Video game sequels are a dime a dozen. If a game finds success, it’s almost guaranteed that it will become a franchise. Heck, even if it does just okay, there’s a good chance a sequel or two will be forthcoming. As in the film industry, “sure things” tend to stick around, and while it’s a little tiresome for those looking for variety, there’s no denying that there's sense behind the strategy.
Take a look at the perennial bestsellers: Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed clean up with every release. Games like Uncharted or Halo are guaranteed successes. In the case of the latter, even a re-release of the four core-story games was a top seller - the pack includes a game that was released two years ago and a re-release that was last released three years ago. But fans will only see a name they love, and so cash cow keeps on giving.
Believe it or not, there are some beloved franchises that in fact never got around to receiving a sequel. Some never quite made the money, others are relatively new and still might surprise us, but all of them have fans thirsty for another shot at the world they loved to play in.
These are a few of the best and biggest games without sequels.
15 The Last of Us
It’s a recent release, which could be the chief reason that no sequel has yet appeared, but there’s been no definite talk of a sequel yet, which has some anxious fans on their toes.
The Last of Us takes place in a world where fungal spores have turned humanity into zombie-like creatures. It’s a game that was lauded for its storytelling, atmosphere, and gameplay – pretty much making it the full package.
Rumour has it a sequel is indeed in the works, and might even be out as soon as 2016.
Where other games on this list may indeed see sequels, or at least have fans clamouring for them, Minecraft is the rare exception: it doesn't look as though a sequel will be in the works any time soon, and it’s unlikely fans of the game will ever want one.
That’s down to the nature of Minecraft. Few people are playing the game for stellar graphics, and the ones that are have found free high-definition texture packs to get them their fix. Patches and mods keep gameplay innovative and exciting, so there isn't much room for a sequel. It could be problematic, too, as it might also lock players out of the projects they've spent years working on. Where’s the fun in that?
Published by the makers of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series, Dishonored is a twisted first-person stealth-action game from 2012. Players get to play with dark magic, crossbows, guns, and swords in their attempts to sneak to various targets and eliminate threats to the empire.
It’s a game that rewards patience and caution, and was well-received by both players and critics when it was released. There have been rumours floating around about a sequel, alleged to surface by 2015, but with nothing concrete it looks like fans will have to wait a while to return to the steampunk world they love.
12 Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge
One of the most unique games of two console generations ago, Crimson Skies sat players in the seat of a variety of fighter planes, having them take to the skies to steal cargo and take down enemy fighters and zeppelins.
The trouble with a sequel for this game is that the original didn't sell particularly well. Still, it retains a vocal cult fanbase that loved the game for its gameplay, graphics, and online functionality. A return to an alternate 1930s world where planes are the vehicles of choice would be a welcome departure from typical gaming fare.
11 Jade Empire
Bioware brought us Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises, two hugely popular series that retain vocal support even for their least-beloved entries. They've also returned to the KOTOR well, releasing the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO back in 2011.
So why no follow-up for Bioware’s Jade Empire?
In Jade Empire, players take control of a master of martial arts, picking up a variety of different styles – and more than a few magical powers – to battle their way through kung-fu movie madness. Think gangs, chi, and drunken fighting.
As with most of the games on this list, there have been rumours of a sequel, but nothing is confirmed.
10 Star Wars: Republic Commando
Overshadowed by the Star Wars: Battlefront series, Republic Commando placed players into combat as part of an elite team of clone commandos thrown into special ops during the Clone Wars.
The new approach to the Star Wars formula is what set this game apart. Battlefront had you playing as a grunt soldier, and most other Star Wars games throw you directly into the Jedi/Sith conflict. Adding a tactical approach was unique at the time, and remains an untapped source of potential for those looking to renew Star Wars as a gaming property. Disney and EA could do worse than make another Republic Commando.
9 Star Wars: X-Wing/Tie Fighter
Two more fantastic, different Star Wars games, X-Wing and Tie Fighter are flight simulators that put players in the cockpit of the various ships available to the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. Grabbing a joystick and playing through a first person dogfight in space is exhilarating, and though Tie Fighter was a sequel to X-Wing, it was released all the way back in 1994. That’s 20 years.
