Extra Punctuation: Building Sequels Badly

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Dr Spaceman:

Worr Monger:

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.

I feel like there was an opening at the end of Half-Life for a sequel, one that seems fairly clearly referenced at the beginning of Half-Life 2. (You know, G-Man whisking Gordon away for further adventures at the end of Half-Life). I'd agree it's way more tenuous than the connection in most sequels though.

Perhaps it's my own bias... When I played Half Life 2, I had to remind myself that it was a sequel, cause it just didn't feel like one. To each his own I suppose.

I guess that means I agree with Yahtzee... sequels suck.. Notably Half Life 2.

"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."

Thief 2, System Shock 2, Wing Commander 2 (and then WC3, in relation to WC2), Monkey Island 2 - and those are just the PC games I can name off the top of my head. (It should be noted, btw, that Origin/Looking Glass/Irrational knew how to sequelize.)

This is the first time i can remember disagreeing so strongly with you. Not about the gameplay, your spot on there: the gels were disappointing, and it as a whole didn't feel nearly as tight as before (personally i would have liked to see more done with the light bridges). The story on the other hand i found to be much better. I remember reflecting as the credits rolled on the last time I felt this invested in the characters and story of a video game. The only game that i have ever played that comes close was Sands of Time.

Is portal 1 better? Perhaps, the gameplay was a bit more compelling, but in my opinion the payoff in Portal 2 was much better. Different strokes i suppose...

I can sort of see why Portal 2 was bad as a sequel for Portal as a whole. While the story in Portal 2 was entertaining and informative in its own way, it does end up killing the world in which Portal is set.

Everything becomes set in stone, every shadow illuminated. There is no more room for the possibility of mystery and adventure. The bizzare persona of Cave Johnson remains a dead phantom, the main character becomes a definite anomaly never to be seen again, and the once undefinable character of Glados is now just an out of control machine addicted to testing.

The game mechanic of Portal might show up elsewhere, but the world that engendered it is laid open like an old dusty history book, dead as the words it. Sure, they'll pull another sequel out for the sake of the money mill, but the story will be forced, awkward and out of place. A good example of this would be Dragon Age 2, and that half sequel Awakenings.

i don't care really
i'm not a hardcore fan of anything so i appreciate pretty much all sequels to games i enjoyed
and even more good sequels to games i didn't enjoy(DA2)
i appreciate the portal 2, the final fantasys after 10 and especially all (hopefully numerous) sequels of Assassin's Creed

fans are idiots
hating a sequel just because it didn't match the expectations(which it never does) is as stupid as booing out your favorite sports team because they played a bad game
i wouldn't even consider those people fans
i mean isn't the sole definition of a fan to stand to his fandom against all odds?
how can people be called fans if they start nitpicking everything they don't instantly appreciate?

Finding myself agreeing less and less with Yahtzee these days where as I used to agree with him a lot. Not sure if it's my tastes changing or his changing.

Anyway, I love sequels. and a lot of them are better than the originals. Portal 2 was better than Portal 1.

Half-Life 2 counts (assuming you liked it better than the first, which I didn't).

Some people are saying Half-Life violated the first rule, but there's a difference between an ending which teases more of THIS story, and an ending that allows ANOTHER, subsequent story to follow it. Half-Life falls squarely into the second camp. Indeed, it would be hard for any story not to without killing all the main characters. Which would then violate the second rule, creating a very unfair contradiction that would eliminate most all contenders from answering Yahtzee's challenge. So I have to assume that by "opening for a sequel" he means a game that is deliberately inconclusive in anticipation of a sequel that will continue the present storyline.

Given that SHODAN is really the only main character in the series, I think it's fair to answer: System Shock 2.

Also: Riven.

Also: Yahtzee, I get the impression you don't like sequels that try too hard to be like the original, and then spend most of the article getting bent over all the ways Portal 2 isn't like the first one. Does not compute.

Also: SPAAAAAAAAAACE!!!!!!

Suikoden II.... best sequel.

