7 classic Konami franchises that need to come back – Reader’s Feature

Excited by the prospect of the PC Engine Mini, a reader suggests ways Konami could bring back everything Silent Hill to Suikoden.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who read my Sega Reader’s Feature and for their positive comments. I had a lot of fun writing it and when trying to think of a follow-up saw the news about the PC Engine Mini, which I was very pleased to see had a lot of interest surrounding it. Like many, I’ve been disappointed with Konami’s attitudes towards games in recent years, but have seen hope in their recent anniversary collections and the annoucement of Contra: Rogue Ops.

So here’s my seven favourite franchises of theirs I’d wish they’d bring back. And no, it doesn’t include Metal Gear. For one because I’m not sure it’s technically gone away, given that Metal Gear Survive wasn’t that long ago, but mostly because I’ve never really liked it. Sorry Hideo!

1. Castlevania

If you ignore Metal Gear this is the crown jewels of Konami’s gaming line-up but despite it being very high profile at the moment, thanks to Netflix, Super Smash Bros., and the anniversary collection there’s still no sign of a new game. But especially as we’ve just had Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night, I feel the only way forward for the series now is a big budget 3D game. More 2D games that are just the same old formula aren’t going to cut it.

The problem is Konami has tried 3D before, but it never really works. But there’s a very clear lead to follow in Bloodborne, which is so close to what I imagine a modern Castlevania would be that I only wish FromSoftware could make the game. I assume that’s impossible though so I would use it as inspiration, tone down the difficulty and existential dread a bit, and bingo: you’ve got your mainstream, modern, franchise all ready to go!

2. Contra

Obviously you’ve got Rogue Ops coming up but although I’m hoping it’ll be fun it’s clearly very low budget and very backwards looking. I agree with GC and others that Gears Of War is what Contra should have evolved into, except with a sense of humour and more variety in enemies and set pieces. But I would love to see a third person, big budget game that didn’t take itself seriously and still had the attitude of an ‘80s action film and an early ‘90s arcade game… you know, just like the early Contra games. I firmly believe that for all these games, as it is with the old Sega titles, you cannot just wallow in the past, you’ve got to push forward.

3. Gradius

This has the same problem as Thunder Force for Sega, in that there’s no way to obviously move the genre forward without making it almost unrecognisable. For 2D spaceship shooters I think there’s two obvious routes: a space combat simulator and something more in the mould of early Star Fox. For Gradius I think the simulator route is the way to go, as it’s weapon upgrade system always made it one of the most involved and tactical shooters out there and I’d love to see the old weapons and enemies come back but in modern 3D. The whole biomechanical look for many of the games, especially Salamander, could also help differentiate it from other shooters, like my next pick…

4. Star Soldier

Only hardened shmup fans are going to know what this is but the PC Engine was stuffed to the gills with great shooters and the Star Soldier series, which includes Soldier Blade and is very similar to Blazing Lazers/Gunhed, was my personal favourite. Compared to Gradius I’d make this the more hardcore game and try to update the old linear style of play with modern 3D graphics. I’m imagining Star Fox 1 but harder and with more of a bullet hell approach. There’s nothing like that out there at the moment and that’s got to be a good reason to give it a go.

5. Neutopia

Another game few have probably heard of (they’re both Hudson games, rather than original Konami titles) but for my money the two Neutopia games were the best Zelda clones around. The originals were super derivative but as we know, copying Zelda and getting anywhere close is actually really hard and this had everything including similar style dungeons and multiple items. Where there’s an opportunity for Konami though is that if Nintendo are going to continue with the Breath Of The Wild style for a while then here is the opportunity to make a more Ocarina Of Time style game to serve those fans. It’s be ballsy but I think Konami need to be at the moment.

6. Silent Hill

I was going to leave this list at five, like Sega, but there’s no way I can leave out Silent Hill. Obviously, it’s a much more recent franchise than any of these others but it’s a classic that I know many miss. You could argue that it’s been run into the ground and there’s nowhere else to go but Silent Hills was clearly going in a bold new direction and the best answer would simply be to continue that. But since that’s clearly not going to happen I would keep its first person view and the focus on pure horror and not action. That differentiates it from Resident Evil and would, I think, be the best chance for putting the series back on the map again.

7. Suikoden

I also couldn’t end this feature without mentioning one of the best role-playing games of all time. Like most Konami franchises it was mined to death before being finally killed off but the first two games at least were fantastic and I would go back to those in terms of tone and features, as you build up an army of allies and fortify and expand your castle. From story to battle system there was nothing quite like Suikoden, but as the increasingly bad sequels went on they keep getting further away from what made the first ones great. I’d go back to the source and reboot the whole concept back to what it used to be.

By reader Renwick

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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