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"First weeks of 2010 are going to be fun, aren't they? Darksiders, Bayonetta, Dante's Inferno, and God of War III. (God of War ripoff, God of War ripoff, God of War ripoff, and God of Wa— ...well, God of War.)"
Yahtzee, Zero Punctuationnote 

  • Castlevania was copied a lot, most notably with the Sega Master System game Vampire: Master of Darkness and the PC-98 game Rusty.
  • City of Heroes. When Marvel Comics realized they couldn't sue the MMORPG to oblivion, they hired the developers to make a Marvel Comics-based MMO. Then Microsoft got involved and demanded it run on the Xbox 360. There was lots of hype, but the game never materialized. Then DC Comics announced they would make an MMO for PlayStation 3. Then there was Champions Online, headed by the president of the City of Heroes dev team, but which was near-immediately dumped into bargain bins before becoming free to play.
  • Club Penguin paved the way for more children's browser Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, such as Pandanda, Panfunote ,Kung Fu Panda World, Fantage, and Animal Jam. Many of them were simply Club Penguin copies, while some did break the mold and add new twists to the genre. However, in The New '10s, this trend declined, with many of Club Penguin's followers (and also Club Penguin itself) shutting down, most likely due to the rise of Mobile Phone Games, causing kids to stare at lightweight phones rather than bulky laptops.
  • Contra imitations included Data East's Midnight Resistance, SNK's Cyber-Lip, Treasure's Gunstar Heroes (although it was made by former Konami employees who worked on Contra III), Sunsoft's Bay Route and Irem's Gunforce. Gunstar Heroes was itself imitated by Gunner's Heaven (also known as Rapid Reload).
  • Activision copied the Cooking Mama concept to a T and made it into Science Papa.
  • There is a natural law that goes something like this: "Given continued development and infinite time, all open-source First Person Shooters will eventually turn into Counter-Strike." If it happens to be a freeware, it will turn into a Quake III: Arena.
  • Cube World follows in the footsteps of Minecraft by having a blocky look for its aesthetic, a crafting system, and procedural generated worlds. Unlike Minecraft, Cube World focuses more on exploration and combat and has a class system like an RPG.
  • The combined success of Namco's Cybersled and Sega's Virtual-ON would inspire a number of one-on-one arena fighters during the 32-bit era (examples of this trend include Steeldom and Last Legions UX). The Gundam Vs Series in turn popularized concepts of team battles and built-in Character Tiers, enough that Virtual-ON itself got in the action with Force.
  • The Dark Souls series, plus its predecessor Demon's Souls, stood out from its contemporaries in terms of difficulty by being a highly challenging and unguided adventure. Naturally, its success eventually inspired several other games centered around Nintendo Hard combat and/or playstyle-based Resources Management Gameplay including Nioh, Lords of the Fallen, Salt and Sanctuary, and Necropolis, leading to the term "Souls-like." Even the developers of Dark Souls, FromSoftware, made their own "Souls-like" called Bloodborne, and fans of Dark Souls generally accept it as an unofficial Dark Souls game.
  • The hugely popular mod DayZ inspired the makers of Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing to create an MMO zombie survival game called The War Z, a game that contained none of the advertised features and being a cash-in towards people looking for DayZ or a game like it. Since then, several MMO first-person zombie survival games have started showing up on Steam, even though a couple of them are just The War Z being re-released under a different name because the original release was criminally deficient.
  • Defense of the Ancients, an incredibly popular homemade custom map (bordering on Game Mod) for Warcraft III, has spawned a commercial imitator in Demigod, with more titles on the horizon. League of Legends is the product of the original creator of the map making a game out of it.
    • On the other hand, the map has an essential genre within fanmade maps of Warcraft III... which is called Aeon of Strife, which was made in StarCraft, making Aeon of Strife the genre's Trope Namer, while Defense of the Ancients is more the Trope Codifier.
    • Funnily enough, a game which started as a mod creating a new genre had a mod that started a new genre in itself. Dota Auto Chess was a hugely popular custom game for Dota 2, so much so that even other companies made their own Auto Chess games, including on League of Legends and Hearthstone. The game also had a case of the original creator and the base game splitting off to create their own versions of the game. Dota Auto Chess rebranded into simply Auto Chess, while Valve created Dota Underlords.
  • While DLC and post-launch content had been around before, Destiny began marked the point where premium games began to be developed with years of post-launch support in mind, which is called the "live service" or "games as a service" model. The most obvious clones have been Hello Games' No Man's Sky, Rare's Sea of Thieves, Bethesda's Fallout 76, BioWare's Anthem, and Square Enix's Marvel's Avengers, with the most successful being Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch. These games usually features lots of grinding, an emphasis on multiplayer, and lots of in-game cosmetics and items to purchase. This also began spreading to games that weren't trying to copy Destiny, such as with Ubisoft, who moved all of their games to a live service model.
  • Diablo, which created its own genre called "Diablo clones" (Torchlight, Dungeon Siege, Untold Legends, etc.), was itself a graphical spin on another fine tradition in Follow The Leader, Roguelike games, of which NetHack is the most popular. As Diablo is the model of many MMORPGs and open-world games, these MMOs and Diablo clones often incite accusations of Diablo killing the Western RPG genre from fans. There is also a specific aspect of Diablo that has been copied numerous times, even by games that are not otherwise Diablo clones: Color-Coded Item Tiers. The ability to roughly judge an item's quality with a quick glance was so well-received, that slews of other games adopted not only the concept, but identical colors and names for the levels. By now the scheme is considered tradition, to the point that it's considered annoying for a looter game not to use it or to mess with the colors too much.
  • Following its release in the early 80s, Donkey Kong was cloned and replicated to a near comical degree. Games such as Ape Craze, Donkey King, Dunkey Munkey, Krazy Kong, Crazy Kong, Dinkey Kong, Killer Gorilla, Killer Kong, Kong, Kongo Kong, Monkey Bizness, Monkey Kong, Wally Kong, and Honey Kong have exactly the same gameplay as Donkey Kong, with slightly altered levels and character sprites.
