Video game sequels, like movie sequels, are a special entity in the medium. When a new game comes out that looks phenomenal in previews - like, say, Bioshock or Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune - it can generate a certain amount of excitement among gamers. However, when a game in fact lives up to or surpasses the hype, the prospect of a second follow up to that title drums up significantly higher levels of anticipation for the players. The reason for this is because we know how brilliant the original game is. This process continues as long as developers keep churning out quality sequels, meaning that in some cases - for franchises like Grand Theft Auto or Halo - they will bring players to a fever pitch prior to release, but will deliver the goods on launch day.
Things don’t always work out that smoothly, though; often times a sequel - whether it be a direct sequel to the original or a third, forth or later entry - falls short of the measuring stick to which it would inevitably be measured with, usually leading to a vicious, medieval-esque fan backlash and, at best, a lukewarm critical reception.
The flip-side to this is the much-anticipated sequels which haven’t been made. Situations where the previous or last entry in a series was met with praise from fans and critics alike but, for whatever reason, still hasn’t spawned a follow up years or even decades later. Here we’re going to analyse the ones that still need to be made, and the ones that could’ve stayed on the cutting room floor.
30 Bad: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex (PS2)
With the recent remake of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy on PS4, fans are falling back in love with PlayStation’s first mascot. There’s a reason that they only remade the PSone games, and that’s because his platforming foray on the PS2 was a flop. Lacking the magic, character and level design of the earlier titles, critics were underwhelmed while fans were very disappointed with the title, with people lamenting the long load titles and the overall safe, placid feeling of the game.
29 Bad: Medal Of Honor: Warfighter
Medal of Honor was one of the first big first-person shooters on PSone. The Steven Spielberg directed classic was acclaimed for its fun gunplay, WWII setting and epic musical score. Fast forward two generations, however, and the series is in sharp decline, culminating in this, the final entry to date. Criticized for its bad and highly convoluted storyline, poor enemy AI and numerous bugs that make simply playing the game difficult, this is a veteran that EA may want to keep off the front lines indefinitely.
28 Needed: NCAA Football
Variety. It’s what’s lacking in the world of American Football video games in every possible way. Madden, while releasing a solid game every year, fails to consistently hone gameplay elements or implement new features. Part of the reason for this is lack of competition. Back in 2004, NCAA was released, and brought with it gameplay depth, a season mode and a litany of customization options that surpassed Madden, becoming a fan favorite and critical darling. We need a rival to the laurel-resting Madden, and a new slice of virtual collegiate football!
27 Bad: Mass Effect Andromeda
One of the most beloved game series from the 7th generation was the Mass Effect trilogy; three great games - two of which are classics - which took the action RPG genre to new heights in the stratosphere. The highly anticipated current gen follow up not only didn’t live up to the hype, but thanks to a subpar story which lacked the emotion and nuance of the previous three, buggy, monotonous gameplay and some absolutely bizarre facial animations, it was slated by critics and fans alike.
26 Bad: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Another current gen sequel to a phenomenal game series, MGSV was, unlike most other bad games on this list, critically acclaimed upon release. However, most real long time fans of the series outright rejected this entry. Why? Well, in spite of the admittedly brilliant gaming mechanics which garnered most of the praise it received, it was plainly obvious that this was an unfinished game (series creator Hideo Kojima left soon after its release). The missions and environments were ridiculously repetitive, while the story - most MGS games’ strongest attribute - was poorly written and, like the game, simply unfinished.
25 Needed: Bioshock 4
Bioshock was one of the most beloved games of the 7th generation. The game combined first person shooting with supernatural abilities, mature storytelling and an incredible underwater location brimming with atmosphere. While its subsequent sequels didn’t quite live up to the hype, the third game infinite at least gave us a new location, this time in the sky. That’s what a fourth installment would need to do: provide us with a fresh location, maintain the already stellar gaming mechanics, while gives us a story and atmosphere of similar quality to the first game.
24 Bad: Bioshock 2
Fundamentally, Bioshock 2 is not a bad game. In fact, its very playable, maintaining most of the elements that made the first game so special. And that, in essence, was the problem. It’s impossible to capture what made a game like Bioshock so special - the atmosphere, setting, story and high powered “plasmids” - and replicate it a second time. In many ways, the story, which detailed the further decline of Rapture beyond repair or redemption, is the epitome of the experience: everything is there, but the heart and soul is gone.
23 Bad: Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Upon appearing on the Nintendo 64, Banjo Kazooie became a critical and commercial darling, selling in the boatloads and drawing comparisons with Super Mario 64 - with many people actually preferring this platformer and its larger emphasis on exploration. This entry in the series, released on the Xbox 360, was a major let down for long time fans of the series, who felt that the platforming was comparatively subpar and that the new vehicular elements were bad and did not fit the overall aesthetic of the game.
22 Needed: Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic III
The original KOTOR games, released on Xbox, were some of that consoles best exclusives. Developed by Bioware, the space hopping action-RPG style is like a precursor to the much loved Mass Effect titles, which were made by the same developer. Still, with that aside, these titles, especially the first one, are amazing RPGs in their own right, and with the poor reception that the latest Mass Effect game received, its as good a time now as ever to release a new KOTOR game, to redeem the developer and satisfy fans of this series.
