This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Stillborn Franchise / Video Games

Examples

  • XIII, based on the first five volumes of the European comic book series, ends with a Cliffhanger. Poor sales, however, erased hopes of a game continuation of the story. A TV miniseries based on the comic and the game was later produced staring Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff, which suffered a similar fate as the game it was based on. It was resurrected a second time as XIII: The Series in 2011 by a Canadian company. The TV series is a direct continuation of the miniseries's plot, though none of the miniseries actors (especially Kilmer and Dorff) reprise their roles. It burned X-Play, which had done a single preview episode devoted to the game based on that show's editorial staff and Adam Sessler's excitement over the game's cel-shaded graphics and underlying story. When it turned out to be a run-of-the-mill "3... out of 5" shooter featuring bored voice acting by David Duchovny, the show wouldn't do a single game preview episode for another five years. Only much later, a sequel (XIII-2) was made for mobile phones and developed by Gameloft.
  • Haven: Call of the King for the PlayStation 2 was supposed to be the first installment in a revolutionary video game trilogy that would defy all genres. What was actually released was mediocre: while it did mix together a lot of genres (action, platforming, RPG, driving) as promised, it didn't do any of them particularly well. The lackluster sales killed the planned trilogy at the first game, whose planned Xbox and Nintendo GameCube ports were also canceled.
  • Advent Rising was intended to be a trilogy on consoles with a spin-off for the PSP. The poor reception of the original game put a stop to any further prospects, as well as the million-dollar contest promoting it.
    • Advent Rising also reportedly killed off a video game adaptation of the Orson Scott Card book Empire to be done by the same development studio (Card had also penned the plot of Advent Rising and Empire was written to actually promote the game rather than the other way around). What also didn't help was the fact that Empire was mediocre at best and basically a novel-length scathing rant about how liberals are literally destroying the country.
    • Shadow Complex, on which Empire was based, was released on Xbox Live Arcade to glowing reviews. Of course, in order to sell it to people without having a massive backlash strike out, the developers had to entirely ignore the novel Card had written to promote it.
  • Kya: Dark Lineage flopped, partially due to a dumb marketing campaign ("She's a whole lotta hurt in a belly shirt"), and the sequel hinted at in the ending never materialized.
  • Anachronox is an interesting case, because the Sequel Hook at the end, which will probably never be followed-up on, wasn't originally planned to be one. It was supposed to be the halfway point of the game, but due to a whole slew of problems, they ended up having to end the game there.
  • Action 52 had a $199 price tag (in 1991 for a NES game), nearly unplayable games, weak concept, and was horribly and seriously bug-infested, yet for some impossible-to-fathom reason, Active Enterprises believed that its featured title Cheetahmen (which shared many flaws with the other games on the cartridge, including not having an ending) was going to be a huge breakout hit. Plans were made for a Cheetahmen Saturday morning cartoon, action figures, and of course a sequel. Their hopes turned out to be waaay premature; the sequel never emerged except as an unfinished, unplayable beta, while the very short-lived franchise became one of the most infamous pieces of "entertainment" ever created.
  • The Bard's Tale: In 2004, Designer Eric Flannum had discussed the possibility of further adventures for the main character in a sequel.
  • The commercial failure of action RPG Too Human not only killed Silicon Knights' hopes of a trilogy, but also any hopes of an Eternal Darkness followup. This played a big part in the demise of Silicon Knights, but former studio head Denis Dyack is still trying to greenlight Shadow of the Eternals, a Spiritual Successor to Eternal Darkness, despite its ill-fated Kickstarter campaign.
  • Pryzm Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn was a PS2 game about Pryzm, a very special young unicorn, and Karrok, a grizzled troll mage, who team up to defeat Zartu the Dark Unicorn. The game was presented as Darker and Edgier than typical fare involving unicorns, and came with a comic expanding on the backstory, but it didn't sell well, so all plans for a sequel quickly evaporated.
  • Perhaps putting overt franchise aspirations in the title of the 1988 game Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic was an act of hubris. Electronic Arts never made a sequel for this interesting proto-Mass Effect game, though 1990's Hard Nova was a Spiritual Successor.
