If you haven’t heard, Star Trek: Picard started recently, seeing the return of a much-loved Star Trek character in their old age. I’m not really a Star Trek fan, so I’m not too bothered about the TV series, but it has got me thinking of the games that I’d love to see take this approach. In recent times, some games have seen beloved video game protagonists fast-forwarding to their later years – see Marcus Fenix in Gears of War 4, or Max in Max Payne 3. But more often than not we get a franchise rebooted, keeping our favourite characters forever young.
But I want something more – I want to see more of our favourite grizzled treasure hunters and fatigued ex-soldiers coming out of retirement for one last adventure. Here are the games I’d love to see get a Star Trek: Picard-style sequel, with a quick pitch for each one in the unlikely case you’re not convinced (or are in fact a video game director and fancy sending me some sweet sweet cash for these excellent ideas).
Years have passed since Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man escaped from the interdimensional horror maze they were thrust into. Though the mastermind behind their torture was never discovered, things had been quiet in Pac-Land, and they thought the nightmare was over. But after a spate of disappearances in the city, rumours are starting to spread – people are being kidnapped, and sent to the maze all over again. The ghosts that tormented them still haunt the couple’s dreams, but as the only two to ever escape the maze, Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man are thrust back into the fold by the P.L.P.D to discover who is behind the malevolent labyrinth, and save the people of Pac-Land from the terrible fate that befell them all those years ago. Take control of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man in this fusion of investigation, action and horror, and unravel the mysteries of the maze, in Pac-Land: Ghosts of the Past.
A late-40s Lara Croft has travelled the world, amassing a priceless fortune of artifacts in a newly rebuilt Croft Manor, but the chase has lost its thrill. Retired and bored, there is no job, no prospect of treasure that can pull her back out into the field. That is until one of her oldest colleagues brings her an impossible artifact – a carving made from a metal that cannot be found on Earth. The prospect is too enticing, and Lara comes out from the cold, beginning a quest that takes her to New Zealand (one of the few places she’s never been) and an ancient spaceship buried deep beneath the earth. This sets off a chain of events that has Lara Croft travelling the world over, hunting down alien artifacts, constantly on the run from mysterious men in black as she attempts to unravel a conspiracy centuries in the making. You know you want it.
Sonic the Hedgehog
All of his friends are telling him to slow down, but the blue blur doesn’t pay them any attention. Sure, he has a few grey quills, and the pain in his knees is getting worse, but Sonic the Hedgehog has always lived life at full speed – at this point, does he even know how to take it slow? But when Eggman, whose life has been artificially extended with cybernetics, unleashes Metal Sonic on the world once again, Sonic pushes himself too far, and his knee finally gives way. With months of recovery on the horizon, and Eggman planning to finish off Sonic once and for all, Knuckles drags the broken blur to Tails’ workshop. Unable to fight back, Sonic must come to terms with his ageing body, while the team must use Miles Prower’s selection of gadgets and weapons to defend the base from waves of Eggman robots in this heartbreaking, narrative-focused tower defence game.
The year is 2035, and in a remote area of the USA, military-grade helicopters appear in the night sky and converge on their target – an isolated cabin. Bright spotlights illuminate the home, and a figure exits the cabin, takes a couple of pot shots at the airborne vehicles with a vintage pistol, before shrugging and waving them down. It’s Jill Valentine, in her 60s now, and Umbrella have come knocking on her door. Turns out, there has been another virus outbreak at the pharmaceutical company’s base in Loch Ness, Scotland, and it threatens all life on the planet – and unfortunately for Jill, she is the only one they can send in, having developed a heavy resistance to many of the virus strains after being infected in 1998, and experimented on further by Albert Wesker. Jill is given an experimental injection to give her physical strength that belies her years, and she’s flown over to the UK to enter the quarantined Umbrella research centre in the Scottish Highlands. The game will see you make your way to secret underwater labs, managing your health and speed with injections, and in a great twist, fighting the Loch Ness Monster, which turns out to be an Umbrella B.O.W.
The Doom Slayer ripped and tore, until he could rip and tear no more. He became the greatest war hero in the history of humanity, and even though his body may have given up, his hatred for demon-kind still burns stronger than ever. As the war between Heaven, Hell and Earth rages on, the Doom Slayer is promoted to Commander of the United Armies of Earth, his brain linked directly into the stratagem-cortex as you take control of humanity’s forces in the Real-Time Strategy game Doom: Armageddon. Command marines and mechs in a campaign that takes you to Hell and back, or take your choice of three factions in the game’s multiplayer – Heaven will have bulky but expensive powerhouse units, while with Hell you’ll attempt to overwhelm the opposition with waves and waves of disposable demons. Methodical strategy, that’s what people want from Doom, isn’t it?