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Franchise Killer / Video Games

Examples

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    Activision 
  • 007 Legends' poor sales and critical reception put an end to James Bond video games for a time, since after the game's failure Activision dropped the Bond license and so far no one else has picked it up.
  • Crash: Mind Over Mutant, while it has its fans, sold poorly and received a generally negative fan reception, resulting in the death of the Crash Bandicoot franchise (barring a handful of obscure smartphones games released in 2009 and 2010) and was one of the causes of death for Radical Entertainment (the other being Prototype 2, as explained below). It wasn't until 8 years later that remasters of the series' first three games (Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy) were announced alongside Crash getting a role in Skylanders Imaginators and two episodes of Skylanders Academy, so time will tell if this will help Crash bounce back.
  • The Guitar Hero franchise initially came to a halt after Warriors of Rock lost out to Rock Band 3. It didn't help that Activision pumped out multiple spinoffs and Mission Pack Sequels in the previous two years (including Band Hero and DJ Hero) within several months of each other. Activision, for their part, have recognized that they spent so much time and creative energy on DJ Hero that they forgot that GH might have needed some love too (four spinoffs != love). While a new game was finally revealed in 2015 as Guitar Hero Live, it acts as a soft reboot of the series as it uses live action Full Motion Video instead of in-game models and uses a completely new guitar controller.
  • Interstate '76 was a cult hit on PC, leading to the spinoff Vigilante 8 on consoles, which proved an even bigger hit. However, the sequels to both games are controversial among fans, Interstate '82 for greatly simplifying many of the first game's mechanics (a big part of its appeal being its simulation approach to Vehicular Combat) and Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense for introducing an obtuse mission system, ensuring that there would be no new games in either series. Several years later, a remake of the first Vigilante 8 for the Xbox Live Arcade received a mixed reception and killed the franchise for good.
  • [PROTOTYPE 2] fell victim to overly-optimistic sales expectations. A heavy marketing push couldn't help the game reach its expected goal of 4 million units, or even the 2+ million moved by the first [PROTOTYPE], spelling the end for both the series and its creator Radical Entertainment. While Radical Entertainment has come back following some restructuring, it seems that the [PROTOTYPE] series is well and truly dead..
  • Soldier of Fortune: Payback doesn't fit with the canon of the first two games, and it doesn't help that it ends with a cliffhanger that will likely never be resolved. This isn't surprising, since it was made by a completely different developer and released as a budget game.
  • The original Spyro the Dragon series was torpedoed by his first game without developer Insomniac Games, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. An Obvious Beta of a game that had its development cycle fast-tracked for a holiday release at publisher Universal Interactive's behest, it was mostly panned by reviews and fans alike, and led to fans staying away in droves for the next title Spyro: A Hero's Tail, despite that game being better-reviewed by critics. The poor sales for that title, combined with the mediocre reception for Spyro: Shadow Legacy (the franchise's debut on the then-new Nintendo DS), killed the original Spyro series. Following the consolidation of Universal Interactive to Sierra Interactive by Vivendi, Sierra decided to launch a Continuity Reboot series titled The Legend of Spyro. The third game in that series, Dawn of the Dragon, failed to meet Sierra's sales expectations; which, along with the Activision Blizzard merger that year and Sierra's eventual shutdown the following month, killed off for good what remained of the main series. Universal canceled a proposed Spyro film adaptation following the failure of Dawn of the Dragon, and Activision decided to take the franchise in another direction in the form of a spinoff of Spyro. The result? The insanely popular Skylanders series, which continues to this day.
  • Tony Hawk: Ride was meant to revive a stagnant and decaying franchise by forcing the player to use a skateboard peripheral that doesn't work as well as advertised. Combined with Hawk himself claiming anyone who dislikes the peripheral had decided to hate the game before it came out, gamers weren't likely to be interested in a sequel, as the poor sales of Shred eventually convinced Activision to shelve the series from stores for a few years, with the spinoff releases of the downloadable Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD and the mobile Tony Hawk's Shred Session to plug the gap.

    Tony Hawk and Activision later attempted to Win Back the Crowd with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, a direct sequel to the highly-acclaimed original four Tony Hawk titles; but that game only finished what Ride and Shred started and put the franchise in the ground for good. Theorized to be an Ash Can Copy on Activision's part (as their rights to use the Tony Hawk videogame license were set to expire the year of THPS 5's release), the game was eviscerated by fans and reviewers across the board for its lifeless visuals (which were heavily criticized in pre-release footage and screenshots), poorly-designed gameplay mechanics, and heaping lack of technical polish. The fallout also resulted in Activision pulling the plug on Shred Session, which saw a soft launch in a few countries prior to being pulled. Even without knowledge of the license's pending expiration, the strong negative reaction to THPS 5 was the final breaking point of the once-proud franchise.

    Atari — Infogrames 
  • Atari not only killed a movie-based franchise, they also played a role in briefly killing the entire video game medium in North America with their hideous overreaching on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The game is an obtuse, poorly-designed, Christmas Rushed mess. Atari foolishly printed more cartridges than there were consoles in the hopes that it would be a system-seller and overcharged for the privilege. While the games industry had been suffering from oversaturation and a glut of low-quality games before then, E.T. was The Last Straw in setting off The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 and probably ensured that the movie itself would never get any sequels or additional tie-in merch. It may also have been a contributory factor in the movie not getting released on videocassette until 1988.
  • The poor critical reception of Alone In The Dark 2008 killed off the series for several years, as even a rerelease on PlayStation 3 to fix some of the bugs from the Xbox 360 version couldn't save it. It's even worse when you consider that even though the game developers delayed the release of the game for three years to try to stave off the bad publicity generated by Uwe Boll's failed film adaptation, some elements from the film still made it into the new game. 2015's Alone in the Dark: Illumination makes the 2008 game look like Grand Theft Auto V by comparison. It was mercilessly panned by critics, with some calling it one of the worst games of all time, and one that was definitely capable of murdering the troubled franchise once and for all.
  • After Atari's buy-out on Humongous Entertainment, the company tried to continue the Backyard Sports, Putt-Putt, and Pajama Sam series. Putt-Putt's last game, Pep's Birthday Surprise, isn't all too bad — it has some poor voice acting, has way too much recycled content, and is boring, but it's at least playable compared to Pajama Sam: Life is Rough When You Lose Your Stuff!, which has a very cringe-worthy choice of voice actor for Sam, a lame plot, Loads and Loads of Loading, among other flaws. They didn't sell or score well enough to continue onward. As for the Backyard Sports series, it continued to get an even worse treatment before it also saw its coffin sealed shut—no games for it have been announced since they lost the last leg the series was standing on (the major sports licenses) and saw their two attempts to Win Back the Crowd (Sandlot Sluggers and Rookie Rush) fail miserably.
  • Driv3r, which is not particularly good, ends on a Cliffhanger with the protagonist flatlining after being shot by the Big Bad. Then Infogrames made an In-Name-Only sequel, Parallel Lines, and that didn't perform so well either. It took several years (and a new publisher) for the franchise to return to form with Driver: San Francisco, which has taken strides to distance itself from the Grand Theft Auto-cloned Driv3r and Parallel Lines by going back to the style of the original two games.
  • Master of Orion and Master Of Orion 2 are classics in the turn-based strategy genre. A toxic combination of Executive Meddling, Sequelphobic developers, and some other bad decisions resulted in a Master Of Orion 3 that bears a striking resemblance to doing one's taxes and is about as much fun. The game bombed hard on release, and since then there has been little hope that the series will be revived. Brad Wardell of Stardock expressed interest in making a fourth game in 2008, but his comments were mere speculation and there has been no follow-up. The rights to the series were later acquired by World of Tanks developers Wargaming, so the series yet lives, for the time being.