  • Disney/Touchstone's 2008 Continuity Reboot of Turok, after Evolution killed the original series and its publisher, had the bad luck to be an average shooter when better shooters were glutting the market, thus the planned sequel was canned (another, much smaller comic reboot was eventually started sometime after DreamWorks Animation became a Turok copyright holder through Classic Media.
  • Electronic Arts' Auto Destruct ends with the Big Bad escaping in an emergency submarine after you shoot down his helicopter. While not bad by any means, the game was rather obscure and didn't sell well, so no sequel was made.
  • P.N.03 sold barely 20,000 copies, so Capcom aborted the franchise.
  • Haze, which also took down its developer.
  • Brute Force was a original Xbox exclusive which was hyped as doing to third-person shooters what Halo: Combat Evolved did to console first-person shooters, and just like Halo, was promoted with a prequel novel that expended on the backstory (in fact prior to the console's release Microsoft marketing expected Brute Force to be the big Killer App franchise for the Xbox, but launch-title Halo vastly surpassed their expectations.) However, the final version didn't quite live up to the hype and thus Brute Force never became the multimedia juggernaut Halo is. There were rumors of a sequel for the Xbox 360, but Digital Anvil's death in 2006 ensures that it will never happen.
  • Mitsumete Knight is a sad case of this. After the surprise and spectacular success of Tokimeki Memorial: Forever With You, Konami wanted to keep the momentum and create another similar Dating Sim Cash Cow Franchise. Mitsumete Knight was thus planned as such, and lots of efforts were put in it: co-created by Konami and Red Entertainment (the other Dating Sim leader of the time, creator of Sakura Wars), a spectacular voice cast, deep storyline, solid gameplay, a line of goods, favourable critics, lots of built hype one year before the game's actual release in March 1998 via a Radio Drama and previews... Only to meet average-ish good sales, not the expected killer profit (partially due to the public's vaning interest in Dating Sims which started around that time). Realizing this, and with Tokimeki Memorial 2 around the corner, Konami canned the franchise one year later in 1999.
  • Due to Executive Meddling, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Diddy Kong Racing and Grabbed by the Ghoulies each promised a sequel which never came to be. The most that ever came of any of these were remakes of Bad Fur Day for the original Xbox and Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo DS. In 2015, Conker got a sequel called Conker's Big Reunion; but it is a game made on a Game Maker, there's also material in it to make your own Conker game.
  • The Last Express, despite the sheer quality of everything from the art nouveau style to the intricate storyline, was hit by a perfect financial storm that sank both the game and its production company. The ending drops tantalizing hints at a sequel that will most likely never be made.
  • Magical Doropie had plans for a sequel, but making one for the SNES was expensive, so they didn't make it. The developer regrets it.
  • Chrono Cross was not supposed to be the end of the Chrono series. A sequel, Chrono Break, was planned shortly after Cross's completion and, many years later, it has yet to materialize.
  • Donald In Maui Mallard had a sequel planned and was made to test the waters for this detective/ninja incarnation of Donald Duck, with even ideas for an animated series. Due to coming at the end of the 16-bit consoles' lifespan and some flawed marketing (Donald's name was dropped from any promotional material), the game bombed and all plans were scrapped.
  • Si N Episodes: Emergence debuted to weak sales and some critical acclaim (for a series that hadn't seen an installment in more than a decade). Plans were made to have several more episodes, and a teaser was released at the end of Emergence that teased plot points from upcoming installments. Then the game's production company, Ritual Entertainment, was sold to a casual game developer, and production was canned — meaning that you'll never get to see any of the last eight(!) installments.
  • The Rising Sun installment of Medal of Honor was originally going to be the first of a series that would have followed a group of brothers through the Pacific War fighting a secret cabal of the Japanese high command. However, it flopped. It was somewhat resolved later on with somebody mentioning that one of the brothers had been planning POW rescues (one of them was in Japanese hands at the end of the game), but we never got to see those rescues.
  • Loom, a 1990 adventure game made by LucasArts. The game was well received, sold well and was part of a planned trilogy. However, the game's makers had other commitments and didn't want to work on the sequels.
