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When the author of a series abandons the storyline entirely, either from lack of interest, time, money, inspiration, or pulse, the series is said to be orphaned.

This is a distressingly common problem with Web Comics, as many are written part-time by authors who have significantly underestimated the amount of time and effort of scripting and drawing three strips a week; a series may begin to suffer more and more frequent (or longer) schedule slips, until the author either takes an extended hiatus which then becomes permanent, or else simply stops updating the series without warning to the readers. Free comic hosting sites such as Comic Genesis and Drunk Duck are littered with the wreckage of hundreds of such series, some of which have only a single introductory strip to indicate that they ever were even conceived.

On rare occasions, a seemingly Orphaned Series may be resurrected, either by the original artist or by another taking it over. Fans may wait for years in vain for this to happen, but it almost never does.

An even worse case is when the webcomic literally vanishes from the Internet because the account it was hosted on was deleted due to the bill not being paid in a long time.

The more extreme Schedule Slips blur the line. See also Dead Fic. Compare Vaporware, which is something the creator claims not to have given up on -- but almost all the fans have.

Here's an article in The Other Wiki about it.

Webcomics now have their own page.

Examples of Orphaned Series include:


Anime and Manga

  • The manga Chicago abruptly ended after two volumes, with an apology from the writer stating that she couldn't handle the schedule at the end of the second volume.
  • Akane Chan Overdrive lasted two volumes, the last of which had two chapters that were side-stories, without any resolution of the plot.
  • Manga artist Miwa Ueda orphaned the series Peach Girl: Sae's Story after two and a half volumes, because the birth of her child left her with little time to work on it.
  • Aqua Knight was abandoned by the author in order to work on Gunnm: Last Order. He promises to be back later in the future, but the longer Last Order runs the less likely this seems.
    • For that matter, only two OAV episodes of the Gunnm anime were ever produced. Even if anybody was interested in reviving an anime version, it wouldn't legally be possible until after James Cameron releases his live-action film adaptation... which, in turn, he won't get around to making until after he finishes two sequels to Avatar.
  • The manga Hellsing: The Dawn, 6 chapters since 2007, not enough to release a single collected volume.
  • Sailor Moon artist Takeuchi Naoko had several orphaned series in the wake of the end of her hit franchise. The first was PQ Angels, which was discontinued abruptly after only 4 chapters, and Kodansha lost the proofs of the portion that had been written. The manga was never published outside of its original serial run. Her second series, Love Witch, ran for three chapters, at which point Takeuchi had written that she was taking a vacation from which the series never returned outside of a one-shot side story. It was not until the 2005-2006 run of Toki* Meca, expanded from the one-shot Toki-Meka, that Takeuchi saw a series through to its completion again.
  • Shaman King formerly ended with No Ending since the author dropped it. However, the re-release of the manga eventually lead to two new volumes to end the series.
  • The CLAMP manga Clover had a false ending in volume two, then it went backwards into flashbacks for volumes three and four. Word of God says the storyline needs two more volumes to be completed, but so far nothing has been written.
  • Legend of Chun Hyang is another CLAMP example. It only got one volume before being droppped and it is unknown when or if CLAMP intend to continue it.
  • Fire Candy's mangaka left off her work after two volumes to begin another, although she did state in her last note that she'd like to return to the series after gaining more experience.
  • One of the more notable OEL titles to go out like this was No Man's Land, which the publisher heavily promoted and commenced work on a Flash adaptation of. Problems with the creator's schedules sadly led to the series dying after only two volumes.
  • The Strawberry Panic manga.
  • For a long time, the manga D.N.Angel appeared to be an example, having been put on a hiatus for over two years. However, the mangaka has started writing chapters for it again.
    • ...and then proceeded to put it back on hiatus so she could start another series. Yukiru Sugisaki has a history of this (see also Candidate for Goddess above.) At least she stopped at the end of an arc.
      • The manga has once again been picked up. But how long it stays that way is up for grabs.
  • Millennium Snow was orphaned by Bisco Hatori after two volumes after her breakout hit Ouran High School Host Club got popular.
    • The same thing happened with a short lived series Shanghai Youma Kikai, which was put on hold so Hiromu Arakawa could work on Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • Bisco has stated that she intends to continue Millennium Snow however and with the sixteenth (and penultimate) volume of Ouran featuring sketches of characters from Millennium Snow it seems she may be planning to do so soon.
  • Beet the Vandel Buster was 12 volumes into its publication when production suddenly stopped in September 2006, due to artist Koji Inada's sudden illness. The future of the series is still completely up in the air.
    • Considering Beet's writer, Riku Sanjo, is now the head writer for Kamen Rider Double, the likelihood of Beet being picked up again is cast further in doubt.
  • Happens constantly with fan translations of manga and fansubs of anime. If you're lucky, another group will pick up where the last one left off. If not... well, best get learning Japanese.
  • This happened to far too many series due to the closure of Tokyo Pop, one of the largest English-language manga and light novel publishers around. Pray another company picked it up.
  • Net Sphere Engineer was announced to be the sequel to Blame! The first chapter excited many. A second chapter never came. While nobody actually knows what happened to the rest of the story, many opt for the answer that it was abandoned.
  • The story of Final Fantasy Unlimited was plotted to last two seasons, but only the first season was animated. The story of the second season can be found in various supplemental media (available in Japanese only).
  • Stellvia of the Universe was originally meant to be (at least) three half-seasons, but due to personality conflicts the team broke up at the end of the second. At least it was a natural break-point.
  • Tite Kubo's earlier manga, Zombie Powder, lasted only four volumes before it was canceled, due to various issues and complications in the author's life at the time.
  • Yami no Matsuei has been on hiatus since December 20th, 2002, due to Yoko Matsushita suffering a hand injury. Her art style has changed somewhat since because of this and she did work a little more on the manga afterwards. However beyond brief periods of "SHE'S GOING TO FINISH IT!" now and then, there's been nothing else beyond a few chapters after volume 11, all of which are finally being put in a 12th volume. Fans are just pretty much begging to hear how she planned to end the series now.
  • The English translation of the Kingdom Hearts manga ended on Kingdom Hearts II Vol. 2 after TokyoPop decided to discontinue the series due to financial problems.
  • Gun Blaze West only got up to its third volume when it was cancelled due to a combination of low readership and Nobuhiro Watsuki feeling he couldn't go any further with it. The series ends before the heroes even reach the fabled destination.


