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"Imagine a world where sequels are banned. Would this not be a beautiful place?"
Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw, Zero Punctuation [1] on sequels. See Sequelitis

A subculture, arising primarily in game journalism, that is so jaded by Sequelitis and Capcom Sequel Stagnation that its members are predisposed to dislike any product that is a Sequel, regardless of its actual value.

This group seems to have a grudge against any release that doesn't revolutionize and revitalize its genre, while overlooking that people like sequels and that if they didn't, sequels wouldn't sell. Never mind that, for example, cars aren't dinged for having four wheels, a steering column, and an internal-combustion engine, just like every other car out there. This group and their reviews seem to grow louder and louder in direct proportion to the uptick of sequels in general.

This is the group of fans that is upset that expansion packs don't create an entirely new game, or that sequels use similar user interface features, even if the original engine was just fine.

As with most extremists, they have a legitimate point underneath all the bluster: Series and genres must innovate at some point, or they become stagnant. And of course, some series do get worse over time despite their sales holding steady. Where this group gets it wrong is assuming that every single game has to innovate. As long as it's still fun, it doesn't need to be mind-blowingly revolutionary. (There is also a legitimate counter-point; as Brad Wardell points out here, a sequel game ought to resemble its predecessor to some extent, or it has no business being sold under the same name as the original.)

See also Mission Pack Sequel.

Examples of Sequelphobic include:


Anime

  • Certain members of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fandom freaked out when it was announced that the last part of an upcoming movie trilogy will be a continuation of the anime's events. An oft-used argument is that the original ending was perfect and adding a sequel will ruin it forever.

