One of the topics we find ourselves discussing a lot on this website is the fact that we should have had at least one more Duke Nukem sequel by now, and it’s frustrating that there doesn’t seem to be one in the works. It probably doesn’t help matters that the people who own the character’s intellectual property are busy suing each other, and nor does it help that the world is a lot more politically-correct than it was twenty years ago, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped the long-planned John Cena-led Duke Nukem move from going ahead. It might be years before we get the sequel we’re all hoping for, and perhaps it will never happen at all. As fans of a classic game, though, we’re not alone with these frustrations.
One of the most irritating truths of the video game world is that franchises that should have died out years ago get sequel after sequel, whereas other franchises get left to rot. Some people would even say that Duke Nukem Forever is a sequel that should never have been made, but we’re willing to overlook that. One bad game shouldn’t be allowed to ruin a whole franchise. We can all think of other examples, though, just as we can think of examples of games that should have got a follow-up but never did.
All of us play games other than Duke Nukem, and so all of us probably have our own ideas of games that we’d like to see more of. If you ask us, though, these are the five games we’d welcome sequels to with open arms.
If you’re below the age of 25, you might not remember the controversy that Bully caused when it was first released. It’s a Rockstar Games product and attracted just as much negative press attention as Grand Theft Auto frequently does. Set in a private boarding school, 2006’s Bully saw you take control of a violent teenager trying to fight, cheat, and romance his way through the school’s complex social hierarchy. Skipping class was all part of the fun, and delinquency was positively encouraged. The game was hugely popular, and rumors about a sequel circulated for more than a decade, but Rockstar finally confirmed it wasn’t happening last year. We’re all poorer for that decision.
These days, BioWare is best known (for better or for worse) for being the company behind Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic. It could and should have been known for the successful Jade Empire series, but instead, they limited themselves to releasing the original game in 2005 and then never following it up. We have no idea why, and nor do they when they’re asked about it. They borrowed the ‘morality system’ that worked so well in their flagship Star Wars game, added real-time combat to the mix, and came up with a fantastic original product set in ancient China. It was scenic, atmospheric, fun to play, and should have been easy to turn into a series. Perhaps they still will one day.
Diddy Kong Racing
You could make a strong case that Nintendo has already pushed things too far with the Mario Kart series and didn’t push things far enough with what could have been a sister franchise. Diddy Kong Racing, released in 1997 for the N64, took everything that was good about Mario Kart and added more layers. As an example, Diddy Kong Racing came with a story mode. Mario Kart racing didn’t then, and still doesn’t now. A sequel called Donkey Kong Racing was apparently in development in 2002, but Microsoft got in the way by purchasing Rare and canceling the game. We can’t help but feel that they left money on the table by doing so. Mario Kart Racing is still a big moneymaker in the 2020s. There’s no reason whatsoever why Diddy Kong Racing or Donkey Kong Racing couldn’t still be a hit too.
Unless you were there in the early 2000s, it’s hard to explain how popular Half-Life was. Just think about all the hype that gets attached to the latest Halo games – which were loosely inspired by Half-Life – and you won’t be far away. Half-Life was big business, and was one of the first genuinely popular MMO shooter games in history. Half-Life 2 in 2004 wasn’t quite as successful but still made enough money and attracted enough players to justify a follow-up. Two expansions to the game were released in the years that followed, imaginatively entitled Episode 1 and Episode 2, but no third game ever materialized. That’s despite the fact that there were clearly issues to resolve and threads left hanging in the story of Gordon and Alyx. We’re still holding on to the faint hope that there might still be a sequel in development.
Like Duke Nukem, BloodRayne suffers from “bad sequel syndrome.” The first BloodRayne, which was released in 2002, was a smash hit of the hack and slash genre, making Nazi zombie killing cool long before Call of Duty had success with a similar format. The second BloodRayne, released just two years later, was a bit of a dud. It didn’t add anything new and took away many of the things that made the original so unique. That killed the franchise stone dead. There was a sideways sequel of sorts released in 2011 – a game called BloodRayne Betrayal that took a more cartoonish, two-dimensional approach – but that was neither here nor there and made no effort to continue the original series. Since then, we’ve seen the BloodRayne name get a revival at online slots websites. There’s been no ‘real’ third game, but anyone who plays online slots semi-regularly might have seen this casino-based alternative on their travels. That’s not necessarily unusual – many great video games of the past have found new life as online slots in recent history – but it is strange to see a classic game turned into an online slots game with 10 free spins no deposit when there haven’t been any further entries in the franchise itself. Perhaps someone will take note of the slot’s success and resolve that problem in the not-too-distant future.
Is your favorite sequel-free game on this list? Have we got this badly wrong and missed a classic? If so, head to the forums and call us out on it – we live for debate!