Comic Books

  • David Lapham has yet to complete Stray Bullets. Apparently, there is one issue of the current storyline remaining, and it is yet to be finished. He claimed that after the birth of his child he was no longer able to rely on the inconsistent revenue and heavy time investment of a self-published series and has chosen to primarily seek work-for-hire and creator-owned work at the major publishers. He has often stated a desire to finish the series, or at least the current arc, but a lack of time to do so.
  • During the 90s Joe Madureira started a comic called Battle Chasers, an epic fantasy story of which the first few issues hinted at a huge backstory. But it quickly started slipping from its schedule, to the point where issue 7 was released 16 months after issue 6. The editorial in issue 9 promised that #10 would be out soon, but then Joe Mad left the comic industry altogether.
  • Artist George Perez's creator-owned series Crimson Plague was ended after its first issue. Perez revived the series a few years later with Image Comics, only to end a second time after one new issue and a reprint of the original comic.
  • Marvel series NYX was slated to be an ongoing series but after numerous delays by both the writer (Joe Quesada) and the artist was declared a limited series simply to finish out the first story arc.
    • Marvel has since announced a follow-up mini-series, with a different driver and artist this time around.
  • The comic M. Rex ended after two issues. About ten years later it received a cartoon that started to delve into the abandoned plots and more.
  • Sokora Refugees, a manga-inspired (in both art and story) comic, was super-popular before its abrupt end after two volumes. The comic's site, after two years in operation, stopped updating in November of 2006 and died completely a few months after. The artist mentioned the author had some personal issues after a few weeks of no new strips.
    • What seems to have actually happened is that the creator landed her own syndicated daily comic strip, My Cage. The demands of doing four panels a day pretty much ensures that Sokora Refugees will remain an orphan unless something happens to My Cage.
  • Alan Moore's miniseries Big Numbers stopped after two issues. This was particularly frustrating due to the more literary, kitchen-sink-drama nature of the series, the audience didn't learn what direction the series was going in, how the groups of unrelated characters were going to interact, or what all the untranslated dialogue in some Indian language was about.
    • The main reason why Big Numbers was canceled was that illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz left the series and he was replaced by a nineteen-year-old assistant of his named Al Columbia. Al Columbia had to replicate the gritty, photo realistic technique Sienkiewicz utilized for illustrating the previous Big Numbers issues, and he had to do so by specified deadlines. Al Columbia cracked under the pressure of such a herculean task and as a result, he not only left his Big Numbers work unfinished, but he destroyed much of his work, including two unpublished issues. Al Columbia, despite having a cult following generated by grotesque works such as The Biologic Show, remains somewhat a pariah in the comic industry.
    • Moore never finished Supreme or Nineteen Sixty Three for various reasons that aren't really his fault, either.
  • In the early '00s there was a quirky British comic titled Bazooka Jules, by Neil Googe, about a 16-year-old schoolgirl named Julie Glocke who gets mixed up in a plot involving aliens and super-science and gains the ability to turn into a ridiculously well-endowed Action Girl who can spontaneously pull gigantic pieces of armament out of thin air (that is to say, she has "big guns" of both kinds. *groan*). It was criticized for the underage Fan Service, but fans and critics enjoyed the humor and Googe's expressive art style. Anyway, around issue #3 (it was planned to run for six), Googe took seriously ill and someone broke into the publisher's building, stealing the material for the planned future issues, which were never recovered. Googe got better and planned a relaunch of the series with artist LeShawn Thomas, but before it got off the ground they hit some copyright issues, Thomas left to do animation work on The Boondocks, and Googe himself eventually signed an exclusive deal with DC Comics, where he now works on their Wildstorm imprint. Neil Googe has retained Julie as a sort of signature character, but as a comic, Bazooka Jules seems to be as dead as it gets at this point.
  • Classic fantasy comic Wormy (sort of Dungeons and Dragons meets Pogo) stopped in mid-arc when David A. Trampier dropped off the face of the earth. He became a taxi driver
  • The Tick comic series ended abruptly (right before a big fight with the bad guys) when author Ben Edlund decided to spend time working on the cartoon. He never made it back, and given the current success of Supernatural, it's unlikely he'll be making it back anytime soon.
    • And especially given that the series has been relaunched under writer Benito Cereno.
  • Warren Ellis has had a habitual problem with this for various reasons ranging from personal issues, delays due to artists, and the simply unexplained. Examples include:
    • Fell
    • Desolation Jones
    • Planetary gets off on a technicality. Fifteen issues between early 1999 and late 2001, hiatus until late 2003, and then another eleven issues between late 2003 and the end of 2006. Ellis turned in the script for the final issue, #27, in mid-2007--so technically, he finished in 2007--but another two years passed before its release. John Cassaday completed drawing the interior in April 2009, Laura Martin colored and inked by June, and Cassaday finished the cover in July. The issue hit stores on October 7, 2009, with the final collection in March 2010 (hardcover) and December 2010 (paperback). 27 issues in ten years, with the last issue alone taking three...but it was completed.
    • Ellis also seems to have stalled with New Universal and Doktor Sleepless, neither of which, as of late 2010, have seen an issue in 18 months or more. It's been a suspiciously long time since the second issue in the second Anna Mercury series as well.
