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  • Inverted with The 3rd Birthday, which is clearly a sequel to the Parasite Eve games, but not named as such. It abandons its science fiction roots for half-science spiritual stuff. Mitochondria, the series Body Horror Green Rocks are not mentioned once. Souls are a legitimate plot point. Four previous characters return, but two are so out-of-character that they could have been original characters, and the other two never had much story to begin with. This was likely due to Square-Enix's license with the Parasite Eve novel running out and not wanting to renew in order to save on costs (Then again, Squaresoft's Parasite Eve is radically different, being an action horror series compared to the J-Horror that was the novel and its film adaptation).
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  • Alone in the Dark (2008) has little to do with the games before it, being an Actionized Reboot drowning in many, many different gameplay styles. While the main character is revealed to be Edward Carnby, he's also Carnby in name only. Another game in the series, Illumination, serves no purpose as a survival horror game. It's now a co-op shooter where you use lights to make enemies vulnerable to bullets. Yes, despite being published in the Alone in the Dark franchise you are neither alone nor in the dark.
  • Alundra 2 has nothing to do with the original aside from the gameplay. The original is about a person who can enter dreams and fight nightmare demons, while the second is about a pirate hunter that later fight the evils behind the Mechanical Abomination that terrorizes the world.
  • Jaleco's Astyanax for the NES has little to do with the arcade game of the same name. There are some similarities in gameplay, but the levels and story are completely different. The arcade version (fully titled The Astyanax) stars a Barbarian Hero, while the NES version is about an Ordinary High-School Student named Astyanax sent to a Magical Land.
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  • The modern "Atari" is itself an example, being essentially a trading name for what is — or was — Infogrames (who acquired rights to the name and some IP in the early 2000s). It has little connection with the original Atari Inc., creators of the VCS console, arcade games, and home computers. It's open to question when the "true" Atari died- following the 1983 video game crash, its arcade and computer divisions were sold separately as legally new companies to new owners (Atari Games and Atari Corp), but with some continuity of business and products. However, both are now defunct; Atari Games was later renamed by Midway who then shut down their entire arcade division. Atari Corp basically threw in the towel after the failure of the Jaguar console and their merger of convenience with hard drive manufacturer, JTS, in the mid-90s; their name and IP were sold off separately and later ended up in Infogrames hands. "Atari" later re-emerged from bankruptcy, only with a staff of 10 people. It was then revealed that they blocked TxK from porting to other platforms. Their line-up of games as of late also received mediocre to poor ratings.
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  • Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe for the Game Gear and Golden Axe Warrior, a clone of The Legend of Zelda for the Sega Master System, have scarcely any connections to the Golden Axe Beat 'em Up series aside from a few names.
  • Back to the Future (1989) has next to nothing to do with the movie it's based on; of the parts that are vaguely relevant, at best, they're trivial, and at worst, you'd be forgiven for thinking aliens who'd never watched the movie had read a plot summary and based those parts on their wildly inaccurate, Literal-Minded interpretation. According to screenwriter Bob Gale, LJN Toys refused to give the film creators any input, and by the time he saw the game, it was too late to make changes.
  • The Tiger Electronic Games have LJN beat. Good thing their licenses were revoked.
  • The Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance games are Baldur's Gate, and indeed Forgotten Realms games, in name only. They're really Diablo with the serial numbers filed off.
  • Battle Zone 1998 was related to BattleZone in that both involved tanks and green vectors. However, 1998 is a hybrid FPS/RTS/Vehicle combat game, where you build bases with mobile factories and fight over bio metal with the Soviet Union (or the USA), whereas the original title is a primitive Arcade Game vehicular combat game. The main menu of 1998 is a callback to Battlezone, with tanks (rendered in green vector lines) fighting, though everything in-game is fully textured. Both games were made by totally different companies: Atari made the first, Activision made 1998 and the sequel, Battlezone II: Combat Commander; Activision licensed the name "Battlezone" from Atari.
  • BIONICLE Heroes has its characters named after their toy counterparts and they also look like them more or less, but apart from that, the settings, the story, the personalities and powers are completely made-up. This was deliberate on the creator's part — the original story didn't lend itself to an easily manageable video game and didn't have much in the way of Mooks... although they could have tried to include some of the main characters' more video game-y abilities or at least made sure that their own ideas didn't directly contradict the source canon.
  • The Action RPG Blood Gear claims in its end credits to be Aurail 2. It shares some music with and makes some vague story references to the Arcade Game Aurail, which otherwise bears no relation to Blood Gear.
  • When the Game Boy Advance franchise Boktai finally got a DS installment it was almost completely different from the original in every way. 90% of the Spaghetti Western elements were removed, there was no continuity of plot from the original game series, and most tellingly the game no longer had to be played outside in direct sunlight to access certain abilities (though that one at least is probably for the best). The only major similarity is that the two main characters, Django and Sabata, retain their names and appearances (and even they were renamed in certain localizations) but they both have entirely new backstories and motivations.