  • Doom is generally considered the progenitor of the First-Person Shooter genre, and Halo unleashed a flood of the genre on set-tops. Eventually, the first-person shooter has shed the "Doom Clone" image it had during the mid-90s and become possibly the most popular genre in all of video games, thanks in no small part to the way games like Quake, Halo, Half-Life and GoldenEye refined and improved upon the classic Doom formula. Thus, the "first person shooter" has lost the Doom Stigma and is now its very own unique genre.
    • Call of Duty and Battlefield would later help pave way for realistic first person shooters, including most of the staples of the "modern FPS" subgenre: grounded movement, aim down sights, Regenerating Health, cinematic campaigns, etc. When their sequels featured modern weaponry such as Call of Duty 4, modern shooters became the norm for the genre, such that most FPS's released around that time that weren't "CoD clones" were sequels to games that came before CoD started, and even those tend to take a lot of inspiration from that series (using ironsights to get your gun to work properly and adding a Sprint Meter are particularly popular).
    • It goes back full circle in the late 2010s, though. With the respective series having lost its magic and mainstream tastes starting to grow tired of the "modern shooter" genre, DOOM (2016) would be one of the major factors in turning people towards the genre's roots of fast-paced, lateral movement and guns-blazing combat. Many FPS games released around that timeframe would follow suit.
  • Many urban-themed Beat 'em Up were made to ride on the success of Double Dragon. Just look at Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Rival Turf!, 64th Street: A Detective Story, Burning Fight and Riot City. Though some of these games wound up becoming popular in their own right (mainly Streets of Rage). Capcom later tried to revive the urban beat 'em up with Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance and Final Fight Streetwise. Namco tried to take the wind out of Capcom's sails by making and releasing Urban Reign around the same time. All three games flopped. They tried to catch the Western crowd using "urban" themes, and like the "we want the Call of Duty audience" example, it alienated old fans and failed to bring in new ones. Sort of ironic as Streetwise's Western development team wanted to make a true homage to the original Final Fight series.
  • Dragon Quest:
  • Thanks to Telltale Games games such as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us hitting such massive popularity, Dreamfall Chapters takes a lot of Telltale tropes — however this is not a bad thing at all, as some appreciate having more games like those out and that the choices made in Chapters hold more influence than the ones made in most Telltale studios. Though their popularity exploded with The Walking Dead, their first point and click game structured in this way was Jurassic Park: The Game, which they themselves called "Heavy Rain but with dinosaurs".
  • The "remake from the ground-up" trend, which actually started with DuckTales Remastered back in 2013 but was later codified with the success of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy in 2017, spawned a wave of developers taking in popular games that are decades old and giving them HD remakes that are entirely made from scratch but stayed true to their roots. This was later apparent with the release of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy in 2018, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening in 2019, and SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated in 2020, among a few others. While HD remakes in general are nothing new, this trend is notable for bringing back old classics that are well-regarded within the gaming community.
  • Although there were Real-Time Strategy games before Dune II, it was the one responsible for making it a genre.
  • Dwarf Fortress prompted several games based around what can best be called "Dwarf management" (such as Dwarfs!?, A Game of Dwarves, and Survivors of Ragnarok), as well as a number of other games in its general style, like Towns, Stone Hearth and RimWorld. Most of them play differently in one way or another, though, and all of them try to offer an alternative to Dwarf Fortresses' somewhat steep learning curve and minimalist graphics.
  • Upcoming Kickstarter project Enchanted Portals came under scrutiny for being a run-n-gun game that looks very similar to Cuphead, right down to the cartoony style and the playable characters' animations.
  • Shortly after Fallout 3's success, several RPG/FPS hybrids with a wasteland setting were announced, such as FUEL (a Open Sandbox racing game set in post apocalyptica,) Borderlands (where the developers have gone so far to say they loved Fallout 3, and decided to make the game, 'but with co-op'), and Rage (2011).
  • FarmVille is an interesting case. The game was inspired by Chinese web game called Happy Farm, which itself is inspired by Harvest Moon. Now with the popularity of social network farming games, Marvelous decided to follow the leader that was following Marvelous...
  • The surprise of Final Fantasy VII becoming a Killer App and introducing Role-Playing Games to a more general audience resulted in a slew of games starring blond, spiky-haired, moody young men who turn out to be the Tomato in the Mirror.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's, which likely took some cues from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, has its own following of copycats and parodies where every game always seems to take place in some sort of establishment where you have to avoid robotic animals and are only limited to using whatever you have on hand instead of just getting up and running away. Almost every game trying to ride off the success of Five Nights at Freddy's just rubs out "Freddy" and use their own name.
  • FlatOut is often nicknamed Burnout's redneck cousin. Instead of crashes with cars only, they focus on cars crashing with the drivers being ejected.
  • Fortnite:
    • The Battle Royale mode was originally made as something of a tribute to Player Unknowns Battle Grounds, and plays with this trope. Nobody at Epic realised how big the game would turn out to be, with the number of differences between the two (free to play economy, distinct cartoon aesthetic, differing weapons etc.) allowed Fortnite to stand on its own in the genre, and thus escaped a lot of comparisons. Bluehole Studios' did attempt to sue Epic Games for copying them, but that went nowher (it was dismissed due to literally everything they claimed was not defensible as being copyrightable and unique to PUBG).
    • When direct competitor Apex Legends released in February 2019, it brought with it a few mechanics that Epic would later implement into the game. First came the "ping" system, which allows players to mark locations on the battefield, any loot, enemies, and a slew of other important items and actions for teammates with the press of a button. The second was the Reboot Cards and Respawn Vans, which were inspired wholesale by the player respawn mechanic from Apex. In Chapter 2, Fortnite also added the unlockable loot vaults that first appeared in Apex Legends Season 3.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light inspired a bunch of "Roguelike" games about managing a vehicle, probably with an actual crew, as it travels through Randomly Generated Levels.
  • Gameloft's method of making games is copying a currently popular title's graphics, gameplay, and frequently even name, and releasing it onto a platform that doesn't have a version of the game they copied. The company does at least try to make fun games and acknowledge that they're not exactly being original, and a lot of their products have received critical acclaim. Examples include:
  • Back when the C64 was still kicking around, the arcade conversion of Gauntlet resulted in a large number of similar games to appear, including Dandy (actually a reformulated version of the dungeon crawler for Atari 8-Bit Computers that inspired Gauntlet), Druid, Gothik and Into the Eagle's Nest. Some "Gauntlet clones" were better as they had an objective while Gauntlet was mainly aimed at making players want to keep inserting more coins: Avenger and Ranarama focused more on adventure than action. Though Gauntlet was never converted to the BBC Micro, similar four-player games titled Dunjunz and White Magic were produced. There were also a few imitators in the arcades: Konami's Devil World and Data East's Shackled.