    Atari — Midway Games 
  • Blacksite: Area 51 is an interesting chicken-or-the-egg case. While the game is so atrociously bad that it ensured no future Area 51 games would be made, the game's Obvious Beta glitches and other signs of having been rushed out the door are an indication that Midway Games was already on the brink of collapse. Sure enough, the entire company folded soon after the game's release. Lead designer Harvey Smith stated that the game was badly rushed, the team at times having only four days to fix and polish a level, and that "it went straight from alpha to final" in the last few months before release. While there were elements that he liked (such as the political commentary), overall he felt that the game deserves the reception it got, saying "this project was so fucked up."
  • Following Midway's departure from the arcade business, the Cruis'n arcade racing series didn't have much of a future after the release of Cruis'n Exotica, the third and then-final Cruis'n game made for arcades and ported to the Nintendo 64. Midway nonetheless made attempts to continue the series specifically for game consoles, which started with Cruis'n Velocity, a forgettable GBA game that has little to do with the series. Midway later tried again with Cruis'n for the Wii, a dolled-up Porting Disaster of their The Fast and the Furious arcade game with all references to the film within the game scrubbed out; that received critical drubbing, abysmal salesnote , and sent the series into hibernation. It would take Midway's bankruptcy, the license to the series reverting to to series owner Nintendo, and nine years for the series to resurface in any format with 2017's Cruis'n Blast, a new arcade game licensed out to developer Raw Thrills (who produced the aforementioned Fast and Furious arcade game),
  • Gauntlet was a fairly decent hack-and-slash arcade-style adventure series, until Seven Sorrows came along. Developed by Midway's San Diego studio after the former Atari Games had been closed down, it is an Obvious Beta, with a lot of old standby techniques gone (like not being able to shoot potions), and none of the "new features" touted for the game anywhere. Any plans for the franchise after that were effectively shelved. Warner Bros. rebooted the series on PC and PlayStation 4 a decade after the release of Seven Sorrows, and while it scored better than their Spy Hunter reboot (see below), player and critical reaction is mixed.
  • Rampage kept trucking on despite repetitive games in the second half of the 2000's, but Rampage Through Time is considered the deathblow, as the minigame-based gameplay style was not at all appreciated by fans of the series. The series tried to sneak back into the mainstream with Rampage: Total Destruction, but that idea of a reboot failed, too, stopping the series cold.
  • Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run was intended to be a tie-in to a cancelled movie. Needless to say, the game flopped belly up, and an attempt by Warner Bros. and TT Fusion to reboot the series in 2013 with a 30th anniversary game did even worse and killed the series off completely.

    Bandai / Namco 
  • Namco's 1985 arcade game Baraduke is little more than a Cult Classic (even if it predates Metroid by one year), but Baraduke II, which came out 3 years later, was a bomb that relegated the series to obscurity.
  • Baten Kaitos: Origins came out near the end of the GameCube's lifespan, four months before the Wii launch. Despite improving massively on the flaws of Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, it was overlooked by a gaming community clamoring for next-gen consoles and never sold particularly well. With the rumored Nintendo DS installment canceled, the future of the series looks bleak.
  • The 2009 Wii remake of Klonoa Door to Phantomile bombed so badly in sales that it not only killed any possibility of the proposed Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil remake getting greenlit, but put the entire game series on ice, as no new Klonoa games have been announced or released since. It did live on as a webcomic on Shifty Look for a bit, but then Shifty Look closed down, sealing the coffin on the series until an animated film was announced in 2016.
  • The Ridge Racer series was derailed by two titles, Ridge Racer for the Play Station Vita and Ridge Racer Unbounded for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Ridge Racer Vita was panned heavily across the board by reviewers for being a total rush job of a gamenote , with a hideous lack of base content and modes compared to past titles (with the first pack of DLC containing material that could had easily been added to the base game), offering no new material (all of the courses and vehicles being recycled from Ridge Racer 7), and a poorly-implemented online mode that determines a player's speed based on their experience level, which automatically renders any race Unwinnable by Design for newcomers. Meanwhile Unbounded, while nowhere not as bad as Ridge Racer Vita, was decried by most of its critics as a mash-up of several other arcade racers, without having any of the traditional aspects that made the series popular (never mind that it skipped a release in its home country in Japan). In both instances, fans couldn't cry "Ruined Forever!" fast enough; no new games for the series have come out since those two titles.
  • Once one of the top-tier fighting games, the Soul series hit quite the bump in the road mainly with Soulcalibur V. From a character standpoint, it removes over a dozen fan-favorite characters and replaces less than half of them with less-popular ones, who either get too much attention (in the case of Sophitia's children) or no development at all (Z.W.E.I. and Viola being the best examples). The quality of the story also suffered greatly due to Executive Meddling (reports state that three-quarters of the planned story had to be axed just to get the game out on time), resulting in a pointless 17-year Time Skip. Additionally, a story riddled with Incest Subtext, Contrived Coincidence functional immortality for much of the cast, and much more of the cast being Left Hanging with no true ending, combined with several gameplay modes and features removed from the last several games, make this game divisive at best, even for a fanbase that found the character creator (limited since SCIV to only cosmetics as opposed to play styles as well) to be a redeeming factor.
    • SCV alone isn't the culprit, as it was surrounded by a quartet of other games (spin-offs and a re-release) not as well received as the last series hits, which may have combined to the decline:
      • The re-release Soulcalibur II HD Online lacks several popular features from the PS2/GameCube/Xbox versions of one of the series' best games, is faulted for its poor net code, and no Wii or Wii U release cuts the nostalgia market of the best selling version of that game and means the absence of Ensemble Darkhorse Guest Fighter Link.
      • The first spin-off, Soulcalibur Legends (the only spin-off for Nintendo hardware, the Wii), is an Unexpected Genre Change into an Action-Adventure Hack and Slash game, with only seven playable characters, and a story that is only a non-canon retelling of two prior games in the series from a limited perspective.
      • The second, Soulcalibur: Lost Swords, is a poor attempt at bringing the series into free-to-play territory. A bare-bones story, long loading screens for everything, a tedious character-unlocking system, no true multiplayer, and a rash of connection problems resulted in negative review scores and the game fizzling out in just over a year.
      • Finally, Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul is an attempt to translate the series' fighting mechanics into a competitive card game, the same way Bandai Namco did previously with Tekken Card Tournament. The game died a very quick death, lasting only seven months before being shut down.
  • Although Xenosaga was meant to be a six-part series, it ended after three games. None of the games individually are primarily responsible for the premature end, but altogether the games didn't perform as well as expected. Episode II performed so poorly that part of Episode III's selling point was that it (debatably) coherently summarizes Episode II, removing the need to play it to understand the story. Players were thankful, but after the blow Episode II had dealt the franchise, almost every industry commentator observed that Episode III would have to be perfect in every way to keep the series afloat. Eventually, after Monolith was bought out by Nintendo, they created yet another successor to Xenogears and Xenosaga called Xenoblade Chronicles.