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is this for Breath of Fire, sharing almost nothing with its predecessors, apart from the spell nomenclature and character names. As per series tradition, the two central protagonists are named Ryu and Nina; the other two, Bosch and Lin, take their names from Bosch and Rinpoo from Breath of Fire II.
  • Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom has little to do with any incarnation of the Buck Rogers franchise, let alone the most recent at the time. Presumably that is supposed to be Buck in the cabinet side art, but the character looks like a generic square-jawed space hero. The game was later known as Zoom 909, probably because it's a decent game but it's just cheaper to drop the "Buck" connection.
  • Chrono Cross is a bizarre case of this. It takes place in the same world as the original, but in a different region that was never even mentioned in the original, with a completely different cast of characters and a completely different approach to characterizing them, major elements of worldbuilding created whole cloth, a completely different magic and combat system, a different artstyle, a plot focusing on crossing dimensions instead of time travel... in short, about 95% of the game has nothing whatsoever to do with the original. The 5% that does, however, happens to be integral to understanding the game's plot.
  • The third instalment of the Clock Tower series, Clock Tower: The Struggle Within, has no connection whatsoever with the previous two games, nor does it feature the series' titular antagonist or the aforementioned clock tower.
  • Contra Force for the NES is a localization of an unreleased-in-Japan Famicom game titled Arc Hound. The game has nothing to do with the rest of the Contra series, being set in present times with human enemies instead of aliens. The American localization of Contra III for the SNES did try to make a connection by establishing in the manual that the first stage of the game was actually Neo City, the setting of Contra Force.
  • The Crash Bandicoot mobile games Crash Nitro Kart 2, Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D, and Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2 have nothing to do with the actual Crash Nitro Kart other than being racing games.
  • A number of installments in the Dark Tales series of PC mystery games fall into this. They're named after stories by Edgar Allan Poe, and usually share at least a couple of characters with the source material; but while some of the games are relatively faithful adaptations, others are... not so much. In some cases this is not a bad thing, as the games stand on their own, but a few of them (The Tell-Tale Heart is the most egregious example) have not been well-received at all.
  • Daytona USA does not actually feature the real Daytona International Speedway. Averted in Daytona Championship USA, although it appears alongside its Expy Three-Seven Speedway so the track layout is very similar.
  • A rare positive example (also being a license) is the Def Jam, which has very little to do with hip-hop aside from the music and is instead a wrestling/fighting game hybrid, of which the first two were fantastic. Def Jam Rapstar was a more traditional hip-hop rapping game, which provided a rare example of a traditional medium fitting for the source material actually being less accepted.
  • Descent: Freespace has nothing to do with the Descent series except the name. The sequel dropped the act and is simply called Freespace 2. The game was originally going to be called just Freespace, but there was already a drive-compression product with the same name that could've caused trademark issues. In Europe it was called Conflict: Freespace instead.
  • Die Hard Arcade, being a dolled-up version of Dynamite Cop / Dynamite Deka, has nothing to do with the movies, other than the protagonist being an expy of Bruce Willis. The sequel kept its original name and Project X Zone also kept the main character as his original self, though that could be because the licensing was cheaper. (However, at least in the English version of PXZ, there is a Shout-Out to Die Hard during a Dynamite Cop-based level.)
  • Dino Crisis 3 has next to nothing to do with the first two games aside from dinosaurs as foes, and they're not even true dinosaurs in 3. Even Gaiden Game Dino Stalker is more effective as a sequel.
  • There are at least 2 stages in Dissidia Final Fantasy that are In Name Only.
  • Driver: Parallel Lines, which ended up being just another generic Grand Theft Auto clone.
  • Westwood's Dune II RTS game had very little to do with the book, movie, or the first game. The later remake Dune 2000 and sequel Emperor: Battle For Dune tried a bit harder, but it still doesn't change the fact that Dune II is an RTS, and a completely different genre from the original Dune game.
  • The third Ecco the Dolphin game, Defender of the Future, had no connection to the first two games in the franchise other than Ecco being the main character. The storyline was very different.
  • Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel for Fallout. Interplay took a clone of their Dark Alliance console action games and slapped on the name of their ground-breaking series of open-world RPGs. It does, roughly, seem to take place in the Fallout universe (barring the number of places where it breaks the lore), but the aesthetics and overall style are both way off, even aside from the complete overhaul of gameplay.
  • The Far Cry series. Even Word of God has explained that the series does not maintain continuity of plot, but style. As the series tries to expand and improve the mechanics of its predecessors, effectively making it akin to the Final Fantasy of shooters:
    • Far Cry has ex-Special Forces operator Jack Carver stranded on an archipelago in Micronesia, and is trying to find a missing female journalist.
