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Franchise Killer / Video Games

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  • 007 Legends' poor sales and critical reception put an end to James Bond video games for a time, with Activision consequently dropping the Bond license. It would be 8 years before IO Interactive would pick it up and announce a new Bond game, Project 007.
  • The Guitar Hero franchise initially came to a halt after Warriors of Rock lost out to Rock Band 3. It didn't help that Activision pumped out multiple spin-offs and Mission Pack Sequels in the previous two years (including Band Hero and DJ Hero) within several months of each other. Activision, for their part, recognized that they spent so much time and creative energy on DJ Hero that they forgot that GH might have needed some love too (four spin-offs != love). While a new game was finally revealed in 2015 as Guitar Hero Live, it acted as a soft reboot of the series as it used live action Full Motion Video instead of in-game models and used a completely new guitar controller. The reboot didn't last long, as no new title followed and Live developer FreeStyleGames was purchased by Ubisoft.
  • Interstate '76 was a cult hit on PC, leading to the spin-off Vigilante 8 on consoles, which proved an even bigger hit. However, the sequels to both games are controversial among fans, Interstate '82 for greatly simplifying many of the first game's mechanics (a big part of its appeal being its simulation approach to Vehicular Combat) and Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense for introducing an obtuse mission system, ensuring that there would be no new games in either series. Several years later, a remake of the first Vigilante 8 for the Xbox Live Arcade received a mixed reception and killed the franchise for good.
  • Activision's old major franchise, Pitfall!, managed to survive some time after the '80s; however, the series seems to have stopped dead in its tracks after Pitfall: The Lost Expedition (more specifically the rebranded Wii port of the game), and aside from a 2010 iOS endless runner spin-off, there doesn't seem to be hope for a next-gen revival of any sort. It's highly unlikely fans will see another adventure from Pitfall Harry at this point, as Activision has made Call of Duty its new flagship IP.
  • [PROTOTYPE 2] fell victim to overly-optimistic sales expectations. A heavy marketing push couldn't help the game reach its expected goal of 4 million units, or even the 2+ million moved by the first [PROTOTYPE], spelling the end for both the series and its creator Radical Entertainment. While Radical has come back following some restructuring, it seems that the [PROTOTYPE] series is well and truly dead.
  • Soldier of Fortune: Payback doesn't fit with the canon of the first two games, and it doesn't help that it ends with a cliffhanger that will likely never be resolved. This isn't surprising since it was made by a completely different developer and released as a budget game.
  • The original Spyro the Dragon series was torpedoed by his first game without developer Insomniac Games, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. An Obvious Beta of a game that had its development cycle fast-tracked for a holiday release at publisher Universal Interactive's behest, it was mostly panned by reviews and fans alike, and led to fans more or less ignoring the following title Spyro: A Hero's Tail. Despite being much better-received than Enter the Dragonfly, the poor sales and mediocre reviews for that title, combined with the similarly-average reception for Spyro: Shadow Legacy (the franchise's debut on the then-new Nintendo DS), killed the original Spyro series. Following the consolidation of Universal Interactive to Sierra Interactive by Vivendi, Sierra decided to launch a Continuity Reboot series titled The Legend of Spyro. The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, the third game, failed to meet Sierra's sales expectations; this, along with the Activision Blizzard merger that year and Sierra's eventual shutdown the following month, killed off for good what remained of the main series. Universal canceled a proposed Spyro film adaptation following the failure of Dawn of the Dragon, and Activision decided to use the franchise as a jumping point to help launch the (otherwise unrelated) Skylanders series (which eventually ran into this itself). Eventually, following the success of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Activision decided to follow suit with Spyro's original games with the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, to very good reception. With Toys for Bob going on to develop a new Crash Bandicoot game and subsequently being caught up in Activision's 2021 reorganization, exactly when or if another Spyro game will be made anytime soon is up in the air.
  • Skylanders Imaginators became this for the Skylanders games, and the toys-to-life genre as a whole. The series, formerly released on a yearly basis, has not had a new game since Imaginators' 2016 release; it sold less than 2 million copies, a far cry from the record sales of previous installments. While Skylanders Superchargers was already a Contested Sequel, Imaginators is generally seen as the worst game in the series due to its short length, Excuse Plot, and Bribing Your Way to Victory. It was also hurt by the over-saturation of toys-to-life games and figures becoming too expensive, with too many being released in a short timespan.

    The writing was already on the wall when Disney Infinity ended earlier the same year, and then LEGO Dimensions held out for another year before going under as well. Only Nintendo's amiibo line made it out alive—primarily because amiibo are tied to the company as a whole rather than one specific series—and even it took a serious hit with the flop of Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival. The overall Skylanders franchise didn't fully die, but got reduced to mobile games and the Skylanders Academy show, which was cancelled after three seasons. Perhaps the longest-lasting impact of Imaginators was that its Guest Fighter inclusion of Crash Bandicoot led directly to Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, and subsequently the successful revival of that series.
  • Tony Hawk: Ride was meant to revive a stagnant and decaying franchise by forcing the player to use a skateboard peripheral that doesn't work as well as advertised. Combined with Hawk himself claiming anyone who disliked the peripheral had decided to hate the game before it came out, gamers weren't likely to be interested in a sequel, as the poor sales of Shred eventually convinced Activision to shelve the series from stores for a few years, with the spin-off releases of the downloadable Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD and the mobile Tony Hawk's Shred Session to plug the gap.

    Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, a direct sequel to the highly-acclaimed original four Tony Hawk titles, finished the decay that set in with Ride and Shred. Theorized to be an Ashcan Copy on Activision's part (as their rights to use the Tony Hawk videogame license were set to expire the year of THPS 5's release), the game was eviscerated by fans and reviewers across the board for its lifeless visuals (which were heavily criticized in pre-release footage and screenshots), poorly-designed gameplay mechanics, and heaping lack of technical polish. Even without knowledge of the license's pending expiration, the strong negative reaction to THPS 5 was the final breaking point of the once-proud franchise; the fallout was so bad, Activision promptly cancelled Shred Session, which saw a soft launch in some territories before being canned for good. A remake of the first two games by Vicarious Visions was released in 2020 to significant acclaim, but with Vicarious Visions getting absorbed into Blizzard in 2021, it appears unlikely to get a follow-up by the same team.
  • True Crime: Streets of LA was a well-received Grand Theft Auto clone, and hopes were high for the sequel True Crime: New York City. Sadly, the game wound up performing poorly and was not as well-liked, due to a combination of graphical glitches and serious bugs that led to frequent crashes, in addition to drab visuals and Artificial Stupidity. So abysmal was the failure of the sequel that it contributed to Activision putting the kibosh on the fledgling series by canning development of the third game, True Crime: Hong Kong (which would later be acquired by Square Enix, finished by United Front Games, and released under a new title: Sleeping Dogs). In turn, any future Sleeping Dogs might have enjoyed (and there was plenty of potential given the high regard it attained) was also torpedoed thanks to the ill-received MMO spin-off Triad Wars (which used SD’s map and gameplay), which only got into a PC beta before the whole thing was axed following negative reception and took down United Front Games in the process.

    Atari — Infogrames 
  • Atari not only killed a movie-based franchise, they also played a key role in briefly killing the entire video game console market in North America with their hideous overreaching on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The game is an obtuse, poorly-designed (it has pixel-perfect hit detection in places where it really shouldn't have), Christmas Rushed game that embodied the archaism of that era of console video gaming. Atari foolishly overpaid for the license and then printed so many cartridges that they'd have to sell literally every single one in order to recoup their investment, in the hopes that it would be a system-seller and overcharged for the privilege (video game as cartridges were extremely expensive when adjusting for inflation). The game is actually one of the best-selling Atari 2600 games of all time (moving 2.7 million units out of the 4 million cartridges created), it wasn't enough and Atari took a big financial hit. While the games industry had been burning consumers on misleading advertising and no good investment towards the medium before then, E.T. was The Last Straw that solidified The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 and probably ensured that the movie itself would never get any sequels or additional tie-in merch due to their failure’s infamy. It may also have been a contributory factor in the movie not getting released on videocassette until 1988, a full six years after the film itself.
  • The poor critical reception of Alone in the Dark (2008) killed off the series for several years, as even a rerelease on PlayStation 3 to fix some of the bugs from the Xbox 360 version couldn't save it. It's even worse when you consider that even though the game developers delayed the release of the game for three years to try to stave off the bad publicity generated by Uwe Boll's failed film adaptation, some elements from the film still made it into the new game. Things got even worse with 2015's Alone in the Dark: Illumination, which made the 2008 game look like Grand Theft Auto V by comparison. It was mercilessly panned by critics, with some calling it one of the worst games of all time, and one that could definitely be said to have murdered the troubled franchise once and for all, to the point that the franchise was later bought by THQ Nordic from Atari. They finally announced a new entry, a full remake of the original game, in 2022. Time will tell if this revives the series or not.
  • After Atari's buy-out on Humongous Entertainment, the company tried to continue the Backyard Sports, Putt-Putt, and Pajama Sam series. Putt-Putt's last game, Pep's Birthday Surprise, isn't all bad — it has some poor voice acting, has way too much recycled content, and is boring, but it's at least playable compared to Pajama Sam: Life is Rough When You Lose Your Stuff!, which has poor voice acting for Sam, a lame plot, and Loads and Loads of Loading, among other flaws. They didn't sell or score well enough to continue onward. As for the Backyard Sports series, it continued to get an even worse treatment before it also saw its coffin sealed shut—no games for it have been announced since they lost the last leg the series was standing on (the major sports licenses) and saw their two attempts to win audiences back (Sandlot Sluggers and Rookie Rush) fail miserably.
  • Driv3r, which is not particularly good, ends on a Cliffhanger with the protagonist flatlining after being shot by the Big Bad. Then Infogrames made an In Name Only sequel, Parallel Lines, and that didn't perform so well either. It took several years (and a new publisher) for the franchise to return to form with Driver: San Francisco, which has taken strides to distance itself from the Grand Theft Auto-cloned Driv3r and Parallel Lines by going back to the style of the original two games, but Ubisoft's lack of confidence in the franchise led to it being retooled into Watch_Dogs.
  • Master of Orion and Master of Orion 2 are classics in the turn-based strategy genre. A toxic combination of Executive Meddling, Sequelphobic developers, and some other bad decisions resulted in a Master Of Orion 3 that bears a striking resemblance to doing one's taxes and is about as much fun. The game bombed hard on release, and since then there has been little hope that the series will be revived. Brad Wardell of Stardock expressed interest in making a fourth game in 2008, but his comments were mere speculation and there has been no follow-up. The rights to the series were later acquired by World of Tanks developers Wargaming, so the series might live again, for the time being. A fourth game, helpfully titled just Master of Orion, was finally released in 2016. While not too badly received, it was generally criticised for being a functional but bland game that added nothing new to either the series or the genre as a whole, which had seen something of a revival around that time.

    Atari — Midway Games 
  • Blacksite: Area 51 is an interesting chicken-or-the-egg case. While the game is so atrociously bad that it ensured no future Area 51 games would be made, the game's Obvious Beta glitches and other signs of having been rushed out the door are an indication that Midway Games was already on the brink of collapse. Sure enough, the entire company folded soon after the game's release. Lead designer Harvey Smith stated that the game was badly rushed, the team at times having only four days to fix and polish a level, and that "it went straight from alpha to final" in the last few months before release. While there were elements that he liked (such as the political commentary), overall he felt that the game deserves the reception it got, saying "this project was so fucked up."
  • Following Midway's departure from the arcade business, the Cruis'n arcade racing series didn't have much of a future after the release of Cruis'n Exotica, the third and then-final Cruis'n game made for arcades and ported to the Nintendo 64. Midway nonetheless made attempts to continue the series specifically for game consoles to no success. The first attempt, Cruis'n Velocity on the GBA, was hardly known and even less remembered. The second attempt several years later, Cruis'n for the Wii, became widely recognized as one of the most wretched games released for the platform, and for good reason—it was a dolled-up Porting Disaster of Midway's The Fast and the Furious arcade game, with all references to the film within the game scrubbed out. Cruis'n Wii was met with critical drubbing and abysmal salesnote , and escorted the series into hibernation. It would take Midway's bankruptcy, the license to the series reverting to series owner Nintendo, and nine years for the series to resurface in any format with 2017's Cruis'n Blast, a new arcade game licensed out to developer Raw Thrills (who produced the aforementioned Fast and Furious arcade game).
  • Gauntlet was a fairly decent hack-and-slash arcade-style adventure series, until Seven Sorrows came along. Developed by Midway's San Diego studio after the former Atari Games had been closed down, it is an Obvious Beta, with a lot of old standby techniques gone (like not being able to shoot potions), and none of the "new features" touted for the game anywhere. Any plans for the franchise after that were effectively shelved until Warner Bros. rebooted the series on PC and PlayStation 4 a decade later, and while it scored better than their Spy Hunter reboot (see below), player and critical reaction was mixed.
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon killed the original Mortal Kombat continuity. By that point, each new game introduced new characters whilst continuing the storyline from the first game. Unfortunately, Armageddon suffered from what many critics saw as an underwhelming storyline, complex button sequences that the player would have to master in order to execute a fatality, and a recycled game engine from the two previous Mortal Kombat games resulted in the game falling into Contested Sequel status. The underwhelming reception, combined with Midway's continued financial problems, resulted in the game selling around 800,000 units less than its predecessor, Mortal Kombat: Deception. The next game after Armageddon, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, remains one of the most polarizing entries in the Mortal Kombat franchise. After Midway sold its properties, including Mortal Kombat, to DC parent Warner Bros., the MK team (which largely survived Midway's collapse) decided to give the series a proper Continuity Reboot with Mortal Kombat 9, firmly returning the series to its 2½D fighting roots. Interestingly, Ed Boon himself stated that the franchise killing was deliberate, using Armageddon with the intent to wiping everything clean so he could restart the franchise fresh in the future.
  • Rampage kept trucking on despite repetitive games in the second half of the 2000s, but Rampage Through Time is considered to be a major deathblow, as the competition-based gameplay style was not at all appreciated by fans or critics of the series. The series tried to sneak back into the mainstream with Rampage: Total Destruction, but that idea of a reboot failed, too, stopping the series cold. The closest the series has gotten to a revival is the Rampage (2018) film and the tie-in arcade game for the Dave & Buster's restaurant/arcades.
  • After a six-year hiatus due to Midway leaving the arcade industry, the San Francisco Rush series came roaring back with L.A. Rush for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Despite praise for the realistic handling of the vehicles, critics and players complained over the restricted customization of the vehicles as well as veering away from the Jump Physics trope that defined much of the series in favor of a more generic, street racing formula. Sales failed to impress, and after a PlayStation Portable port failed to take the game anywhere, Midway shelved the series. Warner Bros., who currently owns the Rush franchise, has no plans for future games at the moment.
  • Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run was intended to be a tie-in to a cancelled movie. Needless to say, the game flopped belly up, and an attempt by Warner Bros. and TT Fusion to reboot the series in 2013 with a 30th anniversary game did even worse and killed the series off completely. At least the theme song was awesome.

