Likely Needs a Better Name
to Sequel Difficulty Spike
When the sequel to a game is on the works, there may be several goals in order to make it better than the first. Better graphics and sound are a basic first step, of course, as is a deeper story. The developers might also try to make the game harder
, either because the first game was not hard enough
, or simply because they want to go even further. The rest, for the most part, is up to what fits best to the game's concept.
Occasionally, however, a priority is to make this sequel longer
. As hardware capabilities advance, there may be extra space and time to ensure a more enduring adventure. Depending on the game's genre, there are several tools and means that help on this cause, like adding more levels, or making them longer. If possible, both; action-adventure, role-playing and platform games are benefited this way. For other genres like sports and fighting, more modes can also be introduced, as well as more unlockable goodies.
Beware, though. Some games might attempt this via Fake Longevity
May overlap sometimes with Sequel Escalation
Video Game Examples
- Super Mario Bros. 3 represents a big step in longevity compared to the first two games combined, having a total of 90 levels. Not even the subsequent Super Mario World has more levels (it appears to have "96", but only because there is more than one goal line in several of the 73 levels).
- At least two The Legend of Zelda games were designed with this trope in mind:
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has a longer main quest than the first two games, which is reflected in the presence of two overworlds, between which Link can explore up to 12 dungeons, the highest number of any Zelda game. It also features more sidequests (which, to be fair, were barely present at all in the previous titles), as well as more overworld activity.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has the same amount of dungeons as Ocarina of Time (nine), but the main quest is overall longer due to the exploration of the Twilight segments, the horsetrack battles, bigger landscapes, and other factors.
- Despite having one level less than Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie is notoriously longer (and more difficult) due to the levels being much bigger (often approaching the gargantuan size of the Donkey Kong 64 levels), a higher number of minigames, bosses and puzzles, and the necessity of traveling between levels (literally, without going through the Hub Level). For a direct comparison, only the first game's ninth level (Click Clock Wood) can rival the complexity and diversity of the first four levels of the second game, and still lose to the likes of Terrydactyland and Grunty Industries.
- The first four Mario Kart games have 4-5 Cups to compete in. From Mario Kart DS onwards, this cranked to 8.
- The Mario Kart series might have started this before that; the third game, Super Circuit included all the tracks from the original and had 40 tracks across 10 cups (compared to 20 across four in Super, and 16 across four in 64), which is the record four games later. Emphasis on 'might', however, because the tracks are usually shorter on the GBA than on the N64, and it lacks the mirror mode.
- Although both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl are giants in terms of content (and, in the meantime, bigger than the original N64 game), the latter's Adventure mode is significantly longer than the former's. In Melee, the mode only has 12 stages, short enough to be played and completed with every character for a decent overall playthrough. In Brawl, you only have to play the mode once, but it has 31 stages, nearly all characters are involved in it, it has its own story, its own extras, and the last level in particular is so big and complex that it might be a game or mode on its own!
- This is how the Punch-Out!! franchise progressed over the decades. The two arcade games, as well as the spin-off Arm Wrestling, had 5-6 opponents each only. The NES game, however, featured a whopping 13 opponents fought in three circuits, with a 14th challenger in the afterparty (depending on the version, it's either Mike Tyson or Mr. Dream). Fast forward to the SNES sequel, there are 16 challengers across four circuits, and finally the Wii version, which has only 13 regular opponents, but each is fought again through remixed (and much harder) fights in the newer Title Defense mode, plus a secret 14th challenger in the also-new Last Stand Mode, making for a grand total of seven circuits in story mode. Then there's of course, Exhibition mode, which adds further replay value to the game.
- It's somewhat difficult to judge whether No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle plays the trope straight or inverts it. It has more bosses and levels than the first, but the lack of a Hub Level reduces the amount of extra content, all of which is now accessed through a menu that is extended as the game progresses. The ability to access directly to the bosses' whereabouts for free (in the first game, a fee had to be paid first in each case) contributes to the faster pace, making the analysis of this trope's presence even more difficult to make.
- Final Fantasy XII is notoriously longer than previous games in the series, having longer dungeons, and a ton more side-quests.
