Sequel Number Snarl

A sequel number snarl often occurs when Sequels and Interquels start filling up the chronology, but then gets fouled up by the addition of an Oddly Named Sequel or two (or five...) whose title doesn't include a number. Reboots and Alternate Continuities can make even more of a mess. Basically, this happens when the numbering of sequels gets really, really complicated.

A subtrope of Numbered Sequels. See also Colon Cancer. If the numbering doesn't start with 1, but is otherwise logical, see N+1 Sequel Title. If it's chapters within a single work that are numbered oddly, that's Unusual Chapter Numbers.


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    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering started numbering its core sets by 4th edition, the fifth set after Alpha, Beta, Unlimited and Revised, by counting Alpha and Beta as the first and second versions of the Limited Edition. 'Classic' 6th Edition was the first base set to use an expansion set symbol on the cards; prior sets were identified by print quality, border size/color and date. Numbering continued until 2007's 10th edition (10E), then started yearly numbering in 2009 with Magic 2010 (M10), the date of each set being a year ahead of the set's release year, up until 2014's Magic 2015. The last core set is stated to be Magic Origins, a 2015 unnumbered set with a sunrise symbol and the set code ORI.

  • The Incredible Hulk was originally canceled after six issues. After appearing in various other mags and becoming more popular, the Hulk was given a new solo feature in the Tales to Astonish anthology. When Marvel finally found a better distributor, The Incredible Hulk became its own mag again, but it neither started over with a new #1 nor did it continue the original numbering, it continued that of Tales of Astonish, with #102. This resulted in confusion over whether the revival should be considered a resumption of the original series or a second volume – Marvel's Web site uses the former interpretation while their trade collections prefer the latter.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Ring:
    • A 1995 film, named Ring and re-released as Ring: Kanzenban.
    • Hideo Nakata series: Ring, Rasen, Ring 2, which ignores the events of Rasen, and a prequel Ring 0: Birthday.
    • American films The Ring, Rings (a short DVD-only film) and The Ring Two.
    • Korean film The Ring Virus.
  • The Rambo series goes First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, and then Rambo (also known as John Rambo or Rambo IV in certain countries). Film critic Roger Ebert pointed out that technically, Rambo III should have been entitled Rambo II: First Blood Part III, which, he supposed, would have caused film executives heads to explode in confusion.
  • In Italy, Dawn of the Dead was dubbed under the title of Zombi, spawning two sequels produced by Lucio Fulci (who was responsible for the Italian dub): Zombi 2 and Zombi 3D. In the U.S., Zombi 2 was retitled Zombie and marketed as a standalone movie with no ties to Dawn of the Dead, but Zombi 3 kept its original numbering, making it seemed as if there was another movie in-between. To add further confusion, two unrelated movies by Zombie 3 co-producer Claudio Fragasso were marketed as Zombie sequels in the U.S.: After Death (aka Zombie 4) and Killing Birds (a.k.a. Zombie 5). In the UK, all four of these movies were released under the title Zombie Flesh Eaters title and were numbered appropriately.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia started out in chronological order but the fifth and sixth books were, respectively, a interquel and a prequel. Later editions of the series number the books in chronological order, but many fans maintain that reading them in publication order is more rewarding because the prequel contains references that only make sense if you've read the other books first. As for C. S. Lewis himself, he never really cared about the order in which people read his books.
  • The books of Lorien Legacies. We present you (with the actual order in parentheses):
    • I Am Number Four (actually the first);
    • The Power of Six (actually the second);
    • The Rise of Nine (actually the third);
    • The Fall of Five (actually the fourth);
    • The Revenge of Seven (actually the fifth);
    • The Fate of Ten (actually the sixth);
    • United as One (actually the seventh; or the last). Over here, we've already lost it.
  • The numbering of the books in the Relativity series is straightforward until you get to book 7. At that point, the storyline splits off in two directions, with the two different paths referred to as "Book 7" and "Book 7½". Also, the first book of side stories is logically called "Relativity Side Stories Book 1", but its original title was "Relativity Book 4½". For bonus confusion it was released one week prior to Book 4.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Power Rangers:
    • Mighty Morphin' Alien Rangers, a transitional period between the third season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and Power Rangers Zeo. It's commonly considered Season 3b, being too short to be a season in itself and sharing enough with Mighty Morphin' S3 to be lumped in with it.
    • Years later, part of the first season was Re-Cut and presented as a new season in itself. Officially, it was Season 18, but fans were reluctant to name glorified reruns as a full season and generally considered the following span of new episodes, Power Rangers Samurai, as the actual Season 18. Within a few years, official sources followed suit and ignored the Re-Cut in official season counts.
    • Beginning with Power Rangers Samurai, franchise installments began being stretched over two years, with the second year of each having an updated New Season, New Name, leaving fans unsure whether to count each as one two-year season or two one-year seasons. Power Rangers Megaforce complicates things further since each of its two years adapts a different Super Sentai series while the others adapt just one series for the duration.
  • Super Sentai itself also underwent a similar situation. The first two Sentai shows, Himitsu Sentai Goranger and J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai, which Toei co-produced with Ishinomori Production, were not counted among the later Super Sentai shows that Toei produced independently starting with Battle Fever J. As a result, the premiere of Kousoku Sentai Turboranger served as the tenth anniversary of the series, while Gosei Sentai Dairanger was originally considered the fifteenth series. Somewhere along the lines, Goranger and J.A.K.Q. were retroactively added to the franchise's count, making the earlier anniversary shows before their inclusion seem odd in retrospect.
  • The Kamen Rider franchise has a similar issue, not with the number of shows, but with the official number of main Riders:
    • The first Kamen Rider series had two main Riders: Rider 1 and Rider 2. Simple enough.
