Within the last decade of video gaming, we’ve seen dozens of series spawn from huge publishers like Activision and EA Games. Countless sequels continue to be a trend in the AAA gaming world, equipped with huge budgets for additional DLC and multiplayer capability. Franchises like Assassin’s Creed have 10+ games in their catalog and continue to still push through with spinoffs and sequels today.
But what about those video games that don’t have sequels?
Screen Rant has compiled a list of the 15 best games that never got a sequel and absolutely deserve one. These include games that had their sequels canceled by publishers, or games that just never officially slated a return to the series. From influential PC adventure games to indie titles released over various online platforms, we take a look at the coolest games that never got a return.
15. ETERNAL DARKNESS: SANITY’S REQUIEM
Nintendo’s always been criticized for its lack of mature titles available on their home consoles, but one of the publisher’s best entries in the mature gamer realm remains one of the GameCube’s sleeper hits, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. The horror title was developed by Silicon Knights and played like a psychological thriller, using a patented Nintendo gameplay concept called the “sanity meter.”
The game follows twelve different characters through different time periods uncovering the mysteries of a haunted mansion located in Rhode Island. The game’s innovative sanity meter measured a character’s way of handling horrific events around them. If the meter was low enough, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem would reflect the player’s loss of sanity with skewed camera angles, loud in-game whispers and noises, as well as fourth wall breaking to create false GameCube errors and television malfunctions.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem was genuinely scary and engaging. Though a sequel was in the works from Silicon Knights, the developers saw their project get canceled and their studios ended up bankrupt. Developer Denis Dyack has continued to push for a spiritual successor to the game, titled Shadow of the Eternals, for quite some time now, but to no avail.
14. GRIM FANDANGO
Way back in 1998, LucasArts developed an adventure game for the PC called Grim Fandango. The project was a film noir-styled video game, featuring calaca-like figures from the recently departed who now reside in the afterlife’s Land of the Dead. It was hilariously written, thanks to director and developer Tim Schafer, who later went on to develop the beloved Psychonauts and Brütal Legend games. It’s also yet to see any glimpse of a sequel.
Most recently, Grim Fandango has gotten a remaster, thanks to Schafer’s Double Fine Productions and Sony. The game’s terrific soundtrack was updated and an added director’s commentary was also added, but a full high-definition graphics upgrade was not hashed out for the game’s re-release. Still, fans loyal to Grim Fandango since its 1998 release are anxiously awaiting a sequel from Schafer, who has stated in the past that he’d like to see an open-world version of the title in the future.
13. ALAN WAKE
Remedy Entertainment, best known for developing the start of the Max Payne series, saw huge critical success with the release of their 2010 adventure horror title, Alan Wake. Serving as a Microsoft exclusive game, Alan Wake told the story of a fictional best-selling author who loses his wife during a vacation in a small town called Bright Falls, Washington. The player controls Wake and guides him through a woodsy environment, uncovering the mysterious disappearance of his significant other while also experiencing events portrayed in a novel our hero can’t recall actually writing.
The story itself is heavy in the meta department, though it’s gripping, puzzling, dark, and engaging. Playing through Alan Wake and uncovering the peculiar mystery revolving around the title character is an enthralling adventure. Although the game was critically praised and a few books, online media, DLC and tie-ins were created for the game, an official sequel to Alan Wake has yet to surface. Remedy Entertainment was at one point working on something that could’ve been Alan Wake 2, but the project was eventually scrapped. Remnants of the would-be sequel were later repurposed for a different title, and you can catch a glimpse of what could have been in the developer’s 2016 game, Quantum Break.
Limbo is a unique gaming experience parallel to none. Sure, the game appears to be your standard, side-scrolling indie adventure title, but it’s much more than that. At its core, Limbo is the definition of minimal presentation — it features no tutorial to show players how to play, the entire game is greyscale, and there isn’t much you can do aside from move left or right and grab things. Much of its creeping atmosphere is achieved from the game’s lack of color, superb soundtrack, and ambient noise. Due to its minimalist environment, Limbo is totally up to interpretation.
But that’s what makes Limbo such an awesome experience. When you’re completely tuned into the game, it doesn’t let you go until the very end of its play-through, and by then, you’ll be left scratching your head as to what exactly you’ve just experienced. Limbo is its own sectioned off piece of the universe, and we’d love to see the developers at Playdead add on to its wondrous, often unsettling, world.
Before there was Red Dead Redemption, there was Gun, an open world western centered around Colton “Cole” White. Developed by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater creators Neversoft and released in 2005, Gun gave gamers just about everything they’d want out of an old western. Players could hunt animals, ride horses, gamble, collect bounties, and participate in shootouts. They could even build a reputation in small towns, causing townsfolk to either hunt you down to drive you out of their community, or reward you.