    Bandai / Namco 
  • Namco's 1985 arcade game Baraduke is little more than a Cult Classic (even if it predates Metroid by one year), but Baraduke II, which came out 3 years later, was a bomb that relegated the series to obscurity.
  • Baten Kaitos: Origins came out near the end of the GameCube's lifespan, four months before the Wii launch. Despite improving massively on the flaws of Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, it was overlooked due to launching so close to next-gen consoles and didn't sell particularly well, followed by the rumored Nintendo DS installment getting cancelled.
  • Gundam Breaker was a surprise hit, leading to the sequels Gundam Breaker 2 and the highly-regarded Gundam Breaker 3. Unfortunately, New Gundam Breaker took the series in a whole new direction (it was geared to take advantage of the "live service" or E-sports boom Bandai believed was coming) that was so badly received that game shops were flooded with used copies within the first week of release, leading to the depressing sight of entire shelves of unsold brand-new copies of New Gundam Breaker alongside used copies. The Steam version was held back for patching (and the Steam version is indeed improved over the PS4 original), but the damage was done and the series was effectively dead in the water, at least where consoles are concerned. Gundam Breaker Mobile was released on mobile phones and in comparison was much better received thanks to likable characters and ties to the much-loved Gundam Breaker 3, but the backlash to New Gundam Breaker was so severe that Bandai initially released the game under the name Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare out of fears the name Gundam Breaker had been permanently tainted.
  • The 2008 Wii remake of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile bombed so badly in sales that it not only killed any possibility of the proposed Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil remake getting greenlit, but put the entire game series on ice, as no new Klonoa games would be announced or released for 14 years. It did live on as a webcomic on ShiftyLook for a bit, but then Shifty Look closed down, sealing the coffin on the series until an animated film was announced in October 2016, which was also cancelled in January 2019. In February 2022, a remake of the main two games in the series was announced and released in July of the same year. Time will tell what Klonoa's future will be.
  • Pac-Man's platforming spin-offs have had this happen ever since the release of Pac-Man World 3, which was largely contested by fans in comparison to its fan-favorite predecessor, Pac-Man World 2. Pac-Man wouldn't return to 3D platforming until the release of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures and its sequel, both tie-ins to the reboot cartoon series...only for the games to sell poorly as well. Since then, the series has refrained from venturing into 3D platforming territory again until 2022, when a Video Game Remake of the first World game was announced.
  • The Ridge Racer series was derailed by two titles: Ridge Racer for the Play Station Vita and Ridge Racer Unbounded for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Ridge Racer Vita was panned heavily across the board by reviewers for being a total rush job of a gamenote , with a hideous lack of base content and modes compared to past titles (with the first pack of DLC containing material that could have easily been added to the base game), offering no new material (all of the courses and vehicles being recycled from Ridge Racer 7), and a poorly-implemented online mode that determines a player's speed based on their experience level, which automatically renders any race Unwinnable by Design for newcomers. Meanwhile, Unbounded, while nowhere near as bad as Ridge Racer Vita, was decried by most of its critics as a mash-up of several other arcade racers, without having any of the traditional aspects that made the series popular (never mind that it skipped a release in its home country in Japan). Neither was received very well, and no new games for the series have come out since those two titles.
  • Once one of the top-tier fighting games, the Soul series hit quite the bump in the road with 2012's Soulcalibur V. From a character standpoint, it removed over a dozen fan-favorite characters and replaced less than half of them with less-popular ones, who either received too much attention (in the case of Sophitia's children) or no development at all (Z.W.E.I., Viola, and especially Xiba being notable examples). The quality of the story also suffered greatly due to Executive Meddling (reports state that three-quarters of the planned story had to be axed just to get the game out on time to capitalize on the end-of-January market, with Project Soul's budget and staffing being cut by Namco mid-development), resulting in a pointless 17-year Time Skip that was admitted to be arbitrary by the game's director Daishi Odashima. Additionally, a story riddled with Incest Subtext, Contrived Coincidences, functional immortality for much of the cast, and the majority of the remaining cast's individual story arcs being Left Hanging with no true ending, combined with several gameplay modes and features removed from the last several games, made this game divisive at best, even for a fanbase that found the character creator (cosmetic-only, as opposed to affecting playstyles as was the case in SCIII and SCIV) to be a redeeming factor. Soulcalibur VI, released in October of 2018, was an attempt to Win Back the Crowd and, according to producer Motohiro Okubo, Project Soul's last shot due to the damage incurred from V's controversial reputation; if VI didn't succeed, then the whole franchise would vanish, thereby cementing V as the Franchise Killer. Fortunately, it seems to be doing rather well so far, having a very solid launch note , being one of the highest-rated fighters of its generation (an 84 on Metacritic), and getting enough acclaim and attention to be included as part of the EVO 2019 lineup.
  • Despite being regarded by players as a solid brawler/slasher, the 2010 Splatterhouse remake ensured practically 100% that the franchise had reached its end, with its mixed critical reviews and underwhelming commercial performance (the latter of which was made even more painful by the game’s utterly Troubled Production) being the nail in the coffin for what was already a niche series to begin with. Considering that the original 3 Splatterhouse games were included as unlockables, it's safe to say that the developers saw this coming.
  • Although Xenosaga was meant to be a six-part series, it ended after three games. None of the games individually are primarily responsible for the premature end, but altogether the games didn't perform as well as expected. Episode II performed so poorly that one of the selling points for Episode III was that it (debatably) coherently summarizes Episode II, removing the need to play it to understand the story. Episode III was received much better, but not enough to keep the series going beyond that point. Eventually, after Monolith Soft was bought out by Nintendo, they created yet another successor to Xenogears and Xenosaga called Xenoblade Chronicles, which was much more successful and became its own series.

  • Although it isn't exactly bad, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is such an incredible deviation from the rest of the Breath of Fire games (a series that's usually very big on continuity, to boot) that the series came to a screeching halt. Even when another company offered to buy the license to make a new Breath of Fire game, Capcom refused. Eventually, Capcom released a Japan-exclusive sixth installment for PC and smartphones, but although Ryu and Nina were present, it looked and felt like part of a completely different series , and closed down quickly without much fanfare.
  • Due to poor sales and, more specifically, Executive Meddling, the Darkstalkers series hasn't seen a new release since 1998. Yoshinori Ono (Street Fighter IV producer) has been working vigorously towards a new installment, but it's unlikely to get any sort of release due to low sales of Darkstalkers Resurrection (a downloadable re-release of the second and third games released March 2013). Fingers are often pointed at the extremely underwhelming duo of Vampire Savior 2 and Vampire Hunter 2 for quickly stripping away what life the franchise once had.
  • Dead Rising 4 was roundly criticized by series fans for seemingly "dumbed-down" gameplay and a Denser and Wackier plot, and strongly underperformed in sales. Some time after the game was released, it came out that Capcom Vancouver was trying to re-invent the series in a Darker and Edgier direction inspired by The Last of Us, without telling the main branch. When shown to them, Capcom hated it, denied them the reboot, and fired most of the staff as a result while telling the remaining ones to go back and re-do it as normal, only now with severely reduced production time and having to reuse the assets they had planned for the reboot, which led them to cut out a lot of the series staples. After an Updated Re-release, Capcom shut down its Vancouver studio (which had made every game in the series since the second) and canceled all of their projects, making it unlikely that a fifth Dead Rising game (which ironically was in pre-production at the time) will be released in the foreseeable future.
  • Dino Crisis 3 stretches Willing Suspension of Disbelief beyond all hope of recovery when it puts dinosaurs on a spaceship in the future. That's not even getting into the gameplay, which proved to be lackluster due to the inclusion of anti-gravity without the controls to make it bearable and only intesified by the Camera Screw, or the plot, which discards the running story of the previous games despite the fact that Dino Crisis 2 ends on a cliffhanger. Its chances weren't helped by the fact that it was an Xbox exclusive, and after its 2003 release Capcom has stayed silent about any potential follow-ups.
  • Final Fight: Streetwise proved to be a critical dud and put an end to any further games in the Final Fight continuity. Most of its characters now live on as part of Street Fighter canon (luckily for them, Final Fight and Street Fighter reside in a Shared Universe).
  • The mixed-to-negative reception and poor sales of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, on top of the extensive Executive Meddling during game development caused the relationship between Marvel and Capcom to break down, with both sides blaming the other for all the game's problems. As a result, there will most likely not be another Marvel vs. Capcom game unless they reconcile in the future.
  • Mega Man:
    • The entire franchise saw an eight-year dearth of new games, outside of a single social-RPG mobile game called Rockman Xover. While the game saw modest success in Japan, lasting for 4 years, overseas it was universally despised and seen as the death knell of the franchise. It didn't help that during Xover's lifespan, four different Mega Man games were cancelled (including the much-anticipated Mega Man Legends 3) and Keiji Inafune left Capcom.
    • The Mega Man (Classic) series has the misfortune of having two of them. Mega Man 8 was released to less than favorable reviews, with fans complaining about radical changes to recurring game elements such as the lack of E-Tanks and a complete change to the way Rush functions, as well unpopular segments like the snowboarding sections, and a laughably bad English dub. With the success of Mega Man X4 around the same time and the new Mega Man Legends series coming into being, the series fell into relative dormancy, as aside from two Japan-only games - a Gaiden Game created for the Super Famicom (in 1998) and a Mascot Racer, the Classic series wouldn't see another mainline release for 12 years until the Retraux Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10. While 9 was praised as a return to form, 10 was seen as more of the same after 9, and the series returned to dormancy for another 8 years until Mega Man 11 was announced, eventually releasing in 2018 to generally good reviews.
    • Mega Man X8, while Vindicated by History and considered an okay-to-great Mega Man X game, had the misfortune of coming out after the rushed and half-baked Franchise Zombie Mega Man X6 and the universally-reviled Mega Man X7, leading to fans being less willing to give it a chance. Negative reviews revolving around its difficulty didn't help, either, and ultimately it was the final X game (aside from what may be a vague tease of a new entry in the Japanese manual for Mega Man X Legacy Collection).
    • Mega Man Battle Network featured one named Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun and Blue Moon. Despite having a few unique chips and legitimately interesting Navis to fight, 4 suffered strongly from being Christmas Rushed. Even when taking the fact that 3 was a Tough Act to Follow, it's not hard to see why people lost faith in the series after this. Even though 5 and 6 were much better received, they weren't able to receive quite as much attention as 3 and 4 did, due mostly to 4. 6 was somewhat hampered by being released on the Game Boy Advance as opposed to the Nintendo DS in 2006 (outside of Japan), when a lot of players had made the swap.
  • Sengoku Basara used to be a niche franchise with a strong following among Japanese audiences as a serious competitor to Koei's Samurai Warriors for the Sengoku Period hack and slash game. Then NHK Channel released a popular drama TV Series Sanada-maru, revolving around the life of the soldier/general Sanada Yukimura, who was featured heavily in both games. Both Dueling Games decided to cash in on this with their series spin-offs, Spirit of Sanada and Yukimura-den... the latter of the two being the death knell of the franchise due to its Darker and Edgier feel and meager content despite its full price. Yukimura-den bombed so hard that Capcom stopped producing any new mainline SB games, only keeping the franchise alive with merchandising, stage-plays, a High-School A.U. anime (Gakuen Basara/Basara Academy), and finally a mobile gacha game (Sengoku Basara Battle Party), the latter of which only lasted for 18 months until it was shut down. The only recognition SB has received since then is the appearance of Oichi in Capcom's intra-continuity crossover card game, Teppen.
  • Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor was the death knell for what was a highly immersive and decent Humongous Mecha franchise. While most of the reviews praise the concept behind Heavy Armor, such as its story and the desired gameplay effect, almost everyone takes umbrage with the execution, which is to say the mandatory Kinect interface and its inability to accurately translate player motions into in-game actions. Between scathing reviews and sales figures below even those of the original Steel Battalion (which was a break-even affair in the first place), Capcom has made no mention of sequels to redeem the title or even a patch to smooth out the control issues.
  • Street Fighter has two different franchise killers, released within a three-year timeframe.
    • First, Street Fighter III attempted to (finally) push the series forward in both story and roster. Unfortunately, it received a lukewarm reception from consumers due to removing every fan-favorite character except Ryu and Ken note , the slower game speed (compared to Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Alpha), and the decision to both remove air-blocking and add parrying (which basically turned it into a new game entirely). However, Third Strike was eventually Vindicated by History thanks to its role in tournament gaming.
    • The second killer is 2000's Street Fighter EX3 which, while somewhat successful, debatably failed to prove that Street Fighter gameplay could translate into the new 3D graphics era. It wouldn't be until 2008's Street Fighter IV when Capcom would correct both of those issues. The release of IV and the fighting game revival it helped usher in also ended up mostly vindicating the entire EX series in the process, as players were able to look back and recognize how several elements introduced in those games influenced the development of IV note . As such, EX is seen more favorably nowadays as an admirable (if not flawed) attempt at making a Video Game 3D Leap, to the point that it's been questioned how much of the criticism back then was legitimate and how much was simply a negative response to Capcom handing over development duties to Arika for Street Fighter installments that didn't use sprites.