  • Gears of War didn't introduce the concept of duck and cover shooters but they are the most famous for making such a game enjoyable. Now it seems like there are two ways to do a shooter game, Call of Duty-style FPS or Gears of War style third-person shooter.
  • God of War, as well as popularising Action Commands, seems to have spawned a genre of violent, gory third-person beat-em-ups with Sociopathic Hero protagonists. Examples include No More Heroes and MadWorld, but even the Wolverine movie based game is made in the style. The 2007 Conan the Barbarian game resembles God of War further, right down to the spell-powers (which many Conan fans saw as a complete betrayal of the character).
  • The success of Gran Turismo spurred the creation of a large number of simulation racing games on consoles. Direct competitors include Sega GT, Driving Emotion Type S, Auto Modellista, Group S Challenge, Enthusia Professional Racing and, of course, Forza Motorsport.
  • Grand Theft Auto III is credited with starting not one, but two threads of Follow the Leader: gritty urban crime games and "sandbox games." Saints Row being a prime example, with a lot of its acclaim coming from the fact that it decided to be as wacky and out-there as the PlayStation 2-era GTA games, at a time when Grand Theft Auto IV was trying to be more serious and realistic.
  • The "guitar game" subgenre of Rhythm Games has had massive amounts of this. To begin with, they started as Guitar Freaks, created by Bemani. Harmonix created their own version, Guitar Hero, using music better suited for North American and European audiences and adding two more buttons to the guitar peripheral. After a few games of this, Harmonix split off into making a Spiritual Successor, Rock Band, while Neversoft took over development duties for the Guitar Hero series for III and beyond. Rock Band, besides featuring identical guitar gameplay as Guitar Hero, added support for drums (which itself could be seen as copying from the sister series of Guitar Freaks, Drum Mania) and vocals, along with a character creator. The fourth Guitar Hero installment, World Tour, took these elements. Meanwhile, Guitar Hero created several band-specific spinoffs (for Aerosmith, Metallica, and Van Halen), which Rock Band later did (for The Beatles and Green Day). Guitar Hero 5 featured a less "heavy" setlist, focusing on more varied genres rather than the hard rock and metal-oriented soundtracks of previous games, much like Rock Band did, along with changing its vocal system to be more like that of Rock Band. 5 also borrowed the "Unison Bonus" gameplay element from Rock Band, which requires players in co-op to play a brief section of a song perfectly to obtain bonuses.
  • Capcom's Gunsmoke was closely imitated by the European computer games Desperado and Wanted (alias Outlaw); Desperado became an authorized version of Gun.Smoke in the UK.
  • Halo is a good example, as almost every FPS these days has copied the 'recharging health bar' thing (to varying degrees of success). It also eliminated the Hyperspace Arsenal concept that most prior FPSs had and limited it to a primary and secondary weapon only; nowadays, the only shooters you ever see to have static health points and an arsenal limited solely by how many guns were programmed into the game are games from series which originated in the '80s and '90s like Wolfenstein: The New Order or deliberate nostalgia trips like DUSK, and even these typically can't help but include some "modern" mechanics (The New Order having health which regenerates up to the nearest multiple of 20 and the ability to aim down the sights of every weapon, DUSK including more realistic physics on certain items).
    • Two often-overlooked mechanics that Halo brought to the table were melee and grenades always being available and having a dedicated button to use them. Many previous games like Half-Life had grenades and melee, but only as specific weapons in the character's Hyperspace Arsenal (the closest example would be rifles with grenade launchers as a secondary fire, like Half Life's, while Master Chief can use melee attacks and grenades while holding any weapon). Most newer FPSs incorporate a dedicated melee and grenade button whether they have a traditional hyperspace arsenal or modern two- or three-weapon layout. Some games (like F.E.A.R., Gears of War, and Darkwatch) have built explicit melee options or even entire combo systems based on a dedicated melee button.
    • Halo itself was remarkable primarily for bringing many earlier concepts into a single game. From the early days of the genre in particular, Duke Nukem 3D had a dedicated Quick Melee button years before Halo, though it was nowhere near as useful. Rise of the Triad meanwhile did away with Hammerspace arsenals, albeit to a lesser degree — pistol, dual pistols, an MP40, one heavy weapon, and one magic superweapon. MIDI Maze, way back in 1987 on the Atari ST, introduced Regenerating Health to FPS games, and Jurassic Park: Trespasser was one of the best-known games before Halo to use it.
    • Halo 2 in particular changed how online gaming was played forever. Just some of the many things that they brought to the table were: friend lists, pre-game lobbies, in-game clan recognition, parties, text and voice messages, proximity voice, matchmaking, playlists, and skill based ranking. Then keep in mind, this is about a third of what Bungie had planned to do.
  • Harvest Moon:
  • The Horace games for the ZX Spectrum, though never entirely derivative of arcade games, were fairly close in spirit. Hungry Horace played like Pac-Man but with a very different approach to maze design; the first screen of Horace Goes Skiing loosely resembled Frogger; and the final screen of Horace and the Spiders was very similar to Space Panic.
  • The Platform Hell I Wanna Be the Guy was based off a Japanese Flash game called The Life-Ending Adventure... and when the latter game was finished, its final areas are based off of IWBTG, with The Kid as the final boss! IWBTG itself has inspired a glut of platformers deriving difficulty from Trial-and-Error Gameplay. Inverted in the sequel — part of level 1-3 is based off the first game, and it starts right where The Life-Ending Adventure starts its own recreation! Word of God confirms this was intentional.
  • Identity V is a clone of Dead by Daylight, but it is still an interesting example due to a small piece of trivia; Netease Games, the developers and publishers of Identity V, asked permission to borrow some of DBD's mechanics by Behaviour Interactive. Behaviour said yes, and the game started development.
