Five forgotten Rockstar Games franchises that deserve a revival

It's easy to remember GTA and Red Dead Redemption, but Rockstar has worked on a handful of other games that are just as memorable.


Rockstar Games has figured out how to build video games that sell millions of units. However, most of you probably only know the studio because of the Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto games. Granted, Rockstar is synonymous with the aforementioned franchises, but it has also worked on several other games over the years that are just as good and memorable.

Just like the film it is based on, nobody really remembers The Warriors.

In light of Take-Two Interactive teasing new Max Payne and L.A. Noire games, we looked at some of the publisher's back catalog for games that deserve to be revived.

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Manhunt

Manhunt probably wouldn't fly in today's climate, but who knows?

It takes a special kind of game to be more controversial than GTA, but Manhunt is just that. Manhunt dropped right around the same time as Rockstar was making headlines for glorifying violence in video games. Instead of bucking the trend, Manhunt basked in what critics and naysayers had to say. The 2003 title and its sequel (yes, Rockstar was brazen enough to release two of these games), had players take control of a serial killer out on a rampage.

What belies the mindlessly violent exterior of the Manhunt games were well-executed game mechanics and then-realistic graphics, which made it more than "just" a violent game.

Horrified regulatory bodies probably haven't forgotten all about Manhunt as the games are banned in many countries across the world. However, given Take-Two's penchant for controversy, we wouldn't be surprised to see it foot the bill on a new Manhunt game in next-gen glory.

Bully

Bully isn't so much GTA for kids as it is GTA with children and schools.

While it's easy to say that people haven't forgotten Bully, what with all the rumors surrounding the game's revival and a sequel, the award-winning title is the very definition of a forgotten Rockstar Games franchise.

Bully centers around Jimmy Hopkins, who might look like your stereotypical bully, but is someone who doesn't want others to get bullied. As is typical of a Rockstar Games title, Bully got a lot of criticism when it was released and in subsequent years. However, this didn't stop Bully from selling millions of copies and being ported over to other platforms. Unfortunately, it appears that Rockstar canceled a potential Bully sequel in 2009 and yet again in 2017.

The Warriors

How and why Rockstar decided that making more games like The Warriors isn't worth it is beyond us.

Our lists aren't always perfect. Case in point, The Warriors, which we should have included as one of the best video games based on movies. Then again, you'd probably forgive us on the account that you either didn't know that there was a movie titled The Warriors nor do you remember Rockstar ever releasing a game based on the said low-budget cult movie.

Rockstar's The Warriors revolves around events leading up to the film with every member of the gang appearing as playable characters. What makes The Warriors unique is that it's one of the few non-open-world games by Rockstar. But, what The Warriors lacked in freedom, it made up for in a deep combat system with tight controls as well as an awesome story and music.

The Warriors reportedly made around $40 million in units sales after being released in 2005, so it's a wonder why Rockstar hasn't decided to revisit it yet or why the studio canceled the spiritual sequel, We Are The Mods.

State of Emergency

State of Emergency still has serious potential, especially with a bit more polish.

So, Rockstar didn't make State of Emergency. Instead, Rockstar was the publisher for this 2002 title, which, at the time, nearly beat out the original Ratchet & Clank for a game award from GameSpot. The game ultimately settled for second place, which isn't half-bad, especially since the beat' em up video game earned $28 million in the United States alone by 2006.

As for what State of Emergency was, it was your standard Rockstar game that drew you in with the promise of violence but kept you hooked with execution. At the time, State of Emergency was arguably more controversial than GTA as it pushed video game censorship to its absolute limits. Yet, despite the protests, State of Emergency was still released and became the perfect guilty pleasure of gamers who wanted nothing more than a campy stress reliever at the end of the day.

Unfortunately, Rockstar wasn't on board with the sequel as VIS Entertainment became insolvent and we haven't heard of the IP since.

Having said that, Rockstar probably still owns the keys to the "franchise". Given a little more polish and next-gen graphics, we don't think Rockstar would mind being the topic of tabloids once again if the studio rebooted State of Emergency.

Midnight Club

Someone tell Rockstar that you can never have too many good racing sims on the market.

When it came to street racing, Need for Speed was king during the 2000s. While others tried to give Need for Speed a gun run for its money by trying to one-up the game, Rockstar Games sought another route. Midnight Club was less about taunting the police or drag racing and more about exploring open-world cities like Paris, London, and Tokyo. Unfortunately, despite the success of the series' fourth title in 2008's Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Rockstar appears to have forgotten all about it.

Admittedly, Midnight Club feels redundant with GTA 5 already having arcade-type racing, vehicle options, and customization as well as a wide-open world. But still, we wouldn't mind getting the chance to revisit some of the game's real-world locations in 4K resolution in a reboot made exclusively for the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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