One of the things that really held the Saturn back from commercial success was the general lack of continuity between SEGA’s franchises on the Genesis and their franchises on the Saturn. The Saturn was home to many great, original franchises, but only a surprisingly small handful of genuine Genesis sequels. These are five franchises the Saturn should have gotten.
#5. Comix Zone
Expect to see a lot of side-scrollers on this list. Comix Zone was a creatively designed brawler for the SEGA Genesis, where you played a comic book artist in the pages of his own comic. The game did a pretty good job of replicating 90s comic book art, but still had to deal with the constraints of the Genesis hardware. A sequel to this game on the SEGA Saturn would have been sight to behold back in the day, and it certainly would have helped bring this sleeper hit from the Genesis into gamer’s minds.
#4. Sonic the Hedgehog
Arguably, the lack of a genuine Sonic game was one of the largest reasons of the Saturn’s failure, and I know for a fact I would have bought a Saturn had the system gotten a genuine Sonic game. This would have been a great system to make Sonic 4 on. Can you imagine a Sonic game with large sprites, painted backgrounds, and an orchestrated score? It also would have been nice to see Sonic’s 3D debut on the system, since it would have put the whole “Saturn can’t do 3D” to rest.
#3. Ecco the Dolphin
Ecco the Dolphin was a beautiful game even on the Genesis. Can you imagine a side scrolling Ecco game with much bigger and more intricate levels, a save system, beautiful Saturn quality hand drawn graphics, and a score by Spencer Nilsen, the same dude who did the wonderful soundtracks for the SEGA CD Ecco games. It would have been a nice way to see off the franchise.
#2. Phantasy Star
Anyone who didn’t grow up with a Genesis may not know this, but long before Phantasy Star was an online RPG franchise, it was a traditional JRPG franchise considered to be SEGA’s answer to the Final Fantasy series, and one that was arguably just as good. The Saturn had a slew of stellar RPGs, but none with the sort of name recognition that Phantasy Star had. In an era when the JRPG genre became a break out hit thanks to Final Fantasy 7, it’s a shame PS didn’t make a similar transition, especially during a time when Sonic Team was at its creative peak. We did technically get a Phantasy Star compilation disc, but aside from that SEGA more or less abandoned the series with the Genesis. We’re still waiting for PS5, SEGA.
#1. Streets of Rage
This should have been a no brainer. Streets of Rage was a franchise meant to eventually be adapted into 3D. It already had a top down perspective, and took place in environments that the player could walk around in. Saturn even saw a game very similar to Streets of Rage called Dynamite Deka, aka Die Hard Arcade. SoR was a huge game back in the Genesis games, and I don’t understand why making a 3D one for Saturn wasn’t a top priority for SEGA. Apparently, there was in fact a new SoR in development for the Saturn, though this was eventually cancelled, renamed Fighting Force, and ported to the PlayStation. It’s a shame SoR4 never came about on the Saturn, since the series has been dead ever since.