The more bad guys Rambo kills, the better!
"There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate — more blood, more gore. Carnage candy."
Sometimes a sequel
is just the same story as the last one (Capcom Sequel Stagnation
), or downgraded by being Direct-to-Video
(Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation
), or a different story set in the same world (The Godfather II
, the Star Trek
films), or just the next part in an ongoing series (Star Wars
, Lord of the Rings
books and movies), or even a Dolled-Up Installment
(Super Mario Bros. 2
This trope, on the other hand, is when a sequel is made to be "bigger and better" than the last film, by taking one or more elements from the first film and expanding upon it. The film makers feel a need to "top themselves" in a sort of way.
Take an action sequel, which has more explosions and fist/gun/martial arts fights than the previous film. Or a slasher sequel, which has more deaths, in more gory
(and less realistic
) ways. Sometimes what get expanded is the plot: What started as a simple and straightforward plot (or even virtually non-existent plot in the case of video games) in the first part may become significantly expanded, deeper and more intricate in sequels.
How often this works depends on if the expanded element is the one the audience liked. Choose the wrong element(s), and it will be at the expense of the right element(s), and the audience will not be pleased. Wrong elements can often be the toilet humor, sexual situations, flanderization
or meaningless action sequences.
However, choose the right element(s), and the sequel may even be considered superior to the first film
. Usually these elements involve the human element, expanding on the characters we care about, telling a dramatic (or hilarious) story, and making the action sequences revolve around that.
Usually, the result is somewhere in the middle, often debated upon by the fans.
To avoid just rehashing examples from Sequelitis
, examples here should discuss the expanded element(s) of the sequels.
Compare Actionized Sequel
, Sequel Difficulty Spike
, Send in the Clones
, Serial Escalation
, Up to Eleven
, Sorting Algorithm of Evil
, Power Creep
. Big Damn Movie
is this trope applied to a film adaptation of a serial. Darker and Edgier
often, but not always, accompanies the upping of the stakes in sequels.
Contrast Lensman Arms Race
and Plot Leveling
(both of which could be seen as symptoms of this trope's presence), Sequel Difficulty Drop
(difficulty getting lowered, although that doesn't preclude this trope in other ways).
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Anime & Manga
- Zig-Zagged in the Lyrical Nanoha franchise:
- The transition from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha to Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's plays it straight: Power Levels go even higher, So Last Season upgrades are applied, and the entire planet is at stake.
- Going from A's to Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, this trope is inverted: the old guard is All Grown Up! but their powers are pretty much the same (except the title character who has actually been Nerfed), while the new blood are all newbies whose Power Levels cannot even approach those of the old cast (physically). There are no reality-shattering villains like before, but instead a Quirky Miniboss Squad, a horde of Mecha-Mooks, and a Diabolical Mastermind, most of whom are eventually taken out by the aforementioned low-level new blood.
- The Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force manga, the sequel to Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, plays it straight again, by taking the old notion of Anti-Magic and turning it Up to Eleven. Where the old villains simply had Anti-Magic Fields, which amortized incoming attacks and made it impossible to cast magic from within (which was already treated as bad enough by the good guys), the new villains have Anti-Magic Beams that aggressively dispel any magic they hit. The Doylist explanation seems to be that since the heroes have already been established as the strongest mages in the multiverse back in season one, the only plausible enemy the writers can invent for them now is an Anti-Magic-wielding one, with a Bigger Stick if needed. The fans' reactions were... mixed.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this with its pre- and post-Time Skip seasons. While the pre-Time Skip episodes were like your typical Super Robot show, only with bigger explosions and more hot blood, the post-Time Skip episodes bring us galaxy-sized mecha throwing galaxies and big bangs at each other. And in the second movie, we get a mech that is not only a hundred times bigger than a galaxy, it's also on fire and designed after the resident Memetic Badass. Its attack clashing with an identical attack from its Evil Knockoff ends and restarts the universe.
- Dragon Ball contains one of the most notable examples of this in all of anime. The first series was a rather light-hearted Science Fantasy martial arts series with a lot of slapstick and (at least initially) goofy, weak-willed villains. Starting with the sequel, the franchise routinely featured villains (and heroes) who could casually atomize planets and even entire solar systems with their attacks, eventually ending at the point where the heroes and villains surpassed the the setting's gods in power and could destroy the universe if so inclined. With the anime-only sequel, Dragon Ball GT, this trend continued.
- Boderline example: in the first generation of X-Men, the strongest person on the team was Beast, who was just, like, "two-normal-guys" strong. In the second generation, the strongest person is Colossus, the man of steel. Then we got Rogue, who for a long time was just as strong as Colossus, and could fly. Dunno where we're at now, but considering the current lineup includes Namor (who's stronger than the Incredible Hulk so long as he's underwater), Hope (who has All Your Powers Combined) and Magneto (who once almost destroyed civilization), safe to say that escalation has been maintained.
- Peter Chimaera's Troll Fic, Digimon savez teh wrold has a sequel called Digimon 2: Return of Digimon. In the first story digimon has to stop the evil scientist from destroying the road, in the sequel he's up against an evil digimon who wants to destroy all the roads so no one can go on them. Also features FIGHTING IN SPACE!
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Windfall is a short, fluffy fic showing the Mane Cast—all of whom have gone their separate ways and are now Older and Wiser—reuniting to witness the birth of Fluttershy's first foal. The sequel, Earth and Sky, has a much more detailed Story Arc, with multiple interconnected subplots, dealing with somewhat more serious themes and actual antagonists, and even ends up being four times as long as Windfall.
- Pony fanfic Post Nuptials and its sequel Families are much like the above Pony fics in terms of how they escalate, except the first story is about the main cast dealing with immediate emotional fallout caused by Queen Chrysalis' invasion—namely by trying to reconcile with Twilight after they ignored her warnings—and the sequel deals with more serious ramifications of the invasion and everyone's actions prior to it, including psychological trauma and a conspiracy to mire Princess Celestia's public image.
Films — Animated
- The more Toy Story movies get released, the more they become depressing and serious. However, it gets a lot more positive reception than many Disney sequels or the other Pixar sequels.
- Cars 2. The original was about an egotistical race car getting lost in a small town and learning humility, while the sequel is about his tow truck friend Mater being mistaken for a spy and having to stop a large crime ring's evil plan. And one car DIES (off-screen, mind you, but still). And there's lots of explosions and gun fighting. This movie is rated G, right?
- While the original Kung Fu Panda centered on a small mountain valley, and the villain had mostly personal motivation and acted alone, Kung Fu Panda 2 involves a big city and a villain who wants to Take Over the World and has an army of wolves, gunpowder cannons, and a freakin' river fleet at his disposal.