A reply to your sequel challenge: BALDUR'S GATE 2, with the expansion pack. A grey area, but it fulfills all of your requirements.

rneilson:
"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."

Thief 2, System Shock 2, Wing Commander 2 (and then WC3, in relation to WC2), Monkey Island 2 - and those are just the PC games I can name off the top of my head. (It should be noted, btw, that Origin/Looking Glass/Irrational knew how to sequelize.)

those games were open ended enough to be considered open for sequels, although thief 2 is debatable.

Yahtzee:
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.

Dynasty Warriors 2
Dynasty Warriors 3
Dynasty Warriors 4
Dynasty Warriors 5
Dynasty Warriors 6
Crash Bandicoot 2
Spyro 2
Destroy All Humans! 2
Just Cause 2

Wholeheartedly disagree.

Monkey Island 2 was better than Secret of Monkey Island, and even had an ending that was supposed to prevent any further sequels. I think Baldur's Gate 2 and Diablo 2 were both better than their predecessors.

It makes me sad that Yahtzee's mostly right, though. I love Beyond Good & Evil. I think it's the best game ever. And I just want more of that awesome feeling, so I'm excited as hell about BG&E2, even though I've probably already decided I'm not going to like it as much as the original one. And I know what I really need is a new great game, but you know how your memories screw with you? It feels as though nothing's ever going to be better than that. But it certainly gave me a love for Ubisoft, and indeed I've much enjoyed Ass Creed 1 & 2 and Prince of Persia games since. Ass Creed 2! That's one that's better than the original!

The Animal Farm reference was genius.

As with any creative work, you do what is appropriate in the context of the work itself and for the purpose of achieving the intent of the work. If creating a sequel is appropriate, then that is what should be done. However, if creating a sequel is not appropriate, then doing so anyway will only ruin the work. You have to know when to stop and let things be. Using too much is just as bad as not using enough; both ways ruin the final product

Of course, most sequels really only seem to have the purpose of bilking for more money.

Well...I want to agree with Yahtzee. He usually has interesting points of view. So...I'll just agree partially.

As it has been said before, some sequels work. Mario 1, 2 and 3 are good, each one different from the previous and with both familiar and new elements. Even Mario World was good. I'll admit some other Mario games are not as good but at least those three worked back around the NES/SNES era.
Yes, some sequels are never meant to be, such as Tron Legacy, the sequel to a movie that no one knew of and no one asked for.

I also agree with the fact that fans don't know what they want. They usually ignore innovative and original games and go with the familiar and pretty. Portal is only popular because of internet memes that spread out (I know that's why I actually started playing it). Games like Call of Duty are pretty much the same. Hold on, fanboys! Let me finish. Although they have different plots (Somewhat), it's essentially the same. You grab a gun, you kill half of the world (Conveniently, the bad guys) and you have yourself a CoD game. I know what you're thinking: "Oh, but what did you expect from a FPS game?". Good question; I know CoD is a FPS and that the mechanic will remain the same. But I don't see the point in buying a new CoD next year when it will be more or less the same as the one I have right now. more maps, more features; it's still the same.
But at the same time, if you offer fans something new, they will rant about it forever. Case in point: The new Devil May Cry in development. I'll also admit I'm not crazy about the new Dante.

So no, fans don't know what they want. Developers should just do their thing and try to put little attention to what we say, kinda like when a parent is buying stuff at the market and the kid keeps bugging him about buying something. He keeps it in mind but not really.

"I think it's strange that more people don't see a sequel as an opportunity to extend the concept, to create a completely new story that could have even more of an impact than the last one."

Sorry Yahtzee, I had to laugh because I know how much you hate it.

Final Fantasy.

I'm inclined to agree to disagree on the article regarding sequels.

There are some sequels that are/will be better than their predecessors,one example is Witcher.The guys from CDProjekt have raised the bar by implementing and fixing all of the problems of their first game(loading screens was the worst one in my opinion).They simply picked up the ball,set it higher than before and ran with it.We will see if they can hold their end with Witcher 2,but I have high hopes.

