Kazuma Kiryu is an enterprising, well-travelled man who seems to be down to try anything, but for one reason or another, he stubbornly refuses to venture onto the Xbox. Perhaps he just really passionately hates the color green.
Ever since Yakuza premiered on the PlayStation 2 back in 2005, it has steadily risen to become one of SEGA’s golden franchises. The latest entry, The Song of Life, has been a revelation on the PS4, nabbing editor’s choice honors in our review back in March. Alas, it has eluded Microsoft to this point, a shame when it would look so gorgeous on the Xbox One X – a console that is hungering for some AAA titles to flesh out their library.
It isn’t out of the realm of possibility for the franchise to hit other platforms, with the original two titles receiving an unexpected HD remaster on the Wii U a few years back. Digging a little deeper however, it appears as though the blame lies in past mistakes: in a 2011 interview with Eurogamer, Yakuza director Toshihiro Nagoshi stated that, “at the beginning of the project we spoke to all the platform holders including Sony and Microsoft. Every platform holder was negative about this prospect, but we kept on pushing because we believed in the potential, and as we kept going one platform holder that showed interest and saw the prospects of this title was Sony.”
To the victor go the spoils. Hopefully they won’t hold a grudge for much longer, because Xbox fans are itching for the chance to wreak havoc on the streets of Kamurocho.
Daytooooooooooooonaaaaaaaa! Let’s go away!Daytooooooooooooonaaaaaaaa! We. Can. Eat. We. Can. Eat. We. Can. Eat. WE EAT.
Oh come on, those really could be the lyrics for all we know. We’re talking about a studio that once graced us with the phrase, ‘Toot toot Sonic warrior’. In any event, Daytona USA is a beloved arcade staple famous for its revolutionary graphics and secret areas that mock you just for seeking them out. An enhanced port found its way to Xbox 360 in 2011, which was later made backwards compatible on the Xbox One. So yes, strictly speaking, this series has already landed on the console, in a peripheral sense. Partial credit!
But think about how sweet an actual sequel would be, complete with overhauled visuals and a suitably wacky new theme to go with it? The last original entry, Battle on the Edge, never even reached consoles after its 1998 release, and has been mostly lost in the annals of time. If Microsoft could somehow secure exclusivity, it would make a lot of old nerds very happy.
Perhaps you prefer your racing games to be much more intense and story-driven? If that’s the case, then this may be more up your alley (as far as we can tell however, you cannot eat Initial D). The series of driving titles has delighted fans of the manga for years with its bizarre yet intoxicating faithfulness to the source material. Each race pits you against a suitably stern-faced opponent, all to the tune of a Europop soundtrack so catchy, you’ll be boogieing in your seat.
Once again, those dastards over at Sony have been hogging the glory, with titles appearing on the PS2, PS3 and PSP. Notice something there? It has been a decade since we’ve seen a console entry, and it’s ripe for the picking. Arcade will always be king for this series (people seem to really enjoy pretending they’re actually driving, often spending sums of money so large, they could have just bought a real car), but there is an untapped market here, many of whom are still running in the 90s. If that track doesn’t get you pumped, nothing will.
Phantasy Star Online
Whether you prefer the original Phantasy Star games, their MMO spinoffs, or C.A.R.D. Revolution like some kind of sick freak, the long-running RPG series has had many different variations on offer, and we would love for it to finally come to roost on the Xbox One. In the end, we opted for Online over Universe on this list, chiefly because Phantasy Star Online 2 has been doing the rounds on current gen consoles and we want in, dammit.
First launching as a Microsoft Windows game in 2012, PSO 2 has since appeared on Vita, PS4, Android, iOS and even the Switch. If you’re keeping score at home, that puts it on pretty much everything except the Xbox One and the 3DS. Considering it would be a logistical nightmare to run on Nintendo’s plucky little portable, this is basically yet another example of Sega giving Microsoft the short end of the stick. Fortunately, Universe did make it to the Xbox 360, so it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.
As an aside, Phantasy Star Online Episode I & 2 was ported to the GameCube and original Xbox, but not the PlayStation 2. Good to know that sometimes the roles are reversed, eh? Take that, mid-2000s Sony!!
House of the Dead
Remember that incredible feeling as a kid walking around your local arcade, and seeing that mysterious, eerie cabinet lurking in the corner? With its grim paint job of grey and red, and a foreboding curtain surrounding the screen. Adults only, it warned, as if laying your infant eyes upon it would be a crime punishable by death. Or dead, as it were. The point is, House of the Dead was an inexorable part of the rise of violent gaming in the 90s, and it is sorely missed in modern console gaming. In order to get the full effect, you may have to construct some sort of elaborate apparatus to shield your television screen from the gazes of young children. It’ll be worth it though – at the very least, people will assume you’ve gone mad, and won’t interrupt your gameplay session.
The House of the Dead has seen a few console releases, with the last one, House of the Dead 4 on PS3, being received fairly well. It gave us a reason to use the dormant PlayStation Move at the time, and had we made this list a year ago, we could have suggested that a Kinect-styled control scheme could be a viable option. These days however, we’re just left shouting ‘Xbox, help!’ to no one in particular.
