The ground-breaking Driver franchise needs a revival

There's a lot of great racing series that we haven't seen in many years and Driver definitely qualifies. The last main series entry we saw was Driver: San Francisco a decade ago.

So, what happened to Driver? And will we see a revival of the series on the next-gen consoles? We've got everything you need to know right here!

The start of a great series

Driver was released in 1999 during the dying days of the original PlayStation console. The game was an action driving game, not dissimilar to Grand Theft Auto today.

What made Driver so revolutionary was its third-person perspective. This wasn't the first game to have one by any means, but it was one of the first to perfect it in a sandbox style game, before even GTA could manage it.

Driver 1999 screenshot
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WHERE IT ALL STARTED: Driver was one of the best of its type in the PS1 era

Great graphics for the time, unique and interesting missions, solid gameplay and huge scope made the original Driver a true classic. This was mirrored in the sales too, as it achieved Platinum in many markets around the world.

Back on the streets

Driver 2 saw more of the same gameplay which enthralled us, which most liked but some didn't. Those that didn't like Driver 2 were likely frustrated that it also hadn't made the jump to the PS2, despite being released in 2000.

Driver 2 Back on the Streets Screenshot
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NEED TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE: Driver 2 was too much of a safe bet, in some people's eyes

Driver 3 was a disappointment and while Parallel lines was more on form, it wasn't on the level of the first two Driver games.

This is part of why we believe Driver should get a revamp. The series could have and should have achieved so much more after starting so well.

San Francisco

There was one last hurrah for the Driver series though, and it came on the PS3 and Xbox 360. After the events of Driver 3, you play as a detective who is attempting to recapture an escaped convict.

What's different about this chase, is that it all takes place in a dream world, as the protagonist is in a coma.

This gave the developers more creative freedom and "shift" allowed you to jump into any car going around San Fran in an instant to catch the fugitive you're looking for.

Driver San 76 screenshot 2
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ALL IN: San Francisco was Ubisoft's final gambit with the Driver series

Featuring fully licenced cars for the first time and boasting enthralling gameplay, this is arguably the best the series had to offer throughout its run.

Poor spin-off games

The first spin-off title was Driver 76, a PSP exclusive released in 2007. This was the first Driver game exclusively available on a portable console, but it sadly wasn't a success.

76 was essentially a scaled-down port of Parallel Lines and didn't bring much new to the table, which was reflected in the reviews.

Driver San 76 screenshot
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DRIVER ON THE GO: 76 brought Driver into the portable world

Driver: Renegade 3D and Driver: Speedboat Paradise for mobile were both disasters, the less said about them the better. Speedboat Paradise is to date the most recent Driver game, being released in 2014.

Will we see a revival?

With most series that have been discontinued, there is an element of the franchise "going downhill". This loses support and sales and from then on, it's a vicious circle.

However, with the Driver series, that simply isn't the case, as Driver: San Fran is one of the most acclaimed of all the Driver games.

Driver San Francisco screenshot
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GOING DOWN SWINGING: San Francisco was a great game and shouldn't have been the series' last

So, what happened?

It's not entirely clear, but what we do know is that most of the staff which worked on Parallel Lines and San Francisco went on to work on the Watch Dogs series.

With Watch Dogs still going well, we don't see Ubisoft shifting focus back to an old series. There is an alternative, though, because another company could buy the licence to Driver.

If anybody is going to do this, it's EA, especially after they recently purchased Codemasters. There's currently only three series on Codies' list (F1, GRID and Dirt) so it would make sense for them to expand their library under new ownership.

And who knows? Maybe we'll see a remaster of the original Driver game one day, anything is possible.

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