Films — Live-Action
- Matthew Reilly has this trope as a self-stated aim. In each book, he tries to include more action, More Dakka, bigger threats... and tries to make it go faster.
- After Scarecrow, he did a change of genre to escape from this, and immediately started all over again with his new trilogy.
- With a few exceptions, the Honor Harrington series sees Honor move up to command a larger navy in a larger plot for larger stakes up to Book 12 at least. She maxes out in book thirteen, where she commands an allied fleet consisting of Manticoran, Grayson, and Havenite fleets of ships-of-the-wall.
- The Lord of the Rings is this to The Hobbit, albeit not a deliberate example; it "grew in the telling". The Silmarillion is an even-more-escalated prequel with a scope that includes the creation of the universe, battles between angels with powers we would associate with gods, the rise and fall of multiple civilizations and the sinking of a couple major continents, although compared to LotR it's a mile wide and an inch deep.
- Inverted in L. Sprague de Camp's "Johnny Black" stories. In the first story the titular uplifted black bear saves the world, in the final one he saves his creator from getting fired. In an afterword de Camp apologized to the readers for that, saying he had forgotten while writing them that the next story wouldn't seem as good if it didn't top the previous one.
- The violence and level of dystopia seems only to increase with each Hunger Games installment.
- Zig-zagged in the Harry Potter series. The second book downgrades the stakes (it's the fate of the school rather than the entire world), but upgrades the set pieces (encountering one creepy guy in the Forbidden Forest vs. encountering a colony of Giant Spiders in the Forbidden Forest, for example). The third book has the lowest stakes of any book in the series, as the danger is essentially only a threat to one specific individual (Harry) and even that turns out to be an illusion. After Voldemort returns to power, the stakes remain constant (the entire world, again), but with Voldemort's power constantly increasing. The last book itself is the biggest and most epic in the series.
- The Dresden Files: The scale of just how powerful the people involved in the plot are increases over time. In the first book, Harry can channel lightning. Third book, he empowers an army of ghosts to fight for him. Seventh book, he raises a Tyrannosaurus rex from the dead, and in Changes, he genocides the Red Court of Vampires.
- Ian Fleming's James Bond novels escalated very quickly in the beginning. The first novel, Casino Royale, essentially boils down to Bond playing a high-stakes game of cards with a communist agent followed by a car chase. By the time the third book, Moonraker, came about, Bond was battling Neo-Nazis planning on destroying London with a nuclear missile. Later Bond stories would weave back and forth between fairly mundane crimes like diamond smuggling and more extravagant situations like nuclear warheads being stolen.
- The Heroes of Olympus seriously ups the stakes from its predecessor series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Instead of fighting the Titans to stop Olympus from crumbling, the second series involves fighting Gaea, the progenitor of the Titans aka the Earth itself.
- Inverted by Sword Art Online. The series starts with ten thousand people trapped in an online death game. Then the sequel lowers the stakes to just a few hundred survivors of the first incident now stuck in a coma and being used as test subjects by a Corrupt Corporate Executive. The third arc lowers the stakes even further, focusing on a murder mystery with a relatively small body count. The fourth arc is simply a quest to obtain an in-game sword in a perfectly safe MMORPG.
- Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, the Actionized Sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, has a first half set in outer space as Willy Wonka and the Bucket family wind up in orbit in said elevator and manage to rescue most of the crew of a space hotel from carnivorous aliens. After a Halfway Plot Switch, the heroes are back in the factory, but the three still-bedridden grandparents have a misadventure with Fountain of Youth pills that requires an Orphean Rescue of Grandma Georgina. In both halves, the stakes are life-and-death and taken a bit more seriously than in the first book. As well, Willy Wonka is the protagonist this time rather than Audience Surrogate Charlie, and his eccentric hijinks are given a lot of page time (i.e. a stretch in which he basically trolls Earth by claiming he and his companions are aliens), and besides three new Oompa-Loompa songs, there are also several songs/poems for Willy Wonka and even one for the President of the United States's nanny/vice president!
- Each subsequent season of The Wire explored a new element of Baltimore (in addition to the cops vs. drug dealers element introduced in the first season) while adding many, many new characters each year, many of whom stayed on the show till its end.
- The locales for the first three seasons of Survivor became progressively harder for the contestants to live in. During Borneo, the contestants were merely very uncomfortable. During Australian Outback, Elisabeth almost died of starvation, Barramundi's camp was completely flooded out, and early on there were wild fires near Ogakor's campsite. During Africa, which had the most oppressive heat of any season by far, several contestants contracted various illnesses which took them months or even years to recover from, plus the extreme scarcity of water and the very likely chance that one of the players could have been eaten by one of the wild animals roaming around. Season 4, which was supposed to take place in Jordan(apparently it was supposed to be called ''Survivor: Arabia") would have continued this escalation, but the events of September 11th stopped this dead in it's tracks.
- The first season of 24 was primarily based around Jack trying to prevent an single assassination attempt. The second season was around trying to prevent a nuclear weapon from destroying Los Angeles. The third was around trying to stop a biological weapon that could cripple the United States (and possibly the world). After that, you can always just assume the stakes are really really high.
- The Getaway: High Speed II takes the Hot Pursuit of the original, then adds a Supercharger accelerator, a Determinator cop, more cars, and police helicopters authorized to use lethal force.
- Occurs with Williams Electronics' "rollercoaster" pinball series (Comet, Cyclone, and Hurricane):
- Cyclone is Comet with a circus, a ferris wheel, and two rollercoasters!
- Hurricane is Comet with two rollercoasters, two ferris wheels, and a LOT of clowns!
- ArTonelico might be one of the best use of this trope, in the first game you fight a single rogue reyvetail that caused the end of the world, the second one has you create a floating continent, the 3rd one has you restoring the planet to it's past self. And in Ar Nosurge you create a PLANET.
- Portal started out as a simple proof of concept with some witty writing and some brand new game play. In other words a test. Now look at Portal 2, the full length single player campaign is 3-4 times longer than the original, has a lot more areas to explore, a very well written story without telling us outright what happened, some very memorable characters, and some scenery that will make any other laboratory feel insecure (admit it, Lower Aperture Laboratories took quite a few elements from fictitious 1960s nuclear bunkers, the Modern Laboratories have bottomless pits (still above the older labs) and the testing rooms where they might remind some people of the floating mountains from Avatar.) Now this is just single player, the co-op missions have two players with two portals of their own to shoot, and as a result, the puzzles are a lot more complicated.
- Resident Evil 2 upped the scale from one mansion to the whole town.