      • New Universal was stalled because he lost a whole bunch of his scripts when his computer crashed. Not sure about the later.
    • Ministry of Space had the appearance of this for a while as the delay between the (delayed) issue two and three eventually stretched to three years before it was finally released.
  • Pretty much everything by Rob Liefeld after he and the other Image founders left Marvel. He's become notorious for starting new comic titles (or revamping the existing ones) only to abandon his plans part way through. The list of mishandled crossovers alone can make a significant portion of this list. Most notoriously, He's gone SIXTY TWO MONTHS between issues of a Youngbloods limited series.
  • Mike Baron's Sonic Disruptors (a DC limited series from the late 80s) ended on a cliffhanger after seven of an originally-announced twelve issues, with no explanation given at the time. Eventually Baron admitted he had been making it up as he went along and simply realized he had no idea where the story was going. It may be just as well; after an excellent first issue, it got So Okay It's Average fast.
  • Xenozoic Tales started in 1987 as a bimonthly, but the artist's increasingly detailed drawings necessitated a gap before issue 4 and a reschedule to come out once every three months. This reschedule lasted only three issues before hitting another gap and ceasing to have a regular schedule beyond "when we get it ready." Space between issues got increasingly long, with only two issues released in 1989. The series had one issue a year each April for the next three years, then skipped 1993 entirely. Issue 13 came out in 1994 and issue 14 came out in 1996. There have been no issues since, though the author/artist has been known to claim in interviews that he will get back to it. Should we hold our collective breath?
  • Six Words; Kevin Smith's Daredevil/Bulleye: The Target.
  • Scud the Disposable Assassin was this for ten years, due to Creator Breakdown. It was finished up, working this into the plot as a Time Skip.
  • Unicorn Isle was a fantasy comic by Lee Marrs, c.1987, originally slated to run for 12 issues but cancelled after only 5 for unknown reasons.
  • Archie Comics once made a comic based on NiGHTS Into Dreams and had made the initial three issue mini-series into a ongoing series in the same vein that the Knuckles The Echidna ongoing spun out of its second mini-series. However, after its second three issues, they put the series on indefinite hiatus and classified issues 4-6 as a second mini-series.
  • When Seven Seas Entertainment was first starting out and before they began to publish licensed manga, they released several original titles in the manga style. Having vastly misread the market for such titles (as well as the rapid decline of the publishing market since the company's founding), several of these series were cancelled due to low sales, while some others were stopped short due to other issues. Seven Seas has since largely switched to either one-volume releases (with sequels as sales demand), printed versions of original web series that have a high enough readership (such as Aoi House), or licensed series. Some of the casualties:
    • Seven Seas debuted with four OEL series, Amazing Agent Luna, No Man's Land, Last Hope, and Blade for Barter. Blade for Barter was cancelled after a single volume (with the conclusion to the cliffhanger published online to make it up to people who actually bought the first volume). Last Hope ran for two volumes with a third teased but then hit a wall when a contractual dispute arose between the publisher and the author that eventually led to the series being cancelled due to market concerns. No Man's Land was originally heavily publicized and also had a flash series started, but both the books and flash series were scrapped originally due to the artist and author having too many other commitments, and have been essentially cancelled due the company's concerns over the declining publishing market.
    • The Outcast sold well and the publisher intended to continue with it, but the author abruptly left it midway through the second volume for other commitments.
    • Both Unearthly and Captain Nemo never moved past their first volumes due to the author, who also runs the company, being forced to stop writing in order to run the company instead.
    • Ravenskull had a teaser for a second volume, but never moved past one. The artist was juggling multiple projects at the time, which led to delays before the second volume was quietly cancelled. No reason was ever given, though looking at Seven Seas response to other properties that have languished in development hell, its probably a safe bet this one won't be returning either.
    • Seven Seas have several manga and light novels they've licensed, and then never released, such as Ryohgo Narita's Vamp. The kicker is that a few of them are fully translated and ready to be printed, but SSE are reluctant to release them due to market concerns (in the case of Vamp!, they're worried that the series won't appeal to the Twilight crowd... which it wouldn't, but they're looking in the wrong place. I doubt those fans would be interested in a novel series featuring a vampire t-rex).
  • Bill Willingham's Coventry went for two issues before it was discontinued. Willingham later wrote two short novels in the same universe. Arguably, his later series Fables may be a continuation of the Coventry universe, so perhaps it was not entirely orphaned.
  • In the mid 90's, three different companies produced comics based on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The first company, Gladestone, published two mini-series set in Season Two before passing it to Marvel. Marvel did an adaptation to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and started two series set in Season Three (one with the Rangers in morphed state and a flip book with the team in Ninja form coupled with stories based on VR Troopers). Only six issues of those were made before it was passed over to Awesome Comics where only one issue of a Power Rangers Zeo comic and an ad talking about a crossover between the Zeo team and Youngblood was made.
    • Moral of the story - don't make comics set in an ever-changing continuity.


