Coming up with a good title for a new work is hard. No wonder so many people just take the lazy way out and just stick a number on the end
Of course, if you're really
lazy, you could not bother with even the number, let alone a subtitle, and give the latest release in your series the same name as an earlier one- usually, the first installment, which will typically also be the series name. A variation includes (de-)pluralizing the previous title, or dropping the adjectives. Fans will typically give the later work a Fan Nickname
Recycling titles became very common in mid and late 2000s.
This doesn't cover remakes
, where the new work is explicitly a new version of the previous work. Re-imaginings, such as when a video game is released with significantly different versions on consoles and handhelds at the same time and with the same title, are borderline.
Often used when it might be embarrassing to admit how many times they've milked this particular cash cow. It may also be an attempt to bring in newcomers who don't want to catch up with all the past installments
, since a title like Hero Spies IV: Avenging the Aftermath
sounds like it might leave non-fans lost.
See also Similarly Named Works
, which is when two or more entirely unrelated works happen to share the same title.
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- Serenity is the most overworked title around: it's The Movie, the pilot episode, the ship, and the comic miniseries (later reprinted with the subtitle "Those Left Behind"). Because Fox owns the name Firefly, Joss Whedon seems determined not to use it for anything but the actual show.
- Alien, and then Aliens. It makes sense. First there's one alien and now there's many aliens.
- The sixth Rocky film, Rocky Balboa. As The Angry Video Game Nerd pointed out, it sounds like they took the first film and added his last name.
- To top it off, the last Rambo movie was titled John Rambo. Seems like Sylvester Stallone likes this sort of thing.
- In Japan, The Return Of Godzilla was "Gojira" just as the original film.
- Sherlock Holmes (there were several previous Sherlock Holmes films)
- The prequel to The Thing is called The Thing. The videogame sequel is also called The Thing.
- Only a borderline example, but the fourth Rambo film is technically the first to be titled just Rambo - the first film was actually called First Blood, while the second was Rambo: First Blood Part II and the third Rambo III. As pointed out by The Angry Video Game Nerd, this has plenty of potential for confusion, since just the name "Rambo" alone can be used to refer to three of the four movies.
- Star Trek (reboot). Star Trek is already the original name of the first series and the franchise as a whole. The 2009 film is currently the only work in the Star Trek franchise to be officially known as Star Trek with no subtitle, as the series was renamed Star Trek: The Original Series, and the first film had the full title of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Fans are calling it "Star Trek 11" to differentiate it. To remedy this, some releases have called it Star Trek: The Future Begins.
- The Final Destination, whereas the first film was called Final Destination. The Final Destination is the final Final Destination, see. Subverted when a fifth film came out after this one, making it the single case of Stopped Numbering Sequels in this franchise.
- Likewise, the third sequel to The Fast and the Furious is simply known as Fast & Furious.
- The Muppets is not to be confused with The Muppet Movie.
- Batman, a film adaptation of the Adam West TV series, is not to be confused with the Tim Burton movie also called Batman. To differentiate between the two, the Adam West film is usually called "Batman the Movie" (since it's based on the TV series), while the Tim Burton film is simply called "Batman".
- On a related note, Batman: The Animated Series, is actually called simply "Batman". "The Animated Series" is simply used to avoid confusion between the previous two movies (and Adam West TV series).
- There was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and a movie in 2013 just called The Wolverine (although it's apparently supposed to be a standalone film rather than a direct sequel).
- A famous example is Peter Gabriel, whose first four albums were self-titled, only being differentiated by their cover art. His US label got tired of it, and refused to release the fourth one unless he gave it a title, and he quickly thought of Security. It remained self-titled elsewhere. The first three albums are known by fans as Peter Gabriel I, II and III respectively, and the fourth is either known as IV or by its US title. Some also refer to the first three albums as "Car", "Scratch" and "Melt" in reference to the cover art.
- There's Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis in 1991 (along with a mostly different 8-bit version of the same name), and Sonic the Hedgehog for Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2006. The 2006 game was commonly referred to as Sonic NextGen, although that has since fallen out of use in favour of Sonic 2006, mainly due to the fact it's no longer on a 'next' generation system.
