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Creator-Driven Successor

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Impossible Pictures presents two different interpretations of "Nigel Marven running away from dinosaurs".

"Every writer has only one story to tell, and he has to find a way of telling it until the meaning becomes clearer and clearer, until the story becomes at once more narrow and larger, more and more precise, more and more reverberating."

A Creator-Driven Successor is a work that is effectively a successor to another work by the same creator but belongs to a different franchise. This situation may be apparent if the creator takes care in having both works share similar themes, setting aesthetics, art style, or gameplay. A Thematic Series may result from a string of creator-driven successors.

This is a way for creators that want to follow up on their previous work to get around the problems posed by attempts to continue a franchise directly, whether by a sequel, prequel, or Non-Linear Sequel.

The inability to do so may be because:

The creator-driven successor status can be subverted by Canon Welding, where the seemingly distinct franchises are revealed to be in the same continuity.

If creator-driven successors to a franchise are seen as better than official sequels that were made without key creators, Only the Creator Does It Right may result.

Compare Same Story, Different Names, for other instances of creators copying themselves. Compare Start My Own, where someone who's fed up with dealing with a particular organization for whatever reason leaves and starts a new one with a similar purpose. Not to be confused with Spiritual Successor, where it's the audience that regards a work as a virtual successor to another, regardless of whether the works share creators.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • New Game!, Shotaro Tokuno's previous manga, was published in Manga Time Kirara (which is best known for its iyashikei works), yet it got some flack for having iyashikei-unfriendly story arcs where moe girls are pitted against each other in competition and have to suffer emotional losses. His next series, IDOL x IDOL STORY! (published on Kirara's online-only sister site Comic Fuz) has a premise that is nothing but moe girls being pitted against each other and forced to suffer emotional losses. In retrospect, the competition arcs in New Game! seem like a dry run for IDOL x IDOL STORY!
  • Mamoru Hosoda's Summer Wars is often regarded as a remake or successor to one of his previous films, Digimon: The Movie. note  Both feature similar artstyles, premise (teenage hackers fighting off a monster-like AI wreaking havoc on the Internet), and even a number of scenes (perhaps most notably the climax, where the heroes are given the strength to fight on when people from all over the world log in to cheer on them). He would then follow up on them with Belle (2021), which builds on the concept of a massive social media space from Summer Wars used as a site for everything, right down to the site having whales as a notable mascot.

    Comic Books 
  • New Gods was originally intended to be a sequel to Jack Kirby's Tales of Asgard series, which had ended with the Norse gods dying and a futuristic, technological people replacing them. When Kirby moved to DC, it had to officially be in its own continuity, although there are one or two callbacks to Tales, such as a character finding the remains of the final battle.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • A Christmas Carol directed by Robert Zemeckis serves as this to his preceding CGI-animated Christmas film The Polar Express. Both films are based on a classic book centered around the holiday and are about a person whose perspective on life and attitude towards the holiday are changed as he goes through a supernatural journey started by beings who want to help them "open their eyes" so to speak.. Each also has a leading actor who plays several roles in the film. Ironically enough a marionette puppet of Ebenezer Scrooge appears in the film during the scene where they are in a car filled with abandoned/misfit toys being used by the hobo ghost. The Scrooge played by Jim Carrey in the subsequent film has a strikingly similar appearance/design.
  • Corpse Bride was hotly anticipated by fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas. In fact, with his distinctive style and usual repertory cast, you could consider the entire Tim Burton oeuvre outside the more science fiction stuff one big de facto franchise.
  • Disney's Hercules would qualify as such to their preceding animated film Aladdin. Both films are based on classic myths/folk tales set in the ancient world. The main players include a well-meaning yet frowned-upon young male outsider, who has confidence issues and wants to feel acceptance/respect, and who comes to embrace himself for who he is by the end (Hercules and Aladdin), a conniving and snarky man of power (Hades and Jafar) within the inner circles of a jovial king he seeks to supplant (Zeus and the Sultan) with the aid of sealed away ancient beings of immense power (the Genie and the Titans) who ultimately is punished by being trapped in a dark place without the use of his power when beaten by the hero, the feisty woman the hero loves who is trapped in a life position she seeks to break free from (Meg and Jasmine), among others such as in the various comedic sidekicks. (Such as the heroes' anthropomorphized modes of transportation, the villains' comedic sidekicks who are regularly abused by their masters and do a lot of the grunt work.) Both films also have a lighter, more irreverent tone than the more serious films that preceded (Beauty and the Beast/The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and followed them (The Lion King/Mulan) in the Disney canon, with many comic anachronisms and pop culture references. Both films had the same pair of directors with Ron Clements and John Musker. And both, naturally, were animated Disney musicals with music by Alan Menken.
  • Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame would qualify as such to their preceding animated film Beauty and the Beast. Both films are based on classic pieces of literature based in France. The main players being a misunderstood/tortured man thought of as a monster by the outside world that lives in a monolithic building (Quasimodo and The Beast), his sidekicks in the form of legless anthropomorphic objects (the castle's denizens turned into household objects like Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts from Beast and the Notre Dame gargoyles Victor, Hugo, and Laverne from Hunchback), the strong and compassionate woman that defends him who he falls for (Esermelda and Belle), a villainous man with influence in his hometown that is deeply arrogant and lusts after the female lead who ultimately dies in a final confrontation when he besieges the aforementioned monolithic building where he falls to his death (Frollo and Gaston). Both films had the same pair of directors with Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. And both, naturally, were animated Disney musicals with music by Alan Menken.

