Extra Punctuation: Building Sequels Badly

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UltraHammer:
Nintendo isn't like that, though. They're old fashioned. They consider themselves to be the professionals. They save pandering for a cosmic event...

Right, right. Nintendo are too good to make direct sequels like Super Mario Galaxy 2. Don't expect to see Nintendo re-releasing old titles like Super Mario World just to squeeze a few extra gold coins out of their fans.

[disclaimer: Aforementioned Nintendo Fan]

the rule of not recycling protagonists is a part of why GTAs are awesome. I really think Portal 2 SP was way more boring and lined than it should have been. production values. fanboy service. production values. blablablabla. fuck off Valve. I still want a way to play coop with steamless cracked version.

zjspeed:
Early in development Valve considered that Portal 2 would have exclusively gel-based puzzles and not even use the portal gun mechanic. This was the spiritual successor path. I guess the idea didn't test well. ("Baa baa four legs good two legs bad, etc.") So, they made a direct sequel instead.

So you're saying it's ok to release a game called Portal 2 that doesn't actually have portals in it? When I go to buy two bottles of Coke, I don't expect one to be full of vinegar and the other gasoline because the Coca-Cola company decided they knew better than me what I wanted from my Coke bottle and gave the job of filling it to someone who hated Coke.

I bought Starfox 64 because I wanted the developers to take the things I liked about Starfox (well-designed, graphically accomplished rail shooting levels) and build them up, not because I wanted to play another game with a totally different storyline made by people with no affection towards the first. Yahtzee's thinking here would make Adventures and Assault better sequels because they didn't give me what I wanted and re-imagined everything simply for the sake of doing so.

Indeed, his idolising of Portal means that according to his own argument he's the very worst person to say what a sequel to it does or doesn't need.

Oh, and got to love more woman-hating thrown in there, too.

portal 2 was lacking; lacking serious puzzles.

damn it all the game has left me wanting.

just as a note, i never wanted more plot, just more puzzles and challenges. on that end valve didn't listen :P

I agree with you. Fans are far too attached to something to know what's good for it.

Their opinion of it and especially of their proposed changes is too afflicted by bias to be any good at all.

I think Valve wanted to make Portal 2 not just to appease fans but to take back what they would have considered a missed opportunity. Portal was a hobby game, a way to present a neat idea and it was very good but it wasn't very refined. Now this was part of its charm no question but the concept was too good to leave the whole thing as a side-show.

Consider GLaDOS. In Portal she is, for the most part, hindered by that morality core. Once it's removed her voice becomes silky and malicious and she starts being her real mocking self. Aside from the last less-than five minutes the character remains pretty much unexplored, not to mention her only animation is flopping back and forth like a stranded fish.

Valve are obviously perfectionists, they would look at Portal, see all the great ideas it had and wonder why the Hell they didn't explore things further. That's why, I think, Portal 2 single player was so focused on environments and characters and not so focused on puzzles because Valve wanted it to fill all the gaps Portal didn't. Meanwhile this left the co-op mode free to indulge once more in the puzzles and all the new elements that were introduced which is why it is often praised more than single player.

And, it should be remembered, Portal 2 finished. It finished pretty damn well in my opinion, satisfactorally and with no perceivable option to milk another sequel. Valve got what they wanted to do out of the way, they wanted to further explore it and they did, they're happy, it's over, they're done. Portal is not an example of a franchise that got done one times too many, it's just a franchise that wanted to define itself a bit more.

I think a lot of the people that still believe Portal 1 was better than Portal 2 are victims of nostalgia. I made a point to replay Portal 1 right before playing Portal 2 co-op and the campaign. Portal 1 was not very good; certainly nowhere near as good as I remember. Portal 2 ended up being better in every single way.

If I were forced to pick a problem with Portal 2 it would simply be that the concept wasn't new anymore, but I measure games by how entertaining I find them, and Portal 2 was way more entertaining.

Interesting points - but, I think, you can apply it in many other places other than games. Films, TV, literature etc can suffer just the same. The original spirit is gone... unless you're incredibly skilful, and moreover put the sequel out quite quickly, you're probably going to fail.

