This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
While it may have started out the current generation a little rocky, Xbox One has more than proven itself as a solid place to play in 2019 – with great games like Sunset Overdrive, Forza Horizon 4, and the recently released Gears 5 all shining on the platform. Microsoft’s console has also played host to a swathe of amazing indie titles, showcasing the exceptional talents of smaller studios by strongly backing games such as Cuphead and Ori and the Blind Forest.
Essentially, there’s a healthy mix of game genres on Xbox One, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t equally an abundance of Xbox exclusives we want to see grace our screens again. It may not have quite the legacy as, say, a PlayStation or Nintendo, but there are still several unsung heroes in the Xbox back catalog with plenty of potential left in them.
Whether you’re into super-colorful life simulators with a twist or Twin Peaks–inspired murder mystery stories, here’s our list of exceptional Xbox exclusives we want to return very soon:
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Arriving exclusively on the original Xbox two years before 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, Bioware’s first foray into the world of Star Wars saw it roll the clock back some 4,000 years – to a time before Anakin’s fall to the dark side. Doing this gave the Canadian-based developer free rein to tell its own story set in a universe beloved by so many. And the result of this was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a full-blown RPG that is now considered to be one of the best games ever made.
Players take on the role of their own customizable character, embarking on a sprawling journey that sees them recruit all manner of party members intent on defeating the evil Darth Malak. Knights of the Old Republic has become infamous for having one of the most unexpected story twists in all of gaming, solidifying what was already a licensed game gem.
It was followed up with a sequel only a year later, the brilliant but flawed The Sith Lords, but has remained on ice ever since. The time is right for a third entry, however, especially given the current renaissance Star Wars is experiencing since Disney’s 2012 acquisition.
Heavily inspired by the supernatural works of Stephen King and David Lynch, Remedy’s Alan Wake was a third-person action game with a ghostly twist that surprised everyone when it launched on Xbox 360 in 2010. The story follows the eponymous best-selling novelist, who arrives in the town of Bright Falls in search of stimulation for his next book. It isn’t long, however, until Wake’s wife suddenly disappears, placing him at the center of a mystery that requires him to venture through many a forest with just his trusty flashlight.
More so than just a method of navigation, Alan Wake’s flashlight worked as a cool combat mechanic – it was the only way to keep the tormenting apparitions at bay. This, combined with a strong emphasis on story, made it one of the very best single-player focused games on Microsoft’s second home console. Despite being absent since 2012’s American Nightmare, Remedy recently teased that Alan will return in some form via a Control expansion. Even still, we’d like to see more of this writer-turned-investigator in his own sequel.
2005’s Jade Empire was an entirely original action RPG from BioWare that centered on an ancient Spirit Monk’s journey to recover a mysterious artifact called the Dragon Amulet. If you can’t already tell, it took many cues from Chinese mythology, merging its beautifully realized world and characters with an in-depth combat system that allowed players to map various martial arts styles to each button of the D-pad.
Jade Empire was a martial arts epic that many RPG fans absolutely loved. Yet, despite rumors of a potential sequel in the years soon after its release, nothing ever came of them as Bioware moved on to other projects, such as Mass Effect. However, we’d say this franchise still has a lot of potential, so why not make this particular empire a little bigger?
Xbox 360 JRG Blue Dragon launched in 2006. From the developers at Mistwalker and Artoon, it was a notably anime-inspired open-world game that saw five plucky heroes go up against the evil ruler of the kingdom.
Combat in Blue Dragon was strictly turn-based as you’d expect, but what elevated it above most other JRPGs of its ilk was the shadow system, which saw each of the five characters take on an animal form during battle. Dragons, tigers, and bats were all on the table here, giving the game its distinct feel. Several Blue Dragon spin-offs eventually came to Nintendo DS, but it’d be great to have another full-scale take on the Xbox.
Third-person shooters were all the rage back in the original Xbox era, and arguably one of the most creative spins on the genre came in the form of Digital Anvil’s Brute Force in 2003. This space-based adventure let you step into the boots of an entire squad of space marines. Tex, Hawk, Brutus and Flint each boasted their own unique skills – and switching between them via the D-pad during levels was a great way to mix things up or adapt to different situations.
The entire game took place in a far-set future in which the human race had been scattered across the galaxy, with your tactical squad being the one tasked with protecting these many colonies against a new alien threat. Dripping with lore and no doubt owing a lot to the likes of James Cameron’s Aliens, Brute Force brought something truly fresh to Xbox, even beating the first Halo’s sales records at the time by quite some margin. Why is it yet to make a return? Your guess is as good as ours.
A fantasy RPG series remembered quite fondly by many Xbox players, Fable was the brainchild of acclaimed game designer Peter Molyneux in which players could create their own character and embark on an epic quest. The entire trilogy took place within the fictional country of Albion, a setting heavily inspired by the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien. Each of the three mainline games rather neatly jumped the series ahead several years, allowing technology and society to advance along with it.
The trilogy quickly became one of the most respected Xbox exclusive franchises to ever grace Microsoft’s platform, featuring a heavy emphasis on character interactions, player choice, and the ability for story paths to branch off in several directions. Unfortunately, Lionhead Studios, the developer behind the series, was shuttered in 2016 and so was any chance of playing the canceled co-op action RPG Fable Legends.
Rumors of a new Fable game have been spreading recently, though. Here’s hoping they’re true.
The news that Rare, British developer behind such Nintendo 64 classics as GoldenEye 007 and Conker’s Bad Fur Day, was being acquired by Microsoft instantly set pulses racing. With the weight of such a prestigious publisher behind them, what would they be working on next? 2006’s Viva Pinata may not have been the answer most people were expecting, but as far as first-person life simulators go, it kept the legendary studio’s affinity for cute character designs alive.
Viva Pinata impressed many with how much graphical prowess it was able to squeeze out of the Xbox 360, using a wide and vibrant color palette to make the act of farming endlessly enticing. Your job was to maintain and expand your own pinata garden, attracting new breeds to create the closest thing to paradise. Complete with undercover sour pinatas, its own food chain, and over 60 possible types, we’d love to see a true Viva Pinata hit the Xbox eco-system once again. The last installment came out in 2008!