    Eidos Interactive 
  • Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain, after the first three games in the Legacy of Kain series performed very well, received lukewarm reviews, and to fans of the series its story and design aesthetic were a complete departure from the rest of the franchise. The series stumbled on to Defiance, which got a bit better reception on both fronts, but it wasn't enough to save the series.
  • Commandos: Strike Force effectively killed off the Commandos franchise. It is essentially a completely different game from its predecessors, being a pretty generic first-person shooter with a different cast. Even Pyro Studios doesn't acknowledge it anymore.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War, the much-anticipated sequel to the seminal Deus Ex, was so poorly received (by the community; it received decent marks from critics) that developer Ion Storm Austin was driven to collapse, and the spin-off title Deus Ex: Clan Wars was changed to Project: Snowblind to remove negative association with the ballyhooed franchise. Another title in the series wouldn't be made until 2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which was a prequel to the original titles.
    • There has been mostly silence in regards to any follow-up to 2016's Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. This, combined with unverified reports of the game selling poorly, has led to speculations of the franchise being put to bed for the moment. It should be noted that while the game did perform worse in comparison to Human Revolution in the UK, its success everywhere else is unconfirmed, and former parent company Square Enix cited the game as part of their profit-increase for that fiscal year. Moreover, Square Enix and Eidos have denied putting the franchise on ice, stating that they will likely return to it when their schedule and resources are available. Despite this, no news of it has surfaced ever since, and Square Enix sold off the company in 2022, with the fate of the sequel in limbo.
  • The Kane & Lynch franchise came to an abrupt end once Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days was released to lackluster reviews due to its nauseating shaky cam, short length, and an insultingly abrupt ending. Combined with Square Enix not interested in anything related to Kane & Lynch after buying out Eidos and developer IO Interactive returning to their mainstay Hitman franchise all but killed any plans for a sequel and sending a planned film adaptation into purgatory.
  • Tomb Raider was subjected to heavy amounts of Executive Meddling by Eidos through the franchise's life. Due to the huge popularity of the original game, Eidos demanded Core Design make a new Tomb Raider game every year. The quality of each game took a dip bit by bit during the PlayStation era, and by Tomb Raider Chronicles, it showed; the game is short, has sloppy level design, and is riddled with bugs that can make the game Unwinnable. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was the last straw due to being delayed twice and then rushed out to meet the fiscal year, which resulted in a ton of glitches, sloppy controls, and cut content. Eidos dissolved Core, and the franchise went into hibernation for a few years until Tomb Raider: Legend came along, produced by Crystal Dynamics. The franchise was in danger of being sunk once again due to Tomb Raider: Anniversary (a remake of the first game) and Tomb Raider: Underworld being made at the same time due to Eidos continuing to demand the franchise pump out games quickly, causing content and level length to be cut down in the former and various glitches popping up in the latter. Square Enix bought out Eidos and the Tomb Raider franchise was rebooted again with Tomb Raider (2013), still under Crystal Dynamics and with enough success to warrant two sequels.

    Electronic Arts 
  • The Command & Conquer franchise got killed off after the release of the fourth game in the main series, and that was only a few years after solid hits by the third games of both the main series and the Red Alert spin-off series. With EA having so many other Cash Cow Franchises at the time, Tiberian Twilight came and tanked in 2010. EA later announced that it planned on developing a multiplayer-only online-focused free-to-play sequel to Generals, but it also got cancelled. It wouldn't be until 2018 that EA would return to the franchise with the mobile game Command & Conquer: Rivals. Then in June 2020, Command and Conquer Remastered, a Video Game Remake of Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert 1, was released with updated features such as 4K graphics, overhauled cutscenes and numerous quality-of-life improvements in terms of gameplay. The reception was very positive and made fans hopeful for the franchise's future, most especially that the remake is handled by Petroglyph Games, which was founded by three former Westworld programmers who originally worked on the franchise.
  • Following a decently-received revival of the Medal of Honor franchise in 2010, Medal of Honor: Warfighter was panned for its uninspired storytelling and a mess of bugs, even after a ridiculously large day-one patch. The game is so hated it became a walking punchline for "Bad Modern Military Shooters". Originally meant to plug the gap between bi-yearly Battlefield releases, the Medal of Honor franchise (and EA's Los Angeles studio, which was later occupied by Battlefield creator DICE) died out as a result of Warfighter's failure. The only game in the franchise since then is a 2020 VR game that returned to World War II.
  • EA Sports' NBA Live series was going to be renamed NBA Elite for the 2011 year. However, the game's demo was so awful that they yanked it and cancelled the game weeks from release. It doesn't help that their primary competitor, Take Two's NBA 2K11, is widely considered one of the best sports games of all time. After sitting the 2011 year out, EA tried to reboot the series in 2012 with NBA Live 13, only for them to cancel that title as well for similar reasons, resulting in EA conceding the basketball sim market to 2K Sports. Even after Live 14 brought EA back to the basketball sim world, it took a few years for the series to become decent again, but it still lagged far behind the NBA 2K series in the public eye, which culminated in EA pulling the plug on the series yet again in 2019 when they cancelled NBA Live 20 and haven't released any new games since.
  • Project CARS 3 in 2020 met a poor reception from fans of the prior two games, who criticized it for abandoning the series' pure simulation approach to auto racing in favor of a "simcade" style, and sales were a mere fraction of those of the second game. As a result, when EA bought Codemasters, the parent company of Project CARS' developer Slightly Mad Studios, the following year, they saw little reason to keep the series around, and canceled the planned fourth game while transferring Slightly Mad's staff over to their other racing games.
  • The Rock Band series fell victim to having constant spin-offs released for the series, which (along with GH's spin-offs) contributed to a waning interest in the genre. This culminated in Green Day Rock Band and Rock Band 3 (released a few months apart) performing under expectations despite both being well-received by critics. The poor commercial response prompted then-parent Viacom to drop Harmonix (and with it, the MTV Games brand) and EA dropping the distribution rights of the franchise. Without backing from Viacom and EA, Harmonix's ability to get licenses for popular music started to dwindle, and a year or so after the spin-off (but DLC-compatible) game Rock Band Blitz, DLC releases reached their end. It took four years for Harmonix to announce anything new for the series — 2015's Rock Band 4, which was published directly by Harmonix. That, too, fell to lukewarm reactions, with most critics deriding it as being "more of the same", and it never took off the way its predecessors did. With Harmonix now appearing to be going back to its roots as evidenced by the 2016 Amplitude reboot, Rock Band 4 might not have just killed off the Rock Band series again, but also taken the entire genre of peripheral-based rhythm games with it.
  • SimCity (2013)'s messy launch, caused mostly by the game's early requirements of a persistent Internet connection that lead to the game being unplayable due to overloaded servers, combined with significantly cut-down gameplay compared to its predecessors and a litany of bugs, lead to overwhelming negative reception from fans and critics that doomed the long-running city management series. The runaway success of Cities: Skylines then marked the nail in the coffin for SimCity, at least for the forseeable future. SC 2013's failure also played a big part in the main Maxis studio being closed down and John Riccitiello losing his position as EA's CEO.
  • Though Ultima IX: Ascension was already planned to bring the third trilogy of games to a close, it resulted in a horribly Broken Base. Development nevertheless started on Ultima X, which was never finished.
  • Oddly enough, the Wing Commander series wasn't shot down by any of its video game entries; titles such as Privateer 2: The Darkening and Wing Commander Prophecy, while not without their flaws, weren't enough to take the franchise down. That dishonor instead goes to the financial disaster that was the film adaptation, which falls into the same traps that most film adaptations of video games usually fall into. A painful example of a franchise killer caused by an entry in an entirely separate medium—a promised sequel to the popular Wing Commander: Secret Ops, Wing Commander Strike Team, never saw the light of day, and a weak arena shooter for Xbox Live remains the only appearance of the franchise ever since.

  • The double whammy of Clayfighter 63 1/3 and Clayfighter X-Treme ultimately killed the ClayFighter franchise. 63 1/3 is an Obvious Beta with dated graphics, annoying voice clips and glitchy, unbalanced gameplay. Although the game was a modest commercial success, its critical reception was so bad that Interplay released a Director's Cut six months later that addresses some (but not all) of the gameplay and balancing issues of 63 1/3. Meanwhile, X-Treme fell into Development Hell and never even saw release. Other than a Virtual Console re-release of the original, the series has been completely dormant ever since.
  • There was a fourth Descent game planned, but it was cancelled due to poor sales of Descent 3 and Interplay going bankrupt.
  • The first Earthworm Jim is great and became a classic, and the sequel is still pretty good (even if it tries a bit too hard to be wacky), but the third game Earthworm Jim 3D, no longer developed by the original creators, is terrible despite the prolonged development period. Frame rate issues, lame "zany" humor and gameplay copied from more famous 3D platformers are just a few of the game's problems. However, the even more terrible Game Boy Color game, Menace 2 the Galaxy, killed the franchise for good; as attempts to get a new game off the ground (in particular, a new installment for the PlayStation Portable, and a tentatively-titled Earthworm Jim 4) have frequently stalled in development before seeing cancellation.
  • Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, combined with the cancellation of the original version of Fallout 3, halted Interplay's run on the Fallout franchise. Fallout wouldn't come back until Bethesda Softworks acquired the series and breathed new life into it with their own version of Fallout 3.

    Koei / Tecmo 
  • Fatal Frame III's abysmal sales killed the franchise outside of its native Japan for a long time. Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse was never released outside Japan due to game breaking bugs that neither Nintendo nor Tecmo were willing to address. Europe and Australia did, however, receive a Wii remake of the second title in the series, as Fatal Frame II: Deep Crimson Butterfly (the lack of an American release may have something to do with Nintendo of America wanting to focus most of its attention on the then-unreleased Wii U). The series saw two other releases outside Japan with a 3DS spin-off called Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir, and another mainline entry on the Wii U entitled Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, but neither game got much love from fans or critics, and it took six years since Maiden of Black Water's initial release for Koei Tecmo to try to revitalize interest in the series by porting the game to PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X.
  • Monster Rancher EVO is thought to have killed the Monster Rancher series. The raising mechanics are dumbed down and music minigames are shoehorned in, and the game was received poorly by both fans and critics. Though the death of disc swapping in modern consoles may have been a part of it as well, it was the last console Monster Rancher game and no new Monster Rancher games that weren't an Allegedly Free Game were released since 2010, until an Updated Re-release of the first two games came out for Nintendo Switch and was released in English in December 2021.
  • The Ninja Gaiden PS3/Xbox 360 series took a sharp dive in quality when producer/director Tomonobu Itagaki departed from Team Ninja to form his own studio following the release of Ninja Gaiden II, as evidenced by the negative reception to Ninja Gaiden III. The NGIII re-release Razor's Edge would try to undo some of the damage, but it wasn't enough. The spin-off title Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z flopped even harder, leaving Ryu Hayabusa and friends to continue their adventures in the Shared Universe of Dead or Alive for the time being.
  • Rygar: The Legendary Adventure is a good game, but didn't perform well enough to continue the series. It was less-than-spectacularly ported to the Wii several years thereafter, sealing the fate of the franchise. Tecmo announced a Rygar 2 at one point, but it ended up being vaporware.
  • Five years elapsed between WinBack and its sequel, which in the end turned out completely awful and flopped.