Series that are actually planned as series? That works fine. But arguably the second one in that chain isn't a sequel as such. It's just "part 2".

Having just put some recommendations of their stuff in another thread, I think this may be why Studio Ghibli films work well. It's a bit of the Silent Hill effect, even. You can recognise similar traits and styles in the characters that are presented (given that the lead artist seems to know how to draw about eight or nine different faces and bodies very well, and doesn't bother doing anything except mix and match them), and in the theme (strong feminist, pro-ecology and flight elements abound), but they are always actually all-new characters in an all-new setting with a whole new story. They have no real, typical sequels in their catalogue - no dreadful Disney-style "Pom Poko 2" or whatever - and each story is presented as a self contained whole. The closest they ever got was The Cat Returns ... that took a statuette that featured in the creative daydreams of a character from a film 10 years previous, made the daydream character of that statue real, and brought it into this world. With basically every other thing having been changed, including the location and all of the humans.

They continue on almost perpetually strapped for cash, and always leaving the punter guessing and hungry for more, but very well regarded amongst their peers and their audience. If that isn't a pointer to the true nature of the sequel and of the remake (lazy cash-ins!), what is?

...that said, I did end up seeing The Fast and The Furious 5 recently because of a ticketing mix up. The way the story seems to have flip flopped, been retconned, "finished", then picked apart and continued along the way since the last one I saw (think I dozed through about half of F+TF2?) seems flat out amazing. It was a perfectly enjoyable film, but you had to totally ignore the plot and just treat it as audiovisual candy... hehehe that was a funny joke/bit of slapstick, wowww that was an amazing stunt, etc. Sort of like a casual game, or something like Trackmania. They have now put a lid on it by having everyone retire in paradise off of their arguably ill-gotten gains, but would you bet against some plane full of true villains crash-landing on their island for F+TF6?

The one thing that subverts all this is Doctor Who, which has a false end to everything ever / the main character being killed off about twice a series (and, in fact, this series pretty much opened with the latter in the most final of ways)... but its become such a cliche of the programme that it's pretty much expected now.
Perhaps Moffat should confound the audience - and risk having them hate him forever, with a gamble that by giving them something they didn't even know they wanted, they'll actually love it - by making him permanently dead forever and ever, bagsy no tag-backs, about halfway through the series, leaving the companions to try and muddle through the best they can? :D

Gotta agree, the whole point of portal was that you were learning your way through some puzzles, laughed a bit at the voice telling you what to do and then suddenly everything unfolds. Portal 2 is kinda just trying to show us what we want to see. You want to know the history of glados? Well here it is. You want to know what happened to glados afterwards? Well here it is. etc. No super big, omg wtf I'm gonna burn to death moment.

I disagree on a couple of points.

A) Portal 1 did leave room for a sequel. When the ending came, I was thinking "but she was picked up by machines and it ended inside the factory". She did not manage to escape. And then later on during the credits, GLaDOS kept repeating that she was still alive.

B) I'd say Portal 2 did use Portal 1's story as a jumping off point. It didn't focus on surprise, but delivered the backstory with humour and introduced a new character to the present story, giving it more plot twists and a distinctly different feel from Portal 1.

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.

Baldur's Gate

Oh sweet Jesus I almost forgot:

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.

Uh, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door?

I was under the fair impression that you were a massive fan of the Paper Mario franchise, particularly this installment.

Evil Tim:
Indeed, his idolising of Portal means that according to his own argument he's the very worst person to say what a sequel to it does or doesn't need.

Yeah, he contradicts himself all over the place here. Most of his complaints about Portal 2 do seem to come from him putting the original on too high a pedestal.

GLaDOS has undergone actual character development into Portal 2. In the first game, GLaDOS was just doing her job. Now she has an actual grudge against the player. The core of her personality- especially her "text-book" understanding of human emotions- is still there. Her attempts to insult Chell are too forced and often silly to ever seriously work.

This is exactly what they needed to do. It's still the same character, but they have an in-universe reason to have her behaving differently to keep things from being stale.