  • Alpha Protocol was intended by publisher Sega to become part of a greater series. The poor sales killed that, but as Obsidian still maintains all the rights, it's possible if a particularly optimistic publisher comes along.
  • Nightshade Part 1: The Claws of Sutekh was not followed by a Part 2.
  • There were two attempts by Capcom at making a Captain Commando franchise (Section Z and, unsurprisingly, Captain Commando), but neither game took off quite as well as expected.
  • The Vin Diesel vehicle Wheelman was supposed to lead up to a film, with the game setting up the backstory and the characters. However, the game's tepid critical and commercial performance very likely scrapped those plans.
  • The instructions and advertising for the ZX Spectrum text adventure Merlock the Mede describe the two games on the tape as the first of a set of eight — and a player who solved all eight could win a digital watch. The first two received far from glowing reviews, and nothing was ever seen of the other six.
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was designed as a prologue to a multimedia franchise centred upon a planned MMORPG with the Working Title Project Copernicus. Unfortunately, catastrophic financial shenanigans ensued, revolving around an ill-advised government loan for $75 million (with wildly-unrealistic repayment terms) and incredible mismanagement on behalf of developer 38 Studios. The resulting monetary implosion meant the game needed to sell three million copies to break even, and despite selling over one million in a few weeks, the company went under. The rights then reverted to the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, though, who have indicated an intent to sell the IP. And the game did sell well by normal, non-bankruptcy-involving standards, so it'd be a better investment than some of the other stuff on this page.
  • Siege of Avalon, whose developer disbanded and left the planned sequel unproduced.
  • The Facebook app The Agency: Covert Ops was made to help promote a spy-themed MMO that was ultimately canceled after four years of development.
  • World in Conflict ends with an obvious cliffhanger (the Soviets are pushed from the US mainland but the war in Europe is still raging and the Chinese fleet besieges the Pacific Coast) but it was never continued, despite the game receiving enthusiastic reviews, good sales, and even an Expansion Pack. The main reason was that the developers' previous owner Activision sold them to Ubisoft, who, in turn, shifted their priorities from the RTS genre to action games.
  • Journey: The Quest Begins, befitting its title, ended with a Sequel Hook. It was the very last game developed by Infocom, and no sequel was ever made.
  • Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, due to being overshadowed by the launch of Half-Life a few weeks later, received neither the announced Expansion Packs or a sequel.
  • Crytek UK, a studio which formed from the ashes of Second Sight and TimeSplitters creator Free Radical Design, has gone on record that this is the case with Second Sight. They had a few ideas for a sequel and still maintain the IP rights, but according to them the game just didn't garner enough interest. As for TimeSplitters Crytek apparently isn't planning to continue it, though they did greenlight a Fan Sequel.
  • Metal Arms: Glitch in the System by Swingin' Ape Studios received fairly decent reviews and had a clear Sequel Hook at the end, so it was no surprise that the developers had hoped for sequels. There was a lot of work done towards a Metal Arms 2, but Swingin' Ape Studios was purchased by Blizzard in 2005 and the neither the franchise nor the work done on it have been heard from since.
  • Pearl Harbor Trilogy — 1941: Red Sun Rising was meant to be released as the first of a trio of World War II-themed WiiWare flight sims (or more accurately, the PC game Attack on Pearl Harbor chopped up in three parts) but poor sales have prevented the rest of the series from seeing the light of day.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura was supposed to have a sequel using the Source engine but this was derailed by a disagreement between Valve and the game's publisher Sierra. Troika's dissolution sealed its fate.
  • Illbleed has vague hints toward a sequel. Its developer closed down in 2002, and though the company's founder Shinya Nishigaki had hopes of resurrecting it, he died suddenly two years later.
  • The Starfire Soccer Challenge was intended to spin off a third series of Purple Moon games and was heavily promoted by girls' sports organizations, but had no sequel. What might have been had the company not gone under, the world may never know.
  • Blinx was Xbox's early attempt to have a cute Series Mascot like Nintendo's Mario, Namco's Pac-Man, Sony's (then) Crash Bandicoot and Sega has with Sonic the Hedgehog. The game was deemed overrated and simply "average" by many, the most troublesome part being the difficult controls. The game got a sequel but other than that has dropped off the radar (while Master Chief was one who became the mascot).