    Konami / Hudson Soft 
  • Bloody Roar 4 is considered the worst entry in the franchise by its small but dedicated fanbase, and no new entries have been made since then (a prospect especially unlikely nowadays with the demise of Hudson Soft in 2012). Luckily, the developer Eighting survived, and went on to develop other licensed fighting games since as the Naruto: Clash of Ninja series, Fate/unlimited codes, and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
  • Bomberman Act:Zero is often considered one of the worst gaming reboots in history, featuring tedious gameplay, buckets of Fake Difficulty, and a grimdark story and setting that is wholly at odds with the series' cutesy and cartoony roots. It also more or less destroyed a franchise that was already suffering through a very rough Audience-Alienating Era. Act:Zero became the second to last non-spinoff game of the series released on home consoles (the last was a Japan-exclusive Wii game). A planned 3DS title was cancelled, and the series saw an eight-year drought of non-port releases from 2009 to 2017, when Konami (who bought Hudson Soft and all of its franchises) released Super Bomberman R for the launch of the Nintendo Switch. R was received quite well critically and financially, and has managed to stick around via ports and a period of post-launch support. And at 2022, Super Bomberman R2 was announced, so the revival attempt has worked.
  • Castlevania had two bouts of this:
    • While Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is generally regarded as a good (if somewhat difficult) game, diminishing returns in sales pushed Konami to stop making 2D Castlevania games and try once more to find success in 3D with the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow continuity.
    • This first Lords of Shadow proved to be a surprising success, but a combination of middling review scores for Lords of Shadow 2 and complaints of Executive Meddling within MercurySteam (developers of the Lords of Shadow games) halted that sub-series in its tracks.
    • The action mobile game Grimoire of Souls attempted to return the series to the pre-Lords of Shadow continuity, but closed down before getting a full launch. The franchise still lives on somewhat thanks to re-releases, the success of the Netflix cartoon, and Simon and Richter Belmont's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and surprisingly, Konami announced that Grimoire of Souls would return as a non-gacha game with hopefully a more complete story... but only at, of all platforms, Apple Arcade.
  • DanceDanceRevolution X killed the franchise outside of Asia, not because of the game itself, but because of the Bad Export for You fiasco surrounding the arcade hardware. In Asia, Konami offered upgrade kits for old machines as well as brand-new redesigned cabinets with HD monitors. In North America and Europe, however, Konami contracted things to Raw Thrills and Betson. Upgrade kits were available, but rare, while the common brand new cabinet was a cheap knock-off of the redesigned HD cabinets. Case in point: the pad was covered by one single piece of metal, with holes punched through it for the arrows, and the control panel on the cabinet was just blank metal with no decoration. The RT/Betson cabinets were inferior in quality to the Japanese ones, and broke as easily as peanut brittle, yet they were still thousands of dollars more expensive than upgrading an old cabinet would've been. This led to lots of arcades buying a new machine, only to find out it was crap. Making this worse is that a dedicated In the Groove 2 cabinet had been introduced to North American arcades some years prior, which was no longer on the market, but increased players' expectations for quality. To this day, there are still old, broken-down RT/Betson DDR X cabinets scattered around North America, and neither X3 nor DDR 2013 received international releases. While Betson tried to update the cabinets with X2, the cabinets looked nearly identical and retained some issues, further reinforcing the notion of poor build quality. Konami later partnered with Dave & Busters, and the U.S. locations of Japanese arcade chain Round1, to offer DDR 2014 location tests. Successful tests led to the international release of DDR A, beginning with the United States launch on July 6, 2016, which used Japanese cabinets with localized software, with other regions following later.
  • The Ganbare Goemon series is a primarily Japan-only series that was wildly successful for a time in its native land. The handful of games that were translated didn't have great sales, but are well-regarded as cult classics, chiefly for their Flanderization of Japanese mythology, as well as a bizarre, zany sense of humour. Unfortunately, in 2000, a Darker and Edgier reboot (Bōken Jidai Katsugeki Goemon) for the PS2 wound up being a critical and commercial failure and signalled the series' demise. The series pushed out a few more phone- and portable-based games, but the franchise has not had a proper new entry since 2005 and appears all but dead now save a Mii Fighter costume for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • The arcade version of Gradius III did not perform as well in Japanese arcades as its predecessors due to a Sequel Difficulty Spike that drove away most of the players except for the truly hardcore. As a result, the only home conversion of the game for many years was a reformulated port for the SNES that tones the difficulty to a fair extent. It would be another ten years before Konami decided to produce a fourth Gradius game for the arcades.
  • Metal Gear, the long-running franchise that put Konami on the mainstream radar, was killed by Metal Gear Survive. It started with their feud with Hideo Kojima and their shift in management to focus on lower scale games like mobile games or pachinko. It resulted in the severe Troubled Production of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (although it was still considered a decent game) and Kojima leaving Konami, but even then, Konami still had an obligation to make a new Metal Gear game even without Kojima's supervision. The result was Metal Gear Survive, a game that only followed the current trend of "zombie survival shooters" and had several features that did not sit well with the fandom, such as having to pay real life money for an extra save slot. And the game itself was considered very mediocre, not living up to the prestige of the franchise. Even after Konami ended up returning to making actual video games (despite the ensuing controversy that destroyed their reputation, at least in the West), it is less likely for them to touch Metal Gear again, not just for the lack of Kojima; their strategy for that time required them to avoid the AAA video game development scene (something Metal Gear is considered as). The cast of Metal Gear still makes several sporadic cameos, from being in Super Bomberman R and Solid Snake still staying as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • Rumble Roses suffered from a Broken Base before it was even released, with both Anime and Professional Wrestling fans interested in the game. During development, it became obvious the game was designed to cater to anime fans, but was a decent enough wrestling game that the pro wrestling camp wasn't fully alienated. Then came the sequel, Rumble Roses XX, with a labyrinthine and ludicrously time-consuming unlocking system, a completely pathetic create-a-wrestler feature, and a boring street fighting mode that no one liked. The killer, though, was the "Queens Match Mode", done in a style of Japanese erotica that, through Values Dissonance, comes across as extremely creepy Fan Disservice elsewhere, evaporating most of its international fanbase. To make matters worse, RRXX was released on a different platform (Xbox 360) than the original game (PlayStation 2), killing much of its built-in audience. Plans were to eventually port, but higher-ups claimed there simply was not enough interest in the series to make a PlayStation 3 version viable.

  • Chibi-Robo! saw a string of failures in the West, though it wasn't a great seller in its home country either: Park Patrol (which shifted away from the first game's housekeeping concept) sold very poorly in the US largely due to being a Wal-Mart exclusive, Okaeri! Chibi-Robo! Happy Richie Ōsōji! (a return-to-form) was Japan-only, and Chibi Robo: Photo Finder (which once again deviated from the original's gameplay) saw average reviews across the board. Chibi Robo: Zip Lash (another gameplay deviation) would be the franchise's final chance at life, and even tried to jump in on the amiibo craze by having one release exclusively bundled with the game. The amiibo didn't help and it completely bombed. The last time the character would be mentioned by the company was in 2018, when Nintendo of America's Twitter account released a picture of Chibi engulfed in flames (a power-up from Zip Lash) in reference to the Nintendo fanbase going insane over a rumored Direct. Either that or Nintendo's admission that they've decided to literally Torch the Franchise and Run. Outside of that, Chibi-Robo and friends still appear as cameos in the Super Smash Bros. series.
  • Custom Robo ended with its DS installment, Arena, the second game released outside of Japan following Battle Revolution on the GameCube (known as just Custom Robo in English). While Battle Revolution is somewhat well-known, Arena was released early in the DS's lifespan and flew under the radar, putting the series on hold since 2007 aside from Super Smash Bros. representation, and even that lessened over time (Ray Mk. III is one of the only Assist Trophy characters to be dropped between games).
  • 2007's Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, while not without its fans, was generally ill-received and ended the line of Donkey Kong spin-offs that had persisted throughout the 2000s decade following Rare's departure. Funnily enough, most fans don't see this as a bad thing, as Nintendo themselves appeared to take it as a sign to return to the popular Donkey Kong Country series after a 10-year hiatus, with Retro Studios' Donkey Kong Country Returns releasing in 2010.
  • F-Zero, though it was mainly due to the anime. Nintendo was eager to turn F-Zero into one of their big franchises and bankrolled an animated series, presumably intending to replicate the success of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. Unfortunately, the show ended up being a ratings flop; particularly in North America, where 4Kids Entertainment got their hands on it and then only dubbed the first 15 episodes (out of 51) before washing their hands of it. The two tie-in games for the show also did poorly, with the Game Boy Advance game F-Zero: GP Legend seeing low sales in both Japan and America (in fact, it was the worst-selling first-party GBA release in America), and the last game in the series (Climax) only selling a minuscule 5,000 copies in Japan before falling off the charts. Since then, F-Zero's lead character has now become more associated with Super Smash Bros. than anything else, and though his series would still see representation and cameos in other Nintendo series (most notably an entire mode in Nintendo Land and its tracks and cars appearing in later Mario Kart entries), interviews with Nintendo staff like Shigeru Miyamoto suggest that there's little interest internally in making a new installment. The one positive thing that came out from the anime was the Falcon Punch scene, which increased the meme value of Captain Falcon and raised his popularity in Smash.
  • Fossil Fighters' third entry, Frontier, received mixed critical reception and wasn't received well by fans of the already-niche series due to its many changes from the first two games. As such, Fossil Fighters hasn't been acknowledged since 2015 outside of Super Smash Bros. representation.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn wasn't a bad game and it got decent reviews, but many critics and fans heavily criticized the game's bland and unfocused story, the outdated battle system, and the overall easy difficulty. Between the criticisms and the game selling less than the previous game, the chances of 2010's Dark Dawn getting a sequel is very unlikely.
  • The Mario & Luigi series experienced this with the Nintendo 3DS Video Game Remake of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. AlphaDream made this game along with the remake of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga to win back fans following the controversial direction taken by Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, but the former game had the opposite effect. While the game was generally well-received, it released very late in the 3DS's life span, was poorly marketed, and was seen as an unnecessary remake due to the original game being fully playable on the 3DS and good enough on its own merits (while Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, the game that needed a remake to fix its flaws the most, was skipped over due to not selling as well as the original Bowser's Inside Story), resulting in amongst the worst sales of any Mario game, RPG or otherwise, and leading to the death of both AlphaDream and the series itself.
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin effectively put the kibosh on the Nintendo Wars series in 2008. Days of Ruin attempted to breathe some fresh air into the perpetually bright and cheerful franchise by transplanting it into a more dismal, post-apocalyptic environment and giving it a much heavier emphasis on story, all in an attempt to better appeal to the American fanbase (where the series had quickly become more popular). However, the reception from both critics and players was lukewarm at best, and as a result, the Wars series hasn't seen a new installment since. However, a remake of the first two games by WayForward Technologies was announced for Nintendo Switch in 2021, giving fans hope for a full-on revival. However, due to unfortunate timing of the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine after being delayed for some refining, those plans have been put on hold.
  • The poor reception of 2010's Metroid: Other M put the Metroid series on ice for a second time.note  Despite good initial sales, poor word-of-mouth took its toll, and — in an absolute rarity for any Nintendo-published game — new copies were rapidly marked down to bargain price. Series producer and co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto also announced that he would personally take a break from the series while he worked on other games. In 2016, Nintendo released the spin-off game Metroid Prime: Federation Force to low sales, lukewarm critical reception, and outright rejection by the fan base. However, as implied in interviews and by Federation Force's own ending, Nintendo was far from done with the series. The following year would have the announcement of two new games: the 3D Metroid Prime 4 and the 2D Metroid: Samus Returns, the latter releasing just months later to both critical and fan acclaim. While the former game would see development issues for the next few years, the success of Samus Returns led directly to the long-abandoned Metroid Dread getting Saved from Development Hell and releasing in 2021.
  • Planet Puzzle League is considered a perfectly good game on its own, but received extremely negative consumer reception in Japan for almost completely ditching the Kawaisa aspect it had always sold itself on in the region. Other than a few Virtual Console rereleases of the original Panel de Pon (including an international release of the original game on the Switch's online service, although untranslated), there hasn't been a new stand-alone game in the series since 2007. The closest thing to a new release since then was a mini-game in the 2016 Welcome amiibo update of Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
  • The Broken Base that started in Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox: Assault managed to finally come back to bite the Star Fox franchise in the ass with Star Fox Command. It sold poorly and, barring the Nintendo 3DS remake of Star Fox 64, it took an entire decade for the series to receive a new title through Star Fox Zero for the Wii U. Alas, Star Fox Zero received even more polarizing reactions from critics and fans, no thanks to its unconventional control scheme and removal of staple features; as well as being the franchise's third Continuity Reboot. The result was Zero reportedly selling even less than Command, painting a very bleak future for the series. As a Consolation Prize, Star Fox 2, the shelved SNES sequel of the original game, finally got an official release on the SNES Classic the following year and would later show up on the Switch's online service. The inclusion of Star Fox characters in the Switch version of Ubisoft's 2018 game Starlink: Battle for Atlas was well-received and allowed the Switch version of the game to sell the best of all versions of the game, but that game also sold poorly in general due to being a Toys-To-Life Game released just as the fad had all-but-died.
  • The Legendary Starfy, the fifth entry of the Starfy series, released in 2009, and the little star hasn't seen a new game since. It is also the only game in the series to release outside of Japan, and didn't even come out in Europe. While it did get good reviews in North America, it sold poorly internationally, and it wasn't received as well as the first four games in Japan, mainly due to being dumbed-down from the previous titles. Despite this, Starfy continues to appear as an Assist Trophy in the Super Smash Bros. series, which has prevented the series from completely fading into obscurity.
  • Wario World, Wario: Master of Disguise, and Wario Land: Shake It! all received decent reviews from critics, but they sold so poorly that the Wario Land series hasn't seen any new installments since the latter's release in 2008. However, not only does Wario himself remain a staple of Mario spinoff titles, ensuring that the character remains relevant, but he continues to have his own games in the form of the WarioWare series.
  • The Wii U, while not causing Nintendo to leave the hardware industry, did kill off the Wii brand. The Wii was hugely successful, everyone and their grandma had one, and this was thanks to Nintendo aggressively marketing to the casual market. However, they were unable to replicate the Wii's success with its direct successor, the Wii U. They continued to market to the casual audience, but in an effort to stay relevent, also marketed to the hardcore crowd that Sony and Microsoft dominated.

    The result was that they won over neither: casual were switching to smartphone games thanks to their ease of access and low or nonexistent upfront cost, and any remaining Wii fans looked at the Wii U, saw the big tablet controller that the system's marketing emphasized, and mistook it for a $300 add-on for the original Wii (it didn't help that the actual Wii U console looked strikingly similar to the Wii). Nintendo's attempts to produce ad material to clear up the misconception did not help clear things up. Meanwhile, hardcore audiences weren't impressed with lousy ports of previous-gen titles due to the Wii U's underpowered hardware, and derided the GamePad as a useless gimmick, a reputation cemented later by Star Fox Zero with its intrusive GamePad-centric control scheme. Those hardcore gamers saved their money for a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One instead.

    When hardcore gamers ignored the Wii U and third-party developers pulled out of developing for the system in droves, Nintendo tried to save the system by shifting focus back onto the casual market and the younger crowd. This is reflected in their commercials at the time, which were clearly targeted at families. It didn't work: parents were still confused as to if the Wii U was a tablet accessory for the Wii or a completely new console (the fact that it's referred to in the commercials as an "upgrade" does not help), and children saw the Wii U as decidedly "uncool" due to the commercials re-enforcing Nintendo's image as the "wholesome children's video game company".

    As a result, the Wii U became the worst-selling Nintendo home console in history at only 13 million units. For their next console, Nintendo dropped the now-tarnished Wii brand and severely de-emphasized the remaining holdover from the company's Wii days, the Mii; While they formerly occupied their own slot on the main dashboard, they were relegated to an easily missable option in the Settings menu, and the Switch's expansive library scantly uses them: only 10 games use Miis (most of them being ports from the Wii, Wii U, or 3DS), the one game that still requires them being Miitopia. To the disappointment of Mii fans everywhere, the marketing for Nintendo Switch Sports heavily emphasized new in-game avatars called "Sportsmates", while Miis were barely featured in any advertising at all despite them being playable in the game.

