Extra Punctuation: Building Sequels Badly

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Read some of the comments, and the point has been proven ;) Second page has a bite, and third had a description of outcome of it XD

See, thats something that confused me about Portal 2. In the song at the end of Portal 1, GLaDOS is singing about how alive she is, and how she gets to live indefinitely, doing science forever. Then in Portal 2, its revealed that she has been dormant for 999999, and she hates you for killing her. And what the hell happened to "I'm not even angry?" Her motivations in the second game made no sense based off the ending of the first.

I disagree with this article largely because mechanics and gameplay can do a lot to save a game sequel even if the sequel doesn't add much to the story. There's series like Mario where the stories are total repetitive nonsense, but the games continue to be good thanks to Nintendo constantly adding and refining mechanics. Pokemon is another good example, where the story changes minimally between sequels, but virtually everything else is improved. Sometimes even a graphical update is enough to justify a sequel. There are franchises to which story is very vital and needs to be a strong consideration when making a sequel, but there's also plenty where I'm find with a bit of nonsense in the story department for the sake of improvements the rest of the game's design. There's more than one valid reason to make a sequel, and some franchises just aren't as story dependent as others.

That said, story is very important to Portal, but I have yet to feel like Portal 2's story or GLaDOS's inclusion in it have been forced. The game is solid when it comes to mechanics and pacing. The new "toys" in Portal 2, such as the various goos, excursion tunnels, and hard light bridges, expand well on the mechanics of the first game and add loads of fun. I haven't gotten bored with testing at all. The game is plenty broken up by the different sections of the facility, "off rail" segments, and by the additions of Cave Johnson, Wheatley, and the changes in GlaDOS. The atmosphere changes a lot as you move forward. All in all, I felt Portal 2 succeeded as a sequel by subtly expanding on the history of Aperture Science through more excellent character dialogue, with lots of humor and mind bending puzzles to keep the player engaged.

Portal 2 has amazed and entertained me immensely. I know fan pressure can negatively influence franchises, but I see no evidence of this in Portal 2.




Elder Scrolls (Oblivion was FAR better than any previous game, which looks to be surpassed again by Skyrim)

While I do think Skyrim will be amazing Oblivion was only better compared to Arena.
I thought (personally of course) that Morrowind was MILES better and deeper than Oblivion which was so mass-market and watered down... and that one is not even my favourite!
My favourite is still Daggerfall, although it has been a while since I have played it, it has the biggest world to play in and seems the most "free". It was like an FPS single player Ultima Online.

You know, I could never get into the 1st two Elder scrolls games.. believe me I tried.. there seemed to be a massive barrier to entry for me which they ironed out (in my opinion) in Oblivion. Oblivion just played well, so well I sank over 100 hours into it. It was massive too. Could be it was watered down for less hardcore players? I don't know, but it was immersive, which is what a RPG should be and accessible enough to get me into it.. so in this case, it was a sequel to a game which took it's origins, listened to feedback and emerged with an awesome product which suited a broader RPG audience. Maybe it's an approachability thing, I never got into Baldurs Gate but loved Neverwinter Nights. That said, I never did try Morrowind - I guess Arena and Daggerfall put me off - I might give it a try if I can get hold of it.
I'm REALLY Looking forward to Skyrim. If it can be Oblivion and then some, I'll be happy.. wife won't be though.

I think we are both looking forward to Skyrim with the same optimism.
Which is the important thing, so what if one game gave us more fun as a time sink we are both Elder Scroll fans.

I think Oblivion, with its fast travel and waypoints and all that is "streamlining" and "watering down"... but that is not totally a bad thing.
I liked how hardcore the other ones were but that was when I had no career and no friends and could fully commit to that RPG experience, now I probably do want things to just fulfill me with huge story and pacing and not really need to "live" in the world as much though I am sure I could. That is why I think we are both equally excited about this new one.

I just hope there are no annoying stryders or whatever they were called that get in the way of resting in the wild.

Yahtzee was right, most of these comments are really really dumb.

I just thought of another three games that fulfill Yahtzee's criteria; the three Hitman sequels.

All three feature the same main character.
None of the games leave any doors open for potential sequels.
Each game is generally received better than the one previously, although Contracts may not have been story-wise (Personally, I don't agree there).

I thought Portal 2 was massively superior to Portal 1. Why is that? This is at least was a full fledged game with hours worth of improved gameplay. A much more intertwined and pleasing story, and a better fleshing out of the characters with its story arc.

The first game was nice little treat, a hersey's kiss had for the first time if you've never had one. This was a three scoops double chocolate sundae, with fudgy chunks, and hot fudge syrup on top. Maybe a little too much for your tastes, but I have a much greater appetite.

