Greetings, readers. A few of us here at Gaming Respawn have formed a small, elite unit of specialists for the purpose of discussing a subject that likely troubles many other gamers out there, and that subject is: “Why Haven’t We Gotten These Sequels Yet?” I considered referring to it as “Where Are These F@$&ing Sequels?!”, but I was advised by my less jaded associates that projecting too much of my own personal outrage for this topic into the article’s title was not “professional” or whatever. It’s a well known fact that a number of great (and not so great) video games in the past that needed sequels or at least deserved sequels never got them, normally due to complications that are common in the video game business, such as developers or publishers going out of business, certain game series getting less attention and not warranting sequels, and other annoying crap involving “video game politics.” Join us now as we discuss the video game sequels that we’d love to see someday. Disclaimer: For those expecting to see Half-Life 3 mentioned in this article, prepare for disappointment, and we ask that you not throw your fanboy rage at us for not including it here.
Throughout my many years of gaming, I’ve become a fan of a number of games and game series. Unfortunately (and annoyingly), many of my favorite games have been discontinued and ended without resolutions.
First up, a quick mention of the games I feel really needed sequels at one time but that I now truly believe will never get sequels, and there are many of them. The 2008 Prince of Persia game, the 2010 Splatterhouse game, Vanquish, Jak and Daxter, Zone of the Enders, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and Dragon’s Dogma; all these games and game series either ended with dreaded cliffhangers or deserved sequels that could have capitalized on their awesomeness, but they instead faded away into video game oblivion, which sucks because I really liked all these series.
I wish I could say those were the only games I own that deserved sequels but didn’t get them, but I’m afraid I’m not that fortunate. While I can mostly deal with the game series I discussed above not getting sequels, the next few series I will go over REALLY need sequels, and the fact they haven’t gotten any yet demoralizes me more than it probably should.
I was prepared to talk some real smack about Nordic Games, now known as THQ Nordic, for apparently sitting on their collective asses and taking their sweet time with giving us a Darksiders III. After 5 years of apparent inactivity from the publisher since acquiring the rights to the Darksiders IP (aside from giving us a couple of re-releases of the older games), I was quite certain they would just let the Darksiders series fade away into oblivion (looks like I’m talking a little bit of smack after all). But then, very recently, I was hit with possibly the biggest surprise of 2017. I shit you not, readers, but as I was preparing my portion of this article and getting ready to really show my displeasure to THQ Nordic for how they’re handling the Darksiders series, the publisher officially announced that Darksiders III would at last be coming to us at some point next year in 2018. And better yet, they have Gunfire Games, the team made up of former members of Vigil Games, leading the charge in developing the newest game in the Darksiders series.
This is good news, and this also makes Darksiders III a special entry in this article, as it’s the ONLY sequel we discuss here that is apparently going to become a reality. We’ve needed a Darksiders III for quite some time now, especially since several years have gone by with us only having two games in the series that both ended on irritating cliffhangers (in case you can’t tell by now, I’m really getting tired of these f@$#ing unresolved cliffhanger endings in games). Let’s hope THQ Nordic don’t screw this one up, though with Gunfire Games at the development helm, things are looking promising.
Another series that really deserves to be given a proper sendoff is Prototype. Developed by the now defunct Radical Entertainment (RIP), Prototype and Prototype 2 were really fun games and are still among my favorites on the PS3. Unfortunately, Prototype 2 didn’t meet Activision’s sales expectations (which surprises me, the game kicked ass), so Radical Entertainment’s staff was downsized to a mere support team, and the Prototype series was put on ice. While I wouldn’t quite call the ending of Prototype 2 a cliffhanger, it does end with several unanswered questions and unresolved issues that, of course, still remain unanswered and unresolved. I’m still hoping against hope that Activision will wise up and properly finish the Prototype series; I mean, Treyarch have made some pretty good Spider-Man games in their time, so I imagine they should be able to develop a new Prototype that lives up to the previous games.
Devil May Cry
Then there’s Devil May Cry, specifically the original series. Its story wasn’t terribly deep, but it was still engaging and got my attention, plus it featured pretty cool characters and incredibly awesome gameplay. Devil May Cry 4, like Prototype 2, ended with a few unanswered questions, then Capcom came up with the “brilliant” idea of abandoning the original series and having Ninja Theory develop DmC: Devil May Cry, a reboot that completely changed the series’ lore and reimagined the characters, making them more “edgy” or something. I just don’t see why Capcom believed Devil May Cry needed a continuity reboot, because it didn’t. Rumors still persist that Devil May Cry 5 might still be on the way since DmC: Devil May Cry didn’t quite gain the following Capcom had hoped for, but I’m skeptical at best. As much as I’d love to see a Devil May Cry 5, I’m not too optimistic that Capcom will give it to us.
