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B-Team Sequel

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When executives have a hit on their hands, the first thing they tend to want is a sequel to cash in on the hype. But sometimes the creators don't cooperate. Maybe it would take a long time to really do a sequel justice and the execs want a quick turnaround. Maybe the creators have become tired of the franchise and want to move on to something new. Sequelitis Or maybe one or more key creators fell victim to Author Existence Failure.


Fortunately (or unfortunately as the case may be), there's a compromise solution: hand it off to the B-team and let the original creators either take their time to make the "real" sequel or move on to whatever they would rather be working on next.

This often happens in video game franchises. Since a totally new sequel with new assets and even a new engine can take many years to create, publishers will often task a different studio with making a quick-and-dirty Mission-Pack Sequel while the original studio takes their time to make the "real" sequel. Some annualized franchises even alternate years between the A-team and B-team.

In film, this often happens when the original director steps back into a producing or consulting role, and is sometimes accompanied by a "soft reboot" in which previous installments are still canon in Broad Strokes but there is a major tonal shift. As such, the line between this and a full Continuity Reboot can sometimes get fuzzy.


This is de rigueur in comic books, where (until much later) franchises very rarely stayed in their original creator's hands; thus, only especially notable comics examples should be listed.

Naturally, results vary, and many a Contested Sequel has come about due to this practice. Sometimes the B-team feels too beholden to the original, leading to cries of It's the Same, Now It Sucks!. Of course, if they stray too far, fans may cry that They Changed It, Now It Sucks! because Only the Creator Does It Right. Either way, it is a leading cause of the Sophomore Slump in video games and movies.

On the other hand, sometimes a fresh set of hands can lead to a Surprisingly Improved Sequel or Even Better Sequel; if and when the original creators do return to a franchise, they might be surprised to find that fans now consider the "B-team" to be My Real Daddy. In extreme cases, the cycle can continue with the B-team becoming the new A-team when the franchise is handed off to a third creator years or even decades down the road.


Another major cause of a sequel falling into different hands is when a group runs afoul of Creative Differences. If one vision contrasts with another, it may become a tug-of-war for creative control until someone wins out. In other situations, problems may arise that force one group to bail out, or sell off the rights to produce if they go bankrupt. Contracts can affect where these rights go and when, and if companies divide, it is possible the work will be handled by a replacement group, some of which may have divergent ideas from the original. There is also Sequelitis, the trend where works fall out of favor when new installments don't do the previous ones justice, and a lot of the time, it's because someone gets too fast and loose with the elements of a work and creates a big mess as they run out of ways to keep the magic going. The simplest fix is to hand it off to new blood with decent ideas to employ.

If a new creator only finishes a work that has already been extensively worked on by a tragically deceased predecessor rather than come up with an entirely new sequel, see Posthumous Collaboration.

Compare Changing of the Guard, which is when a sequel focuses on different characters, and with which this sometimes overlaps.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball: Although he occasionally did some minor consulting or character design work, Akira Toriyama largely left the Dragon Ball franchise in the hands of various other writers and artists after the end of the Dragon Ball Z anime; most notably, he had little involvement in Sequel Series Dragon Ball GT, which many fans treat as a Dork Age. This changed with the newer Sequel Series Dragon Ball Super, the first Toriyama-headed Dragon Ball series in almost two decades. However, the case of Super is a Zig Zagged Trope: for the anime, he provides most character designs and the plot outline to Toei, which they are able to adapt to their liking; for the manga, he's only slightly more involved, providing the same story outline and designs he gave to Toei, occasionally illustrating and writting some pages, but most of the work of illustrations, dialogue and adaptation of the outline it's mainly Toyotaro's work as he has expressed that Toriyama rarely gives him advice, something Toriyama does in an attempt to not make Toyotaro dependant on himself. Notably, Super finally showed GT being Canon Discontinuity to the mainstream not aware of Toriyama never considering the series a canonical sequel of his work. In a subvertion, Toriyama is the main writer of the movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly, which is considered canonical to both the anime and manga versions of Super.
  • TNK lost the rights of the High School Dx D anime due to Creator Backlash based on huge changes to the storyline during the 3rd season. The studio that took over, Passione, makes the 4th season, about which Ishibumi can't be clearer that he considers it a Creator-Preferred Adaptation.
  • Downplayed with Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, which changed animation studios from Diomedea to Studio Comet, but retained some staff from the original (although quite a few notable production roles changed hands between staff).
  • For the second season of Psycho-Pass, there was change in the animation studios (Production I.G to Tatsunoko Production) and main writer (Gen Urobuchi to Tow Ubukata). The end result became a Contested Sequel as Ubukata revealed that he had to "fill in the blanks" when he was told of the movie's plot. The movie had the original studio and writer back and was better-received than Season 2 was.
  • The animated series of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- was done by Bee Train but after the Rekord arc, the rest of the second season had a lot of fillers. This led to a change of animation studios from Bee Train to Production I.G. and staff with Nanase Ohkawa of CLAMP to adapt the rest of the arcs into two OADs, ignoring the filler material from the TV series.
  • There was also a change in the animation studios and director in Hozuki's Coolheadedness because Wit Studio, who were in charge of Season 1, had been very busy with other shows which leaves Studio DEEN to do the OVAs and Seasons 2 and 3.
  • FLCL Progressive & Alternative are spearheaded by new writers, but they stay firmly rooted in the spirit of the original FLCL and take many cues from it.
  • Both the anime and the manga of Fairy Tail have been subject to many distinct changes of production. The first anime was criticized for being somewhat Off-Model from the manga's designs, featuring over-saturated colors, using magic circles for all the spells cast that weren't in the manga, and toning down a lot of the violence and Fanservice. This was the setup up before the anime went on hiatus in 2013. In 2014, the anime went under new production which toned the colors back to more like what is seen in the traditional ink colored art of the manga, removed the spell circles, made the characters accurate to their designs in the manga, and gained better reception. However, it also had some faults, coming at the cost of losing nearly all its signature songs (the rights of which belong to Ponycanyon) and replacing them with shaky imitations by the same composer. The second anime ran until 2016, with a third anime to cap off the run of the original manga to air in October 2018. On top of all this, Fairy Tail advanced over to a new author (Atsuo Ueda) while Hiro Mashima stayed on as a storyboard artist, co-creating Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest while launching a new series, EDENS ZERO.
  • Full Metal Panic! switched hands twice: It started at Gonzo but Fumoffu and The Second Raid were produced by Kyoto Animation instead. And then Invisible Victory was produced by Xebec.
  • Ikki Tousen went from JC Staff in the first season to Arms Corporation in the second and third, with TNK co-producing the fourth.
  • The final season of Attack on Titan is produced by an entirely different team at MAPPA. As such, it has a completely different look and feel compared to the Wit Studio-produced first three seasons.