- Bionic Commando - the arcade, NES and Game Boy versions were released in Japan under the titles of Top Secret, Hitler no Fukkatsu: Top Secret (The Resurrection of Hitler) and Bionic Commando, in that order. Only the third one could be considered a port, since it's based on the NES version, which was more of a sequel/spinoff of the original arcade version than a port. Later, Capcom commissioned the development of another sequel in 2009 for the PS3 and Xbox 360 simply titled Bionic Commando as well.
- Ninja Gaiden - The NES version in 1988, then on Xbox in 2004. Both have two numbered sequels, although the ones on the NES used Roman numerals and had subtitles. There was also the arcade game released around the same time as the NES game, as well as the Sega-published versions for the Master System and Game Gear, along with an unreleased Mega Drive version (all of them are completely unique games and not just ports of the same game).
- Metal Gear Solid - only outside Japan, where Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (the Game Boy Color version released in 2000) was simply titled Metal Gear Solid in the west.
- Mega Man: the second through fifth NES games in the series were titled Mega Man 2-5, as were the four Game Boy sequels. This doesn't apply to the first Game Boy game in the series though, which was titled Mega Man in Dr Wily's Revenge. This was averted completely in Japan, where the Game Boy games were titled Rockman World instead of merely Rockman.
- Also, if you want to stretch things a bit, Mega Man X and Mega Man 10 are completely different games released over a decade apart.
- Donkey Kong - the original arcade game, and the 1994 Game Boy version. Could be said to be a remake, since the first four stages of the GB game are based on the arcade, but the mechanics are changed and there's about 96 more levels after that. The GB game is generally known as Donkey Kong '94.
- Prince of Persia - first on numerous platforms in 1989-1992, then on Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2008.
- Castlevania - first on NES in 1987, then on N64 [[Castlevania 64 in 1999. The latter tends to be called "Castlevania 64", to the extent that many people assume that's the actual title. Also, the Japanese and European releases of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence from 2003 had the subtitle dropped, leaving it as a third game just called Castlevania. Moreover, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is also just Castlevania in Europe.
- In Japan, the games known in the west as Castlevania (the NES one), Vampire Killer (MSX2), Haunted Castle (arcade) and Super Castlevania IV (SNES) are all titled Akumajō Dracula, as was the X68000 game later ported to the PS as Castlevania Chronicles. On one hand, this clears a lot of ambiguity between what are practically five completely different games (not just ports of the same title) by making it easier to tell each game apart by name. On the other hand, this also obscured the relation Vampire Killer and Haunted Castle had with the series (since they did not carry the Castlevania moniker overseas) and caused the common misconception that Super Castlevania IV is a continuation of the NES trilogy rather than a retelling of Simon Belmont's first venture into Dracula's castle.
- In addition to the MSX2 game, Vampire Killer was also the title of the Japanese version of Castlevania: Bloodlines.
- Borderline: The 2008 Turok game. While the first game in the series (from 1997) had a subtitle (Turok: Dinosaur Hunter), it was often just called Turok, which is of course the accepted series name.
- Shinobi: The 1986 side-scrolling action game for the arcade, the 2002 3D action game for the PlayStation 2, and a 2011 side-scrolling sequel for 3DS. May also apply to The G.G. Shinobi for the Game Gear, which was simply titled Shinobi on the American cover art (but still kept the original title in the actual game).
- Also applies to The Revenge of Shinobi, which was the title of the 1989 Sega Genesis sequel to the original Shinobi, and an unrelated Game Boy Advance game released in 2002 to cash-in on the above-mentioned PS2 version.
- Neverwinter Nights recycled the title of a 1991 MMORPG on the Gold Box engine.
- The Samurai Shodown games had a few 3D games. These were, Samurai Shodown 64 and Samurai Shodown 64: Warrior's Rage for the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 and Samurai Shodown: Warrior's Rage for the PlayStation. To avoid confusion, they are called Samurai Shodown 64 Part II and Samurai Shodown: Warrior's Rage.