- RE2 mostly takes place in the city's police station, but RE3 allows you to visit more places such as the Downtown and Uptown portions of the city, a Hospital, and a Park.
- Ditto House of the Dead 2.
- Grand Theft Auto started a Sequel Escalation after taking the jump to full 3D. GTA III and Liberty City Stories take place in a very small Liberty City, Vice City and Vice City Stories take place in a larger Vice City, and San Andreas finally upped the ante and placed the action in an entire state. Then it seemed to have crossed something akin to the Bishonen Line and shrank back down to a Darker and Edgier version of the small Liberty City with Grand Theft Auto IV. GTA V has been promised to be bigger than the maps of San Andreas, IV, and Red Dead Redemption combined, however.
- The GTA4 version of Liberty City was of comparable size (but not quite as big) as San Andreas, though, but with greater detail in the area depicted.
- The first Gran Turismo had atleast 150 cars. Then Gran Turismo 2 came out and they added a whooping 500 cars to the list. Gran Turismo 3 however invert this due to the Generation Jump, but 4 does it again. Then 5 came up and managed to have a total of 1000 cars. AND THEN 6 got released and had 1200 cars. There are some drawbacks of this, such as in 5 they imported alot of the cars from the previous games with no change at all and most of the cars being Japanese and from Nissan.
- Hideo Kojima did this semi-purposely in the Metal Gear series to keep it from getting stale. The villains in the games up to the original Metal Gear Solid were basically just extraordinary soldiers. In order to keep fans interested he gave the villains in Sons of Liberty super-powers. In the next installment, Snake Eater, the player fought World War legends, one of which attacked the player with bees. This maybe an accidental subversion as well since in Snake Eater the player takes control of the future Big Boss, the antagonist of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, meaning that Solid Snake already beaten the toughest character in the series all along.
- There were super-soldiers in the first game too, in fact if anything FOXHOUND were more impressive than Dead Cell, as only Vamp had genuine super-abilities (and Fortune isn't technically a "boss fight" in any meaningful sense). In FOXHOUND, Vulcan Raven is a giant Shaman, Psycho Mantis is a powerful psychic, and Liquid is a literal super-soldier genetically engineered for the purpose (Solidus, from the second game, is also a such a person but Liquid was designed to be the superior). You also have to take on a cyborg ninja version of another legendary soldier, whereas in the sequel a lesser version of this character actually helps you out. As far as the villains go, the first lot were superior to the second, in terms of supernatural abilities.
- Don't forget that the latest model of Metal Gear itself was always the penultimate boss in each game up until Metal Gear Solid. In Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden fights not just one, but a whole bunch of them that were built to overpower the last model from the previous game. In Metal Gear Solid 4, Old Snake fights a pseudo-Metal Gear model called Gekko as a common enemy in the very first level.
- In Metal Gear Solid, Solid Snake fights a HIND helicopter piloted by Liquid Snake. In Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden fights a Harrier Jet piloted by Solidus Snake.
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance throws logic to the wayside and has Raiden fight armies of cyborg mooks, plus a Metal Gear RAY, and near the end of the game, Metal Gear EXCELSUS, a Metal Gear big enough to eat other Metal Gears for breakfast.
- Gears of War did this to phenomenal effect, largely because the first game was already over-the-top, but it also left many fans wanting so much more. For example, the first game hinted at a major boss battle featuring a bipedal dinosaur like creature called a brumak, but you never got to fight it until the PC version. In the sequel, one level has five of these...at once. But they not only ramped up the scale, they also included a surprisingly powerful character story with Dom searching for his wife.
- Gears of War 3 keeps things rolling by fleshing out an entire new faction only previously mentioned (the Lambent Locust). It also shows humanity to be in widespread disarray and on the verge of collapse with no real government remaining. The final parts of the campaign are the resolution of the question of which of Sera's three sentient species will annihilate the other two—and it's a very close race.
- Halo slowly ramped up the events of the plot. The first game had more in common with Die Hard in that Master Chief was the right person in the right place to deal with these event. Even still, the scale of the flood threat was more implied then actually seen. Halo 2 made Master Chief to be humanity's only hope, and featured the scarab, an enemy vehicle that took half a level to destroy. Halo 3 gave you four of those to destroy.
- The scale of threat was practically exponential. First you're exploring a new territory and defending an alien star system, then you're back home defending the Solar system, then in Halo 3, as one character points out, "the fate of every sentient being in the galaxy rests in your hands!" But y'know, no pressure.
- Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach both scale things back a little: the former because it's a Lower Deck Episode focusing on a squad of Marines, and the latter because it's a prequel to the whole trilogy detailing the destruction of one planet.
- Turrican II took the first Turrican's already large levels and made them ludicrously enormous. It worked amazingly.
- Tetris The Grand Master peaks out in speed and difficulty when pieces start dropping instantly. Tetris: The Grand Master 2 made the game even faster and more Nintendo Hard than its predecessor by gradually decreasing the delays for piece appearance and piece lock delay, shortening the line clear animation after you reach instant-drop speed, and adding an invisible credit roll challenge to get the titular Grand Master rank. Tetris: The Grand Master 3 shortens these even more, and scores you on finesse during the credit roll challenge, in addition to requiring you to get a Grand Master-worthy score 4 out of 7 games before giving you the Promotional Exam in which you can actually earn the rank.
- Supreme Commander was fairly involved in terms of creating and managing your army, with the final mission putting you up against one of the Aeon experimental units as a sort of Boss Fight. The Forged Alliance standalone expansion sics a Serphim experimental on you in the very first mission, and it only gets more intense from there.
- The console installments of the F-Zero series crank up the maximum speed with each new installment. In the first installment, you normally can't go faster than 478 km/h, but dash arrows allow you go up to about 970 momentarily. F-Zero X sets the norm to 700-800 km/h, with boosts enabling you to reach about 1,300-1,400. F-Zero GX brings average speeds to the 970-1,100 range, with boosts speeds going beyond 2,000.
- Kid Icarus is the story of Pit the angel fighting to defeat the evil goddess Medusa. Kid Icarus: Uprising features more-or-less the same story...for the first third of the game. After Medusa's defeat, the Bigger Bad Hades promises to make Medusa look like "a cute, cuddly bunny" compared to him. From there, Pit must butt heads with a nature goddess with an arsenal of Fantastic Nukes at her disposal, an alien race determined to consume the world, an ancient monster that possesses his goddess Palutena, and various members of the Greek pantheon of Gods on his way to fight Hades.