I haven't finished it yet, but so far, Portal 2 is my idea of the perfect sequel. It takes the ideas that the original was testing out and expands on them. There's plenty about it that's new, but even the new things fit the spirit of the original. In an age when companies are trying to turn every existing IP into CoD Portal 2 stands out as a sequel that isn't afraid to be Portal instead.

Woodsey:

And BioShock 2 is better than BioShock.

*runs away*

I don't think it is in every way, but the game-play itself was a lot better in my opinion, and Yazhtee is always harping on about how gameplay>story, which is just a little bit hypocritical considering his dismissal of Bioshock 2 was almost entirely down to the story.

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.

Not sure if this counts as there was a stinger after the credits but Sly Cooper 2 could be considered better then Sly Cooper one (though that could just be my opinion)

I actually like the idea of a sequel, taking an idea that have worked (at least somewhat worked) and ironing out the kinks while improving on the concept after hearing the reactions to the original.
But I see that Yahtzee is suffering from the same "affliction" as many other reviewers are.
when you review/critique many, many games/comics/movies/etc, you tend to dislike the thing that's are similar to others, the "samy-ness" is worse than anything in the actual product.
Not that I'm arguing with or disputing his opinions just because of this, but I have seen this often.

Fans definitely need to be ignored; I'm glad someone finally said it. But this notion that less gameplay is better than more gameplay is insane. It's more difficult to make a tighter game, of course, but Portal 2 did great in that regard. Games are already too short. All I wanted with Portal 1 was more Portal. Single player games can usually be finished in a few hours now. What happened to the long treks though worlds like Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana? At least it looks prettier now, I suppose.

Yahtzee, dude. Don't put all the fans into the same basket. Don't tell me you're not a fan of Portal, because you are. You love that game, therefore you are a fan. Being a fan doesn't automatically make you a winy little bitch.

I am a huge fan of "Aquaria", and I would like its sequel to see the light of day, but I won't be telling Alec and Derek how to make it, it's their child, not mine. One of the very few things wrong with that game was that it had a semi-open ending. And I like my stories to be complete and, as you said it yourself, the sequels should only have the same setting, not the same story. And so, sequels like that aren't bad. After all, more of the same can be good as long as it adds something in substance. But in terms of story it's the cliffhangers, or worse, the reinterpretations (or as I like to call them the "waxworks") of the originals that get on my nerves the most. And it appears "Portal 2" is like that.

But still, a game can be good due to gameplay only even if it's betraying its roots. Gameplay is not all that matters, but for games as a medium it's pretty much a pivotal column upon which all other elements rest.

NightmareTaco:
Single player games can usually be finished in a few hours now. What happened to the long treks though worlds like Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana? At least it looks prettier now, I suppose.

As opposed to the days of Castlevania or Contra when the average singleplayer game took...A few hours. I remember back in The Day people were complaining because Sonic 2 was over in less than three hours. Comparing like for like, do Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana stack up well hours-wise against modern RPGs if we compare them to World of Warcraft and EVE Online?

Hey Yahtzee.

The Ratchet and Clank series. :p

Woodsey:

And BioShock 2 is better than BioShock.

*runs away*

If you're serious, you're warped in the head.

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.

Half-Life 2.

Legion:

Woodsey:

And BioShock 2 is better than BioShock.

*runs away*

I don't think it is in every way, but the game-play itself was a lot better in my opinion, and Yazhtee is always harping on about how gameplay>story, which is just a little bit hypocritical considering his dismissal of Bioshock 2 was almost entirely down to the story.

Felt exactly the same way. I loved Bioshock 2 mostly due to minor tweaks such as being able to use plasmids alongside guns and more variety gameplay wise. I hated the original so much. And let's be honest, story wise it wasn't all that different from System Shock 2. The twist was almost exactly the same.

GoddyofAus:

Woodsey:

And BioShock 2 is better than BioShock.

*runs away*

If you're serious, you're warped in the head.