There! Your harping has just been refuted as you said it is my right to do so. Enjoy!


Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first. Let me help you out: there aren't any.

Personally, I think it's safe to assume Yahtzee himself would say Half Life 2 is better than the first...

I would completely disagree, but that's just me. I'm just hear to point out the contradiction.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis).
A great sequel, with the same main character.
Metroid, Metroid II, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, etc.

Anyone else pick up on the Animal Farm reference?

It might be because I'm a generic middle class office worker but I liked Portal 2 better.

Fans are clingy, complaining dipshits who will never ever be grateful for any concession you make. The moment you shut out their shrill, tremulous voices, the happier you'll be.

Incidentally, why not buy a Zero Punctuation T-shirt?

Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first. Let me help you out: there aren't any.

Hmmm... lets see... I must admit I have trouble thinking of a sequel that meets his criteria... Riven maybe? Myst may not have slammed the door on sequels, but since it ended without any direct "hooks" (aside from where Sirius and Achenar went after their books were destroyed) maybe it would qualify.

I would say x-men legends 2, but the very nature of comic book games tend to lend themselves to sequels.

Scanning these pages, I see a few people have already brought up System Shock 2, but it seems mostly to compare it to Bioshock. I'd like to throw in the suggestion that it also qualifies as an answer to Yahtzee's challenge to, as he said it: "Name one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first."

System Shock did not end with a cliff-hanger. SHODAN, as I remember it, had to basically be retconned back to life with little hint that it was going to happen to be found in the original game. While the protagonist of the second game was different, the character with far and away the most presence, SHODAN herself, is the same, as is the timeline and the general premise. System Shock 2, I think most would agree, also had the better story.

Uuuh... well this seems rather awkward. seeing that he claims that I'll criticize his stuff because I'm a fan.

does that make him hypocritical, right, arrogant, foolish, or "all of the above"?


No wait, he's Yahtzee. He's his own catagory.

I think its unfair to blame bad squeals entirely on fans. Fans want more of what made the first game so successful. Publishers also want more of the same things that made the first game so successful. Now try to innovate when both groups of people you are trying to please just want more of the same.

Ignoring the fans will not stop the never ending tide of squeals. If developers really want to move the series forward they need to stop listening to cash hungry publishers. Unfortunately we don't live in an ideal world and this is never going to happen as you don't bite the hand that feeds you. (eg infinity ward)

dont really care if it has already been said. Sequels arent as good as the original because the developers are forced to make sure the game actually gets bought. Easiest way to cater to the fans is then by continuing on the same story elements as before. Then they can make the games more accessible for a bigger audience by making key gameplay elements simpler to understand.

Thats my feeling when it comes to Portal 2 and ofcourse Mass Effect 2. Both games that i love, but far from as much as the originals. So my feeling is that you cant get away from sequels turning up less fantastic than the original is basically cause of money.

About naming games that are better than the original storywise etc: Max Payne 2. I really felt this was way darker than the original and also Max Payne himself actuelly looked more like who i felt i was controlling. But im not going to say they did anything daring with the actual game mechanics.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Hell, you've even said as much, which I find amusing. But, as to your point about not supplying sequels to games that don't require one, whilst being a mouthy supporter of not putting in a cliffhanger ending seems like you're not much for the continuation of an IP. But, regardless of that, Portal 2 was exactly what was expected--a Portal story, telling us more about Aperture, letting us play with some new toys, and getting another fun song. Then they had the co-op section, which was the real challenge, since most of us knew how to solve puzzles using only two portals, and this now integrate four portals and required competitive and cooperative thought to figure out the puzzles.

Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first.

Twisted Metal 2. BAMP! You lose.

Personally, i think the "new" GladOS is just the logical conseguence of the first game.

All through Portal 1 you had this feeling something was off. True, GladOS wasn't really that good at scare tactics but the intention was there nonetheless. Then you get to the point where she actually tries to kill you, and shit gets real.

After that point it only makes sense for GladOS to drop the pretense. You know as well as she does that she is dangerous and she's out to get you, putting up a façade is redundant at that point. The whole part about her control over the facility doesn't make sense, i agree, especially considering it was never hinted at in the previous title, but then again if you're going to have an antagonist you need it to have means to endanger you, besides giving them a motive to actually do it.


That's why I also liked Wheatley's turn as villain. Because he feels more like the original GladOS at the beginning, only inept, and then he starts going mental, scaring you not by consciously trying to kill you but by being a massive incompetent with a lot of pent up rage.

IMO, portal 2 works very well. The puzzles are there they're varied and a substantial amount, plus there's DLC on the horizon that will also be free for the PC users, and even thoguht the plot can occasioanlly force the puzzles to take a back seat, it only really happens once and it just marks the transition from one set of puzzle mechanics to the next.