Although Gun was a solid attempt at an open world western game, Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption overshadowed much of what we remember of Neversoft’s western entry. Neversoft disbanded in 2014 and much of the team was absorbed into Call of Duty‘s Infinity Ward team, so any chance at a sequel seems unlikely. Still, it’d be great to see what the developer team could’ve cooked up in a Gun sequel. For now, we’ll have to “settle” for Rockstar’s highly anticipated Red Dead sequel, which is due out this fall.
10. SUPER MARIO RPG
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was a huge step for Nintendo, as the company incorporated Mario elements into a role-playing game that Japanese gamers totally ate up. The game was created by Square (before they were Square Enix) and spliced Final Fantasy with Super Mario World, dropping the titular hero in an adventure full of turn-based battle sequences, leveling up through experience and colorful characters. Its art style was isometric 3D, and it gave the overall game a pop in its already bright atmosphere.
North American sales didn’t have as much of an impact as Japan’s, but elements of Super Mario RPG eventually went on to create other RPG-esque Mario games. Both the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series borrowed from the 1996 title, but a proper Super Mario RPG 2 was never released. We’d kill to see another Mario-based RPG developed by Square Enix.
Like most games developed by Rockstar, Bully released with a ton of controversy attached. Although the game was rated “T” for Teen in America, Bully was thought to encourage school violence and bullying. It featured a hefty amount of frenzied brutalities, homosexuality, and was deemed by Florida lawyer Jack Thompson as “a Columbine simulator.”
Regardless of whatever Bully was labeled, it was pure fun. Players took the role of problem-child James “Jimmy” Hopkins as he made a reputation in a private boarding school called Bullworth Academy. Jimmy became popular by fighting other kids in the academy, an unfortunate parallel to real-life schoolyard ladder-climbing. Gamers were even able to initiate relationships with random characters, and they were open to choosing any sexuality they desired.
Bully gave players a ton of freedom, in addition to some crude jokes and a cleverly written script. The game released over a decade ago, with a glitchy remaster subtitled Scholarship Edition following it up in 2007, but we’ve yet to see a return of Jimmy Hopkins in the years since.
8. POKEMON SNAP
There’s an insane amount of Pokémon titles that delve into genres outside of role-playing games, but nothing really compares to the Nintendo 64’s spinoff game, Pokémon Snap. Pokémon Snap released at the pinnacle of the franchise’s success in 1999 and put players in the role of a photographer named Todd Snap in the Pokémon universe. While traveling on a rail in first-person view, the player objective is to capture the best photos of Pokémon in the wild, including grabbing photographs of rare Pokémon.
The game wasn’t flawless, nor is it essential in its franchise, but Pokémon Snap was definitely innovative. At the time of its release, video games hadn’t yet seen photography accomplished in such a comfortable way on the home console. However, given the amount of time since Pokémon Snap entered the gaming world, and how many more Pokémon now exist in its universe, a sequel to the title seems like it’d end up as the overkill we need for a thriving phenomena.
Guacamelee! is a platform action game from DrinkBox Studios that puts gamers in the role of a luchadore on a quest to save El Presidente’s daughter. Most of the game’s style pulls inspiration from Mexican culture, in addition to wrestling, beat ’em up games, Metroid, and folklore. It’s a side-scroller for fans who enjoy racking up combos in fighting games and using brute force against hordes of enemies. It’s a charming indie game with a ton of heart, to say the absolute least.
It also set itself up for a grand sequel if it ever were to be granted one. Guacamelee! featured co-op that added onto an addicting campaign experience, but there wasn’t much selection in characters. A sequel for Guacamelee! could open the world to a brighter cast, a bigger wrestling-style selection of attacks, an expanded story, and more collectibles to seek out. Though the wondrous world Guacamelee! presented us with is dazzling and dripping with culture, it didn’t offer much of a reason to replay it after finishing its main storyline. One can hope a sequel can strike up excitement once again for this gem of a platform title.
6. BRÜTAL LEGEND
Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions crafted the ultimate video game ode to metal with their sleeper hit Brütal Legend. Featuring a hilarious lead named Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black), Brütal Legend combined action, adventure, and real-time strategy elements together for a hellish ride through a heavy metal landscape known simply as The Brütal Land. With a soundtrack featuring bands like Slayer, Motörhead, Manowar, and King Diamond, Brütal Legend became the metalhead’s messiah in the gaming sphere.