Fan Fiction and Fan Works

  • Very common: depressingly common among The Other Ten Percent.
    • See Dead Fic for more examples.
    • Given that dead fics are often of the other ten percent, and that the ten percent often Needs More Love, it can be incredibly depressing or frustrating to an author to see that the ninety percent of crap gets more attention than their decently written fic ever will.
  • The Zelda fic Feel Good Hit of the Summer has died...after posting a very well-done Mood Whiplash Nightmare Fuel scene revealing some serious Break the Cutie in a flashback. (In fairness, it's a sequel to a decent-length complete fic, but still.)
  • The The Legend of Dragoon fic Rebirth of a Legend was four chapters from the end according to the author. He never came back to finish it.
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender Azulaang fic "Lanterns" has also gone over two and a half years without an update.
  • The New Students. An incredibly good crossover between Yu-Gi-Oh! and Harry Potter. No, really.
  • Fatal Error definitely qualifies for this. It hasn't been updated for more than one year. However, it could be a non-lethal case of Author Existence Failure, since one of the coauthors hasn't written or updated.
  • Final Fighting Fantasy, in the most frustrating way. It's been 4 years since the last installment came out, and the prognosis for the final installment doesn't look good.
  • Harry Potter and the Breeding Darkness might have run solely on Plot Bunny fuel, but it is very well-written, possibly even brilliant (although as always, Your Mileage May Vary). Unfortunately, the fic seems to have been discontinued due to lack of interest and time to continue writing for it, and has now been put it up for adoption.
  • With Strings Attached was this for a long time. The author, who started it in 1980 and began posting it online in 1997, gave it up in 2002 after her personal life imploded (mother had Alzheimer's, laid off from her job, etc.). The two-thirds of the book she'd finished remained on her website to drive readers nuts. She never thought she would finish it, but in early 2009 she was hit by literary lightning, wrote 300 pages in 3 weeks, and finished the thing. (The final product in book form is over 650 pages long.) She is now working on the long-promised sequel, The Keys Stand Alone.
  • The Nunu Bot Show is in one, with creator Angry Goran not even logging onto YouTube for 2 months.
  • The Shoebox Project is one of the most highly-rated Harry Potter fanfics ever, but it hasn't been updated since 2008 and never got a proper ending.
  • Colonization: First Contact is a My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fanfic with the typical "human in Equestria" premise, except with a twist: instead of the typical self-insert, it features a space expedition of scientists and soldiers who stumble upon the planet Equestria. Unfortunately, it petered out just as things had started getting interesting; all we got are five chapters, and a piece of the sixth on the author's profile. The author later announced he will not be finishing the fic (and offers it to any enterprising author who would like to finish it.)


Film

  • The first two installments of Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series, 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey Two have film adaptations, but not 2061: Odyssey Three or 3001: The Final Odyssey. Tom Hanks expressed interest in doing film adaptations of the last two, but this was ages ago.
  • Star Wars was originally intended to be a trilogy of trilogies, with the Original Trilogy being in the middle [1]. Lucas ceased making Star Wars altogether after Return of the Jedi, wanting to do something new -- it wasn't until over a decade later that he'd begin work on the Prequel Trilogy. However, at that time he decided to abandon the Sequel Trilogy entirely and leave Star Wars as a six-film series.


Literature

  • Older Than Print: At the beginning of The Canterbury Tales, the characters are all heading to Canterbury for various reasons, and it's stated that each one will (for a story contest) tell two stories on the way there, and two on the way back. However, it breaks off before they make it to Canterbury or even have one character tell more than one story (in some cases, such as the Cook's Tale, the story is incomplete). Whether or not Geoffrey Chaucer simply abandoned it or meant to finish it but died first is unknown. (An alternative explanation is that the work was completed, but no complete version of the manuscript has been retained or recorded.)
  • Some scholars consider The Tale of Genji an example. It cuts off abruptly with the potential for plenty more story.
  • Puffin has apparently announced that the Hagwood Triology, about a shapeshifting, hobbit-like race, has been abandoned by Robin Jarvis. Same fate for Intrigues of the Reflected Realm series?
  • Quest Of The Gypsy by Ron Goulart was supposed to be 6 books long, but stopped after the second book in 1977.
  • Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy was planned to be a decalogy, but was cut short by his sudden death.
  • Kim Newman writing as Jack Yeovil's Demon Download series for Games Workshop's Dark Future universe has been awaiting the fourth and final installment since 1991. Despite GW republishing the earlier works, there's no sign of the final volume ever appearing in print.
  • Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, which he spent twenty-plus laborious years making until he abruptly died in the middle of writing the twelfth and final book. (Subverted in that he left behind enough notes that another author could, and did, finish it for him.)
  • Tales of the Nine Charms by Erica Farber and J.R. Sansevere had two books published in 2000 and 2001 respectively and claims to be a trilogy. As of 2012, the third book has yet to materialize.