    • The second series, Kamen Rider V3, featured a secondary character named Riderman, a villain who underwent a Heel–Face Turn. Despite the fact that Riderman was not a main character, he shows up in many of the subsequent crossover movies and specials as the fourth main Rider.
    • Kamen Rider Stronger, the seventh Rider (and fifth series), had a female sidekick named Tackle. Unlike Riderman though, she is not counted as an official Rider.
    • The main riders of the ninth and tenth series, Kamen Rider BLACK and Kamen Rider BLACK RX, were originally counted as one Rider since they were different alter-egos of the same character (RX being an upgraded form of the original Black). Thus, RX was counted as the eleventh Rider when the older Riders guest-starred in his show. However, Black and RX have been counted as separate characters ever since RX guest-starred in a two-part episode of Kamen Rider Decade where he teamed up with an alternate universe version of himself who retained his original Black form.
    • All of the Rider shows from Kamen Rider Agito and onward had numerous secondary Riders (including movie-exclusive characters) in addition to the titular protagonistsnote . Kamen Rider Decade established the official number of Riders by counting all of the Riders from Rider 1 to J (with Black and RX being established as separate individuals at this point) and counting only the titular Riders from Kamen Rider Kuuga and onward.
    • The official count leaves out the alternate versions of the first three Riders who were in the reboot movies (The First and The Next), as well as Kamen Rider G (a Rider created for a one-off parody).
  • Doctor Who:
    • Season numbering can be quite confusing. Does Nu Who start again, which means distinguishing between two Season Ones? (The Other Wiki calls William Hartnell's first season Season 1, and Christopher Eccleston's season Series 1, as does The BBC website - while still being at pains to point out that it's all the same series.) Or do you just keep going past Season 26, as many fans do? (This Very Wiki's Recap page lists both.) Steven Moffat confused things further by claiming in Doctor Who Magazine that if Matt Smith's first season wasn't Season 31 (because it's all one thing), then it was Series 1 (since it was as much a split from what had come before as the initial relaunch), before later admitting that he'd called it Series 5 in all practical situations. And then there's the split series 6A and 6B (Not to be confused with Season 6b) ... or season 32A and 32B.
    • Interestingly, this has been introduced in-universe with the Doctor themself. Originally, when regeneration was introduced, it wasn't stated that William Hartnell's character was in fact the First Doctor. The Fourth Doctor episode "The Brain of Morbius" has a scene indicating prior regenerations. However, it was later firmly established that the First Doctor was the original incarnation. Then comes "The Name of the Doctor" and "The Day of the Doctor", which introduced a new regeneration between 8 and 9. It was stated that the Doctor doesn't consider the War Doctor to be worthy of the title, so he doesn't count in the numbering. Add in "Time of the Doctor", which stated that Ten's aborted regeneration actually counted, and you have a situation where the current, Twelfth Doctor could technically be considered the Fourteenth.
      • Played for laughs in a cinema prelude to Twelve's debut, where Strax notes that the numbering of Doctor gets "tricky" as you go on.
    Strax: The Eleventh Doctor...possibly the Twelfth. Technically, the Thirteenth! Who can say?
    • The Doctor herself gets around the whole business by counting personalities and regenerations separately. X Doctors, one incarnation who didn't claim the title, one extra regeneration burned.

  • The Traveling Wilburys named their first album Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, and their second album Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 — either as a joke, or to reference their involvement in the charity album Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal, which featured a track by the Wilburys, as well as two George Harrison songs, as a supposed Vol. 2.
  • Chickenfoot's second album is Chickenfoot III to spoof Sophomore Slump.
  • The original 1984 version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was performed by a Super Group named Band Aid. A cover was made in 1989, whose supergroup was called Band Aid II. However, when a second cover was made in 2004, the supergroup was called Band Aid 20.

  • Microsoft Windows. Internal and external version numbers haven't matched in years. Part of this complexity stems from the different versions being entirely different code bases over the years. Earlier versions were based on the old MS-DOS system (indeed, Windows was originally an add-on program to DOS, not an operating system). This applies to every version up to and including the 95/98/Me versions (DOS-based Windows 4.x, internally). Meanwhile, the NT code base was introduced as a high-end, network-friendly system, released in parallel and aimed at businesses. The first version of that was NT 3.1 (the same version number DOS-based Windows was on at the time; the user interface of NT 3.1 looked and functioned just like the DOS version). NT 4.0 was released at the same time as Win 95 (and looked just like it, despite not being internally compatible). It wasn't until Windows XP (NT version 5.0) was released that the home and business lines were fully merged. Vista was NT 6.0, but when it went over like a lead balloon, they intentionally pushed the external number up to 7, while the internal system number was 6.1, as the core internals are only slightly tweaked; Windows 7 was mostly a user-end overhaul. Windows 8 followed, again overhauling the user-end stuff, so it's internal number is 6.2; it was even more criticized than Vista (because 7 actually was popular and not too old), so a patch job called 8.1 was released, making the internal number 6.3. For the follow up, they wanted to show a big jump, so they skipped the name straight to Windows 10. But it's just 6.4 internally! Surprisingly, the build number is also 10—specifically 10.0.10240 for the RTM release.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The various Dungeons & Dragons editions are titled Dungeons & Dragons, Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 (a minor revision), Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, and Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. While the relationships between early versions isn't hard and fast (they were considered the same game, just aimed at different audiences, and were largely compatible until the Basic Set was revised in 1981), there's no way 5th Edition is actually the 5th version of the game.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Slayer includes:
    • Dragon Slayer, the first game of the Dragon Slayer series.
    • Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu, the second game of the Dragon Slayer series, and the first game of the the Xanadu series, followed by Xanadu Scenario II, Faxanadu, The Legend of Xanadu, The Legend of Xanadu II: The Last Dragon Slayer, Xanadu Next and Tokyo Xanadu.
    • Dragon Slayer Jr: Romancia, the third game.
    • Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family, the fourth game, known as Legacy of the Wizard.