    Film — Live Action 

  • Monsignor Hugh Benson made his name with his Catholic End-Times novel Lord Of The World, which was so dystopian that it depressed a lot of readers. Eventually enough of them wrote to him about this that he placated them by writing another End-Times novel with a different interpretation—that Christianity will become more dominant the closer the world gets to ending, instead of less. This book is The Dawn Of All, which ends with it being all just a dream, because the writer truly believed the premise went against what the Bible teaches.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Endurance was this to the short-lived Fox Kids reality competition show Moolah Beach, also created by J. D. Roth and Todd Nelson. Endurance itself got one in the form of the 2020 HBO Max reality competition show Karma, co-created by Roth with music producer Scooter Braun, which is effectively a seventh season of Endurance in all but name and certain concepts (for example, Karma features the "Cave of Karma" instead of Endurance's Temple of Fate).
  • Hail to the Chief is this to Soap, also created by Susan Harris. It has a very similar feel, of arc-driven over-the-top drama in the context of a half-hour sitcom. It has a token gay character who has actual stories. It even has the same style of Previously on…, ending with something like "Confused? You won't be after this episode of Hail to the Chief."
  • The producers of Walking with Dinosaurs wanted to continue making spin-offs once The BBC, who apparently owns the brand itself, lost interest. However, the format is generic enough that the producers could simply produce them under a different name and use Advertising by Association.
    • Prehistoric Park is effectively an expanded version of the Chased By Dinosaurs specials, this time directly incorporating time travel into the plot and adding a B-story set in the present day. That's because the two series share the same production company (Impossible Pictures), Producer (Jasper James), and presenter (Nigel Marven). However, Prehistoric Park aired on ITV, one of the BBC's rivals.
    • March of the Dinosaurs, also produced by Jasper James and aired on ITV, uses the Walking with Dinosaurs format.

  • Angus McSix definitely continues the adventures of the lead singer's character Angus McFife from Gloryhammer, just without directly saying so using probably copyrighted names. Thus, we have Prince Angus coming back as Angus McSix, without stating that he used to be Angus McFife. He doesn't mention having owned the Hammer of Glory but sings "Glory left my hammer." And the background story says that, before encountering the new Big Bad, he was expecting to fight his old enemy (without saying it was Zargothrax). Secondly, the tone of the new band is basically the same as Gloryhammer's, ie. gleefully outrageous parody of Power Metal.

  • Gloomsbury to The Wordsmiths at Gorsemere: a BBC Radio 4 slice-of-life sitcom written by Sue Limb about an exaggerated version of a well-known group of writers (the Romantic poets and the Bloomsbury set), filled with punny names.
  • In the 1940s, Ruth Park wrote a children's radio serial called The Wide-Awake Bunyip, about an amiable but foolish bunyip and his best friend, Mouse. The serial was canceled in 1951 after the death of the lead actor, then rebooted as The Muddle-Headed Wombat, about an amiable but foolish wombat and his best friend, Mouse, with the same writer and production team and the same cast apart from the title role.
  • X Minus One: This show was an effort to revive Dimension X, an earlier Science Fiction Genre Anthology which aired on NBC radio from 1950–1951. The director Fred Weihe worked on both, as did scriptwriters Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts. Out of the first thirty or so episodes, they Recycled twenty-six of the scripts from the older Radio Drama.