A long overdue revival was announced for arcades earlier this year, and we most definitely wouldn’t mind trying some of that cheesy on-rails goodness at home. Maybe it can implement the wildly expensive Mag P90 accesssory, self-proclaimed as ‘the first and best FPS gun controller in the world’. No need to be humble when you cost $450.
Super Monkey Ball
Why have Aiai and company forsaken us for so long? Is it because we frequently let them fall into bottomless pits of despair? It’s not our fault that simian-operated vehicles are so difficult to navigate!
The Super Monkey Ball games are fun and lighthearted, but with an enticing level of difficulty that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Though it was at one time a regular guest on the console scene, it has since transitioned to the mobile market, and the quality has taken a nosedive since then. It really peaked with the first console entry on the GameCube, wherein four players could race to the goal all at once. The hilarious shrieking of a group of frightened chimps was enough to warm the heart.
They decided to abolish simultaneous multiplayer in favor of the dreaded party mini-games in subsequent titles, which is an absolute shame. Throw a Monkey Ball title on the Xbox Live Arcade, return the multiplayer to its former chaotic glory, and watch the fun (and the apes) fly.
Much like the once mighty boxing sim, tennis games have gone through a lull in the current console generation. Tennis World Tour is set to launch soon, absent of megastars like Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, and any kind of doubles mode whatsoever, while AO Tennis – short for Awful and Obtuse Tennis – was a dismal effort that will be gladly forgotten. The only hope seems to rest in the hands of a portly Italian and his crew of mushroom people, evil turtles and sentient metallic balls (we mean Mario, obviously, unless Paolo Lorenzi gets up to some wicked mischief we weren’t aware of).
Where is the stalwart Virtua Tennis to save the day? Devoid of a proper release since Virtua Tennis 4 in 2011, the series quickly went from industry standard to forgotten entity in a matter of years. Popularity for the sport remains strong, with a healthy mix of spritely youngsters and grizzled veterans trotting the courts while shouting obscenely at one another, and the big four tournaments still pulling in big ratings. The market is there, but the demand isn’t being met, so what gives? Double fault!
If you squint hard enough through the window across the room from the Sony PlayStation, its belly full and a warm fire crackling nearby, you can just barely make out the malnourished, weeping frame of the Xbox One. It watches in misery as the PlayStation gobbles up exclusives by the handful, leaving not a single scrap on the table, before rummaging through the bins in the alleyway. It gnaws on the stale crust of Sunset Overdrive, and finally passes out in exhaustion.
Enough of a visual for you? We’ve banged on extensively about the damning track record Sega have of fleeing from Microsoft consoles as if they had cooties, and Persona is yet another culprit. If you put on your rose tinted glasses and hold your breath until things are just a little bit blurry, you can deem the fact that the spinoff fighting game Persona 4 Arena made it to Xbox 360 as an encouraging sign, but the mainline series remains Sony’s exclusive playground. The latest edition, Persona 5, has been lauded as one of the best RPGs of all time, yet another feather in the cap for the PS4, and more importantly, another reason to pack your bags and head to Sonyville. Side note: there were way too many analogies in this paragraph, but we regret none of them.
It’s easy to forget sometimes just how many incredible franchises Sega has been involved with over the years, and moreover, how many of them have been in limbo for far too long. Panzer Dragoon is a series of games primarily made up of rail shooters, which is unfortunately something of a dying genre nowadays. If they really wanted to make some waves, dusting off the cherished RPG spinoff Panzer Dragoon Saga could give Microsoft a title worth talking about. As unlikely as such a thing may be, the last game in the series, Panzer Dragoon Orta, was a 2002 exclusive for the Xbox. That’s right, they really do exist!!
On a critical level, Saga rubs shoulders with the elite, receiving spectacular acclaim upon release. The liability for its commercial failure rests solely with the tepid response for the Sega Saturn it was relegated to. Its scarcity has only served to heighten the desperation to experience it, with eBay prices ranging from $500 to an eye-popping $4,500 for a pristine copy.
We don’t even need a sequel for this to succeed in 2018. Just give people a straight port, and they will come in droves. It’s time to finally unlock this coveted treasure from its resting place.
Sega’s marketing missteps towards the end of their hardware tenure is a frustrating tragedy in hindsight, because some of the titles on the Saturn and Dreamcast were the finest the company had ever produced. In the same vein as Panzer Dragoon Saga, Nights Into Dreams has the distinction of being remembered as one of the greatest games nobody played. At the very least, it did garner an HD re-release on PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows in 2012, so you didn’t have to fork over a small fortune to experience its splendor.
Nights received an unexpected and wildly disappointing sequel on the Wii in 2007, a mixed bag with drawbacks symptomatic of the descent of Sonic Team over the years. Series designer Takashi Iizuka has expressed interest in adding a third chapter to the tale, and in a series lauded for its visuals, it would look no better than on the awesome powerhouse that is the Xbox One.