Broken Sword is named after the legendary Broken Sword of Baphomet from the first game and to be honest whilst it is an important plot element to the story it doesn't get a lot of screen time and is mentioned maybe about 5 times at most. Later games don't have anything to do with the sword. Except the third game, which involved a different broken sword.
Mega Man Zero features a protagonist named Zero, not Mega Man. Ironically, the manga adaptation of MMZ made this mistake about Zero, among many other errors/deviations. It was so notable that, years later, Zero's ending in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 specifically made a point of poking fun at this. This then is averted in Mega Man ZX, but Mega Man is now a title referring to people who can use the Biometal Upgrade Artifact, rather than an individual.
Additionally, the Four Guardians of Neo Arcadia (Harpuia, Leviathan, Fefnir and Phantom) are reduced to three members after Phantom's death in the first game. However, in Mega Man Zero 2 and 3, they still refer to themselves/are referred to as the "Four Guardians."
Mega Man Star Force suffers this in the English versions of the games since it uses the first game's Super Mode as part of the title, which then struck but the second game — which had the added subtitle of "tribe" — had absolutely nothing to do with the Star Force. The Japanese title is the more sensible Shooting Star Rockman; this is fixed in the third game, where the heroes form a team they intentionally named after the ability the Satellite Admins gave Mega Man in the first game.
The first Ace Attorney game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, was released in America after the third game in the series (Gyakuten Saiban 3) was already out in Japan. When it became obvious that the protagonist in the fourth game was not going to be Phoenix Wright, but a new character, Capcom changed the emphasis of the Western logos and branding to make Ace Attorney the franchise's title, while keeping the Phoenix Wright portion as a supertitle for the first two sequels.
Crusader Kings. In the sequel, you are no longer restricted to play as a King in the age of Crusades. Downplayed in that Kings in the age of Crusades will still be important (if you're not a crusader, you're either a target or someone that can take advantage while the crusaders are busy in the Middle East).
In Earth 2160, the plot no longer takes place on Earth.
Many people joke that the "Final" in the title makes less and less sense as the series progresses, aided by an apocryphal story that the game was meant to be Square's last owing to financial problems. The word "Fantasy" is also starting to seem out of place, as most games in the series from Final Fantasy VII onward come across as sci-fi instead. This goes even further when the title is applied to spin-offs that have no connection to the main Final Fantasy games and follows a completely different format.
The Soul series begins with Soul Edge, which was then followed by Soulcalibur. All the sequels afterward are titled Soulcalibur with a number. Technically this isn't an artifact title, because the weapon actually called Soul Calibur is still in the series, but so much focus is put on Soul Edge that it just doesn't matter. In Soulcalibur II, everyone gets a form of Soul Edge as one of their weapons, while you can count Soul Calibur wielders on the fingers of a single hand! This includes the guest fightersLink, Spawn and Heihachi (who fights barehanded).
The title change was a result of Namco wanting to avoid legal issues with infamous trademark troll Tim Langdell of Edge Games, who wanted royalties due to the use of the word "Edge." This was also the reason why the PS1 port of the original Soul Edge was retitled Soul Blade overseas.
The creator of the series wanted to title each game after a different sword, in a similar way to the Tales series, but it never happened because Soulcalibur was so successful they wanted to keep the series name recognisable. Because of this, the first game became obscure, even though it was very popular at the time.
Similarly, Soulcalibur V director Daishi Odashima wanted to name the game Soul Edge 2 in attempt to do away with this, but was shot down. The only feasible way SCV, the sixth game in a series running since 1995, could get away with that would be if the game was titled "Soulcalibur V: Soul Edge 2." The number of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur wielders, canonical or not, has also balanced out more evenly since SCII and not everyone is able to obtain a version of Soul Edge starting in SCIII. note III: Soul Edge goes to Nightmare, Mitsurugi, and Tira; Siegfried, Kilik, Xianghua, and Talim get Soul Calibur; IV: Soul Edge goes to Nightmare, Sophitia, Voldo, Cervantes, Maxi, Astaroth, Yun-seong, Tira, and Amy, whereas Siegfried, Seong Mi-na, Xianghua, Ivy, Yoshimitsu, Cassandra, and Setsuka receive Soul Calibur; meanwhile, Talim and Algol get both swords, and Kilik's Embrace of Souls is the end result of absorbing the energies of the soul swords into his Kali-Yuga (Zasalamel's Irkalla in III and IV is something similar); Broken Destiny (the PSP port of IV) also gives Siegfried and Nightmare the Broken Destiny, a fusion of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur similar to the Soul Embrace in III.
There is no "Fire Emblem" in the Jugdral games (Genealogy of Holy War and Thracia 776). A small piece of dialogue in the former mentions a "Crest of Flames" (in Japanese, unlike the title's Gratuitous English), but that's as close as it gets. The rest of the series avert this, by calling the MacGuffin of each game "(The) Fire Emblem."
In The Sacred Stones, as well as the Tellius saga, the Fire Emblem is merely an alternate title of the MacGuffin, while most people refer to it by other names (the Sacred Stone of Grado and Lehran's Medallion, respectively). In Fire Emblem Fates, the MacGuffin exists on all routes but is only called the "Fire Emblem" on Revelation, making Birthright and Conquest fall into this trope.