- Ace Combat: The first superfighter, the XFA-27 in 2, didn't have anything particularly OTT apart from being able to launch four missiles in one salvo. If we skip over the planes from 3, the X-02 Wyvern from 4 is next, still not OTT in weapons although it has switchblade wings now. The ADF-01F Falken from 5 was the first (ignoring 3, as aforementioned) to mount a laser weapon. The ADFX-01 Morgan from Zero added the nuke-like MPBM. Then the CFA-44 Nosferatu from 6 swaps the MPBM out from the cluster missile ADMM. X may fit in there somewhere...
- It does, the Fenrir has the ungodly LSWM, which if you hit the missile at a specific target, the blast radius will be enough to destroy all the targets and win you the match, in theory...
- When it comes to the amount of enemies and the scale of battlefields, the series has zig-zagged all over the place, but 04 and especially 6 both played this trope straight (being the first installments for the PS2 and the Xbox 360 respectively is no coincidence), and both also had the following installment heavily inverting the trope. However, when it comes to the amount of flyable aircraft, they invert it, particularly 6 which has the lowest amount of aircraft in the main series.
- Giga Wing: 14-digit scores. Giga Wing 2: 17 digits. Giga Wing Generations: 20 FREAKING DIGITS.
- Left 4 Dead intro video. Left 4 Dead 2 intro video.
- Sony's Resistance 2 and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves are bigger than their originals in every way.
- The first game in the Super Robot Wars Original Generation sub-series deals with civil war between The Federation and a Well-Intentioned Extremist, while throwing in an extraterrestrial invasion in the second half of the game. The sequel throws in the first again, but adds in an Alternate Universe faction deciding to perform War for Fun and Profit and an Eldritch Abomination bent on committing a Kill 'em All scenario on a planetary scale.
- The first Glider was a 15-room adventure (1 room = 1 screen). "The House" of Glider 4.0 went on for 62 rooms. Finally, Glider PRO's "Slumberland" filled 403 rooms, including outdoor areas which previous games had nothing like.
- Rhythm games tend to do this with their "boss" or "extra" songs:
- Guitar Hero II had "Free Bird". Guitar Hero III upped the ante with "Through the Fire and Flames".
- Dance Dance Revolution started with a difficulty scale from 1 to 8 footprints. Then came the escalation:
- DDR 3rd Mix introduced 9-foot ratings.
- DDRMAX (6th Mix) introduced the Extra Stage system, with MAX 300, a song with a tempo of 300 BPM (beats per minute) with 555 steps (18 of which were jumps, and 2 Freeze Arrows) in a minute and a half, which initially had to be played at 1.5x Reverse scroll and a life bar that wouldn't replenish, and was later assigned a 10-foot rating. Completing MAX 300 with a grade of AA or better would earn you the One More Extra Stage, which was Candy, a normal song but played on 3x Reverse, and you fail if you get less than a Great on any step or release a Freeze Arrow too early.
- DDRMAX 2 (7th Mix) added MaxX Unlimited with 555 steps 45 jumps, and 56 Freeze Arrows, which started at 300 BPM and would speed up and slow down many times, eventually screeching to a halt before jumping to 320 BPM and staying there for the rest of the song, and was to be played on 1.5x Reverse Dark (couldn't see the gray arrows that told you when to step). The One More Extra Stage song became Kakumei, which was slightly significantly more complex than Candy.
- DDR Extreme set the bar even higher with The Legend of MAX, at 333 BPM and 1.5x Reverse, plus a faster-depleting lifebar. One More Extra Stage was a song titled Dance Dance Revolution, which was actually not any harder, but rather a tribute to previous DDR songs.
- DDR SuperNOVA had Fascination MAXX and Fascination -eternal love mix-, both of which went up to 400 BPM and would repeatedly halve or double its speed, down to 100 BPM, in addition to pausing briefly at certain points. Extra Stage retained 1.5x Reverse. The One More Extra Stage was CHAOS, which turned the Interface Screw Up to Eleven with its pauses, in addition to disallowing modifiers (no 3x Reverse, either), which actually made CHAOS harder to read.
- DDR SuperNOVA 2 changed the Extra Stage to use the Oni Mode lifebar, where you lose one segment every time you get less than a Great on any step or release a Freeze Arrow too early, and you fail when you lose the last segment. In addition, the Extra Stage system was slightly overhauled - you actually have to EARN lifebars for it!note (However, it does allow picking mods.) And of course, there's Pluto, Pluto Relinquish, and Dead End Groove Radar Special.
- DDR X made a well-needed adjustment to the difficulty scale by re-rating every chart on a scale that goes up to 20. Thanks to how it was done, existing "non-flashing" 10's were ranked around 15 and 16, and the harder "flashing" 10's now got actual difficulty counts, usually either as 17's or 18's. No songs had been introduced that rate as a 19 or 20 yet.
- DDR X2 adds Replicant-D-Action on top of the usual extra stage system for even more boss song unlocking goodness, including the nasty New Decade, which is a 17 on expert and runs at 400 bpm. After you're done with all 6 of those boss songs, you immediately take on Valkyrie Dimension, which is an 18... on expert. Yes, Challenge difficulty was DDR's first 19! Plus the requirement to get Extra Stage was increased to getting a AA rank on every stage, not just the final stage.
- DDR X3 vs 2nd Mix adds Paranoia Revolution and Tohoku Evolved. In the former, it had to be unlocked in 2nd Mix mode, which meant 1x, Flat (no colour difference between 4th and 8th notes etc.) and difficulty unheard of in the source game. A Nostalgia Level with its Expert chart made of the hardest parts of older boss songs, it doesn't seem to warrant an 18, until you notice that it ends with the steps of Challenge Fascination Eternal Love Mix, Pluto Relinquish and Valkyrie Dimension. It's Challenge chart is the only other 19 footer and breaks the DDR record of fastest interval between notes - 16ths at 360bpm! The latter breaks the record for highest reading speed - a random corner jump at 1020 bpm.
- beatmania IIDX started with a 1-7 difficulty scale. 5th Style had the kanji for "forbidden" for some harder 7's, which were later displayed as "flashing 7's" and even later named as "7+". Eventually, the 7+ difficulty became an 8, and the 8+ was introduced. The scale now ranks up to 12.
- For most of the series' history, Guitar Freaks and Drum Mania have had a scale with a 2-digit number for difficulty, with the boss songs usually having a rating in the 90's on Extreme difficulty. In V5, performing well on the Extra Stage earns you the Infinity Stage, with the song Rock to Infinity, which is rated infinity on Extreme and gives Through the Fire and Flames a run for its money.