Schafer crafted a world for Brütal Legend out of metal album covers and lore, one full of demons, loads of fire, and very loud guitars. It was an imaginative exploration of the genre of music with a bit of help from Jack Black, in addition to voice actors and musicians like Lemmy Kilmister and Ozzy Osbourne. While the gameplay and story were enjoyable, the RTS elements featured in-game were lackluster for most, but could obviously be tightened with a sequel. We’d love to see the return of Eddie Riggs and more of a mythos added onto the cooky work of The Brütal Land.
5. VAGRANT STORY
The year 2000 saw the release of a groundbreaking RPG developed by Square Enix called Vagrant Story. Created by the makers of Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story broke the mold for many JRPG games, stepping away from the typical world full of talkative NPCs and item/potion shops and giving gamers a deep story and vast character customizations. By blending multiple elements together, the game became a unique genre of its own, playing as a dungeon crawler focused heavily on upgrading weapons, while rhythmically tapping buttons in combat.
Vagrant Story is in a league of its own, and not many games come close to its sheer vastness. Naturally, the only hope for a game that truly rivals Vagrant Story would be a sequel, which is now about 16 years overdue from Square Enix. If a sequel were to begin development, it will undoubtedly immerse gamers within its realm and refuse to let go. We’re not sure if the gamers of 2017 could handle such a virtual world…
What began as freeware in 2008 for Microsoft Windows turned into a phenomenon by way of its own remake in 2014. The Derek Yu-designed indie game Spelunky stole the hearts of gamers everywhere when it was remade from PC to home console, revealing itself to gamers who are native to console gaming, and also resparking its connection with PC fans.
Spelunky, at its core, is a platform game with dungeon-crawler and roguelike elements. Players take control over a spelunker whose only job is to explore underground tunnels, collect treasures, and rescue the occasional damsel in distress. Each level is procedurally generated and no experience is similar to the last. And just as most roguelike games, once you die, you start all over again.
Spelunky is a difficult game to master, but it’s absolutely satisfying when a player does manage to gain the upper hand. Fighting off giant spiders and exploding frogs, defending yourself against angry shopkeepers, and avoiding death traps is all part of Spelunky‘s crazy gameplay. We’d love to see a sequel to the title, giving us more of a variety in caves and even more loony characters and enemies.
3. JADE EMPIRE
The once-Xbox exclusive title from BioWare, Jade Empire, initially wowed critics and gamers alike after releasing on the console in 2005. It was praised for its action-RPG blending, as well its giving players the freedom to be as much of a good guy or jerk as they wanted, similar to BioWare’s other solid action-RPG game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Either attitude chosen affected the game’s story arc to its finish, allowing for multiple playthroughs and different experiences.
Overall, the game pulled a ton of influence from Asian cinema, kung fu, mythology, and ancient culture. BioWare created the original world of Jade Empire, but they’ve yet to follow up with another chapter its universe. Though the game is noted for its relatively short length, its open-ended role-playing and engaging storytelling has made fans yearn for more. Hopefully, BioWare makes a return to this awesome ode to Eastern culture.
2. WORLD OF GOO
World of Goo is the first title from game developer 2D Boy. It’s a simple puzzle game that’s based on physics, similar to the old school title Lemmings, in which you must control the flow of goo toward an exit point. Each stage ends with a scorecard basically showing you how many little goo creatures you saved with your brains and if you’ve earned enough goo balls to advance to another level. Like most puzzle games, the game begins fairly easy before gradually building its difficulty and introducing newer goo into the mix.
World of Goo really made an impact on the Nintendo Wii when it was released in 2008, becoming a staple WiiWare game. Since then, the indie game has been ported onto mobile devices, OS X, and most recently announced as a Nintendo Switch launch title. However, we haven’t had any hints that a sequel by 2D Boy is on the way. World of Goo was a dazzling piece of work in puzzle gaming, and the need for a sequel grows each day as we fiend for more puzzles involving this weird world full of goo balls.
Fez is a terrific video game developed by Polytron Corporation that absolutely deserves a sequel. The game revolves around a character named Gomez, who receives a magical fez that reveals his 2D world to be a massive 3D one. Players can control the angle of this world and twirl the 2D landscape around by rotating between dimensions. By playing with its camera, Gomez is able to move behind usual background displays in 2D worlds and expand his ability to maneuver through space.
Fez almost got a sequel, but lead designer Phil Fish quit the gaming industry due to harsh feedback from the community concerning his often outspoken persona. Everything about the game bleeds nostalgia, from its brilliant chiptune score from composter Disasterpeace to its homage to the sidescrolling 2D-era of gaming. The journey of Fez‘s creation was captured in the film Indie Game: The Movie, which perfectly showcased the intense passion Fish injected into his creation. If only we could visit the world of Fez once more…
What other underrated games would you like to see receive a sequel? Let us know in the comments.