  • 12Riven was originally intended to be the first in what would have been the Integral series (a spinoff of the Infinity series), but a variety of factors, including the company's bankruptcy, the main writer's departure, and less than stellar sales ensured that didn't happen.
  • In 1995, Konami introduced its "Ultra Sports" series of Arcade Games, which came in special cocktail cabinets with trackball controls for two players. The first two games, Five A Side Soccer and Ultra Hockey, were the only ones released; at least two more were planned.
  • Cocoron had a sequel, or possibly a remake, developed for the PC Engine called PC Cocoron, which was apparently finished but never released.
  • Ride to Hell originally started development in 2008, then was cancelled, then restarted and intended to be a series of three games - one on retail discs, one as a downloadable Xbox Live Arcade/Play Station Network game, and one on smartphones. Only the retail product, Ride to Hell: Retribution was released, receiving immense backlash from all corners. Unsurprisingly, neither Deep Silver nor Eutechnyx made a peep about the other two games, Beatdown and Route 666, suggesting that they were unceremoniously cancelled.
  • Wars and Warriors: Joan of Arc was a PC game released in 2004 to mixed reviews. There were plans on making a Xbox port as well as sequels, none of which ever left the drawing board.
  • Alone In The Dark 1992 was supposed to be the first game in the "Virtual Dreams" (as one can read on the original French boxart) series of standalone titles which shared the same engine. No more were made and the label was immediately discontinued while Alone In The Dark continued on as the sole franchise.
  • A title called Time Gate - Knight's Chase was supposed to be the "real" Alone in the Dark 4, and the beginning of a new trilogy of games under the "Time Gate" label based upon time traveling and ancient Egyptian mythology. Since the Alone in the Dark engine was already dated at that time, plans to keep the trilogy going were cancelled and "Knight's Chase" remained a standalone title.
  • The SNES Shoot 'em Up, Axelay, from Konami, shows the message "See you again at Axelay 2" after finishing the game on the hardest difficulty for the second time, however this sequel never materialized.
  • As with its animated adaptations counterparts, games based on the The Lord of the Rings main books have suffered this fate:
    • Starting with the SNES game J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I by Interplay, a Vol 2 was planned but poor sales and critical panning killed those plans. Around the same time Interplay also made completely different video game adaptations for home computers which got to The Two Towers, but a third part never came to be.
    • Much later, when the Peter Jackson's film adaptations were coming out, Vivendi Universal was planning on making the full videogame trilogy adapted from the books (back then, Vivendi held the rights for Tolkien's novels while Electronic Arts held the films' rights), Vivendi managed to release The Fellowship of the Ring which although not a bad game, it was nothing special. Meanwhile, Electronic Arts released The Two Towers and The Return of the King which were based on the movies (The Two Towers actually also contained Fellowship material). But the planned novel-based adaptations of the remaining books were never released. Eventually, Vivendi lost the rights to EA too.
  • While Halo is still going strong, its spin-off Spartan Ops was not so lucky. The side-series was meant to serve as DLC content, giving new monthly missions while bridging the story between Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. But a combination of polarizing fan reception, the high expenses of the project, and the story writing itself into a corner meant there hasn't been a new Spartan Ops season since the first. Its storyline was eventually wrapped up with a comic series, Halo: Escalation, with the Big Bad of Spartan Ops being disposed of in seconds during the first level of Halo 5: Guardians.
  • Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure was intended to be the first installment of a new Capcom IP (if the subtitle is any indication) and a lot of effort was put into it. Unfortunately, the game went to become a flop due to poor marketing and demographic issues (the game is super cute but incredibly difficult and challenging almost unfair even for adult gamers). It is to the point that the game has never ever been referenced in any Capcom crossover.
  • BioWare promised that Sonic Chronicles would become a full series after its first installment, but for several reasons (nothing's been said on the matter since then; the game wasn't well received; the Archie expies in the game brought writer Ken Penders down on the people involved), this never came to be.
  • Rage ended on a decent Sequel Hook, and id Software announced a sequel at E3 2011. Unfortunately, it was later put on indefinite hiatus at the behest of publisher Bethesda due to delays on Doom 4.