- For those only familiar with Guitar Hero or Rock Band, a note on how Guitar Freaks works, which will help appreciate the video: even though there are only three buttons on the guitar, you must never be holding extra buttons, even for single notes (forget about hammer-ons and pull-offs). Also, those white icon things on the rightmost side of the track are where you are required to raise your guitar neck into the air. Finally, there is no star power equivalent, and your accuracy is graded in a similar manner to Beatmania or DDR, adding another level of difficulty to the game.
- Rock Band 2 upped the ante by having more metal than the first game, pushing the boundaries for drums and guitar, but the maximum difficulty was really pushed in Rock Band 3, which introduced the pro modes (while keeping the normal ones). The number of buttons on the guitar fretboard jumped from 5 to 102 (68 for bass), with the other hand handling six (four) 'strings' instead of one. Drums just added cymbals, jumping from 5 inputs to 8, and Keyboard, which was new anyway, jumped from 5 keys to 25. Moreover, some of the drum charts in RB3 (pro or not) are just insane.
- The Ace Attorney series keeps upping the odds and the drama with each case. The first of the Phoenix arc is simply rescuing your long-lost best friend from a false murder charge, the second involves intrigue in show business and the kidnapping of your assistant/friend Maya as insurance against the (guilty) client being found guilty., and the third has Phoenix facing off against the vengeful spirit of his serial killer ex-girlfriend before the true murderer is even found. Apollo Justice deals with a seven-year-old Batman Gambit and pushing through a completely new trial system, while Investigations puts Edgeworth against a smuggling ring that is responsible for or connected to every murder in the game.
- If the rumors are true, Investigations 2 starts off with the assassination of the Zheng Fa president. And since it probably only ramps up from there, the end case will probably involve Miles Edgeworth saving the world.
- In fact, Investigations 2 does begin with an unsuccessful attempt on said president. It ends with a successful one.
- This goes Up to Eleven in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies thanks to a transfer from Nintendo DS to Nintendo 3DS. It starts with a courtroom bombing and gets bigger from there.
- Each game in DonPachi progressively gets crazier with even more Bullet Hell and a True Final Boss that takes Bullet Hell to progressive levels of insanity.
- Also, the combos. Getting a 100 combo in DoDonPachi is an achievement, while in DoDonPachi it simply takes some effort. DoDonPachi dai ou jou's Hyper system makes that trivial, and in DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu? Come back when you get a 10,000 combo.
- In an inversion of this trope, most players regard Dai-Fukkatsu's first loop as easier than those of its predecessors. No one's listening, though.
- The main Rock Band games present an inversion of this trope. The final challenge (barring the Endless Setlist) in the first game has you playing to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, whereas the second has you playing to be featured in Rolling Stone magazine.
- Final Fight 2, the straight-to-Super NES sequel to the original Final Fight, changed the setting from Metro City to various cities around the Eurasian continent. Despite this, the game is barely that different in terms of gameplay compared to the original game and was mostly made to make up for the lack of a 2-Player Mode in the original SNES port.
- In the first Double Dragon, the player's mission is to rescue Marian; in the second game, the objective is to avenge her death.
- Mass Effect 1 features cool teammates, action cutscenes, epic badassery, emotion and geek humor. Mass Effect 2 features more teammates, more action cutscenes, More Dakka, more epic badassery, more emotion and more geek humor. You may guess the results. Mass Effect 3 is taking this even further by starting the game with the massive invasion of a race of Eldritch Abomination Abusive Precursors by the thousands who have wiped out all galactic civilization countless times before, who are very angry with the player character.
- Mass Effect 2 is kind of an aversion: the first game has the fate of all organic life in the Milky Way at stake, whereas the second focuses on attacks that only target humanity; sure the Collectors kill hundreds of thousands of people, but if Sovereign had succeeded, the death toll would have been at least in the hundreds of billions. Played straight when comparing 3 to its predecessors: while the threat to the galaxy is the same throughout the series, it's much more direct, and the odds of success much worse, in the third game.
- In Devil May Cry 1, the Kick13 move was a single roundhouse and its Devil Triggered version was a punch-kick combo. In 4, the combo is now standard and the DT version has even more hits. In 3 the Drive move was a single, somewhat slow shockwave, while in 4 it comes out faster and Dante can use three in a row. In 3, the You Will Not Evade Me move was only available as a situational part of the Stance System, while in 4 it becomes integral to the combat
- The "Meet the Team" videos in Team Fortress 2 become a lot more ambitious as they go. Compare Meet the Heavy and Meet the Spy for the best example. Meet the Medic takes it to new heights. And then there was Meet the Pyro.
- In going from Modern Warfare to Modern Warfare 2, the killstreak rewards got bigger and better. There's also the fact that America gets invaded, you get to play as more people and the plot takes you to locations all around the world. And of course, the Twist Ending.
- In the first Metal Slug, basic enemies were limited to the usual Rebellion Army soldiers, the only Slug you used was the basic tank, and the final boss was Morden in a helicopter. By the time Metal Slug 3 rolls around, that very same final boss and level are only the halfway point of the game, and you've already fought zombies, mummies, man-eating plants, and the Mars People. The final fight of 3 takes you to space to battle the Mars People mothership, and to even access the interior you have to fight Metal Slug 2's final boss again. The actual final battle is a free fall to Earth versus Rootmars, the alien commander.
- Final Fantasy drove this to an insane degree. In the first game, the main characters had about 30 HP to start, which grew to about 500-750 by the end. The final boss here had exactly 4000 HP. In Final Fantasy VIII, the starting HP is about 500 and it's about 2500-3500 HP near the end. This game's final boss has over A QUARTER MILLION HP, and you can only hit four digits of damage. And that's not even counting the latest release, Final Fantasy XIII - There are trash mobs with health in the millions.
- The magic and summon animations also have gotten flashier and longer as the series progressed. What used to take nothing more than a few seconds to watch Bahamut blast every enemy on the field in the earlier games evolved to an extended sequence showing Bahamut flying up high in the sky, charging his attack, and then watching the attack shoot down to the ground and explode on all enemies. Depending on the game, some players may find it easier and faster to level grind and just smash everything with swords than to use powerful magic that takes a while to finish its animations.
- In terms of sheer content: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy has just over 70 songs, not including DLC. Its sequel, Curtain Call, has more than three times that number at 221.
