Follow TV Tropes

Flagship Franchise

Go To

A franchise or series a particular creator primarily or exclusively invests into.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Koveras on Dec 3rd 2018 at 1:16:14 AM
Last Edited By:
Koveras on Dec 7th 2018 at 8:24:05 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Some creators and studios are working on a large number of unrelated projects over the course of their existence, while others instead focus on a particular series/franchise, possibly with a few side project diversions here and there. A flagship franchise is what happens when a creator consistently puts all of their creative efforts into releasing multiple major installments of a single series over the course of many years, and becomes intrinsically associated with it. That is not to say that flagship franchises cannot change, if the creator finishes the original story arc and moves on to just as big a project that is completely unrelated to the first one.

Compare/contrast Magnum Opus, which is about a particular work (or series) that is considered a creator's greatest by the audience and critics, while not necessarily being their central focus; and Adored by the Network, where the network or publisher makes the creative team work on a particular franchise at the expense of other projects.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Although they made a lot of successful franchises during all of these decades, talking about Studio Gainax is talking about Neon Genesis Evangelion, being so far the flagship of the studio.

    Comic Books 

    Toy Lines 

    Video Games 
  • Despite developing and publishing a bunch of other games, Origin Systems had mainly worked on the Ultima series (1981-1999note ) throughout its entire existence, with Wing Commander (1990-97) eventually becoming an equal focus in The '90s.
  • Sir-Tech, similarly, was mainly interested in creating the Wizardry series (1981-2001), with Jagged Alliance (1994-2000) gradually joining their top-priority list in the mid-90s.
  • New World Computing was all about making the Might and Magic series (1986-2002), including the Heroes of Might and Magic Spin-Off series (1995-2002).
  • Square Enix was created when two rival companies merged together to strengthen their game on their well-known franchises on the gaming market; Squaresoft has Final Fantasy (1987-ongoing), and Enix has Dragon Quest (1986-ongoing).
  • An interesting case with Hideo Kojima and Metal Gear (1987-2015). Despite his repeated insistence after every title after Metal Gear Solid 2 that he was absolutely, positively, 100% done with the series, Kojima kept coming back time and again to make more Metal Gear. Debate rages on whether or not he was doing so willingly, as even the man himself has flip-flopped on the subject. Either way, he finally reached "done forever" status when Konami fired him.
  • Capcom: Ever since the success of Street Fighter II and Mega Man 2, the Street Fighter (1987-ongoing) and Mega Man (1987-ongoing) series have been their "main" franchises for quite some time. Although Mega Man stagnated around 2010 and only got proper continuation in 2018, they're still going with Street Fighter.
  • Atlus' flagship franchise was once the Shin Megami Tensei series (1987-ongoing) as a whole. The resounding success of the More Popular Spin Off Persona 3 and Persona 4 made Persona (1996-ongoing) their new flagship franchise over the other games in the series.
  • Out of the many simulation games that Maxis have ever made, SimCity (1989-2013), and later The Sims (2000-ongoing) came out on top.
  • Firaxis Games and the Civilization series, which has provided us with Just One More Turn since 1991.
  • For all intents and purposes, Bethesda is The Elder Scrolls series (1994-ongoing). They even turned their other flagship franchise, Fallout (which they bought from Interplay Entertainment in 2004), into something TES-like, in stark contrast to its isometric, turn-based origins.
  • SNK made this with The King of Fighters series (1994-ongoing) as its main franchise before and, especially, after the bankruptcy of 2001. In fact, with the full return of SNK (not with the "Playmore" surname), KOF has became the main focus of the company, with Samurai Shodown (1993-ongoing) as the (possible, but close) second franchise to focus about.
  • You cannot fully describe Blizzard Entertainment without mentioning WarCraft (1994-ongoing). Much of the 2000s was spent around this game starting with the third game in 2002, the Frozen Throne expansion pack in 2003, and the MMORPG in 2004 onwards.
  • Game Freak is synonymous with the Pokémon franchise (1996-ongoing).
  • The translator Natsume's flagship franchise was Harvest Moon until Marvelous decided to use a different company to translate the series as Story of Seasons (roughly 1997-2012). As most of Natsume's profits came from the series, they opted to create their own in-house In Name Only Harvest Moon titles starting with Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley (2014-ongoing).
  • The Grand Theft Auto series (1997-ongoing) has been Rockstar Games' flagship franchise since they acquired it from BMG Interactive in 1999, with only the Red Dead series (2004-ongoing) coming somewhat close to it.
  • BioWare's original flagship franchise was the legendary Baldur's Gate series (1998-2001). After trying out several new things, the studio settled for two new flagship franchises, Mass Effect (2007-ongoing) and Dragon Age (2009-ongoing).
  • Volition's flagship franchises had been Red Faction (2001-11) and Saints Row (2006-15), although both appear to be part of a Shared Universe and both seem to be on hiatus at the moment.
  • Larian Studios is primarily known for making the Divinity series (2002-ongoing) of Western RPGs. They worked on a couple unrelated projects early on and released a few edutainment games, but their sole focus remains on the Divinity games.
  • Based on the number of releases alone, the Fate Series (2004-ongoing) has clearly been the primary focus of Type-Moon's production since its first installment, despite taking place in a much larger Nasuverse.
  • CD Projekt RED's flagship franchise was The Witcher video game series (2007-16), at least until they've completed the planned main trilogy and switched their attention to Cyberpunk 2077. They still release occasional smaller games set in the universe, however.