- The Ace Combat series did this so often, it should be called "Sequel Longetivity Sinusoid". The default number of levels in an AC game falls somewhere between 15 and 20 (the original Air Combat had 17), but then we have Ace Combat 2 with 30, Ace Combat 3 with whopping 52 (the most so far), Ace Combat 5 with 32, Ace Combat X with 29, and Ace Combat X 2 with 26. Note, however, that all of these "spikes" featured some degree of non-linearity while games of default length were mostly linear.
- Portal 2 is about three times the length of Portal, largely because it features a lot more game mechanics (gels, faith plates, excursion funnels, hard light bridges) than the original, as well as a lot more character interactions, and therefore features a lot more levels to give them room to breathe.
- Pokémon Gold and Silver was slightly more than twice the length of Pokémon Red and Blue, since it featured the entire region that Red and Blue was set in, as well as a brand new one for Gold and Silver. Although later games tend to be longer than Red and Blue, they're likely less extensive than Gold and Silver.
- LEGO Island was basically a very simple Wide Open Sandbox game, set on a very small island, hosting 5 missions for each of 5 characters. LEGO Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge reduced the number of playable chracters to one, and increased the linearity, but the payoff was that the game could be much larger and more structured, featuring several different islands that could be visited and explored to varying extents.
- The Assassin's Creed games. Especially the second one compared to the first. It added Sidequests, dungeons, equipment, factions and had a longer story. The world was also bigger.
- Diablo 2.
- The original Pikmin had you collecting 30 ship parts on a 30-day timer. Even inexperienced players can get multiple parts in one day, and the days are short enough that you can generally beat the whole game in one day if you put some effort into it, much like its fellow Gamecube launch title Luigi's Mansion. However, Pikmin 2 is significantly longer than the first game as there are 201 collectible treasures as compared with the 30 ship parts of the original. A new captain, Louie, was added to the second game as were new game modes, new Pikmin types (purple and white), and new underground cavern levels.
- Endless Frontier: The first game lasts about under 40 hours. The second lasts around 60, and it has sidequests, unlike the first game.
- Metal Gear Solid 3 is way longer than any previous game in the series, and (even without the cutscenes) Metal Gear Solid 4 is even longer than that.
- Grand Theft Auto increased the size of each game. GTA 3 had the three islands, various mission threads in addition to the main story, and the collectible packages. Vice City was a little bigger geographically, with some added video/audio capability and more nuanced gameplay. San Andreas made the sandbox factor HUGE and increased the length even more, and topped off what the game engine could handle. GTA 4 brought in a new engine, a much larger Liberty City, and a darker, more realistic storyline (insofar as one man surviving multiple gunfights against multiple opponents all by himself is at all realistic).
- Castlevania II: Simon's Quest introduces a much larger world than the previous game, Castlevania. There are different paths, and different objectives, which contrasts with the previous game's "defeat a boss, then move on".
- MDK: You play as Kurt, a janitor wearing an untested Coil Suit, in a game spanning 5 levels. The sequel to this game has you playing as Kurt, Dr. Fluke Hawkins and Max/Bones, and this one spans at least 10 levels (not counting the fact that the game lets you choose which of the three to play, allowing you to finish the final level in a different and get a different ending)!
Non-Video Game Examples
- In Real Life, The World Cup used to involve only a few countries, but over time the number of participants increased to 24, and finally to 32, leading to longer and more ellaborate tournaments.
- Dragon Ball. Already a very long series, the 153-episode endeavor is succeeded by Dragon Ball Z, whose 291 episodes narrate longer and more complex story arcs. Inverted for GT, however, which only has 64 episodes, making it barely longer than the longest arc from the original, and shorter than the shortest meta-arc from Z.
- Star Trek TOS: 3 seasons/79 episodes. Star Trek The Next Generation: 7 seasons/178 episodes.
- Kung Fu: 3 seasons/63 episodes. Kung Fu: The Legend Continues: 4 seasons/88 episodes.
- Battlestar Galactica (Classic): 1 1/2 seasons/34 episodes. Battlestar Galactica Reimagined: 4 seasons/75 episodes.
- Screaming Yellow Theater (the original Svengoolie's show): 3 seasons. Son of Svengoolie: About 7 seasons/148 episodes. Svengoolie Mark II: 16 seasons and counting.
- According to the man himself, Screaming Yellow Theater lasted for around 148 episodes, Son of Svengoolie 336, and Svengoolie 840 & counting. Exact numbers aren't available.