    Fan Works 
  • The Forgotten Darkness, a story that takes place in between Season 4 and Season 5 of The Flash Sentry Chronicles, is written by the series’ editor KingJoltik, rather than the series’ writer Banshee531.

    Films: Animation 

    Films: Live Action 

  • After Douglas Adams died with his The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series finishing on an unsatisfactory note, Eoin Colfer was brought in to write a final book, which was released to mixed reviews. Although Adams said in interviews that he eventually intended to write a sixth book, what few notes he left on the subject are unrelated to Colfer's ...And Another Thing and were instead packaged together with a half-finished Dirk Gently manuscript and various other scraps and musings and posthumously released as The Salmon of Doubt.
  • The Millennium Trilogy was originally supposed to be a ten-book series, but Stieg Larsson died after completing only three books. Another writer was hired to continue the series with The Girl in the Spider Web. Although Larsson reportedly left behind partial manuscripts for a fourth and fifth book, they are in the possession of his girlfriend, who does not approve of the continuation of the series by ghostwriters, and these materials are not used in Spider Web.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 


  • Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. The game was made by Ubisoft Quebec after Ubisoft Montreal took a break following the infamous Assassin's Creed: Unity, making them rethink the future of the series.
  • After Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, A-team developer Rocksteady wanted plenty of time to create the last game in the trilogy, Batman: Arkham Knight. To keep the series going, WB Games Montreal was given a turn at the wheel with the prequel Batman: Arkham Origins, using modified assets from the previous games. note  General consensus is the gameplay is too derivative of Arkham City but the story takes the series in an interesting direction.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the fourth game in the series, was developed by Sanzaru Games, the company that handled the HD Trilogy re-release, rather than Sucker Punch. While the game itself was well-received for staying true to the series, what pissed the fanbase off was the Shocking Swerve that was Penelope's Face–Heel Turn and ending the game on a Cliffhanger with Sly stuck in the past and then announcing that they weren't making a sequel for it. These wound up tainting Sanzaru's reputation and lead to many fans disowning the game.
  • Dark Souls II falls square into this. Series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki supervised the production of the game, but most of his attention and that the original Dark Souls team was on making Bloodborne, which was in development around the same time. To add to this, the original director, Tomohiro Shibuya, left the project under uncertain circumstances (though it's been alleged that the original version didn't feel very much like a Souls game) and a new director took over from there, around the halfway point in production. This goes some way toward explaining why Dark Souls II is considered the weakest game of the franchise by many.


  • When Dizzy creators Philip and Andrew Oliver decided to concentrate on developing games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Codemasters sought another developer to continue the series on home computers. Big Red Software's Magicland Dizzy went over well enough that Codemasters made Big Red their new A-team, and let them develop almost all subsequent Dizzy games aside from the few that the Oliver Twins coded for the NES. Crystal Kingdom Dizzy, however, was assigned to another B-team, Visual Impact.