    • Far Cry 2 has a chosen protagonist who is working in Africa trying to stop a man named "The Jackal", an arms dealer trying to create further conflict between two factions.
    • Far Cry 3 has tourist Jason Brody holidaying on an Indian/Pacific Ocean island with friends, only for the group to be abducted by pirates who intend to sell them. The Expanded Universe novels tried to retcon the change between the first and second game by introducing a character that supposedly served as a mentor to both protagonists. Other continuity nods also exist between games, such as a briefcase of diamonds from the second game appearing in a DLC mission for the third.
    • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has Mark IV Cyber Commando Rex Power Colt travel to a remote island to take out a robot army led by his former mentor Ike Sloan.
    • Far Cry 4 has Ajay Ghale running into flamboyant psychopath Pagan Min as he arrives in the mountains of Kyrat to scatter his mother's ashes. Violence and selfies shortly follow.
    • Far Cry 5 brings the series to rural Montana, where a player-created deputy sheriff must combat a cult of Christian fundamentalists called the Project at Eden's Gate.
  • Fighting Force 2 has almost nothing to do with the original. The first game was a pure 3D Beat 'em Up starring four characters and set in a contemporary setting. The sequel had a Cyberpunk setting, was a 3D action/adventure platformer with very basic brawling elements, and featured only one character from the first game (Hawk Manson), who did not act or even (after the CGI intro) look like his first game self.
  • GoldenEye games:
    • The EA FPS GoldenEye: Rogue Agent was seen by many as a weak attempt to capitalize on the much revered GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64: the only connection to the movie/game is the presence of Xenia Onatopp and the "Uplink" multiplayer level. The only justification for the name "GoldenEye" is that you play as a rogue MI6 agent that gets his eye shot out and is given a golden prosthetic replacement by Francisco Scaramanga. The rest of the game involves you being a pawn in a war between Auric Goldfinger and Dr. No and fighting a bunch of iconic James Bond villains in a pretty generic FPS. The only appearance by Bond lasts 10 seconds and is revealed to be a simulation.
    • Averted when they remade the movie GoldenEye, as a video game for Wii, with Daniel Craig replacing Pierce Brosnan as 007, and a generic unknown actor replacing Sean Bean as 006 as well as making it easier by allowing the player to regenerate health a la Halo instead of using body armor. The 007 Classic mode revived the non-regenerating health bar and body armour so take that as you will.
  • The Harvest Moon series has branched in different directions. XSEED Games, a wholly owned subsidiary of the developer, Marvelous AQL (read: the real people behind the game), took over publishing, but has to come up with a new title due to the old name being a literal Cash Cow Franchise for Natsume, Inc. The new Harvest Moon title (or Ranch Story as it's known in Japan), which was known as Connect to a New World in Japan, as well as by fans until the publisher change, is now known as Story of Seasons, with none of the old branding intact, due to XSEED. That game is a Harvest Moon game in all but name, due to Natsume holding the trademark. As for Natsume, they've clung to the decades-old trademark and appear to be making examples of this trope starting with Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, which they've handed off to someone other than Marvelous AQL.
  • A PlayStation 2 game supposedly based on Home Alone was released by Blast! Entertainment in 2006 in Europe only. You're a kid setting traps for two burglars, but that's where the similarities end: there are four playable characters, one of whom is named "Kevin" but the other three never appeared in any of the movies, and the game appears to take place in a lush garden in summer.
  • The arcade version of Ikari III: The Rescue is an overhead beat-em-up instead of a shoot-em-up like the original games. It still had Ralf and Clark in it.
  • Inverted with the NES game Journey to Silius. Released in 1990 by Sunsoft, Silius was originally developed as a game based on The Terminator, but Sunsoft lost the license during development. Sunsoft went back, changed a few character designs and official story, but leaving the stages largely intact.
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, whose only connection to the previous installments is being ostensibly set in the same location, and a couple of cameos. However, there is still a Shout-Out in Silver Lining, with more to be expected. (If the player tries to have King Graham grab something he can't reach, the narrator says, "Tis Beyond his REACH!" in a way similar to Connor in Mask of Eternity). And Edgar outright mentions the Mask of Eternity, cementing it as canon to The Silver Lining.
  • Kung Fu Master was released in Japan as a licensed game based on the Jackie Chan film Wheels on Meals, which was titled Spartan X over there. It has nothing to do with the movie, aside for the names of the hero and heroines (Thomas and Sylvia).
  • LA Rush, intended to be a Spiritual Successor to San Francisco Rush. Also Cruisn for the Wii, although it was basically The Fast and the Furious with the Serial Numbers Filed Off, which used the original Cruisn' series engine.