Live Action Television

  • Firefly was a dead-then-resurrected-then-dead series which wasn't able to put out a full season before its final-and-actual cancellation. Some semblance of closure was attempted with the movie Serenity. According to Joss Whedon on the DVD extras, one of the characters was glibly killed, to focus the audience on the seriousness of the final scenes.
    • Serenity was in fact made because Joss had become convinced that the show could not be revived. Instead, it was intended to finish the story of River and the Academy. Main characters only died because Joss was sure the series would not be renewed.
  • Chappelle's Show when Dave couldn't handle the fame and pressure after the success of the first two seasons. He literally walked out on the production of the third even when Comedy Central offered a bigger paycheck.


Music

  • The Vocaloid series "Synchronicity" was thought by fans to have been abandoned, since the third and final video in the trilogy has yet to be released. This notion was perpetuated when an incomplete version of the final video was allegedly posted on Japanese video sharing site Nico Nico Douga before quickly being removed. However, the creator of the series, Hitoshizuku, claimed that no such video was ever uploaded, and she has confirmed on her blog that the conclusion to the series is in progress, though she stated that fans might have to way awhile for it to be released.
  • The 1995 David Bowie album 1. Outside was intended to be the first part of a trilogy of concept albums. Bowie apparently lost interest in the project.

Tabletop Games

  • In a sort of Show Within a Show style example, this phenomenon got a reference in the RPG sourcebook GURPS Fantasy II, where the greatest poet of a certain ancient civilization has been suffering a writer's block for thousands of years, his magnum opus left one volume short of completion. Rather than an isolated case, this is another symptom of said civilization's stagnated nature.
  • While the game itself has continued without a hitch, Konami is notorious for creating and then dropping various deck archetypes for the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. While the anime-based ones are forgivable, the original ones are not, especially when some of those archetypes are left orphaned with only an opening hand's worth of cards to their name. Fortunately, Konami seems to be realizing that they have those archetypes orphaned, and are starting to readopt them with new support in the game's more recent sets.
  • Mage: The Ascension's revised Convention books, covering the groups of the game's primary antagonist group, the Technocracy. The first book in the series, Iteration X, was released in 2002, proving to be a considerable improvement over the original... then White Wolf went and ended the Old World of Darkness. Fans thought that was it for the Convention books. However, at Gencon 2011, WW announced they'd be doing the remaining four Convention books. Here's hoping.
    • On the subject of the oWoD, both Changeling: The Dreaming and Wraith: The Oblivion were ended before the other lines, and both were left incomplete. In Changeling's case, Book of Glamour was announced, but never saw light of day, and the Kithbook series was cut short, with the Boggans and Sidhe not done (though Nobles: the Shining Host is considered an unofficial Sidhe Kithbook). Wraith's Guildbook series was also left unfinished, with five of the thirteen Great Guilds not covered.