    Capcom 
  • Although it isn't exactly bad, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is such an incredible deviation from the rest of the Breath of Fire games (a series that's usually very big on continuity, to boot) that the series came to a screeching halt. Even when another company offered to buy the license to make a new Breath of Fire game, Capcom refused. Eventually, Capcom would begin work on a Japan-exclusive sixth installment for PCs and smartphones, but although Ryu and Nina are present, it looks and feels like part of a completely different series.
  • Due to poor sales and, more specifically, Executive Meddling, the Darkstalkers series hasn't seen a new release since 1998. Yoshinori Ono (Street Fighter IV producer) has been working vigorously towards a new installment, but it's unlikely to get any sort of release due to low sales of Darkstalkers Resurrection (a downloadable re-release of the second and third games released March 2013). Fingers are often pointed at the extremely underwhelming duo of Vampire Savior 2 and Vampire Hunter 2 for quickly stripping away what life the franchise once had.
  • Dino Crisis 3 stretches Willing Suspension of Disbelief beyond all hope of recovery when it puts dinosaurs on a spaceship in the future. That's not even getting into the gameplay, which stinks due to the inclusion of anti-gravity without the controls to make it bearable, or the plot, which discards the running story of the previous games despite the fact that Part 2 ends on a cliffhanger!
  • Final Fight: Streetwise proved to be a critical dud and put an end to any further games in the Final Fight continuity. Most of its characters now live on as part of Street Fighter canon (luckily for them, Final Fight and Street Fighter reside in a Shared Universe).
  • Mega Man:
    • Fans point to the departure of Keiji Inafune (the series' chief game designer) from Capcom and the subsequent controversy surrounding Mega Man Legends 3's cancellation as the points where the once-strong video game franchise finally lost its way, as there have been no new Mega Man games released aside from ports, the Mega Man Legacy Collection (a compilation of the first six Mega Man games on the NES) and the rather unfavorably-received announcements of a film adaptation from 20th Century Fox and an animated television series from Man of Action Studios. Attempts by other developers to branch the series out in other directions never made it out of the production phase, and Capcom's own attempts to move the Blue Bomber onto mobile devices with sloppy ports of Mega Man X and the first six original Mega Man games on the NES, and the just-plain-bad Rockman Xover, were met with harsh disdain.
    • Mega Man 8, due to various factors (including widely reviled voice acting and some poorly devised weapons and items), resulted in the Classic part of the franchise being left fallow for twelve years. And while the eighth game is still in continuity (deliberate references to it are made in both Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10), the gameplay and design aesthetic reverted back to that of the second installment, widely considered the best of the Classic series.
    • Mega Man X8, while far from a bad game, wound up being the end of the X subseries due to very low sales. An entire continuity reboot of the entire series was attempted in 2006 with Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, but low sales threw it into the grinder after one game.
    • Mega Man Star Force 2 is a mediocre sequel to the first game, and killed off the Mega Man Battle Network/Star Force continuity. Star Force 3 is a step back in the right direction, but didn't sell well enough to save it. Operate Shooting Star, an Intercontinuity Crossover between Battle Network and Star Force, was released only in Japan.
  • Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor was the death knell for what was otherwise a highly immersive and otherwise decent Humongous Mecha franchise. While most of the reviews praise the concept behind Heavy Armor, such as its story and the desired gameplay effect, almost everyone takes umbrage with the execution, which is to say the mandatory Kinect interface and its inability to accurately translate player motions into in-game actions. Between scathing reviews and sales figures below even those of the original Steel Battalion (which was a break-even affair in the first place), Capcom has made no mention of sequels to redeem the title or even a patch to smooth out the control issues.
  • Street Fighter has two different franchise killers, released within a three-year timeframe. First, Street Fighter III attempted to (finally) push the series forward in both story and roster. Unfortunately, it received a lukewarm reception from consumers due to removing every fan-favorite character except Ryu and Kennote , the slower game speed (compared to Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Alpha), and the decision to both remove air-blocking and add parrying (which basically turns it into a new game entirely). The second killer is 2000's Street Fighter EX 3 which, while somewhat successful, failed to prove that Street Fighter gameplay could translate into the new 3-D graphics era. It wouldn't be until 2008's Street Fighter IV when Capcom would correct both of those issues.

    Electronic Arts 
  • The Command & Conquer franchise got killed off after the release of the fourth game in the main series, and that was only a few years after solid hits by the third games of both the main series and the Red Alert spin-off series. With EA having so many other Cash Cow Franchises at the time, Tiberian Twilight came and tanked, and there's little possibility they would give the franchise another chance now. EA later announced that it planned on developing a multiplayer only online-focused free-to-play sequel to Generals, but it also got cancelled.
  • Dead Space is one of a number of new IPs released by Electronic Arts in the late '00s that sought to turn around the company's checkered reputation, and is well-received as one of the best of the bunch, enough to spawn an equally well-regarded sequel and several spinoffs. However, the series was killed stone-dead by the third game, which largely abandons the series' Survival Horror roots in favor of more action and co-op multiplayer, while also introducing a very unpopular microtransaction system. The resulting game got a mixed reception and sold well below expectations (which were absurd on their own since EA expected to sell more copies than the previous installments when Dead Space 1 & 2 sold around the same number of copies), and while there's still talk of a fourth game, its chances are slim.
  • Following a decently-received revival of the Medal of Honor franchise in 2010, Medal of Honor: Warfighter was panned for its uninspired storytelling and a mess of bugs, even after a ridiculously large day-one patch. The game is so hated it became a walking punchline for "Bad Modern Military Shooters". Originally meant to plug the gap between bi-yearly Battlefield releases, the Medal of Honor franchise (and EA's Los Angeles studio, which was later occupied by Battlefield creator DICE) died out as a result of Warfighter's failure.
  • EA Sports' NBA Live series was going to be renamed NBA Elite for the 2011 year. However, the game's demo was so awful that they yanked it and cancelled the game weeks from release. It doesn't help that their primary competitor, Take Two's NBA 2K11, is widely considered one of the best sports games of all time. After sitting the 2011 year out, EA tried to reboot the series in 2012 with NBA Live 13, only for them to cancel that title as well for similar reasons, resulting in EA conceding the basketball sim market to 2K Sports. Even after the series' revival for the 2013-14 season, Live has continued to play catch-up with its dominant 2K rival.
  • Similar to the Guitar Hero example above, the Rock Band series fell victim to having constant spinoffs released for the series, which (along with GH's spinoffs) contributed to a waning interest in the genre. This culminated in Green Day Rock Band and Rock Band 3 (released a few months apart) performing under expectations despite both being well-received by critics. The poor commercial response prompted Viacom to drop Harmonix (and with it, the MTV Games brand). Without Viacom's backing, Harmonix's ability to get licenses for popular music started to dwindle, and a year or so after the spin-off (but DLC-compatible) game Rock Band Blitz, DLC releases reached their end. It took four years for Harmonix to announce anything new for the series — 2015's Rock Band 4, published directly by Harmonix, rather than EA.
  • SimCity (2013)'s messy launch, caused mostly by the game's early requirements of a persistent Internet connection, contributed to its negative reception among players and critics, thus dooming the long-running city management series. SC 2013's failure also played a big part in the main Maxis studio being closed down and John Ricitello losing his position as EA's CEO.
  • Though Ultima IX: Ascension was already planned to bring the third trilogy of games to a close, it resulted in a horribly Broken Base. Development nevertheless started on Ultima X, which was never finished.
  • Oddly enough, the Wing Commander series wasn't shot down by any of its video game entries; titles such as Privateer 2: The Darkening and Wing Commander Prophecy, while not without their flaws, weren't enough to take the franchise down. That dishonor instead goes to the financial disaster that was the film adaptation, which falls into the same traps that most film adaptations of videogames usually fall into. A painful example of a franchise killer caused by an entry in an entirely separate medium—a promised sequel to the popular Wing Commander: Secret Ops, Wing Commander Strike Team, never saw the light of day, and a weak arena shooter for Xbox Live remains the only appearance of the franchise ever since.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda went through an extremely hectic and Troubled Production, and released to a very lukewarm response and bad word-of-mouth. This, combined with a lot of interoffice issues were enough to get EA to put the franchise on hold for the foreseeable future.

