Keeping this in mind, the following is a list in which Hamza and I both consider our personal Top 5 games that should have sequels but haven’t. Everyone has reasons as to why they hold something near and dear and why they would want more or it. There are loads of other titles that could have made this list and we would love to hear about them and your reasons in the comments!
I’m going to start off my first title on this list which also happens to be one of my favorite games of all time. It’s one of two on this list that fits that bill alongside Breath of Fire III, Shovel Knight and more. Without further blabbering on my part, here are my Top 5 games that should have had sequels!
Rogue Galaxy is an action RPG developed by Level-5 and was published by Sony in NA a little less than a decade ago. One thing to mention right now is that fans of Star Wars will feel right at home with this game as it has many parallels to the epic space opera. Being a Star Wars fan myself, I had no issues with it.
Back in the PS2 era of gaming, the term RPG was often the catalyst for seemingly infinite game length, regardless of the sub-style, and many companies often used this as excuse to go overboard with the usual (and unusual) elements that often permeate such games. Because of Rogue Galaxy's action-oriented gameplay, Level-5 had to make sure that the game would not fall into repetition and that it actually held the gamer's attention more than just a few hours. Featuring different worlds, great dialogue, an interesting story and a wide cast of characters, these aspects mitigate the fact that the combat system and exploration don't change much - in fact these two aspects remain the same throughout.
Speaking of which, the combat is stellar well very implemented in an action RPG as long as this one. Offering various moves for your character, an interesting feature to note is that you can swap between party members at any point during combat. The exploration on the other hand is a blast, and the locations range from ocean worlds to vast jungles to blooming metropolises - the latter of which may or may not contain a ridiculously sized jail that you get thrown into.
Gorgeous production and a great combat system notwithstanding, why should there be Rogue Galaxy 2? The short answer is: because the way it ends. When you defeat the final boss, one of the major characters, Kisala, is installed as the new queen of Mariglenn by the planet's inhabitants. Deciding to get her back, Jaster and Dorgengoa (Kisala's love interest and adoptive father, respectively) set out to pull off one last heist and reclaim their ultimate treasure.
It is here the game ends. And while I liked the open ending, what I didn't enjoy was the fact that Level-5 increased my thirst for more but failed to quench it. As of writing this article, no talks of a sequel have materialized and it is unlikely they ever will at this point. After the success of Rogue Galaxy, Level-5 went on to develop White Knight Chronicles, Yo-Kai Watch and the excellent Professor Layton series. They even collaborated with Studio Ghibli on the utterly beautiful Ni No Kuni. Most of these games got proper sequels so why was Rogue Galaxy left out? Despite receiving positive reviews, it failed to meet sales expectations and thus, was unceremoniously shelved by Sony.
I sincerely hope we get Rogue Galaxy 2 some time in the near future as I would love to see a continuation of the greatly voice-acted, superbly written, well-implemented mechanics and one stellar production experience.
The Legend of Dragoon
Easily among the best RPG's out there, Legend of the Dragoon does everything right: story, combat, pacing. Sadly, like Rogue Galaxy (see No. 1), this game, too, failed to meet sales expectations and was passed over in favor of other, “more” successful games. This attitude is strange, seeing how this game managed to sell 960k copies in NA and 280k in Japan. While these numbers “aren't” impressive in this day and age where everyone strives to break at-least a million copies and “real success” stories start at a billion, back in 2000, and especially for a grand-scale RPG on the stagnating PS1, I'd say these numbers are quite impressive.
The game truly took the turn-based combat system to new heights. Players could perform combos to inflict serious damage and even transform themselves into a powerful Dragoons to tip the outcome of the battle to their favor. As the game goes on, nifty challenges are thrown in the form of timed differently timed combos and the enemies with the ability to counter-attack.
Besides the robust combat system, the story, dialog, animations, environments and cut-scenes are equally stellar, whether taken individually or together. Each and every aspect contributes to one epic, unforgettable experience that is The Legend of Dragoon. The characters are believable. They love and they lose; they fight and they die. The game ends on a solid note that, unlike that of Rogue Galaxy's, leaves no room for interpretation. However, just as is the case with Rogue Galaxy, there is another scene that plays right as soon as the credits stop rolling.