I do agree that some sequels are bad due to the fact that they are either rushed(damn you deadlines!),trying to fix things that aren't broken,making the games easier for casual players(this is a major problem)and so on.

Baldurs Gate 2 Yahtzee, Baldurs Gate 2.

Gotcha!

Yahtzee, while I respec...well, actually, I don't respect you as, well anything, honestly you come off as a huge twat, and ever since I read the morality in games EP I've really only came back time and again to mock you. But this deserves some response, true you probably won't read this, but who fucking cares, welcome to the internet, check your integrity at the door.

Now, I honestly think that you're being a bit of a tard here. The fans know what they want, they want a better version of the first game, better graphics, some touch ups here and there, a better explanation of the universe in which the characters inhabit, improved gameplay ect. The issue comes when devs decide to throw fuck all out the window and make solely to jack off the fanboys, see, I'm a fan of DMC, but I'm not some hyped up, jizzed pants moron who utterly rebukes DMC2, worships DMC3, and thinks that DMC4 sucked for not focusing on Dante. I think the new DMC game could be epic, if done right, if it fails it won't lessen my love for the series, cause I'm in it for the gameplay, and odds are good the next game will work better. Fans, enjoy the game, have a healthy curiosity about the game universe and can roll their eyes and walk away from people who dislike the game. Fanboy, constantly compares EVERYTHING to the game, has practically written the Wikipedia page about the game universe, and absolutely MUST bore his ideals into EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO DARES SAY IT WAS "MEDIOCRE".

Fanboys ruin games, not fans, and it's kinda dumb to tell the guy who paid $60 for a game that he has no valuable opinion, cause if we worked with that idea, then you yourself Yahtzee, have no useful opinion either, meaning this article is stupid and pointless. Either playing the game gives you a right to an opinion, either good or bad, or it means nothing and we should let these companies run right over us, doing as they please and then blaming everyone else when something fails.

Majora's Mask.
*Victory Fanfare*

It's one of the very few direct sequels in Zelda where it actually is the same Link and everything came to a very real close in Ocarina of Time.

I was going to go for Wind Waker because I'm one of the few people that thought it was rad but aforementioned reincarnation hitch technically disqualifies it.

Point taken though I can't really think of any others.

To be fair to Portal 2 I liked it more than 1, which isn't because I didn't absolutely love the first. I haven't even played the co-op yet and I couldn't have asked for more from it.

Also to push my luck I liked Bioshock 2 way more than the first, but that's because I thought the twist in the first was clumsy and cheap. Besides that I didn't have anything against the main antagonist who


Two made some missteps but I found the general narrative had far more of a connection for me.

Regarding Portal 2 retconning plot:
While it's true that Glados wasn't a credible threat in Portal 1, she did become one in the end after you remove the morality core. In P2 she didn't have her morality core at all, making her more sinister and more dangerous.

Also, they did keep that "doesn't know how human emotions work" thing partly. Remember when (SPOILER) you escape the facility, and she opens "the last test chamber" and paints a heart on the wall?

Have a look at this poll thread on Portal/Portal 2

At that point Portal 2 took 84.5% of the vote. Then Yahtzee's review came out, followed by this, and now all of a sudden people are being defensive about preferring Portal 2.

So who are the real sheep? Fans of franchises who enjoy a particular game and would like more of the same, or fans of reviewers who will change what they think about a game based on the opinions of said reviewers?

Fans are alot like Fans. Fans blow wind, Fans also blow wind.

Now while a Fan can be changed into something that doesnt blow wind, its not really a fan anymore.

But for one of those Fans that condition is quite frankly, an improvement.

Lets face it there will always be some "fans" for every game. But the real problem are those who produce so much wind everything good about the games is "blown away".

Case in point is the existance of Memes. which quite frankly are pretty much nothing but people with minimal intelligence repeating something typically random that gives them that Happy feeling but ruins the lifes of others.

So to the people who consider themselves "Fans". Please stop blowing wind or at least Occilate in a diffrent direction.