Finally, there’s Infamous. While the last game in the series, Infamous: Second Son, was a good, fun game (that thankfully DIDN’T end on a cliffhanger for a change), I don’t think its full potential was realized; plus, I feel there’s more that Sucker Punch can add to the story, especially since it’s strongly hinted in one of the missions in Second Son that governments in other parts of the world are making efforts to come up with solutions to deal with the “bio-terrorist” (Conduit) threat. This strongly hints at the possibility that an earthshattering conflict between humans and Conduits could be on the horizon, and I personally would like to see how things could progress in this series. Developers Sucker Punch have been rather quiet since releasing the standalone DLC expansion Infamous: First Light, but hopefully they’re coming up with a way to give us a follow-up to Second Son that can really shake things up for the series.
I feel like when you ask a bunch of game writers to talk about sequels to games that they’d like to see, you have to be willing to open yourself up to a very personal experience. After all, the primary reason that most people want a sequel to a game is almost certainly because the story or game means a lot to them and because it feels like the series ended too soon. In fact, it would not surprise me to hear that the people who have chosen to write about a particular game here would include that same game in their list of favourite games, in the top 10 at the very least.
With that in mind, it took me a surprisingly short amount of time to decide which game I wanted to see followed up by a sequel. And that game is Loom.
There will be a certain number of people reading this whose first reactions will be “what?”; another group will say something close to “what, that thing?”; the final group will have immediately fallen into fond reminiscences of a simpler time in gaming, a time when your epic adventure didn’t need to be in 3D, didn’t need famous voice actors, and hell, didn’t even need a main character you could take seriously (I mean, Bobbin Threadbare? Really?).
For those of you who don’t know, LucasArts used to be the king of the adventure game genre back in the day, with hits like The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango. Early on in their adventure game-creating career, the halcyon days of 1990, the company created a small, fantasy-based adventure about a group of cloak-wearing wizards who think singing is a perfectly acceptable way of casting incredibly powerful magic spells.
This little game was Loom, and at the time it was probably easy to tell that there was something slightly different about it. The first sign upon opening the box was the inclusion of an audio cassette, on which was recorded a 30 minute audio drama which set the stage for the events in the game. To this day, not many games include audio dramas, and fewer still actually use them as ways of introducing the more complex elements of their game worlds, so you might be able to see why this was considered at least a little bit special.
You may have noticed that at the beginning of that last paragraph, I said ‘it was probably easy to tell’, instead of ‘it was easy to tell’. This was because I am talking about a game which saw at least two separate releases, and both of these releases, one in 1990 and the other in 1992, were before I was born. I was introduced to Loom by my dad, with whom I played many of the LucasArts games.
So, now to get down to the actual point: Why on Earth does this game need a sequel? Well, apart from being an artistic storytelling experience that has so far been unparalleled (in my opinion), the game was also criminally short. In all, it would only take a few hours to cruise through the entire experience, even in your first playthrough of the game.
This short length is compounded by the fact that it is pretty common knowledge amongst the game’s fanbase that this was supposed to be a trilogy, and as such, it ends on a bit of a loose end. In fact, not only do we know that there were supposed to be two more games, but in the intervening time we’ve even managed to learn quite a lot about the direction that those two games would have taken.
In this age of kickstarted passion projects and endless fan games for old nostalgic properties, it seems like a shame that a game so ripe for the picking has been left behind. It would be doing the world a great service if someone picked up these sequel ideas and ran with them, and other than the ever-present burden of copyright issues, who would really stand in their way?
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
They always say you never forget your first: first kiss, first love, first time you slept with someone. First GTA doesn’t generally feature on that list, but I’ve never been able to forget the neon-drenched, hedonistic paradise of Vice City and the seemingly limitless, directionless freedom that defines the open world genre.
The year was 2002, and I’d gradually worn down my parents to the point where they were prepared to buy their 13-year-old son Rockstar North’s 18-rated love letter to 1980s Miami. It was going to accompany the PS2 as my Christmas present, and I painstakingly counted the days until the 25th. Christmas morning duly arrived, and I’m not sure I’ve ever fallen in love with a game in quite the same way (although Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End came damn close last year). Suddenly, there was an entire fictional city to explore, with cars to drive, boats to steal, helicopters to fly, all of it felt a world away from Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and International Superstar Soccer on my PS1.
This goes beyond simple nostalgia though, Vice City was not only a great game at the time, but its core elements still stand up today. Despite the graphical limitations of the PS2, Vice City is still one of the most vivid game worlds ever created, with a sense of place created both through visual elements like the neon signs along the waterfront and lens flare; and a series-best soundtrack that includes shimmering slices of iconic 80s pop (Video Killed The Radio Star, Broken Wings, 99 Luftballons), classic rock (She Sells Sanctuary, I Wanna Rock, 2 Minutes to Midnight), Latin rhythms, soul, electro and some of the funniest parodies of talk radio ever written (K-Chat and in particular VCPR). It’s also full of great characters, including Ray Liotta’s wisecracking tough guy Tommy Vercetti, William Fichtner’s panicky lawyer Ken Rosenberg, and Luis Guzman’s unhinged drug kingpin Ricardo Diaz. In short, it’s iconic and, despite its age, is still thought of by many as the greatest GTA ever.