    Koei / Tecmo 
  • Fatal Frame III's abysmal sales killed the franchise outside of its native Japan for a long time. Fatal Frame IV was never released outside Japan due to game breaking bugs that neither Nintendo nor Tecmo were willing to address. Europe and Australia did, however, receive a Wii remake of the second title in the series, as Fatal Frame II: Deep Crimson Butterfly (the lack of an American release may have something to do with Nintendo of America wanting to focus most of its attention on the then-unreleased Wii U). Following the mediocre Spirit Camera spinoff on 3DS, the series eventually returned to North America and Europe with a limited release of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water.
  • The Ninja Gaiden PS3/Xbox 360 series took a sharp dive in quality when producer/director Tomonobu Itagaki departed from Team Ninja to form his own studio following the release of Ninja Gaiden II, as evidenced by the negative reception to Ninja Gaiden III. The NGIII re-release Razor's Edge would try to undo some of the damage, but it wasn't enough. The spinoff title Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z flopped even harder, leaving Ryu Hayabusa and friends to continue their adventures in the Shared Universe of Dead or Alive for the time being.
  • Rygar: The Legendary Adventure is a good game, but didn't perform well enough to continue the series. It was less-than-spectacularly ported to the Wii several years hereafter, sealing the fate of the franchise. Tecmo announced a Rygar 2, but it ended up being vaporware.
  • Monster Rancher EVO is thought to have killed the Monster Rancher series. The raising mechanics are dumbed down and music minigames are shoehorned in, and the game was received poorly by both fans and critics. Though the death of disc swapping in modern consoles may have been a part of it as well, it was the last console Monster Rancher game and a new Monster Rancher game that isn't an Allegedly Free Game has not been made since 2010.
  • Five years elapsed between Win Back and its sequel, which in the end turned out completely awful and flopped.

    Konami / Hudson Soft 
  • Bloody Roar 4 is considered the worst entry in the franchise by its small but dedicated fanbase, and no new entries have been made since then (a prospect especially unlikely nowadays with the demise of Hudson Soft). Luckily, the developer Eighting survived, and went on to develop other licensed fighting games since as the Naruto: Clash of Ninja series, Fate/unlimited codes and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
  • Bomberman: Act Zero was considered one of the worst gaming reboots in history, featuring tedious gameplay, buckets of Fake Difficulty, and a new, gritty story that is wholly at odds with the series' cutesy roots. It also more or less destroyed a franchise that, up until that point, had been one of gaming's most prolific, with new games coming out almost every year. Act Zero became the last non-remake game of the series released on home consoles (other than downloadable titles). From that point on, Bomberman saw a smattering of mobile ports and downloadable games, but nothing beyond that. A planned 3DS title was cancelled, and the series saw an eight-year drought of non-port releases from 2009 to 2017, when Super Bomberman R was announced for the Nintendo Switch.
  • Castlevania had two bouts of this:
    • While Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is generally regarded as a good (if somewhat difficult) game, diminishing returns in sales pushed Konami to stop making 2D Castlevania games and try once more to find success in 3D with the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow continuity.
    • This first Lords of Shadow proved to be a surprising success, but a combination of middling review scores for Lords of Shadow 2 and complaints of Executive Meddling within MercurySteam (developers of the Lords of Shadow games) halted that sub-series in its tracks, and Konami has expressed little to no interest in making any new games in the series. And the less said of the slot machines, the better.
  • Dance Dance Revolution X basically killed the franchise outside of East Asia, not because of the game itself, but because of the Bad Export for You fiasco surrounding the arcade hardware. In East Asia, Konami offered upgrade kits for old machines as well as brand-new redesigned cabinets with HD monitors. But in North America and Europe, Konami contracted things to Raw Thrills and Betson, who didn't offer upgrades and only sold a cheap knock-off of the redesigned HD cabinets. The RT/Betson cabinets were inferior in quality to the Japanese ones and broke as easily as peanut brittle, yet they were still thousands of dollars more expensive than upgrading an old cabinet would've been. This led to lots of arcades buying a new machine only to find out it was crap. Making this worse is that a dedicated In the Groove 2 cabinet had been introduced to North American arcades some years prior, which was no longer on the market, but increased players' expectations for quality. Konami would later dump Betson and announced another redesign to be less awful and more similar to the Japanese cabinets, but the damage was already done. To this day, there are still old, broken-down RT/Betson DDR X cabinets scattered around North American arcades. And since Konami doesn't produce consumer DDR titles anymore, and DDR games from DanceDanceRevolution (2013) onwards have always-online DRM as part of Konami's eAMUSEMENT Participation subscription service, the only way to play current DDR versions legally is to travel to Japan or other select Asian countries.
  • The Ganbare Goemon series is a primarily Japan-only series that was wildly successful for a time in its native land. The handful of games that were translated didn't have great sales, but are well-regarded as cult classics, chiefly for their Flanderization of Japanese mythology, as well as a bizarre, zany sense of humour. Unfortunately, in 2000, a Darker and Edgier reboot (Bōken Jidai Katsugeki Goemon) for the PS2 wound up being a critical and commercial failure and signalled the series' demise. The series pushed out a few more phone- and portable-based games, but the franchise has not had a proper new entry since 2005 and appears all but dead now.
  • The arcade version of Gradius III did not perform as well in Japanese arcades as its predecessors due to a Sequel Difficulty Spike that drove away most of the players except for the truly hardcore. As a result, the only home conversion of the game for many years was a reformulated port for the SNES that tones the difficulty to a fair extent. It would be another ten years before Konami decided to produce a fourth Gradius game for the arcades.
  • Rumble Roses suffered from a Broken Base before it was even released, with both Anime and Professional Wrestling fans interested in the game. During development, it became obvious the game was designed to cater to anime fans, but it's a decent enough wrestling game that the pro wrestling camp wasn't fully alienated. Then came the sequel, Rumble Roses XX, with a labyrinthine and ludicrously time-consuming unlocking system, a completely pathetic create-a-wrestler feature, and a boring street fighting mode that no one likes. The killer, though, is the "Queens Match Mode", done in a style of Japanese erotica that, through Values Dissonance, comes across as extremely creepy Fan Disservice elsewhere, evaporating most of its international fanbase. To make matters worse, RRXX was released on a different platform (Xbox 360) than the original game (PlayStation 2), killing much of its built-in audience. Plans were to eventually port, but higher-ups claimed there simply was not enough interest in the series to make a PlayStation 3 version viable.
  • With the surprise success of Zombies Ate My Neighbors, LucasArts decided to take a similar property in development and rework it into a sequel. Ghoul Patrol was a bomb, with tedious, confusing gameplay and none of the original's fun spirit. At least there's still the Wii Virtual Console release of the original game.