    • Dragon Slayer V: Sorcerian, with add-ons Sorcerian Utility Vol. 1, Sorcerian Additional Scenario Vol. 1, Sorcerian Additional Scenario Vol. 2 – Sengoku Sorcerian, Sorcerian Additional Scenario Vol. 3 – Pyramid Sorcerian, Sorcerian New Scenario Vol. 1 – The Visitor from Outer Space, Selected Sorcerian 1, Selected Sorcerian 2, Selected Sorcerian 3, Selected Sorcerian 4, Selected Sorcerian 5, and Gilgamesh Sorcerian.
    • Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes: The sixth Dragon Slayer game, and the first game of The Legend of Heroes.
    • Lord Monarch: Real-time strategy spinoff, considered the seventh Dragon Slayer game.
    • Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes II: The eighth Dragon Slayer game, second in The Legend of Heroes series. Did not have an English release.
    • The Legend of Heroes drops Dragon Slayer from the title, and continues with The Legend of Heroes III: Shiroki Majo, The Legend of Heroes IV: Akai Shizuku, and The Legend of Heroes V: Umi no Oriuta. The localized titles are The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch, The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion, and The Legend of Heroes III: Song of the Ocean.
    • The sixth entry in The Legend of Heroes consists of The Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki First Chapter, The Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki Second Chapter, and The Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki The 3rd, the first two localized as The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky and The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the Second Chapter.
    • The seventh entry of The Legend of Heroes is The Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki and The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki, not localized into English.
    • The eighth entry in The Legend of Heroes consists of The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki, The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II, and The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki III, the first two to be localized as The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel and The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II.
    • Nayuta no Kiseki: An action spinoff in the same universe as The Legend of Heroes, not part of the main series.
  • Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures is more like the tenth Pac-Man sequel.
  • Silent Hill had three numbered sequels, a prequel (Origins/Zero), a subtitled sequel (Homecoming), and a reimagining of the first (Shattered Memories). The next, Downpour, was slated to be released as 8 until someone realized the problem.
  • Super Metroid and Metroid: Fusion were called "Metroid 3" and "Metroid 4", respectively, in their opening sequences. Metroid Prime came out the same time as Fusion, and was intended to be just an aside between the original and Return of Samus. But then the Prime series was a runaway success, creating two sequels and three spin-off titles. And then, there's Metroid: Other M, an interquel between Super and Fusion, that came out in 2010. This may prompt Nintendo to drop the classic system of numbering if the 2D sequel to Fusion ever comes out.
  • Street Fighter:
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IV was originally released in America as II, and Final Fantasy VI as III. Synchronizing the sequels as of VII confused Americans briefly, but the numbering has caught on. The Virtual Console releases of Final Fantasy IV and VI in America, being straight emulation of the SNES versions, kept the earlier Americanized numbering, although there were already ports of those game for the PlayStation and Game Boy Advance that restored the original numbering.
    • Then you have Final Fantasy X-2 (and later, Final Fantasy XIII-2, which would be followed by a second sequel to XIII), which muddy things further.
    • Then you have Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV, which are MMOs and have more in common with each other than with any of the other numbered entries or than the direct sequels have in common with the numbered entries that spawned them.
    • A case can also be made for Final Fantasy XV, considering that it began life as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Despite eventually becoming the fifteenth numbered entry, it still counts as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series that consists of XIII (and its sequels) and Type-0.
  • StarCraft was initially released on 31 March 1998. By 2009 the franchise included various novels, add-ons, etc., as well as a major Expansion Pack, Brood War. When Starcraft II came out in 2010, there was a noticeable Double Take by some fans at the fact that it was "only" the first sequel. As though to confuse things further, it came in three parts (Wings Of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy Of The Void), and it's difficult to know whether to consider each of them separate video games or expansion packs or what.
  • Similarly, the Homeworld franchise consists of Homeworld (1999), Homeworld: Cataclysm (2000), Homeworld 2 (2003), and the prequel Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak (2016), originally announced as Homeworld: Shipbreakers.
  • Call of Duty had its fourth game named Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Its sequels are named Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Then there's Call of Duty: Black Ops, which went off on its own sequel-numbering scheme on top of being sequels to World at War. Everything else that's not Black Ops since then - Ghosts, Advanced Warfare, and Infinite Warfare - hasn't bothered with numbers because none of them follow on from another game's story.
  • The Gorky series began with Gorky 17 (also known as Odium), then Gorky Zero and then Gorky 02.
  • While officially titled simply Mortal Kombat, the 2011 reboot of the series is considered by developer NeatherRealm Studio to be the ninth proper fighting game installment in the franchise, counting the earlier crossover game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe as the eighth. However, the sequel to it, which would be Mortal Kombat 10 under that numbering scheme, was briefly titled "Mortal Kombat 2" during the early planning process (or as Ed Boon jokingly put it, "Mortal Kombat 10: We Lost Count"). And one could be easily forgiven for mistaking Deadly Alliance, Deception, and Armageddon for spin-offs instead of the fifth, sixth, and seventh entries in the main series, respectively. The tenth game was eventually titled Mortal Kombat X (although, that's as in the letter "X", not the Roman numeral for ten).
  • The Legacy of Kain series started out with Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. The sequel shifted the subtitle to the forefront and was titled Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. This was followed by Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 and then by Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2, the reasoning being that they were sub-series, the Blood Omen games featuring Kain as protagonist and the Soul Reaver games following Raziel. The developers finally did away with the "numbered sub-series" idea when they released the fifth and currently final game titled Legacy of Kain: Defiance which follows both.
  • Ace Combat:
  • An Older Than the NES example of this is Atari's Sprint series of arcade games. Sprint 2 started the series in 1976, followed by Sprint 4, Sprint 8, Sprint One (switching from Arabic numerals to words), Super Sprint, Championship Sprint, and finally Badlands (which is Sprint in a post-apocalypse setting). The confusing thing is that the numbers in the first four Sprint titles do not indicate the game's order in the series. It actually indicates how many human players can race at the same time. So Sprint One got its name for being a one player game, even though it was the fourth in the series chronologically.