  • Apart from the battle system being reused, Legaia II: Duel Saga has effectively nothing to do with the first game. Each game is entirely self-contained, and Word of God confirms that despite both games taking place on a continent called "Legaia", the two take place on entirely different worlds.
  • Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude and Box Office Bust are mostly a separate series from the Al Lowe series, apart from being set in the same world. The Larry here is different (though related to the previous one), the gameplay is completely different, and the connections to the Al Lowe games feel sort of tacked on.
  • The Final Fantasy Legend games. They were actually from an entirely different series (SaGa) that was renamed for American consumption. However, this is downplayed because these games use the same experience system as the NES Final Fantasy II.
  • Final Fantasy Adventure, which is actually part of The Mana Series. It was remade into Sword of Mana proper later on.
  • Although Max Payne 3 retained various gameplay mechanics from previous Max Payne games such as Bullet Time, noir narrative and use of painkillers to replenish health, several criticized the game for its use of cutscenes (instead of the more traditional graphic novels), change of setting and atmosphere (from dark and gritty New York City to sunny Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Max's appearance in which he shaves his hair halfway through the game. Despite this however, the game was still a moderate success.
  • Mario Golf: Advance Tour for the Game Boy Advance. A unique and fun little game, but the "Mario Golf" in the title (plus the cover of the game) is about all that was carried over to remind you of what you're playing. You spend very little, if any time with Mario and his colorful crew. It's a golf game with RPG Elements where you take the role of an amateur golfer working your way up the ranks. This applies to any of the portable Mario sports games, aside from the 3DS games, though the first Game Boy Mario Golf game at least had the excuse of having the main goal of the player characters be to win a round of golf with Mario (you still played as previously unknown humans).
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign was presumably a Puzzle Quest game based on the Marvel: Avengers Alliance universe. The game play and leveling system are direct lifts from Puzzle & Dragons and the look and feel are stylistic lifts.
  • Mega Man Legends abandoned everything that defined the original and X series (no, there aren't even any Metools), to the point that it might as well have just been another franchise altogether. About the only things it had in common were two protagonists named Mega Man and Roll. That's it. At least Zero and ZX continue the story from where X leaves off, and reboot series Battle Network has stuff like its own versions of certain Robot Masters from the classic series. Legends has no connection whatsoever with any of its prequel series, and even came out before Zero. However, according to Inafune, Legends does fit on the Megaman timeline, millenia after the end of the Human-Reploid schism where both are extinct, and a new race that is descendants of the two, human/Reploid hybrids known as "Carbons", finally resolve the tensions from both races. The only problem is that the Legends series takes place around 'three thousand years after the end of the Zero & ZX series, so the connection is somewhat hard to see.
    • It's not even just the plot or familiar aesthetics that it lacks, it's that the gameplay is completely different as well. Things were changed up in the Zero and ZX series, but those games still shared most of the core mechanics seen in the classic and X series while having others altered to an extent and a few new ones added. Despite the quality of Mega Man X7, it was still much closer to a 3D representation of the Classic/X formula than the Legends games. That said, the Legends series was far closer to the other games in the main timeline than the Battle Network and Star Force games ever were.
  • Midtown Madness 3 has hardly any similarities to the previous games. That's because it was developed by DICE, the company behind Rallisport Challenge and more famously the Battlefield series. Meanwhile Angel Studios, the creators of the first two games, went on to create Midnight Club: Street Racing for Rockstar Games before being renamed to Rockstar San Diego.
  • The Super NES game version of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie has nothing to do with the film itself, as it was originally intended to be a video game adaptation of the show's second season. While the Genesis version does remain true to the actual plot of the movie, the only things the SNES version has in common with the movie (aside from the Rangers themselves) is Ivan Ooze as the final boss and a cameo by the Ninja Megafalconzord in the ending. That's it. The enemies are still Putties and a few monsters from the second season of the TV series (along with robot enemies made up for the game), and the Rangers fight their way through none of the same places they had been to in the movie. In fact, at points you can even see a Z as a logo, indicating that there were obvious plans to make Lord Zedd the final boss!
  • Mobile Light Force 1 and 2 are Macekres of two unrelated Shoot 'em Up games; Gunbird and Castle Shikigami, respectively.
  • Monster Rancher EVO was a drastic departure from the Monster Rancher formula. It completely changed the training formula—instead of training stats one week at a time, you give your monsters "stat potential," which you can only turn into real stats via a rhythm mini-game. Tournaments were all but gone in favor of an RPG plot, with dungeons full of Random Encounters. While the old monsters were still in the game, one of the new species introduced—the Maya—was even quite stylistically different from other MR monsters, not quite fitting in.
