pokemon Pokémon Gaming Franchise | Credit: https: pokemon.com

Of all the major franchises to receive worldwide acclaim, Pokemon is perhaps the least likely. Launched all the way back in 1996, the Japanese game franchise has gone on to become one of the most notable in the world. Not only has it managed to sell millions of copies of the mainline games, but it's also spun off into several other forms of media. All in all, it's been a pretty successful ride for a game series based on its creator's childhood hobby of bug collecting.

Pokemon's doing as well as it has ever done these days, with the successful launch of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield following a fairly strong box office showing for the latest Pokemon films. Pokemon also has an incredibly strong presence on the mobile market with Pokemon GO, and it seems that there's no shortage of Pokemon toys, cartoons, and cards available whenever one enters a retail store.

What does the future hold for the Pokemon franchise? The anime series doesn't seem to be running out of steam, nor do the games. There are already planned expansions for the Switch games, and it seems likely that more games - whether in the mainline or as spin-offs - will be developed. All told, it looks like the future is going to be very bright for Pokemon fans.

Grand Theft Auto

GTA GTA Gaming Franchise | Credit: rockstargames.com

Developed by Rockstar Games, Grand Theft Auto did not start out as a darling of the gaming industry. The original GTA game, released back in 1997, was a top-down driving game that saw players trying to escape from the police. While the first two entries in the series were relatively well-received, it wasn't until Grand Theft Auto made the jump into the 3D space that it really became something special. Grand Theft Auto III set a new tone for freedom in open-world games and the games that followed continued to set new benchmarks for what could be done in the gaming space.

Grand Theft Auto is arguably more popular than ever before, thanks to the release of Grand Theft Auto Online. Still one of the most popular online games years after its release, both Grand Theft Auto Online and its companion game, Grand Theft Auto V, continue to bring in new players all the time. Though the speed of the series' releases has slowed down to a crawl in recent years, the franchise is still quite successful.

What does the future look like? With a new console generation around the corner, everyone is waiting for the announcement of Grand Theft Auto VI. With it will likely be a new iteration of a GTA Online, and likely a host of other announcements. Grand Theft Auto doesn't seem like it will be slowing down any time soon!

Call of Duty

calofduty Call of Duty Gaming Franchise | Credit: callofduty.com

If you were to look at the gaming landscape in 2003, it'd be hard to pick out Call of Duty as a franchise that would survive. It was released at the same time as a host of other World War II games, and its early releases were good but not necessarily special. This all changed with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the game that really took the world by storm by combining an excellent single-player story with an amazing online multiplayer experience. While Modern Warfare was arguably the highpoint of the series, each subsequent release has brought in more players and more innovations.

Call of Duty is largely trying to get back to its roots, especially with more competition from all sides. The new iteration of Modern Warfare has been hailed as a return to form, with a very solid player base and some excellent new mechanics. Call of Duty remains the by-word for online shooters, and the series really seems like it's in a good place for the moment.

What does the future look like for Call of Duty? Another sequel seems inevitable, though yearly releases are not as sure as they once were. The focus will likely still stay on online multiplayer, and it's easy to see the series dropping a new entry around the same time as the new generation of game consoles go live.

The Sims

thesims The Sims Gaming Franchise | Credit: ea.com

Released back in 2000, The Sims quickly became one of the best-selling games of all time. The concept - essentially a virtual dollhouse - was simple enough for virtually anyone to grasp, and the mechanics were easy to pick up. The Sims' success was quickly followed up by several expansions, and then multiple sequels. Each of these sequels added new features and mechanics, further expanding the control the players could have over their characters' lives.

The Sims isn't quite what it once was. The last full release was all the way back in 2014, but over a dozen expansion and time packs have been dropped in the meantime. The Sims 4 does, however, still have a very strong player base that is deeply invested in the game. There's also a mobile iteration of the game available now, one that's been tweaked significantly to bring it more in line with the traditional version of the game.

It's really hard to say where The Sims is going to go next. No real announcements have been made about The Sims 5, so it's hard to tell if EA wants to pursue another game or just more expansion packs. There's every reason to believe, though, that the game will continue to stick around for many years to come.

Final Fantasy

finalfantasy Final Fantasy Gaming Franchise | Credit: square-enix-games.com

Released in 1987, Final Fantasy was meant to be Hironobu Sakaguchi's last-ditch effort to find success in the gaming industry. Over thirty years later, the series has become the go-to example for Japanese RPGs, spawning not only fifteen numbered entries in the series, but countless spin-offs, side games, and related products. Final Fantasy has been represented on the big screen, in other video games, and even in symphonic form. The series went from a company's last major chance to succeed to an almost unstoppable juggernaut.

Final Fantasy continues to do well in the modern era. Not only was the latest mainline game, Final Fantasy XV, fairly well-received, but the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV remains one of the few legitimately successful subscription-based MMOs still on the market. The first part of the remake of Final Fantasy VII has also been released, finally fulfilling the demands of fans who have been waiting for years for the series.

The future of Final Fantasy is complex, to say the least. It could be some time before Final Fantasy XVI is even in the early stages of development, with the next likely series entry being the next stage of Final Fantasy VII. There will also likely be more expansions for Final Fantasy XIV, but it seems a near-certainty that more Final Fantasy games will find their way into players' hands sooner rather than later.