- Kingdom Hearts does this to a smaller extent than Final Fantasy. The first game has bosses that have about 300-1500 HP (according to the Guide) which are represented by bars. A boss with four was considered a lot, and the Bonus Boss Sephiroth has about six. Meanwhile in Birth By Sleep? There are enemies with a lot more than just four health bars, even if the health bars deplete faster after II. (this includes Chain of Memories)
- Compare any of Sora's limits from the KHI or KHII to what Ven, Terra, or Aqua can do with their normal fighting styles. Sora's Trinity Limit almost pales in comparison to some of their attacks, and it was the strongest move in the original game and took all Sora, Donald, and Goofy to use, the BBS trio travel alone all the time, and perform moves that make the Maleficent dragon boss battle seem like a cake walk compared to her first dragon encounter from the first game. This is at least justified since Aqua is a Keyblade Master, Terra is only a few good deeds short and all three got training from an actual Keyblade Master, where as Sora learned from his own experience.
- During Nintendo's E3 2010 Presentation, while Reggie Fils-Aime mainly placed emphasis on the social element of Dragon Quest IX, he does have this to say about the rest of the game's content:
"You could describe it just by the numbers: with 120 mini-quests
and additional wi-fi mini-quests, over 300 monsters, over 900 items to customize your character, and an infinite number of randomly generated treasure maps. But that would be selling it short."
- The SimCity series was originally developed with this in mind. While the games share a lot of the same core gameplay elements, the range of facilities that could be built and the size of land at the player's disposal grew exponentially, peaking in VideoGame/SimCity 4, where utterly large regions containing significant numbers of connected cities could be created. Will Wright would later comment that the series has ended up being inaccessible to new players due to its sheer complexity, which led to the reformulated but simplified VideoGame/SimCity Societies.
- In that vein, The Sims changes significantly with each sequel. Even customization options and the way the Sims can change themselves is dramatically different: in the first game, there are adult Sims and child Sims, and never the twain shall meet. In the second game, your Sims age and die, and can also gain and lose weight in a "pop" effect. In the third game, your Sims can age and die and changes due to weight gain and loss, muscle gain and loss, and pregnancy are subtle and incremental. And that's not even including the expansion pack options...
- BioShock is an interesting case. The sequel has an equally good story, but the villain has the opposite philosophy as the first one. The combat, on the other hand, is so far escalated to be ridiculous. Dual Wielding, playing as a Big Daddy with equally scaled up weapons (from crossbow to spear gun for instance), and the plasmids... The Incinerate alone goes from tossing fire, to tossing exploding fire, to being able to shoot a solid stream of fire. Word of God even states that Jack wouldn't have survived Rapture if he came at this time.
- We Cheer 2 in terms of the Virtual Paper Doll and Character Customization.
- Mega Man 2 upped the number of bosses and special items, but also gave a massive increase in the size and variety of the regular enemies you fought. Compare the Mooks of Mega Man 1 to Mega Man 2.
- Back in Pokemon Red And Blue and Pokemon Gold And Silver, the villains were a bunch of common thugs, the focus of what little plot the games had was on beating the Elite Four in Gen1 and Red in Gen2, and the Legendaries, while conceptually interesting in some cases, generally stayed Out of Focus in favor of the To Be a Master, Gotta Catch 'Em All stuff except for Suicune in Crystal. Then we hit Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire, where the villains were out to expand the land or sea, and where the Legendary Pokémon began to play a role in the plot. But it wasn't over yet: Cyrus, head of Pokemon Diamond And Pearl's Team Galactic, was actively out to destroy the universe and remake it in his own image. Beating him involved, depending on your version, catching either the god of space, the god of time, or the Eldritch Abomination personification of antimatter who had a few parallels to Satan. And then you could catch God Himself, if you attended a Nintendo event or used a cheating device.
- Pokémon Black and White scaled things back a bit as far as Platinum is concerned, but having the main villains actually catching and keeping either Reshiram or Zekrom (depending on your version) and fighting you with it and practically taking over the Elite Four is pretty huge. It also introduced some fairly adult themes.
- There's also the mechanics and the number of Pokémon that are catchable in each generation. Pokemon Red And Blue were good games, with a total of 151 Pokémon, which was considered many at the time. Pokemon Gold And Silver doubled the size of the map, upped the ante with 100 new mons and added much depth to the gameplay. Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire temporarily reversed the tide as for the number of mons and total playable area, but when Generation III is taken as a whole it became huge, defining many aspects of modern gameplay. Generation IV was softer concerning new mechanics, and went back to a regional Dex of only 150 (210 in Platinum) but it included a much longer post-game that made it really easier to catch previous generations' Pokémon. Not even counting new mechanics, the series escalated further with Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver and its many starters and legendaries, Pokémon Black and White and its 156 brand new Pokémon, Pokemon Black And White 2 and its expanded region with 301 Pokémon in its Dex, now culminating with Pokemon Xand Y which, according to early leaks, features 450 Pokémon in its three-part regional Pokédex alone.
- Not necessarily a "sequel", per se, but the continuation of the Spider-Man set of games: In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, the final mission revolves around blowing up a single S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, an aircraft roughly the size of a small building, to take down Venom once and for all. In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, the Carnage level has one Helicarrier pre-crashed as an integral part of the first fight with Carnage, and Ultimate Spidey has to outrun another crashing Helicarrier later in the stage.
- Zig-zagged in the Dragon Age series:
- Bug Too! to the original Bug!. It did take out certain elements (especially the zap cap) but added many new ones in, such as curved platforms, ability to run and hover for the characters, and level selection for each world. It may not have been a good thing, though.
- Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter will start in the Cruiser-Fusion era and have a "tech forest", multi-planet systems, even bigger ships and generally lots more options to play with.
- Paper Mario has enemies with HP averaging from 10-20 points for most of the game while bosses hovering around the 50s more or less and the Final Boss and Bonus Boss having 99 HP. Mario's HP and FP can only max out (without the use of badges) to 50. The sequel, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, ramps this up greatly; Mario's HP and FP can reach higher than 50 thanks to the level cap being raised, but boss enemy HP is beefed up as well, pushing near 70 by the last quarter of the game. The Final Boss has 150 HP and the Bonus Boss has 200 HP! In Paper Mario standards, that's a crapton of HP. It's stretched even further in Sticker Star. All bosses after the first have at least 300 HP, and the final boss has 500 HP!
- The plots of the game were also escalated. The original had a fairly standard Bowser-kidnaps-the-Princess plot, and other than Mario none of the characters were in much danger (though the Star Spirits were concerned this might change if Bowser kept the Star Rod for too long). Thousand-Year Door featured a group of scientists trying to release an Eldritch Abomination, believing she will reward them with money and power, but who really just wants to Take Over the World (and can rule alone). Super Paper Mario featured a villain who wanted to destroy the entire multiverse.
- The Saints Row series.
- In the first game, you're a nobody in a downtrodden neighborhood who gets caught in a gang fight, joins a new gang and buys a pistol to "clean up the hood".