  • Little-known The New Adventures of the Time Machine from Cryo Interactive is said to be based on The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, but the only thing it has in common with the book is a scientist from Victorian London who invents a stationary time machine and travels to the 8000th century (although the year was changed from 802701 to the round 800000), plus his servant is also named Mrs. Watchett. But once he gets there, Wells' plot is completely abandoned and instead of struggle between the Eloi and the Morlocks we have the strange Hourglass City whose citizens randomly switch their age between childhood, adulthood and elderhood every time a mysterious Wave Of Time comes from the god Khronos. The funny thing is that some ten years ago, the Polish edition included copy of Wells' original novel, even though it wouldn't make much difference if it was "Treasure Island" or "Uncle Tom's Cabin" instead.
  • In NationStates Regardless of whether you're a President or a Prime minister or a dictator, you always have complete say over the nations issues, and neither the Congress or Parliament or any other organization can overrule any of your choices. There are seemingly no checks and balances.
  • The NES version of Ninja Gaiden was advertised as being based on the "No. 1 Arcade Smash Hit", despite the fact that it was not a port, but a parallel project developed at the same time. The two games barely resembled each other aside for their vaguely similar premises (a ninja travels to America to fight his enemies) and a very similar setting for the first stage.
    • The Xbox games are also completely different from the NES games, although they're stated to be prequels. The spin-off game Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z, aside from the fact that it's an action game where you play as a ninja, has literally almost nothing in common with the actual series whatsoever besides Ryu's brief involvement. In fact, Ninja Gaiden initially wasn't even in the title.
    • Ninja Gaiden Shadow was a modified Game Boy port of Natsume's NES game Shadow of the Ninja.
  • Invoked by the developer of the original Operation Flashpoint when Codemasters announced Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and billed it as the sequel. The original's developer protested that all Codemasters had won from their legal falling-out years before was the name, whereas the developer had kept both the engine (and implicitly gameplay-style rights) and the exclusive right to develop sequels to the original.
  • Outrun 2019 was originally supposed to be released under the name of Junker's High, which in turn was a remade version of a canceled Sega CD game called Cyber Road. The Outrun name was added to the released version with no other modifications made.
  • Phantasy Star Online is Phantasy Star In Name Only, for most critical points and purposes, not in the slightest connected to the Algol star system, setting for or at least critical element every previous game (including even basically disconnected side games). Then again, Dark Force being dead for good in the last game kind of sealed that plot line - and the obvious way out was already explored to its end one game previous. Phantasy Star Universe, in turn, is both Phantasy Star Online In Name and Some Mechanics Only, and Phantasy Star In Name Only, with a muchly new setting. It was originally intended for Phantasy Star Online to be connected to the original series. The derelict starship that makes up the Ruins level was supposed to be the remains of the Alisa 3, the ship from Phantasy Star III. This idea was dropped in development.
  • Daryl Gates' Police Quest: Open Season and Police Quest: SWAT. The latter is also the first game of the S.W.A.T. game series. For instance, SWAT 4 has absolutely nothing to do with the Police Quest series, despite the character of Sonny Bonds making a cameo appearance in the training mission. In a subversion, all of this has more to do with the SWAT series being a spinoff during its later years, rather than a continuation of the Police Quest series.
  • Project Sylpheed has nothing in common with the previous Silpheed games, other than having the same developers.
  • When Purple Moon was taken over by Mattel, the two games they released were received this way by the fans. Rockett's Camp Adventures had a bunch of minigames and made you choose between two dialogue options instead of three, plus it recast almost all the voice actors. Secret Paths to Your Dreams wasn't even a puzzle game like the other Secret Paths games — in fact, it wasn't even a game, it was an electronic dream journal.
  • Quake II and its sequels have nothing to do with Quake whatsoever, apart from all being first person shooters. "Quake II" was originally just the game's working title, until id Software found themselves unable to find a different name they could use that wasn't already trademarked. IV is a direct sequel to II, at least.
    • There's also Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, which is a prequel to II. Furthermore, that game is a gameplay sequel to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, despite taking place in the Strogg arc initiated by II.
    • Quake III: Arena and its Expansion Pack, Quake III: Team Arena, fit this trope as well. Despite having similar weapons and some of the first two Quake's characters (and the Doomguy), the most story connection you get is an All There in the Manual quip that the greatest warriors in the world have been teleported to an "Arena" to do battle for the amusement of a Sufficiently Advanced Alien. Likewise, while the first two placed a large amount of focus on their single-player campaigns, Quake 3 went all-out multiplayer. All of this is by-and-large because it was made as a competitor for Unreal Tournament.
  • Is Rayman even in the Raving Rabbids games? Some people believe he's the one shooting the Rabbids. Michel Ancel took note of that fact when making Rabbids Go Home, an adventure game for once, Rayman-less.
  • When Data East picked up the license to The Real Ghostbusters, all they did with it was take the Japanese arcade game Maze Hunter G and replace the heroes and powerups with Ghostbusters-related themes, before releasing it to the States. Nothing else in the game involves the Ghostbusters.