Well if you're serious, you're warped in the head.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: Building Sequels Badly

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

Read Full Article

This idea may be a bit crazy, but what idea isn't? Could it be that the sequels are actually being "ruined" by the game or games that came before? This is most likely not true for most that are just not made well because the developers are too focused on pleasing the "fans" rather than making the game good. However, in the case of games like Portal 2 could it be that the previous game's success hirts the sequel? You yourself Yahtzee said that no one thought that Portal would be as awesome as it was. So when you campare Portal 2 to Portal you will always be missing that sence of surprise. Like if you went of a blind date with low expectations only to have your date end up being a smok'n hottie with a great personality. Then on the next date your expectations are raised to that level, but you can't ever reach that level because you can't get that surprised. That means you arn't going to get the level of excitement and entertainment as before when you thought nothing was going to be good. So then that means that when you make the sequel you have to keep in mind that you have to include some scence of mystry to keep people guessing at what happens next.
Or at least thats how I see it.

:)Maybe the 3rd date will be better?

2xDouble:
Case in point: Final Fantasy. Look at what happened when they stopped creating and started polling: Final Fantasy 12, 13, and 14... None of which deserve numerals. (XI doesn't either, but for different reasons. It's pretty good I guess, so I'll let it slide).

"The stories and characters change each time. This is because stories tend to limit a world and I think by changing these aspects and creating new material for each title, we try to show our full potential." Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of final fantasy

I think it's pretty unfair to have XII there, though it was a prequel to tactics in a subtle way it was pretty much a seperate entity. It was a great game that had some flaws, but it's not part of the same trash as what SE have produced this generation. VIII and X can also be criticised just as much for their various flaws, but they're still redeemable and high quality games overall. XIII though an awful game is original so it's irrelevant to this particularly line of thought that sequels should be original. I think FF was one of the games that was best at sequels, along with GTA (even episodes from liberty city, the DLC, have entirely new protagonists, characters and plot).

The problem is the spin offs and dilution of the FF brand. Instead of a great creative and engaging main series, we've now got a half assed main series with individual sequels (IV sequel, X-2 and XIII-2 as well as fabula nova crystallis mythology) with a bunch of half assed portable spin offs (dissidia, crisis core etc.), movies, crystal chronicles and a few actually good spin offs (kingdom hearts, tactics) and lots of other stuff like chocobo racing and so on... The main creative people like kitase and Nomura worked on up to 8 different games during the production of FFXIII, it's no surprise it came out underwhelming. Versus looks like the ying to XIII's yang, and will hopefully offer some actual interactivity of the quality expected from an RPG, but it's still far behind western developers in many key aspects that have been innovated since the FF series stagnated at the start of last decade. Most of the blame should go to Yoichi Wada as the exploitation of the final fantasy brand has been his focus:

"It's very difficult to hit the jackpot, as it were. Once we've hit it, we have to get all the juice possible out of it."

Vivendel:
I know this is stretching it on the issue of "same characters", but The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is an adequate example of a rushed sequel churned out in direct response to the former game's success, where both plot and game mechanics can be argued to be superiour (I know there are a lot of OOT supporters out there disagreeing with me on this point. I'm not attempting to start an OOT vs MM discussion so please keep calm).

Sometimes rushed sequels can prove a blessing in disguise. Just saying.

Majora's Mask felt like a lazy sequel; all they did is copy-paste the characters. But the plot and subtle hints of creepiness throughout which I noticed when I look back...hmm...need to play it again.

As far as sequels go...yeah, he got my thoughts pretty much.

Hmmm, well I tend to disagree with a lot of what is said here. The biggest area is probably the idea that a game explaining itself and the plotline/storyline is a bad thing, and can't ever work out. The problem is that a lot of game developers, or heck developers of media in general, use the whole "we want to be mysterious" thing as a crutch for bad writing and development. Pointing towards how things might lead towards some overarching, sinister truth, while tossing in logical inconsistincies towards people who try and piece it together is a heck of a lot easier than actually developing a solid storyline and then telling it in a mysterious fashion that ultimatly leads to a fulfilling conclusion. The problem is that your dealing with what are basically hack writers shooting themselves in the foot trying to wrap up their work in a sequel. The problem is that almost every video game series that tries to be mysterious winds up being "Lost", oftentimes trying to buy it's way out of the problem by being increasingly more obtuse until they wind up at a point where they can't do that anymore, the series has to come to an end, and they are left facing a mess of their own creation.