  • The voxel-based destructible environment system of Infiniminer, after it was made open-source (because the source code got leaked), spawned dozens of clones, most of which weren't that successful. There were exceptions though, one of them being Minecraft.
  • The PS2 era had a lot of light hearted games have suddenly Darker and Edgier sequels. It would seem that it started with Jak II, the much darker and edgier sequel to Jak and Daxter, which turned Jak from a happy mute hero into a voiced gun toting Anti-Hero. Its success apparently set off a chain reaction with everything from Prince of Persia to Sonic the Hedgehog to Ratchet & Clank, though the last one was already edgier than the other examples here to begin with, but Ratchet: Deadlocked fits the trend.
  • After Just Dance became a surprise hit, several similar dance games were made, for the Wii, Xbox 360 Kinect, and PlayStation 3 Move, including Dance Central, Dance Masters, Dance Paradise, Singstar Dance, and Country Dance.
  • The runaway success of KanColle spawned more browser/smartphone games about World War II shipgirls - Warship Girls, Victory Belles, Azur Lane - along with more games featuring personified military and historical objects, such as Touken Ranbu (swords), Oshiro Project (castles), and Girls' Frontline (guns).
  • Karoshi 2.0 and Lab 13 were both released around the same time on Yoyo Games in 2008, inspiring a bunch of puzzle platformers with unorthodox solutions that were nowhere as successful as either Karoshi or Lab 13.
  • Katamari Damacy, believe it or not. After the unexpected success of the game, Namco tried to follow up on it by creating other quirky, colorful games with a "growing" game mechanic, which resulted in NOBY NOBY BOY for the PS3 and The Munchables for the Wii.
  • Konami started something with the Beat 'em Up genre. This version of follow the leader went into three different directions:
    1. The success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game led to the rise of the company itself doing arcade adaptions of popular cartoons/cartoons based on comic books, with up to 4 (6 for X-Men) player co-op. Titles such as X-Men, The Simpsons, and Bucky O'Hare during the 90s. Konami did face some competition in the 4-player comic book Beat 'em Up field: Captain America and the Avengers and a Sega Arcade Game starring Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner, Black Cat and Hawkeye.
    2. This also led a couple of "me too's" on Ninjas with weapons and 4 player co-op. Taito's The Ninja Kids (most of them wield bladed weapons) and Irem's Ninja Baseball Bat Man (all fight with baseball bats. One of the stages in The Ninja Kids looks like April's burning apartment. The final stage in Ninja Baseball Bat Man takes place on top of a scaffold in New York, at night, just like the first stage of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. Both games failed in arcades due to poor advertising and being overshadowed by other, more popular beat'em ups and fighting games.
    3. There were games that hitched on the Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats craze. Mainly the Battletoads franchise is guilty of this, but it started on the home consoles and worked its way up to the arcades. The console versions used lots of Nintendo Hard platforming to differentiate itself from other brawlers, but the arcade game is just a more straight foward brawler and plays more like Double Dragon with gory finishers.
  • Kung Fu Master led to other single-plane Beat Em Ups starring Bruce Lee Clones: Dragon Wang for the SG-1000, Kung-Fu Road for the Super Cassette Vision, and China Warrior for the TurboGrafx-16.
  • The Legend of Zelda had a number of fairly close imitators, including Neutopia, Psycho Calibur and Golden Axe Warrior.
  • Lemmings was a Bizarre Puzzle Game that involved saving little green-haired creatures from horrific deaths. All the other "save-'em-ups" that followed, like Builderland, Gulp!, Troddlers and Creepers (and the indie reimaginings like the Animesque game Shoujo Attack!), were popular only for a very brief period of time and are now forgotten, whereas the original is still known today and spawned a number of sequels and spin-offs.
  • LittleBigPlanet seems to have spawned a wave of co-op Platform Games, as well as a run of console games with level editors.
  • Living Books inspired a whole slew of clones, done in a very similar format (almost all of them had the option to read the story automatically, or read a page and click on everything). The most notable of these is the Disney Animated Storybook series, although several others had given it a shot too.
  • The success of Love & Pies spawned imitators such as Cook & Merge, Merge Inn, Merge Restaurant, and Gossip Harbor, all which involve matching ingredients to serve customers and fixing up restaurants as part of the plot.
  • Love Plus made money in Japan, and attracted media attention, perhaps because of obsessive fans. In May 2011, the company Teatime created an adults-only game called Renai+H with similar gameplay.
  • Call of Duty fans believed the 2010 Medal of Honor game did this, although technically it's the other way around, Infinity Ward being formed from people who worked on the early MoH's. And besides that, MoH '10 is set in The War on Terror, in Afghanistan, while Modern Warfare is set in Ultranationalist Russia.
  • A number of later NES/Famicom Platform Games show a huge Mega Man influence, including Magical Doropie (also known as The Krion Conquest), Power Blazer (whose international version, Power Blade, turned into a different game) and Little Samson.
  • The PlayStation's other killer app, Metal Gear Solid, spawned a lot of stealth-game imitators.
    • Bizarre aversion: Syphon Filter was widely derided prior to its release as a MGS clone and an attempt to capitalize on its success... then turned out to be an entirely different type of action game that actually began development before the release of MGS, being a action shooter with the stealth elements being a minor aspect for most of the game.
    • A more accurate example of this would be WinBack, a Stealth-Based Game hyped as the Nintendo 64's answer to Metal Gear Solid. While the game received fairly positive reviews upon release, which probably had more to do with the slim selection of "mature" N64 games than the quality of the game itself, it was a commercial failure and immediately forgotten, barring a silent rerelease on the PlayStation 2.
    • Another, odder example: MGS was the first video game to feature Claymore mines — but they were regular tripwire mines, as opposed to remotely detonated as in the real world. Every single video game released afterwards that features Claymore mines has them work exactly the same way as the MGS version, even though in the real world, this sort of setup would technically be illegal.
  • Metal Slug led to a handful of fast-paced run and gunners with a cartoony yet intricate art style. Examples include Demon Front, Dolphin Blue, CT Special Forces, Commando: Steel Disaster, and Alien Hominid.
