4 Game franchises in search of a new genre

South Park: The Stick of Truth is such an obvious blend of franchise and genre, now that it’s in our hands, that we kind of can’t believe it didn’t happen earlier. South Park 64, South Park Rally, that stupid tower defense game…why did so many developers waste their time?

With this in mind, I’ve pored over my gaming collection looking for other franchises that just haven’t found the right genre yet, bless ‘em.

James Bond

Suggested genre: Point and click adventure

If you read Ian Fleming’s Bond books, Bond doesn’t actually kill all that many people. I mean, yes, he kills more than you or I, but GoldenEye and Blood Stone and Nightfire never really got to the heart of what makes Bond tick.

James Bond is a spy, not a murderbot, and wouldn’t it be cool to have a Bond game where spying wasn’t just a case of pointing your phone or watch at a computer and watching a progress bar move? How about a Telltale style adventure game about spying, about going undercover, about finding objects and then using them on other objects? Bond is a man who eats and drinks and thinks and screws his way out of situations, but his games have mostly been about shooting dudes in the face. It’s a rather narrow interpretation of a nuanced character.

The Simpsons

Suggested genre: Microgames

A decade ago, I played Wario Ware and thought to myself ‘why the hell isn’t there a Simpsons themed game like this, with every level being based on a different episode of the show?’ That was an idea a teenager had a decade ago, and still no developer has come up with anything even remotely as good.

The Simpsons Game was decent, but at this point we don’t need new content – we want to be reminded of the good years. How hard would it be to put together a crisp smartphone game in which you rushed through 5-second minigames based on episodes of the show? Make Sideshow Bob step on rakes! Escape the box factory! Find the Big T the money is buried under! Eat Up Martha! Make it a high-score challenge thing, fill it with golden age references, and everyone will be happy.

Also, Simpsons themed You Don’t Know Jack. Imagine the ensuing bloodbath.

LEGO

Suggested genre: Whatever you want to call Disney Infinity

If this isn’t already in development, it would honestly surprise me. Listen, LEGO license holders: make a game based on creation, which allows you to scan actual LEGO minifigures.

Make the figures customisable, and make the customisations appear in game as well. If you can, get Batman in it. Let players build objects with special LEGO pieces that then appear and can be used in the game. Sell special pieces in blind packs. Everyone will buy it and you will make all the money on Earth. It will almost be unfair how successful this game will be.

Suggested genre: RPG/simulation
The WWE games are good fun, but to me they’ve always missed some of the point. Yes, they’ve become more concerned with theatrics, but why are wrestling games about fighting, still, when moving up the chain in the wrestling world is really more about establishing your character and becoming popular?

Imagine a wrestling game where you play a wrestler rather than a wrestling personality – a game where you go home at night to your wife and kids. Where you have to make friends and influence them. Where you take key personnel out and get them drunk. Where you don’t actually need to fight, but you control how you perform in the ring by the things you do outside the ring.

Yes, this is a bit of a rough idea, but why do these yearly updates not take more risks? Why not base a wrestling game on backstage intrigue instead of the actual wrestling? We have lots of games about the latter and none about the former!

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