Fans have been begging for Rockstar to return to Vice City for years, and it’s easy to see why, it’s easy to dream about just how good the game would look with the power of modern consoles: tropical storms lashing the coast, neon glinting off pavements, waves rocking tethered boats back and forth, and the whole thing polished to a dazzling sheen. It seems the inevitable, obvious choice for GTA VI, and perhaps that’s the problem, Rockstar does many things but rarely the obvious thing. Trying to predict them is, if not impossible, extremely difficult, and it seems likely that they may want to find an entirely new setting for their next open world opus, perhaps even London (yes, there was Grand Theft Auto: London 1969, but they’ve never tackled it in 3D). If anyone from Rockstar is reading this though, please go back to Vice City, it would be more than fan service, it would be doing justice to one of your greatest creations.
Oh, and if anyone from Ubisoft Reflections is reading this, a new Stuntman would be awesome.
Star Wars: Republic Commando
Oh surprise, surprise, Dom has gone for a Star Wars game. Yes, I have and for very good reasons. The original Republic Commando was an excellent game for many reasons. Firstly, it was a solid and enjoyable first-person shooter. Playing as the leader of a special forces unit, Republic Commando allowed you to dish out basic commands to your squadmates. Obviously, nothing as sophisticated as what you get in modern games, but back in 2005 it felt great to tell your unit to target a specific enemy or blast open a door. Another very important reason as to why the original Republic Commando deserves a sequel: the time period it is set in. The Star Wars prequels in general are not loved by a great deal of Star Wars fans. Me, personally, I love the prequels. I love the lore and history told by them, the characters, but most importantly, I LOVE the Clone Troopers themselves. The soldiers that make up the Grand Army of the Republic have always been a favourite aspect of Star Wars for me. So, playing as one of these loyal troopers was a dream come true in the original Republic Commando.
I would love to continue playing Delta Squad’s story during the Clone Wars. Fighting alongside the Jedi generals on the various colourful worlds the prequels gave us. Fighting to put an end to the Confederacy of Independent Systems once and for all. Until, of course, the Supreme Chancellor issued an order that would change the fate of the Galaxy. An order which would wipe the Jedi out to near extinction. An order which would be amazing to play out: Order 66.
Super Mario Sunshine
The one video game sequel that I have been craving for years now is one that many Nintendo fans like myself have been begging for forever. I am, of course, talking about a sequel to Super Mario Sunshine. Super Mario Sunshine originally released on the Nintendo GameCube in 2002 (crazy to think it has been 15 years!). While the GameCube was commercially unsuccessful, I highly argue that it is one of the best video game systems of all time. The GameCube had a plethora of incredible games: Metroid Prime, Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, and Super Smash Bros. Melee, among many others. What all of these games have in common is that they all paved the way for future successful games, and Super Mario Sunshine is no exception. Building on what the spectacular Super Mario 64 did on the Nintendo 64, Super Mario Sunshine introduced a variety of unique mechanics and ideas that makes it my favorite Mario game to date.
The game was set on a beautiful tropical island (Isle Delfino), where due to a false accusation, Mario is left to clean up the mess left behind by a certain perpetrator. Mario must rid the island of the graffiti that plagues it, all while collecting the Shrine Sprites. While the story wasn’t revolutionary, it was charming and fit the vacation theme. One of the best things to come out of the game was a diverse cast of characters that have since left their mark in the world of Mario: Piantas, Nokis, Bowser Jr., and of course, the incredible Toadsworth (who doesn’t love that old geezer?!).
Regarding gameplay, Super Mario Sunshine introduced a great game mechanic in the form of a water jetpack. By using a device called F.L.U.D.D., you were able to use water to soar through the air, dash at quick speeds, and aim and spray to clean up the island’s mess. It really changed the gameplay up and made it fun and exciting. The world and levels were designed using this jetpack mechanic in mind, and it made exploring the world heavily enjoyable.
While a sequel would have to make a few additions and fixes to the problems the original had, I have no doubt that the game would be a success. Super Mario Sunshine became one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo GameCube, and there is no reason that a sequel could not do the same on the Nintendo Switch. Super Mario Sunshine is one of my favorite video games of all time, and it is definitely my favorite Mario game to date. While some argue that the Super Mario Galaxy games are sequels to Sunshine (and they are terrific games in their own right), I believe that they are more like spiritual successors. A true sequel, however, is long overdue. There is nothing more that I want to do but revisit Isle Delfino.