Video Games

  • Before being released, 6 episodes for Shenmue were planned. The first episode was critically acclaimed, but flopped financially, so they decided to make the series shorter, by merging episodes 2,3,4 AND 5 into a single episode, leaving the series with only 3 episodes. But Shenmue II (still universally acclaimed as an awesome game) flopped even HARDER than the first one, plans for future games have been abandoned. There were some small games now and then, but no Shemue III at sight. The author has stated in 2010 that he wanted to make Shenmue III and Sega green-lighted it, but he couldn't get financial support for it. The worst part? Shenmue II ends in a Cliff Hanger!
  • Any game released on an episodic schedule can be prone to this if the first episodes don't stir up enough interest and the developers are fired (as is the case with SiN Episodes, whose development studio was disintegrated after the released of the first episode Emergence) or lose interest and move on to other, better things (Telltale Games, for example, released only the first two episodes to their Bone series, which were met with lukewarm reviews, before moving on to the much more successful Sam and Max series).
  • The Lucas Arts adventure game Loom was conceived as the first game in an epic fantasy trilogy, with an extremely confusing Cliff Hanger ending to get players interested in a potential sequel. For years, many fans speculated that the sequels were dropped because Loom wasn't as critically acclaimed as Lucas Arts had hoped (it was) or because it didn't sell very many copies (it did), but Lucas Arts would later confirm that the sequels were dropped because no-one at the company wanted to work on them.
    • Full Throttle sold well enough that the company intended to create sequels. However, two different attempts to put one together fell apart in the process. As the creator Tim Schafer left Lucas Arts not long after the first sequel attempt to form Double Fine and Lucas Arts does not appear anxious to license the IP to someone that will make a sequel nor try for a third sequel attempt in-house, it's safe to call this one dead.
  • Tim Schafer is cursed with these.
    • Psychonauts ended on a cliffhanger with the team speeding off to save Lili's father, but poor sales led to Majesco cancelling the sequel entirely. Tim Shafer eventually got the IP back around 2010 and has repeatedly expressed interest in creating another title, but as no publisher has stepped forward to fund it, the sequel has yet to materialize.
      • Notch of Minecraft fame has stepped forward to fund Psychonauts 2!
    • Brutal Legend was intended to be the first title in a series and the ending has a Sequel Hook. The second game had even started pre-production at Double Fine when Electronic Arts swiftly cancelled it in response to low sales of the first title. As Electronic Arts currently owns the IP and Double Fine has for the time completely abandoned AAA console titles, it's a safe bet that this is all we're going to get.
  • Betrayal at Krondor enjoyed immense success and is now a cult classic. The team that put it together was just starting to work on a sequel when the studio broke up the RPG department and crashed the whole project. A Spiritual Successor, Betrayal in Antara, and a thematic successor, Return to Krondor, eventually appeared, but the first had nothing in common with its predecessor except for the general game engine, and the latter was a sequel in name only. The actual project intended by the creators of Betrayal to expand on that storyline and tie off all the loose ends, called Thief of Dreams, never saw the light of day.
  • This trope seems to have hit Sega particularly hard:
  • Commander Keen ends rather suddenly with an impending battle between Commander Keen and his arch nemisis who intends to destroy the universe. Both Commander Keen 5 and 6 make reference to this impending conflict, but the story was never finished. Unless you count the Game Boy Color version, which doesn't exist.
  • Viewtiful Joe claimed that there'd be 2 more times the world needed to be saved at the end of the first game and the sequel ends on a cliffhanger. Odds of the 3rd game ever coming out are pretty damn low now that Clover Studios doesn't even exist anymore.
