Some of gaming’s most innovative and recognizable franchises are celebrating anniversaries this upcoming month. Indeed, Resident Evil, The Division, and Super Mario RPG are titles that veteran and modern players continue to discuss today. Without further ado, here are the March 2021 gaming anniversaries worth commemorating soon.
1. Tom Clancy’s The Division (5th Anniversary)
Tom Clancy’s The Division almost immediately become a huge success for publisher Ubisoft upon its launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 6, 2016. It generated the highest number of first-day sales for the company and a broke industry record as the biggest first week ever for a new game franchise.
The Division‘s achievements, combined with the mainstream adoption of Rainbow Six Siege, arguably compelled Ubisoft to pivot its business model away from standalone AAA releases to well-supported live service games. Given The Division 2‘s popularity today, it seems the change is working out for them.
2. Final Fantasy XII (15th Anniversary)
Final Fantasy XII released for PlayStation 2 in Japan on March 16, 2006. Though it seems the title isn’t as beloved as other iterations in the franchise today, it was critically lauded upon launch for its visuals, narrative, and unabashed approach to gameplay. The title’s intricate gambit and license systems are unlike anything found in previous Final Fantasy entries, and its transitions from full motion video segments to the in-game engine were impressive at the time.
It’s a shame the franchise hasn’t taken as many risks since Final Fantasy XII. Here’s hoping Final Fantasy XVI revolutionizes the series just as remarkably.
3. Conker’s Bad Fur Day (20th Anniversary)
Developer Rare took the criticism it received upon Conker’s Bad Fur Day‘s first showing at E3 1998 to heart. Originally a kid-friendly title like Banjo-Kazooie, critics and consumers were pleasantly surprised to discover the game’s vulgar tone and raunchy humor when it launched on Nintendo 64 on March 5, 2001. While Conker’s Bad Fur Day failed to be commercially successful, it’s since become a cult classic.
It’s anyone’s guess whether or not the foul-mouthed squirrel will reappear on Microsoft’s newest console. With Perfect Dark returning, a full-fledged Conker game has certainly become more believable.
4. Super Mario RPG (25th Anniversary)
Unbeknownst to SquareSoft and Nintendo, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars‘ release for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan on March 9, 1996 launched Mario’s success as an RPG protagonist. It laid the foundation for the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, the former of which has found enormous success on Nintendo Switch.
Though Super Mario RPG‘s gameplay is typical, its beautiful 3D visuals and humorous dialogue manage to set it apart from its peers. Geno’s inclusion as a downloadable Mii Fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is an indication that Nintendo hasn’t forgotten about the landmark title. Perhaps we’ll see more of Super Mario RPG in the near future. Until then, we’ll have to replay Paper Mario: The Origami King to get our Mario fix.
5. Resident Evil (25th Anniversary)
When the original Resident Evil launched on March 30, 1996 for Sony’s first PlayStation console, it redefined the survival horror genre. Its use of an inventory system, emphasis on exploration, and chilling soundtrack are unforgettable. The use of 3D models superimposed on pre-rendered backgrounds creates a believable atmosphere, which in turn makes the experience more horrifying.
It’s no surprise that this game and its sequels spawned a multimedia franchise. Fingers crossed that the next iteration in this esteemed franchise, Resident Evil Village, lives up to expectations.
While the current generation of consoles has plenty of compelling software to play, one can never go wrong diving into a classic. All of the titles above are worth a look, if only to appreciate how drastically the medium has evolved from its humble origins.