    Nintendo 
  • Chibi-Robo!: Park Patrol sold very poorly in the US (largely due to initially being a Wal-Mart exclusive), which in turn caused the next sequel to be Japan-only. Nintendo then decided to bring the series back overseas on the 3DS with a downloadable title called Chibi Robo: Photo Finder, a game that puts less focus on the housekeeping aspect of the original games and more focus on the use of the 3DS camera. The game received mostly average reviews, again seemingly putting the series in jeopardy. Nintendo would announce another Chibi-Robo title for the 3DS that does away with the housekeeping concept entirely in favor of side-scrolling platforming called Chibi Robo: Zip Lash, even coming with a Chibi Robo amiibo. Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe stated that Zip Lash would likely be the last game in the series if it sold poorly...and it did.
  • Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, while not without its fans, was generally ill-received and ended the line of Donkey Kong spinoffs that had persisted throughout the 2000's decade following Rare's departure. Retro Studios would proceed to successfully return the franchise to its platforming roots with the well-received Donkey Kong Country Returns.
  • F-Zero: GP Legend is this for the F-Zero series. In addition to performing poorly sales-wise, bad word-of-mouth effectively sunk the accompanying Animated Adaptation before it even hit North American airwaves. While there is only one other sequel to GP Legend (2004's F-Zero Climax), it was never released outside of Japan due to GP Legend's overall poor reception in North America. This is all also combined with Shigeru Miyamoto admitting to having Writer's Block in terms of bringing new ideas to the series.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • The poorly-received Metroid: Other M put the Metroid series on ice for a second time (the first is the long hiatus between Super Metroid in 1994 and Metroid Prime in 2002, while Metroid wrestled with the Video Game 3D Leap and series co-creator Gunpei Yokoi's departure from Nintendo and subsequent death). Despite good initial sales, poor word-of-mouth took its toll, and new copies were rapidly marked down to bargain price. Yoshio Sakamoto, a co-creator of the franchise who was heavily involved with Other M, said at the time that he didn't plan to return to Metroid or any of his other traditional video game creations any time soon. Only seven years later, at E3 2017, did Nintendo finally pull the franchise out of its slumber with Metroid Prime 4 for Switch and Metroid: Samus Returns for 3DS.
  • Planet Puzzle League is a perfectly good game on its own, but received extremely negative consumer reception in Japan for almost completely ditching the kawaisa aspect it had previously sold itself on. Other than a few Virtual Console rereleases of the original Panel de Pon, there hasn't been a new stand alone game in the series since. The closest "release" you can get is a mini-game in the Welcome amiibo update of Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
  • The Broken Base that started in Star Fox Adventures managed to finally come back to bite the Star Fox franchise in the ass with Star Fox Command. It was the poorest selling game in the series to date, and barring the Nintendo 3DS remake of Star Fox 64, it took an entire decade for the series to receive a new title through Star Fox Zero for the Wii U. Alas, Star Fox Zero received polarizing reactions from critics and fans, no thanks to its unconventional control scheme and removal of staple features; as well as being yet another Continuity Reboot. The result was Zero reportedly selling even less than Command, painting a very bleak future of the series.
  • The Legendary Starfy seems to be this for the Starfy series, as the series hasn't had a new game in over 8 years, and it is sadly the only game in the series to come out in America, and didn't even come out in Europe. While it did get good reviews in America, it sold poorly, and it wasn't received as well and didn't sell as well as the first four games in Japan, mainly due to being dumbed-down from the previous titles.
  • Wario World, Wario: Master of Disguise, and Wario Land: Shake It! all received decent reviews from critics, but they sold so poorly that the Wario Land series hasn't seen any new installments since 2008.

    Sega 
  • Alex Kidd and the Enchanted Castle flopped so badly that Sega ditched the eponymous character as their mascot, and replaced him with Sonic the Hedgehog. While Alex probably didn't have much of a future as Sega's mascot anyway, since the company wanted a more "hip" audience for the Genesis, his series would probably have survived if Enchanted Castle had been better received. Instead, he appeared in the Dolled-Up Installment Alex Kidd in Shinobi World and has not had a new game of his own since, though he has made playable appearances in the Sega Superstars line of crossover games.
  • Golden Axe: Beast Rider is a failed attempt to translate the gameplay of the classic side-scrolling beat-em-up series to 3D, and did enough lasting damage to put an end to any further games in the franchise.
  • Sakura Wars is seemingly dead, due to the result of weak sales of the fifth title and its tie-in merchandise and anime. The weak sales of the fifth game in the US in 2010 have also apparently destroyed any hope of seeing the first four games released in America (though in 2012, a Facebook group sprung up to attempt a localization of the rest of the games in the series for digital distribution).
  • Shenmue was a Franchise Killer after the first episode in the US, owing both to the end of the Sega Dreamcast and slow gameplay, but the second episode (of a proposed four) was released on Dreamcast to the rest of the world, and was exclusive to Xbox in America. Unfortunately, the second episode managed to fail financially on both consoles, rendering its huge and startling cliffhanger the end. As the mastermind behind the series, Yu Suzuki, has since left Sega, the fate of the series hinges on the outcome of a highly-publicized Shenmue III Kickstarter campaign. The campaign achieved the pledge record in the Video Game category on Kickstarter, so there is still hope the Franchise Killer status can be reversed.
    • Shenmue is also something of a Sunk Cost Fallacy that killed off the old Sega. Depending on who you believe, at the time, the Shenmue project cost anywhere from from $47 million to $70 million US to create. That's a sizeable chunk of change, and the latter figure would have been an industry record. During this time, Sega's finances were none too good and the Dreamcast ultimately underperformed. The game most likely didn't profit, and it's probably fair to suspect it depleted money from the company at a time where they couldn't afford to. Sega did survive to go third-party after the DC went bust, but didn't last much longer before being bought by Sammy Corp. and "retooled". It has also been estimated that the game was so expensive, and the install base so small, every Dreamcast owner would have to have bought at least two copies just to break even.
  • Sega's Shinobi franchise was killed quite dead by the poor Shinobi Legions installment in 1995, not returning until a reboot in 2002. It died again in 2004 with Nightshade (Kunoichi), which itself is a perfectly good game, but had little to no marketing and its link to the Shinobi franchise is not played up, so it sits in obscurity. A later installment for the Nintendo 3DS received decent reviews, but failed to sell well enough to properly re-vitalize the series, compounded by developer Griptonite Games' acquisition and closure shortly after the game's release.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has somehow managed to avoid this despite the reception of most of the modern Sonic games (due to him being one of Sega's few cash cows). That said, several spinoffs and branches of the series have not escaped unscathed.
    • After over a decade of dormancy, Sega returned to the original "classic" branch of Sonic The Hedgehog games that kickstarted the franchise on the Sega Genesis through the downloadable Sonic the Hedgehog 4 series at the start of The New '10s. Episode I was released in 2010 to relatively positive reviews from critics and decent sales, but was widely (though not universally) panned by fans of the Genesis games as a disappointing sequelnote , due to its different gameplay and character designs and heavy recycling of content from its predecessors. Episode II, released two years later, is widely seen as So Okay, It's Average by reviewers and sold poorly; resulting in a planned third episode being discarded. It didn't help that some platforms only got one episode - the Wii only got Episode I and the Nvidia Shield only got Episode II (ignoring its other issues). Another attempt at a new Genesis-styled Sonic game wouldn't be seen until the announcement of 2017's Sonic Mania — which was thankfully met with a far more enthusiastic response from reviewers and Genesis Sonic fans.
    • There were only two games in the spinoff Storybook Series for the Wii console, as Sonic and the Black Knight failed to impress.
    • The simultaneous underperformance of Sonic Rush Adventure for the Nintendo DS as well as the non-starter Sonic Rivals series for the PlayStation Portable note  marked the end to original entries of handheld Sonic games that preceded them (which comprised a handful of Game Gear titles, Sonic Pocket Adventure, the Sonic Advance Trilogy, and the first Sonic Rush title). All handheld Sonic games produced afterwards have been handheld counterparts of Sonic Team's console games starting with Sonic Colors, something the franchise hadn't completely done since the Game Gear port of Sonic Spinball.
    • The Sonic Riders line of racing spinoff games was killed off by the Xbox 360/Kinect-exclusive third game Free Riders. The game was roundly ripped apart by reviewers and fans alike for its atrocious control scheme that is (poorly) designed to utilize the movement of the player's entire body for input and is the only method provided for playing and navigating through the game (compared to the previous two games, which use traditional controllers and use or offered traditional control schemes). Not helping matters is the earlier release of Sega & Sonic All-Stars Racing, a general Sega-themed racing game that received far better reviews and sales than any of the existing Riders titles.
    • While the Sonic Boom cartoon has performed well, its tie-in games Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystalnote  bombed hard with both critics and fans. While this miraculously didn't stop a third Sonic Boom game — Fire & Ice, considered a marked improvent from the previous two games — from seeing release, it largely flew under the water in terms of sales, making the prospects of future Boom games afterwards rather unlikely. note  It doesn't help that the reception towards the Boom games may have had a hand in its tie-in comic series being put on the chopping block relatively quickly, or that Rise of Lyric in particular dealt a critical blow to the studio that made it.
  • The Super Monkey Ball franchise was initially hit with the horrendous Super Monkey Ball Adventure, a failed attempt at making the series a 3D platformer that was panned for its confusing gameplay and poor controls. While the franchise was able to recover with Banana Blitz, a reboot on the Wii that ended up receiving better reviews and sold reasonably well, it prompted the series to shift its focus to mobile devices for a few years. Unfortunately, the series returned to gaming platforms with a string of unremarkable installments (the Wii sequel Step and Roll, Super Monkey Ball 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, and Banana Splitz for the PlayStation Vita) that were all heavily reliant on gimmicky control schemes and proceeded to run the formula into the ground. Neither game was considerably well-received by reviewers or audiences, consequently resulting in the series pushing out Super Monkey Ball Bounce — a Peggle-cloned pachinko-styled game for smartphones — before disappearing for good.
  • Streets of Rage died off after the third installment. The first game is considered good by many while the second game is an Even Better Sequel for fans and critics. However, the third game has numerous problems that plague non -apanese players due to several changes made overseas. The difficulty is cranked up to the point where harder difficulty levels mean you take more damage while enemies gain bigger health bars, beating the game on the easy difficulty gets you mocked for it and denied a real ending, several female mooks are redrawn to have more clothing, and the plot is sloppily censored and rewritten. Along with beat-'em-up games dying off as other genres picked up, Sega saw no reason to make another Streets of Rage, yet they went out of their way to order a cease and desist on a group of fans working on a fan remake of the franchise.
  • Virtual On MARZ killed its series. The game was changed from a 3D Fighting Game to an arena-based Beat 'em Up (of sorts, Virtual On has guns), it became single-player, has a horrible, generic anime-like plot, and the English version is plagued by "Blind Idiot" Translation. Ironically enough, most of the cameos Virtual On has gotten elsewhere (outside of indie circles) are more heavily based on MARZ than any other part of the series, namely in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, in which the robots have human voices. The game also features Hatter, who only appears in MARZ.
  • During the early 2000s, Sega made new, Xbox-exclusive installments of previous franchises. While a lot of these installments are pretty good, these franchises were never seen again because they suffered from awful sales:
    • Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller. While it got decent reviews (and even then, they aren't as positive as the highly-acclaimed first two games), it sold poorly. Other than a few ports of the first game on modern systems, another Crazy Taxi game was not seen until the free-to-play City Rush was released more than ten years later.
    • Jet Set Radio Future, despite receiving large amounts of praise and a huge cult following, didn't sell well (then again, it was kind of Sega's fault; they chose to advertise the Gamecube port of Sonic Adventure 2 more, making it very rare to see the JSRF commercial). When it and Sega GT 2002 were packaged with Xboxes during the Holiday season of 2002, it boosted sales, but still wasn't a top-seller, and the series never got a third installment.
    • Panzer Dragoon Orta: Just like Shenmue II and JSRF, it got lots of praise and a big cult following, but suffered from bad sales. Plus, a majority of the console's demographic wasn't into rail-shooters or fantasy settings anyway.
    • Shenmue II, as listed above, suffered from awful sales and ended with an unresolved cliffhanger.

