11 Game Series That Came Back From the Dead Years Later
In a world where a new Call of Duty game comes out each November like clockwork, and Assassin’s Creed games seem to flood the shelves in a nonstop stream, it’s easy to forget that some series aren’t quite as regular. Some video game series vanish without a trace, leaving fans to wonder what’s become of them.
But video games don’t die. They simply go dormant, only to rise again years later. At least that’s the case with these games, all of which took long breaks between installments — so long we never thought they’d return. But return they did, often to great fanfare from gamers and critics alike. As these franchises prove, you can’t keep a good game down.
- Tomb Raider
Time between titles: 5 Years
With nine main titles in the Tomb Raider series since 1996, it’s kind of hard to believe there’s been enough time for the franchise to fizzle out and be reignited. That’s pretty much what happened, however, after the release of 2008’s Tomb Raider: Underworld. It was the third installment in a row developed by Crystal Dynamics, and it closed out that loose trilogy.
Five years later, in 2013, Square Enix would wipe the slate clean by releasing a game simply called Tomb Raider. This reboot portrays a young, more realistic (and modestly proportioned) Lara Croft as she becomes the hero fans know from the previous games. It didn’t take nearly as long for the sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, to come out.
- Alone in the Dark
Time between titles: 7 years
This series of survival horror games started off with a trilogy of games that came out in the span of just three years starting in 1992. At that point, for whatever reason, seven became the franchise’s magic number. Maybe it’s because these are horror games and seven is an unlucky number, but the next three installments all had seven year gaps between them, coming out in 2001, 2008, and 2015.
Then again, maybe seven years is too soon when you look at the catastrophe that is the latest release, Alone in the Dark: Illumination, which came out to horrendous reviews in 2015.
Time between titles: 9 years
Wolfenstein is generally credited with starting the whole first-person shooter craze over 20 years ago. The franchise is still around, but it has taken a few sizable breaks in the meantime. The first came after the 1992 release of Wolfenstein 3D, when developer Id Software moved on to the Doom and Quake series. We didn’t get another Wolfenstein game for nine years, until Return to Castle Wolfenstein landed in 2001. After that, the series took another long break, this one lasting eight years, before releasing another game simply called Wolfenstein in 2009. If you’re looking for a great shooter, by the way, check out the modern installment, Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Time between titles: 10 years
Many gamers grew up playing SimCity, building metropolises from scratch, dealing with natural disasters, worrying about traffic problems, and raising taxes on citizens with a click of the mouse. It sounds about as fun as filling out a spreadsheet, but it’s actually really enjoyable. But just like the other games on this list, there was a stretch of time when it seemed like we’d be denied the god-like power to build and destroy in any more SimCity games. That was during the 10 year gap between when SimCity 4 launched in 2003 and 2013, when the game SimCity was released for PC.
- Street Fighter
Time between titles: 11 years
Based on how successful the Street Fighter series has been since it jump-kicked onto the scene in the ’90s, it’s kind of hard to believe the series went dormant for about about a decade between the release of the third and fourth installments. But that’s exactly what it did. After releasing Street Fighter III in 1997, Capcom let the series dry up until 2008, when it released Street Fighter IV, a title that has been extremely successful — so successful that it took just under eight years to release the sequel, Street Fighter V.
Time between titles: 12 years
The Doom series has never operated on a predictable schedule. The first installment came out in 1993 and made PC gamers pay attention to the new first-person shooter genre. The second installment followed just a year later, continuing on without changing much (not that it needed to).
Fans who were eager for Doom 3 were in for a decade of disappointment, because the game took a full 10 years to come out. But that wasn’t even the longest Doom fans had to wait to frag demons in hell. The next new installment came 12 years later, in 2016. Thankfully, the game, simply titled Doom, was worth the wait.