The title might seem like a modern impossibility. After all, if a game is commercially successful, it will inevitably spawn a sequel, right? Well, for one reason or another, these games were critically-acclaimed hits but somehow never got around to giving us another entry.
Some of these may be recognizable to you, others may not – it really all boils down to whether or not you played these games in their heyday. Rest assured, it is rare today for a successful game to not have a follow up, even if another developer has to take the reins. That’s part of what makes people so disillusioned with video games. It is as if games are made only to iterate and they do so until there’s nothing left.
Thankfully, these franchises are still ripe for the picking. So if there’s a publisher out there looking for some great, classic properties to monetize, here are six ideas.
Grim Fandango, PC
An adventure game from Lucas Arts for Windows PCs released in 1998, Grim Fandango is the first Lucas Arts game to use 3D graphics on pre-rendered backgrounds. Like in other adventure games, the player has to interact with the environment, gather clues and items, as well as converse with NPCs to advance the story and solve puzzles. An interesting mish-mash of central American aesthetic with 1930s film noir, Grim Fandango is a unique title even by today’s standards. Released to widespread praise, Grim Fandango was, unfortunately, a commercial failure, leading to the closure of Lucas Arts’ adventure game division. Sad to say a sequel is unlikely as Lucas Arts has thoroughly moved on but here’s to hoping someone reads this and resurrects this amazing property.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, GameCube
One of those games that proves the GameCube was not the same Nintendo as before, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is a fourth-wall-breaking suspense thriller that combines the best of Silent Hill with the deliberate pacing of a slow horror film. Easily the scariest (and one of the most innovative) games on the GameCube, Eternal Darkness did crazy things that players still talk about today. Many might be considered gimmicks, but for their time they were revolutionary gameplay maneuvers. Sadly, it is unlikely we will see a sequel to Eternal Darkness, although of all the entries on this list it is the one most often rumored to have a sequel in development (as does everything).
Vagrant Story, PSX
One of the more interesting titles to come out of Square during the PlayStation era, Vagrant Story is an action RPG with a bit of a dark twist. We’re not going to spoil it all for you here, but it isn’t your typical Final Fantasy fare. Beloved to this day for its unique combat system and strikingly deep gameplay, Vagrant Story is at the same time a forgotten classic and a thoroughly modern game. Perhaps a bit ahead of its time in many ways when it was released, Vagrant Story’s combination of action and challenge would fit in very well between the Dark Souls and Final Fantasies of the world.
Blast Corps., Nintendo 64
The Nintendo 64 produced more classics per capita than most systems, and one of its earliest titles, Blast Corps., is an amazing game that oddly never received a sequel. The premise is quite simple. You pilot a mech or some other kind of vehicle and you wreak havoc on urban environments to clear the path for a nuclear armed truck. This truck touches one other object and the bomb goes off. It is kind of like the movie Speed except for with a demolition truck and bombs. Amazingly addictive with an arcade quality that was second-to-none, Blast Corps stands out in the Nintendo 64 launch lineup for how creative it is and how much of a throwback it is at the same time. A simple concept in execution, but amazing fun in practice, Blast Corps. would make an amazing modern series. As far as having someone resurrect it, that looks unlikely.
Beetle Adventure Racing, N64
A racing game from the Nintendo 64 from Paradigm Entertainment, Beetle Adventure Racing gave players a fine selection of Volkswagen Beetles to race around in one the Nintendo 64’s few amazing racing games. Again, the concept is simple and far from unique, but so amazingly well done that you wonder why there wasn’t a sequel. The game sold well enough and the critics loved it at the time, so, what gives? It might have something to do with the car selection. While racing games thrive on many things, one major aspect is the lineup of cars the player will have to choose from as they race around the tracks. Having only VW Beetles is a fun concept but one that probably cannot sustain an entire series. That’s a shame, too, as Beetle Adventure Racing is easily one of the best games on the Nintendo 64 and one of the top 5 racing games on the system. Players looking for classic quality racing action can’t do much better than Beetle Adventure Racing.
Skies of Arcadia, Dreamcast
Overworks Dreamcast RPG masterpiece Skies of Arcadia is one of the best JRPGs to never receive a sequel and that’s a shame. This is a truly epic game, with a colorful cast, amazing story, and deep gameplay system that stands the test of time. In a word, the game is fantastic. Perhaps the Dreamcast’s ill-fated destiny sealed the deal for Skies of Arcadia (it struggled to stand out on the PS2 release) or perhaps lightning only strikes once. Whatever the case may be, Skies of Arcadia’s lack of a sequel is a tragedy in video games. If any game on here deserves and begs for a sequel, it is this game. There aren’t too many JRPGs out there anymore, so the scene has changed for games like Skies of Arcadia. Now they can truly shine as paragons of their genre rather than hide among the masses of JRPG titles released around the same time.