A song title example from the Elibe games. The sidequest map theme from Binding Blade is called "Scars of the Scouring", which made sense since all the sidequests had you retrieving the weapons of the heroes who fought in The Scouring. A remix was used as the sidequest theme in the prequel, Blazing Sword, but this time the sidequests barely have anything to do with The Scouring, yet the title hasn't changed.
The Advance Wars series was no longer on the Game Boy Advance when the series moved on to the Nintendo DS with its third and fourth installments, Advance Wars: Dual Strike and Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. The title can still be justified, since "Advance" by itself is still a real word. On the other hand, the Japanese version of the series reverted to the even more antiquated Famicom Wars name for its GameCube (Battalion Wars), Wii (Battalion Wars II) and DS installments.
The Famicom (short for Family Computer) itself was an example of this as well. Originally, Nintendo planned for the machine to have more PC-like features, including a keyboard, modem, and floppy drive, and it was going to have other types of applications besides games. However, they eventually decided to trim it down to just be a game console, but they kept the name (but only in Japan, obviously).
Myst takes place on the titular Myst Island, unlike the rest of the games in the series. Then averted in Myst V: End of Ages, where you return to Myst Island in one of the bad endings.
In the early games of the Metal Gear series, a major part of each game's plot involve destroying the brand new Metal Gear tank in the hands of the enemy. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots emphasizes the Patriots conspiracy in which the main characters are involved, while reducing the role the mecha has in the plot. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a prequel to the previous games, has no mecha with the Metal Gear name, but a tank that fills its role, as well as a single scene involving the original creator of the Metal Gear itself showing his plans to Naked Snake.
It could be said that the way Metal Gear Solid 3 keeps the word "Solid" in its title almost inverts this trope, since the Les Enfants Terribles project has not happened yet, meaning that Solid Snake has not even been born yet. Its only in-universe reason for being kept is that Naked Snake is the person Les Enfants Terribles was dedicated to creating clones of.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker had a bunch of unmanned giant mecha serving as boss fights, built by Huey Emmerich who was plagiarizing the idea of the Metal Gear, culminating in the titular Peace Walker. Afterwards, the player is empowered to build their own Metal Gear, which serves as the Final Boss.
The name Metal Gear eventually became more of a concept than the name of a something. "A metal gear to fill the role between tank and infantry", which happened to be a walking tank most of the time. By Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, any unmanned, AI-controlled weapon along the lines of MGS4's Gekko are referred to as "UMGs" (Unmanned Metal Gears) or even just "UGs", rather than the typical UAV or UGV as used in the real world for drones that are piloted remotely (though still by a human operator).
The NES port of Metal Gear left out the Metal Gear itself (the tank is still mentioned, but the player has to destroy a Super Computer that controls its activities instead of Metal Gear itself).
The meaning of the original Metal Gear Solid's title is twofold: it was the third game in the series (following the MSX2 games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2) and it was the first one developed in 3D (produced during the early days of 3D gaming). The former meaning is now rendered nonsensical in light of the numbered sequels released since, while the latter is redundant since 3D is now the norm.
The "Solid" in Metal Gear Solid can also refer to Solid Snake, who's only the protagonist in three MGS games (though he was a Decoy Protagonist in 2) and out of those three games, is referred to by a name other than "Solid Snake" for the vast majority of the game (2), if not the entirety of it (4).
Metal Gear Mk. II, Gillian Seed's robotic sidekick from Snatcher, was named as such because it was the only other Metal Gear in existence in its universe. When Snatcher was first released on PC-8801 and MSX2, there was only the original Metal Gear (which is referred as the Mark I in the manual for the original versions of Snatcher). The Mark II later made an appearance as a remote control drone used by Snake and Otacon in MGS4, only the name no longer made sense as there were several Metal Gears since the TX-55 from the first game (such as D, REX and RAY) prior to Otacon creating the Mark II. That said, it is the second thing Otacon's had a hand in the creation of that was at least named a "Metal Gear", so calling it the Mk. II (as in, the second Gear after REX) makes sense, especially when it gets destroyed in the beginning of Act 4 and is replaced with a red variation named the Mk. III.
Marathon refers to the starship of the first game, which has been conquered and dismantled for at least 17 years in the last two games. At least Durandal, and sometimes even Tycho, still identify themselves by the Marathon emblem. So they're kinda trying.
NetHack is an odd variant of this trope. It was named back in the 1980s, originating as Hack, as in Hack and Slash. The Net part was added when the original author turned development over to the DevTeam, who work together over the Usenet. Both elements of the title still hold true, but in today's day and age most people looking at the title would assume it was a game about being a Playful Hacker, rather than a high fantasy dungeon-fest.
Galaxy Angel is a strange inversion, a straight example and the logical extreme all at the same time. The main characters are only called the Galaxy Angels in the third game, where before they are called the Moon Angels. Come Galaxy Angel II, though, they're back to Moon Angels and their replacement main characters are the Rune Angels, so there are no Galaxy Angels. And in the anime and its sequel, they're just Angels, and the name "Galaxy" isn't mentioned at all... except in the English version.
