You knew this was coming. As soon as the announcement that original Xbox games would be backwards compatible on Xbox One, the floodgates truly opened and everyone and their mother will probably be requesting Xbox games of their choice.
So, avoiding some of the more obvious titles that have been remastered – *cough* Halo! – here are the 15 we would like to see. Why 15? Because Dom wouldn’t shut up about Jade Empire and I couldn’t condense them down to 10, no matter how hard I tried.
Jet Set Radio Future
The first thing out of Tef’s mouth after seeing this announcement was “Jet Set Radio Future!” While this was just wishful thinking on his part, it immediately got me excited, as I actually own a physical copy of this game. Naturally, that helps this goes straight to the top, but it’s a cult classic that’s not been playable on modern platforms for well over a decade, despite the Dreamcast original having been remastered last generation.
It would be silly for Sega not to endorse this port. After all, it was a launch title that came bundled with the original Xbox at one point or another. It’s also a massively slick game that arguably plays better than the original. Get your skates on Microsoft and Sega and announce this one!
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
This one comes with caveats, huge caveats, but for prosperity’s sake, having The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on the Xbox One is a bit of a no brainer. Widely considered one of the high points of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls franchise, it saw them fully realise their fantasy world in 3D for the first time.
Of course, the best way to play this is on PC and you shouldn’t struggle running it, but there will be some who feel that this game is needed as they’re more used to a controller input than mouse and keyboard.
But here are the caveats. With the Xbox original and in true Bethesda style, the game was very broken upon launch. In order to do this one right, it needs to be not only significantly better performance-wise, but it also needs heavy bug fixing. Provided this is possible, this seems like a sure-fire win.
Ninja Gaiden Black
Considered the definitive version of the Ninja Gaiden reboot, this game was hard as nails and knew it. Fast-paced combat together with excellent graphics for the time, it was widely considered the best of the genre on the Xbox.
With the enhancements of Xbox One upscaling, the already fast-paced action can look and run even better, perhaps even rivalling some of the best action combat games released over a decade later. It put Team Ninja on the map, who have gone on to develop Nioh, another hard-as-nails action combat game. Ninja Gaiden Black is an essential choice that needs preserving.
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Sega are going to get a lot of mentions here, as their library on the Xbox basically gave the console the nickname of “Microsoft Dreamcast 2”. Panzer Dragoon Orta was arguably one of the best rail shooters on the console and deserves to be preserved.
I’ve actually never played it, but I’ve always wanted to. I once borrowed a friend’s Sega Saturn to play many of his games while I was at university and Panzer Dragoon 1 & 2 were two that I spent the most time with. I didn’t play much of Panzer Dragoon Saga though, which is widely considered the best and should be remastered in its own right.
I’d jump at the opportunity to play the third rail-shooter in the short lived series, and I’d love to see the changes that apparently made the experience that bit more compelling.
With Shenmue III heavily in development, fans have been nagging Sega for remasters of the first two game for two years, and then some. Though that game is coming to PC and PS4, Microsoft could steal some of the limelight by bringing the Xbox port of Shenmue II to Xbox One.
I may not be the biggest fan of Shenmue, but I did find the sequel more tolerable and can see how gamers will want to play through the entire saga to catch up before Shenmue III’s release next year.
Project Gotham Racing (Series)
Before Forza Motorsport, there was Project Gotham Racing, which was Microsoft’s first real rival to Sony’s Gran Turismo. Its relevance today may not be as obvious, but for those who remember it fondly, they’d certainly appreciate going back and seeing just what made the series click with them. Bizarre Creations were a studio with a great pedigree, and featuring PGR in Xbox backward compatibility would be a nice homage.
Red Dead Revolver
The reasons for this should be fairly obvious. Firstly, Red Dead Redemption was one of the most requested games on the Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility list, which was granted last year and was arguably one of Microsoft’s biggest wins from the project so far, but secondly, Sony have already beaten tom the punch.
You can currently buy Red Dead Revolver as part of their PS2 Classics collection on PS4, with upscaled resolution and trophies in tow, while Red Dead Redemption is out on PS Now. However, having both games with native backward compatibility would be comparable, if not actually better on the whole.
With the sequel the Red Dead Redemption on the horizon, it would be weird for there not to be the entire franchise available on the Xbox in some way, shape or form.