    Sierra 

    Sony Computer Entertainment 
  • Cool Boarders 2001 is the lowest-grossing entry in its franchise aside from the original game, and the last game released (to date) for the series. It features an infamous Sequel Difficulty Spike comprised of Nintendo Hard trick challenges within the tutorial course and first stage, focuses more on realism than any of the prior installments, and got lost in the shuffle during a glut of similarly-themed snowboarding games. Two other attempts to jumpstart the franchise bombed as well - Cool Boarders: Code Alien, an entry released the year before in Japan, never sold well enough to make the jump to North America, and Cool Boarders: Burrrn! (released as Rippin' Riders for the Sega Dreamcast) failed to make any impact. A planned sequel to 2001, Sold Out, was canned in early production, and the series hasn't seen another installment since.
  • Jet Moto 3 is a decent game, but it sold poorly, resulting in the planned fourth game being cancelled. So far, there are no plans to revive the series.
  • The two Syphon Filter games that were released on the PlayStation Portable (Logan's Shadow and Dark Mirror) are respected by critics, but according to Sony Bend Studio's John Garvin, the games didn't sell well enough to justify any further entries in the series.
  • PaRappa the Rapper became an instant hit when it was released and invented the Rhythm Game genre. Um Jammer Lammy continues the trend that PaRappa started, but it didn't sell quite as well due to being more or less the same as PaRappa and it's also known for being just as difficult. While PaRappa the Rapper 2 isn't a bad game, the game was given lower scores than the two games before it due to, once again, not changing the formula and has also been criticized for being too easy. Aside from the games being rereleased on the PSP and PlayStation Network, the franchise was pretty much done for once the rhythm game genre dried up in The New '10s. However, with Parappa himself appearing as a fighter in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Sony releasing a remastered version of the first game in 4K graphics for the PlayStation 4, there may be some hope for the rapper to return.

    Square Enix / Eidos Interactive 
  • Actraiser II is an In-Name-Only sequel that lacks the original game's popular Simulation Mode. The ungodly difficulty level can't have helped it out at all, either.
  • Commandos: Strike Force effectively killed off the Commandos franchise. It is essentially a completely different game from its predecessors, being a pretty generic first person shooter with a different cast. Even Pyro Studios doesn't acknowledge it any more.
  • Dawn of Mana effectively killed off the World of Mana series with frustrating and nonsensical gameplay and a level system that resets whenever you start a new chapter, which means loads and loads of Level Grinding.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War, the much-anticipated sequel to the seminal Deus Ex, was so poorly received (by the community; it received decent marks from critics) that developer Ion Storm Austin was driven to collapse, and the spin-off title Deus Ex: Clan Wars was changed to Project: Snowblind to remove negative association with the ballyhooed franchise. Another title in the series wouldn't be made until 2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
  • Front Mission Evolved crashed and burned hard, and its poor ratings/sales have more or less ended the future of Front Mission video games. For a while, the franchise soldiered on through other media, including the popular Dog Life & Dog Style manga (ironically, of all things, Evolved was panned for its terrible storytelling), but with the end of the manga series and many of the major Front Mission players all having left Square Enix, it's safe to say that the franchise is done for good.
  • Tomb Raider was subjected to heavy amounts of Executive Meddling by Edios through the franchise's life. Due to the huge popularity of the original game, Eidos demanded Core Design make a new Tomb Raider game every year. The quality of each game took a dip bit by bit during the Playstation era, and by Tomb Raider Chronicles, it showed; the game is short, has sloppy level design, and is riddled with bugs that can make the game Unwinnable. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was the last straw due to being delayed twice and then rushed out to meet the fiscal year, which resulted in a ton of glitches, sloppy controls, and cut content. Eidos dissolved Core, and the franchise went into hibernation for a few years until Tomb Raider: Legend came along, produced by Crystal Dynamics. The franchise was in danger of being sunk once again due to Tomb Raider: Anniversary (a remake of the first game) and Tomb Raider: Underworld being made at the same time due to Eidos continuing to demand the franchise pump out games quickly, causing content and level length to be cut down in the former and various glitches popping up in the latter. Square Enix bought out Eidos and Tomb Raider franchise was rebooted again with Tomb Raider (2013), developed by Crystal Dynamics under Square-Enix's management.
  • Unlimited Saga was released in 2002, after a very long wait for an new entry in the franchise. While the game's art and music are amazing, the gameplay is questionable at best; an over-reliance on the incredibly gimmicky "Reel System" (which is used for everything from attacks to leveling up) and a skipped beta phase means the game has a patched-together feel. It received generous reviews from Japanese publications, but only mediocre ones from American sources, and ended up with miserable sales. As a result, not only have the only new SaGa games been remakes of existing games in the series (with only a handful of those remakes seeing an international release, those being the Romancing Saga PS2 port and the Romancing Saga 2 mobile port).
  • Xenogears was intended to be a 6-part series, but was heavily underfunded. Even the one installment that was released was barely able to get completed by the deadline. Despite positive reception, the series was effectively dead since the creators left Square. A revival was attempted in the form of a spiritual sequel known as Xenosaga, but that's another story (see the Bandai/Namco section).