  • The first game in the Gex trilogy is simply called Gex, and the last one is called Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, but the second game is called Gex: Enter the Gecko, no "2" involved.
  • The Battlefield series has this. Battlefield 2 was actually the third installment, for instance (which makes some sense; Battlefield Vietnam wasn't as well-received as 1942). Battlefield 3, on the other hand, is at the very least the eleventh game in the series. Battlefield 1 is actually the fifteenth entry in the series; the odd title choice is because the game covers the events of World War I.
  • BEMANI games often have spinoff games between numbered versions. The smallest example of this trope is every beatmania IIDX game from beatmania IIDX 2nd Style onwards actually being the n+1st game due to beatmania IIDX substream being released between 1st Style and 2nd Style. Things get even more complicated with other numbered BEMANI games.
  • Resident Evil had its first three numbered installments on the PlayStation, which were then followed by Resident Evil – Code: Veronica on the Dreamcast. Despite not being a numbered installment (a result of the game originally developed as a Dreamcast exclusive before Sega discontinued their hardware sales and allowed the game to be ported to other consoles), Code: Veronica is considered a main title, not only continuing the story from where Resident Evil 2 left off, but actually brought back Albert Wesker as the main antagonist after he was killed off in the original game. The numbered series would move onto the GameCube with a remake of the original (along with ports of the previous sequels), Resident Evil 0 (a prequel) and Resident Evil 4 before going for multiplatform releases from the get-go with Resident Evil 5.
  • The arcade version of Contra was followed by a solo sequel titled Super Contra and both games were eventually remade for the NES (the latter being shortened to Super C). The NES games were followed by an SNES sequel titled Contra III: The Alien Wars and all subsequent sequels were left unnumbered until the release of Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS, which was actually the eleventh (non-port) installment in the series and an interquel set between Contra III and Contra Hard Corps. To add further confusion, Contra III was actually the fourth game released, since there was a Game Boy game titled Operation C released between Super C and Contra III (which was likely not counted since it was a portable release and they weren't typically considered part of the main series in those days). What would have been counted as part of the main series was Contra Force, an NES game originally planned for release before The Alien Wars, which would have been numbered IV, but between a plot that had nothing to do with the series and a production delay, Contra III got that number. This was never much of an issue in Japan, where none of the Contra sequels were numbered: Contra III was originally titled Contra Spirits and when Contra 4 was localized there, it was retitled Contra: Dual Spirits.
  • The original Shinobi was released for the arcades in 1987, which was followed by two separately-developed sequels in 1989: an arcade sequel titled Shadow Dancer, which featured the same play mechanics as the first game (but with the addition of a canine companion); and a sequel for the Sega Genesis titled The Revenge of Shinobi, which featured completely different play mechanics from the arcade games (with a few elements borrowed from the Sega Master System version of the first game, such as a health gauge and multiple ninjutsu spells). The Genesis later received two additional Shinobi games in the forms of Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi in 1991 (a remake of the arcade Shadow Dancer with the same play mechanics, but with different stages) and Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master in 1993 (the true sequel to The Revenge of Shinobi)note . To add further confusion, there was also a Master System-exclusive sequel released in Europe and Brazil titled The Cyber Shinobi: Shinobi Part II.
  • The Wonder Boy sequels consist of Wonder Boy in Monster Land (a.k.a. Super Wonder Boy: Monster World), Wonder Boy III Monster Lair, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (a.k.a. Monster World II), Wonder Boy In Monster World (a.k.a. Wonder Boy V: Monster World III) and Monster World IV.
    • Most of these alternate titles were the result of the games being retitled in different regions, but even the titles tend to vary in Japan. The original Wonder Boy became Super Wonder Boy on the Sega Mark III since it was the second Wonder Boy port in Japan following an earlier version for the SG-1000 (Sega's very first console), while Wonder Boy in Monster Land became Super Wonder Boy: Monster World due to the existence of the similarly-titled Waiwai Monsterland for the Super Cassette Vision. Since the west never had to deal with these issues, the Master System ports simply kept the original arcade titles. The later console games in Japan simply went by the Monster World moniker.
    • Monster Lair (the third arcade game) and Dragon's Trap (a Master System game) were developed and released almost at the same time, resulting in two different games being titled Wonder Boy III. To make matters more confusing, the Japanese version of Dragon's Trap, Monster World II, wasn't even released until a later Game Gear port, a few months after its own sequel, Monster World III, was released on the Mega Drive. Yes, a Japanese video game series experienced a Sequel First syndrome in its own native country.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • The first game in the Assassin's Creed series was simply Assassins Creed, the sequel was Assassin's Creed II, followed by Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations. It then went back to numbered sequels with Assassin's Creed III, which is the fifth game. While the snarl was justified with Brotherhood and Revelations for revisiting a previous protagonist instead of presenting an all-new story, Assassins Creed IV was numbered and a prequel to III. Numbering fell apart for good after that. Assassin's Creed: Rogue has a new protagonist and takes place between IV and III. Assassin's Creed: Unity and Assassin's Creed: Syndicate both have completely new protagonists and take place in new time periods but do not get numbers. Then we now have Assassin's Creed Origins; the tenth game in the franchise whose Assassin's story is a prequel to the rest of the games. Although if sorted by the order of the modern times framing device instead of the historical time it just follows production order.
  • The arcade sequels to OutRun consist of Turbo OutRun (1989), OutRunners (1993), OutRun 2 (2003), OutRun 2 SP (2004) and OutRun 2 SP SDX (2006).