Full Spectrum Warrior
I reached out to my colleagues for some suggestions and this one came up. I’d not heard of it, but it’s a squad based modern warfare shooter where you can bark orders at troops with simple button commands.
This was released at a time where modern shooters were uncommon rather than the norm, so people remember this one relatively fondly. While I personally never played it, it regularly features in lists of the best Xbox games out there. It would probably benefit a little from enhanced graphics and in terms of the frame rate, making a backward compatible version of the game the one to play.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Series)
A BioWare series of games that no longer have canonical significance – unless Disney somehow agreed to re-release them and make them canon as a consequence – they had a huge impact when they released. Not only was there critical acclaim, they were also vital to the sales of the Xbox in the US. After all, not everyone was going to buy a high-end PC at the time to run either game, so many people’s fond memories of KOTOR came from the Xbox.
With one of the best twists ever conceived, fun gameplay, and some of the best character development in the Star Wars universe, it’s a no brainer to have these two seminal RPGs available on Xbox Backwards Compatibility.
Burnout 3: Takedown
The high point of the series for many – fans of Burnout Paradise may disagree – this would be another marquee title on Xbox One’s Backwards Compatibility, as it pretty much perfected the formula of what Burnout games should be doing.
Fast-paced racing and with upscaled graphics, this would be as appreciated as Paradise is. The one caveat would be that there was a downloadable version of Burnout 3: Takedown on the Xbox 360 when that launched, so we’ll honestly take either version.
Capcom vs. SNK 2
One of the best 2D fighting games, period. This reunion of Capcom and SNK fighters was significantly better received than SNK’s efforts with Capcom’s characters.
Granted this came out on PS2 and GameCube as well, but the real advantage here would be in the possibility of re-enabling online multiplayer, which would require some kind of workaround to achieve given the original Xbox has been disconnected. That and Capcom sorting out the net code in general would make a lot of fighting game enthusiasts very, very happy.
Also that London stage has the best music of any fighting game, hands down. So jazzy!
Dom’s main suggestion is honestly better experienced on PC, but this was another marquee title for the Xbox courtesy of BioWare. It’s a drastically different game compared to their other RPGs, with more of an Eastern martial arts influence.
If I remember correctly, there were lots of martial arts combo strings that made up the combat, as well as channelling Ki. It’s fondly remembered by those who had an Xbox as one of the better RPG experiences on the console and Dom was very adamant about this one. He’s probably right, thinking about it.
Hear me out on this. This is a first person shooter from Ubisoft back before they were reliant on the same few franchises, that genuinely had a fascinating scope.
It used cell-shading techniques that were popularised by Jet Set Radio, yet had a more stylish approach thanks to its comic book roots and visual touches such as showing headshots via comic panels.
Oddly there’s no other way of buying and playing this hidden gem on modern hardware outside of the PC version, and even that would involve heading onto eBay. It’s a mixed bag for sure, but having something like this would certainly make the range of games available more diverse.
OutRun 2006: Coast to Coast
This one is my guilty pleasure. OutRun was one of the best Sega Arcade games ever created, driving through California inspired roads, drifting through traffic and making sure the girlfriend doesn’t get annoyed with me crashing.
OutRun 2006: Coast to Coast was an updated version of the sequel and aside from the main racing, it also included several mini games, including one where you had to please the girlfriend as she demands you complete challenges to win her affection. Trust me, it’s more fun than it sounds.
Of course if you think this is obscure, put Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller in there for many of the same reasons.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Finally, a cult classic movie tie-in to finish off this list. This game didn’t have to be as good as it was, but Vin Diesel wanted this to be good, dammit and you probably don’t say no to Vin Diesel!
It was exceptionally well received upon release, mixing first-person shooting with stealth gameplay in a varied and surprisingly compelling way. It also marked the beginnings of Starbreeze Studios, who went on to make games such as Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, though their combined sequel and remake The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena was not that well received.
I imagine Vin Diesel would probably be alright with this inclusion as well. After all, he’s a gamer and would probably love to see his creation return to the public eye.
Of course we probably missed out a few obvious ones. Crimson Skies isn’t there because Microsoft already revealed it, and the Halo games didn’t seem worth it because they’ve been remastered already. What else should come out on Xbox backwards compatibility that you want to see?