- The second game features lots of explosives, radioactive waste, chainsaws, a gang boss with a minigun, and eventually you fight a private military contractor.
- The third game features regular mooks with miniguns, airstrikes, hoverbikes, battles against entire enemy platoons of tanks, laser guns everywhere and you blow up two aircraft carriers, including a flying one that's bombing the city into rubble.
- The fourth game features a full-scale alien invasion where you play as the president of the United States who gets kidnapped by the aliens, is put in The Matrix and then fights them with superpowers.
- The stand-alone expansion after the fourth game features your character (now God Emperor of the Universe) kidnapped by Satan, with Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kinsington diving into the depths of Hell to save him...with flaming swords, weaponized recliners, and super powers of their own.
- Generally speaking, Fighting Game sequels—especially those created within a couple of years of each other—like to increase the number of fighters from one game to another. Street Fighter Alpha is a perfect example. There are exceptions—the Soul Series seems pretty consistent at around 20 characters per game, and the Marvel vs. Capcom series stayed between 15 and 16 non-pallete swap characters for the first 3 games—but an increased headcount is usually on the menu for a sequel.
- The original Super Smash Bros. featured only twelve characters. The sequel, Melee, features over double that number, with the third game, Brawl, having 39 characters, including third-party Guest Fighters Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake. The fourth game has 50 characters, or 52 if you count each Mii fighter type as a different character, and they've already released another character as DLC.
- Banjo-Tooie is this compared to its predecessor Banjo-Kazooie: The latter was a kind of enhanced Super Mario 64, with more transformations, more collectibles, the ability to shoot eggs, and some other moves. Then Banjo-Tooie retained (almost) all the old moves of the first game since the beginning, introducing more new moves than the total number of moves in the previous game, five new types of eggs, transformations in every level, and these aren't even all the new gimmicks of the game. The size and scale of each stage also increased dramatically, making the first game's stages feel claustrophobic by comparison.
- The second Devil Survivor game is this. While the first one started its gameplay with the protagonists suddenly being attacked by demons spawning out of their COMPs, the second one kicks off the main storyline by having a subway de-rail and nearly kill off the main characters (after showing them their horrific deaths before it happens). The second game also has FAR more on-screen deaths (one instance being the Eldritch Abomination-of-the-day incinerating four bystanders), a more epic scope (complete with a shadowy underground organization dealing with Japan's paranormal issues over the years and Eldritch Abominations wreaking havoc), more characters, more locations (taking place in multiple cities as opposed to the first one's single place), more cursing, more difficulty, and bigger cup sizes.
- The Super Mario Bros. series: Super Mario Bros. 1 and Super Mario Bros. 2 (Mushroom Kingdom and Subcon, respectively) —> Super Mario Bros. 3 (multiple kingdoms). There's also Super Mario 64 (a castle) —> Super Mario Sunshine (an island) —> Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 (the entire universe).
- Present and accounted for in the Quest for Glory series:
- Quest for Glory I has few particularly powerful threats for you to deal with. There's the Kobold Wizard and Baba Yaga, but the ominous Brigand Warlock turns out to just be the local court jester, who has little real magical power and left the castle to find the Baron's missing daughter. There's not even really a Big Bad to speak of, unless you count Baba Yaga, as the Brigand Leader is the Baron's enchanted daughter, and is "beaten" with a dispell potion.
- In Quest for Glory II, the Hero must square off against four powerful elementals, each of which can destroy the city of Shapier, before confronting the wizard attempting to release an evil djinn on the world.
- Quest for Glory III raises the stakes even further, with the plot of the game being manipulated by a demon attempting to cross its master over into the world (the Quest for Glory series is RIFE with Sealed Evils attempting to be released). Notably, the Coles have specifically said that Wages of War was not part of the original story, and was added specifically because the Hero would not have been strong enough to face the enemies of the next game.
- Quest for Glory IV, in which the Hero now faces undead in spades, the resurrected Ad Avis and his Dark Master, the vampire Katrina. Oh, and now he's trying to stop a full-blown Eldritch Abomination from being freed! Notably, Baba Yaga, who in the first game pretty thoroughly outmatches the Hero, by the fourth is no longer quite so menacing.
- Quest for Glory V at first seems like it's going to be an inversion, as the Hero arrives to effectively investigate a murder plot. At least until the world-destroying Dragon of Doom is unleashed by the Big Bad (have we mentioned the series' love of Sealed Evils?)
- Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Batman: Arkham City. It's in the title.
- There are exactly two things which New World Computing did not escalate between Heroes of Might and Magic I and II: the number of campaigns (four to two — but see below) and the scale of the war (the sparse story of I was a free-for-all war over the throne of Enroth between four contenders, II was a war over the throne of Enroth's succession with two claimants). Everything else — the number of towns, how many artifacts there are, how much actual story there is in the campaigns, how different the campaigns are from each-other (I's were literally the same except for your starting town and each campaign lacking the map about attacking your own stronghold), the number of creatures, the complexity of the skill system, how many spells there are, etc — gets escalated.
- Zombies Run: We'll let the developers explain.
The story’s even more tense, the risks even greater, and the rewards higher - if things go right you, Runner 5, might just save the world.
- The Sonic the Hedgehog series, good grief. In the Genesis era we started with a super-fast hedgehog freeing his animal buddies from a mad scientist, which went to preventing Eggman from ruling the world with his Death Egg station in three sequels that expanded the scope of the world and introduced more characters. Come the Dreamcast and modern eras, Sonic is facing a gigantic deity made of water, an out-of-control space colony controlled by the prototype of the ultimate life form, his evil robot double's super transformation, an insane god of time and space, a continent-sized manifestation of the Earth's dark side, Eggman enslaving five planets to create a mind-control weapon, and a being that can destroy time and space.
- Sonic Lost World takes a step back by returning to Sonic saving animals and maintaining the beauty of the world, but still manages to escalate that by having Sonic now saving animals in the hundreds and thousands per zone instead of dozens and magnifying the threat to the planet from Eggman building resource-destroying factories to the entire world being sapped of its life energy by the Zeti, killing it and everyone on it including Sonic's friends, and the plan actually goes off without fail to the bitter end before Sonic can fix things.
- Borderlands had a lot of neat boss fights, decent story with an OK villain, an intimidating final boss, and a neat Bonus Boss in Crawmerax. Then Borderlands 2 came along and... totally blew it out of the water. The boss fights were more intense, often had hazards littered about them with extremely inventive fights, a story that plays out amazingly (so much so you'd swear they purposely wrote everything very basic in the original just to expand it further with its incredible plot twists, a Big Bad to top all Big Bads, Handsome Jack, the manipulative sociopathic monster who is always two hundred steps ahead, a final boss that is far harder to kill and is NOT a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, and a new bonus boss in Terramorphous, who makes Crawmerax look like a chew toy. They increased the guns, increased the areas, and total went balls out on making everything new.