  • The Double Dragon series started as a trilogy of games on the arcade and NES (as well as other platforms) consisting of the original Double Dragon, Double Dragon II The Revenge and Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone (or Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones, as the third NES game, which is an entirely different game only sharing the basic plot premise, was called). It was a followed by an unnumbered sequel (actually a reboot) for the Super NES titled Super Double Dragon (a.k.a. Return of Double Dragon in Japan), which was essentially treated as the unofficial "Double Dragon IV", to the point that when U.S. publisher Tradewest decided to develop a fighting game based on the Double Dragon animated series, they named their game Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls. An official Double Dragon IV would eventually be released decades later in 2017 for PS4 and PC (via Steam), which was developed by the original team and follows the continuity of the NES versions.
  • Bubble Bobble (originally released for the arcades in 1986) was followed by numerous sequels such as Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2 (a 1987 arcade sequel that played nothing like the first game), Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble III (a TurboGrafx-16 sequel to Rainbow Islands released in 1991), Bubble Bobble Part 2 (an NES sequel to the original game released in 1993), Bubble Symphony (the third arcade game in the series, released in 1994 and also known as Bubble Bobble II in North America) and Bubble Memories: The Story of Bubble Bobble III (the last game in the main series, released for the arcades in 1996).
  • Tatakae Genshijin 3, the third game in the series and the second one to star Joe & Mac (the protagonists of the original game) is known as Joe & Mac 2 in the US and Joe & Mac 3 in Europe (note that there was a Joe & Mac Returns released around the same time, but it was an arcade-only game, whereas Joe & Mac 2/3 was strictly for the SNES). For those curious, Tatakae Genshijin 2 was Congo's Caper.
  • Grand Theft Auto has a total of seven mainline entries on PC and consoles. The initial sequel was naturally Grand Theft Auto 2, which retained the top-down format of the first game. It was followed by the revolutionary Grand Theft Auto III, which brought the series to 3D and pioneered the open-world action genre. Then came the two prequels, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which were standalone games based on the GTA III engine. For a while it was rumored that Rockstar Games were going to drop the numbers completely for future sequels and simply title each game after the location they took place in. This was later proven false when the next game, Grand Theft Auto IV, resumed the numbering from where the third entry left off. This was followed by Grand Theft Auto V, making it the seventh mainline game. Of course, this isn't counting the few expansion packs that were made (the two London Mission Packs for the original game and Episodes from Liberty City for GTA IV), nor the four portable games (with the two City Stories games, originally for PSP, getting ports on PS2).
  • The Doom sequels consists of Doom II: Hell on Earth, Final Doom (built on the Doom II system), Doom 64 (an N64-exclusive installment in the series), Doom 3, Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (an expansion of the original Doom 3) and the 2016 reboot simply titled Doom (initially announced as Doom IV).
  • Gradius:
    • Gradius, the original 1985 arcade game, released as Nemesis in North America and Europe. Ported to various home consoles. The NES version kept the Gradius name abroad, whereas the MSX version went by Nemesis in Europe.
    • Salamander is probably the most confusing entry in the series. It was originally developed as a sequel to Gradius, but was eventually released as a spinoff instead. There were three main arcade versions produced, the original Salamander released in Japan and Europe (Version J and D, respectively), the Life Force release in North America (Version K), which had some minimal graphical changes but was mechanically identical to the original Salamander, and the Japanese release of Life Force (Version N), which completely changed the backgrounds and enemy sprites and ditched the instant power-ups with a Gradius-style selection meter system. The Famicom version of Salamander was essentially a combination of the Japanese Salamander and Life Force releases, adapting the graphical style of the former and the power-up system of the latter. The Famicom version was localized as Life Force on the NES. The MSX version of Salamander is actually a completely different game set in the same continuity as the MSX Gradius/Nemesis trilogy. The series eventually got a stand-alone sequel for the arcade exclusively in Japan, simply titled Salamander 2, in 1996.
    • Gradius 2, the MSX sequel to Gradius, known in Europe as Nemesis 2. The X68000 remake is titled Nemesis '90 改.
    • Gradius II: Gofer's Ambition , the arcade sequel to Gradius (released overseas as Vulcan Venture), followed by Gofer's Ambition: Episode II on the MSX, known in Europe as Nemesis 3: The Eve of Destruction. The Famicom version is simply titled Gradius II and was never localized for the NES, unlike its predecessors.
    • Nemesis, the Game Boy sequel to Gradius. Followed by Nemesis II, known as Gradius: The Interstellar Assault and Nemesis II: The Return of the Hero. Both games were re-released as Gradius and Gradius II respectively on the Konami Game Boy Collection.
    • Cosmic Wars, turn-based strategy spinoff based on Gradius.
    • Gradius III: From Legend to Myth, known simply as Gradius III on the Super NES. The sequel to the arcade Gradius II.
    • Gradius Gaiden, an appropriately titled Gaiden Game for the original PlayStation.
    • Solar Assault and Solar Assault Revised, 3D rail-shooter spinoff.
    • Gradius IV: Resurrection. The fourth arcade game in the Gradius series.
    • Gradius Advance, known as Gradius Galaxies, known as Gradius Generation, chronologically set as an interquel between Gradius III and Gradius Gaiden.
    • Gradius V. A sequel to Gradius IV, notable for being the only mainline entry released directly to consoles without a prior arcade version.
    • Gradius ReBirth, WiiWare sequel.
    • Parodius: Parody crossover series and Spiritual Successor to Gradius. Parodius: The Octopus Saves the Earth, It's Parodius! From Myth to Laughter, Fantastic Parodius - Pursue the Glory of the Past, Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius, and Sexy Parodius.
    • Paro Wars, turn-based strategy spinoff based on Parodius, and Spiritual Successor to Cosmic Wars.
    • Otomedius: Alternate Continuity spinoff series. Otomedius, updated as Otomedius G (Gorgeous!), and its sequel, Otomedius X (Excellent!), has no continuity with Gradius, and crosses over with Gradius around the Gradius II-Gradius III era, making it a sequel to Gradius.
