Sequels. You either love them or you hate them. For movies they can definitely be hit or miss and there’s no difference with video games. For every Marvel: Ultimate Alliance there’s a Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 waiting to pounce on unsuspecting gamers. This year alone we’ve had three different sequels for three very different games. Resident Evil 6, Halo 4, and Assassin’s Creed III have all been released in the span of a month with all varying degrees of ranking with fans and reviewers alike and it’s only a matter of time before we see more sequels for these games and many other popular franchises. There are other popular and/or cult games that have seen only one sequel or who are waiting for more sequels to continue their stories. We all have our lists of games like this and I am no different (as I’m sure my list is similar to most others). So in preparation of the coming holiday season, this a list of games that I would be pleased to find under my Christmas tree (or Hanukkah Bush if you prefer).
In 1995 the original Suikoden was released to gamers and it was a moderate hit for Konami who up to that the time had never released an RPG in the States. The game came after the final stages of the SNES and before Final Fantasy VII, a game that launched the RPG genre into the stratosphere. Even without the megahit of Final Fantasy there were many criticisms laid on the game for its short length and 2D sprites. Despite that, it was these two things that gave this series its charm; along with its both intricate and personal story set into a large world that began to be showcased with each sequel. Fans must have felt the same way because up to date there have been 4 direct sequels (or prequels depending on the timeline).
Suikoden II and Suikoden III were the more popular ones released, each expanding the mechanics and world established in the original. Suikoden II expanded the story on an epic scale, lengthening the story 3-fold compared to its predecessor. It did have some faults though, mostly because of some noticeable glitches and unpredictable mechanics; mostly noticed during its war system. Suikoden III introduced the Trinity Sight System, a tool used to see the same story through 3 different characters, each destined to be the Hero of the army. Sadly, with Suikoden IV the quality declined dramatically with its location, characters, war system , and design. Suikoden V tried its best to combine both the old and new school mechanics into, in my opinion, a very spectacular, interesting, and fantastic story. Despite its acclaim with critics and most fans, it didn’t sell as many copies as Konami would have liked and since then, the main series has been in hibernation for over five years with only two poorly received games who share only the title and none of its namesakes’ charm.
Fans have been clamoring for a sequel ever since, wanting to see how the story of this large world and its larger than life characters will conclude. With the advancements in technology, it would make the extravagant world even more vibrant and its characters all the more realistic. Despite that though, I don’t see Suikoden VI anywhere on the horizon.
In 1995 Squaresoft (now known as Square Enix) released a game that would surprise even its creators with the acclaim it received from critics and fans of this company. On the heels of the success of Final Fantasy VI (3 in the states), Square unleashed a game that would become a surprising hit for the already flourishing company. The game involved a mish-mash of heroes consisting of a red-haired, silent protagonist; a princess; an eccentric young-female inventor; a robot with feelings; a cursed knight with the body of a frog; and a tortured ex-villain trying to save his sister. Together, they travel through various time periods (and the end of time) to stop the extraterrestrial alien Lavos from rising and destroying the planet, making it a desolate place where only a handful of survivors exist. That would make this game fun just by itself but what really set this game apart was the numerous endings you could get by defeating Lavos at different points of the game and in the different periods of time. With 13 different endings and the ability to start a New Game +, fans were looking forward to a sequel and that’s exactly what they got with Chrono Cross.
Released in America in 2000, the game takes place on the archipelago of El Nido, located across the sea from the continent of the original game. Though the events of the past games influence the plot in this one, the game deviated greatly from the original by adding numerous more characters that would join your party based on character decisions; 12 different endings depending on when you defeat the Time Devourer and the characters in your party; and instead of traveling through time periods (besides in one part of the game) you travel through two different versions of the world, created by the mere existence of the main character surviving an attack and subsequent near drowning in his childhood. Though the game received high praise from reviewers and fans alike there some complaints of a convoluted plot that wasn’t clearly defined and some “true” endings that didn’t clear things up enough.
There are really no reasons as to why this game hasn’t had another sequel, though many contributing factors, like Squaresoft merging with Enix, the original team being disbanded, and the creator working on numerous other projects for the company. I’m definitely not the only one clamoring for this so this one shouldn’t even be a surprise.