  • Boogerman was planned to have a sequel and an Animated Adaptation in the 1990s, but neither came to be. The game's original creators launched a Kickstarter in 2013 to make the sequel, but it failed to reach its funding goal.
  • Level-5 Studios' White Knight Chronicles was originally planned to be a PlayStation 3 launch title and the first installment of a new PlayStation-exclusive tentpole RPG franchise. However, production difficulties incurred from adding on an ill-advised quasi-MMORPG game mode led to the finished product being unfocused and decidedly mediocre. It failed to meet sales expectations, as did it's "sequel", White Knight Chronicles II, which was actually just a stealth release of the originally unfinished and shelved back half of the first game. Sony has since tried its best to ignore its existence, and even Level-5 seems to be sheepish and cringey whenever its specter is brought up.
  • The ZX Spectrum game Marsport was proudly advertised as "the first part of the Siege of Earth trilogy." The following two parts were to have been titled Fornax and Gath, but they never saw the light of day.
  • AnEarth Fantasy Stories, an open-world RPG originally developed for the PC Engine CD, was apparently intended as the first installment of a trilogy. Being the very last game Hudson Soft published in Japan for the fading system may have been one reason why it never caught on, but MediaWorks tried again and remade the game for the Sega Saturn, hopefully subtitling it The First Volume. This remake, and the novelization released at the same time, is the last that's been seen of the series.
  • Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma was planned to be an episodic series, but was soon pulled from the market after the failure of Volume One.
  • Neither Street Fighter nor Tekken are dead by any means. However, their crossover series ended after its first installment — Street Fighter X Tekken. Between the game being Overshadowed by Controversy over DLC packs that were already on the disc, the lukewarm-to-negative reception to the game itself, and the underwhelming sales, the intended sequel Tekken X Street Fighter has yet to materialize (other than Akuma being a Guest Fighter in Tekken 7 and a Shout-Out in Ryu's trailer for Super Smash Bros.).
  • The mixed-to-negative reception that the 2008 TNA iMPACT! console game had received (as well as the eventual demise of its developer Midway Games) effectively nixed plans for a possible sequel. Then, when Southpeak Games got ahold of the TNA license, they planned another sequel, TNA iMPACT! 2011, which eventually got cancelled as well. And then in 2013, Activision was tapped to create another TNA game, but nothing had came of it. Since then, plans for another TNA console game were never heard of again.
  • The ZX Spectrum text adventure Metropolis 1 was supposed to be part one of a trilogy. However, the developers lost the will to continue after they lost the hand-drawn art prepared for the second game.
  • The ending of Leander says: "Look out for Leander Part 2: TIGRANDER (Tiger Man)." No sequel was ever produced.
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts doesn't resolve the central conflict and ends on a major Sequel Hook. It also ended up being the poorest performing modern Call of Duty title in terms of sales and critical reception. As a result, Infinity Ward ended up developing Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare instead of continuing the Ghosts storyline.
  • Mighty No. 9 was an extreme example of putting the cart before the horse, as during its Troubled Production it was planned to have a sequel, a spin-off, an animated series, a film (or even two), and more. When the game was finally released, it turned out to be a technical trainwreck and was met with scathing reviews, leaving little chance of the franchise getting off the ground, though this didn't stop its developer from wanting to do the sequel.
  • Torin's Passage was intended to be a full-fledged series along the lines of King's Quest and the like. Turmoil in Sierra's ranks resulted in the series stopping at one.
  • This trope happened plenty of times with video game compilations where a Compilation Re-release that ends its title with "Volume 1" never actually gets a "Volume 2". Some examples are Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Volume 1 for Nintendo 64, Sega Smash Pack Volume 1 for Sega Dreamcast, Yu Suzuki Game Works Vol. 1 for Sega Dreamcast, Jaleco Collection Vol. 1 for PlayStation, Capcom Coin-Op Collection Volume 1 for Microsoft Windows, and SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 for PS2, PSP, and Wii (not counting PSP exclusive SNK Arcade Classics 0 which was only released in Japan).

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/StillbornFranchise/VideoGames