Note: These Games aren’t specifically related to the PS4 – this is a general gaming article. Enjoy.
Many successful game franchises have been running not just for years, but for decades. For example, Call of Duty celebrates its 15th birthday in October 2018 – and the first ever World of Warcraft game first hit our screens way back in 1994, long before many of its players today were ever even born.
Keeping a long running franchise fresh and relevant through the years takes real skill and vision, which can often mean more than just updating the game each year in the way that the FIFA series does for football fans.
One very effective solution that developers have devised has been the spin-off.
Spin-offs give developers a little more freedom and flexibility to focus on minor characters or even to introduce shifts in tone. It’s also a technique that’s used very successfully in everything from TV programmes – for example Better Call Saul as a spin-off from Breaking Bad – to movies like Solo: A Star Wars Story. Admittedly, the latter example was a bit of a disappointment for Disney, but it certainly had its fans.
With the spin-off bandwagon rumbling on, let’s take a look at six of the most successful examples that have proved to be big favourites.
Dragon Quest Builders
Available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch
Dragon Quest first appeared in Japan in 1986 – but was soon set loose on the world. As fans will know, the main game is a race to destroy monsters while the spin-off version, Dragon Quest Builders, is a far more productive and creative exercise.
The object of the game is to gather materials to rebuild the world of Alefgard after its destruction. Similar to Minecraft, the player has to also collect and eat food to keep up energy levels and monsters including Slime and Dragon from the original series appear to try to undo the building work. On release, the game was very well received by players and reviewers alike and to date it’s sold over a million copies worldwide. A sequel to the spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2, is currently in development.
Available on Mac OS X, Windows, iOS, Android
Acknowledged in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most popular MMORPG, you might think that World of Warcraft might not need a spin-off game. But the franchise has been so popular that players are always on the lookout for different ways to indulge in the game, hence the launch of Hearthstone in 2014.
Hearthstone is a game for two players. Each starts with a deck of 30 cards as well as featuring a central hero who has a unique special power. Players have a limited supply of mana crystals to use in attacking the opponent and the aim is to reduce their health level to zero.
What’s really notable about the game is the way in which it replicates a physical card game and it’s this simplicity that earned it average scores of 8/10 by reviewers. With nearly 30 million players worldwide, it’s also been a huge commercial success.
Forza Horizon 3
Available on Windows, Xbox One
Gran Turismo has always been a great critical success, but for many, the Forza franchise was the driving game that finally came along to knock it off the winner’s podium. In the original Forza Motorsport series, the racing was confined to the racetrack, but the Forza Horizon spin-off takes the action out on to the open roads of Australia.
It’s taken all the outstanding physics of the Forza Motorsport world and blended them with a more enjoyable and less competitive open road mode – the scenery of which is hard to improve on. The Xbox One version has an aggregate meta-critic score of over 90%. It’s also been so successful for its developers, Playground Games, that they have announced that Forza Horizon 4 is in development and the game will be set in the UK.
Available on Mac OS X, Windows, iOS, Android
Two of the world’s most popular gaming activities – slot games and bingo – were first fused together by American property developer Sal Falciglia in 1994. The business he created was later sold to RealNetworks for $15.6 million.
By combining the two games, it features the best elements of both – with the bingo numbers being selected by five spinning reels. These also include features like jokers, which can stand in for any number, devils that can halve any player’s score and cherubs who can neutralize the effect of the latter.
Over the course of twenty spins, the aim of the game is to fill up your bingo card – the snappy, quick-fire nature of Slingo Bingo make it a fun and exciting spin-off of the real thing. On top of its slick interface and top-notch graphics, this engaging game can be played on your desktop or on any mobile device.
You can win some serious cash playing this simple yet immersive game – but to do so, it’s a good idea to find out how to play. Approaching this game in the right way could put you in the frame for a huge jackpot, so it’s a good idea to check out all the tips and tricks you need to know about Slingo Bingo before spinning the reels.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles
Available on Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
The enticing mix of historical detail, the centuries-old battle between Assassins and Templars and the choice between solo and multiplay have always made this series a very popular one. Yes, there may have been one or two mis-steps along the way but when the Chronicles spinoff was released it quickly found a devoted following.
The three different games, set in China, India and Russia respectively, were released over the course of a year between 2015 and 2016 and were praised for introducing a range of intriguing new characters. These included a female protagonist, Shao Jun, Arbaaz Mar (himself a spinoff from the graphic novel Assassin’s Creed: Brahman) and Nikolei Orelov who had also appeared in print in Assassin’s Creed: Subject Four.
Lego DC Super Villains
Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
Effectively a spin-off of a spin-off, Lego DC Super Villains originates from the Batman series of games and has subsequently evolved from the Lego Batman series. Due for launch in October 2018, the premise of the game is that a team of supervillains led by The Joker aim to take over the world, but a wide array of DC heroes are set to stop them.
Long before its release, there was a lot of excitement about the game – partly because it will let players be their own favourite DC supervillain or even to create their own customisable version of one. The final twist in the game is that the ‘heroes’ are not exactly what they seem! If it’s anything like the other Lego-based games which are suitable for all ages and include more than just a hint of humour, it promises to be a huge success.