  • Alex Kidd and the Enchanted Castle flopped so badly that Sega ditched the eponymous character as their mascot, and replaced him with Sonic the Hedgehog. While Alex probably didn't have much of a future as Sega's mascot anyway, since the company wanted a more "hip" audience for the Genesis, his series would probably have survived if Enchanted Castle had been better received. Instead, he appeared in the Dolled-Up Installment Alex Kidd in Shinobi World before being relegated to making cameos and occasional playable appearances in the Sega Superstars line of crossover games. It would take over 30 years for Alex to get a new game in 2021's Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX, a remake of the first game courtesy of publisher Merge Games (having acquired the license from Sega) and developer Jankenteam.
  • After their parent company THQ went out of business, Relic Entertainment were bought by Sega and later developed Dawn of War III, the much-anticipated third installment in the popular 40K RTS Dawn of War franchise. Dawn of War III was received far more negatively than either of the previous two entries (or their expansions) for fiddling with, removing and rewriting gameplay mechanics and plot developments that the franchise had since day 1. In 2018, Relic officially announced the game would receive no further updates or expansions, leaving DOW3 dead in the water, and the entire franchise most likely finished.
  • Golden Axe: Beast Rider is a failed attempt to translate the gameplay of the classic side-scrolling beat-em-up series to 3D, and did enough lasting damage to put an end to any further games in the franchise.
  • Nights Journey Of Dreams attempted to revive the NiGHTS franchise, which had been dormant at the time in spite of the modest success of NiGHTS into Dreams…note . Instead though, it would effectively kill off the franchise due to a mixture of low sales and a lukewarm critical reception. Outside of a HD remaster of the first game, a casino game and occasional crossover appearances, Sega has done next to nothing with the franchise and there hasn't been a new game since 2007. While Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has expressed a desire to do a third game, he has also indicated that Sega has little interest in revisiting the IP and that there are no plans for a true revival.
  • While the Dreamcast was Sega's final console before going third party, it was actually the Sega Saturn that caused their console division's demise. The Saturn was needlessly complex, with two CPUs and two GPUs driving the system's hardware and graphics. In addition to making it more difficult to program for the Saturn, it drove up manufacturing costs and ensured that cost-cutting hardware revisions were difficult if not impossible to produce.

    This alone may not have killed the Saturn, but Sega of Japan's insistance on pushing the system to the US market early in a misguided attempt to beat the launch of the Sony PlayStation critically wounded the platform before it got started. Initially scheduled for a September 2nd, 1995 release, then-Sega of America CEO Tom Kalinske went up on stage at E3 1995 on May 11th to announce that the Saturn was launching for $399 effective immediately, to the surprise of literally everyone outside of Sega. The damage was two-fold: developers working on the system's intended launch titles were blindsided by the sudden change in release date and thus soured Sega's relations with developers, and retailers who were not informed of the early release were pissed, and responded by dropping Sega products from their stores. Sega's efforts to upstage the PlayStation were for naught when then-SECA (Sony Computer Entertainment America) CEO Steve Race came on stage with a big speech prepared, only to simply state the PS1's price, $299, to roaring applause.

    Tom Kalinske, responsible for the company's success during the Genesis era, resigned from Sega in frustration and exited the video game industry. His replacement, Bernie Stolar, proceeded to run the Saturn further in the ground: he instituted a "Five-Star" games policy which excluded many 2D games, JRPGs (right when Final Fantasy VII propelled the genre into the mainstream), or otherwise "niche" games from localization, meaning that many of the system's best games were restricted to Japan. Meanwhile, Western developers were abandoning the Saturn in droves due to the system's poor sales and difficulties to develop for compared to the PS1. Many games developed for both platforms ran noticably poorer on the Saturn due to the system's difficult architecture. The result was a lack of quality software outside of Sega's in-house releases, which consisted mostly of arcade ports. The system's intended flagship title, Sonic X-treme, was cancelled due to difficulties in development, and Sonic Team's NiGHTS into Dreams…, while critically acclaimed, failed to live up to the success of Sonic.

    Finally, at E3 1997, Bernie Stolar publicly stated that the Saturn was "not our future", essensially an admission that the platform was dead. Any remaining developers vowed to never work with Sega again, and the Saturn's remaining consumer-base, who were previously burned with the short lifespan of the ill-fated 32X add-on for the Genesis, noticed a pattern with Sega's machines and switched to PlayStation. This negatively affected the Dreamcast in two ways: Western developers were less keen on ever working with Sega again after being repeatedly screwed over by them, and consumers knew that Sega would quickly drop the Dreamcast if it wasn't a commercial success.

    By the time the Dreamcast was released, the damage was already done. While the Dreamcast had a strong start in the United States, it outright flopped in Japan, and sales of the system in other territories came to a screeching halt with the announcement of the PlayStation 2. The seeds of distrust for Sega were sewed in the previous generation, and many consumers held out for the PS2. The damage done to the system's home console division during the 5th generation was so catastrophic that the Dreamcast was essentially doomed from the start. The result was the system's premature discontinuation in early 2001, and Sega would never again put out a gaming console as they shifted their focus to third-party software.
  • Shenmue was a Franchise Killer after the first episode in the US, owing both to the failure of the Sega Dreamcast and slow gameplay, but the second episode (of a proposed four) was released on Dreamcast to the rest of the world, and was exclusive to Xbox in America. Unfortunately, the second episode managed to fail financially on both consoles, rendering its huge and startling cliffhanger the end. With the mastermind behind the series, Yu Suzuki, getting shoved to a new department and then quitting Sega not long afterwards, the fate of the series remained bleak until a Kickstarter campaign for a highly-publicized Shenmue III Kickstarter campaign, developed by Suzuki's studio Ys.Net, was launched in 2015. The game was successfully funded (with the Shenmue III campaign breaking the pledge record for video games on Kickstarter) and eventually saw release in 2019, rekindling hope in fans that the entire saga will finally —against all odds— be completed someday... at least until that game also saw poor sales, in addition to critics and fans alike panning the game for its outdated mechanics and for doing little-to-nothing to progress the story, leaving Shenmue fans on basically the same cliffhanger they were left on two decades prior.

    As an aside, Shenmue is also something of a Sunk Cost Fallacy that killed off the old Sega as well as caused Yu Suzuki to be Kicked Upstairs as a result (which, after being forced by management to make a racing game that competed against Sega’s own cash cow Initial D franchise and failing horribly, also caused him to leave Sega shortly after). Depending on who you believe, at the time, the Shenmue project cost anywhere from $47 million to $70 million US dollars to create. While not a surprising figure for AAA game development even a decade later (in fact, it would be considered on the low-end for the Wide-Open Sandbox genre nowadays), that was a sizeable chunk of change at the time, and the latter figure would have been an industry record. During this time, Sega's finances were none too good and the Dreamcast ultimately underperformed. The game didn't profit - it's been said that every single Dreamcast owner would have had to buy two copies of the game just to break even - and it's probably fair to suspect it depleted money from the company at a time where they couldn't afford to. Sega did survive to go third-party after the DC went bust, but only because of an especially generous shareholder, and even then didn't last much longer before being bought by Sammy Corp. and accordingly "retooled".
  • Sega's Shinobi franchise was killed quite dead by the poor Shinobi Legions installment in 1995, not returning until a reboot in 2002. It died again in 2004 with Nightshade (Kunoichi), which itself is a perfectly good game, but had little to no marketing and its link to the Shinobi franchise is not played up, so it sits in obscurity. A later installment for the Nintendo 3DS received decent reviews, but failed to sell well enough to properly re-vitalize the series, compounded by developer Griptonite Games' acquisition and closure shortly after the game's release.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has somehow managed to avoid this despite the reception of most of the modern Sonic games (due to him being one of Sega's few cash cows). That said, several spin-offs and branches of the series have not escaped unscathed.
    • After over a decade of dormancy, Sega returned to the original "classic" branch of Sonic The Hedgehog games that kickstarted the franchise on the Sega Genesis through the downloadable Sonic the Hedgehog 4 series at the start of The New '10s. Episode I was an interesting case—when originally announced, it was embraced as a return to classic form, and it received modest reviews and good sales on release. However, it quickly divided fans with a myriad of flaws, most noticeably its broken physics, different gameplay and character designs, and heavy recycling of content from its predecessors.note  Spurred by Episode I's sales, Episode II was released two years later and also attempted to win fans back by addressing these issues (fixing the physics to be more like the classic games, more unique level designs and ideas) while including other improvements (revamping the graphics from 2.5D to full 3D, adding Tails and fan-favorite Metal Sonic). This didn't work, because reviews were still ambivalent and the base was still broken, though in hindsight it's usually agreed to be a Surprisingly Improved Sequel. It actually sold worse than the previous episode, resulting in a planned third episode being discarded. It didn't help that some platforms only got one episode — the Wii only got Episode I and the Nvidia Shield only got Episode II. Another attempt at a new classic-styled Sonic game wouldn't be seen until 2017's Sonic Mania, which was universally agreed to be a real return to form.
    • There were only two games in the spin-off Storybook Series for the Wii console, as neither Sonic and the Secret Rings or Sonic and the Black Knight did much to impress critics or players (at least at the time).
    • The series' line of original handheld Sonic games (which comprised a handful of Game Gear titles, Sonic Pocket Adventure, and the Sonic Advance Trilogy) cannibalized itself with the near back-to-back releases of the Nintendo DS's Sonic Rush series and the PlayStation Portable's Sonic Rivals series, neither of which performed well in salesnote . All handheld Sonic games produced afterwards have been handheld counterparts of Sonic Team's console games starting with Sonic Colors, something the franchise hadn't completely done since the Game Gear port of Sonic Spinball. These too, however, died off with the release of the handheld counterpart to Sonic Lost World, with the only handheld entries since then being from the Sonic Boom series.
    • While the series' line of 3D platforming games was able to weather the notorious disaster that was Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the game did poorly enough for the next mainline game, Sonic Unleashed to effectively serve as a soft reboot for the 3D games. An attempted re-imagining of the series, borrowing on the foundation laid from the Adventure/Dreamcast-era of games that had a messy production cycle and was raked across the coals by reviewers and fans; the following 3D titles game backpedaled on several staples of the preceding 3D games (serious stories were significantly softened up, multiple characters (playable or otherwise) were culled down to only focus on Sonic, Tails, and Eggman; "realistic" art directions were re-directed to be more stylized and cartoony, etc.) and effectively tossed the existing gameplay in favor of adapting the "Boost" playstyle from the Sonic Rush series into a 3D space. It would take until over a decade later with Sonic Forces, for Sonic Team to try returning to that era of 3D Sonic games, which itself received a polarizing reaction.
    • The Sonic Riders line of racing spin-off games was killed off by the Xbox 360/Kinect-exclusive third game Free Riders. The game was roundly ripped apart by reviewers and fans alike for its atrociously-designed Kinect-based control scheme, which utilized the movement of the player's entire body for input and was the only control method available for gameplay and menu navigation (compared to the previous two games, which use traditional controllers and use or offered traditional control schemes). Not helping matters was the earlier release of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, a general Sega-themed racing game that received far better reviews than any of the existing Riders titles at the time and outsold the sequels.
    • The licensed games for the Sonic Boom spinoff animated series, Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal, ended up taking The Problem with Licensed Games to a whole new nadir, with both entries becoming the worst-reviewed and worst-selling games in the entire Sonic franchise. While this miraculously didn't stop a third Sonic Boom game — Fire & Ice, from the developers of Shattered Crystal and considered a marked improvement over it — from seeing release, it largely flew under the water in terms of sales, making the prospects of future Boom games afterward rather unlikely; compounded by Rise of Lyric in particular dealing a critical blow to the studio that made it. note  The reception towards the Boom games has also been blamed for the entire Boom series gradually stalling out; with both the titular television series and its line of comic books (which while not without their own troubles, were both much better-received than the games) ending without much fanfare in the immediate following years.
    • Following the lackluster commercial performance and critical indifference to the last two entries of the Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games crossover series of sports-themed party games (Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016), Sega elected not to renew a ten-year contract they made with the IOC to develop licensed games based on the Olympic Games; with PyeongChang 2018 marking the first Olympic event without a corresponding Mario & Sonic game since the series' inception.note  Sega re-obtained the rights to develop licensed videogames for Tokyo 2020, and another Mario & Sonic game came to fruition as a result.
  • The Super Monkey Ball franchise was initially hit with the horrendous Super Monkey Ball Adventure, a failed attempt at making the series a 3D platformer that was panned for its confusing gameplay and poor controls. While the franchise was able to recover with Banana Blitz, a reboot on the Wii that ended up receiving better reviews and sold reasonably well, it prompted the series to shift its focus to mobile devices for a few years. Unfortunately, the series returned to gaming platforms with a string of unremarkable installments (the Wii sequel Step and Roll, Super Monkey Ball 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, and Banana Splitz for the PlayStation Vita) that were all heavily reliant on gimmicky control schemes and proceeded to run the formula into the ground. Neither game was considerably well-received by reviewers or audiences, consequently resulting in the series pushing out Super Monkey Ball Bounce — a Peggle-cloned pachinko-styled game for smartphones — before disappearing for good. An HD remaster of Banana Blitz was eventually announced for Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One, though it was released to unremarkable reception. It would take two years after that for the series to finally make a true return with the announcement of Banana Mania, a Compilation Rerelease / Video Game Remake of the original two games and Deluxe for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.
  • Streets of Rage died off after the third installment. The first game is considered good by many while the second game is an Even Better Sequel for fans and critics. However, the third game has numerous problems that plague non-Japanese players due to several changes made overseas. The difficulty is cranked up to the point where harder difficulty levels mean you take more damage while enemies gain bigger health bars, beating the game on the easy difficulty gets you mocked for it and denied a real ending, and the plot is sloppily censored and rewritten. Along with beat-'em-up games dying off as other genres picked up, Sega saw no reason to make another Streets of Rage, yet they went out of their way to order a cease and desist on a group of fans working on a fan remake of the franchise. Similar to the Alex Kidd example above, the series was eventually loaned out to other parties (Dotemu, Lizardcube and Guard Crush) to get a new game going in 2020's Streets of Rage 4—the first of its kind after 24 years.
  • Virtual On MARZ killed its series. The game was changed from a 3D Fighting Game to an arena-based Beat 'em Up (of sorts, Virtual On has guns), it became single-player, has a horrible, generic anime-like plot, and the English version is plagued by "Blind Idiot" Translation. Ironically enough, most of the cameos Virtual On has gotten elsewhere (outside of indie circles) are more heavily based on MARZ than any other part of the series, namely in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, in which the robots have human voices. The game also features Hatter, who only appears in MARZ. The series later managed to get a Crossover with A Certain Magical Index and still makes occasional cameos in other games.
  • Yakuza:
    • The main series suffered a case of this with the release of Yakuza: Dead Souls. Sega heavily marketed the game in the west to ride the wave of the zombie genre's popularity at the time, but after performing so poorly, Sega began to think the Yakuza series had failed overseas and started to pull the plug on the western releases' presence. It wasn't until Sony partnered with Sega and released Yakuza 5 digitally in the west as a Hail Mary that the series was saved outside of Japan, and Yakuza 0 firmly put the series in place as an international franchise.
  • During the early 2000s, Sega made new, Xbox-exclusive installments of previous franchises. While a lot of these installments are pretty good, these franchises were never seen again because they suffered from awful sales due to Microsoft not launching their consoles in many countries worldwide, and because the console's target demographic really didin't line up with Sega's game output:
    • Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller. While it got decent reviews (and even then, they aren't as positive as the highly-acclaimed first two games), it sold poorly. Other than a few ports of the first game on modern systems, another Crazy Taxi game was not seen until the free-to-play City Rush was released more than ten years later.
    • Jet Set Radio Future, despite receiving large amounts of praise and a huge cult following, didn't sell well (then again, it was kind of Sega's fault; they chose to advertise the Gamecube port of Sonic Adventure 2 more, making it very rare to see the JSRF commercial). When it and Sega GT 2002 were packaged with Xboxes during the Holiday season of 2002, it boosted sales, but still wasn't a top-seller, and the series never got a third installment.
    • Panzer Dragoon Orta: Just like Shenmue II and JSRF, it got lots of praise and a big cult following, but suffered from bad sales. Plus, a majority of the console's demographic wasn't into rail-shooters or fantasy settings anyway. The series went dormant until a remake of the original game released in 2020. Luckily, said remake was well received (at least after a series of patches) and sold well, resulting in a remake for the second game to be announced. If this trend continues, the series may hopefully have a bright future.
    • Shenmue II suffered from awful sales and ended with an unresolved cliffhanger for over a decade.


