You know what future historians will say about us, right? "There were two very different games called Wolfenstein released in the same twenty year period and the second was not, strictly speaking, a remake of the first. From this we conclude that the people of the early twenty-first century were taking the piss."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.
— Yahtzee, Zero Punctuation
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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 points out, it sounds like they took the first film and added his last name.
- In Japan, The Return Of Godzilla was "Gojira" just as the original film.
- The series also has entries titled Mothra vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.
- Other films with just the title Godzilla include Godzilla (1998) (not part of any continuity) and Godzilla (2014) (seems to be in the same universe as the original).
- The prequel to The Thing is called The Thing. The video-game sequel is also called... The Thing.
- 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. At one point the fourth movie was going to be titled John Rambo, following the same pattern as Rocky Balboa, and while it ended using that title in certain foreign markets, it ultimately ended up being called just Rambo domestically.
- 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 retroactively 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" or "Star Trek 2009" 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. Good luck trying to use it in a sentence.
- 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).
- Several non-sequel movies in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe are just called "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" or "TMNT"; some TV incarnations do the same.
- The title of the 2011 film Winnie-the-Pooh is actually shorter than that of the 1977 anthology The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and makes it seem like it should be first on top of being generally vague.
- 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.
- A Boy and His Blob - The Wii version is the only game in the series without a subtitle, as 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.
- Adventure Island could refer to the NES game released in Japan as Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima, or to the PC Engine game known as Dragon's Curse in the west, both produced by Hudson Soft. The only relation between the two games were the fact that they were both graphically modified ports of Westone games that were originally released by Sega (Wonder Boy and Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap respectively).
- Alien Syndrome - the original 1987 arcade game that was ported to various platforms and the 2007 multi-platform sequel.
- Alien vs. Predator - Rebellion Developments has made not one, not two, but three separate games set in the same universe: Alien Vs Predator (1994, Atari Jaguar), Aliens versus Predator (1999, PC), and...Aliens versus Predator (2010, multiplatform). That's not even counting the SNES and CPS2 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.
- Alone in the Dark - The fifth game is simply titled Alone in the Dark without a number.
- Battletoads - The original NES game, the Game Boy game, and the 1994 arcade game (which is sometimes referred to as Super Battletoads or Battletoads Arcade). To make matters more confusing, the original game was also ported to the Game Boy under the title Battletoads in Ragnarok's World.
- 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.
- Bishi Bashi - The 2009 entry in the series is simply called The BishiBashi.
- Castlevania - The original on the NES in 1987, then on the N64 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, the English title change 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.
- Cobra Command was the title of two different arcade games by Data East. The first one was an animated laserdisc game released in 1984 (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.
- Contra - Could refer to the 1987 arcade, its 1988 NES conversion, or the 1991 Game Boy game titled Operation C in North America. In Europe, Probotector could refer to the first NES game, the Game Boy game, and the Mega Drive game.
- CryEngine - The fourth major version of Crytek's proprietary engine will be dropping the number and be named simply CryEngine like the original, apparently to emphasize how different it is from the previous versions.
- Dance Dance Revolution- Not counting ports, there's the 1998 arcade original, the US-exclusive PlayStation release (which used the DanceDanceRevolution 3rdMIX engine and featured songs from 1st through 3rdMIX), the 2010 version for consoles (namely PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii). 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.
- Devil May Cry - The 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".
- The 2015 arcade Continuity Reboot of Dissidia: Final Fantasy is simply called just that.
- Donkey Kong - The original 1981 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.
- Doom - The first game and the fourth game are both simply known as Doom.
- Double Dragon - The original 1987 arcade beat-'em-up and the 1994 Neo-Geo head-to-head fighting game based on the movie. The former got several redesigned ports on 8-bit platforms (namely the NES, Master System and Game Boy), as well as a few legitimate remakes on the Game Boy Advance and iOS devices.
- EarthBound - Nintendo of American planned to localize the original Mother for the NES under the title of Earth Bound (spelled as two words) in 1991, but then canceled it so they could focus all their marketing budget on the launch of the Super NES. They would reuse that title for the English version of Mother 2, spelling it as one word (EarthBound) instead of two. When the NES prototype was leaked in the late 1990's, certain ROM hacks had the title screen altered to EarthBound Zero to distinguish it from its SNES sequel. When the original Mother was finally released on the Wii U Virtual Console, it was given the title of EarthBound Beginnings overseas, averting this trope.
- Hitman - The upcoming sixth entry will be the first one to be simply titled Hitman. The first game in the series bore the subtitle of Codename 47.
- Killer Instinct - Seventeen years after the release of Killer Instinct Gold (the last release) and nineteen years after the namesake it recycles was released, Microsoft understandably did not dub the Xbox One installment Killer Instinct 3 and instead opted for just the plain title.
- King's Quest - A new game is planned for 2015, simply called King's Quest. This will be the ninth official game and the first since 1998.
- Medal of Honor - The first on the PlayStation in 1999 and then in 2010 on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
- Mansion Of Hidden Souls is the title of both the Sega CD original and its Saturn sequel.
- Mega Man (the original series) - Differentiating the numbered NES and Game Boy titles can get a bit tricky. With the exception of the first Game Boy game, which was subtitled Dr. Wily's Revenge, all the sequels used Roman numerals on their title screens◊, until Capcom began unifiying the title logos with Mega Man 8, 9 and 10. Fan communities generally use Arabic numerals for the NES versions (due to the logos used on their packaging art, which are designed differently from the title screen versions) and Roman numerals for their Game Boy counterparts. This was never an issue in Japan, where the Rockman sequels on the Famicom used Arabic numerals and subtitles (e.g. Rockman 2: Dr. Wily no Nazo), whereas the Game Boy versions were actually part of a separate spinoff brand titled Rockman World.