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn had nothing to do with the city of Baldur's Gate, though at least it did take place in and around Amn.
Only the original campaign of Neverwinter Nights has anything to do with the city of Neverwinter. Shadow of Undrentide starts in Hilltop and never visits the city, and Hordes of the Underdark starts in Waterdeep and traverses the Underdark and the infernal planes, again never visiting Neverwinter. Neverwinter Nights 2 finally returns to the title city... then Mask of the Betrayer promptly leaves it again.
The House of the Dead was named as such because it took place in a mansion. Naturally, none of the sequels feature said mansion – though the first stage in Overkill takes place in a mansion. Moreover, a number of other stages in Overkill take place in metaphorical houses (e.g. the fun house [Carny], the big house [Jailhouse Judgement]), although the enemies aren't actually dead. Inverted with Zombie Revenge, where one level is called "The House of the Dead" and actually takes place in The House of the Dead's Curien mansion.
On a similar note to House of the Dead, due to copyright issues with the original title of Resident Evil (Biohazard), the dev team came up with the former as a reference to the mansion that the first game was set in. Also like HOTD, later games in the series are not set in a mansion, with the exceptions of the Ashfords' mansion and the replica of the Spencer mansion in Code: Veronica and the Umbrella Training Facility in Resident Evil 0 (the game starts out on a train). The Japanese title, Biohazard, references the viruses that drive the plot. Averated in Resident Evil 7: biohazard which takes place almost entirely in a mansion much like the first game.
The two Time Crisis games with Richard Miller (the original and the obscure PSX-only Project Titan) have a timer that starts at 60 seconds, keeps running in between action scenes, and every section cleared adds a certain amount of time. The game ends if it runs out. That's where the title comes from, the constant race against time. Every game since (including the companion games Crisis Zone and Razing Storm) has a timer which resets after a section is cleared, and also resets if you take a hit. Furthermore, if it runs out, you only lose one life box (and this also resets the timer). Speed is vastly less important now; it's all about recognizing enemy patterns and accuracy, and almost nobody has had time run out on them.
Completely done away with by the FPS levels of the Complete Mission in Time Crisis 4, which have no time limits whatsoever.
Shin Megami Tensei. The first two games in the series weren't Shin Megami Tensei at all, but rather Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, based on a late-80s sci-fi novel. "Megami Tensei" means "Reincarnation of the Goddess", which is only a plot point in the very first title (where one of the characters is the reincarnation of the Japanese goddess Izanami). Furthermore, the "Shin" in the title is actually a pun: "Shin" meaning "new" was often appended to the titles of franchises that made the jump to the SNES in much the same way as "Super", but the "Shin" in "Shin Megami Tensei" means "true." Interestingly enough, Shin Megami Tensei is more of an Artifact Title in the U.S. than it is in Japan, where most MegaTen games aren't actually prefixed with the Shin Megami Tensei name: by contrast, everyShin Megami Tensei game released in the U.S. (save for Jack Bros, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, and DemiKids) have been released in the U.S. under either the Shin Megami Tensei banner, or in the case of Atlus' earlier attempts (Persona and Last Bible/The Demon Slayer), the "Revelations" name.
Persona 4: Arena also features several Persona 3 characters, but the cast of 4 greatly outnumbers them, so the title makes sense. The sequel, however, adds many new characters, the vast majority of them from Persona 3, to the point where every party member from 3 (who isn't dead) is now playable... and yet it's still called Persona4Arena Ultimax. By this point, Persona 3 & 4 Arena or just Persona Arena would have been more appropriate.
The Quake series. Quake was a code name for the villain of the first game (who turns out to be Shub Niggurath in the end). For whatever reason, they kept the name (which was also the name of the game engine). Quake II was supposed to have a different title on release; id discovered too late that it was trademarked, so they went with a name that they already had the rights to. It just kinda snowballed from there. Also, Quake was the name of the game's original protagonist from the game's planning stages, when the game was being developed as a side-scrolling Action RPG under the title Quake: The Fight for Justice starring an unstoppable barbarian god.
The Puzzle League series was originally called that because of Pokémon Puzzle League, in which the main story mode had Ash battling through the Puzzle League, a puzzle-game version of the regular Pokémon League, but now they don't use Pokémon for it anymore, instead opting for generic motifs.
Guitar Hero isn't purely guitar from World Tour onwards, as other instruments were introduced. Returns to strictly guitar play with Guitar Hero Live.
The eponymous "Elder Scrolls" themselves actually play a very small role in the series overall. Most often, they are simply mentioned as the impetus behind the game's main quest and never actually appear. It isn't until Oblivion that one actually shows up in-game, and it is only involved in a sidequest line. Skyrim finally has one present during the main quest, though it it only used in one part. Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC involves three, finally averting the trope, at least for the DLC's quest line. In fact, the title was only chosen because it sounded cool: Someone at Bethesda Softworks came up with the term, and then the developers decided what the scrolls actually were for. Daggerfall does try to handwave it away — by suggesting the Elder Scrolls can metaphorically stand in for historynote being perfect records of everything that has happened — or, apparently, will happen or could have happened., which you certainly get involved with in every game.