Now me, I have a very nihilist opinion about life and the real world. Which is why i play video games in the first place.

Paraphrased:
"Fans don't know what a fun game is; don't listen to them, they only think they know what they want."

Holycrap. This is exactly what I've been saying to people. THIS is why FPS's keep trying to make online co-op as balanced as possible, THIS is what causes nearly all the problems with the Xbox and the Playstation (and it's all the internet's fault.)

Nintendo isn't like that, though. They're old fashioned. They consider themselves to be the professionals. They save pandering for a cosmic event. Fan service is a carrot tied to a string held out by a stick that only does any good when it's dangling just barely out of reach of the fans and not in their mouths. As a fan, I am glad I--for one--understand this.

Of course, Nintendo has a lot of other, more interesting problems. And you, Yahtzee, pretty clearly think of the Wii as the weakest console, right? Well just in case you didn't fully realize it (but you probably have), Nintendo isn't out to do what you say you want either. Even though you're much smarter; you know for a fact almost exactly what will please you, but you're too small a minority. When someone plays video games every week as a job for as long as you have, their taste in video games change. Every big gaming-site reviewer has this weird, skewed perception of what makes a video game good or fun--

Pause the post for a minute. Sidebar I want to mention:
Every big gaming-site reviewer has this weird, skewed perception of what makes a video game good or fun, which unfortunately has widely-influenced the gaming habits of the regular players. For example, people complain about the Wii only having four or five good games a year, when the PS3/360 has, like, thirty. But do that many people really buy THAT many games? Or better question: SHOULD they? Is that a smart decision with your money? I only buy a handful of games every year. They're expensive! So why do so many people throw away so much money on generic FPS #2938 that is technically the best in its genre to date because of its *insert game design technical jargon here*, only to forget about it six months later for the next one? Because playing every game that comes out and quickly forgetting them is what game critics do; it's the only way to keep doing their job. What wasn't intended when game-reviewing got started, though, was that gamers would think of game critics as being uber-cool (which unfortunately, in hindsight, makes a lot of sense), and would pretty quickly start emulating their gaming personality. A personality that, as it turns out, sucks to have if you're a normal consumer.

Back to the main topic:
So most reviewers critique games like robots; their ability to have genuine fun fried up under the toil of work a long time ago, so judging games by technical qualities with theoretical numbers is the only way they can express their appreciation of a game, even to themselves.
Yahtzee is a typical game critic, except for his natural talent for being witty and funny, and his super-massive comprehension of raw, theoretical concepts. The latter of these empowers him to hold up against the stress of "games being work" for him as much as possible, but it was still not enough to completely save his poor, little fun receptors.
So he's able to be funny, he's able to make sense, he's able to make excellent arguments for his opinions (read: 95% OF THE REASON HE DOESN'T GET A THOUSAND TIMES MORE HATEMAIL THAN HE DOES), and he's able to gauge his perceived quality of a game without numbers. BUT, because video games are his job, he STILL can't help but have really weird opinions on games sometimes. For example again:

Super Mario Galaxy baked a huge, awesome-tasting pie that an average person could spend all month trying to finish, but only had enough time and space to give you a tiny slice, leaving you happy yet hungrier than you were before. Super Mario Galaxy 2 then came in and gave you another, slightly bigger slice of that pie. Perhaps the pie wasn't still as warm, and the shock of its sweetness doesn't have the kick it had in that first bite, but it's still one of the best pies ever baked.
Yahtzee, however, couldn't see that. Or at least couldn't honestly say that's how he felt. For being a game critic mutated his appetite; he can only consume from the cheese sampling tray; he needs to taste a new flavor, swallow it quickly and move on to the next. He can't--as I've said before--sit down with a whole lump of cheese and just gently, slowly chew it all away; savoring it; truly enjoying it like he once could.

"Once could" is said assumedly; for all I know he's always been like this. In which case he's even more perfect for the role of a game critic than I thought.

