(Lightfire) - 10 Old PC games that desperately need a sequel
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11/24/11 - Thursday: "10 Old PC games that desperately need a sequel"

Every once in a while there's a really great PC game, the kind that is unique and makes you want more. And yet for many of these games there's still no good remake after many years. Then there's the not-so-good games that had a great concept, but could have been so much more. Here's ten great ideas for follow-ups that would probably make good sales, at least if they're done properly...

  1. Freelancer (With: Freelancer 2, or Freelancer Online)

  2. Escape Velocity Nova [EV Nova] (With: EV Nova Online)

  3. Command & Conquer: Renegade (With: Command & Conquer: Warzone)

  4. Star Control II (With: Star Control "X", or Star Control Online)

  5. Star Trek: Klingon Academy (With: Star Trek: "X")

  6. Freespace 2 (With: Freespace 3)

  7. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (With: Alpha Centauri 2)

  8. Anarchy Online (With: Anarchy Online 2)

  9. Balder's Gate 1 & 2 (With: Balder's Gate 3)

  10. Descent 3 (With: Descent 4)

Here's some great improvement ideas for said remakes:

Freelancer 2 / Freelancer Online:

The game already has a great "universe" with all sorts of factions and locations. Expand the existing locations and create new ones. Improve travel, combat, and docking systems. Especially make sure player doesn't get stuck at jumpgates waiting for NPCs to clear queue. Improve graphics. Add more ship classes. Multiplayer ships (similar to Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed). Improve on trade system (dynamic/changing trade prices, add more trade information - this is the future, surely information is widely available). Add more RPG elements. Edit NPC voice system and make better scripts. Make waypoints and locations easier to track. Other user interface and control improvements. Use more realistic physics. Make asteroid mining a viable source of income. Allow players to construct bases under certain conditions, in space and on planets. Include player Guild system. Add player character customization, ship modification and customization. Time permitting, add player-controlled atmospheric flight. And of course, add or upgrade the obligatory Other-Thing-I-Forgot, etc.

EV Nova Online:

It's what it says on the tin. Start by upgrading to 3D graphics (optional). Make it multiplayer, as the original is like a sandbox game that's begging to support multiple users/pilots, and would be the main selling point. Add/improve: Colonization, trade, combat, user-interface, guilds, player-created space stations, etc.

Command & Conquer: Warzone:

For extra points, this could be more of a combination of CnC: Renegade, CnC: Sole Survivor, and CnC3: Tiberium Wars. You create one huge, tiberium-inspired battlefield, then set up objectives like capturing tiberium refineries with engineers. Think of it like the Battlefield or Battlefront series, with players in FPS mode. The catch: There's also a commander on each team with a bird's-eye view that is making buildings, controlling workers, calling in airstrikes and other cool abilities, and choosing research upgrades. Effectively, an RTS+FPS. (Few games do this well, one of the older and more unknown ones being Savage: The Battle for Newerth, which itself is debatable.)

Display a commander's stats to the "grunt" players, allowing them to select the best commander for their team. Custom games in the CnC series are constantly plagued by team-stacking, often based on stats. Take the example of Zone Troopers in CnC3: Tiberium Wars, and allow certain players controlling certain classes in certain situations to drop in pod style as seen in Section 8: Prejudice and Planetside (or essentially like the Zone Trooper drop pods as seen in CnC3). Make other upgrades/improvements/features as needed to make this an epic game. Etc.

Star Control "X" / Star Control Online:

A new multiplayer Star Control with additional features would be like a breath of fresh air to the sci-fi community. Again improving graphics would be a nice touch, with realistic physics, a 3D environment, and cool unit portraits (e.g. Starcraft II unit portraits). Make a larger variety of melee fights, with different obstacles on each. Perhaps you have to end the match fast to avoid radiation, or you keep getting bombarded with asteroids periodically throughout the fight. Create a large universe to explore as in Star Control II, with realistic planets, quests, and NPC conversations. Use a great storyline for Star Control "X", and/or make a nice sandbox game for Star Control Online. As in most space games, adding a colonization or trading system helps add depth, but the main focus would probably be travel, exploration, and story-driven quests. Etc.

