Our quest to find out which game series is the best of all time continues. Now it's time for Round 5 to find the best game franchise in 2017. An all-star lineup includes the most commercially successful game series of all time, among others. It's Metal Gear v Mario v Everquest v Mass Effect and there can be only one game to make it through to the semi-finals. Over the course of 20 rounds, we will be pitting the biggest gaming franchises of all time against one another in order to determine the definitive list of the best game series in 2017. The best game franchise in 2017 contest continues in Round Two. Rainbow Six, Left 4 Dead, Halo and Half-Life are squaring up against one another to find the definitive

Over the course of 20 rounds, we will be pitting the biggest gaming franchises of all time against one another in order to determine the definitive list of the best game series in 2017.

Round 5

Metal Gear

There have been few series which have expanded on their original vision quite so dramatically. Since its inception with Metal Gear, creator Hideo Kojima became obsessed with perfecting the stealth action genre, while fusing it with ever greater cinematic elements. By the time Metal Gear Solid dropped in 1998, Kojima's talent was clear to see. At that point, we'd truly never played anything like it. Dripping with atmosphere and full of neat little details, it didn't bother us one bit that we were spending hours staring at codec conversations. Kojima's penchant for the cinematic took increasingly outrageous steps, culminating in a 90-minute cutscene in the back half of Metal Gear Solid 4. Grab the popcorn, lads. Kojima's swan song for the series was 2015's Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. A total reinvention, it added two huge open-worlds and totally dynamic gameplay into the mix.

Series began: 1987

Best-selling game: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (6+ million)

Main Games:

  • Metal Gear
  • Snake's Revenge
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Series Spin-offs:

  • Metal Gear: Ghost Babel
  • Metal Gear Acid
  • Metal Gear Acid 2
  • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
  • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus
  • Metal Gear Solid Mobile
  • Metal Gear Solid Touch
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
  • Metal Gear Arcade
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance


The steely-eyed Italian plumber with a plan tops the list of the best-selling game franchises of all time. A constant in gaming during the past three decades, more than half a billion Mario games have been sold worldwide. Just to put that into perspective, that's 14 times more copies than Street Fighter, 70x more than the entire Max Payne series, and 106 times more than the Mafia trilogy. Despite being a familiar face, Nintendo constantly finds ways to reinvigorate the franchise, adding new mechanics, taking players to new worlds, and exploring heaps of genres. Next up - XCOM tactical strategy in Mario + Rabbids.

The actual list of games in the Mario franchise is a staggering 286 games long, so you'll have to forgive me for culling it down to the key titles below. That's still a formidable list, demonstrative of the 'tached plumber's enduring appeal.

Series began: 1981

Best-selling game: Super Mario Bros (40.24 million)

Main Games:

  • Super Mario
    • Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels
  • Super Mario Bros 2
  • Super Mario Bros 3
  • Super Mario Land
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
  • Super Mario All-Stars
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
  • Super Mario 64
  • Super Mario Sunshine
  • New Super Mario Bros
  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • New Super Mario Bros Wii
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • New Super Mario Bros 2
  • New Super Mario Bros U
    • New Super Luigi U
  • Super Mario 3D World
  • Super Mario Odyssey

Series Spin-offs:

  • Donkey Kong
  • Mario Kart
  • Paper Mario
  • Mario RPG
  • Dr Mario
  • Mario & Luigi
  • Mario Party
  • Smash Bros
  • Mario Tennis
  • Mario Golf


It can be very easy to run out of superlatives when talking about Everquest, but the footprint this early MMORPG has left on the gaming world is gargantuan. It was the world's first 3D MMO, and it paved the way for online co-op experiences as we know them today. Released in 1999, the original Everquest has had a staggering 23 expansion packs, including one as recently as November 2016. It's still played regularly by thousands today. Everquest 2 was seen as the dark sheep of the Everquest family, and it inevitably lost the battle against World of Warcraft, but Everquest 2 is still played to this day, with 12 expansions of its own. They're both hideously rough around the edges today, but they are some of the definitive embryonic MMORPG experience. Everquest 3 please?

Series began: 1999

Best-selling game: Everquest

Main Games:

  • Everquest
    • The Ruins of Kunark
    • The Scars of Velious
    • The Shadows of Luclin
    • The Planes of Power
    • The Legacy of Ykesha
    • Lost Dungeons on Norrath
    • Gates of Discord
    • Omens of War
    • Dragons of Norrath
    • Depths of Darkhollow
    • Prophecy of Ro
    • The Serpent's Spine
    • The Buried Sea
    • Secrets of Faydwer
    • Seeds of Destruction
    • Underfoot
    • House of Thule
    • Veil of Alaris
    • Rain of Fear
    • Call of the Forsaken
    • The Darkened Sea
    • The Broken Mirror
    • Empires of Kunark
  • EverQuest 2
    • The Bloodline Chronicles
    • The Splitpaw Saga
    • Desert of Flames
    • Kingdom of Sky
    • The Fallen Dynasty
    • Echoes of Faydwer
    • Rise of Kunark
    • The Shadow Odyssey
    • Sentinel's Fate
    • Destiny of Velious
    • Age of Discovery
    • Chains of Eternity
    • Tears of Veshaan
    • Altar of Malice
    • Terrors of Thalumbra
    • Kunark Ascending


  • Everquest Online Adventures
  • Lords of Everquest
  • Champions of Norrath
  • Champions: Return to Arms

Mass Effect

A series of towering highs and gurning lows, there's nothing quite so divisive as Mass Effect. BioWare's magnum opus, the Mass Effect series is the most ambitious sci-fi RPG ever made. A gripping plot strung the original trilogy together, BioWare mastering the gameplay elements with each successive outing. The ending of Mass Effect 3 may have got a few mouths frothing, but the trilogy has to go down as one of the greats. The less said about Mass Effect Andromeda, the better.

Series began: 2007

Best-selling game: Mass Effect 3 (6+ million)

Main series:

  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda

Sadly only one of these illustrious franchises can make it through to the next round and potentially be the greatest game series in 2017. Every vote will count though when we tot these up and deliver the definitive list of the best gaming franchises. Have your say in the poll below, and let us know why you think it's the best gaming series in the comments section!

If you haven't voted on the previous rounds yet, you've still got time. Just follow the links below to vote for your favourite game series.

Round 1: GTA, Command and Conquer, Street Fighter, Forza

Round 2: Rainbow Six, Left 4 Dead, Halo, Half-Life

Round 3: Need For Speed, Zelda, Castlevania, Far Cry

Round 4: Splinter Cell, FIFA, Metroid, BioShock

Round 5: Metal Gear, Mario, Everquest, Mass Effect

Round 6: Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, Gran Turismo, Tomb Raider

Round 7: Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Diablo, Deus Ex

Round 8: Civilization, Quake, DOOM, XCOM

Round 9: Counter-Strike, StarCraft, Witcher, Stalker

Round 10: WarCraft, Ultima, Total War, Battlefield

Round 11: Age of Empires, Prince of Persia, Elder Scrolls, Silent Hill

Round 12: Football Manager, Minecraft, Arma, Hitman

Round 13: The Sims, Assassin's Creed, Unreal, Dragon Age

Round 14: Pokemon, Sonic, KOTOR, Colin McRae

Poll closed: 00:00 Aug-18-2017