Sure, both games have been re-released a few times since, but imagine how great a true sequel could be, one that brought players screaming through the void of space in a glorious HD Tie fighter. It would be fantastic.
8 The Legend of Dragoon
Praised for its complexity and criticized for its difficulty, The Legend of Dragoon is a JRPG from 1999 that throws lengthy, complicated combos at its players and threatens them with doom if they're unable to master them. Pull off the “Gust of Wind Dance,” and feel that burst of pride when your enemies are swept away. Fail and, well, try again later.
The game was re-released recently, and it has a vocal following, but it’s a question of whether the Legend of Dragoon brand is strong enough to sell all these years later.
7 Diddy Kong Racing
Forever in the shadow of Mario Kart, Diddy Kong Racing was nonetheless a fun game with a bonkers cast of characters and some pretty nifty battle maps. Really, there’s a lot to love in this game, and while the racing just can’t compete with Mario and his pals, it’s easy to see why the game has maintained a devoted fanbase even to this day.
This game had multiple sequels in development at one time, but license changes and studio sales wound up killing it dead. It’s unlikely a sequel will ever happen now, but surely Nintendo can find room for Diddy in Mario Kart. Right?
Bully is a bit like The Outsiders by way of the makers of Grand Theft Auto, and it’s a game that was equal parts acclaimed and criticized. Players take control of the new kid at school, a guy who sets out to break the hold of the gangs and establish himself as a top dog in the cutthroat town in which he lives.
Rare for an AAA game of its sort, Bully allowed players to kiss both boys and girls, with the main character being a boy himself. It was violent enough to find itself banned in some locations, though ultimately it received a rating of ‘T’ for Teen.
As recently as 2013, talks of a sequel were floated by the studio.
Psychonauts has a rabid fanbase, but a small one, so a sequel is something of a tall order.
The game is a platformer that puts players in the role of a young psychic at psychic summer camp. He discovers something is amiss, and is the only one who can save the day.
Notch, creator of Minecraft and now billionaire, had at one time offered to bankroll a sequel, but talks ended and nothing has come of the offer. For what it’s worth, the creators have since made a bunch of money selling Psychonauts for PC. Perhaps not all hope is lost.
4 Pokemon Snap
Let’s not mince words. Pokemon Snap is a brilliant game. Putting you in the role of Pokemon photographer Todd, it sends you out to snap the best Pokemon pictures you can manage. Get more points for rare Pokemon, for catching them in the act of something abnormal, or for just getting a really stellar snap.
This is also a rare game that criticizes the glorified cockfighting that is regular Pokemon games, which makes it a clever, valuable addition to the series stable.
No sequel has been announced, or really ever even talked about, but fans are holding out hope that someday they might return to that island and grab up that camera one more time.
3 Space Station Silicon Valley
You’re a microchip that has legs, can jump into robo-animals’ corpses and control them, and are out to solve puzzles that will allow you to escape the space station and get back to life as a robot.
“Unique” is probably the word to use when describing this game, and while it was plagued with bugs that made the game difficult to complete in some instances, it did well critically. That said, given the amount of time that has elapsed since its release, it seems unlikely that a sequel would be forthcoming. Still, fans can dream.
2 Ico/Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is a spiritual sequel to Ico, but it’s not a 'sequel' sequel, so it doesn’t really count. Both games offer an incredible atmosphere, stunning graphics, and gripping stories that explore relationships and isolation in very interesting ways.
Another game in the same vein as those two, The Last Guardian, has been in the works for years, and is expected to release sometime in the next few years, though no specifics have been offered for quite some time. It promises a different, challenging take on the puzzle platformer, and has fans salivating with every bit of info released.
1 Heavy Rain
There will likely never be a sequel to this game, mostly because the creator doesn’t seem particularly interested in making one. It’s the kind of game that, even if there was a sequel, likely wouldn't feel the same without the creator’s input. Bit of a problem for a studio that, presumably, likes money.
Players are thrust into a noir thriller, on the hunt for the criminal known as the “Origami Killer.” The game is notable in that many decisions made have permanent effects on the way the plot unfolds, and on the ending.
Praised for its story, the game is set to be adapted to film.