    THQ 
  • On November 6, 2012, THQ released a statement saying that Darksiders II needed to have sold over 4 million copies for them to even consider continuing the franchise, but it only sold 1.4 million. This is likely more because of the dire financial situation THQ was in at the time than the quality or reception of the game (both games received good reviews), as the company had to file for bankruptcy only a month or so after the Darksiders statement. Its new publisher, Nordic Games (who won a last-minute bid for the series and its developer in the THQ auction, and has since rebranded itself THQ Nordic) and new developer Gunfire Games (a group containing some of the old Vigil Games staff) have announced that a third Darksiders game is in development, scheduled for a 2018 release.
  • The death of the Destroy All Humans! series can be blamed squarely on two lackluster sequels - Big Willy Unleashed for the Wii, and then Path of the Furon for PS3 and Xbox 360 - developed in 2008 after the original developer, Pandemic Studios, was snapped up by Electronic Arts. Neither game manages to successfully capture the spirit of the first two games, and they sold and reviewed terribly as a result.
  • The MX vs. ATV franchise was killed off after the various changes in gameplay to MX vs. ATV: Alive left fans cold. A new game, MX vs. ATV: Supercross was released in 2014 under new publisher Nordic Games (which now publishes the properties it acquired from the THQ fire sale under the THQ banner; long story), time will tell if that game brings the series back from the dead.
  • The Nicktoons Unite series died after Nicktoons: Globs of Doom's poor reception. THQ later gave up on Nicktoons licensed games, so the game that followed Globs of Doom was 2K Games' Nicktoons MLB, a crossover between Nicktoons characters and real MLB players. No further Nicktoons games have come since that title, however, indicating that Globs of Doom may have dealt a death blow to the Nicktoons line of licensed games as a whole.
  • Red Faction met an untimely end with the underwhelming reception of Armageddon and the multiplayer-focused Battlegroundsnote . Most of the negative reception from Armageddon came from it switching from the open-world destruction that made Red Faction: Guerrilla a hit to a generic underground corridor shooter. Ironic, considering the plan according to the developers was to bring the game back to its roots (the first two games are linear shooters).
  • The Purr Pals series (the company's answer to Nintendogs) ended after the 3DS outing Purr Pals: Purrfection sold poorly, with THQ's subsequent bankruptcy painting an even more uncertain future for the series.