To put things into perspective, it's possible to have creepy and mysterious atmosphere that seems to make no sense, but then wraps up in a satisfying conclusion that answers everyone's questions and leaves people thinking "OMG, that was brilliant" rather than wallowing in some kind of odd psychobabble, or revealing the protaganist was crazy all along, or relying on surreal time travel manipulations and "WTF" reveals along with ignoring most of what had been established up until that point. The thing is that we've seen mystery and horror writers do it right on a number of occasions. Agatha Cristie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Steven King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Michael Slade and others have all become pretty famous and successful by managing to pull this kind of thing off, even though they have had failures along with their successes. A lot of their best work might seen quaint in retrospect, but only because we all know the twist and how it all falls together.

If I had to point a finger at the real masters of this I'd actually give a not to Carolyn Keene, and Frank Dixon (which is actual a pseudonym of a lot of differant writers, similar to how Michael Slade is actually more than one guy). Carolyn Keene and Frak Dixon did "Nancy Drew" and "The Hardy Boys" respectively. I give them the nod because while they write children's literature and young adult fiction, they are masters at taking wierd stuff and impossible events, and then tying it all together at the end. They have done this so well, for so long, that they have been the subject of massive parody, but also arguably inspired a lot of people to use variations on their tricks in more adult drama over the years.

Simply put the problem is that in setting up games, game companies need to actually get writers who know what they are doing, and have them involved in more than a cursory fashion in the entire process of putting the game together. Most games that tout a connection to a famous author have limited involvement by the person in question.

In creating a franchise or ongoing story, the trick is of course to have someone sit down and outline the overall plotline, how, and why things are going to be happening ahead of time.... which rarely happens other than in the most vague sense with video game series. Especially ones based around any kind of mystery or suspense.

The problem with Yahtzee's criticisms here, and in other places, is that he seems to be picking on the institution of sequels, rather than simply saying that game developers are morons who have not evolved along with the medium. 99% of the problems he points out, both here and in other areas, largely comes down to the gaming industry being resistant to change. As a number of sources over the years seem to have been saying, the actual writer of a game winds up taking a back seat to the guys actually doing the development, and/or the artwork. Either that, or the writing is being done around a certain set of gameplay mechanics, such as "we want to make a shooter" or "we want to make a puzzle game with portals" and then making a plot that works around the mechanics they want, which tends to be counter productive when it comes to writing and especially when it comes to trying to extend that story into sequels.

To be brutally honest, when it comes to say "Portal 2" in paticular, the big problem is that they took something that was awesome as a minor little extra in a package and tried to extend it into a full fledged AAA game. Portal kind of worked because on a lot of levels is was a giant tutorial, and a sort of tech demo, showing off what could be done with this kind of physics system. I think it impressed people because it was new, and showed off a possible future for gaming. What Valve SHOULD have done was take the Portal technology and used it as part of other game franchises, as an additional mechanic, as opposed to the theme of a game because of how people liked it to begin with. It's sort of like how they kind of sold people on the idea of a "physics gun" and you see it widely imitated as an idea in things like "Dead Space". The whole "Portal Gun" concept should be intergrated into other titles, rather than trying to hold down a franchise itself. The potential for using portals to line up fancy shots in shooters, or open up doorways to manipulate things with another kind of physics device is rather huge, and has a serious chance of outright creating smarter games for people.

Everyone has already name one or 2 sequels for "Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't..." challenge and here is mine:

Mortal Kombat 2
It had most of the same cast and is actually the first fighting game ever to have something near a real story. Sure, it's no Shakespeare but it did have some decent backstories and other stuff. Plus the original game didn't have the open end like the crappy hollywood movie.

Therumancer:
As a number of sources over the years seem to have been saying, the actual writer of a game winds up taking a back seat to the guys actually doing the development, and/or the artwork.