    Video Games 
  • The RTS American Conquest has a lot in common with Cossacks: European Wars (set in the 17th/18th centuries — in the Americas instead of Europe — and the possibility of building big armies especially) and was made by the same studio, GSC Game World.
  • Another Eden serves as one to Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross as JRPGs focused on time travel and the consequences of meddling with history, all of which featured Masato Kato as a scenario writer and Yasunori Mitsuda as a composernote  This was not his original intent going in as Wright Flyer Studios approached him to work on their games and then asked if he could work on their time travel game, Kato was uninterested in writing more time travel narratives and had to be persuaded into writing for it.
  • Astral Chain:
    • Bayonetta 3 takes many of the elements from Astral Chain to the next level. Infernal Demons function similarly to the Legions but are at a much larger scale. Both function on a magic meter which causes them to disappear if it runs out or if they take too much damage. Pressing ZL at the end of a combo with perfect timing activates a powerful finisher similar to the Sync Attacks with Legions.
    • Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon continues with the Astral Chain influence, specifically controlling two characters at once. Cereza is controlled with the left Joy-Con, while Cheshire is controlled with the right.
  • BlazBlue is one to Guilty Gear, both developed by Arc System Works. At the time, ArcSys lost the rights to Guilty Gear due to a merger between Sega and Sammy Corporation and they couldn't develop a new fighting game for the series (hence why Guilty Gear 2: Overture was such a different game from the series and only features a handful of characters from the previous games). BlazBlue was originally planned to be an RPG, but in light of this outcome, it was changed to a fighting game.
  • Bullet Witch is one to the Cavia's own Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex video game for the PlayStation 2 and shares the same team behind it. Both games share third-person shooting gameplay elements, however, they differ in that Bullet Witch is an original IP focuses more on run-and-gun action and features spell-casting, while the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex game is a licensed game has an emphasis on platforming and features the ability to hack enemy cyborgs and terminals.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Bayonetta, to the first DMC game, but the traits are shared with later DMC games. Both were created by Hideki Kamiya, both share over the top action, and both have styles of attacking where mixing it up grants a higher score at the end of each section/chapter.
    • The Kamiya-era Devil May Cry received another spiritual successor in the form of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; just replace Demons with Cyborgs and Giant Robots.Note 
    • For further irony, the "reboot", DmC: Devil May Cry, has combat and controls that owe more to developer Ninja Theory's prior game: Heavenly Sword. Rather than earlier Devil May Cry titles. To the point that many fans jokingly called DmC, Heavenly Sword 2.
  • Bloodstained: Koji Igarashi created the series as a successor to Castlevania following his departure from Konami in response to their lack of interest in continuing the franchise. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon harkens back to the early "Classicvania" games that feature level-to-level, linear platforming, while Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night takes after the Metroidvania games that focus on non-linear exploration.
  • Eden's Last Sunrise is this to Sungazer Software's (when they were still known as Tilde-One Games) older game series: The Reconstruction, I Miss the Sunrise, and The Drop, as well as the unreleased, would-be final entry How Far, from which remains of the plot were "scavenged" for Eden's Last Sunrise. It uses many of the same ideas, locations and characters, placed in a new setting.
  • FromSoftware:
    • Dark Souls. Director Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team at FromSoftware wanted to create a follow up to their Cult Classic Demon's Souls, but publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment felt that its sales were too low to greenlight a sequel. Thus, he went over to Bandai Namco and created his successor under a slightly different name.
    • Ironically, after Dark Souls achieved critical acclaim, decent sales, and a large amount of influence on the video game industry, Sony approached From and Miyazaki with an offer to make a game together again, but rather than produce a sequel to Demon's Souls, they chose to make yet another Creator-Driven Successor, Bloodborne.
    • From did this yet again with Elden Ring, which retains many mechanics and ideas from the Souls games despite being a distinct series. Like with Bloodborne, this was not done out of necessity, since From fully owns the rights to Dark Souls. It was done deliberately since Elden Ring, in spite of its similarities to the Souls games, puts its own spin on things with its Wide-Open Sandbox structure, and to give more creative freedom to guest writer George R. R. Martin.
  • The Final Fantasy games set in the Ivalice universe (including Vagrant Story, which technically isn't a Final Fantasy game) are successors to Quest's Ogre Battle franchise as created by Yasumi Matsuno. It started with Final Fantasy Tactics being the Final Fantasy equivalent to Tactics Ogre (the title even being pointed out in interviews as the first note of similarity)note  with its conception as a matter of serendipitous timing: Hironobu Sakaguchi was impressed with Tactics Ogre, learned Matsuno had recently left Quest, and offered him a job at Square. Matsuno saw this as an opportunity to become a Promoted Fanboy and work on Final Fantasy, so he accepted and a strategy game was one of the proposed projects available to him. He quickly took that up and brought in his Production Posse from Tactics Ogre (graphics director Hiroshi Minagawa, character designer Akihiko Yoshida, and composers Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata), who would go on to become the foundation for further Ivalice games. However, Matsuno didn't fully abandon Ogre Battle as Square eventually bought Quest in 2000, allowing him to work on both series even after going freelance as he wrote new story content for Tactics Ogre when it got remade and the Ivalice-related content in Final Fantasy XIV.