    Sony Computer/Interactive Entertainment 
  • The Ape Escape games were put on ice in the west after lukewarm sales of Ape Escape 3, but a total franchise killer appears to have happened with the 2011 Playstation Move title, which was a Continuity Reboot that couldn't find an audience at all. There have been no signs of life from the franchise since, aside from a brief tease in 2016.
  • Cool Boarders 2001 is the lowest-grossing entry in its franchise aside from the original game, and the last game released (to date) for the series. It features an infamous Sequel Difficulty Spike comprised of Nintendo Hard trick challenges within the tutorial course and first stage, focuses more on realism than any of the prior installments, and got lost in the shuffle during a glut of similarly-themed snowboarding games. Two other attempts to jumpstart the franchise bombed as well - Cool Boarders: Code Alien, an entry released the year before in Japan, never sold well enough to make the jump to North America, and Cool Boarders: Burrrn! (released as Rippin' Riders for the Sega Dreamcast) failed to make any impact. It got so bad that a planned sequel to 2001, Sold Out, had to be canned in early production, and ever since that event, the series hasn't seen another installment, sending UEP Systems‘ famous art of snowboarding down into limbo.
  • EverQuest II has generally received mixed to positive reviews, but nonetheless, it's probably going to go down in history as the game that sank the Everquest franchise. Its graphical requirements were high for the time it was released, nearly prohibitively so. Aside from that, it was released at the same time as World of Warcraft. EverQuest's player base was split in half. Moreover, EverQuest 2's original player base of approximately 500K hemorrhaged within the first year, many of whom switched over to the more popular WoW rather than returning to EQ1. A planned sequel, EverQuest Next, was cancelled, with the developers claiming that the game just wasn't that fun. Aside from the cancelled sequel, the Everquest franchise hasn't released any new games since 2005's Champions: Return to Arms, the tie-in novels stopped being written in 2006, and the tabletop RPG being produced by White Wolf is out of print.
  • Gravity Rush was a Wide-Open Sandbox Action RPG that began life as an intended Killer App for the Play Station Vita, before later seeing an Updated Re-release on the far-more successful PlayStation 4 when it became clear the handheld was doomed in the West. Both versions did well enough, but its PS4-only sequel (Gravity Rush 2) suffered poor sales due to it coming out in an unusually crowded first quarter of major releases alongside higher-profile games such as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Yakuza 0, and Tales of Berseria, all of which overshadowed it. While the developers had originally expressed plans to make a third installment for the Playstation 5, a triple-punch combination of Sony shutting down 2's online servers only a year after release, creator Keiichiro Toyama leaving the company in 2020 to create his own studio, and Sony effectively shutting down developer's Japan Studio just months later suggest that it is unlikely we'll see more gravity-manipulating adventures featuring Kat.
  • Jet Moto 3 is a decent game, but it sold poorly, resulting in the planned fourth game being cancelled. So far, there are no plans to revive the series.
  • LittleBigPlanet was once being pushed as one of Sony's mascot properties, with two very successful games. However, the third installment was handed off to a different team, got Christmas Rushed, and had to work on both PS3 and PS4, which resulted in an Obvious Beta. This also meant the main advertised feature of the game, its online multiplayer, didn't really work, as a result of the massive amount of bugs, lack of crossplay, and clumsy netcoding. The series took a break for the rest of the console generation, returning on the PS5 with the 3D platformer Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
  • The poor reception to the ModNation Racers Play Station Vita sequel Road Trip due to its lack of online play may have killed the ModNation series outright, as nothing else has been released since then and the online servers for the original game were shut down on October 10th, 2018.
  • MotorStorm: Apocalypse was, by all accounts, a very good game and a solid sequel in what was emerging as a venerable racing franchise, one with a very creative twist on the usual formula at that. There was just one problem: that twist, that the off-road racing would be taking place in a city being destroyed by an earthquake, made the game extremely difficult to market in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 10, 2011, which happened just six days before its planned release. The game saw its release in Japan (and New Zealand, which also suffered a major earthquake in Christchurch in February) canceled outright, and delays and Invisible Advertising in other markets, leading to its understandable failure despite great reviews. Since then, the only new MotorStorm game has been an RC spinoff for the Vita that was already in production, the franchise having remained dormant since 2012 through no fault of its own.
  • PaRappa the Rapper became an instant hit when it was released and invented the Rhythm Game genre. Um Jammer Lammy continues the trend that PaRappa started, but it didn't sell quite as well due to being more or less the same as PaRappa, including being just as difficult. While PaRappa the Rapper 2 isn't a bad game, the game was given lower scores than the two games before it due to not changing the formula, and was also criticized for being too easy. Aside from the games being rereleased on the PSP and PlayStation Network, the franchise was done for when the Rhythm Game genre moved on. Parappa appeared as a fighter in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Sony released a remastered version of the first game in 4K graphics for the PlayStation 4, but there seems to be little interest in continuing the series.
  • In a rare console example, the Play Station Vita was a franchise killer for Sony's handhelds. While their first foray into handheld gaming, the PlayStation Portable, did have its issues, it ultimately sold a respectable 80 million units throughout its lifespan, coming the closest of any handheld console towards putting a dent in Nintendo's near-monopoly of the handheld market. And then the PS Vita came out and undid all of Sony's efforts with the PSP. While it eventually saw modest success in Japan, it was a complete failure internationally; selling only an estimated 16-18 million units in its entire lifetime. Sony would eventually give up on creating games for it or even promoting the system after a few years, and they have since then made it clear that they do not see any future in the handheld market and shall focus on home consoles instead.
  • While the Resistance games never achieved the success of Modern Warfare, Halo, or Gears of War, they got good reviews and a faithful fandom and became, together with Killzone, one of Sony's flagship shooter franchises during the Seventh Generation. That ended in 2012 with the PS Vita Gaiden Game Resistance: Burning Skies, which fans and critics saw as a dull retread that was compromised by the Vita's limited hardware. Since then, there have been no new Resistance games.
  • The two Syphon Filter games that were released on the PlayStation Portable (Logan's Shadow and Dark Mirror) are respected by critics, but according to Sony Bend Studio's John Garvin, the games didn't sell well enough to justify any further entries in the series.
  • Sly Cooper seems to have met this with Thieves in Time. Problems included repetitive gameplay, poor level design, long loading times, Dimitri getting Demoted to Extra with no lines, despite his voice actor still being credited, Penelope's sudden Face–Heel Turn, and a big cliffhanger ending. Other talks concerned an animated movie that got scrapped after the Box Office Bomb of the Ratchet and Clank film, discouraging Sony from doing animated films on their characters, followed by talks over a television series that has been in Development Hell since 2017. Other than those however, nothing has been heard from the Cooper Gang ever since.
  • The 2012 reboot of Twisted Metal was built heavily around its online multiplayer mode, but unfortunately, the servers were barely functional at launch, leaving only the game's rather bare-bones single-player campaigns and couch multiplayer modes, which many felt weren't worth $60 by themselves. As a result, the game met mixed reviews and was a sales disappointment, and there hasn't been a Twisted Metal game since.

    Square Enix 
  • ActRaiser 2 is an In Name Only sequel that lacks the original game's popular Sim Mode, and the ungodly Sequel Difficulty Spike only made things worse. As a consequence, there hadn't been another game in the series since. Things changed when on September 23, 2021, a full remake of the original Actraiser titled Actraiser Renaissance was announced and released for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Steam, and mobile devices, igniting hope in the fans of the series.
  • Front Mission Evolved crashed and burned hard, and its poor ratings and sales more or less ended the future of Front Mission series for a long time. A new entry in the series, Left Alive, received a surprise release eight years later, but also turned out to be a critical dud which looked to kill the franchise for good until 2022, when Square Enix announced remakes of the first two games for the Nintendo Switch.
  • The Ivalice Alliance games, a spinoff of the main Final Fantasy series that (technically) originated from Final Fantasy Tactics being set in the land of Ivalice, started off a very well-received spinoff series for the series that lasted well into the early 2000s. However, the dual combination of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 not selling or reviewing as well as its predecessor, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and the Final Fantasy Tactics re-release (War of the Lions), along with Troubled Production and cancellation of Fortress ultimately killed the side series and caused it to be stuck in mobile game spinoffs without any new mainline games being made for it since 2007. Not helping matters was many of the original creators for the spinoff series leaving, causing a lack of creative vision for the project to stand on. The series and lore are still referenced in other games like Final Fantasy XIV or other spinoffs, but no new games for the project itself have ever been released (especially those only in Japan), and any attempts at making a Spiritual Successor have resulted in failure.
  • Unlimited Saga was released in 2002, after a very long wait for a new entry in the SaGa franchise. While the game's art and music are amazing, the gameplay is questionable at best; an over-reliance on the incredibly gimmicky "Reel System" (which is used for everything from attacks to leveling up) and a skipped beta phase means the game has a patched-together feel. It received generous reviews from Japanese publications, but only mediocre ones from American sources, and ended up with miserable sales. As a result, the only new SaGa games to be released for a while were remakes of existing games in the series, with SaGa Scarlet Grace finally breaking the streak in 2016 (and an Updated Re-release, Ambitions, being released internationally to a generally positive reception).
  • The World of Mana series got hit with this hard after the negative reception of Dawn of Mana and Heroes of Mana, which resulted in the series being stuck in limbo for nearly a decade (barring a few mobile ports of Secret of Mana and two spin-offs) and the departure of series creator Koichi Ishii from the company. This all changed in 2016 when the series was revived with a third remake of Final Fantasy Adventure, followed by a remake of Secret of Mana in 2018, a Compilation Rerelease for the Nintendo Switch and a high definition remake of Trials of Mana in 2020.
  • Xenogears was intended to be a 6-part series, but was heavily underfunded. Even the one installment that was released was barely able to get completed by the deadline. Despite positive reception, the series was effectively dead since the creators left Square. A revival was attempted in the form of a spiritual sequel known as Xenosaga, but that too fell through, as listed under Bandai / Namco.

  • On November 6, 2012, THQ released a statement saying that Darksiders II needed to have sold over 4 million copies for them to even consider continuing the franchise, but it only sold 1.4 million. This is likely more because of the dire financial situation THQ was in at the time than the quality or reception of the game, however, as both games received good reviews, but the company had to file for bankruptcy only a month or so after the Darksiders statement regardless. Its new publisher, Nordic Games (who won a last-minute bid for the series and its developer in the THQ auction, and has since rebranded itself THQ Nordic) and new developer Gunfire Games (a group containing some of the old Vigil Games staff) released a third Darksiders game in 2018.
  • The death of the Destroy All Humans! series can be blamed squarely on two lackluster sequels - Big Willy Unleashed for the Wii, and then Path of the Furon for PS3 and Xbox 360 - developed in 2008 after the original developer, Pandemic Studios, was snapped up by Electronic Arts. Neither game managed to successfully capture the spirit of the first two games, and they sold and reviewed terribly as a result. It took another decade, following the death and revival of THQ, for the first two games to receive ports, and a remake of the first game followed in 2020.
  • The MX vs. ATV franchise was killed off after the various changes in gameplay to MX vs. ATV: Alive left fans cold. A new game, MX vs. ATV: Supercross was released in 2014 under new publisher Nordic Games (which now publishes the properties it acquired from the THQ fire sale under the "THQ Nordic" banner; long story), time will tell if that game brings the series back from the dead.
  • Though there were several games after it, Nicktoons: Globs of Doom's poor reception not only ended the Nicktoons Unite! series, but also dealt the death blow to the Nicktoons line of licensed games as a whole. After Globs of Doom, THQ gave up on Nicktoons licensed games and handed the rights to 2K Games, who barely did anything with the license following the release of Nicktoons MLB, a crossover between Nicktoons characters and real MLB players which received a mixed reception. Activision bought the rights from 2K shortly afterwards, and despite releasing a few decent Nicktoons games in the meantime, managed to kill the line of Nicktoons games again with the poorly-received SpongeBob SquarePants tie-ins Plankton's Robotic Revenge and SpongeBob HeroPants. Both games were criticized for their formulaic nature and poor gameplay, and it would take a little over three years for new video games based on Nickelodeon franchises to be unleashed into the world, as THQ Nordic announced rereleases of various older Nicktoons games on current consoles. The revitalization of the Nick video games didn't start off well, with the first game released (albeit by a different developer), Nickelodeon Kart Racers, receiving an underwhelming reception. However, the remake SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated was received very well (moreso by fans than critics) to the point that it spawned a sequel, and Kart Racers also received two sequels that improved on the original's flaws as well as the fighting game Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl.
  • The Purr Pals series (the company's answer to Nintendogs that was published alongside the also-defunct Crave Entertainment) ended after the 3DS outing Purr Pals: Purrfection sold poorly, with THQ's subsequent bankruptcy painting an even more uncertain future for the series.
  • Red Faction met an untimely end with the underwhelming reception of Armageddon and the multiplayer-focused Battlegrounds.note  Most of the negative reception from Armageddon came from it switching from the open-world destruction that made Red Faction: Guerrilla a hit to a generic underground corridor shooter. Ironic, considering the plan according to the developers was to bring the game back to its roots (the first two games are linear shooters). THQ's return as THQ Nordic led to a remaster of Guerilla in 2018, though there is no news on a new installment.