  • The Star Wars: Dark Forces series continues the movies' approach at long chains of subtitles. The games include Star Wars: Dark Forces, Star Wars: Dark Forces II - Jedi Knight, Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Mysteries of the Sith (an expansion pack), Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast, Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy.
  • Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (or "TSE") and Serious Sam 2 (sometimes referred to as "SS2"" or "II") are actually two different games. The former is a Mission-Pack Sequel to the original, while the latter is a completely new installment—released well after The Second Encounter—with its own art style, setting and story line. Both of these were followed by Serious Sam 3: BFE ("Before the First Encounter") a prequel to the original game (referred heretofore as "TFE", or "The First Encounter"). And that's not counting Serious Sam HD and Serious Sam: The Second Counter HD which are Updated Rereleases of TFE and TSE, respectively.
  • The Metal Gear series naturally started with the original 1987 game, released for the MSX2 computer and then ported to the NES (which was the only version released in North America). This led to the production of not one, but two Metal Gear sequels: the sequel to the NES version was titled Snake's Revenge and was released for the west, whereas the MSX2 sequel, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, was available only in Japan. Because of this a lot of people in the west before the internet essentially thought that Snake's Revenge was the only Metal Gear sequel, to the point that it was even referred to as Snake's Revenge: Metal Gear II in magazine coverage. This subtitle has since felt into disuse as awareness of the MSX2 games became more widespread through the plot summaries in the original Metal Gear Solid and their later inclusion in most versions of Metal Gear Solid 3.
    • Metal Gear Solid itself, while being a sequel to the MSX2 games (rather than the more widely available NES games at the time), also served as a soft reboot for the series, as it was the first installment in 3D and was the first canonical game that was given a proper worldwide release (hence why it was titled Metal Gear Solid and not Metal Gear 3). Thus, subsequent mainline entries reset the numbering of the series by being titled Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and 4 (with the third game being a prequel to the very first Metal Gear). Simple enough.
    • Things wouldn't get complicated again until the release of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Released between MGS3 and MGS4, it was the first MGS game to be released for a portable system that was advertised as being a mainline entry rather than a non-canon spinoff (as was the case with Metal Gear: Ghost Babel and Metal Gear Ac!d), essentially serving as a direct sequel to MGS3. Hideo Kojima himself only had minimal involvement with its production, as he was busy with MGS4 at the time. Kojima would later write and direct the next PSP game in the series, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, which also serves as a sequel to MGS3, but practically ignores the events of Portable Ops outside one throwaway line. Peace Walker was even titled Metal Gear Solid 5 at one point and while the numbered title was dropped from the final release, its plot would be continued in the actual Metal Gear Solid V. As a result, there's some debate whether Portable Ops or Peace Walker should count as mainline installments due to their portable origins and lack of numbering in their titles (although Peace Walker did get ported to consoles). Portable Ops in particular tend to be omitted from most of the recent timelines, with Peace Walker only being recognized due to Kojima's involvement (although that may change due to Kojima's departure from Konami).
  • Half-Life started with Half-Life, but then three subsequent games taking place at the same time chronologically that do add plot, Opposing Force, Blue Shift, and Decay, were released. Then we get into Half-Life 2, which is followed by Half-Life 2: Episode 1, despite the fact that it's technically the second part if we count Half-Life 2 as the first HL2 episode. Half-Life 2: Episode 2 is similarly the third part of the HL2 story arc. There's also the bonus level demos Half-Life Uplink and Lost Coast.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series features Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, and Kingdom Hearts III, which are all native to home consoles, feature a similar "Command Menu" gameplay style, and follow Sora, Donald and Goofy. However, the series also features a number of unnumbered side games and prequels released on a mix of handheld consoles and mobile phones (and in one case, internet browsers). They do have significant differences from the numbered games, often featuring unique gameplay and different player characters, which may explain why they don't get numbers, but this tends to confuse newcomers since the lack of a number implies that they aren't totally necessary to understand the overarching plot (they are). This naming convention has created a situation where, in release order, Kingdom Hearts is the first game, Kingdom Hearts II is the third game, and Kingdom Hearts III is the eleventh.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The mainline Mario games have two different games titled Super Mario Bros. 2: the original Japanese version (aka Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels) and the version that the rest of the world is familiar with (adapted from the Japan-exclusive Doki Doki Panic). This was done since Lost Levels was essentially a level pack for the first game with the difficulty spiked up, and Nintendo of America wanted a more original and less frustrating game to serve as their own version of Super Mario Bros. 2 (presumably to avoid the conundrum of having to renumber Super Mario Bros. 3 when it came time to localize that game in the west, which is what would've happened had they decided to just skip Lost Levels completely without releasing a substitute game). Ultimately, both games were recursively made available in both Japan and overseas (with the former receiving Super Mario Bros. 2 under the name Super Mario USA), and were further canonized by the inclusion of their features in future games, so the snarl is now limited to their names.
    • Strictly speaking, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island aren't really proper sequels of their respective predecessors, but instead spin-offs, which is why their own respective sequels dropped the original titles and went by the subtitle instead (e.g. Wario Land II instead of Super Mario Land 4, Yoshi's Island DS instead of Super Mario World 3). Interestingly, the original Super Mario World was originally going to be titled Super Mario Bros. 4 and this working title was still used on the packaging of the Japanese version (it isn't used in the actual game); meanwhile, Yoshi's Island didn't have the World 2 moniker in Japan, so the full name was Super Mario: Yoshi's Island.
      • Wario Land gets another problem due to the release of Virtual Boy Wario Land, which is actually the second game in the Wario Land series, but isn't counted amongst the numbered titles. This means that Wario Land II, 3, and 4 are actually the third, fourth, and fifth games.