  • Jade Empire seems to have become this, with BioWare diverting their attention to the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises. Eventually evidence of a sequel surfaced when eagle eyed bloggers noticed a former BioWare artist with Jade Empire 2 on his resume, proving that the title was once in development. BioWare has been mum about the franchise coming back or if the project mentioned would ever see the light of day.
  • Legacy of Kain was last seen with the Big Bad still at large and many plot lines still hanging. Due to the death of a major voice actor and the departure of the main writers(and the death of another), the story will never be completed.
  • Will we ever hear of Battletoads again?
  • Anachronox ended on a cliffhanger. The game was a critical hit with a cult following, but didn't sell too well. Then there's the fact that that the development team was fired the day before the game was released. So no sequel for you.
  • No One Lives Forever was abandoned by Monolith in favor of F.E.A.R. and Condemned.
  • The four-part Swordquest series from Atari was cut short with the release of Waterworld, the third game in the series, thanks to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983.
  • Freedom Force is a pair of light-hearted yet brilliant superhero pastiches that blended pastiche with actual overarching plots and solid gameplay. Unfortunately, they didn't sell that well so development on the third entry died. Since then the studio has become so focused on (and rich by) making the Bioshock series that the cliffhanger ending of the second game will likely never be cleared up.
  • The Croc series ended after two normal games and two mobile games, due to Argonaut software folding. The mobile games have long been unavailable for download, so the only games most people will play are Croc 1 and 2. A 3rd game in the series was announced but never released. The games were serious contenders to Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon at the time, and could have gone on to better things.
  • Sadly, Klonoa has fallen fate to this, the series's last game released in 2002. A shame, since this way, the cliffhanger of Klonoa 2 Lunatea's Veil will never be solved.
  • Breath of Fire, though Camelot Software Planning has offered to revive the franchise; however, this was three years ago.
  • Mega Man Legends has unfortunately become this with 3 being cancelled.
  • Bonk also appears to sadly be another victim of this, with Bonk 3DS and Brink of Extinction being cancelled due to the dissolution of Hudson.
  • Shadow Hearts, due to the dissolution of Nautilus.
  • Wild Arms appears to be orphaned, given the relative inactivity of Media Vision since RIZ-ZOAWD.
    • There's still hope since Media.Vision hasn't folded yet. Oddly enough, their most recent game is Valkyria Chronicles III (another RPG with emphasis on firearms).
  • Suikoden hasn't gotten a proper sequel since the fifth, with Konami ultimately announcing on their Facebook page that they had no new announcements on the series, and that the development team behind the franchise had been disbanded.
    • Not quite dead, given the announcement of Genso Suikoden: Centennial Tapestry (official English title, if the game is localized, may differ), although the series that takes place in the same universe has been orphaned for years.
  • Sony left Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow hanging on a Cliff Hanger, then abandoned the franchise.
  • Blinx, due to the dissolution of Artoon.
  • The Space Quest series, after ending with a teaser for Space Quest 7, has been abandoned as Sierra, like Lucas Arts, has moved away from adventure games. Some fan made sequels do exist, but nothing official is ever likely to appear.
  • Dark Cloud
  • The Oddworld "quintology." It was planned to be at least 10 games. To very few people's surprise, this turned out to be not an easy task. So far, there have been 4. Every year or so there's been news about the company making a new game (At least 3 different sequel ideas have been completely scrapped,) or making sequels in the form of films, but nothing ever comes of it. It seems like they may have finally given up on completing the series. They're working on remakes of their old games instead.
  • The Crash Bandicoot series has now become this with the team who were making the new games being fired by Activision.


