I really liked War of the Monsters on PS2. I wish we had more Kaiju games with destructible environments and decent combat depth.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness had a much more interesting version of the system that felt wasted on a very middle of the road game. Basically instead of doing full on programming from the ground up, you built your teammates AI from sort of personality “building blocks”. Like a block that made them conservative with potions, or one that made them stand back and heal combined with another that made them focus on ranged attacks to make a ranged healer. What made it great was the weird ones though, like a block that made a character stop attacking completely and just hang around the edge of battle, which was called “princess”, and another which gave huge stat bonuses but made it so they focused entirely on protecting whoever has the “Princess” one equipped. It’s a super interesting evolution of the system. IaF has a lot of interesting stuff hidden away in it tbh.
It’s also worth noting that similar programming systems have been in quite a few games since, but have been hidden away in menus so carefully that you might not even have noticed. I think at least one of the dragon age games had basically the same system copied wholesale and hidden deep in character menus.
Crusader Kings 2
Because, as much as the deep strategic and historical elements make this a really dense game that’s both niche and hard to replicate… the system is ripe for re-skins. A highly simulationist game about socially maneuvering through a system with discrete clear rules (that you can also break with certain rules too).
There’s no reason this couldn’t have spawned games about school cliques jostling for popularity, high society folks hosting galas or members of a shady organisation that constantly backstab and betray each other to try gain upward mobility.
Not really a single game but the rhythm elements from the Mario RPGs and Mother 3 should be more widespread.
I’ve always really wanted a Sims-like multiplayer experience where you and your friends could set up a dedicated neighborhood.
You’d all join in at the same time, like Civ, or perhaps it stays persistent even if there’s one player online.
Also thought about Sims with multiplayer, and not once. I know there are products like Second Life, but it’s hard to call them games.
I’ve had an idea that Minecraft is somehow similar to the Sims, but it’s more for survival and Sims is more for making a career, relationship etc.
The Steven Universe RPG Save The Light has a battle system with timing elements for attack bonuses and blocks. If you like SU at all, I would give it a shot - I’ve found it to be really charming and fun! It can be a bit buggy and so far the story is basically a side story with pretty low stakes, but the battles are fun, and the writing captures the characters well imo. Another neat element is that when characters help each other they build up a “relationship meter” that activates either a fusion (for gems) or a combo attack (for humans) - it’s really fun to see how they translate the character abilities from the show into the RPG format!
So, I know I gave my hot-take on this whole concept but…
I would love to see more games like Steel Battalion.
Would also love to see more Mount & Blade style games
This is more of a “game mode I wish was a full game” but back in the Starcraft: Brood War days I used to play the custom map Evolves ALL THE TIME and I wish someone would make it into a game. It’s sort of like the Gun Game game mode for Counterstrike (and I think COD has it too now?) where each time you get a kill you get a stronger gun except with RTS units. A new unit spawns every second so you quickly build up an army to fight with, and the more kills your army gets the stronger your newly spawned units are.