  • Game Builder Garage to the Nintendo Labo garage. This new title includes a large amount of new tutorial content wrapped around the same tools from Labo Garage to teach the player more about game development. Furthermore, several objects from the Labo games appear as Fancy Objects.
  • Takashi Tokita's directorial debut at Squaresoft was Live A Live, an RPG about heroes from various periods of history confronting a powerful evil all throughout time and space. His next game after that? Chrono Trigger, a RPG about... fundamentally the exact same premise. Chrono Trigger would however greatly streamline the concept (notably by building itself around a unified Time Travel-based storyline, whereas each time period of Live A Live was practically its own mini-game with standalone plot and mechanics) and reach much greater success and popularity.
  • Mighty No. 9 was Keiji Inafune's attempt to create a new Mega Man game on his own at a time when Capcom didn't want to. Ironically, the game's Troubled Production, repeat occurrences of Schedule Slip, and poor reception when it finally released led to increased scrutiny of Inafune's career, including discussions about how much credit he really deserved for the Mega Man series.
  • Nintendo Land continues the spirit of Wii Sports, since both games are fun and lighthearted games that show off the capabilities of their consoles. The main difference is that the former is Nintendo franchise-themed.
  • Rare has spawned a few of these:
    • Perfect Dark, in terms of game mechanics, is a successor/sequel to Goldeneye 1997, but without the James Bond license, which developer Rare didn't renew due to being outbid by Electronic Arts, and because they wanted to pursue different creative ideas such as a female protagonist and a science-fiction setting.
    • Many of the developers who worked on both GoldenEye and Perfect Dark left Rare to form a new company, Free Radical Design, and developed the TimeSplitters series, which further iterates on the gameplay from the former two games.
    • Yooka-Laylee was made by many former Rare developers who left following their parent company Xbox Game Studios' decision to shift the company towards Kinect games and neglect their existing IPs, such as Banjo-Kazooie, which Yooka-Laylee is patterned after. Its sequel, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, takes after Donkey Kong Country, another Rare series.
  • Rivals of Aether reuses the engine and some bits of code from Dan Fornace's previous game, Super Smash Land, while replacing the copyrighted characters and stages with a completely original setting.
  • Rock Band: Developer Harmonix developed the first two games in the Guitar Hero series, after which they parted ways with publisher Activision. The latter would continue the Guitar Hero series with different developers while the former would start producing the Rock Band series, which added additional instruments besides the guitar, an innovation that Activision's later Guitar Hero games would also adopt.
  • Shantae (2002): An side-scrolling adventure platformer starring a young teenaged heroine designed by WayForward Technologies is an unofficial follow up to their licensed Sabrina games for the Game Boy Color. The three games all share a game engine and similar art and spritework. Shantae even shares the same walk cycle animation as Sabrina.
  • Shadowverse was primarily designed by Cygames as a response to the failure of Rage of Bahamut in the west, by reusing the card game format in a package that would receive a better response globally (that is to say, one that was a bit closer in rules and play style to Magic: The Gathering-style card games, and most specifically Hearthstone).
  • TearRing Saga, a Japanese-only strategy RPG for the PlayStation designed by Fire Emblem creator Shozo Kaga, is practically an unofficial Fire Emblem sequel, to the point that Nintendo sued Kaga's company, Tirnanog, for copyrights infringement (but lost the case). In 2019 he released another one called Vestaria Saga I: War of the Scions.
  • Wreckless was developed by staff that worked on the first two installments of the Runabout series. Both are comedic driving games involving doing timed driving challenges in real world cities.
  • The entire Xeno metaseries is a chain of this. Xenosaga was explicitly created when Squaresoft showed a lack of interest in turning Xenogears into a series, prompting creator Tetsuya Takahashi and his team to form their own studio called Monolith Soft and make a Continuity Reboot under Bandai Namco. And while the Xenoblade Chronicles series didn't begin as such — Monolith Soft's new owners, Nintendo, just thought the "Xeno" name would be a cool Production Throwback — it would also go on to become a successor to both Saga and Gears, sharing similar plot elements and themes to those past projects (After the End setting, heavy Gnostic references, super weapons in the form of young women, etc.) while incorporating a number of ideas and concepts that the writers wanted to explore in those prior games but weren't able to due to the production issues that plagued them.

    Visual Novels 

  • The Accidental Space Spy is a successor to Hitmen for Destiny by the same author. The setting and characters are different, but they both explore how Bizarre Alien Biology might come about through evolution, and rely on farce.
  • Girly by Jackie Lesnick is meant to be a successor to her previous webcomic Cute Wendy. The two main characters from Cute Wendy are the mother and father/mother of Winter from Girly, but the stories are separate and unique enough to be considered a league of its own.
  • We Are The Wyrecats is technically a sequel to Ruby Nation, but it focuses on an (almost) entirely new cast of characters. What the two comics share is the same setting and the same set of themes.

    Web Original 
  • 17776 was originally conceived as a sequel to the author's earlier The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles, and both works revolve around an absurdist take on football and share similar existentialist themes.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Pseudo Sequel