Web Original

  • The first incarnation and reboot Darwin's Soldiers on Furtopia were never finished and will probably remain that way.
  • In general, this is very common fate for online roleplays.
  • Similar to the web comics examples, this is an incredibly common result for blogs. Due to lack of time or interest in maintaining regular blog posts, the internet is littered with thousands upon thousands of blogs that are orphaned permanently. Bloggers also often bring their blog Back From the Dead after long periods of orphandom, but frequently this results only in "I've been meaning to get back to this..." and "I'm sorry I haven't posted in so long..." posts showing up at increasing intervals.
  • Played straight with Strong Sad's blog, which is otherwise a parody of Live Journal. And then lampshaded when Strong Sad mentioned it in the Strong Bad Email "email thunder". Sadly, it seems that this has happened to Homestarrunner.com as well.
  • Xiao Xiao ended with a demo of a beat-em-up game back in 2002. There have been no signs of that demo or the series ever continuing since then. In fact, the author's whereabouts are unknown as well.
  • Sapphire Spindle Paw is either this or Stillborn Serial. Mystic(TheSpiritWolf) Created a prologue video and then a first episode, then posted about his/her intentions to make a third video, and then left the site. Searching "Sapphire Spindle Paw", with quotes, gives around four or five results. There is no sign of an episode 2.
  • Rock Tumbler's Let's Play of Grand Theft Auto IV was discontinued due to his drug use. His former partners have started it up again and finished it.
  • Spoony's Let's Play of Deadly Premonition is looking like it won't ever be continued (at least not any time soon), having only Part 1 up on the site. This doesn't stop fans on the forums starting a new thread every few weeks or so asking when he's going to finish it...
  • Atlas of Medieval America was a very intriguing concept that never got more than a couple months of updates. Alternate History buffs have tried to carry on.
  • Super Mario Bros Z due to how time consuming it took to the animate the fights. What was meant to be a twenty six episodes ended at eight after the creator called it quits.
  • The SCP Foundation story "Metafiction" (one of the most popular tales on the site) ends with to be continued on a very interesting cliffhanger. The discussion page is filled with requests, pleads and threats to the author to just finish the damn thing already.


Western Animation



 Waldorf: These shows aren't getting finished!

Statler: Who cares? They never should have been started!

Both: Do-ho-hoh!

Notes

  1. (although at the time he was Original Trilogy, George Lucas only had a vague idea of what the stories of the Prequel and Sequel Trilogies would be)
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