The plot is still just a framework for the puzzles, though it is bigger and more elaborate than before.

Dammit Yahtzee! Why are you trying to make me feel dumb for enjoying this game so much?

Yeah go on Yathzee, ruin the co-op story before I've even gotten a chance to play it, you asshole. Grrrr.

Agree with the central point though.

It's okay though, he didn't actually spoil anything. You can still save science worry free.

Sequel which is superior to the original in every way? Baldur's Gate 2. QED

I think next Yahtzee should do an article on why he likes remakes.
ALSO; I do like an expanded universe, but I'm not big on expanded characters. Especially with videogames; there's no sense in trying to shove backstory into a silent protagonist.

"Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first."

Chrono Cross?

That and maybe Advance Wars: Dual Strike.

why you be hatin' on my portal 2 bro.

that game was da bomb.

I don't have a ton to say here beyond what Yahtzee said, except that I personally got really giddy when the original Portal made references to the Half-Life continuity.


That and maybe Advance Wars: Dual Strike.

Yes, Advance Wars: Dual strike was superior, but was that really for the story?

Halo: Combat Evolved wasn't very much left open for a sequel. It wasn't like shut off, but there was no cliff hanger. However, Halo 2 had a much better narrative than it did. Halo 3 wasn't as good as Halo 2 in narrative, but is still was much better than Combat Evolved.

That's the only example I can think of though.

once again, i both love you and hate you at the same time.

also, you seem to think your opinion is always correct. not everyone hates the games you hate, and not everyone loves the games you love. despite the general response you get from these forums.

The ugly truth is that in the original ending, Chell successfully escaped while Glados came back online. Nothing else could be inferred. And Portal 2 retcons both clumsily.

Now, don't think I'm so enemy of retcons: it's the "clumsy" part that's important. Portal 2 writers could have worked a bit more on the crucial connection between the two games, and less on Wheatley's verbal diarrhea.

Yahtzee is genius, and anyone who knows how to read between the lines can see it.

XI doesn't either, but for different reasons. It's pretty good I guess, so I'll let it slide.

We're talking about games, not unpaid second jobs with all the gameplay of utensil sorting while held at gunpoint by conservative game designers with no idea what they're doing.

Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first. Let me help you out: there aren't any.

Any Grand Theft Auto after GTA3.

Interesting point. I guess if you set squeals in the same universe as the original with different characters, it inherently has to be more original and capable of standing on it's own. Unless it's a poorly written one.

See thats really exactly what a sequel should be. You keep the style, mythology and the art direction and you throw out anything else that wasn't a necessity. You don't have to move far, but you need to move. Can go future, or past, or geographically. You make new characters and a new story thats unique to them.

Of recent sequels, I think Fallout did this most memortably. I won't say that either fallout 3 or new vegas were like world shatteringly orgasmic, but they were both good strong games that stood up by themselves. There's crossover of course, but particularly the way that new vegas just gave you a new guns to play with and new places to go while staying familiar. A well done sequel.

Also, the STALKER series does this VERY well. They all feel the same, but they are each their own game with their own stuff going on. Could maybe do with some new guns and more fleshed out characters to really push that further, but still. Excellent series that always makes you feel part of the world but not treading on the previous games toes.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: Building Sequels Badly

Yahtzee takes another look at the ongoing problem of videogame sequels.

Read Full Article

So, I agree with your thesis... but almost none of your supporting evidence. That is assuming that 'listening to your fans' can be a downfall. I don't even think your prime example can really be well maintained as such. Does Portal 2 really seem like it is based on fan responses?

Ultimately though, you have a clear paradox here. Your criticism of any particulars in Portal 2 would fall under 'responses by a fan', so you can't really cite examples of things done wrong in the game without immediately invalidating them.

We can use counter examples though. Things added to the game that had no basis in the previous title, and therefore couldn't be expressly requested. Like the inclusion of the Cave Johnson set of test chambers. They would seem to indicate a desire on the part of the creator to do something based on their own creative impetus outside the bounds of the fan demands.

Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first. Let me help you out: there aren't any.

I find it interesting how many people have responded to this quote, and then give bad examples! Look at the various points:

1) Wasn't left open for a sequel.
2) The same main characters
3) Story is regarded as better

Most people seem to have forgot that middle one in there. I'm not saying there are NOT good responses to his challenge, but I've seen, for example, Chrono Cross. That game has basically none of the same characters. Others list off games that had basically no story... but those are clearly 'left open for a sequel'. That doesn't mean the same thing as 'do not have a cliff hanger.'

Just thought I'd point this out.

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