  • Also, the Might and Magic series started a new trend of Group Based RPGs in the late '80s and '90s, including the excellent Baldur's Gate. Ironically, it died off with the same series, in Might and Magic IX, thanks to the less than kind time and development constraints given by its publisher, 3DO. Sure, some came before it, but it was M&M that popularized it.
    • The series Heroes of Might and Magic, a spin-off of the Might & Magic series also gave the kick to both Turn Based Strategy games that aren't Electronic Tabletop Wargames and also to Hero-Based Strategy games, being the first strategy game to put "generals" into the equation (other than the player themself as an order giver). Warcraft III, Age of Mythology, and listless others owe to the franchise. Strangely, many players weren't understanding when Heroes IV reminded their audience of the Sci-Fi background of the MM franchise, mostly because a large portion of the Heroes fanbase didn't even know there was a Might and Magic RPG franchise that it was spun off from. Still, what killed it was the same 3DO that killed MMIX.
    • Might & Magic was largely inspired by Wizardry, so it shouldn't be considered "the" staple party-based WRPG of its era, but rather one of the top three series. The open world elements and vast world of M&M are a huge source of inspiration for Bethesda's open world games, even starting as early as The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, though most of Bethesda's games lack parties.
  • Due to the popularity of the Wii's Mii avatar system, many games have tried to copy off of its concept and design. Microsoft also tried to cash in on the popularity of Miis with its own avatar system for the Xbox 360 that looked similar to Miis, but with more customization.
  • Mighty No. 9 led to a trend of crowdfunded Spiritual Successor games from well-regarded developers who are no longer involved with the companies and franchises that made their reputations; Yooka-Laylee and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night being among them.
  • Minecraft brought the Survival Sand Box genre into the mainstream, and it too inspired a wave of imitators. The most successful of these was Terraria, which shifted the concept from a fully 3D environment to a 2D side-scrolling one, and added Metroidvania elements. Minecraft also inspired other games to mimic its blocky art style in various forms. Minecraft, being the "indie" success story, also gave indie games tons of influence and visibility across the gaming community.
  • Mini Robot Wars seems like a clone of Plants vs. Zombies, except that the game is in a horizontal view with platforms you have to place your units on.
  • The Momodora series has its own imitator in the form of Chinese-made Successor of the Moon. Interestingly enough, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight's devs made their own clone in the form of Minoria.
  • The Monster Hunter series is huge in Japan, and has already inspired a handful of multiplayer-party-vs.-giant-monster successors, namely Square Enix's Lord of Arcana, Namco Bandai's God Eater Burst, Game Arts' Ragnarok Odyssey, and Koei Tecmo's Toukiden.
  • Compile Heart announced Monster Monpiece, a Vita JRPG starring much fanservice and monster girls as enemies. It's likely not a coincidence that Monster Girl Quest was one of 2011-2012's more popular games beforehand.
  • Mortal Kombat Trilogy's "Brutality" Finishing Moves are their interpretation of Killer Instinct's Ultra Combos.
  • Myst sparked a slew of point-and-click CD-ROM adventure-puzzle games, hastening the death of the older LucasArts/Sierra adventure genre.
  • The success of the Neo Geo inspired the creation of several arcade boards with easily swapped game cartridges. Examples include the Taito F3, Capcom's CPS Changer (which was basically a consolized release of the venerable CPS1), Jaleco's Mega System 32, Kaneko's Super Nova System, IGS's PolyGame Master and Sammy's Atomiswave, that last one being particularly notable as it's the system SNK went for after retiring the Neo Geo. Data East's MLC System went for interchangeable daughterboards instead, though Data East's own Neo Geo games were more successful.
  • Nintendo saw huge success with their release of the NES and SNES Classics, which are miniaturized versions of those consoles that come preloaded with several games. Nintendo's success with their releases of their classic games prompted others like Sony, Sega, and Atari to make their own "classic" consoles with varying levels of successnote . There's also a PC Classic for old DOS games.
  • Ninja Gaiden (NES) inspired Wrath of the Black Manta (which also has elements of Shinobi), Vice: Project Doom, Shatterhand, Shadow of the Ninja (which ironically was dolled up as Ninja Gaiden Shadow on the Game Boy), the NES Batman game et al.
  • Jaleco's Ninja Jajamaru-kun series, after the first two games, abandoned its original style of gameplay in the later Famicom installments, which instead imitated Dragon Quest (Jajamaru Ninpou Chou), The Legend of Zelda (Jajamaru Gekimaden) and Super Mario Bros. 3 (Ginga Daisakusen).
  • Irem's Ninja Spirit followed The Legend of Kage, although it was mostly overlooked.
  • Nintendogs:
  • Koei's breakout success with Nobunaga's Ambition inspired other Japanese Video Game Companies to create their own Jidaigeki Turn-Based Strategy games. A secondary inspiration for some was NHK's taiga dramas, which were reaching their ratings peak. Examples include Game Arts' Harakiri, Irem's Hototogisu, Namco's Dokuganryu Masamune and Wolf Team's Zan series. Given the lack of appeal of these games to non-Japanese players, it's surprising that one of the imitators (Hot-B's Shingen the Ruler) was localized.
  • Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, a Finnish action-adventure video game which borrows heavily from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, with its sequel, Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, borrowing heavily from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
  • Operation Wolf set the model for most Light Gun Games of the late 1980s. Lethal Enforcers revamped it for the 1990s with digitized graphics, which were then taken up by Data East's Locked N Loaded, Under Fire, Atari and Mesa Logic's Area 51, and (ironically) Operation Wolf 3.
  • Pac-Man gave rise to such a wave of unauthorized clones that the arcade version of Ms. Pac-Man and the Apple ][ version of Pac-Man were originally developed as such. K.C. Munchkin! for the Odyssey˛ was close enough to get sued, though it became something a bit different. Munch Man for the TI-99 was almost too much like Pac-Man in its prototype version; the final release had a different maze and the superficial substitution of laying chains for eating dots. ADK's Crush Roller (also known as Make Trax) similarly switched picking/eating stuff up to laying stuff down, and originally ran on an arcade board that cloned the Pac-Man hardware. Some developers of dot-collecting Maze Games were a bit more inventive, and Lady Bug, Lock 'n' Chase and Mouse Trap (1981) were respectable enough games in their own right to see release on multiple platforms.
