We’ve all seen great franchises come and go. Sometimes the company goes under, sometimes the fans lose interest, and sometimes there’s nothing more to do and the story is over. But there’s a couple of games, for better or for worse, that have stuck around for a very long time. And I don’t think new titles are going to stop coming from these series anytime soon. Here are 10 video game series that will never end.
10. World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft might not be the best franchise to start this list because the series isn’t that old and it’s only had five releases. But after 8 years of World of Warcraft Blizzard still has over 10 million players paying a monthly fee to be a part of Azeroth. This is one of the few games that everyone seems to know, whether you’re a gamer or not. It’s on the list because it’s the number 1 MMORPG, and it’s going to stay that way for a long time. The franchise would still be producing games if it only had 100,000 active players, but don’t be surprised if we still see millions of players still subscribed to World of Warcraft in 5 or 10 years. They’ve stuck around this long…
9. Lord of the Rings
Since 1982 the world has seen over 30 games set in Middle-Earth. Now the game is synonymous with fantasy. Tolkien did such a great job of creating a huge world that the LotR titles released only cover a fraction of what’s out there. And even now, in 2012 we still have 4 new Lord of the Rings games, even though the Lord of the Rings movie craze was almost 10 years ago. If you’re making a game and need a fantasy world Middle-Earth has become the go to setting. Plus, with the new Hobbit movies and it’s following releases a whole new generation is going to get sucked in. We’re sure to see more Middle Earth games coming out for at least another generation.
Honestly I’ve never played any of the Castlevanias, but I had to add it to my list because I walk past my roommate’s collection of the game frequently. He’s got at least 10 titles, coming from a broad range of consoles, that have come out over the past 25 years. It’s amazing that designers have found a way to take a very similar story and input it in settings ranging from 1000 years ago to 10,000 in the future. The franchise might not historically be doing as well as others, but the hardcore fans will continue to keep it going. And since we’re probably going to see a reboot of the franchise next year there’s going to be a lot more Castlevania to come.
7. Grand Theft Auto
I had a hard time compiling this list of games. Mostly because there have been a lot of really great long standing franchises: Mega Man, Donkey Kong, Kirby… games that have been favorites of mine for a long time. But sadly many of these franchises are beginning to be lost, and not much new stuff is coming from these series. I know there’s still fans that love these games, but the hype is quickly being lost. Grand Theft Auto, on the other hand, is a game the world is far from tired of. Look at the Metacritic score and copy sales for GTA 4 and it’s obvious it was the most popular title in the franchise so far. And considering the hype that already surrounds GTA 5, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a Grand Theft Auto 6, 7, and 8 after that.
6. Star Wars
Star Wars is the go to futuristic world just like Lord of the Rings is the go to fantasy realm. Both of them have had tons of titles, immense success, and recent MMOs made in their respective universes. The difference? Star Wars has already survived a much longer trial of time, and the video games are still as popular today as they ever were. Star Wars video games have been on the market in the early 80s. There are Star Wars RPGs, racing games, shooter actions games, RTSs… really every genre has a Star Wars themed title in it. And why shouldn’t it? Just like Lord of the Rings Star Wars has an immense universe, and it’s going to take a lot more games before this universe runs out of material, or fans.
You probably haven’t been paying attention to the recent Pokemon game releases. And if you have then I feel bad for you. The franchise has defiantly gone downhill with it’s fourth generation Black and White versions, as well as whatever Pokemon Ranger is supposed to be. But so many people grew up with Pokemon that many gamers have an undying respect for the brand. Over the years its had a chance to break out of it’s own specific RPG mold and bring us lots of different types of games: Pokemon Stadium versions, Pokemon Snap, Pinball, Trading Card video games… And even if the Pokemon franchise has gone downhill it’s still never going to end. As long as designers are able to create new brightly colored monsters there will be more Pokemon games coming out.
We’ve been following Link’s story from the mid eighties, just like many of franchises on this list. This series is special because it’s got a unique feel to the games, and most of the titles have been great. Honestly, Nintendo has all kinds of popular long lived series. But the reason I think Zelda is going to be around for years to come is it pulls from a different demographic than other Nintendo games. In recent years Nintendo has taken over the family friendly market, and consequently has been making more and more games for a younger audience. But Zelda still has a mature audience that’s just as loyal to the series as they’ve ever been. It’s a reason for serious gamers to buy into the Wii, and that’s while Zelda will never end.
3. Final Fantasy
What number of Final Fantasy are we on now? Honestly I forget. I’ve never gotten into the series, but I’ve been buying video games for a pretty long time now. And every time I go into the game store I seem to see yet another Final Fantasy released. I can’t comment on how the playability of the games are doing, but I can see that even after over a dozen games the series is still selling millions of copies. Compile all of their games together and the series has sold over 100 million copies. There’s still lots of die hard fans, and I’m sure we’ll end up seeing a bigger number behind Final Fantasy than Kidz Bop (which I believe is at number 23) before this series has run it’s course.
2. Call of Duty
Call of Duty can sell millions of copies of practically the same game year after year. If I was in charge of the franchise I wouldn’t let the series end either.
How could Mario not be on this list? He’s in racing games, sports games, 2d platformers, RPGs, Donkey Kong, educational games, puzzle games, party games, and that’s because he’s Nintendo’s go to character. His face, his voice, his laugh, his catchphrases, his clothes… everything about Mario is known to every child growing up in the world these days. Together Mario’s games have sold more than any other franchise. Even his sidekicks Yoshi, Luigi, Peach, and Toad are recognizable faces to every gamer that hasn’t been living under a rock. Even now, 30 years after his debut as the jumper in Donkey Kong he’s still as popular as ever. If 7 games came out this year alone starring Mario I know that his series is far from over.
There’s no way only 10 games are going to be around for years to come. What franchises do you think are going to be around for awhile? Let us know in the comments below!