    Other 
  • Bubsy did well enough to get a few 2D sequels and a short-lived cartoon show. Then came Bubsy 3D, seen as one of the worst games ever made, which smashed head-first into the Polygon Ceiling. It was 24 years before Black Forest Games brought the bobcat out of retirement with Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back.
  • The double whammy of Clayfighter 63 1/3 and Clayfighter X-Treme ultimately killed the ClayFighter franchise. 63 1/3 is an Obvious Beta with dated graphics, annoying voice clips and glitchy, unbalanced gameplay. Although the game was a modest commercial success, its critical reception was so bad that Interplay released a Director's Cut six months later that addresses some (but not all) of the gameplay and balancing issues of 63 1/3. Meanwhile, X-Treme fell into Development Hell and never even saw release. Other than the Virtual Console release of the original, the series has been completely dormant ever since.
  • Crystal Kingdom Dizzy ended up being this for the Dizzy series of Spectrum games. A full-priced title with a drop in quality from the previous budget titles, its relative failure meant the planned next game, Wonderland Dizzy would never be released.
  • There was a fourth Descent game planned, but it was cancelled due to poor sales of Descent 3 and Interplay going bankrupt.
  • The first Earthworm Jim is great and became a classic, and the sequel is still pretty good (even if it tries a bit too hard to be wacky), but the third game, no longer developed by the original creators, is terrible despite the prolonged development period. Frame rate issues, lame "zany" humour and gameplay copied from more famous 3D platformers are just a few of the game's problems. However, the even more terrible Game Boy Color game, Menance 2 the Galaxy, killed the franchise for good; as attempts to get a new game off the ground (in particular, a new installment for the PlayStation Portable, and a tentatively-titled Earthworm Jim 4) have frequently stalled in development before seeing cancellation.
  • Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is this for the Epic Mickey series, since its failure wiped out Junction Point entirely. A big reason is the fact that Epic Mickey 2 fails to fix any of the problems of its predecessor (unstable frame rate, camera and control problems, etc.) and adds new issues on top of it. Fans and critics disagreed with the sentiments of Warren Spector, the lead designer, who thought that the game is perfect as it is and the technical problems are part of the game's charm.
  • Fade To Black, the 3D sequel to Flashback, slams into the Polygon Ceiling head-on, crushing hopes of further sequels. Flashback's 2013 HD remake was not particularly well received either, and is likely the last we'll see of the franchise.
  • The Fire Pro Wrestling series seemingly came to a halt to a halt after the release of the Xbox 360 game, which discards the series' traditional sprite graphics in favor of the Xbox Avatar system, cuts out a lot of the customization options, and trades the timing-based gameplay for button-mashing brawls. Nothing new was heard of the franchise after Spike's merger with Chunsoft in 2012 (the same year the Xbox 360 FPW was released) until 2017, when a new game, Fire Pro Wrestling World, was announced for Playstation 4 and Steam.
  • The Infinity series of visual novels by KID (Never7, Ever17, etc.) were doing well in spite of Executive Meddling and financial issues. A spinoff installment, 12Riven, sold less than spectacularly, putting an end to the series and bankrupting KID. KID was later bought off by CyberFront, which released an official sequel called Code18 without the involvement of the series' previous writers.
  • The Western version of the first Kunio-kun game was a surprise hit in Britain, and Renegade became a spinoff series. The first two games were beloved by ZX Spectrum owners, but the third game — with its bizarre Time Travel plot, graphics that are monochrome even by the computer's low standards, and gobs of Fake Difficulty resulting from poor controls, missing moves, and strict time limits — spelt an end to the series.
  • Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude stumbled into, but ultimately survived its transition into 3D. Its follow-up game, Box Office Bust, was put in Development Hell before the Activision Blizzard merger led to Sierra dropping the game completely, selling the Leisure Suit Larry intellectual property to Codemasters. Once they decided to completely restart Box Office Bust, the new developers discarded the series' traditional point-and-click formula in favor of an action-adventure game with platforming, shooting and brawling elements. The result is one of the worst-reviewed games to ever appear on PlayStation 3/Xbox 360, unintentionally making it the most apt title for a failing game. Creator Al Lowe, who hated the changes Sierra made to the series with Magna Cum Laude (which was made without his involvement), actually thanked Activision for washing their hands of "the latest disaster" to hit the series.
  • Lunar: Dragon Song did this for the Lunar series, stemming from poor sales, bad reviews, and absurd gameplay mechanics (you can choose to receive experience or items from monster battles, but not both). There hasn't been a non-remake Lunar title since Dragon Song's release.
  • The ninth installment of the main Might and Magic series is generally regarded as the reason New World Computing stuck with the Heroes spinoff from then on; this is mainly since the graphics of the engine had to be extensively upgraded in order to compete. However, all of the company's resources went into that and not into, say, a good plot.
    • A large part of the reason for the game's state is that 3DO was in its death throes at the time, and the game was in fact released after the last Heroes by NWC. That said, it did probably contribute to Ubisoft, the company who picked up the IP, not doing any party-based role-playing games with it until a decade later.
  • Myth III: The Wolf Age isn't especially terrible, though it's significantly worse than the first two, and uses the much-reviled (and now dead) Gamespy Arcade for multiplayer instead of Bungie.net, killing all hopes for a fourth installment.
  • No One Lives Forever was killed by the terrible interquel / Gaiden Game Contract J.A.C.K, causing Monolith Productions to abandon the series entirely.
  • One Must Fall 2097 is widely considered one of the best PC-exclusive fighting games of its era, thanks to the novelty of the premise and fairly tight game design. It's also one of the earliest games to feature a 'rehit' mode, similar to the modern extended aerial combo system. Its developers, Diversions Entertainment, attempted to keep the streak alive with One Must Fall Battlegrounds, a game that hits the Polygon Ceiling so hard that it leaves an imprint of its box art on the glass. Dodgy controls, bland audio work, and an overall unpolished feel meant abysmal sales, which killed the One Must Fall franchise stone dead after the game escaped seven years in Development Hell, and also put Diversions Entertainment out of business.
  • Codemaster's separate successor to the original Operation Flashpoint series went down the drain after its second installment, Red River. Unlike the first one, Dragon Rising, Red River takes what makes the series unique, throws nearly all of it out and turns itself into a generic Modern Warfare clone, a move that appealed to fans of neither series. Worse yet, Red River doubled as a Creator Killer, since Codemasters promptly closed down its Guildford studio after the game's failure. Meanwhile, OFP's original creators, Bohemia Interactive, are still going strong with their ARMA series, apparently winning the Dueling Games affair they had with the Codemasters' Spiritual Successor.
  • Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike suddenly introduced half-assed Third-Person Shooter levels to the series, among other negative aspects, resulting in much backlash. Then Lair put the final nail in Factor 5's coffin.
  • Majin Tensei is a decently-received Shin Megami Tensei spinoff in the Strategy RPG genre, which ended up doing well enough to receive one more successful sequel. Then came Ronde for the Saturn. Development was farmed out to Access while Atlus worked on other games, resulting in a game so legendarily awful that the release of a preview demo caused literally thousands of canceled preorders — numbers that were virtually unprecedented in Japan at the time. Not only did it kill the Majin Tensei series (the only release in the series since is a cell phone game that came out 10 years later), but Atlus wouldn't release another Strategy RPG MegaTen until Devil Survivor, twelve years later, which has entirely different gameplay from the earlier series to boot.
  • While SNK had previously attempted to move the Samurai Shodown franchise into the third dimension with Samurai Shodown 64 on the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 arcade board with limited success (average review scores, but new characters Shiki and Asura have appeared in other SNK games, such as Neo Geo Battle Coliseum), most of the other games in the series were strictly 2D until they tried again with Samurai Shodown Sen (an interquel to the SamSho 64 games) more than a decade later. The game was a flop, with reviewers criticizing Sen for its confusing controls, poor character balancing, and ugly graphics. After SNK's return to full-time game developer, they have expressed interest to actually resurrect or reboot the franchise, but time will tell how successful this venture is.
  • Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Masou Kishin III - Pride of Justice was made intentionally Nintendo Hard, forcing players to purchase its Downloadable Content, leading to said players returning copies of the game. At the same time, the Masou Kishin sub-series of Super Robot Wars was too spread out and late for most SRW fans to really care about it again (the gap between releasing its predecessors The Lord of Elemental and Revelation of Evil God was six years, compared to most sequels in other SRW sub-series being a year or two apart). The fact that developer Banpresto billed the sequel Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Masou Kishin F - Coffin of the End as the last Masou Kishin installment is evidence enough that no one wants to bother playing this sub-series again. Ironically (and harshly, even by those haters), even if that last game actually performed better, that would end up as the last game made by Winkysoft (the one taking care of the subseries for Banpresto) before they declared bankruptcy in 2015. Only in 2016 was the silver lining revealed: Masaki and the Big Bad of Coffin of the End return in Super Robot Wars Original Generation The Moon Dwellers, meaning that even if the sub-series is dead, the characters still live on, especially since said Big Bad was created for the Masou Kishin sub-series. An ongoing rumor about how Banpresto cannot use a lot of Masou Kishin-exclusive elements into mainline SRW OG series was debunked as a result; Banpresto/Bandai Namco has full authority to use the characters and plot as they see fit.
  • The first Toe Jam And Earl on the Sega Genesis is a unique, well-received game that overcame initially-poor sales to become a Cult Classic for the system. However, pressure from publisher Sega resulted in the developers scrapping the novel Rogue-esque dungeon-crawler gameplay, resulting in the first sequel, ToeJam and Earl in Panic on Funkotron, being a more typical platformer game. While Panic on Funkotron sold better than the first title and still received positive reviews, fans of the original criticized it as a step back from the first game, a sentiment that's continued to hound the game in the years following its release. A third installment lapsed into Development Hell and emerged years later as ToeJam and Earl III: Mission to Earth for the Xbox, in which the series made the jump to 3D and tried to adapt the gameplay of the first two titles. Mission to Earth sold poorly and received mixed-to-negative reactions from both reviewers and fans, due to it hitting the Polygon Ceiling while also moving away from the series' standard funk sound in favor for hip-hop, among other things. The series went into hibernation once again until the developers were able to successfully crowdfund money to develop a fourth game, Back in the Groove, which reverts to the gameplay of the original title; time will tell how that game fares.
  • The Tomb of the TaskMaker, a 1998 sequel to the Mac RPG TaskMaker, was rushed out at the last minute due to a strain on the creators (Storm Impact) in a then-struggling Mac market, along with the fact that Storm Impact was already wounded by undercapitalization (it largely consisted of three people) and a lawsuit against a software-of-the-month club which distributed their games illegally. Tomb never got past version 1.0, and even then, what did get out was mostly due to it being on a MacAddict CD. Storm Impact closed up shop soon afterward. Find more info here.
  • Turok: Evolution managed to kill off the Turok franchise, no thanks to silly elements such as Tobias Bruckner, the cyborg cowboy riding a Tyrannosaurus Rex, along with the game's numerous other problems. It's probably no coincidence that publisher Acclaim went bankrupt shortly after the release of this and BMX XXX. The 2008 Turok relaunch isn't a bad game, exactly — it just had the bad luck to be an average shooter during a time when great shooters were glutting the market. A sequel was planned, but was cancelled.
  • Vietcong 2, which got lower reviews than the original or Fist Alpha thanks to its dumbed-down gameplay.
  • Virtual Hydlide, the attempted reboot of Hydlide in 3D, killed off a series that had been moderately well appreciated in Japan during the 8-bit era.
  • This nearly happened to the Ys series, with the fifth installment, Kefin, The Lost City of Sand. Kefin, perhaps, isn't bad bad - but the game was only available on the Super Famicom (with a franchise that has deep roots on the PC and PC Engine), has very bland, generic graphics that look like every other game of its era (which is even worse in context since the setting is supposed to be very exotic) and the music is all simple MIDI-synth (when Ys had become famous partly due to its powerful CD-supported Red Book-audio soundtracks). Fan backlash in Japan was intense, and it would be seven years before a new Ys game was made; the only thing that prevented the total death of the franchise is the good performance of remakes of the first two games, which were already in development when Kefin came out and were put out to recoup development costs.
  • Zoo Tycoon 2 underwhelmed critics and gamers alike and wasn't as popular as its predecessor game. After several years and four expansion packs, Microsoft put the franchise on hold and ended its contract with developer Blue Fang Games, which would ultimately collapse the studio and make the scenario of a reboot unlikely. Microsoft then successfully rebooted the franchise with Frontier Developments in 2013, releasing an updated Zoo Tycoon to Xbox 360 and Xbox One and later Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FranchiseKiller/VideoGames