Created By: Katana on November 18, 2011 Last Edited By: bwburke94 on October 10, 2013

Gaiden Game Glut

A team focuses more on making side stories or prequels instead of using direct sequels.

Name Space:
Main
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Trope
Do We Have This One?? Might be too similar to Capcom Sequel Stagnation or could be a Sister Trope, which would help distinguish some of that trope's examples. Rolling Updates are going into this. Story and Gameplay examples might be two separate tropes.

So the first game was a hit! You decide to make a new game, only this time a prequel to explore some of the questions from the first game. Or maybe you decide to make a Gaiden Game with new mechanics for a change of pace. And, while you're at it, the original starts to seem dated, so you remake it. Suddenly you're making nothing but side games, Prequels, and remakes, but not advancing the main canon storyline except by proxy or you end up leaving behind the original gameplay that made the first game a hit.

In some cases, the new side games end up becoming their own franchises. For example, the Mario series covers many radically different franchises that simply feature some of the same characters. Compare for instance, Mario Party to Mario Kart or Paper Mario to WarioWare, all of which started out as side games to a platformer.

Compare Capcom Sequel Stagnation for the opposite effect, where a developer gets locked into making the same game with minor tweaks over and over, and Vapor Ware for what the main series games end up becoming if it drags on long enough. Should not be confused with Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Not a Video Game exclusive trope, but most often seen there. Examples are divided into Story, where the plot seems to never advance, and Gameplay, for when gameplay similar to that in the first game becomes rarer and rarer.

Story examples

  • Kingdom Hearts is a notable offender. So far there are ten games in the series, counting remakes, but only two numbered titles.
  • Metal Gear
  • Shining Force
  • Halo is starting to dip into this.
  • Shin Megami Tensei
  • Mega Man: Mostly the Classic series, though Mega Man Battle Network has also experienced this.
  • Legendof Zelda: Has a legendarily confusing timeline, but there has only been one game set after the first, and all others have been set as prequels or in alternate timelines.
  • Metroid: Ever since Fusion (chronologically the last game in the series so far), all games have been interquels.
  • Resident Evil
  • Non-game example; the X-Men film series has had two prequels, with two more in development.

Gameplay examples

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • November 18, 2011
    Cider
    That Mario example doesn't count. Super Mario Bros is a sequel to Mario Bros. The gameplay changed but the gameplay changed in Super Paper Mario and all of the 3D platformers except Galaxy 2 as well.
  • November 18, 2011
    KyleJacobs
    Might want to add "Compare Capcom Sequel Stagnation"
  • November 18, 2011
    azul120
  • November 18, 2011
    surgoshan
    • Since Half Life 2: Episode 2 came out, we've had Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Portal 2 with nary a peep (in nearly half a decade) on the Episode 3 front. One cannot help but think that Valve doesn't quite understand the nature of episodic gameplay.
  • November 18, 2011
    NESBoy
    Between Donkey Kong 64 and Donkey Kong Country Returns, the Donkey Kong series stagnated with games like Donkey Konga, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, DK King of Swing, Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, and Mario Vs Donkey Kong.
  • November 20, 2011
    Cider
    I'm also having trouble with Kirby being there. Has it really had that many "gaiden games" prequels or side games? Does it have enough of a plot for those terms to apply? Bad guy wants to ruin Dreamland/Popstar/The Solar System, Kirby fights him or Kirby stumbles into something he shouldn't have. You could call each platform game a sequel then and the platform games keep going, despite the spinoffs.
  • November 20, 2011
    TechUnadept
    Metroid. Ever since Fusion, (number four) all the games in the series have been Inter Quels. Rumor is that they're working on an official metroid 5, titled "Dread".
  • November 20, 2011
    X2X
    I don't quite think Mega Man quite counts either, or at least the entire metaseries doesn't count. The Classic series is probably the most notable offender (I can name at least 10 spin-offs/interquels as opposed to the 10 main titles), but most of the other series had minimal non-numbered titles in comparison. Zero, ZX, and Star Force had none to speak of. X (eight games) only had Xtreme, Xtreme 2, and Command Mission, all of which were sandwiched between main releases (before X5, X6, and X8, respectively). Legends had The Misadventures of Tron Bonne between the first and second games. Mega Man Battle Network (six games) is the only other example, having eight spin-offs (one of which--a crossover with Star Force--was released after the BN series had officially ended in BN6).
  • November 20, 2011
    Arutema
    Half the valve examples don't count, because only Portal is a Gaiden Game to Half Life. The rest are just other games made by Valve.
  • November 20, 2011
    Elbruno
    I'm not sure if prequels would really fit into gaiden game category, unless there are a lot that focus on filling the missing holes instead of just doing a game. If all prequels were considered here, then The Legend Of Zelda would be the biggest face in this trope, with more than a dozen prequels (in a very convuted timeline nonetheless) and just one official sequel to the original.
  • November 20, 2011
    Katana
    Should have addressed the concerns voiced in the comments. What seems to be causing some confusion is poorly written definition on my part. Part of the trope isn't just story; it also applies to radical changes in gameplay, which is perhaps best exemplified by the Kirby example.
  • November 28, 2011
    Katana
    Bump.
  • November 29, 2011
    pinkdalek
    I really don't see at all how you can justify Metal Gear as an example of this. There ARE a lot of Gaiden Games and at least one 'alternate sequel' to the original Metal Gear, but the main plot has definitely advanced. In fact, it's so advanced that by now there isn't a lot of room for more story if they chose to do Metal Gear Solid 5. The only way this makes sense is if you consider all games with the Solid subtitle to be different to all the games that are just Metal Gear, which isn't the case at all - the Solid games are direct sequels and prequels to the Metal Gear games.
  • December 2, 2011
    Katana
    The justification behind the Metal Gear one was the gap between MGS 2 and MGS 4 where we also had a lot of diversions like the Ac!d subseries and Portable Ops, in addition to MGS 3 being a prequel.
  • September 4, 2012
    azul120
    Whoops. Bumped this back up. Edited because I objected to Mario vs. Donkey Kong, because said game was a descendant of the original DK series.
  • September 5, 2012
    animeg3282
    Let's clip any complaining in the description or examples, but Persona has had many remakes of older Personas and several spinoffs after Persona4
  • September 5, 2012
    nitrokitty
    ^ And that gets even more egregious when you remember that the Persona series is itself a spinoff of the Shin Megami Tensei series.
  • September 5, 2012
    MiinU