21 Bad: Alone In The Dark: Illumination
As good an example of a series that fell into a steep decline and then went totally of the cliff, the first Alone In The Dark, released in 1992, was a primitive but enjoyable survival horror title. By the time Illumination came out in 2015, even with a new online co-op mode, it had devolved into a shell of its former self. Absolutely ripped apart by critics, any remaining fans of the series would’ve surely abandoned this once great series.
20 Bad: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
The Tony Hawk’s franchise went through a strange transitional period during its lifespan. After three phenomenal games and a decent forth, Neversoft abandoned the timed goal-based career mode in favor of more in depth stories and open worlds, with mixed results. So when it was announced that they’d be returning to the old aesthetic with a direct sequel to Pro Skater 4, fans were excited. They needn’t have been. The gameplay was busted, the level design was boring, and virtual kickflipper’s dreams were crushed around the world.
19 Needed: Silent Hills/Silent Hill 5
Arguably the most beloved survival horror franchise after Resident Evil, the first 4 Silent Hill entries in the main series were all well received and enjoyed by fans. This entry appears on out list for two reasons: The first reason is simply because people want a fifth slice of Silent Hill’s tense, atmospheric horror. The second reason is because a game called Silent Hills was at one point in the making by Konami and Hideo Kojima, which was extremely promising but which never came to fruition; so, in essence, this sequel was snatched away from us.
18 Bad: Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels was initially developed as a sequel to the first game in the series. A fun, challenging game crafted around what made the first game so revolutionary, few would’ve complained about this being the sequel. However, it wasn’t. Instead, Nintendo took Japanese platformer Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, and changed some of the characters to essentially morph it into Bros. 2 for North American audiences, believing what ended up being Levels was too hard and similar to the first game. However, being totally different to that game, fans were disappointed.
17 Bad: GoldenEye: Rogue Agent
GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64 is one of the most revolutionary and beloved first-person shooters of all time. It popularized the multiplayer console shooter, with high-octane, addictive FPS action. So when a sequel was announced for the 6th generation of consoles, people were excited. Unfortunately, when it arrived, it didn’t hold a candle to the original. Lacking innovation or any of the character of the first game, fans also took umbrage with the games story also, which acted as a sequel not only to the game, but to the film also.
16 Needed: TimeSplitters 4
The true spiritual successor to GoldenEye for the 6th console generation, the TimeSplitters games, the second one in particular, were absolutely fantastic. Taking the brilliant multiplayer of GoldenEye and refining it further, Free Radical Design combined this with a unique and exciting time travelling story arc. With the rise of online multiplayer in recent generations, now is the time to bring the fast, funny and highly addictive multiplayer FPS experience that hooked us a decade ago into the current generation.
15 Bad: Devil May Cry 2
Unlike many games on this list, this notoriously bad sequel didn’t serve as the end for its series; rather, it stands as an unfortunate black spot in its chronology. Book-ended between the first game - praised for its innovative hack-n-slash gameplay and gothic atmosphere - and the most recent DMC5 - praised for its thrilling story and also its gameplay - DMC2 was slated by critics due to its dumbed down difficulty, which elicited less strategy from players when combating foes and bosses, and an inexplicable change in protagonist Dante’s cocky, likable personality.
14 Bad: Driv3r
The first two Driver games on the PSone were, in many ways, precursors to what would become the 3D Grand Theft Auto games on PS2: crime games based around driving and rendered in full 3D, they had good campaigns, looked fantastic and were fun to play. Ironically, however, when the series came to PS2, the results were extremely underwhelming. So bad was the general consensus, when certain publications, including PlayStation: The Official Magazine and Official Xbox Magazine, both published by Future Publishing, awarded Driv3r high scores, they were accusations of review fixing!
13 Needed: Grand Theft Auto VI
Ok, so this game has been featured on lists and in gaming news and rumor mills for so long now that you’ve heard about it ad nauseam. However, we would be remiss not to mention it here. GTA V’s launch was a massive moment in gaming history. GTA V, like most games in the series, is a fantastic sandbox game. GTA VI is almost an inevitability, but with the continued financial and critical success of GTA: Online, Rockstar are in no rush to release the next title. Here’s just hoping they don’t forget!
12 Bad: Bomberman: Act Zero
Bomberman, originally released for the NES, is a maze-based adventure game which combines strategy with action as the player must navigated through various stages, avoiding enemies and destroying rocks with bombs to unlock doors to later stages. Simple but effective, Bomberman became one of the most liked and recognizable characters in gaming. Act Zero attempted to make the series darker and more mature, but in the process effectively broke the game, replacing the tried and true gameplay mechanics with newer, broken ones, and the colorful stages with bland, repetitive ones.