Sequels are indeed a damn hard thing to do in a way that isn't terrible, and this is a very good occasion to make an example, so Yahtzee's timing is, as usual, impeccable.

However, I for one thought Portal 2 was great. I agree that some of the "landscape" maps felt a bit too much like a "spot the white surface" mini-game rather than the tight Portal challenges I'd come to expect.

However, I'm... I guess a fan, though I have to admit, the cake jokes and the companion cube wore thin really quickly, Portal itself did not. Portal 2 was precisely what I wanted. I wanted more Portal. I wanted amusing, slightly-to-overtly snarky commentary from a psychopathic AI overlord while I solved streamlined-yet-tricky puzzles, and I got that. I wanted the storyline to lead me somewhere. Was there more overt storyline exposition? Yep, and that may not have been a boon, in and of itself, but it didn't really detract much. There were still nuggets of amusement around to be found if you wanted, or you could just RUN through.

Lost my train of thought a bit there. Getting back to it: I loved Portal, I loved Portal 2, and I find it odd to complain about sequels using as an example one of the best sequels I've ever played. I know it's been done to death, but why not choose a GOOD bad example of sequels? One that really does all the WRONG things, instead of something that got a lot of stuff right?

Well, because Yahtzee makes a point of going against the crowd. Because this is what it takes to be noticed in this day and age. Still, this feels somewhat contrived.

Warachia:
A reply to your sequel challenge: BALDUR'S GATE 2, with the expansion pack. A grey area, but it fulfills all of your requirements.

Probably agreed there. Baldur's Gate didn't exactly leave an "insert sequel here" ending, and neither did Tales of the Sword Coast, and yet Baldur's Gate II used the same main characters (numerous characters from the first game were again able to be party members, and since YOU are the main character... obviously the main character is brought over.)

Some very important things that are worth noting about why BG2 is a good sequel to a game that didn't have an overt sequel setup:

- It takes place in a completely different location. So did the Throne of Bhaal expansion. While BG1 takes place largely along the Sword Coast (as does the expansion), and in and around the eponymous city of Baldur's Gate, BG2 takes everything down far south to the city of Amn and its surrounding areas. It's like a game that's set in New England and its followup being set in the deep, rural South (hurr hurr L4D1 and L4D2, except those games don't really have a plot or anything like that, per se) - there's gonna be a ton of differences, starting with your garden variety NPC. They're gonna talk different, act different, and likely have a very different culture.

- While BG1 didn't setup the series for a sequel, there was certainly plenty of room. The ending of the first game didn't really finalize your character's fate (nor the fate of his or her companions), and neither did the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion. BG2 and its expansion avoided this by completing your character's tale, including party members - absolutely no room for a sequel there. This is where games like BioShock 2 shit the bed - BioShock had a complete, concise ending. Depending on if you ate the little sisters or saved them, your alter ego is given a definite ending - no room for extras. Rapture is basically in ruins (you're left with the impression everyone's fleeing the sinking ship), all the important personalities are either dead or have escaped, and there's really nothing left. Like Yahtzee said in his review of BioShock 2, it was just a money-grab attempt for people who liked the Big Daddies. I loved the Big Daddies, but that wasn't enough incentive to make me pay 2K Games to give me the same game with half the atmosphere.

- I think sandbox games are largely somewhat immune to this rule, simply because sandbox games ideally focus less on individual characters and more on building an entire world for you to play around. I think the Fallout games are the best example of this. Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 (the only GOOD games in the series, unfortunately) are only tangentially related to each other in terms of plot: it's post-nuclear war America from a parallel universe where the atomic age never really ended (and is hence a billion times cooler than the real world), and the character you play in FO2 is the many-times-great grandkid of the character you played in the first game, but that's really it. You see familiar faces and more familiar factions (NCR, Brotherhood of Steel, Super Mutants you somehow managed to not obliterate the first time around), but the core story is different (though the objective is the same: our shit's fucked, so go run around in a godforsaken desert and fix it for us.)