- In addition, there were two Samurai Shodown games for Neo Geo Pocket: Samurai Shodown! and Samurai Shodown! 2 (the exclamation marks are part of their titles).
- Punch-Out!! has had three games called Punch-Out!! First is the original arcade game, second is the NES game, and third is the Wii version.
- Punch Out also has two sequel titled Super Punch Out: the arcade sequel and the SNES sequel to the NES version.
- Wolfenstein. Sure, the 2009 game doesn't have the "3D" in its title (not to mention the "Castle" from Silas Warner's original Wolfenstein games), but still.
- There are no less than four distinct games titled Dance Dance Revolution, not counting ports.
- The 1998 original.
- The newest version of Dance Dance Revolution on the Xbox 360 and PS3.
- The US-exclusive PS1 release, which uses the DanceDanceRevolution 3rdMIX engine and uses songs from 1st through 3rdMIX.
- The 2013 arcade release, with the year sometimes appended as a Fan Nickname to avoid confusion with the original 1998 release.
- Similarly, the 2013 versions of Guitar Freaks and DrumMania are simply called GITADORA, a common Fan Nickname for the long-running series.
- Rebellion Developments has made not one, not two, but three separate games based on the Alien vs. Predator universe: Alien Vs Predator (1994, Atari Jaguar), Aliens versus Predator (1999, PC), and...Aliens versus Predator (2010, multiplatform).
- And that's not counting the SNES and Capcom arcade versions, which are both titled Alien vs. Predator as well. Note that, unlike the above Jaguar game, this one has a period after vs! That makes it completely different.
- A Boy and His Blob for Wii is a borderline example since it has no subtitle, but the original NES game had the subtitle "Trouble on Blobolonia". Still, the Wii version is usually referred to as A Boy and His Blob Wii.
- Borderline: There was a Japan-only FMV game based on Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie simply titled Street Fighter II Movie (which was the film's original Japanese title). This is unrelated to Street Fighter The Movie, a fighting game released for the arcades based on the live-action film, or with the console game of the same name (which was released in Japan as Street Fighter: Real Battle on Film).
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the NES game and the arcade game, both based on the first animated series and released roughly at the same time in 1989 (as such, the NES port of the latter was labeled a sequel to the former) and the 2003 multiplatform game by Konami based on the second animated series. The 2007 multiplatform game by Ubisoft based on the CGI film is simply titled TMNT, much like the movie itself.
- The 1987 and 2003 animated series are themselves an example in America, but not in Europe, where the 1987 series was called Teenage Mutant HERO Turtles for censorship reasons.
- The 2003 and 2012 cartoons are both called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles everywhere.
- Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010) is a sequel to Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit II (2002), itself a sequel to Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998). Confused?
- Criterion Games seems to have a penchant for doing this with regard to their NFS entries. The NFS game for 2012 is called "Most Wanted", which is the same as the 2005 installment.
- Mortal Kombat: The 1992 original and the the 2012 (a reboot). Netherrealm Studios calls the latter "Mortal Kombat 9" informally, taking into account Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe as the eighth game in the series.
- The Devil May Cry reboot by Ninja Theory is titled DmC: Devil May Cry. Taking the acronym into consideration: yes, it's actually called "Devil May Cry: Devil May Cry".
- EA has done this with Medal of Honor. The first on the Playstation in 1999 and then in 2010 on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
- There are three different games called Battletoads: the original NES game, the Game Boy game, and the 1994 arcade game (which is sometimes referred to as Super Battletoads). To make matters more confusing, the original game was also ported to the Game Boy under the title Battletoads in Ragnarok's World.
- The ninth Tomb Raider game will be titled...Tomb Raider.
- Double Dragon: the original 1987 arcade beat-'em-up and the 1994 Neo-Geo head-to-head fighting game based on the movie. There were also numerous adaptations of the former in various formats that deviated from the original, including an iOS version released in 2011.
- Twisted Metal: 1995 PlayStation original and the 2011 PS3 sequel to Twisted Metal Black.