The Prince of Persia franchise has been around since 1989 but didn’t achieve high success until 2003 when the game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was introduced to an unsuspecting public. For those who are going to argue that there were sequels for this game that consist of Warrior Within, The Two Thrones, and The Forgotten Sands, this section is for the game Prince of Persia released in 2008 on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The only thing this game shared with its predecessors was the name and acrobatic way the character moved through the environment. The game introduces a nameless protagonist (referred to as Prince) who is caught up preventing the resurrection of the dark god Ahriman. With him is the princess Elika whose father made a deal with Ahrima that if the god resurrected his dead daughter that he would release him from his prison. From there, the “Prince” and Elika (now infused with the power of light that would be used to seal the god once more) make their way through the fallen city of the god Ormazd to heal the Fertile Grounds that will help seal the dark god. The battle system turned into more of a dance, using the four face buttons to form a sequence of attacks. Eventually they manage to defeat the god but Elika ends up sacrificing herself and dies once again. The “Prince” is unable to handle this turn of events due to his and Elika’s burgeoning feelings, allows her to be resurrected again by the dark god and allows him to escape. The game ends with “Prince” carrying Elika away as darkness overtakes the land.
Though the game was given DLC to explain some of the fallout from his decision, there has not been a true sequel to continue the story. No real reason has been given for the lack of a sequel though many speculations have been thrown out. Many fans didn’t like the unconnected feeling of the story with previous installments while others complained of the simplicity of the game itself. Despite that, it was given mostly positive reviews by critics and did well in sales, though probably not as well as Ubisoft would have liked. As of yet, there is no news at all of an impending sequel, or even a reboot of the franchise (though there were rumors for a moment before the people in charge squashed them). Perhaps this is because Ubisoft Montreal has been focusing on its most recent hit franchise Assassin’s Creed.
In 2003 a smash hit was released for the Xbox and this was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Taking place 4000 years before the events of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, you take control of a soldier for the Republic on a falling ship and from there are launched into an engaging and in-depth story that will result in you saving the universe from the evils of the Sith Malak. This could have been just another RPG but the developers decided to do something completely different. The gameplay itself used a type of Dungeons and Dragons type gameplay where “rolls” determined your attack and probability of hitting the enemy. Of course, the best part of the game was the fact that the character you play as is completely customizable by the choices you make, the skills you learn, and the path of the Jedi that you choose. Each decision shapes both the story and the character, ultimately ending with the decision of you either saving the galaxy or conquering it completely.
The sequel Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords was released in 2004 only a year after its predecessor. The game kept the same mechanics of the original game but included new elements that added to the overall game experience. The game takes place five years after the original where the character from the original decided not to conquer the universe and instead left for the Outer Rim. You play as a fallen Jedi Knight that once followed the Sith Lord Raven during the Mandalorian Wars. The story has just as much depth as before with even more added into it. Despite the upgraded mechanics, characters, and gameplay the game suffered from a rushed production. It’s very obvious to see this because of its lack-luster ending that left much to interpretation and really no closure for any of the characters you had traveled with along the way. Side quests that were hinted at heavily never came to fruition and some of the supporting characters didn’t do much to the overall story though the character Kreia was certainly a standout.
Despite getting positive reviews and a high number of sells, the game has yet to see a direct sequel to continue and/or finish the story of Raven and the Exile. Though the MMORPG was released last year, it wasn’t truly a sequel as it never truly answered the questions left unanswered in the previous installments. Though there have been much clamor from fans for a sequel, there seems to be no evidence of it in the works but it would be fantastic if there was.
Released as an action role-playing game in 2004, X-Men Legends took a different approach than most other comic-book adapted games. It played as a dungeon crawler and allowed you to switch freely between four of the X-Men of your chosen party. In between missions though, you played as Alison Crestmere (codename Magma), a mutant saved in the beginning of the game by The Brotherhood for a nefarious plan by Magneto to block out the sun from the Earth, effectively killing everyone on the planet while the mutants joined with the Brotherhood wait before heading back. Obviously, the X-Men stop him and save the day all while fighting murderous Sentinels and angry Morloks. You could play as 15 playable characters like fan favorites Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Gray, and Professor Xavier. The story was a simple one but still effective. So when the sequel came out, fans were hoping that the game would live up to its predecessor.
They certainly weren’t disappointed when in 2005 X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse was released and not only lived up to the previous game but surpassed it entirely. In this, the Brotherhood and the X-Men join together to defeat the mutant Apocalypse and his ally Mr. Sinister. Getting rid of the X-Mansion as a base and making you run around as a character you may or may not have liked are gone. Instead, you and your chosen party will make different areas your base starting with the Savage Lands and ending in Egypt. There were 15 playable characters with four unlockable ones and certain others available allowed on different consoles.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been any rumblings of a sequel since the team had moved on to the other hit game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and its less than stellar Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. Since the release of that game in 2009 there have been no rumblings of sequels for either game. Of course, if I had to pick between the two I vote strictly for X-Men Legends.
Will any of these sequels ever be made? Probably not as many of them have been in developmental hell for years. But stranger things have happened I mean, who would have though the Buffy the Vampire Slayer game would get a sequel?