While 2021 is going to be an interesting year in video gaming with COVID-19 still making the rounds, one particular publisher to watch for is Activision Blizzard. That’s because, even without two of its biggest IPs, it’s hinting at some fun stuff that’s right around the corner.
The company is coming off one of its biggest years to date, with releases like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 Remastered performing remarkably well. But with 2021, it’s already made it clear that two of its
most anticipated sequels, Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV, won’t make it out the door until 2022.
But in the face of that, it did confirm that a new Call of Duty is on the way, and also said the following: “We have a few other things up our sleeve in terms of remastered content that will unveil in due course, which should provide further opportunity for us this year.”
The company has already remastered a number of its hits, like the Crash Bandicoot trilogy, the Spyro trilogy and, obviously, the Tony Hawk games. So what else could be coming next? There’s a number of possibilities, so let’s take a look.
At one point in time, Guitar Hero was an unstoppable juggernaut for Activision, with Guitar Hero III selling millions of copies. But, eventually, the franchise ran its course, and the company put it out to pasture.
A few years ago, it attempted to revive it with Guitar Hero Live, a game that was neat in concept with a consistently streaming service for players to enjoy tunes on-demand.
Unfortunately, the format change wasn’t as much of a hit as the company intended, and just a little time later, it was shut down.
Now, there is the possibility that Activision might consider a revival, especially considering how much of a hit Rock Band 4 became for Harmonix just a few years back. Going back to a format that players recognize and following a traditional downloadable content set-up – compared to the on-demand format that didn’t work the previous time – might just lead to its return. Keep in mind that the original developers at Neversoft are still with the company, even though it’s now merged with the Call of Duty team at Infinity Ward.
It’s a longshot, especially with the cost of new music peripherals to work with the game and licensing rights for songs. But, there’s a heavy demand for Guitar Hero on the reseller front, with Xbox 360 and PS3 instruments selling reasonably well and a desire to track down the older games. So Activision may have a market here again, providing enough thought to maybe bring it back. It just all depends if it thinks the supply and demand are worth it.
Us? We wouldn’t mind jamming like guitar gods again. We miss playing the Trogdor theme.
The Return Of Spyro?
Another hero to consider is Spyro the Dragon, who made a triumphant return to the gaming scene with a Reignited Trilogy on a number of platforms. And with Crash Bandicoot finding success with a new sequel, there’s always a good chance that Spyro could do the same, with a potential fourth adventure that could tap him with new abilities and more.
But on the remastered front, there are other games from his library to consider, like his PS2/GameCube adventures. Or, for that matter, there’s another place that Activision could turn
to – The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon.
Released in 2008 – and becoming the last game to feature the character before Skylanders came along – the game took a dramatic turn from previous Spyro adventures, with more of an epic adventure, open-world feel. It also featured Elijah Wood of Lord of the Rings fame in the title role, giving Spyro a perfect sense of character. While not a financial hit like the company was hoping, Activision still saw the title achieve cult status with some players, becoming a collector’s item over the years. So a re-release on a new platform with remastered visuals and improved gameplay wouldn’t be a complete surprise, with its popularity and resale value and all.
Spyro could take flight in one form or another, especially now that he’s a household name again. Who knows, there’s also the chance that Skylanders could possibly return, though it’s not
likely the interactive toys would, since the market’s not the same as it used to be. But a general title? It wouldn’t be a bad thing to see.
A Blur-ry Future
One other franchise that Activision treated poorly – though it’s gone on to become a hit in its own right – is Blur. Produced by Bizarre Creations and released in 2010, the racing phenomenon is still a greatly received title by its fanbase, with its illustrious racing action, unique power-ups and fun multiplayer. Alas, it didn’t sell as well as Activision was hoping, and the studio folded shortly following its release.
But the developer still lives on today, under the moniker of Lucid Games. It released a fun Geometry Wars sequel that was well received a few years ago; and it recently released Destruction All-Stars for PlayStation 5, with some help from Sony. So there’s a good possibility that it could pair up with Activision again – while keeping its independence, of course – to produce a return for Blur.
While Activision might be hesitant due to car licensing, it could have a thrilling racing hit on its hands if it can just get over that hump. Producing a game with a reasonable number of cars – real or otherwise – would get players back into it with ease. Plus, its visuals could look better than ever, and there’s always the chance of introducing even more power-ups into the proceedings.
It’s a longshot – probably more so than even Guitar Hero – but if anyone can make it happen, it’s Activision.
What remaster from the company would you like to see?
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