Arena, the subtitle of the first game in the series, is also an example. The original concept for the was a team based, gladiator game where the player took his team from arena to arena fighting in tournaments. The only thing left of this in-game was some of the texts when you enter certain towns mentioning what the local fighting team is named, the game otherwise rewritten as part of the developer's home brew Dungeons & Dragons setting, but the advertising material had already been produced, so they kept the title despite arenas and gladiator combat not actually being in the game in any form. They got around this by adding a Title Drop to the intro that mentions Arena as a nickname for Tamriel.
The First Encounter Assault Recon group is not present in FEAR 2, nor are the subjects of Project Origin, which was only picked as the (sub)title because Monolith didn't have the rights to the FEAR name at the time.
The games games have plenty of fighting, but most of the stages aren't actually set in streets at all. The movie, on the other hand, doesn't have much fighting at all. And very few of the martial artists in the series are truly "street fighters" by the very definition. The only real examples are Cody and Birdie.
The Alpha series, Street Fighter III: Third Strike, Super Street Fighter IV, and Street Fighter V. While the evil organizations were at the center of the plot, there was no actual tournament going on (in the case of the 3S, the tournament had mostly wrapped up by the time 2nd Impact ended/3rd Strike began, whereas SSFIV is simultaneously set during IV's tournament and right after its close); the various cast members were simply touring the world and challenging each other to fights basically everywhere while attempting to get to the bottom of it all.
The original Final Fight got its title since the game's plot involved Haggar, a retired pro wrestler who sets off to take justice into his own hands and challenge the Mad Gear gang for his "final fight." However, quite a few Final Fight sequels (2, 3, Revenge, and Streetwise) were released afterward, all involving Haggar being brought back out of retirement again to face newer enemies.
The Silent Hill games have generally avoided this by having all of their protagonists visit Silent Hill at some point within the game — the only exception being Silent Hill 4, which takes place in South Ashfield ("a few hours' drive away"). While it's revealed that the protagonist has gone to Silent Hill in the past, he never visits it in the game, only coming as close as the woodlands surrounding the town. There are several references to the town regarding several character backstories, but none really justify the title. In fact it was originally given a completely different title, although still set in the SH universe.
This almost occurred in the NES version of Double Dragon, but the developers managed to work around it.
The original arcade version allowed up to two players simultaneously, taking control of twin martial artists named Billy and Jimmy Lee (hence the game's title). When working on the NES version, the programmers were unable to adapt the arcade's two-player co-op mode. Since the title wouldn't have made much sense with just one of the Lee brothers, the other one now appears as the final boss after Machine Gun Willy, the final boss from the arcade version, is defeated.
Siblings battle also occur in the arcade version when two players defeat Willy together. Whereas in the arcade version the Lee brothers fought each other over Marian's affections, in the NES version it is revealed that Jimmy Lee was the true leader of the Black Warriors.
The later Game Boy version played this straight, as it lacked both the two-player co-op mode and the final battle with Jimmy. However, this version does feature a one-on-one versus minigame via link cable where the second player controls Jimmy (which itself was a carry-over from the NES game).
The arcade version of Double Dragon 3 allowed up to three players simultaneously depending on the game's settings. The third player controls a previously-unseen/unmentioned Lee brother named Sonny, meaning that the eponymous duo became a trio. "Triple Dragon" apparently didn't have the same ring to it.
Alone in the Dark (2008): you're not alone, and it's not dark (because everything is on fire). Made especially ironic because the fire physics are the best part of the game. Subverted slightly (but no less ironically) when an upgraded version was given the subtitle Inferno.
The later entry Alone In The Dark: Illumination made it even more nonsensical, being a cooperative shooter with lots of lights.
In Europe, the early Contra games for home consoles were released under the title of Probotector. This was because the European versions of the games turned the enemies into Mecha-Mooks and replaced the original human commandos with robotic counterparts called "Probotectors", which comes from a portmanteau of "robot" and "protector." When the Game Boy installment of the series, Operation C, was re-released in Europe as part of the Konami GB Collection, it restored the original human main character, but still kept the Probotector title.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam doesn't involve any dynasties, Chinese or otherwise, it simply got the title for being a Gundam-themed spinoff of the Dynasty Warriors series. The Japanese title is Gundam Musou (a play on Sangoku Musou, the Japanese title of the Dynasty Warriors series). Later spin-offs would follow the original naming scheme and avert this with titles like Pirate Warriors and Hyrule Warriors.
In the original Backyard Baseball, there were only three fields that did not take place in a backyard: Sandy Flats, Tin Can Alley, and Cement Gardens. In Backyard Baseball 2010, only one field does take place in a backyard: the Webber Estate. See how much that has changed.
Interesting case: The producers of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 initially wanted to drop the "Call of Duty" supertitle, but re-appended it to the game's standard packaging and press releases after they took a few surveys and realized removing it decreased brand awareness. On the other hand, in-game menus and the console/PC refer to the game without the supertitle, and the developers officially call it just Modern Warfare 2 to indicate its status as a new IP. So while Call of Duty is still an Artifact Title, that only applies to the game's publicity campaigns.
