Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
- What did you play obsessively for a couple of weeks then never again? (opens in new tab)
- What game has the best explosions? (opens in new tab)
- What videogame outfit would you wear in real life? (opens in new tab)
Tales from the Borderlands is on sale again, but plenty of other Telltale Games are yet to be resurrected, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Game of Thrones, and Bone. Whether because publishers fold or licenses expire, games are quietly removed from storefronts all the time. The lists of games delisted from Steam (opens in new tab), from GOG (opens in new tab), and everywhere PC games can be found (opens in new tab), are long and full of games that were somebody's favorite.
What delisted game deserves a comeback?
Here are our answers, plus a few from our forum (opens in new tab).
Phil Savage: As of September last year, you cannot buy Forza Horizon 3—a game that only released in 2016 in the first place. This fact is, to put it mildly, wild. Yes, Forza Horizon 4 exists and is probably the better game, but thanks to the Horizon games' dramatically different locales, it feels far less iterative than many racing series. Forza Horizon 3's rendition of Australia is ace—vibrant, varied, and colourful, it offers a completely different vibe to the more recent British outing. This isn't the first of the Horizon games to—in Microsoft's parlance—reach "end-of-life status" either. Back in 2018, the European-set Forza Horizon 2 (a game that, alas, was only ever available for Xboxes) also disappeared from the store. It's a distressing trend: these games deserve to be preserved.
Racing games seem more prone to being delisted than other genres—if it wasn't for Horizon, I'd be complaining about Dirt 2's lengthy absence from stores instead. Presumably it's because of the added wrinkle of having to license the actual cars they include. It's easier to remove a song from a game than it is a core part of the game loop itself. But, while I have no idea the complexity and cost of these licenses, and the work it would require to renew or work around them, I find it hard to believe that it's an insurmountable problem. Microsoft has seemingly infinite (opens in new tab) resources, after all.
Rich Stanton: Outrun isn't a driving game, it's a driving fantasy, and Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast was a definitive PC version of this all-timer. Sadly one near-inextricable part of the Outrun fantasy is Ferrari and, when the license expired in late 2013, the game was de-listed from Steam. You can still pick up a physical copy (at an inflated price) but this is just a crime, and it seems absurd that SEGA's most iconic 'blue sky' title isn't available for contemporary PC gamers: it's like a little chunk of gaming history, locked away in a box unseen. This beautiful game deserves better though, come on SEGA, stop messing about: it's time for Outrun 3.
Natalie Clayton: I've been banging this drum for years, but I still mourn Hawken's untimely death. Sure, it wasn't the best shooter going, and like many of its free-to-play contemporaries it struggled to maintain an audience. But Hawken's junkyard mechs were perfect, beaten-up old clangers that had such a powerful sense of presence. The game's dismal, kitbashed world rang with a tragedy that echoed its tortured development cycle, backed by a soundtrack that went way harder than it needed to. Every so often a hacked together fan revival (opens in new tab) will pop up online, but Hawken's long overdue a proper revisit that gives it the respect it deserves.
Evan Lahti: Wolfenstein 2009. Yes, we've obviously had some nice Wolfenstein games in the last decade, but this is the forgotten one most people forget, partly because it got lost in legal limbo as the franchise became Bethesda's. This was an FPS squarely in the era of "what if we gave the player guns and magic powers also???" Though Raven's Wolfenstein doesn't have the imaginative alternate history of Machinegames' entries, it does have a plasma fire hose that straight-up incinerates Nazi soldiers, Nazi dogs, Nazi skeleton sorcerers, and Nazi dominatrices. There's also a very fun Tesla coil gun. And while it won't compare to modern stuff like AC: Valhalla, '09stein has something of an open world, making it a less boring replay. Unavailable for purchase on any platform, you can find ancient copies for around $30 on eBay (opens in new tab).
Jody Macgregor: I have so many answers for this. Man 'O War: Corsair, a game about being a pirate in the Warhammer universe, which was only delisted this year when its licence expired. Beast Boxing Turbo, a little indie punch-up game whose developer didn't have time to answer endless requests for help with technical problems. But especially Marvel Heroes (opens in new tab), an MMO action-RPG that was basically Diablo but you could be Scarlet Witch or the Hulk, and sadly died before its time.
From our forum (opens in new tab)
Zloth: The Last Remnant. Rush, the main character, is a dork but the battle system in this game is really unique. PC got a much improved version over the XBox version but, when the PS4 version showed up, Square/Enix decided to de-list it from Steam and never did bring it back. The graphics are getting old but can still hold up OK and the game is really worth at least a partial play-through to see how the combat system works. Also, +1 for having a silence spell that's deadly.
Mazer: Wolfenstein (2009) is something of a forgotten classic, in large part I think due to its unavailability for the past six years. Admittedly it's a strange beast, with a semi-open world hub that allows access to levels in a varied order and a selection of magical superpowers that were a prerequisite for FPS of the time, but I remember it as greater than the sum of its parts. One standout level started with an investigation of a manor home that leads into an extended exploration and firefight in massive underground base from way out of left field.
Also Transformers Devastation was a treat for both G1 fans with its voice lineup and OG character designs (Bumblebee as an actual VW Beetle! Grimlok!!) as well as having a brilliant combat system courtesy of Platinum games on their best form. Bring it back!
Pifanjr: From scrolling through the list of all delisted games, Black & White 2 and GTA 2 are the only games I have played that I would perhaps recommend to someone today. Even if Black & White 2 was far inferior to the first game in my opinion, it still has unique gameplay that I haven't seen anywhere else.
Greyfoxcal: Devotion was a genuinely great horror game that hardly anyone will ever get to experience now. A reminder that censorship doesn't always stop at borders.
Also, Dragon Quest 11 in it's original form. I know the definitive version is better in most ways, but the key word is 'most'. Graphically the original is still better looking, and may even be the better option if you prefer playing with the English dub.
Rensje: I still think it's a crying shame horror demo PT was taken down from the PlayStation store. The actual Silent Hills game it was supposed to tease got cancelled and that's a bummer, but PT was brief horror perfection. There are ways to play it in 2021, of course, but the delisting should've never happened in the first place.
On the topic of Silent Hill, several of those titles were once available on PC but are nowhere to be found in the digital age. Silent Hill 2 in particular is a classic I would love to experience for myself, but it's simply not currently possible.
Also, is No One Lives Forever still in licensing hell? That game deserves better, too.
mainer: From that Steam list: Alpha Protocol, Neverwinter Nights 2 Platinum, & Sword Coast Legends. Alpha Protocol was a game that could have been great, given a bit more development by Obsidian. But it was still fun with a great timed conversation system, decent story, kind of janky combat, and bugs galore. Bought it as a boxed cd game when it first release, and again on Steam for about $2 before it was delisted.
NWN2 Platinum (with the 2 dlc), is just a classic D&D game and is still available on GOG, didn't even realize that it had been delisted on Steam.
Sword Coast Legends is another D&D game, kind of in the vein of Icewind Dale (though not nearly as in depth or good). Not a great game, but I had fun with it, and I think they deserve another shot.
Krud: Honestly, I'm generally opposed to the whole delisting/removal process, so I think they should ALL return (assuming they didn't suck, I mean.) But since that's not the question... *scans list* Oh! The Sam & Max trilogy, for sure. It was chaotic, bizarre, funny and groan-inducing, and Max remains one of my all-time favorite sidekicks.