  • The killer of the Might and Magic franchise is not usually thought to be the game that is commonly regarded as the worst counting both the original series and the Heroes of Might and Magic spin-off series, Might & Magic IX — IX was a rushed mess of a game, but before criticism of the game could grow too large it became apparent the reason for IX being released in the state it was in was that 3DO was in its death throes, and soon went bankrupt. What is usually considered the killer is the dual blow of the ill-fated revival X, which wasn't a bad game but failed to gain enough of an audience for Ubisoft to maintain support (it did not help that even some fans of Might & Magic lost interest when it turned out X was going back to turn-based square movement style of overworld exploration that had been dropped after V), and Heroes: Might and Magic VII, which is a contender for worst Heroes game, and after its support was cut short has put the entire overall Might & Magic franchise in jeopardy.
  • Rayman Legends is this for the Rayman series. While the game has gotten great critical reception, it sold poorly, even worse than Rayman Origins did (which was already considered an Acclaimed Flop), and the series hasn't gotten a new game in years as a result, not counting some mobile game spinoffs. The departure of Michel Ancel from Ubisoft further drives the nail in the coffin. The franchise technically lives on through its More Popular Spin-Off Raving Rabbids and its namesake characters, who have received an animated TV series and a crossover with Super Mario Bros. that was generally well-received, enough to warrant a sequel in 2022.
  • While the poor reception of Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic may have ended up killing that series regardless, the always-online DRM requirement and the ensuing mass piracy of the game made absolutely certain that there would be no more entries in the series.
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist sold the least out of any game in the series, and as a result, outside of a cameo by Sam Fisher in Ghost Recon Wildlands and a mobile game, the series hasn't seen an installment in years. While Blacklist tried to win back fans who were turned off by the more action-focused gameplay of Conviction and succeeded to an extent, it's still a divisive entry due to things like still being more action-focused than the first 4 games with scripted combat sequences (which Chaos Theory and Double Agent removed), Eric Johnson replacing Michael Ironside as Sam's voice actor and sounding 30 years too young for the role, lack of humor, a lackluster soundtrack and Spies vs Mercs and aggravating dogs which are a nightmare to sneak past (there's a reason dogs were removed as enemies after the original Splinter Cell and Pandora Tomorrow until this entry). However, Ubisoft has announced a remake of the original game in 2021, so the franchise may bounce back again.