    Western Animation 

Feedback: 12 replies

Dec 3rd 2018 at 3:30:12 AM

I wanna make a case for Type Moon and Fate Series, but I don't know the series enough to make a proper example.

Dec 3rd 2018 at 9:33:29 AM

Dec 4th 2018 at 1:15:20 PM

ABTW is, as far as I understand it, a type of Executive Meddling, while most flagship franchises are a result of a creative team focusing on a particular series of their own volition.

Dec 5th 2018 at 8:28:17 AM

  • An interesting case with Hideo Kojima and Metal Gear. Despite his repeated insistence after every title after Metal Gear Solid 2 that he was absolutely, positively, 100% done with the series, Kojima kept coming back time and again to make more Metal Gear. Debate rages on whether or not he was doing so willingly, as even the man himself has flip-flopped on the subject. Either way, he finally reached "done forever" status when Konami fired him.

Dec 5th 2018 at 2:14:48 PM

  • Capcom: Ever since the success of Street Fighter II and Mega Man 2, the Street Fighter and Mega Man series have been their "main" franchises for quite some time. Although Mega Man got stagnated around 2010 and only gets proper continuation in 2018, they're still going with Street Fighter.

Dec 5th 2018 at 3:42:36 PM

For Atlus, the Flagship Franchise was once the Shin Megami Tensei as a whole. The resounding success of the Spin Offs Persona 3 and Persona 4 ended up propelling them to More Popular Spin Off status, making Persona more specifically their new Flagship Franchise over the other games in the series.

Dec 6th 2018 at 6:52:43 AM

Dec 6th 2018 at 7:02:02 AM

  • SNK made this with The King Of Fighters series as its main franchise before and, especially, after the bankruptcy of 2001. Actually with the full return of SNK (not with the "Playmore" surname), KOF has became the main focus of the company, with Samurai Shodown as the (possible, but close) second franchise to focus about.

And now, some other examples that aren't from video games:

Dec 6th 2018 at 7:32:16 AM

Square Enix has a myriad of best-selling titles to its name, but none are more prominent than Final Fantasy. With fifteen main series titles and dozens of spinoffs and related titles, it is by far their most expansive and well-remembered title.

Dec 6th 2018 at 9:38:03 AM

Toys example:

Dec 6th 2018 at 1:48:02 PM

Top