Star Trek: "X":

Star Trek: Klingon Academy is one of the best Star Trek games in existence, even if I don't actually play it anymore. Star Trek: "X" would play up its strengths, tone down its weaknesses, and otherwise vastly improve upon the original game. Keep important aspects like player-controlled ships of multiple classes, beaming cargo and boarding parties, tractor beams, warping at will, etc. Make boarding parties actually work intuitively and properly (perhaps even allowing players to board each other's ships themselves), allow warping between systems (perhaps make mutiple-system maps for multiplayer) and to specific points within said systems. Make probes more predictable and effective, increase damage control repair rates, and of course improve graphics. Continue improving by adding more multiplayer modes, better network support, server listings, somewhat more intuitive controls, etc.

Freespace 3:

While I haven't played this in a long time, Freespace 2 was a particularly awesome space shooter for it's time. Improve control system, graphics (obviously, the graphics were one of it's best features even back then), add more interactive gameplay elements, improve AI, upgrade scenario/mission builder, improve networking and server support, implement/improve new game-browser and/or matchmaking system, additional game modes (especially for multiplayer), etc.

Alpha Centauri 2:

The Civilization series continues strong despite cutbacks to game complexity. It's counterpart, Alpha Centari, should try to retain the originals depth without altering the complexity. Diplomacy is a key feature. Being at peace should have it's own challenges and rewards. I'd vote for improving the combat systems to work faster and be more decisive. Actually, this could be sort of a hybrid of a turn-based game and a real time strategy (and I'm not just talking about simultaneous turns). What if you actually got to control your units in a confrontation? What if there was a unit cap, and you had to spend exponentially more to retain larger and larger armies? (Similar to Sins of a Solar Empire.) This would stop the massive army army balls that takes 200+ turns to move and 100+ turns to kill anything. You could now actually manage an army. If that's not a good idea, how about simply improving unit stacking, so you can "split" and "merge" your units with ease, like splitting and stacking items in any good RPG? Let's speed up the game progression a bit as well, people don't generally have 5+ hours in a day, and in my experience most multiplayer games of Civ/Centauri never actually get resumed from the save. 2D vs 3D hardly matters, but a graphical upgrade will be necessary, as well as improving the fluidity of gameplay and controls. This sequel would need to make some huge improvements over the last one, really making you feel like you are commanding a fledgling space empire.

Anarchy Online 2:

It's a bit difficult to say where Anarchy Online succeeds and fails. For one, the race and class ideas are interesting, if not particularly well developed. The settings and story were awe-inspiring. But the missions and quests were often hard to find, buggy, repetitive, boring, or just plain difficult to understand. Let's shred the bad stuff in Anarchy Online, like cutting down on the insanely long travel distances on foot, making vehicles with more realistic physics, and dumping unintuitive menu and control systems. Make the game more transparent and easier to figure out where to go and what to do for a player to accomplish their objective. Improve player housing system, combat, and travel. Improve party system, experience system, and crafting. Upgrade graphics (a very crucial upgrade for revamping old games, it seems), improve animations, improve sounds, new music, etc.

Baldurs Gate 3:

It's been so long since I've played Baldur's Gate & Baldur's Gate 2, it's hard to think of ways this could improve on the originals. Certainly, there are ways, but considering this is basically the next in the series, and considering my other suggestions for other games here, I'd just let the developers and designers work it out. But I will say it needs improved graphics and multiplayer systems, at the least.

Descent 4:

Again, this is pretty much a direct follow-up. Improved graphics and multiplayer would, of course, be significant features. Throw in some more game modes, spice up singleplayer, and let's revamp the controls and abilities a bit. Make a long co-op campaign akin to the first Descent. In fact, the first Descent is a good example to build from, but we'll have to dump some of the mazes (not all of them, just the ridiculously long ones), scale enemies and bosses better with gained abilities, allow the player to keep certain upgrades throughout the campaign (less picking up powerups), vary the levels so that keycards aren't the only thing you're looking for. Throw in more atmospheric fighting, possibly in-space fighting, and give ships more speed to make this more action-packed. Enemies should move a bit themselves, so improve AI and make more enemies mobile fighters instead of heavy tanks. Give ships improved "hit-detection" and give them "weak spots" etc. Base a lot of the style on Descent 3, again improving on it with better graphics, physics, etc. Ships should have inertia causing them to "slide" a bit when turning at high velocities. Toss in a few extra self-destruct-last-minute-escapes for good measure and you have a descent sequel.