As Yahtzee mentioned, a sequel that directly continues the story from a previous game tends to be pretty lousy. Sandbox games tend to avoid this by simply putting you in the shoes of someone else in someplace else in the same world/universe.

WitherVoice:
Lost my train of thought a bit there. Getting back to it: I loved Portal, I loved Portal 2, and I find it odd to complain about sequels using as an example one of the best sequels I've ever played. I know it's been done to death, but why not choose a GOOD bad example of sequels? One that really does all the WRONG things, instead of something that got a lot of stuff right?

Well, because Yahtzee makes a point of going against the crowd. Because this is what it takes to be noticed in this day and age. Still, this feels somewhat contrived.

Yahtzee already did that with the BioShock 2 review. I'm assuming there are other ones in there (I think he panned the most recent God of War game for basically the same reasons), but BioShock 2 comes immediately to mind.

Hypertion:
Case in point is the existance of Memes. which quite frankly are pretty much nothing but people with minimal intelligence repeating something typically random that gives them that Happy feeling but ruins the lifes of others.

Nope, memes are transcendent ideas. What you refer to as memes are not memes anymore, as they've stagnated and stopped growing. A meme is a living thing. A true meme is something that mixes with other ideas, changing and growing and that way stays relevant, to a smaller or lesser degree.

So a game that wasn't supposed to have a sequel, used the same characters, and was better...

Megaman 2, Tony Hawk 2, Guitar Hero 2, every Soul Calibur (besides 4 maybe since the story was shit but it was still an improvement), probably every other fighter in existence after the first. Dark Cloud 2 misses the mark for having completely new characters (but still better in every way and not obviously a sequel) as does Baldur's Gate 2 (obviously happening, but same characters and better in every way), but they're close.

yes...

1million people repeating the line, "the Cake is a lie" is always relevant.

Also "Assuming Direct Control" "Impressive!" and the other ones i really dont want to hear about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_meme

This is what i am talking about. And it is much more harmful than contsructive.

ItsAPaul:
So a game that wasn't supposed to have a sequel, used the same characters, and was better...

Megaman 2, Tony Hawk 2, Guitar Hero 2, every Soul Calibur (besides 4 maybe since the story was shit but it was still an improvement), probably every other fighter in existence after the first. Dark Cloud 2 misses the mark for having completely new characters (but still better in every way and not obviously a sequel) as does Baldur's Gate 2 (obviously happening, but same characters and better in every way), but they're close.

Soul Calibur, Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero, and the Mega Man games don't really count because they basically don't have a plot. Any plot that's present is purely there to provide unnecessary justification for the gameplay.

Skimming through all these comments the ones that make me laugh the are the ones who hate on the fans. Look Yahtzee is right about fans, and should mostly be ignored. i mean hell example A: Seinfeld made a series finale that they wanted to do, and when everyone saw it all the fanboys were upset. but the other thing is that Yahtzee knows full well but didnt mention it otherwise it would contradict the point he was making is that a bunch of Valve's games come from Mods from the gaming community, and the people who would so that kind of thing would be considered Fans. but i digress any point of developing a game thats influenced by fans will be shit. i mean after 12 years Duke Nukem Forever will finally be released and it is a sequel but since no one who didnt played the original will not know what to expect, and it has been a while since it came out and the whole development practically blew up and was announced dead in 2009 before Gearbox bought it. and the point that makes is that fans have no idea what they want from the new duke nukem game because they never had the original to fall back on. its exactly the point yahtzee makes in the article.

oh and point on the Day 1 DLC: I hate to say... correction i love to say i told you so, looks like Valve was going to keep supporting Portal 2 post-release after all. those Metacritic users are complete idiots.

Don't just trust the creator either, look at Metroid Other M. That shit was Sakamoto's idea. Or the DS Zelda games.

I'd say Sam & Max Season 2.

Zelda: Majora's Mask (although it's a completely different story with the only constant a silent protagonist without a personality)
Assassin's Creed 2
Metal Gear (solid) series
Half-Life 2

Definitely the rare exceptions though.

The BIG problem: sequels just sell so much more.

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