  • Going through one of the most infamous examples of Development Hell in entertainment history, Duke Nukem Forever essentially killed the entire franchise, taking all of 3D Realms' money and several people's own careers down with it (most notably was series creator, Geroge Broussard). While the company had plans to clean up the mess after the game, they seemed to have forgotten that they sold the rights to Duke's very own IP to Gearbox Software. What resulted was a series of ongoing legal battles with 3D Realms ultimately losing their grip on the whole thing, and since then Duke hasn't had a proper new advancement aside from DLC in Bulletstorm and the Updated Re-release of Duke Nukem 3D, 20th Anniversary World Tour... which ultimately ended up selling poorly and wasn't anywhere near as loved as the Megaton Edition of the game that was pulled from storefront shelves prior to release, painting a very bleak and unlikely future for the series. In 2021, both Gearbox and 3D Realms were bought out by Embracer Group so time will tell if they have any plans for Duke (although the press release for the purchase mentions that they view Duke as "a standout in their vast portfolio", suggesting they view the IP as important).
  • Every American Football game that wasn't Madden NFL was killed in January 2005 when Electronic Arts, the makers of Madden, signed a deal with the National Football League granting them the exclusive rights to make NFL-licensed games until 2010 (the deal would be renewed twice, that year and in 2015). The NFL 2K series, coming off an especially acclaimed installment that was praised by many critics as superior to that year's Madden (and priced at only $19.99, to boot), was hit especially hard by this, leading Sega to sell its entire sports division to Take-Two Interactive. Later that year, Take-Two responded in kind by buying the exclusive multiplatform rights to use the Major League Baseball license, leaving their Major League Baseball 2K series and Sony's MLB: The Show (which, as an exclusive for the PlayStation line, was exempt from the deal) as the only options for baseball fans. See Screwed by the Lawyers for more information.
  • FromSoftware developed the Another Century's Episode series, which was supposed to end with the third game (actually subtitled The Final). Then they made Another Century's Episode R for the PlayStation 3. The game was ripped apart for discarding the series' well-defined control system harkening to From Software's Armored Core franchise in favor of a clunky new system built around a ton of Scrappy Mechanics, as well as a lazily-executed Massively Multiplayer Crossover plotline, since R marks the series debut of several popular anime like Code Geass, Macross Frontier, and Full Metal Panic!. The follow-up, Another Century's Episode Portable for the PlayStation Portable, is an admitted apology that goes back to basics. Later, From Software developed the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn game, which did well enough for players to refer to it as "the game R should have been".
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts killed off Banjo-Kazooie, which was lampshaded in-game in a self-deprecating joke the developers probably hoped wouldn't be as prophetic as it actually was. Due to its low sales and negative fan reception because of its change from a platformer to a vehicle construction game, the series' titular duo disappeared for nearly a full decade shortly after Nuts and Bolts was released, outside their games getting released for Rare Replay, and appearing as playable racers in the Xbox 360 port of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing in 2010 and a DLC fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in 2019. Nuts and Bolts killing off the series also directly led to the independent development of the game Yooka-Laylee from members of the original Rare creative team, making the closest thing they could to a third Banjo title.
  • Kinect Sports: Rivals did this to Rare’s Kinect Sports series. The game received mixed reviews from critics, and Rare was reported to have suffered a significant loss on the project, and as former Rare designer Gavin Price pointed out, the game missing the Xbox One’s launch likely did not help. Combine this with Microsoft dropping the Kinect, and it's safe to say Kinect Sports is in the grave for good.
  • Battle Assault 3 starring Gundam SEED is another case of a Video Game 3D Leap that killed off a fine series, though this game was fairly well received.
  • Blood started off as a somewhat obscure yet rather well-received shooter with a talkative protagonist in the vein of Duke Nukem 3D, which set itself apart from Duke and similar games by its unique setting (taking place just before The Great Depression, with a mystical bent a few steps away from a Cosmic Horror Story), and a protagonist who didn't even try to be the "good guy". Then came its attempt at a Video Game 3D Leap with Blood II: The Chosen, a game whose fate already didn't bode well when the plan for development was to get the concurrent Shogo: Mobile Armor Division - a game which they actually wanted to make, Blood II being forced on them by their publisher - out the door as soon as reasonably possible so its half of the dev team's staff could shift back to help finish up Blood II. It was ultimately released in a sorry state, littered with random bugs both minor and game breaking (up to and including friendly NPCs attacking you on-sight when a cutscene didn't trigger properly and doors that would murder you if you got caught in them at the wrong angle, such as during a cutscene trigger) and with poorly-balanced difficulty (with Easy being a cakewalk and then Normal being the equivalent of Hard for concurrent shooters) and gameplay mechanics (you could shoot two of the exact same enemy type in the exact same location with the exact same weapon, and one would drop dead in one shot while the other would take five), and on top of that having the unfortunate luck to release just one day after the unbelievably-massive Sleeper Hit that was Half-Life. Blood II was at least able to get one expansion out, which is more than could be said for Shogo, but that's still half as many as its predecessor got, or as it was supposed to get, before the franchise was laid to rest. A re-release of the first game, updated for modern PCs and with a handful of tweaks, was released in 2019 to much praise, though any hope of a full resurrection from this is stymied by Atari's iron-fisted grip on the rights often seeming to have the sole intent of keeping the franchise buried.
  • Bubble Bobble got a few sequels in the 90s (Part 2, Junior, Symphony & Memories), all of which were well received.note  Then Classic Bubble Bobble was released in 1999, complete with a horrible camera, bad controls and physics & lots of Fake Difficulty. Classic was ravaged by fans and critics, resulting in the bubble dragons taking a long hibernation as other than a trio of games from 2005-2007 that didn't get much attention and a lot of ports/remakes, the series wouldn't get another major title until the release of Bubble Bobble 4 Friends on the Nintendo Switch; 20 years after the release of Classic.
  • Bubsy did well enough to get a few 2D sequels and a cartoon pilot. Then came Bubsy 3D, seen as one of the worst games ever made, due to its problematic Video Game 3D Leap. It would take 21 years before Black Forest Games, hoping to ride on the success of similar 90s franchise revivals like Sonic Mania, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, and their own Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, finally resurrected the series with Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. While the revival was widely panned, it led to a better-received spin-off, Bubsy: Paws on Fire!, two years later.
  • Conduit 2 fell well short of sales expectations, and only managed to reach a little over a fifth of the sales of the original game, ending the would-be trilogy on an unresolved cliffhanger. Aside from a mobile port of the original game in 2013, the series has been dormant since Conduit 2 was released in 2011, missing the following hardware generation entirely. Complicating matters further was the behind-the-scenes implosion of the working relationship between developer High Voltage Software and Nintendo around the time of Conduit 2's release after a member of High Voltage leaked details of an unrelated game that was early in development, which led Nintendo to cancel the project after High Voltage couldn't determine who the leaker was, which essentially doomed High Voltage to a decade of creating nothing but licensed games and acting as an outsourced port developer for larger studios.
  • Crystal Kingdom Dizzy ended up being this for the Dizzy series of Spectrum games. A full-priced title with a drop in quality from the previous budget titles, its relative failure meant the planned next game, Wonderland Dizzy would never be released.
  • While Chameleon Twist was never a critical favorite, it did have its fair share of fans, rendering it a Cult Classic. The same cannot be said for the sequel however as the levels have now been made into complete marathons, the camera in the boss battles is even worse and the chameleons were given new, ugly designs in the western versions of the game. It sold poorly, bombed even harder critically (though it still has its fans) and put the chameleons to rest for good.
  • By the mid-90s, id Software was already losing interest in the Commander Keen franchise, especially after Tom Hall left the company in August 1993. However, the 2001 Game Boy Color reboot is often pointed at as the final nail in the coffin for the franchise; it received a mixed reception and sold poorlynote . In 2019, Bethesda announced a new Commander Keen game for mobile in an attempt to revert this, but negative reception led to it being quietly cancelled, leaving the franchise up in the air.
  • Dark Cloud was a Sleeper Hit game made by Level-5 that spawned a semi-sequel Dark Chronicle. Although both games were well received and are considered cult-classics, because they did not sell as well as they could have, the developers put off making a third game for the time being. Unfortunately, this caused problems with the Dark series licences because it was originally published by Sony, meaning that Level-5 did not own the rights to the IP, preventing them from making new games for the series. As a result, the series has been in a state of hostage and essentially dead.
  • Disney Infinity 3.0 ended up being this for the Disney Infinity franchise, as some versions of the game failed to receive much of the game's DLC content, which combined with increasingly expensive costs in keeping the series alive, resulted in Disney announcing that the series would cease production in June 2016. It also ended up shutting Disney Interactive Studios down as a publisher and led to the temporary closure of developer Avalanche Software, who was later purchased and reopened by Warner Bros. the following year.
  • Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is this for the Epic Mickey series, since its failure wiped out Junction Point entirely. A big reason is the fact that critics complained that Epic Mickey 2 failed to fix any of the problems of its predecessor and added new issues on top of it.
  • The Fire Pro Wrestling series seemingly came to a halt after the release of the Xbox 360 game, which discards the series' traditional sprite graphics in favor of the Xbox Avatar system, cuts out a lot of the customization options, and trades the timing-based gameplay for button-mashing brawls. Nothing new was heard of the franchise after Spike's merger with Chunsoft in 2012 (the same year the Xbox 360 FPW was released) until 2017, when a new game, Fire Pro Wrestling World, was released on Playstation 4 and Steam.
  • The Infinity series of visual novels by KID (Never 7, Ever17, etc.) were doing well in spite of Executive Meddling and financial issues. A spin-off installment, 12Riven, sold less than spectacularly, putting an end to the series and bankrupting KID. KID was later bought off by CyberFront, which released an official sequel called Code18 without the involvement of the series' previous writers.
  • The Jade Cocoon series came to an end after only two games. While the first was only a modest success, it nevertheless turned heads for its high-quality animation and character designs (provided by Katsuya Kondo of Studio Ghibli fame), containing professional voice acting in a period where that was virtually unheard of, a dark and moody story, and being a decent monster breeder following a wave of them with the runaway success of Pokemon. The sequel, while certainly not a bad game, featured completely reworked gameplay, a generally irreverent and campy tone to its story, a much more outlandish setting and character designs, and was an early title for the new and expensive PlayStation 2. To varying degrees, all of these things contributed to it alienating much of it's installed base and selling about a third as many copies as the original, and aside from a rerelease of the first game on the Japanese PSN, Genki hasn't done anything with the franchise since.
  • The Western version of the first Kunio-kun game was a surprise hit in Britain, and Renegade became a spinoff series. The first two games were beloved by ZX Spectrum owners, but the third game — with its bizarre Time Travel plot, graphics that are monochrome even by the computer's low standards, and gobs of Fake Difficulty resulting from poor controls, missing moves, and strict time limits — drew an end to the series (though, as it was titled "Renegade III: The Final Chapter", they were probably planning to end the series there anyway).
  • Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude stumbled into, but ultimately survived its transition into 3D. Its follow-up game, Box Office Bust, was put in Development Hell before Sierra's parent company Vivendi Games was merged with Activision to form Activision Blizzard, which led to Sierra's new owner Activision dropping the game completely and selling the entire Leisure Suit Larry intellectual property to Codemasters. Once they decided to completely restart Box Office Bust, the new developers discarded the series' traditional point-and-click formula in favor of an action-adventure game with platforming, shooting and brawling elements. The result is one of the worst-reviewed games to ever appear on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, unintentionally making it the most apt title for a failing game. Creator Al Lowe, who hated the changes Sierra made to the series with Magna Cum Laude (which, along with Box Office Bust, was made without his involvement), actually thanked Activision for washing his and their hands of "the latest disaster" to hit the series. Larry wouldn't get back on his feet again for several years after that until the releases of Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, a remake of the original game, and Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry in 2018.
  • Lunar: Dragon Song did this for the Lunar series, stemming from poor sales, bad reviews, and absurd gameplay mechanics (you can choose to receive experience or items from monster battles, but not both). There hasn't been a non-remake Lunar title since Dragon Song's release.
  • It's debatable whether Magical Drop F actually killed Magical Drop, as despite being obviously undercooked and badly-balanced, Data East was already in dire straits when F released. It's not debatable that attempted revival Magical Drop V only served to bury it even further into the ground. Magical Drop V is a glitchy mess that still has poor balance, lacks the Endless mode that was standard in three and a half of its four predecessors, has lopsided AI that goes from braindead to Perfect Play A.I. seemingly on a whim, has lame writing (including hints that the developers' entire knowledge of the characters came from a blatantly Fanon-laden wiki), and overall felt like a side project to developer Golgoth Studio's oft-delayed Toki remake. The game took Golgoth Studio down with it, forcing Toki to be finished and released by a different team, and retailed at $1 for years until being taken off stores in 2020.
  • Myth III: The Wolf Age isn't especially terrible, though it's significantly worse than the first two, and used the much-reviled (and long-since dead) Gamespy Arcade for multiplayer instead of, killing all hopes for a fourth installment.
  • No One Lives Forever was killed by the terrible interquel / Gaiden Game Contract J.A.C.K, a side-game created solely to give the artists and level designers at Monolith Productions something to do while the programmers worked on a new iteration of the LithTech engine; when it predictably bombed, Monolith abandoned the series entirely. Even worse, the series fell victim to having the rights to the IP being ensnared by multiple parties (none of whom know who owns what or care to investigate, but are perfectly happy to threaten legal action against anyone outside of that group attempting to use the IP), prohibiting even re-releases of the original games from coming out, let alone a new entry.
  • One Must Fall 2097 is widely considered one of the best PC-exclusive fighting games of its era, thanks to the novelty of the premise and fairly tight game design. It's also one of the earliest games to feature a 'rehit' mode, similar to the modern extended aerial combo system. Its developers, Diversions Entertainment, attempted to keep the streak alive with One Must Fall Battlegrounds, a game that experienced problems with its Video Game 3D Leap that leave an imprint of its box art on the glass. Dodgy controls, bland audio work, and an overall unpolished feel meant abysmal sales, which killed the One Must Fall franchise stone dead after the game escaped seven years in Development Hell, and also put Diversions Entertainment out of business.
  • Codemasters' separate successor to the original Operation Flashpoint series went down the drain after its second installment, Red River. Unlike the first one, Dragon Rising, Red River takes what makes the series unique, throws nearly all of it out and turns itself into a generic Modern Warfare clone, a move that appealed to fans of neither series. Worse yet, Red River doubled as a Creator Killer, since Codemasters promptly closed down its Guildford studio after the game's failure. Meanwhile, OFP's original creators, Bohemia Interactive, are still going strong with their ARMA series.
  • The Overlord series was sunk by Overlord: Fellowship of Evil, a dull Action RPG that looked and played like a cut-rate Diablo/Torchlight clone with tenuous-at-best ties to the previous games in the series (Rhianna Pratchett as head writer, as well as the presence of the Minions were the only things that made it into Fellowship intact). Critical reception was uniformly (and sometimes harshly) negative.
  • The poor reception to Rainbow Cotton killed the Cotton franchise for two decades. Besides a 2003 adaptation of a real pachinko table and an obscure mobile port of the original game, the series would only come back in 2021 when multiple new developments and ports of the older games (except, tellingly, Rainbow Cotton itself) would be announced for its 30th anniversary.
  • Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike suddenly introduced half-assed Third-Person Shooter levels to the series, among other negative aspects, resulting in much backlash. Then Lair put the final nail in Factor 5's coffin.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, which made the switch from isometric DigitisedSprites to full 3D graphics... and experienced problems in the process. The franchise was dormant for a decade afterwards, until an attempt was made to revive it... first as an Allegedly Free Game for mobile devices, then with the visually impressive but buggy and content-deficient Rollercoaster Tycoon World. Reviews were almost universally negative and apart from a couple of barely-noticed mobile spin-offs, nothing has been heard since.
  • Majin Tensei is a decently-received Shin Megami Tensei spin-off in the Strategy RPG genre, which ended up doing well enough to receive one more successful sequel. Then came Ronde for the Saturn. Development was farmed out to Access while Atlus worked on other games, resulting in a game so legendarily awful that the release of a preview demo caused literally thousands of canceled preorders — numbers that were virtually unprecedented in Japan at the time. Not only did it kill the Majin Tensei series (the only release in the series since is a cell phone game that came out 10 years later), but Atlus wouldn't release another Strategy RPG MegaTen until Devil Survivor, twelve years later, which has entirely different gameplay from the earlier series to boot.
  • While SNK had previously attempted to move the Samurai Shodown franchise into the third dimension with Samurai Shodown 64 on the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 arcade board with limited success (it received average review scores, but new characters Shiki and Asura have appeared in other SNK games, such as NeoGeo Battle Coliseum), most of the other games in the series were strictly 2D until they tried again with Samurai Shodown Sen (an interquel to the SamSho 64 games) more than a decade later. The game was a flop, with reviewers criticizing Sen for its confusing controls, poor character balancing, and ugly graphics. After SNK's return to full-time game developer, they have expressed interest in reviving or rebooting the franchise, which came to fruition with the reveal of a new Samurai Shodown game for 2019 which featured 2.5D graphics and 2D gameplay, and thankfully was very well received.
  • Spectrobes had two reasonably successful entries on the Nintendo DS, but the franchise was buried when Spectrobes: Origins, released as a Wii-exclusive in 2009, was a commercial failure that sold less than half as many copies as the second game and barely a quarter of the sales of the original.
  • Super Monday Night Combat's lukewarm reception and small playerbase killed off the Monday Night Combat series, with the developer cutting its losses and abandoning the game less than a year after it was released on Steam. The release of a mobile game set in the MNC universe coinciding with the game's final patch in March 2013, Outland Games, failed to reverse the series' fortune, and the only news about the series since then has been the announcement of the closure of both Monday Night Combat and Super in May 2018 due to how much it would have cost to make both games compliant with Europe's adjusted privacy laws.
  • The first two games in the Star Control series were quite well received, while the third one (made without involvement of Toys For Bob, the original creators) was... not. After this, the series lay dormant for over 20 years, until Stardock acquired the rights and created a reboot. However, this reboot stirred up a legal brouhaha with TFB, leading to a temporary DMCA takedown of the game on Steam. Not helping matters is that TFB has also announced their intention to create a proper sequel to Star Control II. However, an agreement was reached between TFB and Stardock in mid-2019, allowing both parties continue their respective projects.
  • Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Masou Kishin III - Pride of Justice was made intentionally Nintendo Hard, forcing players to purchase its Downloadable Content, leading frustrated players to return their copies. At the same time, the Sequel Gap between the two previous games in the Super Robot Wars Masou Kishin sub-series (The Lord of Elemental and Revelation of Evil God) was six yearsnote , too far apart to maintain fan interest. The fact that developer Banpresto billed the sequel Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Masou Kishin F - Coffin of the End as its last installment was evidence that interest in the Masou Kishin name had dried up. However, even if Pride of Justice had sold well enough, it was the last game to be developed by Winkysoft (developer of the Masou Kishin games) before they declared bankruptcy in 2015. Only in 2016 was the silver lining revealed: Masaki and the Big Bad of Coffin of the End return in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation The Moon Dwellers, meaning that even though the sub-series is dead, the characters still live on, especially since said Big Bad was created for the Masou Kishin sub-series.
  • The first Toe Jam And Earl on the Sega Genesis is a unique, well-received game that overcame initially-poor sales to become a Cult Classic for the system. However, pressure from publisher Sega resulted in the developers scrapping the novel Rogue-esque dungeon-crawler gameplay, resulting in the first sequel, ToeJam and Earl in Panic on Funkotron, being a more typical platformer game. While Panic on Funkotron sold better than the first title and still received positive reviews, fans of the original criticized it as a step back from the first game, a sentiment that's continued to hound the game in the years following its release. A third installment lapsed into Development Hell and emerged years later as ToeJam and Earl III: Mission to Earth for the Xbox, in which the series made the jump to 3D and tried to adapt the gameplay of the first two titles. Mission to Earth sold poorly and received mixed-to-negative reactions from both reviewers and fans, due to it undergoing a flawed Video Game 3D Leap while also moving away from the series' standard funk sound in favor of hip-hop, among other things. The series went into hibernation once again until the developers were able to successfully crowdfund money to develop a fourth game, Back in the Groove, which reverts to the gameplay of the original title and was met with positive reception.
  • The Tomb of the TaskMaker, a 1998 sequel to the Mac RPG TaskMaker, was rushed out at the last minute due to a strain on the creators (Storm Impact) in a then-struggling Mac market, along with the fact that Storm Impact was already wounded by undercapitalization (it largely consisted of three people) and a lawsuit against a software-of-the-month club which distributed their games illegally. Tomb never got past version 1.0, and even then, what did get out was mostly due to it being on a MacAddict CD. Storm Impact closed up shop soon afterward. Find more info here.
  • Tomba! is to this very day considered to be one of the original Playstation's definitive classics, mixing up the platformer and action RPG genres in a unique way that hasn't really been attempted since. It was successful enough to warrant a sequel, Tomba 2: The Evil Swine Return, which experienced a problematic Video Game 3D Leap, tossing out almost all of the charm and personality the original game had and throwing in voice acting that at best is So Bad, It's Good. Not only did it decisively kill off the franchise, it took its developer, WhooPeeCamp, with it.
  • Trauma Team of the Trauma Center series is a rare case of a Franchise Killer not being a bad game in the slightest, as the game received decent-to-good reviews upon launch in 2010 for the Nintendo Wii. Unfortunately, it sold horribly, badly enough that there was no game released for the series since 2010, effectively ensuring the series is on ice as of the time of this writing. Interestingly, it may be also a factor of Atlus losing interest in the series, as there were originally plans to make Trauma Team into a televised Medical Drama that were sadly never realized, continuing the series in its state of limbo.
  • Turok: Evolution managed to kill off the Turok franchise, no thanks to silly elements such as Tobias Bruckner, the cyborg cowboy riding a Tyrannosaurus Rex, along with the game's numerous other problems. It's probably no coincidence that publisher Acclaim went bankrupt shortly after the release of this and BMX XXX. The 2008 Turok relaunch isn't a bad game, exactly — it just had the bad luck to be an average shooter during a time when great shooters were glutting the market. A sequel was planned, but was cancelled after Disney shut down developer Propaganda Games and their rights to make Turok games later being revoked by IP holder Classic Media, who were bought by DreamWorks Animation and later became DreamWorks Classics.
  • Vietcong 2, which got lower reviews than the original or Fist Alpha thanks to its dumbed-down gameplay.
  • Virtual Hydlide, the attempted reboot of Hydlide in 3D, killed off a series that had been moderately well appreciated in Japan during the 8-bit era. The game ran into problems with its Video Game 3D Leap, featuring a Sprite/Polygon Mix with ugly digitized photographs, and an atrocious frame rate that makes the game physically painful to play at times.
  • This nearly happened to the Ys series via Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand: the game isn't bad, per se, but was only available on the Super Famicom (with a franchise that has deep roots on the PC and PC Engine), has very bland, generic visuals that look like every other game of its era (which is worse in context since the setting is supposed to be exotic) and the music is all simple MIDI-synth (when Ys had become famous partly due to its powerful CD-supported Red Book-audio soundtracks). Fan backlash in Japan was intense to the point that developer Falcom took seven years before the next Ys title was released. What prevented the death of the franchise was the good performance of Video Game Remakes for the first two games, which were already in development when Ys V came out and were put out to recoup development costs. Note that decades later, Ys V still has not been officially released outside of Japan.
  • With the surprise success of Zombies Ate My Neighbors, LucasArts decided to take a similar property in development and rework it into a sequel. Ghoul Patrol was a bomb, with tedious, confusing gameplay and none of the original's fun spirit. A Virtual Console re-release of the original game was all that has been done with the property since; until the newly-reformed games division of Lucasfilm announced an Updated Re-release of both games in 2021.
  • Zoo Tycoon 2 underwhelmed critics and gamers alike and wasn't as popular as its predecessor game. After several years and four expansion packs, Microsoft put the franchise on hold and ended its contract with developer Blue Fang Games, which would ultimately collapse the studio and make the scenario of a reboot unlikely. Microsoft then successfully rebooted the franchise with Frontier Developments in 2013, releasing an updated Zoo Tycoon to Xbox 360 and Xbox One and later Windows 8 and Windows Phone.