  • Parasite Eve 2 attempted to piggyback on the success of Resident Evil by using the same elements, such as fixed camera angles that change between "screens", Tank Controls, a conspiracy group that one of the supporting characters is a part of, said group using a monster to further spread The Virus, etc.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist was heavily inspired by Valve's Left 4 Dead series by taking the core concept of tight teamwork and enemies that rush the players in large swarms, but with SWAT teams instead of zombies. The game has done well and Valve also helped the developers create the crossover No Mercy DLC. The sequel still retains the core concepts of the first game, but differentiates itself from Left 4 Dead by having character class skills and weapon mods.
  • The mainstream success of Persona 3 and Persona 4 led to a lot of Eastern RPGs with Animesque artstyles, Relationship Values with party members, Level-Up at Intimacy 5 and time-management systems. It also led to Relationship Values being added to several Eastern RPG franchises that didn't previously include them. Persona 5 also started a trend of turn-based RPGs dropping scrolling menus and instead mapping each action in combat to a separate button., Trails of Cold Steel III being one example.
  • Due to its popularity, there are a lot of Plants vs. Zombies imitations in China, ranging from online role-playing games to arcade games.
  • Player Unknowns Battle Grounds:
    • In the aftermath of PUBG's amazingly successful release, numerous other games like the zombie survival game Fortnite, the hero shooter game Paladins, and even the long-standing Call of Duty and Fallout series with Black Ops IIII and Fallout 76: Nuclear Winter have put out Battle Royale game modes of their own.
    • In turn, PUBG Mobile borrowed a few mechanics from its imitators, most notably the ping system and teammate respawn system from Apex Legends.
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale incorporates elements and concepts which were originally popularized by Super Smash Bros., as did other games within the Mascot Fighter category.
  • Pokémon spawned its share of imitators, like: Spectrobes, which gets lampshaded in Game Informer's review of the first game. Yo-Kai Watch is also heavily inspired by Pokémon and was popular enough to give the series a run for its money in Japan, becoming a rival Cash-Cow Franchise not soon after the second game came out.
  • Pong, Tennis and other clones were extremely common in the 1970s despite technology allowing to make different games. These came out with most of the first-generation video game consoles after the success of Pong, which was released in 1972. Atari also published an ad in May 1973 mocking the band-wagon behavior of their competitors.
  • The games made by PopCap Games caused ripples in the entire casual game genre and spawned imitators. Time-management games Diner Dash and FarmVille are the most visible examples of this.
  • Arcade rhythm games which use collectibles as part of their game mechanic started with Pretty Cure arcade, followed by Lilpri -- Yubi Puru Hime Chen! and Love&Berry by Sega, Pretty Rhythm by Takara Tomy and Aikatsu! by Namco Bandai.
  • Professor Layton seems to be inspiring a subgenre of "cinematic game with quaint anime cutscenes and gameplay divided up into small, brainteaser-based chunks." One follower, Zack and Ombra's Amusement Park of Illusions, took a more mini-game based approach. And one DS title, Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights, features similar puzzles and anime cutscenes, but with a more traditional Gentleman Adventurer and more Thick-Line Animation.
  • Before Punch-Out!! had its NES release endorsed by Mike Tyson, Elite Systems Ltd got an endorsement from a Real Life prizefighter for its own knockoff, Frank Bruno's Boxing.
  • Quake ended up being the leader in a different way — there are a whole slew of games running on its engines (particularly Quake III: Arena's) or derivatives of them (such as Call of Duty's IW Engine or Valve Software's GoldSrc and Source). In the more modern day, it's shifted over towards the competing Unreal Engine - while third-party usage of the Q3A and original Unreal engines were about equal and slightly favoring the former in the old days, now there's only about a dozen releases on the Doomł engine versus half a thousand on Unreal Engines 3 and 4 each.
  • Countless shmups in the '90s (e.g. Storm Blade) imitated Raiden... which itself was inspired by Twin Cobra and other Toaplan shmups, as was Konami's Trigon / Lightning Fighters, which came out the same year as the first Raiden.
  • Although Railroad Tycoon started the "tycoon" brand, RollerCoaster Tycoon started a wave of games, each with "Tycoon" in its name. By the time it died circa 2007, games like Fairy Godmother Tycoon were on the market.
  • Many Rainbow Islands clones, such as Top Banana, can be found on the Amiga (among other computer systems of the time), due to the game's popularity in the UK.
  • Rare:
    • In their SNES/N64 times, they had great success imitating popular Nintendo series. Diddy Kong Racing for example built on the success of Mario Kart, but adding an adventure mode and more vehicles. Prior to that, Donkey Kong Country was Super Mario World in the jungle. To a lesser extent, they also worked upon the blueprint of that era's most popular first-person shooters, resulting in the succesful GoldenEye (1997) and Perfect Dark. They eventually got tired of doing that, birthing Conker's Bad Fur Day (originally another cutesy platformer), though they did it one last time with the GCN game Star Fox Adventures (which borrowed elements from the Zelda series) before their buyout by Microsoft.
    • They kept doing this after switching to Microsoft. The Xbox 360's Avatars, which were developed by Rare, look similar to Nintendo's Miis. In the game department: Viva Pińata was an attempt at recreating the Pokémon Gotta Catch Them All craze, and Kinect Sports was the response to Wii Sports. Rare may have gone over to Microsoft, but they still look to Nintendo for inspiration.
  • Resident Evil:
  • While not nearly to the same extent as Mario Party, Wii Sports or even WarioWare, Rhythm Heaven is still a Minigame Game owned by Nintendo that gets a few clones here and there.
    • There's an obscure Nintendo DS game called Beat City which has you hold the system on its side like the second game, and whose protagonist bears a striking resemblance to the Munchy Monk character from the series.
    • One of the many web browser games Adventure Time had was called Rhythm Heroes whose Rhythm Games mostly consisted of Expies of existing ones like Glee Club.
    • Megamix had a bootleg mobile port which can no longer be accessed, presumably due to potentially obvious reasons.
  • The Road Rash series spawned a similar Electronic Arts effort on the Sega Genesis called Skitchin', a roller-blade racing and stunt game. Both games each had heavy metal/grunge soundtrack and the concept of cash bonuses for winning races and fighting off opponents.