Any modern game involving Mario that includes the prefix "Super" is somewhat anachronistic since, outside of the New Super Mario Bros. series, Super Mario 3D Land, Super Mario 3D World, and Super Mario Maker turning from small Mario to "Super Mario" has ceased to be part of the play mechanics. The middle two games even establish that "Super" Mario is, in fact, just Mario, his default form, with Small Mario as a downgrade.
The original Super Mario Bros. itself lacked the two-player co-op mode from the original Mario Bros., which is the reason why the preceding game was titled Mario Bros. in the first place. While Super has a 2-Player mode, it is of the alternating type, which reduces Luigi's role in the game to a mere afterthought (since there's no point of having a separate Player 2 character if both players have to take turns). The Lost Levels would try to justify Luigi's inclusion in the game by removing the 2-Player mode and making Luigi an alternate character with his own characteristics, while the 2-Player mode in SMB3 allows both players to split the stages between themselves rather than having separate playthroughs for each one.
Also true of the Wario Land series, since the first game was technically still part of the Super Mario Land series despite not having a whole lot in common with its predecessors.
In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Luigi is busting ghosts in several different places, and only two of them are mansions, neither of which are his.
From Mario Kart: Double Dash!! onward, many karts don't look like such at all, being modeled after train wagons, baby strollers and fancy convertible cars. In Mario Kart Wii, bikes were added to the vehicle options, while Mario Kart 8 added ATV options.
In March 2013, Nintendo began to promote that year as The Year of Luigi to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Luigi's first appearance in Mario Bros. Near the end of 2013, it was decided to extend the celebration into 2014. Depending on your interpretation of this event, it's either played straight or subverted (as in, it could be a literal 365-day celebration that started in March 2013 and ended in March 2014).
Played straight and inverted simultaneously with the Hammer Bros. and all their variations. They fought in pairs mostly in Super Mario Bros. 3 (and even then, only sometimes), but they were still called those even in SMB1. You do fight two of them together in Super Mario RPG, but only one actually appears outside the fight in that game.
Metroid seems to be desperately trying to avoid this:
By Metroid: Fusion, the Metroids have been exterminated by the protagonist, who to justify the game's title is now physically bonded with DNA from the last remaining Metroid. Every game since then has been a prequel, most of them set between the first two games.
The second and thirdMetroid Prime games avoid falling into this. Dark Samus, the main antagonist of 2 and 3, is in fact the eponymous Metroid Prime, bonded with the Phazon Suit after the battle at the end of the first game. It's very easy to miss this, however, as it's never explicitly mentioned anywhere, and the only real hint (seeing Dark Samus' hand emerge from the puddle of Phazon) is only shown after the credits of the first game — IF you've found every last secret in the game. It doesn't appear in Metroid Prime: Federation Force, though, so it plays the trope straight.
Metroid Prime: Hunters is indeed devoid of Metroids, except for the demo version. Neither the "Metroid Prime" nor its Dark Samus rebirth are in the game either so everything except the last word of the title is non-descriptive.
Another attempted handwave claimed that the title creatures were named after the Chozo word for "Ultimate Warrior," meaning the term can be applied to Samus as well.
The NES version of Capcom's Shoot 'em UpSection Z features numbered sections instead of the alphabetized ones like the original Arcade Game. Thus the final area in the NES version is actually Section 59, rather than Section Z like in the arcade version.
Quartet was originally a four-player Arcade Game that played like a side-scrolling Gauntlet; a version titled Quartet 2 was released as a conversion kit for two-player cabinets, but it allows each player to select from among the four characters. The Sega Master System version, however, only has two playable characters: Mary and Edgar were kept, but Joe and Lee were removed. The Japanese Mark III version was retitled Double Target to reflect this change, but the overseas release kept the arcade game's original title.
At no point in Tales of Monkey Island do any of the characters set foot on Monkey Island, although it is referenced several times. The island also was not featured in Monkey Island 2, although The Curse of Monkey Island later retconned this. Only to be expected when the first game "The Secret of Monkey Island", neither mentioned nor revealed the title's secret. A fact repeatedly lampshaded throughout the series.
Only one of the Ys games has the player visit the Floating Continent Ys, and only three (Ys I, Ys II, and Ys Origin) integrate it into the story at all. The rest feature Adol battling a great evil in a different region each game.
The Spirit Engine 2 is an In-Name-Only sequel to the original. It has a completely different setting — the only things connecting it to the original are the battle system and the "choose-your-own-characters" feature, making it a Thematic Series.
The first game in the Dragon Quest series was originally about some warrior on a quest to go slay the Dragonlord, hence the title "Dragon Quest." Future titles in the series would still have you take on quests, but the importance of dragons would further diminish to the point where they have little-to-no importance, only serving to be the typical mook you see around the end of the game.
Since the second game, the Etrian Odyssey series has had an artifact title. The first game takes place in Etria and the nearby labyrinth. However, the second and third games take place in Lagaard and Armoroad respectively, the second having passing references to the first only if you used a special code.
