Home » After Jet Set Radio, Sega needs to revive five forgotten classics

After Jet Set Radio, Sega needs to revive five forgotten classics

During the Game Awards 2023 broadcast, Sega announced that five classic game series from its dusty back catalog would be getting new installments. These include Genesis classics such as Shinobi, Streets of Rage, and Golden Axe, as well as Dreamcast games Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio. Some of these look mightily impressive, too, with Shinobi’s new Okami-like art style being a particular highlight.

However, the words “and more” appear right at the end of the trailer. As a long-time Sega fan, this made my speculative brain cogs whirl into overdrive. That said, while listing five long-dead Sega game series I’d like to see come back would be fine, I wanted to go one step further and ponder how they could be modernized. After all, Streets of Rage and Golden Axe are in 3D, while Shinobi looks more Metroidvania-like in its reboot. If the games below were to ever return, there would need to be something fresh and exciting on offer. With that in mind, here are the five candidates that Sega should revive.

Virtua Fighter 6

As far back as the Tokyo Game Show 2020, Sega teased the coming of a new game in the Virtua Fighter series during a livestream. Since then, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio – best known for the Like A Dragon/Yakuza Series – entirely remade Virtua Fighter 5 for PlayStation from the ground up.

It’s clear, then, that this was to test the waters to see if there’s interest in Virtua Fighter. Fighting games are prevalent right now, with Street Fighter 6 and Mortal Kombat 1 wowing audiences this year and Tekken 8 all but sure to be the fighter of 2024. It’s been busy recently for Ryu Ga Gotoku, with three Like A Dragon games in the space of a calendar year, but given just how well-received the VF5 remake was, I would not put it past Sega to have the team working on a new Virtua Fighter.

The rear view of Sega classic Daytona USA

Daytona USA

Speaking of the Like A Dragon series, in the most recent spinoff game – The Man Who Erased His Name – Sega brought back Daytona USA 2… sort of. Despite being an emulation of the arcade racing game, Sega didn’t secure the license to show the Daytona brand. Because of this, it’s known in-game as Sega Racing Classic 2 and is everything you can expect from an arcade racing game.

As for how to modernize it, I prefer the idea of a new Daytona game that borrows the best feature from recent Mario Kart games – classic levels in cups alongside new tracks. By doing this, Sega could create the definitive collection of Daytona USA tracks without the need to resort to emulation, while also giving the chosen developer the ability to flex its creative muscles. As long as the iconic soundtrack is still intact and it’s compatible with the best PC steering wheels, fans can recreate the arcade experience with their PC rigs like I did a year ago.

Sega classics: shining force

Shining Force

This beloved Genesis classic has seen re-releases for the first two games but nothing more beyond that. The first option Sega could take would be to completely remake all three Saturn-exclusive Shining Force 3 scenarios with a complete English translation, as the second and third parts were Japanese only. Doing this would be good for game preservation and give long-time fans of the turn-based RPG series the whole story after over three decades of waiting. Being realistic though, Shining Force 3 is a basic tactical RPG with limited appeal today.

Another option would be to make a new game in the series, keeping the anime art style of the previous games and the class-based system and exploration segments, but perhaps borrow some aspects from the likes of Fire Emblem or other RPGs.

That said, the romance options from Fire Emblem might be a bit much. Instead, a friendship meter could be implemented between characters, affected in multiple ways such as fighting alongside an ally or handing them a gift. As a result of this, an ally could change from a selfish rogue out for themselves to an honorable thief willing to put their life on the line for you. This adds replayability as you seek out the varying outcomes of differing friendship levels. While I would love for Camelot to return to the series, it mainly develops Mario sports games these days, so perhaps it’s time for a new studio to take the reins.

Sega classics: space harrier

Space Harrier

Let’s face it: Space Harrier’s premise is more than a bit dated. Its gameplay served as a cool easter egg in Bayonetta, but only dads will endure more than a level’s worth today. However, that’s mostly because of its arcade-like nature. If you die, you go back to the start. That’s something people would see as a waste of time nowadays. However, there’s a straightforward solution: turn it into a roguelike game.

Many levels in the classic arcade game are relatively interchangeable, with the only real difficulty coming in an increased number of obstacles. I would love to see different sectors appear in each run, with the overall aim of the game to complete a set number of areas and summon the final boss. I’d even opt to keep its 2D style, but bump up the action’s refresh rate to create a smoother gameplay experience.

Sega classics: Alex kidd

Alex Kidd

Now, hear me out on this one because the mere mention of Alex Kidd makes me sound like a gaming grandad. As the story goes, Alex was the platform game mascot of Sega in its early days but could not compete with Mario. In an effort to turn its fortunes around, Sega put Naoto Ohshima and Yuji Naka to work on creating a new, edgier character to become its official mascot. Thus, Sonic the Hedgehog was born, and the blue blur took over almost instantly. Since then, Alex Kidd has only been seen in a single remake of his classic Master System adventure and as part of nostalgic game collections.

What if Alex Kidd was self-aware and has been planning his revenge ever since? You might think I’ve played too many creepypasta games like Inscryption or Doki Doki Literature Club, but I genuinely believe that this is a strong direction for Sega’s long-forgotten mascot. It could also be tied into another part of Sega’s heritage: its thriving modding scene. There’s potential to integrate a 3D bedroom similar in design to the Sega Genesis Collection’s living room, with basic first-person movement just like Inscryption’s log cabin, a PC with full mouse and keyboard functionality, and consoles that run modified versions of classic first-party Sega games.

It could start small with Alex asking the player to mod him into other Genesis games as a playable character, and yet, because his chaos knows no bounds, he’ll sometimes insert himself as an unbeatable boss. As you can probably tell, this idea had me up all night plotting, and it’s one I’d love to explore further. Sega, if you’re reading this and like what you see, you know where to find me.

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