  • Whenever a game made in Roblox gets really popular to the point where Youtubers start making videos of it, there are bound to be so many imitators that it creates a whole genre.
    • Piggy. Roblox Youtuber Flamingo made a video of Piggy that was so popular, it kickstarted the whole "evil guy chases you while you have to collect required items around the room to use them and then escape" genre of Roblox games. Later, he made a video where he and his friend play various Piggy games. Most of them involve players being trapped some place, and one of them controls the character that is supposed to hunt them down. The players usually get a head start on finding the required items to use to progress toward escaping. There will usually be a Jump Scare if you get caught by the hunter.
    • Camping. The original Roblox Camping game did so well, that it started a whole genre of story games. A few being Airplane and its sequels, High School, and later (by the same creator of Camping), Camping 2. Most of these story games have some sort of field trip to some place, with the intention of nothing going wrong, when all of a sudden, a monster chases them and you have to survive the monster. Most players will die during the course of the game.
  • Rogue, the Genre Popularizer for the appropriately named Roguelike genre, inspired a number of games, most notably NetHack and Angband. Both of which were more advanced versions of their predecessors, which were in turn, descended from Rogue. NetHack went on to create a line of "hack-likes," while Angband created "band-likes", games that were heavily similar to their respective ancestors.
  • Rolling Thunder was imitated by ESWAT Cyber Police, Shinobi, Crime City, Rough Ranger, Code Name: Viper, etc. There were also two attempts to fuse it with themes from James Bond movies: Sly Spy and ThunderJaws.
  • Copying R-Type was quite the thing for a long time (e.g. Pulstar, Konami's XEXEX, Allumer's Rezon), to the point that Irem ended up suing a company called Factor 5 for making Katakis, a crass copy of R-Type.
  • Salt and Sanctuary, by bringing Dark Souls' gameplay style in a 2D environment, spawned a bunch of similar hack 'n slash titles featuring dark bleak worlds with oppressive religious overtones and high difficulty, such as Blasphemous, Dark Devotion, Void Memory, Death's Gambit, Unworthy and, to a lesser extent, Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight.
  • Secret Weapons Over Normandy inspired several arcadey story-driven WWII flight games. Followers include Blazing Angels, Heroes Of The Pacific and Combat Wings.
  • Singles: Flirt Up Your Life is a mature copy of The Sims with graphics similar to The Sims 2, which wasn't out at the time.
  • It took a while for the Skylanders clones to arrive, due to the technology involved, but the "Toys-to-Life" genre has started to gain a host of imitators, from Hasbro's Beam Box amongst plug-and-play versions, with Disney Infinity and LEGO Dimensions being closer to Skylanders's systems. Even Namco Bandai got in the fray with Kamen Rider Summonride, except it never caught on. Nintendo's amiibo are like Skylanders for the entire Nintendo Library. The business model of Skylanders continues to be imitated by various other toys that don't use a console, such as Playmation and Infinite Arms. Of course, if you trace the roots of all this, it goes back to Mattel's HyperScan. And if you trace that, it goes all the way back to Nintendo's e-card reader for the Game Boy Advance.
  • Deckbuilder Slay the Spire launched a sort of sub-subgenre within the category of Roguelike, typified by relatively quick encounters that conclude with an offer to choose between usually three options that will help for the rest of the run, health that carries-over between encounters with limited opportunities to heal, and an "ascension" system that allows the player to gradually increase the difficulty of the game by adding modifiers that are fairly minor separately but stack together to substantially toughen the game at higher levels. This includes other deckbuilders such as Monster Train and GriftLands and even games that are otherwise quite different such as Hades.
  • Slender has had similar impact in the Indie Survival Horror genre, taking the "first person helplessness" mechanics of Amnesia: The Dark Descent and distilling it into a simple formula of item collecting and Jump Scares in a minimalist environment. Unsurprisingly, countless home-brew spinoffs have been unleashed upon the Internet and, are one of the most common targets of Lowtax's channel.
  • During the mid-1990s, the success of Sonic the Hedgehog led to a glut of the Mascot with Attitude, especially in video games released on the Genesis/Mega Drive and SNES during that time. Most of them failed, either because they were just a Theme Park Version of Sonic himself, or because they experienced technical issues with their Video Game 3D Leaps when gaming made the move to 3D later that decade, such as Bubsy the Bobcat and Bubsy 3D (though in fairness Sonic has had issues himself in that department). While some of them like Earthworm Jim, Jazz Jackrabbit and the Rocket Knight Adventures stood out and have a cult following, Sonic himself is the only Mascot with Attitude to escape from this time, due to being the Trope Maker and persisting as a Cash-Cow Franchise past the trend it started. It helped that Sonic grew with its audience, if only for a time, to remain cool instead of stay as an immature-looking character like most of its imitators.
  • Thanks to Touhou Project, all modern Shoot Em Ups have to feature little girls and magic. Faux Symbolism is also common, thanks to Touhou Project's use of mythology. The few that don't bite pretty close to Gradius, Raiden, or Geometry Wars. Touhou's use of mythology is more fodder for characterization, not an attempt of symbolism, though it hasn't stopped some other shmups from going that path.
  • Following the crowdfunding success of space games like Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous, the developers of MechWarrior Online, Piranha Games, attempted to jump in on the space craze and launched their own crowdfunding campaign for a new space game, Transverse. The campaign was a flop, barely reaching 2% of its goal of 1 million dollars, primarily due to Piranha's zero percent approval rating due to numerous public relations disasters in Mechwarrior Online.
  • The success of the physics-based stunt bike-racing game Trials spawned two imitators: Tate Multimedia's Urban Trial: Freestyle and Bakno Games' Motorbike.
  • Triniti Interactive has made their fair share of clones of popular games for the iPhone, which they sell individually and in their GAMEBOX compilations. To be fair, they have made some decent original stuff and sometimes acknowledge their sources of inspiration. Examples include:
  • The Turing Test:
    • Following the top dogs of the genre Portal and The Talos Principle with little variations.
    • Observation, released in 2019, has a number of superficial similarities with The Turing Test: both puzzle games, both set in space (one in a space station, one on a moon), female main characters (Emma Fisher and Ava Turing), computer characters with short male names (S.A.M. and TOM). Gameplay, however, is very different.