Portal 2 was almost this, as the creators originally wanted to focus on a different puzzle aspect as opposed to more Portals, but they eventually kept the Portal puzzles in.
Interesting case with beatmania and pop'n music. In the beginning, Beatmania's turntable produced scratches (usually), while the keys corresponded to the notes, sound effects, samples, beeps, spoken words, etc. to be placed into the background music. It was actually fairly similar to how a disc jockey would use "beats" to create a mix. Likewise, Pop 'n Music started out with almost exclusively several variants of pop music, and was intended as a casual, fun, light gaming experience for multiple players. Two types of player, specifically: 1) a boyfriend and girlfriend on a date, and 2) kids. After both franchises took off and became popular, however, branching out into different genres became a necessity, as was making more challenging notecharts (with the bar going higher and higher as players just kept getting better and better). Beatmania has long since done away with hip-hop and R&B, once the backbones of the franchise, while Pop 'n Music has covered everything to Country to Percussive to Opera to Thrash Metal to Eurobeat, and every ancient traditional Japanese music style ever.
beatmania IIDX is also an artifact title. Originally beatmania II included a larger, deluxe cabinet, which had the impressive sound system and setup (thus, "beatmania II DX"). However, the deluxe cabinet proved more popular than the normal one and quickly became the norm, so Konami just continued to ship the deluxe cabinet while stopping production of the non-deluxe cabinets, rendering the distinction obsolete. Since the logo had the "II" and "DX" close together, Konami decided "Sure, Why Not?" and the game became known as "beatmania IIDX."
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon and Dawn of Sorrow are set in castles alright — just not Dracula's castle (which is referred to sometimes as Castlevania). Circle of the Moon is set in Camilla's castle, while Dawn of Sorrow is set in the castle owned by Celia Fortner's cult. The Dawn of Sorrow castle is apparently an "exact replica," but this attempt to smooth out what is otherwise a minor piece of trivia creates serious confusion as the castle is the Trope Namer for Chaos Architecture, making any "replica" impossible (unless it's an "exact replica" in that it mimics the castle's nature; either way, it's a bit confusing).
Subverted with God of War. While Ares, the original God of War, does die in the first game, one must remember that Kratos has taken up his position afterwards, so the games are still about the God of War. Played straight however with the prequel God of War: Chains of Olympus in which Ares is not even mentioned and obviously Kratos isn't the God of War yet. The other prequel God Of War: Ascension averts this as he's revealed to be behind the Furies.
Halo: After the initial trilogy, the franchise has expanded its scope dramatically, with stories set all over its universe. As such, the titular ringworlds themselves have had little presence in the sequels and Expanded Universe, though one notable exception is The Forerunner Saga (which was about the very species that built the Halos).
Halo: Reach's campaign, save for a very brief glimpse in the ending cutscene (a shot for shot recreation of the opening scene of Halo: Combat Evolved), doesn't a contain a Halo. One does, however, take place in the multiplayer setting; "Forge World" is a massive location for map editing and is on a Halo ring.
Halo 3: ODST also does not feature a Halo. The number is somewhat misleading as well, as the game takes place during the events of Halo 2. It is, however, running on Halo 3's engine.
Halo Wars also does not feature any of the aforementioned rings. However, we do visit a Forerunner Shield World (basically a Dyson Sphere).
Halo 4 never sees the Master Chief set foot on a Halo installation, though he passes by one when approaching a nearby space station at one point. However, the plot is focused on a Shield World called Requiem.
Halo 5: Guardians likewise almost ignores the existence of the Halos, save for The Stinger after beating the game on Legendary. Another Shield World is given attention, Genesis.
The IL-2 Sturmovik series was so named because it began as a detailed simulation of that one plane. As of the latest revision, the Ilyushin Il-2 is still present, but so are 228 other planes, not counting those added by modders.
The sequel takes place during the Battle of Britain but still references the original with its title Cliffs of Dover: Il-2 Sturmovik, despite the fact that the title plane hadn't even had its first flight at that time. This was caused by Executive Meddling wanting to emphasise the connection between the original game and Cliffs of Dover.
An in-game example: Several of the Ghost characters in Tekken 6 that use Armor King have customised him to not wear armor (in fact Armor King's default 2P outfit since coming back in 5: Dark Resurrection is just a pair of loose fitting pants and no shirt).
Nintendo's Miis got their name as a pun on "Me" and "Wii," the console on which they made their debut. Half of that pun now makes little sense if you use them on the 3DS, smartphones, and Nintendo Switch.
amiibo, which are named after the Miis, weren't even on the Wii!
Most unofficial fan sequels to the popular NES game Duck Hunt actually do not involve shooting any ducks at all, since there aren't any there — you now instead shoot dogs.
The first mission of Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. is the retirement flight of the eponymous squadron; for the rest of the first half of the game, you're a part of the PMC Artemis' "Reaper Flight." Zig-zagged later: After Artemis betrays the United States and the player squadron defects, they return to active service as HAWX flight.
