7 Great Video Games That Never Needed Sequels
Sequels are often great, or even better than the original. Sometimes they’re even radical departures, but the point is tons of games get sequels. So it’s a special situation when a game is great and doesn’t get a sequel. So, after having a more difficult time than you’d think coming up with these, here are some great games that didn’t need sequels…
Now, Vagrant Story is right on the line of being a spin-off, since it is set in Ivalice, the same world (kind of?! It’s kind of confusing) as Final Fantasy Tactics/XII. But other than the world, and the high melodrama fantasy plot, the games have no relation, so it gets on this list. It’s also one of the great sort-of forgotten classics of the PS1 era (it got rereleased on the "Greatest Hits" label, but I genuinely don’t know too many people who played — or really even heard — of this game). Maybe it’s because the learning curve is ridiculously high, and even after you’ve figured out both the combo-based combat and how to level the different types of equipment, the game is still just really, really hard.
But it’s also very rewarding, and the story is great (the translation is less awkward than Final Fantasy Tactics), but the story also wraps up. It’s over. Done. It ends on an unsolved murder, but it doesn’t actually question who did the murder; we see it. So it could have had a sequel in the way that all stories are open to a sequel, but it absolutely stands on its own, and I imagine is stronger for it.
Have attempts at making a sequel to the Gamecube classic Eternal Darkness been made? Yes. But the Kickstarter failed, and people kind of hate the game’s creator, so we haven’t gotten one yet, which means this game stays. It probably never got a sequel because its sales never justified it, but the acclaim was high with this one, and it is kind of sad that its more unique approaches to survival horror (it seems fair to have a character be driven insane in these kinds of games???) weren’t adopted more heavily in the survival-horror genre.
A lot of adventure/puzzle games didn’t get sequels (I’m certainly not looking at you, King’s Quest Volumes 1 through 604), but Grim Fandango stands out as one of the best and one of the most technologically advanced. Of course, the game bombed extremely hard in terms of sales, so there was no way it would get a sequel. It’s kind of a relief; the adventures of an undead travel agent would be less special if it had sequel after sequel.
By the time the N64 rolled around, developers weren’t so hot on cartridges, which meant a lot of the games for the system were developed by Nintendo’s in-house developers. And of those developers, Rare is certainly the most iconic. Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and Banjo-Kazooie all ruled extremely hard. But there were some gems from Rare them that didn’t achieve that same kind of massive cultural saturation. That brings us to Blast Corps. Its incredibly simple premise (you use a variety of machinery to destroy buildings in the path of a runaway nuclear bomb so it doesn’t explode) was taken to its very extreme (you get to use a giant mech in some missions, not just like dump trucks and other standard issue heavy machinery). And so the developer decided it was taken to its end point, and there wasn’t anymore he could do with the game. Honestly? God bless that developer. It’s nice when quality of art takes priority over commerce (though the game didn’t slightly underperform).
Beetle Adventure Racing
In all of my "research" for this article (like 40 minutes of Googling), Beetle Adventure Racing was the one game I had never heard of. It’s like, "Beetle Adventure Racing? What kind of a cheapo branded game is that?" But apparently it’s really good?! It was a power-up racer, not just a standard "go around the tracks" sort of deal, and it has like a 90 percent on Metacritic. And honestly, thinking about it, racing around in VW Beetles does sound like fun (both in a video game and real life). So hey, I believe it. And there was no sequel! Did it sell badly? I don’t know, but I kind of can’t stop thinking about playing it now.
Ico/ Shadow of the Colossus/ Last Guardian
Team Ico makes singular, unique games, and they’re always such a joy (even though I don’t really like them, it’s hard not to fall in love with the fact that they exist). I imagine at some point one of their games will get a sequel, and it will be great and totally justified, and then they’ll pull a Pixar and start making lots of sequels and just totally slide downhill. Until then, they rule the world of big budget art games.
I’m not insane for remembering the SNES’ Uniracers as being really good, right? It didn’t get very good reviews, but it was incredibly fun and had great unicycle physics? I remember it having a big marketing push, and I was a kid when it came out, so my brain was incredibly easily to warp via advertising, so who knows. Anyway, it didn’t get a sequel so it goes on this list, dammit!
This was a lot harder than I expected. Everything has a sequel.