  • The sequel to Rockstar's Red Dead Revolver, Red Dead Redemption, has no connection to its predecessor other than the Western setting, the title, the two main character's scars, and a single game mechanic. This is a rare positive example, as Revolver was a half-completed game Rockstar bought from Capcom and was a level based arcade shooter, while Redemption was wildly successful both financially and critically, being considered one of the best video games of 2010. Quite a few characters from the first game do get name-dropped, and eventually turned up as skins for multiplayer.
  • Red Steel 2, a sequel to Red Steel, features vastly different settings, characters and artwork to the point of almost being a different franchise. Note that this is a good thing.
  • The oddball Resident Evil installment Resident Evil Gaiden is less of a survival horror game and more similar to a crazy man's golf simulator. It also happens to be the only game in the series to be declared non-canon by Capcom, though not because of how it was recieved but rather because the game took place before Resident Evil 4 and ended with Leon Kennedy killed and replaced with a shapeshifting monster.
  • Ridge Racer Unbounded is a crazy, urban-based illegal street racing game that has more in common with Burnout than its source series (which is about professional, closed-route street racing and really over-the-top drifting physics). The fact it was made by a non-Namco developer (Bugbear Entertainment; the creators of the FlatOut series of racing games, which is probably the roots of the game's "smash through everything" gameplay gimmick) has a lot to do with this.
  • The mobile game Rolling Sky 2 (also known as Rolling Dream) is this to its predecessor.
    • Besides sharing the same basic gameplay & developers, these installments are entirely different from each other. Compare the levels Pharaohs & Egypt, for example.
    • Rolling Sky has a ball (which can also be changed to become a variety of objects) roll on a bunch of floating platforms while EDM music plays in the background. There is no plot whatsoever.
    • Rolling Sky 2 is separated into multiple story-like levels that follow a specific character. They include an explorer who can ride on either an owl or a llama (Home & Vinicunca), a clown that rides a unicycle and transforms into a conductor (Fantasia), a puppet who resembles Beethoven (Fate), and a boy in pajamas called The Little Prince (Starry Dream & Puzzle/Nightmare).
    • As for Pharaohs, it actually has an in-name only version of it’s own. Besides the setting and the ending, they’re completely different from each other. Early Installment Weirdness much? See the level comparison here.
  • Zork:
    • After Infocom, the undisputed master of Interactive Fiction text adventures in the 1980s, went under, Activision released a CD-ROM graphic adventure called Return to Zork, which had very little resemblance to the original games outside the title. All the references to characters, items, and places from the original Zork universe sound painfully forced, as if the makers of the game just randomly took names and used them to fill in blanks in dialogue.
    • Activision went on to release another two Zork games, Nemesis and Grand Inquisitor, both of which were much better than Return to Zork, were properly researched and (with a few exceptions) tied in nicely to the old games. Activision even promoted Grand Inquisitor by releasing a freeware Interactive Fiction Zork game, The Undiscovered Underground, written by one of the original creators of Zork.
    • Zork Nemesis. As it is a dark and disturbing gothic horror game, in contrast to the wacky and whimsical atmosphere of previous Zork titles. It feels as if it was an entirely different game with the Zork title slapped on it at the last second.
  • In Shall We Date?: Magic Sword, there are a lot of names related to the legend of King Arthur and Excalibur. However, nothing are related to them at all, except for the mention of swords.
  • Shining Force Neo and Shining Force EXA for the PS2 don't have anything in common gameplay-wise with previous Shining Force games; they're Action RPGs. Although the Shining Series consists of installments with varying gameplay styles (as pointed out in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360), it typically gives different names to games with different gameplay styles (as was the case with Shining Force, a strategy RPG, having a different name than the first Shining game, Shining in the Darkness, which was a dungeon crawler), which makes it odd that these installments were named similarly to strategy RPGs in the series.
  • The Game Boy Advance version of The Revenge of Shinobi has absolutely nothing to do with the original Sega Genesis game and is a generic Ninja game with Shinobi on the title.
  • Soldier of Fortune: Payback was outsourced to Cauldron, an East European budget title developer, and thus the gameplay and story have nothing in common with the first two games, other than the PC's organization being named The Shop.
  • Space Invaders Infinity Gene for the iPhone is a game that has little to do with Space Invaders beyond a brief segment of the original Space Invaders and some returning enemies. Instead, it's a shooter that gradually "evolves" as you play it, going in gameplay style from a classic arcade shooter of the '70s or '80s to a modern danmaku shooter with multiple "characters", kill chains, and a special scoring method (in this case, called "Nagoya Attack", which triggers when you pass through an enemy's shot during a short window just after firing when it won't kill you). The resulting game was so cool, fun, and original that few people complained.