Super Sentai Battle Dice O originally represented the strength of your characters' attacks by rolling dice. After it was updated to Dice-O Deluxe to go along with Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, this was changed to a spinning wheel, yet the title was kept. There is, in fact, *one* rolling die that remains in the game (one of the special move cards replicates the default ground finishing move from the original Dice-O, in which your team fired a giant die at the opponents) but it isn't central to the gameplay anymore.
Torchlight starts off in the eponymous town and explores the dungeons beneath it. In its direct sequel, Torchlight II, the town is destroyed even before the start of a new game and explores the regions around the town, but not the town itself or the dungeons beneath it.
The Dark Forces Saga features something of a subversion: the Dark Forces title is a reference to the first game's Dark Trooper project. Said project plays no part in the sequel, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, which would render it this trope... if not for the connotations that the term "Dark Force" carries in the Star Wars universe.
The title of Guild Wars actually refers to a series of wars which took place before the events of the original game. By the time the player character comes along, they have ended. They make sense in the context of the game since players can form guilds and engage in matched combat against other guilds, but the title is a hangover from the early days of its development when this aspect of the game was the most important. Guild Wars 2 is set 250 years after the original game, and guild versus guild combat is not a feature.
The first Alundra game is centered around Alundra, but he isn't seen or mentioned in the sequel.
The Legend of Zelda series can sometimes dabble into this trope, as there are games where Zelda either never appears (Link's Awakening and Tri Force Heroes) or only cameos in (Majora's Mask and the linked ending of the Oracle games). However, she is still very much a central character to the series overall — more so after The Reveal in Skyward Sword had us learn that not only does every incarnation of Zelda hold the wisdom of the Triforce, but they also are reincarnations of the chief goddess Hylia.
Two Worlds: Before the game was even released, in fact. The website for the original game has an outdated synopsis that challenges you to choose which of the Two Worlds you will save. This has nothing to do with the released game or its sequel.
With the availability of the updated PC version of Sonic the Hedgehog CD as a digital download, and even on systems such as the Ouya which don't even have any disc drives at all, its title no longer makes sense. Sega took a swing at a Hand Wave by claiming "CD" now stood for "Chrono Distortion" for the HD rereleases.
Yakuza: series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu was only ever in the yakuza in the opening act of the first game, being exiled from his clan after taking the fall for his oyabun's murder. The games that follow depict Kiryu's attempts to live a normal, law-abiding life after walking away from the criminal underworld, with the fourth and fifth games featuring playable characters that aren't even yakuza (although they often deal with various yakuza groups). The prequel, Yakuza 0, zigzags this: Kiryu is in the yakuza, but also on the run from them; while deuteragonist Goro Majima is an exiled yakuza trying to get back in the good graces of his clan.
Escape Velocity: Override is a case of this happening to the subtitle of a specific game in the series during development — the game began development as a total conversion to the previous game, and as a placeholder name the mod was literally named for what it was to do, namely override the previous game data (this being 1996, the term total conversion was not yet as common). The placeholder never found a replacement even when Override became the official sequel to Escape Velocity.
Boktai is short for the series' Japanese title, Bokura no Taiyou, which means "our sun." This makes sense for a solar-powered series, and it gets a climactic Title Drop in the first game. The nickname was already established by the time the translation came out, so the translators kept it — but of course it makes no sense at all in English, so they added a subtitle, "The Sun Is in Your Hand." (Certain manga and anime, such as Haganai and Higurashi: When They Cry, have chosen this approach as a way to give a translation without losing the recognition value of the existing name.) In order to de-orphan the title slightly, they gave the name "Bok" to a common class of Mook that goes by "Ghoul" in the original version.
Freecell in versions of Windows starting with Vista has an artifact icon — originally, a chest-up shot of the King of Hearts was situated between the two sets of card slots at the top, and would face whichever set a card had most recently been added to (or moused over). He was nixed when Vista overhauled the look of all its games, but the icon remains. The king is dead; long live the king?
If you think about it, Grand Theft Auto isn't really focused on the crime in question (stealing cars). And in later games, you may stop doing it altogether since you can stash cars away. Particularly in Grand Theft Auto V, where the three protagonists all have their own default vehicles with customization options, and the player has the option of respawning at a garage (making it much less necessary to steal cars to get around).
While Donkey Kong Country did have the main ape himself as the leading character, the next two sequels would demote him to Distressed Dude while having other characters being the stars of the games. Both sequels are still named after Donkey Kong, even though he doesn't do anything.
Tomb Raider was all about the tombs and raiding said tombs of their artifacts, but by the second and third games in the series, there was less tomb raiding and more raiding in industrialized areas like oil rigs and disused subway tunnels. The fourth game, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, put the series back in the tombs, but all games after that went back to the mix of old tombs and industrialized areas. In the remake series, the tombs are purely optional side content, the games being almost entirely focused on more cinematic content.
The Last Revelation itself was supposed to be Lara Croft's final discovery since she is buried alive in a collapsing pyramid at the game's end. However, since there are games that take place afterward, the title is outdated.
Dead Island 2 is set in modern Los Angeles instead of the fictional island from the firsttwo games, meaning the "Island" part of the name definitely doesn't apply anymore and is mainly just there for branding purposes.