    Story/gameplay example

    • Street Fighter: After releasing Street Fighter II, in '91, Capcom spent the next three years rehashing it with Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Street Fighter II: Turbo, Super Street Fighter II, and Super Street Fighter II: Turbo. The next two titles in the series (Street Fighter Alpha, and Alpha 2) were interquels set after the original Street Fighter, but before the events of the sequel. It got so bad, the editors at EGM joked that Capcom couldn't count to 3. Street Fighter III wasn't released until mid '98, seven years after II.
  • September 6, 2012
    KingZeal
    • Capcom strikes again with the Devil May Cry series. The first title in the series was a smash hit, but the second is widely detracted by critics and fans. So much so that the team that worked on it was replaced with the original team for the third and fourth installments in the series, which takes place before and after the first game, respectively. The fifth game, DmC: Devil May Cry, is a reboot. They haven't even touched the events after DMC 2.
  • September 6, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    The name just reeks of Tropes Are Not Bad. It doesn't matter if it is alliterative.

    The description also reeks of it, and starts of with Example As A Thesis, which is a no-no (hypothetical examples are best done after the definition is stated).
  • October 9, 2013
    NESBoy
    Should this be the page quote?

    Mario: Another offer just came in ... a surefire hit: 'New Mario Teaches Typing'. Bowser: What people really want is 'Luigi Paint'! Luigi: Yeah, nobody wants more Mario shovelware!
  • October 9, 2013
    Lakija
    I object to Metal Gear also, because the story progresses. Not chronologically, but it all goes together still.

    I say add Resident Evil to both categories, as the gameplay is actually-for-factually getting further and further from what it began as, regardless of whether one likes it or not.

    For Animated Film, Land Before Time: there's 13 or more.

    Also, a Slow Clap for Kingdom Effing Hearts.
  • October 9, 2013
    jamespolk
    terrible name
  • October 9, 2013
    Lakija
    Maybe a better name would be... Distracted Game Makers. Or Milking The Franchise, or Sequel Stalling
  • October 10, 2013
    DAN004
    So... the examples end up nothing like the trope description?

    Something is definitely wrong here.
  • October 10, 2013
    AP
    Compare and contrast to Non Linear Sequel.
  • October 10, 2013
    KingZeal
  • October 10, 2013
    Cider
    You know what, never mind.
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