As it so happens Rose and Zieg, who had sacrificed themselves to destroy the God of Destruction, are in fact still alive and have been reincarnated as watchful birds. The game's symbolic use of color, coupled with the emotional music, the personal level of attachment the player gets with Rose and Zieg, and the realization that these two are lovers and that their story spans a thousand years before the event of this game, one is moved to wonder: why in the sweet fuck hasn't there been a sequel? Considering the epic, monumental scale of The Legend of Dragoon and the fact that it has a huge untold backstory, and despite being over fifteen years old, a sequel is just as wished for today as it was back then.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
My initial reaction to this game when it came out was, "Seriously? Isn't it enough that we already have 3D Mario, Dr. Mario, and Mario is Missing... and now you're telling me we have to contend with an RPG Mario?"
In hindsight, yeah, what was I thinking?
Developed by SquareSoft (long before they merged with Enix) and released for the SNES, Super Mario RPG is still one of my all-time favorite RPG's. Before I progress any further, I want to point out that while this game indeed got follow-ups by the names of Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi, both of them are considered spiritual sequels and have gone to become proper franchises of their own. In fact, these three titles are part of a collective whole called "Mario RPG" in which, you guessed it, Mario and Co. appear in RPG-style adventures.
Naturally given the role of Mario (as I seem to be the only one routing for Luigi which says something as I am the older brother and normally Player 1), players guide the mustachioed plumber in an iteration of Mushroom Kingdom that hadn't been done and seen before. Utilizing a third-person isometric view, Super Mario RPG bears more than just surface resemblance to Square's contemporary Final Fantasy games. The story sees Mario teaming up with the likes of Princess Peach, Bowser, a fluffy marshmallow denizen called Mallow, and a Celestial spirit named Geno, in an attempt to ward off an evil that has cast its ugly shadow all over Mushroom Kingdom. It was interesting to see natural enemies like Mario and Bowser teaming up to defeat a common enemy. Even Princess Peach, who is more or less the damsel-in-distress in nearly every Mario game, takes a break from being typecast and actually brings a frying pan to battles.
While Super Mario RPG didn't revolutionize the genre, and nor did it bring anything new to the table (the honor of that goes to its spiritual successors), it has charm and humour - and that more than enough makes up for its similarities to previous RPG titles. What it doesn't justify, though, is the lack of a proper sequel. By that I mean Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 2. A sequel featuring this unique version of Mushroom Kingdom would still be amazing even if they used a similar art style, which by today's standard would be considered 'retro' in which my response would be “your point?”.
Tales of Vesperia
I'm a huge fan of the excellent Tales series from Namco. Ever since I first played Tales of Destiny, I've been hooked into the series. I mean, what's not to love? An RPG that allows you to run forward and hit enemies in real time? No active turn battle systems? Count me in...
If I hadn't already bought an Xbox 360 to play Mass Effect, I certainly would've bought one just to play Tales of Vesperia if nothing else. Being the tenth title in the main series, Vesperia is the successor to Innocence, though it's much closer in style to the eighth instalment, Abyss. In a typical move at the time, Microsoft bought the exclusive rights to this game, so anyone wishing to play the latest in the long-running "Tales" series had upgrade from a PS2 to their console to Microsoft's Xbox 360, or buy one in conjunction with their PS3.
Personally, I was disappointed in the console choice of what was to become my all-time favorite title in the "Tales" series. It was no wonder most of the JRPG's around this time suffered financial losses because they, instead of making the switch from PS2 to PS3, jumped exclusively to Xbox 360. In doing so, they alienated their fanbase. Thankfully this was partially restored once the exclusivity rights expired and PS3 ports were made of several entries that saw the same fate. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for several of these entries and furthermore for anyone outside of Japan, we never saw the PS3 port as it was never localized nor are there any plans to do so.
Tales of Vesperia does several things that most games of this style barely even touch upon. Normally, you assume the role of a hero, paladin of light, savior of justice... or a variant of some sort. Instead you control Yuri Lowell. Despite his position and appearance in a game that relies on stereotypical characters, Yuri is a realist who understands the brevity of the situation he's part of and realizes that in order to bring justice, one must get their hands dirty. This is not to say that Tales of Vesperia has a dark, mature story; more often than not, it has its comedic moments and light-hearted banter. The brilliancy of this game is that it's not at all afraid to show both sides of the coin - the good and the bad.