Rayman Origins was originally meant to be Rayman's first adventure and feature the birth of the limbless hero as shown in the first trailer. Those plans were scrapped during the development and the finished game ends up having little to no plot with the implication that it takes places at least after the original game because the Magician turns evil. That being said the manual retells Rayman's birth and "Origins" can referred to the throwback to 2D platformer.
The "League" in League of Legends no longer exists as it did, after realizing that the existence of a league was a detriment to the progression and lore of the champions, they retconned it out of existence, instead making it battles between bands of like-minded people in a war-torn world (which is what the league was founded for to start with, to stops the wars).
Every modern and classic Game & Watch remake in the Gallery series has no Time Mode and none of the manuals make any reference to it.
Some modern versions of the games in Gallery also qualify compared to their classic counterparts:
In Vermin, you control Yoshi who must defend his eggs against Fly Guys, Paratroopas and Boos instead of vermin. Oddly enough, a Monty Mole will allow Yoshi to clear a miss by giving him a heart.
In Ball, the character you play will juggle many items not resembling balls.
Subverted in Egg. Instead of catching eggs laid by hens, Yoshi must catch cookies on a conveyor belt. If he eats enough of a type of cookie at the right temperature, he will lay an egg.
In Turtle Bridge, you control Toad who must cross a makeshift bridge of Goonies across an open sky instead of turtles across a pond.
In the original Rain Shower, a man is trying to keep his hanging clothes dry from a passing shower. In the remake, Mario must protect his friends from paint balloons thrown by Bowser.
The remake of Mario's Cement Factory takes place in a cookie factory.
Way, way back when, the Warcraft series was going to be a historical RTS series, the player learning the craft of war via real-life battles. Then the whole orcs vs. humans thing came around.
"Arcade Game" is itself artifactual. Long before the first Pong machine was plugged in, not only had their pinball predecessors moved out of spaces specifically intended for them to bars and other retail establishments, even those spaces themselves had long stopped putting their offerings in the recessed arches that "arcade" implied. Ditto for arcades themselves, although in Japan, the term ゲームセンター (gēmusentā — "game center") is used instead, as well as its contracted form ゲーセン (gēsen).
The Select button. It's called like that because it was originally intended to be used to select options in title screens, settings and similar along with the Start button. Back then, pressing Select would move the cursor the next option. However, developers later opted for letting players navigate with the directional buttons. Despite this, Select was kept with its name unchanged, even though it no longer serves the function said name refers to. Modern consoles tend to keep the button but name it to something that makes better sense, such as "Back" on the Xbox console lineup.
In MediEvil 2, Sir Daniel Fortesque is resurected in the Victorian era. Granted there're still medieval elements like the swords.
In the speedrunning community, the term used to define a non-specific run (that is, one that simply aims to beat the game as quickly as possible) is "Any%". This is in reference to one of the original popular speed games, Metroid, which counts your item collection percentage on the end screen; "Any%" was used to denote that it didn't matter what the percentage was for the run, and it was accompanied by the extremes of "Low%" and "100%". Nowadays, "Any%" is still used as a catch-all term for basic speedruns, even for games that don't track completion percentage or don't even have good (or any) 100% requirements to aim towards.
Prehistoric Isle 2, the sequel to Prehistoric Isle, is no longer set on or around any isles, has strictly contemporary settings and it doesn't seem to be a direct sequel, so it's not even a "2".
The Batman: Arkham Series continued to be called Arkham despite only the first game actually taking place in the titular Arkham Asylum. However, the series has come up with ways to justify this: Batman: Arkham City takes place in a walled-off section of Gotham, the title city, that is meant to replace the asylum; Batman: Arkham Origins features Batman's earliest encounter with several of its future inmates and the reason it was reopened; and Batman: Arkham Knight features a self-titled villain and the Knight's backstory is that he's Jason Todd and the Joker tortured him for over a year at a hidden section of Arkham.
The MOTHER series has an odd relationship with this trope: The Japanese title of the first game, MOTHER, refers to the fact that the protagonist's grandmother, Maria, raised the the main villain of the game, Giegue, from infancy, and the lullaby she used to sing him is what allows the protagonist's party to repel Giegue'sAlien Invasion at the end of the game. But then the sort-of sequelnote The game takes place in a different setting with different characters, but features the same villain, MOTHER 2, lacks an important central mother figure, playing this trope straight. The third game, MOTHER 3, averts it, with the spirit of Hinawa, the mother of the protagonist and his Brainwashed and Crazy twin brother, being instrumental in the final battle. This was averted with the localized names of the first two games, EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound, respectively.
Forza Motorsport 4 dropped Forza 3's Rally di Positano course, but reassigned the name to the Amalfi Coast circuit for some reason.
The Madden NFL series stopped using John Madden's image to promote the series since the early 2000's editions. Madden would still lent his voice for in-game commentaries until his retirement as a broadcaster in 2009, leaving only his name on the title.
NieR: Automata, as Nier the person no longer exists. However, the ripples of his adventures are still felt in weapon descriptions, Emil, and the fate of the human race.