Ecco the Dolphin is probably a series you haven’t heard about for a long time. The last game in the franchise was released back in 2000 whereas a 3D Classic of the first game came to the 3DS in 2013. That might have been in part to a fight over the rights to Ecco between series creator Ed Annunziata and Sega. Basically Ed wanted to do a sequel and talks over doing so didn’t go so well with the house that Sonic built.
Annunziata tried his luck in 2013 with a Kickstarter for an underwater adventure game, Big Blue. While not called a spiritual successor specifically, the game featured many members from the original Ecco team and referenced the game a lot in the campaign page. The attempt was unsuccessful and only a fraction of the $665,000 USD was raised.
At this point Annunziata went to court to try and get the rights back for his alien fighting dolphin. And years later it seems like the creator and Sega have settled (out of court) and prevented potential litigation. The specifics of this mutual decision have not been released but hopefully it means good news for the series. Even though Ecco has become a bit unknown for this gaming generation, the franchise is still one of the more unique experiences out there. Here’s hoping Sega (and maybe Annunziata) are able to bring back the bottlenose dolphin in a way that will do him justice.