- This applies to the DLC as well. General Knoxx, Island of Dr. Ned, Moxxi's Underdome, and the Claptrap invasion were okay, but Captain Scarlet's, Campaign of Carnage, Big Game Hunt, and Assault on Dragon's Keep clearly had way more effort put into them, and the last one especially seems to be taking the game engine and what they can do with it as far as they can, playing with the characters themselves and just having fun exploring how nuts the gameplay can get when they go all out on it, along with trying out how silly objectives can get. Additionally, the four campaigns from two seem to be more generally received by critics on websites like IGN and Game Informer, whereas General Knoxx had the unfortunate inability to make multiple fast travel stations in the DLC, forcing you to painstakingly make your way back to where you were every time you needed to get there, and Moxxi's underdome was often far too difficult for a solo player to handle, giving an individual much less incentive to play it unless with friends... and they dragged on and on.
- Metroid Prime invokes this trope in regards of the scale of the adventure. The first game is about Tallon IV, the second is about Aether and Dark Aether, and the third is about an entire galaxy. The threat of Phazon increases considerably upon each game, as well.
- A meta-example with Blizzard games- with every new game, the game engines' capacities have increased, and thus the Level Editor has gone from Map Editor (War Craft II), Campaign Editor (Starcraft), World Editor (War Craft III), to Galaxy Editor (Starcraft II). For the games themselves, WarCraft II featured Cosmetically Different Sides, a Good/Evil divide, missions consisiting of "kill the enemy base", and Isometric Perspective. WarCraft III had four completely different factions, some murkiness on the good/evil, extremely varied missions and a lot more dungeon crawls, cutscenes, leveling hero units, mercenaries, and was in 3D.
- The Shockwave games increase in scope with each installment:
- Invasion Earth is a defense of Earth against an invading force; the Omaha does not go further than the moon.
- Operation Jumpgate sees the Omaha traversing the solar system to go on the offensive and fight the aliens back through the jumpgate before they finish preparing for a second invasion.
- Shockwave 2 opens twenty years after the Omaha has been lost been lost through the jumpgate, and has the crew of the Cortez exploring other solar systems, searching for the jumpgate code that will send them home.
- The first Kamen Rider Battride War gave almost all the Riders the ability to access their final forms temporarily; the sequel takes it a step further with "Ultimate State", which grants some Riders access to their movie-exclusive Eleventh Hour Superpowers, such as Kamen Rider OOO' Super Tatoba Combo or Kamen Rider Fourze's Meteor Fusion States.
- Pikmin series:
- The second game has five types that need to be managed, a far larger array of enemies, much longer gameplay in the form of caves, introduces powerups in the form of sprays, and removes the day limit. The number of collectable items shoots up from 30 to 201.
- The third game increases the number of Onion-grown Pikmin the player has to manage, has a more flexible day limit than the first game, balances out the usefulness of the types, and has areas so large that even the Distant Spring from the first game (the biggest map between the first two) feels claustrophobic by comparason. However, it also removes some of the additions the second game did, like toning down on the enemy types and axeing the caves.
- The Litigation Jackson movie franchise in the Homestar Runner universe. The poster for the first movie showed the main character diving out of an exploding building with a box that said legal documents.'' The sequel's poster shows a similar poster only now the box says important legal documents. Clearly the stakes have been raised.
- The first anniversary of That Guy with the Glasses was a gigantic crossover brawl involving The Nostalgia Critic, The Angry Video Game Nerd, Linkara, Angry Joe, Spoony, The Nostalgia Chick, and many, many other popular internet personalities. So how did they top it for the second anniversary? Why, they got even more people together and invaded the micronation of Molossia, of course, in a six-party mini-series spanning about 90 minutes. Then, for the third anniversary, they make a 2 hour and 10 minute fantasy film called Suburban Knights, with roughly the same amount of people, but with more plot. And the Forth (To Boldly Flee) is even longer and with even more plot, more character development and more references.
- In the first Llamas with Hats, Carl killed a man. In the second, he sinks a cruise ship. In the third, he topples a South American government (after pushing the resistance leader into a giant fan... for trying to stop him from pushing other people into a giant fan). In the fourth, he tracks mud on the carpet. And nukes an entire city.
- The Cartoon Man is a live action comedy with some animated effects near the end. The sequel has a more complex plot, animated effects throughout, and an over-the-top cartoon chase scene as its climax. The third is a straight-up epic that mostly takes place in an animated world, and concludes with the biggest cartoon battle yet.
- A series of YouTube videos that takes YouTube comments that criticize Dark Side Phil, particularly his run on the Metal Gear Solid franchise, the first one is only a mere 57 minutes long. The second one, centered around Metal Gear Solid 3, was around 2 hours, and the third one is around 20 minutes longer, and demonstrates what the poster feels are Phil's most prominent flaws.
- PONIES The Anthology. The first one was conceived as an epic compilation of AMV Hell-esque sketches, to the point of releasing its own intro scene ahead of time as a teaser. It's 24 minutes long. The second is almost an hour longer, including an extended parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey at the end. And this was coming on the heels of the show's own hard-to-top second season finale.
- Total Drama is an example of season escalation. The first season was a parody of reality shows, and the cast did standard Survivor-style challenges on an island. The second season, Total Drama Action, put them on a larger abandoned film set where the challenges were based on movie genres. The third season, Total Drama World Tour, was about (you guessed it) the contestants going around the world, and every episode had a song along with the challenge. The fourth season, Total Drama Revenge of the Island, had a new cast on the same island as before, but this time everything was radioactive and there were mutant animals all over the place.
- Chris McLean, the host of the show, also gets gradually more sadistic as the series goes on. Case in point: Season 1's eliminated contestants left the island by boat. Season 4's left by catapult.
- World War II: Although calling it a sequel might be a bit disrespectful, World War II followed as a consequence of World War I, which itself had the Franco-Prussian war as a background precursor due to France's involvment in both conflicts, and was fought on a scale that will hopefully never be seen again. Most of the world had a connection to a conflict during the time period, be it by way of occupation, direct involvement in the primary conflict, resuming old rivalries, or simply having colonial garrisons reinforced to protect against other colonial powers' opportunism. World War I, by comparison, was mostly fought in Europe.
- Evel Knievel, famed daredevil of The Seventies, built his career on this trope; each successful Ramp Jump he performed would inevitably be followed by another, bigger one.