  • Space Quest by Escape Factory, a cancelled In Name Only action-adventure platformer for PS2 and Xbox, starring "Wilger".
  • Spec Ops: The Line, came out in 2012, ten years after the previous installment. It contains absolutely no story or gameplay elements from the previous entries in the series, aside from the fact that the main characters are special forces. Unusually, it is thus far the most well-received entry in the franchise
  • Star Raiders II (Atari Corp's 1986 sequel to the pioneering 1979 original) started life as a never-released license based on 1984 movie The Last Starfighter. When the license fell through, the game was renamed into a Star Raiders sequel instead, to generally positive reviews (though it was felt to be more "arcadey", less strategic and less intense than the original).
  • Star Wars Battlefront (2015) gameplay-wise has more in common with Call of Duty than the original Battlefront games. Ironic since it was made by DICE, who made the Battlefield series, the games that influenced Battlefront.
  • StarSiege: Tribes is a fast paced game where everyone has jet packs and shoots exploding blue frisbees at each other while fighting over flags; it is also exclusively multiplayer. The previous game, Starsiege, is a hardcore Humongous Mecha simulator with an extensive singleplayer campaign and multiplayer which serves as the finale of the Earthsiege series of similar games. The only things tying the two games together is the backstory (tenuously so in Tribes, which takes place several hundred years after Starsiege) and a few carried over weapons, such as the ELF Projector. Notably, Tribes is bigger in popular memory than the original Starsiege.
  • Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight was a futuristic platform game for the NES that really didn't have much to do with the original Street Fighter (or Final Fight, which only became part of the title in the international version) other than its title. The localization team attempted to establish a connection by changing the main character Kevin, a cyborg policeman, into Ken from the first Street Fighter 25 years in the future.
  • Still Life 2 had large expectations following it, primarily due to its predecessor leaving the killer's identity unrevealed at the end. When the sequel finally came out, it barely resembled the original in any form. The cliffhanger was resolved in a couple brief flashback sequences that revealed the most obvious suspect as the killer. The remainder of the game, aside from its protagonist, had absolutely nothing to do with the original storyline.
  • The only thing the Suikoden series has in common with Sui Hu Zuan is the fact that both have the protagonist gathering 108 heroes to oppose the government. Otherwise, they have completely different characters, a completely different plot, and are set in completely different universes. This isn't a bad thing by any means, but Suikoden is no more valid a name than, say, The Rune of Eternal Awesomeness. Later entries including Tierkreis and Centennial Tapestry (still doesn't have an official English name) have become this trope, given their setting in completely different worlds from I-V, although they do retain the 108 characters and some game mechanisms.
  • Several characters in Super Smash Bros. bear little resemblance to their original counterparts aside from names and appearances, especially characters introduced early, Moveset Clone characters, or characters who didn't do much physical combat. The most infamous is probably Melee's version of Ganondorf, who is a Bare-Fisted Monk clone of Captain Falcon (who himself is almost completely made up compared to his F-Zero counterpart), rather than the magic-user he's depicted as in his home series. This is increasingly averted as the series goes on, with more Mythology Gags or Truer to the Text alterations being made to older characters while newer characters became more carefully-designed.
  • Tetris Attack has nothing to do with Tetris. It is a localization of a Super Famicom puzzle game called Panel de Pon. Later versions of the game were localized under the Puzzle League name (with the exception of the Pokémon Gold and Silver-inspired Pokémon Puzzle Challenge for the Game Boy Color, as Pokémon Puzzle League was a different game for the Nintendo 64 inspired by the anime rather than the games).
  • Also from Pokémon: This trope is somewhat very common to unlicensed games, alongside the Dolled-Up Installment. A notable case include the badly programmed rhythm game Pokémon Crazy Drummer. What this have to do with the franchise is nothing but the title and a Pikachu's face as a sprite.
  • Time Pilot 1984: A sequel to Time Pilot. All of the stages take place in the same far-future era. There aren't even any years given for the various stages and the enemies are for the most part interchangeable alien ships that appear in multiple stages. The player's ship still warps in and out of the stages at the end, however, but that's about it.
  • The licensed game Top Gun: Combat Zones has no characters, music, or allusions to the film beyond "Maverick" being the first name on the high-score screen. If anything, it's more about the TOPGUN training program.
  • Total Annihilation: Kingdoms was nothing like Total Annihilation at all. Different universe, different playstyles... everything except the graphics engine was completely different. Oddly the gamestyle is what Chris Taylor wanted to do with Total Annihilation but was forced to change due to engine limitations.
