort and playing nice together—again, not something the gaming community is necessarily reputed for—but it tends to be well received by fans of a particular series and attracts a following if it’s a solid enough release. The main trick to note is that it should be more like Wing Commander Saga and less like Black Mesa.
At the end of the day, publishers want to make a buck, so what better way to let them know that there’s still interest and support for a franchise long feared dead than creating (if you’ve got the skills) or downloading and playing a total conversion when it’s released. Where there’s interest, there’s the potential to make money. Where there’s the potential to make money, there are publishers.
A recent phenomenon, the whole crowd sourcing thing isn’t exactly new, but it has garnered a massive amount of interest of late thanks to Double Fine’s efforts, the follow-on of a crowd-sourced Wasteland 2 sequel and the recent Kickstarter success for The Banner Saga.
While the gaming world watches closely to see what Double Fine produces with its millions of dollars of funds sourced sans publisher, the reality is that even more developers are sure to follow suit. As with the total conversion option, this is also a great way for developers to source how much interest there is in a project as, if the budget isn’t raised, the project doesn’t go ahead and no money exchanges hands. Win-win, right? Of course, the big trick here is that it has to be a new franchise or the developer needs to own the rights to an IP.
Which of these three options is your preferred form of reviving dormant franchises?