- Metal Gear Solid - Only outside Japan, where Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (released for the Game Boy Color in 2000) was simply titled Metal Gear Solid in the west. Most fans simply stick with the Japanese title though.
- Metal Slug - the original 1994 side-scrolling action shooter for the Neo Geo (which was ported to various platform) or the 2006 3D third-person shooter for the PlayStation 2.
- 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.
- 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.
- The 2015 Need for Speed reboot is actually the 21st game in the series since the 1994 3DO game (although this is more like a Subverted Trope since there has never been a game simply called "Need for Speed" in the series history, the original game being titled Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed or simply The Need for Speed; the only other thing in the franchise simply named "Need for Speed" to date has been the the 2014 movie).
- Neverwinter Nights - This 2002 PC game recycled the title of a 1991 MMORPG on the Gold Box engine.
- Ninja Gaiden - The arcade and NES versions, both released in 1988, were completely different games, the former being a side-scrolling beat-'em-up and the latter an action-platformer similar to the Castlevania series. There were also licensed conversions for the Sega consoles: the 1991 Game Gear version and the 1992 Master System were completely different games, but both patterned after the NES version, while the canceled 1992 Mega Drive version was a beat-'em-up similar to the arcade game. Eventually Team Ninja rebooted the series on the original Xbox in 2004 with yet another game simply titled Ninja Gaiden, this time as a 3D action game.
- Prince of Persia - The original was released on numerous computer and gaming platforms, starting with the Apple II in 1989. A reboot was released in 2008, debuting on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
- Rise of the Triad -Could refer to the 1994 one or the 2013 one.
- Rocket Knight is the fourth game in the Rocket Knight Adventures series, which consists of Rocket Knight Adventures and Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 for the Genesis, as well as an SNES game simply titled Sparkster.
- Shinobi - The 1987 side-scrolling action platformer for the arcade, the 2002 3D action game for the PlayStation 2, and a 2011 side-scrolling sequel for 3DS (also known as Shinobi 3D). 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).
- Punch-Out!! - There were three games called Punch-Out!!: the 1984 arcade game, the 1987 NES game, and the 2009 Wii game. There were also two sequels titled Super Punch Out: the one for the arcades in 1985 and one for the Super NES in 1994.
- Puyo Puyo and its overseas title Puyo Pop: the former could refer to a 1991 MSX 2 / Famicom Disk System game and a radically different 1992 Arcade Game, while the latter could refer to a 1999 Neo Geo Pocket Color game, 2002 Game Boy Advance game, or 2003 N-Gage game.
- Samurai Shodown - The series had a trilogy of 3D games during the late 90s. These were, Samurai Shodown 64 and Samurai Shodown 64: Warrior's Rage for the arcade, which both ran on the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 hardware, and Samurai Shodown: Warrior's Rage for the PlayStation. To avoid confusion, the last two 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).
- 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 entry is just Sim City.
- Sonic the Hedgehog - There's the original 16-bit game on the Genesis in 1991 (along with a really different 8-bit conversion for the Game Gear and Master System), and the Milestone Celebration game 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 for Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), mainly due to the fact it's no longer on a 'next' generation system.
- Star Wars: Battlefront - The upcoming third entry, developed by DICE and published by EA.
- 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 reboot 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.
- 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.
- 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 arcade game was rebranded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II) 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.
- And then two games with the title of just "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" released in 2013 (based on the Nickelodeon CGI series) and 2014 (based on the film reboot) - both by the same developer and publisher!
- Three distinct games were released with the title "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters" at the same time, for three different consoles. The character lineups for each one other than the Turtles themselves were vastly different, the sprites, moves and stories were completely original for each one, too. In Japan, only the Genesis version was called Tournament Fighters, with the SNES version being subtitled "Mutant Warriors" (the NES version never released there).
- The 1987 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.
- Test Drive - The seventh installment.
- Thief - The fourth game (originally known as Thi4f) is technically the first one to be called just Thief. The original 1998 PC game was titled Thief: The Dark Project.
- Tomb Raider - The original game in 1996 and the ninth game in 2013.
- Turok - A bordline example, since the 2008 multiplatform reboot is the first game in the series to be simply titled Turok. The 1997 original had a subtitle (Turok: Dinosaur Hunter), but it was often just called Turok, which is of course the accepted series name.
- Twisted Metal - The 1995 PlayStation original and the 2012 PS3 sequel to Twisted Metal Black.
- Wolfenstein - The 2009 game doesn't have the "3D" in its title (not to mention the "Castle" from Silas Warner's 1981 Apple II game), but still....
- Xbox - The "Xbox 1" used to be a common nickname for the original Xbox after the release of the Xbox 360 until the unveiling of the actual Xbox One.
- 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.
- The Transformers franchise has used the title Transformers: Robots in Disguise both for the American title of a 2000 anime and a 2015 cartoon set in the same continuity as Transformers Prime. Between those two, there was a comic set in G1 continuity released call The Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
- 2004's The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is being followed by 2015's The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, though all the publicity seems happy to refer to it only as "The SpongeBob Movie" and treat it like it is unprecedented.
- The 2017 movie based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic seems to recycle the older title My Little Pony: The Movie, according to advertisements. This could just be the movie's Working Title, though—the marketing team needs to call it something, after all.
- The Simpsons: "Flaming Moe's" (named after the drink the plot is about) and "Flaming Moe" (about Moe turning his bar into a gay bar).
- Microsoft Windows apparently will drop the version title after Windows 10, to be known simply as Windows.