  • The Turok comics were about a Native American (the title character) who finds a Lost World valley of dinosaurs. The video games made "Turok" the title of a lineage of warriors fighting to keep the Omniverse from collapsing in an alien land. Some characters have the same name as characters in the comics, and there are bio-mechanical dinosaurs. Then you had the 2008 Turok game, which was this to both the comics and the video game franchise to date. Instead of being a chosen warrior, Turok was a Space Marine of Native American origin. Instead of a lost world, it was an alien planet that just happened to have dinosaurs on it. Instead of protecting it from an evil overlord or Eldritch Abomination, he was protecting it from his CO, who'd pulled a serious Colonel Kurtz.
  • In the Ultima series, a number of Spinoffs and GaidenGames are considered in name only, including Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash, Runes of Virtue I-II, Lord of Ultima and Ultima Forever. Though Ultima IX is a main entry in the series, the disregard for continuity has some fans consider it to be non-canonical. Ultima Online may or may not be considered in continuity with the main series as it takes place in a series of pocket dimensions with no effect on the main games.
  • The original Unloved was a popular custom campaign (WAD) for Doom II which featured vast, intricately-designed and nightmarish levels and a grim horror atmosphere. The 2015 release Unloved is a procedurally-generated Rogue Like with drop-in/out Coop Multiplayer and no story which has you fighting an endless horde of Body Horror monsters in a random selection of copy-pasted rooms while you try to find all the MacGuffins, bearing little to nothing in common with the original WAD aside from the default level apparently being some kind of decrepit, bloodstained apartment complex. Even calling it a Spiritual Successor to the original is stretching credibility to breaking point.
  • Other than featuring a VTOL-capable combat plane, the 2007 Warhawk game has nothing to do with the original, being a Battlefield-style multiplayer TPS instead of a single-player only, mission-based action game.
  • It's probably safe to say that none of the Wayne's World or The Blues Brothers Licensed Games have anything to do with either the SNL skits or the movie (beyond voice clips, character likenesses and half-hearted token references.)
  • WinBack II: Project Poseidon's story is completely unrelated to the first game.
  • In XCOM: Long War 2, the Ranger class has nothing to do with the Ranger of vanilla XCOM 2 beyond the name, instead being a take on the previous Long War's Infantry.
  • The original Yars' Revenge is a top down shooter featuring weaponized Insectoid Aliens. The 2011 Yar's Revenge is an anime-inspired rail shooter featuring a humanoid girl (with some insectoid traits) as the protagonist.
  • Asteroids: Outpost is a continuation of the Asteroids lineage of games...as a first-person massively multiplayer online sandbox game. You don't even have to destroy any asteroids or interact with them (you can shoot down falling rocks in something of a first-person Missile Command, which is the closest it ever gets to anything remotely Asteroids).
  • Nexuiz, a free, open-source First-Person Shooter for the PC created by Alientrap Games. Several members of the team went on to form Ill Fonic, who then created a new game, also called Nexuiz, also a First-Person Shooter, but closed-source and for the PlayStation 3 with different gameplay and setting than the former.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The series provides an in-universe example in the Thalmor. The infamous "Nazi Elves" from Skyrim who rule the Aldmeri Dominion and are hell bent on undoing creation in an attempt to return to a state of pre-creation divinity are nothing like the original Thalmor, who were founded to protect the culture, heritage, and history of the Altmeri people in the 1st Era.
    • Another in-universe example is the Cult of the Ancestor Moth. To note:
      • Originally, the Cult was a Cyro-Nordic group that exported ancestor-silks, simple but exotic shawls woven with the silks of the Ancestor Moth and inscribed with the genealogy of the buyer. During the silk-gathering ritual, the singing and hymnal spirits of one's forebears were recorded in the silk. The swishing of the silk material during movement reproduces the wonderful ancestral chorus contained in the silk. At a time lost to history, it was discovered that this same ritual granted the performer special protections which allowed for the (relatively) safe reading of an Elder Scroll. The Cult was co-opted by the various Cyrodiilic Empires to perform this task specifically in service to the Empire ever since. Retired Moth Priests, who have been blinded by repeated readings of the Scrolls, still perform the Order's original task of creating ancestor-silks.
      • The Ayleids also had a group known as the "moth-eyed" who read and interpreted the Elder Scrolls for them. They were a famously Ignored Expert, who warned the Ayleids that their hubris would eventually lead to their downfall. What relation these "moth-eyed" may have had with the Cult beyond their similar function is not known.
  • The gameplay of the Tales Series features a unique battle style known as the Linear Motion Battle System. Every game used a variation and thus had their own name for their take on it, such as the Flex Range Linear Motion Battle System. Despite all the variations the core aspects remain the same: despite being RPGs the battles in the series plays out more like fighting games, with the "Linear Motion" aspect referring to moving on a 2D plane (even in 3D environments) relative to your opponent, much like a traditional fighting game. Tales of Berseria features the Liberation Linear Motion Battle system, which actually does not feature Linear Motion of any kind and even removing most of the fighting game inspired elements, making it more like a standard hack and slash title.

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