A naming convention for sequels in which the sequels follow the pattern of Name
, Name II
, Name 3D
, Name: Word
. The first two sequels have explicit numbers in their names, regardless of what subtitles they may have
, thus establishing a pattern that all sequels will be Numbered Sequels
or sometimes Lettered Sequel
. The third sequel, however, has no number but only a word or phrase to identify it as different from the first, usually linking the two by Colon Cancer
. This naming change may be part of an attempt to rejuvenate a dying franchise, but often is a reliable indicator of quality (sort of a franchise equivalent of Names to Run Away from Really Fast
). It should be noted that while this explicitly refers to four-work series, it should not preclude examples where the word sequel first happens in the fifth or later work. On the other hand, it should not include remakes of the original work.
The fourth work is often bad enough to kill off the entire franchise. As a consequence, this usually involves Sequelitis
. Related to Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo
and Stopped Numbering Sequels
. See also Recycled Title
In Asia, this may also be done because Four Is Death
—as a result, it tends to be more indicative of superstition than quality.
- Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 3D, Jaws: The Revenge
- Alien, Aliens, Alien³, Alien: Resurrection
- The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation
- Highlander, Highlander II: The Quickening, Highlander III: The Sorcerer, Highlander: Endgame
- The Return of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead Part II, Return of the Living Dead 3, Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis, Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave.
- Final Destination, Final Destination 2, Final Destination 3, The Final Destination. They went back to numbers for Final Destination 5 after a failed attempt to use Letters 2 Numbers with 5nal Destination.
- BIONICLE: Mask of Light, BIONICLE 2: Legends of Metru Nui, BIONICLE 3: Web of Shadows, BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn
- Star Trek went all the way to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country before Star Trek: Generations.
- Rocky kept numbered sequels until Rocky Balboa, the sixth movie.
- Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
- Friday the 13th (1980), Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part III, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. The next four sequels sported numbers again, up to Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan... and then came Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.
- Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace and lastly, Superman Returns
- Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World.
- Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World. This is a more complex situation than other examples, because in Japan World does have Super Mario Bros 4 in its full name; meanwhile, Yoshi's Island has Super Mario World 2 in its full name in the West, but in Japan the full name is just Super Mario: Yoshi's Island.
- Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic and Knuckles
- Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill 3. Then, numbers and subtitles: Silent Hill 4: The Room, Silent Hill: Ørigins. All subsequent games have only subtitles.
- Quake, Quake II, Quake III: Arena, Quake IV, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
- Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid
- Breath of Fire, Breath of Fire II, Breath of Fire III, Breath of Fire IV, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. Only in the U.S., where Dragon Quarter was marketed as a Gaiden Game. In Japan, the fifth game is indeed Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter.
- Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero 2, Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock, Guitar Hero: World Tour. Amusingly, it was followed by a return to numbered sequels with Guitar Hero 5, and back to words with Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.
- Age of Wonders, Age of Wonders II, Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic. In this case, Shadow Magic is a corrected and expanded version of II they were too decent to present as a fully new generation.
- Subverted with the Grand Theft Auto franchise: After Grand Theft Auto III came Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which everyone assumed was the official Part IV, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, assumed to be Part V. Turns out the last two were sub-stories of III, as the REAL Grand Theft Auto IV would be released a few years later.
- Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 3, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Ghosts, etc.
- The Crash Bandicoot series started with numbers (Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped) but after Crash Team Racing, they replaced numbers with subtitles and never looked back.
- Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Donkey Kong Country Returns
- Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, and Mass Effect: Andromeda. Justified, as it is meant to separate Andromeda from the original trilogy.
- Civilization, Civilization II, Civilization: Call to Power, Civilization III, Civilization IV, Civilization Revolution, Civilization V, Civilization: Beyond Earth, and this doesn't include official spin-offs not wearing the name such as Sid Meier's Colonization, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and Sid Meier's Starships, or entries that lost their license such as Call to Power II
- The Assassin's Creed series has flip flopped between numbers, subtitles, and a combination of the two. They are as follows: Assassin's Creed, Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Assassin's Creed III, and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. After this, however, the numeric sequels were dropped and all sequels have been subtitled.
- The Thief series went on an interesting trajectory, with Thief: The Dark Project, then Thief II: The Metal Age, and finally a numberless title again, Thief: Deadly Shadows.
- BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite. The series concludes with BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea, a DLC for the final game that borders on Colon Cancer.