- Super Dodge Ball: the 1987 arcade original, the 1988 NES version (which is technically a port, but very different from the original), and the rare 1996 Neo-Geo sequel.
- Operation C, the Game Boy sequel to the NES Contra games, was simply titled Contra in Japan. However, the title is spelled in katakananote instead of the three kanji characters used in the arcade and console installments to phonetically spell out "Contra" in Japanese.note
- In Europe, the early console games in the Contra series were released as Probotector, replacing the original human heroes with robotic counterparts. Three games in the series were simply titled Probotector: the NES original (based on the first Contra), the Game Boy version (based on Operation C), and the Mega Drive version (based on Contra: Hard Corps).
- Borderline example: The English version of Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken ("The Sword of Flame") is the only game in its series that is simply titled Fire Emblem, as it was the first one to get an international release (it's actually the seventh game in the overall series and the second one for the Game Boy Advance). Every Fire Emblem game since the Famicom original (Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi, or "The Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light") has a subtitle in Japan.
- Adventure Island, the NES version of the Famicom game Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima, has nothing to do with the PC Engine game Adventure Island, which was released for the TurboGrafx-16 under the name of Dragon's Curse. However, they were both produced by Hudson Soft and both were remakes of Sega/Westone games (Wonder Boy and Monster World II respectively)
- Alien Syndrome: the original 1987 arcade game that was ported to various platforms and the 2007 multi-platform sequel.
- Metal Slug: the original 1994 2D action shooter for the Neo Geo (that was ported to various platform) or the 2006 3D third-person shooter for the PlayStation 2.
- Borderline: Rocket Knight is the fourth game in the Rocket Knight Adventures series, which consists of the Genesis games Rocket Knight Adventures and Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2, as well as an SNES game simply titled Sparkster.
- You Don't Know Jack: The original was released in 1995. It had its share of sequels and expansion packs, then it laid low for about eight years until a new one was released in 2011 with the same name as the original. Most fans just append "2011" to the name.
- Cobra Command was the title of two different arcade games by Data East. The first one was an animated laserdisc game originally released in 1984 (originally titled Thunder Storm in Japan) and ported many years later to the Sega CD. The other was a side-scrolling shoot-'em-up released in 1988, with a NES port that same year.
- The seventh Test Drive installment.
- The fifth Alone in the Dark game.
- Mansion Of Hidden Souls is the title of both the Sega CD original and its Saturn sequel.
- SimCity's first sequel was Simcity 2000 after the fashion of its time. The next followed logically with 3000, the next dropped the extraneous zeros, and the fifth incarnation was just Simcity again.
- The 2009 release in the Bishi Bashi series is simply called The BishiBashi.
- The upcoming fourth entry in the Thief series (previously known as Thi4f) is technically the first one to be called just Thief. The original 1998 PC game was titled Thief: The Dark Project.
- The upcoming third entry the the Star Wars Battlefront series, developed by DICE and published by EA. The Other Wiki has taken a liking to calling it Star Wars: Battlefront (DICE).
- Seventeen years after the last release in the series and nineteen years after the namesake it recycles was released, Killer Instinct will understandably not be dubbing its upcoming third installment Killer Instinct 3 and instead opts for just the plain title.
- Strider could refer to: the 1989 arcade game by Capcom, the NES version released during the same year based on the Moto Kikaku manga, or the 2014 sequel to the arcade game developed by Double Helix.
- Strider II, the 1990 Tiertex-developed home computer sequel to Strider, is not to be confused with the similarly titled Strider 2 (aka Strider Hiryu 2), the 1999 Capcom-developed arcade sequel. The former was remade for Sega Genesis and Game Gear under the U.S. title of Journey From Darkness: Strider Returns.
- The Xbox One's name is identical to what people were calling the original Xbox since the Xbox 360 was announced.
- Rise of the Triad. Wait, you mean the 1994 one or the 2013 one?
- Crytek's new version of the Cry Engine is the fourth major version, but it will be dropping the number and be named simply Cry Engine like the original, apparently to emphasize how different it is from the previous versions.