    • The Super Mario Advance series has its own numbering system, despite the games themselves simply being GBA ports of the NES/SNES titles. The Advance games are released in no particular order: the first game is an Updated Re-release of the US Super Mario Bros. 2, the second game is an updated rerelease of Super Mario World, the third game is an updated rerelease of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (thankfully, they didn't use the full title of Yoshi's Island, dropping the Super Mario World 2 portion to make room for Super Mario Advance 3 instead), and the fourth game has the rather weird title of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • New Super Mario Bros. 2 is actually the third game in the New Super Mario Bros. series; the current pattern is that only the portable titles are numbered, while the home titles are named after the console they're on (the actual second entry is New Super Mario Bros. Wii, released in 2009).
    • Mario Party has the original plus nine numbered sequels, e, Advance, DS and Island Tour.
  • LittleBigPlanet only counts the console games with numbered sequels. This means that LittleBigPlanet 2 is actually the third game in the series (or fourth, if you count spinoff Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves), because of the release of the PSP LittleBigPlanet in between the original PS3 LittleBigPlanet and LBP2. This also means that LittleBigPlanet 3 can be anywhere from the fifth to the eighth game in the series (LBP1, LBP PSP, (Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves), LBP2, LBP Vita, (LBP Karting), (''Run Sackboy! Run!''), LBP3).
  • The attract sequence of Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers markets it as the "7th Episode of Fatal Fury", the previous ones being Fatal Fury: King of Fighters (first), Fatal Fury 2 (second), Fatal Fury Special (third), Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory (fourth), Real Bout Fatal Fury (fifth) and Real Bout Fatal Fury Special (sixth). Out of these seven games, only Fatal Fury Special was an updated version of the previous game (Fatal Fury 2). The original Real Bout Fatal Fury carries over the character roster from Fatal Fury 3, but has a completely different combat system than the one used in previous games, while Real Bout Special and Real Bout 2 are each substantially different from the last as well. The pattern seems to be that numbered sequels were focused on introducing new characters, while the Special entries brought back previously retired characters. But then along came Garou: Mark of the Wolves and wiped the whole slate clean by bringing back only Terry Bogard. Between Real Bout 2 and Garou, there was also Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition, a retelling of the original Fatal Fury with the addition of characters from later titles (plus two newcomers and Ryo Sakazaki, "returning" from Special, as Mr. Karate II), and Fatal Fury: 1st Contact, a portable version of Real Bout 2 for the Neo Geo Pocket Color.
  • The MOTHER series is straightforward enough... in Japan. Outside of Japan, MOTHER 2 is the first game released, as EarthBound. However, the first MOTHER game was initially considered for release in the United States, and a nearly-finished prototype to this end, titled "EarthBound", was found in the late 1990s. For the purposes of keeping things straight, this English version of the game is commonly referred to as "EarthBound Zero" (until its 2015 re-release as EarthBound Beginnings). Averted with MOTHER 3, however; very few places call it EarthBound 2, and everyone calls it by its Japanese title. Not even being considered for localization probably helped matters there.
  • Guilty Gear started off simple enough, with the first game, and then X and XX (and the latter's many retoolings). But then Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus ended up being a plot-wise sequel, and then there was Guilty Gear 2: Overture, and all the X and XX games were declared to be Gaiden Games (albeit in-canon Gaiden Games). Fair enough, but then came the next game in the main continuity: Guilty Gear Xrd.
  • The first installment of From Software's first-person dungeon crawler series King's Field was only released in Japan, being a launch game for the original PlayStation over there. As a result, King's Field II dropped the numeral for its western release, while King's Field III was renumbered King's Field II. The fourth entry avoided this whole numbering conundrum somewhat by being titled King's Field: The Ancient City in the U.S. (it was still titled King's Field IV in Japan and Europe).
  • The fifth entry of Tecmo's Deception series is titled Deception IV: Blood Ties. This is due to the fact that the fourth game in the series was released in the U.S. under the title of Trapt, which is actually the second game in the Kagero sub-series in Japan (between Kagero: Deception II and Deception IV).
  • The webgame Shaun the Sheep: Home Sheep Home had a sequel, with the same basic gameplay but slightly different graphics and more of a story, called Home Sheep Home 2: A Little Bit Epic: Lost in London. The following two games, having the same graphics, were apparently seen more as Expansion Packs to the second game, so they were also called Home Sheep Home 2: A Little Bit Epic, with the third subtitles being Lost Underground and Lost in Space.
  • The German version of Command & Conquer: Red Alert was explicitly dubbed the second part of the series (it was actually a prequel, later retconned into something distinct, or whatever). Then the actual sequel to the first game was released as part three. They stopped renumbering the games after that, and consequently released Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars as part three, too (but the public wasn't confused as everybody knew what the deal was by that point thanks to The Internet).
  • The original Clock Tower was never released outside Japan, so when Clock Tower 2 for the PlayStation was localized, they dropped the "2" from the title. The later Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within is actually a spinoff originally titled Clock Tower: Ghost Head, which at least allowed Clock Tower 3 to retained its numbering for its worldwide release.
  • Tales of Eternia was released in North America on the original PlayStation as Tales of Destiny II due to Mattel owning the trademark for the name "Eternia" (the title remained unchanged in Europe, where it was released on the PSP). This would eventually cause a bit of confusion among fans when an actual Tales of Destiny 2 was released in Japan for the PS2, which was never released overseas.
  • Despite consisting entirely of Numbered Sequels, the continuity in Five Nights at Freddy's is rather confusing (and that is before you add FNAF World, which is most likely in an Alternate Continuity to begin with). What we know for sure, though, is that 2 definitely takes place before 1, 4 may be set either before 2 or at the same time at 2, 3 is set after 1, and Siter Location is set before 3.
  • Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors series has a less-severe version of Final Fantasy's original problem in that the Japanese and English numbering are skewed by one. This is because the series started with a game called Dynasty Warriors that was a Fighting Game under the name Sangoku Musou in Japan. The "sequel" underwent a dramatic Genre Shift into the One-Man Army Hack and Slash style that is the Warriors signature and was thus titled Shin Sangoku Musou. Every subsequent game in Japan has been numbered in accordance with that. However, in English territories, Shin Sangoku Musou continued the Dynasty Warriors name by being called Dynasty Warriors 2. So Shin Sangoku Musou 2 is Dynasty Warriors 3, SSM3 is DW4, and so on.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater were numbered up to 4. The next three used subtitles instead. Then the eighth installment was called Project 8, followed by four more games (plus spin-offs) without numbers. The series is capped off with a rushed cash-in released in 2015 simply named Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5.
  • The Soulcalibur series did not actually start with the original Soulcalibur, but rather with Soul Edge. However, Namco were forced to rename the PlayStation port Soul Blade outside Japan in order to get around a trademark dispute with game designer Tim Langdell over the use of the word "Edge". As a result, when it came time to make the sequel, Namco decided to retitle the series Soulcalibur in order to avoid having two different names for the series between markets, although Langdell's ownership of the word "Edge" would later be proven fraudulent after a separate trademark dispute with Electronic Arts over Mirror's Edge. Because of this, Soulcalibur V director Daishi Odashima originally wanted to title the sixth entry Soul Edge II to reflect the new direction he wanted to take with the series, but Namco wasn't having that, likely due to the can of worms that would've opened up. The upcoming Soulcalibur VI doesn't help matters either; while bearing the name of a sequel, it is actually a Continuity Reboot of the series set around the time of Soul Edge and could be considered a second starting point in general.
  • The Guitar Hero and Rock Band series have this as well. First we have Guitar Hero I-III, simple. Then we have World Tour, which is counted as the official fourth game in the series. Then 5, yes 5, no Roman numerals, and Warriors of Rock, which is counted as the sixth entry in the main series. Then we have the band-centric games. The Aerosmith game was released in between III and World Tour, weirdly the same year as World Tour, but built on III's engine, Metallica's game was released between World Tour and 5, followed by Van Halen's game. Then we have expansions! Rocks the 80s was made after II but before III, Smash Hits was released before 5 and after Metallica, and Band Hero was released only a few months after 5. Then we have the portable games for the DS, 3 in all, and various mobile games! To say Activision milked the franchise would be an understatement. Then there's the reboot, Guitar Hero Live, which was a revamp to the series. If we were only to count the titles released to consoles, it'd be 13.
    • Rock Band, luckily, has a more manageable list of games. They have Rock Bands 1-4. In 2009, 2 games were released in between 2 and 3; The Beatles: Rock Band and Lego Rock Band. In 2010, they released Green Day: Rock Band several months before 3 came out. There were also some mobile games and even track packs (which were just DLC packs put on a disc with a download code to export them to the main series), the only one of any real worth being the AC/DC Live pack, which you couldn't buy through the regular DLC store due to the band's stance on how they want their music sold. They also had Rock Band Blitz out in 2012, which is more of a revamped version of their previous Amplitude and Frequency titles that was more like the track packs, since the main songs in the game were available to get through buying it before they eventually came to the DLC store. Altogether, it's 9, with the main games, band-centric games, spin-offs, and the AC/DC track pack, not counting the mobile games.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Corpse Party series suffers from this. You have the original game, now known as Corpse Party (PC-98), and its remakes, which completely revamp the storyline and add the subtitles Blood Covered and Blood Covered... Repeated Fear. There's also a Fan Prequel to PC-98 called Corpse Party Zero. Blood Covered... Repeated Fear got a sequel called Book of Shadows, the final chapter of which provides the title for its direct sequel, Blood Drive. There's also Corpse Party 2U, a Denser and Wackier side game. Now, another sequel set some time after that called Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient is already out, and it gets a proper number because it's centered on an entirely different cast while being set in the same universe. Whew.

    Web Original 

  • Apple's iPhone. First we have the iPhone, which is followed by the iPhone 3G, named so because of its 3G network capabilities. Back in 2008 (and still today), people (used to) ask whether there was an iPhone 2G. Since the original iPhone ran on 2G networks, some referred to it as the iPhone 2G. The iPhone 3G was followed by the iPhone 3GS, a phone nearly identical to the iPhone 3G in terms of design, but with a better camera and processor (The "S" stands for speed.). Logically, a lot of people thought the next iPhone would run on 4G networks, and thus would be called the 4G. The next iPhone did not have such functionality, though. Instead, it was named the iPhone 4, since it was the fourth version of the iPhone Apple produced. Logically again, people inferred that the next iPhone would be called the iPhone 5. Wrong again! It's the iPhone 4S, without 4G capabilities (unless you count AT&T's experimental HSPA+ as 4G). Apple's next phone (at long last, with 4G LTE capabilities) was then named the iPhone 5... despite being Apple's sixth-generation iPhone. Apple appeared to have settled into a comparatively sane pattern by following iPhone 5 with 5S (along with 5C), 6 and 6 Plus, and 6S and 6S Plus. This trope comes back in full force in the eleventh-generation lineup: the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X (pronounced "iPhone ten")—named for the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone.
  • Popes named Stephen. In 752, a priest from Rome named Stephen was elected to become pope, and would have been the second pope with that name. But he died suddenly of a stroke a couple of days later before being fully installed. Confusion exists as to whether he counts as a pope, and with it the numbering of subsequent popes named Stephen, who are either Stephen II through IX or III through X, depending on the interpretation; that numbering didn't become common until the 10th century, after most of these popes had come and gone, doesn't help. Many sources would list both numbers, showing "Stephen III (IV)", for example.
  • Nvidia's GeForce series of graphic processors starts with the GeForce 256 and then goes 2-4, FX, 6-9 before switching to hundred numbers (e.g. 100, 200, 300) and then to tens with the current GeForce 10 and the upcoming GeForce 20.