  • In spite of MUDs and GMUDs languishing in obscurity for ages, their day would only really come in the rechristened form of MMORPGs. The entire MMO craze was started with Ultima Online, refined with EverQuest and Lineage, then given a further kickstart by the massive success of World of Warcraft.
    • World of Warcraft in particular has spawned a number of imitators, Tabula Rasa and Age of Conan among them, that copy not only its gameplay style, but major chunks of its interface (right down to yellow exclamation points over the heads of quest-givers). Blizzard's ambitious little title set itself apart with cartoony, comic book inspired graphics and a two faction system. The basic idea of that being that players would have to choose sides when making a character and all players on the opposite faction are their enemies to be fought in PVP battles. These days it's hard to find a MMORPG that doesn't have cartoony graphics and/or doesn't try to imitate the faction system.
    • WoW also has an in-universe example. To fight the undead, the Order of the Silver Hand created a powerful holy sword that came to be known as the Ashbringer. To fight their enemies, the Scarlet Crusade sought to forge a weapon of equal power to the Ashbringer and used similar forging methods to achieve that goal. Their result, sabotaged from within, was Light's Wrath.
    • Guild Wars is one of the other successful MMOs. It got that way by not imitating WOW; the original development team was made up of former Blizzard employees. Everything from its design to its classes to its pricing (free after purchase) seeks to differentiate itself from its big brother as much as possible. Guild Wars 2 seems to be trying to go even farther, with such things as completely eliminating a class for The Medic; every class has some sort of healing ability.
    • EverQuest in particular had so many features in common with DikuMUD that they were often challenged by hackers and developers familiar with the MUD libraries to show their code.
  • Unturned spawned a Unity asset called Unit Z, which is an asset pack that looks like Unturned and plays like it. So many people have uploaded just the complete asset packs alone on Steam that it's reached epidemic levels of absurdity.note 
  • The Commodore 64 game Uridium had a few imitators, including Ultima Ratio and Mirax Force. Psycastria for the BBC Micro was more popular than that platform's official conversion of Uridium.
  • The Vagrant is a side scroller action game pretty clearly inspired by Vanillaware games, especially Odin Sphere.
  • Vampire Survivors was a runaway hit for its easy-to-play but satisfying gameplay loop where it isn't afraid of letting the player get too powerful while packing a lot of replayability for a low starting price tag of 3 dollars. This combined with the game's relatively simple implementation led to the creation of a variety of imitators, from higher-end efforts like 20 Minutes Till Dawn and HoloCure to low-effort ripoffs, usually with the words "Survivors" slapped in the title. Other imitators add unique gamplay mechanics to differentiate them, such as Bounty Of One having a Co-Op Multiplayer mode. Some people say it's worthy of going from clones to genre and call these games "horde survival" games, but time will tell if it's just a passing fad or if these games will evolve the genre past imitation. For what it's worth, developer poncle says Vampire Survivors itself was based on the little-known mobile game Magic Survival, right down to the name.
  • Vampyr owes a lot of its lingo and mechanics to White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade. In the game, a vampire refers to fellow vampires as "kindred" and the vampires made by other vampires as "progeny," which are both standard terms in Vampire: the Masquerade. In the gameplay mechanics of both games, vampires use their blood to power supernatural abilities and must refill their blood by feeding. Fire and the claws of supernatural beings inflict "aggravated damage," which requires special effort to heal.
  • There are a number of Episodic Games being released after the critical success of The Walking Dead, such as Life Is Strange, D4, and Knee Deep.
  • Wii Sports:
    • The game was done by many of Nintendo's best developers and is a game which is easy to pick up and play but offers five completely different disciplines which have relatively deep physics and has the amount of polish you usually expect from a Nintendo game. After its rampant success, many third parties looking for a quick buck only saw the pick-up-and-play nature of it and made shallow, unpolished minigame collections done by the companies' cheapest development teams. Nintendo's Wii in general seems to have caused many developers to try and cheaply cash in on its success by haphazardly using motion controls whenever they get the chance. Wii Sports Resort, like its predecessor, led to a whole mess of sports Minigame Games with a tropical theme, like Vacation Isle: Beach Party and Big Beach Sports.
    • Sony, Microsoft, and Sega attempted to directly copy the Wii, not just with the controllersnote . They each have a clone of Wii Sports, with Sony's being Sports Champions.
  • The mostly forgotten Will Rock is this to Serious Sam, which already was partially inspired by Duke Nukem: both games were made by an Eastern European team and featured a lone sarcastic "hero" shooting thousands of bullets against gigantic hordes of mythology-inspired creatures in huge arenas. The only major difference is that Will Rock's enemies were based on Greek instead of Egyptian mythology.
  • Although not the first spaceflight "simulator", Wing Commander spawned a lot of them, from good ones like the X-Wing and Freespace series, to... well, others. Some space "sims" differentiate themselves by doing away with Space Is Air and Space Friction. Independence War, Terminus, and the old Frontier: Elite II separated themselves from the rest in this manner.
  • Although it was a pre-existing franchise, when Zone of the Enders got an installment for the Game Boy Advance it ended up similar to the Super Robot Wars games on the platform, complete with a morale system and equippable parts.
  • Zyclunt (exported as Blade Warrior), one of the first games developed by Korean studio Phantagram, takes its lead from Genocide 2, a Japanese PC game that was not distributed in Western countries but had recently received an IBM-compatible port from a rival Korean company.
  • On a meta front, it seems that Valve Software's Steam itself has become the platform of choice for copying by other AAA company seeking to build a networking client that not only facilitates master server for video games, but also with an online store feature to cut production costs and sell direct to customers, complete with profile library and achievement tracker. Ubisoft originally launched Uplay as a Copy Protection method, but it turned into something similar to Steam, and then Electronic Arts launched Origin with the main purpose being to take Steam head-on (although to this day, it ended up bare-bones), then GOG.com launched its Galaxy client, although this is more to facilitate online playingnote . Blizzard also revamped the Battle.Net client for their games, and later, Activision's games, turning it from a network hub into a Steam-like client. Then Epic Games joined the fray with Epic Store, even courting indies and AAA developers and publishers alike with exclusivity deals.

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