Driving Game

  • Stuntman is an interesting double example in that the sequel had both a different developer and publisher. The original was developed by Reflections and published by Infogrames under the Atari brand name. The sequel, Stuntman: Ignition, was developed by Paradigm Entertainment and published by THQ. Also interesting is that the companies that worked on the first game outlasted the companies that worked on the sequel.

Eastern RPG

First-Person Shooter

  • After the success of BioShock, creator Ken Levine and developer Irrational's ambitious plans for what eventually became BioShock Infinite made for a six-year wait. In the meantime, publisher 2K tasked B-team 2K Marin with creating BioShock 2, which turned out to be a Contested Sequel. Detractors criticized the recycled setting, derivative premise, slow start, and shoehorned multiplayer; proponents cite the improved gameplay and mechanics and excellent third act, and even the solid-but-forgettable multiplayer found an audience. The Minerva's Den add-on is lauded as one of the best pieces of DLC ever made by those who actually played it, although a late PC release doomed it to relative obscurity.
  • After "finishing the fight" with Halo 3 and performing a few victory laps with Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, A-team Bungie officially handed the Halo franchise over to B-team 343 Industries starting with Halo 4. 343 was spun off from Microsoft Studios specifically to shepherd the franchise after Bungie's departure from Microsoft in 2007.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy:
    • Nintendo's decision to entrust the then-unknown American developer, Retro Studios, with the task of creating a successor to the immensely acclaimed Super Metroid was quite controversial when first announced. The revelation that they were going to bring the series into 3D by way of First-Person Shooter didn't help matters. Of course, this reaction was totally flipped around when the game, Metroid Prime, actually came out, with it receiving high praise from both fans and critics, and gaining two direct sequels. The studio came to be seen as the Metroid developer and, after the failure of Other M, more trusted than series co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto to handle the property.
    • Zig-zagged with Metroid Prime 4. It was initially announced that it was not being developed by Retro Studios, but by a new, unknown development team. Then Nintendo decided to restart development from scratch and have Retro Studios make it. However, in the years since making the original Metroid Prime Trilogy, much of the staff who made those titles had left the company, meaning Metroid Prime 4 will still largely be made by a new team.
  • The Call of Duty series was created by developer Infinity Ward. However, after the success of the second game, Activision tasked developer Treyarch and later developer Sledgehammer Games to make their own installments so that a Call of Duty game could be released every year. After Jason West and Vince Zampella were fired from Infinity Ward in 2010, which studio is the A-Team became a lot more arguable.



  • After A-team Harmonix was purchased by Viacom and left to develop Rock Band, the Guitar Hero franchise was purchased by Activision and given to B-team Neversoft starting with Guitar Hero III.

Role-Playing Game

  • The first Marvel Ultimate Alliance game was published by Activision and developed by Raven Software, with Vicarious Visions helping with the PSP and Wii versions. For the second game, it was more complicated: while all versions were once again published by Activision, the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions were developed by Vicarious Visions, while the Wii, PS2 and DS ones were handled by N-Space, and the PSP one by Savage Entertainment.


  • A-team Neversoft handed the keys to the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series over to B-team Robomodo in 2007. The series was already the poster child for Sequelitis, but Robomodo managed to make it even worse by tying their debut effort, Tony Hawk Ride, to a barely-functional skateboard peripheral, resulting in record lows for the series in both review scores and sales. Ironically, Neversoft left its signature franchise to itself become a B-team, first for Guitar Hero and then briefly for Call of Duty before being absorbed into Infinity Ward.


  • Just Cause 3 was developed by a new American branch of Avalanche Studios, as the Swedish studio responsible for the previous game was busy with a Mad Max game adaptation.

Real-Time Strategy

  • Homeworld received a very literal Mission-Pack Sequel in the form of Homeworld: Cataclysm; it was allegedly supposed to be an expansion pack but the new visual effects and game mechanics that B-team developers Barking Dog wanted to add required some major modifications to the game engine. Gameplay-wise it was quite well-received but the Genre Shift into Cosmic Horror was not universally popular with the fans, to put it mildly.
  • Another Relic example: Dawn of War's third expansion pack, Soulstorm, was developed by Iron Lore Entertainment, whose previous credentials included the Titan Quest series, as Relic themselves had moved on to development of Dawn of War II. The end result produced enough backlash after Soulstorm was filled with bugs and had very Narmy dialogue, even by 40k standards. It proved enough to shutter Iron Lore.
  • Age of Empires III's second expansion, The Asian Dynasties, was developed by Big Huge Games (known for Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends) as Ensemble Studios was busy with Halo Wars at the time.

Third-Person Shooter

  • A-team Epic Games handed the Gears of War franchise over to B-team People Can Fly for the fourth installment, Gears Of War: Judgment. PCF's previous effort, Bulletstorm, could almost be seen as an elaborate application for the job.
  • Played With regarding Postal III: while it was supposedly co-developed by franchise creator Running With Scissors and Russian developer Akella, RWS later distanced themselves from it due to the game turning out as an utter trainwreck.

Western RPG

Alternative Title(s): B Team Prequel


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