The reason why Tales of Vesperia makes this list is because unlike Rogue Galaxy (No. 1) and Legend of the Dragoon (No. 2), this game has no post-game or post-credits scene. When you defeat the boss, that's it. Game over. A literal black screen. The abruptness of it all is precisely why I desperately NEED / WANT / REQUIRE a sequel, because I seriously need to know what the hell happens next!
Mega Man X8
Before anyone says anything. Yes. It is a Mega Man title. Let me explain.
The Mega Man X series started to introduce a bit more in the story element department than the core series had been doing past “Wily did something” which changed substantially by Mega Man 7. Moving way past this point we had Mega Man X7 that was heavy on the narrative even though it’s gameplay wasn’t the best received trying instead to go towards somewhat 3D environments like Mega Man Legends excelled at. Moving back to a pure platformer, Mega Man X8 had the most story to tell by this point as our now three heroes one more time picked themselves up to do battle with forces that would harm Humans and Reploids alike.
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet but the main point of it all is that Mega Man X8 was the last in the X series to see the light of day. Capcom before ditching Mega Man all together for years and ignoring the 25th anniversary all together, left a giant opening with a decent amount of foreshadowing ahead with the events that ended X8.
“Quick” Recap - From the Start
● Dr Light and Dr Wily created Protoman and then the Robot Masters
● Dr Light created Mega Man
● Dr Wily created loads of new Robot Masters to take over the world.
● Dr Wily Created Base and Treble to take out Mega Man
● Dr Light created Mega Man X for the future in a time for things to be different
● Dr Wily using Base as a template created Zero to destroy Mega Man but never saw the chance to deploy him
● Sigma, the leader of the Maverick Hunters finds Zero and is almost defeated by him until he shatters his crystal and eventually reprogrammed. Sigma however is infected by the Zero virus and becomes evil after a bit of time has passed.
● Dr Cain finds Mega Man X and activates him
● X and Zero become partners over time
● X and Zero fight against one another because that is their destiny
● X and Zero having everything settled are eventually joined by Axel by MMX7
● Axel’s Crystal breaks from an enemy that absorbed the Sigma Virus which comes from the Zero Virus at the end of MMX8…
and that’s it. What happens after that point? From that release Capcom has only ever released “Mega Man 9” and “Mega Man 10” before cancelling the other projects. We may never know what happens next. Does Axel go Maverick or worse? There have been spin-offs including a what if with Zero who slept for years to rid himself of the virus forming the Mega Man Zero games on the DS. But for X series which is the future of the core Mega Man series? A lot of us would still like to know.
Nier was an absolute crazy ride. What is going on? Why are these things happening? Who is that? So many questions, as you move or rush from one point to the next. That is what made this so good.
Unlike most of the other entries on this list, Nier is rather new in comparison having released only back in 2010. Square did a few things with this entry that hadn’t really been done before. Primarily Nier was released in two separate versions as people relate to things differently on average from country to another. Japan’s Nier was about a brother and his sister while the rest of the world’s Nier was about a father and his daughter. They went with what was more emotionally sound on a per culture basis (Generalization).
Not knowing this until much much later, Nier is “A spin-off from the main series stemming from Drakengard 's fifth ending”. I still need to sit down with these. From the point of view of Nier however, the world has… just moved on and kind of ended. There are Shadows everywhere and people just try to make it for as long as they can make it. What’s interesting is the story that is told of how far this, Father / Brother depending upon the version, is willing to go for the one they care for.
With a lot of different endings which followed upon one another and never making players have to fully restart by instead inserting a halfway point of that separates the changing and the non-changing events, more Nier could only be a good thing.
With E3 being what was it was this year, stellar for multiple announcements, a new Nier entry was announced taking it off of the list that should have had a sequel and instead moving it into an honorable mention as we are at least getting one of the ones that has been on some of our lists for a while now.
Article by Pierre-Yves