Video Games

  • Video game review site GameSpot is a major offender, as "too much like the original" is one of their most common complaints. Particularly bad was giving Metroid Prime an 9.7, and then giving Prime 3 an 8.5.
    • More reasonably, IGN's review rated Prime 3 a 9.5, only .3 points lower than the first game, and openly stated it would have gotten those extra three tenths if Prime hadn't done it first, as innovation counts for something.
    • They even do it with Expansions. Check Heroes of Might and Magic V and watch the score decline despite the new features and overall increase in quality.
    • IGN's worst offense: The original Backyard Basketball on the PC got a 6.5. It deserved the score because the game crashed a lot and the controls were weak. The follow-up on the Play Station 2 improved on everything the original game did, adding nine more playable characters and making the controls like other NBA games; it got the exact same score. This has been a problem with other games in the series too.
  • The founding Real Time Strategy series, Command and Conquer, has legions of anti-fans who hate them for being more of the same, time after time, despite "the same" being just fine. Until recently, when it was revealed that that the fourth installment would completely change the game mechanics to not be dependent on base-building and tank rushes.
  • Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation leveled this accusation at Nintendo, citing it as a problem he had with Super Smash Bros. Brawl, despite the fact that there hadn't been a new Super Smash Bros game for more than six years, long enough for some entire game series to come out. It's also his main beef with all Nintendo franchises and Super Mario Bros. in particular (though he complains more about setting and character than gameplay with regards to Sequelitis).
    • Nintendo are actually one of the least guilty developers in this aspect - since about the SNES era they've pretty much had a policy that they will only produce one, maybe two titles in each franchise for a given system. Compare this to Eidos, for instance, who made FIVE Tomb Raider games for the PS 1 alone.
      • Note that while Pokémon and Super Mario have games with their names on them released yearly, these are mostly spinoffs of some sort. The main series of each remains restricted to once or twice a system (though Pokemon pushes it with regular remakes and rereleases of said main series).
    • Despite being in a genre that desperately needs games this gen and being the sequel to what is considered one of the best games of all time, Super Mario Galaxy 2 has attracted sequelphobes based on a 90 second trailer, mainly due to apparently being a Mission Pack Sequel.
    • Punch Out for Wii caught some flak for not being different enough from the preceding games... the last one of which came out fifteen years previous.
  • If a new Fire Emblem game is coming out, you can be sure that reviews are being written which accuse it of being too difficult and its graphics as not being up to par. Fire Emblem fans, of course, want difficulty, and regard nice graphics as more or less a pleasant bonus.
    • Fire Emblem's fans have hit a level of Fan Dumb not often seen. To summarize: The fanbase wants everything changed completely to be new, the old gameplay doesn't hold up, despite the fact that these same people play older games in the series regularly. And every future FE game should have all the features from [insert previous FE game here], only better. And the battle animations for each succeeding installment suck more, despite notable improvements. (And the fact that most of the complainers keep animations off for speed purposes anyway) Really, the fact that the Game FAQs reader review average for Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is 2 full points lower than the critical average should tell you everything you need to know.
  • MacUser gave the old arcade-style platformer Dark Castle five mice. Beyond Dark Castle had many more levels than the original, new types of levels including side-scrolling flying sequences and vast labyrinths, the transition from a One-Hit-Point Wonder to a health meter, and new items to use such as bombs -- yet MacUser gave it only three and a half mice, citing disappointment at it being "more of the same".
  • Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4 completely changed the layout of story mode and more than tripled the content of the third game, but many gamers refused to give it a chance due to it being the fourth game in a yearly series.
    • In a similar fashion, Proving Ground, which takes place in a whole state (well, three cities and the areas linking them) but was not given a chance by many people because of the popularity of Skate.
  • Some game series seem to get this even from quarters that aren't usually Sequelphobic. Dynasty Warriors leaps immediately to mind.
    • DYNASTY Warriors? *EVERY* -Warriors game gets this treatment. Samurai Warriors, Warriors Orochi... People look at the latest installment, and think "Oh that's the exact same game it's always been", despite the series making improvements and adjustments for over a decade. Not to mention some of the games that are huge departures that are ignored; in addition to Strikeforce, there's also Dynasty Warriors 6, which reworks most of the characters entirely and institutes an entirely new combo system, Dynasty Warriors 7 and Samurai Warriors Chronicles which completely rework the Story Mode, and Dynasty Warriors DS, which could not possibly be more different from the rest of the series without being an In Name Only installment. Also Dynasty Warriors Gundam, which overhauls nearly every aspect of the game to better reflect piloting a Mobile Suit instead of being a superhuman warrior.
      • Especially insulting with DW: Strikeforce, whom reviewers slammed for 'being the exact same thing as DW6'. Except, you know, it is not. To date, I can't recall people going Super Saiyan and flying in DW6, nor do I recall having to fight off 150 feet tall undead tiger demons, demolishing a giant siege engine while being attacked by the entire Yuan Shao army (flying, no less), actually having and developing a town as headquarters, using multiple weapons per character, the presence of chakra powerups and shops... let's face it, nowadays reviewers see a Koei game, take a look at the images and go 'oh, same old DW as always'. It was especially cringe-inducing in an infamous review for Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War, which was dismissed as 'yet another DW buttonmasher by Koei'. The problem? Bladestorm is a squad based RTS, not a buttonmasher. It's closer to Kessen. This just goes to show that reviewers don't even bother playing new Koei games, and just copypaste their last review to 'save time' without playing the game.
      • Of course, when critics do research, it falls into They Changed It, Now It Sucks category. Strikeforce plays nothing like standard Warriors game despise having the same characters, so fans of classic Dynasty Warriors tends to hate Strikeforce for it.
  • Averted in the case of Thief II. While most reviewers couldn't help pointing out the fact that the game looked and played exactly like the original, including the same user interface and end-mission mini-movies, the game was so incredibly good that they generally said this wasn't a problem, as the game improved upon its predecessor in several non-superficial ways. In this case, most reviewers were simply expressing dismay at the fact that the game didn't have graphics that could compete with other modern first-person games and would thus likely be overlooked by the public. And to a large extent, they were right.
  • This article comments on the phenomenon, noting that Basketball 2009 is basically the same game as Basketball 2008 and nobody cares.
  • Sequelphobia is the reason Masahiro Sakurai stepped down as president of HAL Labs.
  • Master of Orion III shows what happens when the Sequelphobes get what they ask for. The designers said repeatedly that they were making "Master of Orion 3, not Master of Orion 2.5." And they did; they built a totally new game with a new interface, new mechanics, and so on. The result was a bloated monstrosity that ran far over schedule and over budget, and bombed on release. In retrospect, Master of Orion 2.5 would probably have been much better.
  • Bioshock has this in spades; as soon as the sequel was announced, hardcore fans of the original were saying that the first game was now Ruined FOREVER, and that a sequel was both unnecessary and would somehow cheapen the original. It Got Worse when it was announced that the sequel was to be developed by 2K Marin rather than Irrational Games, and that it would have multiplayer. Ultimately the game was very well-received by critics and most fans alike, but there are still many fans of the original who hate the sequel on principle.
  • There was a variation of this when the sequel for Left 4 Dead was announced. Fans of the original were furious that the sequel was being worked on before their supposedly promised downloadable content for the original was released. So much so, in fact, that a boycott of several thousand players arose. It didn't play out, though.
  • Similar to the Left 4 Dead scenario, when Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was officially announced, only after the release of a fraction of a minute of gameplay footage, perhaps out of habit from the lackluster games before it, fans wanted to boycott Sonic 4. By buying Sonic 1.
  • The Call of Duty franchise has been getting this reaction from both fans and non fans since the one year development cycle began with World At War.
  • Madden NFL also gets this, given that their games come out every year.
  • This applies to video game hardware as well as software. Nintendo gets a lot of criticism for giving Product Facelifts to its handheld systems (to the point where some people claim that the early relatively poor performance of the Nintendo 3DS is due to people mistaking it for another redesign of the DS). Even entirely new video game systems get complaints from people who don't want to have to spend money on a new system to play new games if the older console doesn't get enough support as a Daddy System.

Notes

  1. being a hypocrite
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