A story to a game is like a frame to a painting; it puts everything else into perspective and, done right, can be the perfect finishing touch; equally, done badly it can detract from the final work. It is not, however, anything like as important as the painting itself.

Your argument is like complaining that people just don't accept carpentry as an important aspect of painting. Of course they don't, it isn't. The writer's job is to create something that works within the planned mechanics, and he will never be as important as the people who create the mechanics in question.

Warachia:

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.

If System Shock was "open ended enough for a sequel" then what ISN'T? SHODAN was dead, the Hacker returned to Earth and got hired by Tri-Op, Citadel Station was destroyed along with the annelid threat...

I could be wrong here, as this was some time ago, but the only way SHODAN survived the original was via a plot device that wasn't even hinted at until SS2, when it was explained in full. So that doesn't count as "being left open" because they basically had to retcon it. The implication at the end of the first game was clearly that SHODAN had been destroyed. Also, there was a multi-year gap between the development cycles, and in its early forms SS2 was not set on being a direct predecessor to System Shock. They were initially planning on making an entirely different game. All this suggests that a sequel wasn't initially planned-for.

zjspeed:
Early in development Valve considered that Portal 2 would have exclusively gel-based puzzles and not even use the portal gun mechanic. ...

Evil Tim:
So you're saying it's ok to release a game called Portal 2 that doesn't actually have portals in it? ...

I'm not saying it's okay. I'm saying that Valve considered it, tested it, and determined it's not okay.

Hey Yahtzee... What are your thoughts on the announcement of Max Payne 3???

personally i am veeeeryyyy pesimistic about this and definetly think that Max Payne 2 Ended the story the way it should...

plz mention your thoughts on thin in a extra-Punctuation ...

stuhacking:

UltraHammer:
Nintendo isn't like that, though. They're old fashioned. They consider themselves to be the professionals. They save pandering for a cosmic event...

Right, right. Nintendo are too good to make direct sequels like Super Mario Galaxy 2. Don't expect to see Nintendo re-releasing old titles like Super Mario World just to squeeze a few extra gold coins out of their fans.
[disclaimer: Aforementioned Nintendo Fan]

I absolutely, totally knew someone would say something like that. I also knew exactly what I would say: that there's a difference between "pandering to fans" and "continuing with what is successful". Sometimes, what a company does and what their fans want them to do eclipse a little.

There's so many Mario games because Mario is such an endearing and occupationally versatile character. He and the world he exists in are like Popeye mixed with Hello Kitty; giving it a huge appeal to both Americans and the Japanese. It's for this reason (and the reason that they consistently have some of the best gameplay--and music--ever) that so many people are Mario fans.

I'm not sure exactly how to explain it. I'll illustrate it like this, Nintendo views their franchises as the following.

We make good game > create fans > we make good game > create fans

Most other developers view their work more like this.

Research what fans want > create fans > fans make game > create fans > fans make game > create fans

But games get pretty stale after a while like this.

shimyia:
Hey Yahtzee... What are your thoughts on the announcement of Max Payne 3???

personally i am veeeeryyyy pesimistic about this and definetly think that Max Payne 2 Ended the story the way it should...

No, Max Payne 1 did that. 2 just killed everyone left over from 1.

hitheremynameisbob:

Warachia:

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.

If System Shock was "open ended enough for a sequel" then what ISN'T? SHODAN was dead, the Hacker returned to Earth and got hired by Tri-Op, Citadel Station was destroyed along with the annelid threat...

I could be wrong here, as this was some time ago, but the only way SHODAN survived the original was via a plot device that wasn't even hinted at until SS2, when it was explained in full. So that doesn't count as "being left open" because they basically had to retcon it. The implication at the end of the first game was clearly that SHODAN had been destroyed. Also, there was a multi-year gap between the development cycles, and in its early forms SS2 was not set on being a direct predecessor to System Shock. They were initially planning on making an entirely different game. All this suggests that a sequel wasn't initially planned-for.

System shock wasn't open ended enough for a sequel, but system shock 2 definitely was. He was only asking about the sequels, not the previous games.

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