11 Bad: Double Dragon II: Wander Of The Dragon
Yet another classic old school game re-imagined on the Xbox 360, like Act Zero, this semi-remake of the beloved 2D fighter Double Dragon II was a flop with fans and critics alike. A similar story here, the developer Gravity Games attempted to modernize a great game, only to fail miserably. With bad, uninspired gameplay, this title not only failed to capture what made the original game so special, but took what wasn’t broke and decided to smash it into smithereens anyway.
10 Needed: Persona 6
Perhaps the best and most prolific JRPG series today, the Persona series has been releasing consistently great role-playing games for over two decades now. The latest entry in the main series, Persona 5, was a universally acclaimed for its evolution of the turn-based gameplay, stylish graphical presentation, and - as all games in the series have - its juxtaposition of fantastical otherworld combat and summoning with its real life/school simulation. There isn’t a fan of the series who wouldn’t want a sequel, and we could almost guarantee that it would be another phenomenal entry.
9 Bad: Shadow The Hedgehog
Yet another series that dominated in the 2D gaming age but failed to make a decent transition into the 3D gaming world, Sonic The Hedgehog was to SEGA what Mario was to Nintendo and was, in the 1990s, the plumbing juggernaut's biggest and most viable rival. When they tried to bring the series into the three-dimensional sphere, moving away from the purity of ring collecting 2D platforming and injecting other features like combat and shooting, it demoted the game to just another generic and mediocre 6th-gen action-adventure platformer.
8 Bad: Zelda 2: The Adventure Of Link
An example now of a beloved 2D series that not only made a smooth transition into 3D, but arguably made its best work there; nevertheless, the first game in one of the most celebrated series’ of all time is still regarded as one of the best Zeldas. So after such a stellar beginning, anything short of greatness would feel sub-par. So while Adventure isn’t the worst game ever made, its complicated structure, punishing difficulty and just general deficiency when compared to the previous game meant it was never going to be viewed favorably.
7 Needed: Super Mario RPG 2
This entry is particularly baffling when you consider Nintendo’s penchant for sequels, especially with regards to their biggest stars. Mario’s name alone has spawned a litany of franchises, from the main games to the kart games, tennis games, Smash Bros games to name but a few. It’s odd then that this title, which saw Nintendo and Square team up to make this Super Nintendo classic - praised for its wonderful graphics, humor and music - hasn’t spawned multiple sequels, never mind one!
6 Bad: Perfect Dark Zero
Perfect Dark was one of the most popular and acclaimed titles on the Nintendo 64. Lauded for its graphics, story and more than stellar FPS gameplay, it was seen as on par with the 64’s other classic shooter GoldenEye, and even viewed by some as superior to that game. So when two console generations later a sequel finally appeared on the Xbox 360, it disappointed many because, much like Zelda 2, it just did not live up to the hype.
5 Bad: Dino Crisis 3
Who doesn’t love the idea of shooting dinosaurs with fully automatic rifles?! That’s what Capcom were betting on when they developed the first Dino Crisis game on the PSone. Their hunch was correct, and thanks to that hunch and some quality game design, the first two Crisis games were hits. But when the third game was released on Xbox, it was just too flawed and buggy to be enjoyable. Among other problems, the terrible and repetitive enemy design and woeful camera were the two biggest reasons from Crisis 3’s failure.
4 Needed: Bully 2
Rockstar are easily the biggest gaming developer in the world. Thanks most notably to the stratospheric success of the GTA franchise and, in more recent years, the Red Dead games, when they release a new game, the anticipation is palpable - and when they don’t, they receive a fan longing unlike anything else in gaming. However, one game that’s fallen under the radar is their underrated 2006 classic Bully. Less violent but just as fun as GTA, this game has amassed a cult following still clamoring fora sequel to the school days sandbox a decade on.
3 Bad: Resident Evil 6
When Resident Evil 5 failed to reach the heights set by Resi4, fans felt a little underwhelmed by an action-horror title that, under the shadow of any other game, would’ve been very well received. Therefore, fans were hoping for another classic in Resi6. They hoped in vain. Abandoning all elements of horror or suspense, Resi6 was a straight-up action shooter with a convoluted story from multiple perspectives. With uninspired gameplay and no atmosphere, the only thing frightening about this game was the damage it did to the series’ reputation (at least until the fantastic Resi7 came out.)
2 Needed: Half-Life 3
Easily the most anticipated sequel in gaming. While the first Half Life game was a great FPS title, its the second entry in the series that has left fans salivating for a possible third. With a lengthy campaign brimming with atmosphere, real-time cutscenes and razor-sharp gunplay with ingenious physics-based gameplay mechanics, Half-Life 2 not only revolutionized the genre, but is a watershed moment in gaming as a whole. Therefore, the release of a third game seems almost as vital as oxygen to fans of the series.
1 Bad: Duke Nukem Forever
A relic from the 1990s, there is perhaps no game series that has aged worse than Duke Nukem. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me a little Duke, his crude, offensive humor and macho posturings are entertaining for those who aren’t too sensitive to be put off by it. That being said, when the ironically named Duke Nukem Forever launched 15 years after the previous entry, the humor, level design and gameplay were beyond dated. I guess not everything lasts forever…