TA Top Five: Franchises That Could Switch Genres

By Jonathan Barnes, 4 years ago
Back in 2009, we had already seen three different Halo games with a fourth on the way in Halo 3: ODST. All of the games had been first person shooters and had (arguably) dominated the industry. Tasked with something that many felt might be impossible, Ensemble Studios brought the Halo universe to a new genre with Halo Wars and showed that the story, characters, and world had a range beyond the Master Chief's view. Followed many years later by Halo: Spartan Assault, the Halo IP shows no signs of slowing down. While the first-person shooter will always be the franchise's bread and butter, different executions on the story and world have worked and been embraced by fans. Before that shift, Bethesda proved that the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Fallout works just as well (or better) in first person as the isometric view. Shortly thereafter, BioWare took Mass Effect to new heights by twisting/amping it from an RPG into a third-person shooter/RPG hybrid with Mass Effect 2.

In this week's TA Top Five, moderator extraordinaire dropK1CK ninJA challenged us to come with five franchises that could switch genres or have spinoffs in other ways (like Halo Wars). Here are our Top Five as well as some honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

BioShock as an Action-RPG
Top Five

Here goes Old Man Barnes talking about how he wants a BioShock game that's done in the style of Mass Effect 2 with an upgradable skill tree, branching storylines, side quests, and customizable equipment. HOW CLICHE!NOW HANG ON JUST A MINUTE!

...you're totally right. It's cliche and expected, but I think this would totally work and would be willing to auction off treasured parts of my anatomy to see this game get made. In fact, certain treasured parts of my anatomy may be sending me to the hospital for just writing up this idea. They've been in a state of excitement for the past four hours and commercials say I should seek out medical attention.

A LEGO First-Person Shooter
01/08/14 - Suits 15

LEGO games are everywhere, from super heroes to tiny people to other super heroes. The one place they could totally go for some fresh blood is making an FPS title. What I'm NOT saying is that we need Halo Mega Bloks LEGO or Call of Duty Mega Bloks LEGO, but how much fun would it be to have an FPS that you could play with kids? The game could incorporate fully-destructible/re-constructable environments, a variety of "fun" weapons, and enemies that explode into a pile of bricks when finally slain. I don't know about you guys, but I'd buy that for me a kid.

Top Five

5. Alan Wake as a "Telltale Game"
Coffee Thermoses

I'll grant you that this would be selling short the excellent action and survival horror aspects of the title, but the story was what really sucked me into Alan Wake. The natural episodic structure that Remedy already built into the game seems like it's just begging to be given the Telltale treatment. If anyone could deliver a satisfying continuation/conclusion to Alan's story, it would be them.

4. Halo as Survival Horror

Picture this, you're a member of the UNSC, maybe an ODST, maybe just a standard marine, and you're stuck on a backwards planet in the middle of nowhere - perhaps crash-landed - and things just don't seem... well... right. As you gradually explore the planet on which you're stuck, you find remnants of civilization (possibly Forerunners), loads of dead Covenant, and an overwhelming sense of dread. Then you see it, a shambling horror... it's a flood-infected corpse and it's coming for YOU. Armed only with your pistol (and not the beefy first incarnation in Combat Evolved, I'm talking one of those weak-sauce pistols) you have to find a way to survive the planet, contact UNSC, and secure your rescue.

Sure, it may be cribbing from Dead Space and Silent Hill, but tell me you wouldn't play that game.

3. Mass Effect as a Strategy Title
ME2 characters

This is borderline cheating, as it would basically copy the Halo Wars plan, but the idea of a strategy game (it could be real-time - à la Halo Wars - or turn-based - à la Civilization Revolution) that is something of a prequel to BioWare's series could be a ton of fun. Imagine having the first contact wars between humans and turians, or the salarians versus the krogan, or Cerberus versus... well... anyone. Throw in Reapers versus Protheans on top of it (bending the timeline I know) and you've got yourself a really solid strategy title.

2. Titanfall as an Open-World, Shooter-RPG
Update 6

Notoriously light on story and lacking a single-player mode, Titanfall was still good enough to win our 2014 Game of the Year. While it will never happen, imagine how much fun it would be to mix Titanfall into a game like Fallout 3 - give it an open world, warring factions, upgradable skills and weapons, and put you somewhere in the middle, trying to decide which side to fight for, learning about the world that this war takes place in, and helping (or harming) people along the way. The biggest hurdle would be that you wouldn't be able to call in your Titan until you had picked a side and earned their trust, but c'mon, how cool would this be?

1. Assassin's Creed as a First-Person, Stealth-Action Game

Stick with me here. Several games have already shown that this type of a game works (namely Dishonored), but how amazing would it be to see the world of an assassin from the first-person perspective? Throw in a parkour system like Dying Light and combat/stealth like the aforementioned Dishonored and you've got a game that could add a little bit of energy and excitement to Ubisoft's cash cow that has grown all-too stale.

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Credit for this story goes to dropK1CK ninJA
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.