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A work, usually a video game, which takes place in or refers to another work, but isn't really a sequel or prequel. It can be a simple side story, a Perspective Flip, or a chance to give a popular character background they didn't get in the original work. The major stipulation is it is not usually required to canonically fit into the main game or require having played it to enjoy. Video game cases also frequently (but not necessarily) dip into Genre Shift by being centered around another type of core-gameplay than what is usual for their series.

Gaiden Games are sometimes titled from the direct translation of the Japanese word gaiden, meaning "another story." Frequently, these games are released on portables or less-powerful systems, but modified appropriately. They are often lower budget and can be seen as cash-ins, but can be interesting if they choose a different viewpoint, poke fun at the original, or are simply more innovative than a large-budget game might be allowed to be.

Subtrope of Spin-Off. Sister trope to Pinball Spin-Off. Also of note is that having Gaiden in its title doesn't necessarily mean the game pertains to this trope. Even if you exclude Ninja Gaiden, which has a troubled approach with its gaiden status. See the respective entry below.


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Video games


    Action Adventure 
  • Castlevania:
  • Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed is a Gaiden Game in the Destroy All Humans! series.
  • Devil May Cry 2 is a two-disc set. The second disk, which you may think will extend the story, doesn't. It fits this trope by giving you a gaiden game in form of Lucia, letting you play as her for the parts of the story where she wasn't interacting with Dante. It makes little enough sense what she's doing that it could easily be considered a wholly different game played in the DMC format.
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus (a prequel to the original game)
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Every GTA game between III and IV (Vice City, San Andreas, Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories) was a gaiden game; they all took place in the same universe and had some recurring characters, but took place in three different decades (VCS in 1984, VC in 1986, SA in 1992, then LCS in 1998, leading up to III in 2001) and locations. Other than a few characters who appear in multiple games, the storylines are completely unrelated and don't affect one another. Grand Theft Auto IV totally remakes the universe with a brand new Liberty City, though Vice City and San Andreas are confirmed to exist. Grand Theft Auto V in turn is a Gaiden Game for IV, not being officially confirmed to be a separate continuity from IV like it was from III.
    • There's also Grand Theft Auto Advance for GBA, takes place a year before the events of GTA3 and features some of the characters.
    • The main reason for Vice City becoming a Gaiden Game (and thus initiating a sequence of Gaiden Games) is most likely because it was initially planned to be an expansion pack for GTAIII instead of a standalone game, with early announcements in game magazines calling it "Grand Theft Auto III: Vice City".
  • The Gundam anime franchise has quite a few Gaiden Games, most of which are spin-offs of the original series and depict events that take place at the same time as White Base's adventures but in different parts of the world. The best-known of these include Rise from the Ashes (set in Australia), Blue Destiny (set in North America), and more recently Gundam 0081 (which takes place between the original series and Gundam 0083). Some other games shift between this and a full-on Licensed GameZeonic Front and Federation vs. Zeon on PlayStation 2 alternate between missions totally separated from the events of the anime and missions that put you right in the middle of major battles from the anime.
  • While not directly linked to another game, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis could be considered a Gaiden Game to the Indiana Jones series of movies.
  • In the The Legend of Zelda series, most major installments involve a new Link as protagonist, but there will often be a Gaiden Game to continue a specific Link's story, usually without any appearances by Princess Zelda, Big Bad Ganon, or the Kingdom of Hyrule:
  • Mafia II is branded by most as a Spiritual Successor to the the first game, but it's technically a gaiden as it shares the same universe with the original Mafia in a similar fashion with GTA.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (taking place between Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker) is unique in that while you don't have to play it to understand the story of Metal Gear, it makes it easier to understand the story as the ending reveals how The Patriots where created, and fills in how the Philosophers became the Patriots. They didn't. It also shows us that Sokolov didn't die after all.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid Prime Trilogy: The entire sub-series serves this role, taking place chronologically between Metroid/Zero Mission and Metroid II: Return of Samus/Samus Returns. While the Prime games are fully canon to the mainline 2D series, the events take place so early in the timeline, they don't get much more than the occasional Continuity Nod.
    • Metroid Prime: Hunters is an installment focused on online multiplayer (but also with a single-player campaign) which canonically takes place between Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Hunters is completely detached from the Phazon storyline that's at the core of every other entry in the original Prime trilogy, including Federation Force. Instead, the story concerns Samus and a group of other bounty hunters all fighting each other over a rumored "ultimate power." Beyond being the debut of Sylux, who would eventually be set up as a new antagonist following the defeat of Dark Samus, the game has no effect whatsoever on the overarching plot.
    • Metroid: Other M is the only 3D game in the franchise not under the Prime banner. The game takes place between the events of Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion and explores elements of Samus's past; mostly her time as a soldier working directly under the Federation before leaving to do solo contract work. While the game does the needed work to fit into the timeline as a "Metroid 3.5", just like Hunters, it has zero effect on the overarching story, which was exemplified by series producer Yoshio Sakamoto introducing Metroid Dread as the end to a five-game Myth Arc, not a six-game one.
  • The original Ninja Gaiden trilogy for the NES, along with the arcade game released alongside the first NES installment, weren't actually side-stories to anything. In Japanese, the series was originally known as Ninja Ryūkenden (Ninja Dragon Sword Legend). The use of "gaiden" in the English version is an example of Gratuitous Japanese, since the developers were not sure how to localize the Japanese title ("Ninja Dragon" was considered one point, but Data East beat them to it with their beat-'em-up Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja, and a literal translation was considered to be too long). With that cleared up, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword could be considered one to the Xbox series.
  • Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is is the fourth installment in the Sands of Time series and an interquel between the first and the second but it's actually a standalone story. The events of the first game are mentioned once or twice and the forgotten sands are unrelated to the Sands of Time.
  • Resident Evil:
  • Tomb Raider:
    • The first three games were eventually re-released as the Tomb Raider Gold series, and each game got its own Gaiden Game. TR1 had Unfinished Business, TR2 had The Golden Mask and TR3 had The Lost Artifact.
    • The downloadable game Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light seems to also be this, not taking place in the continuities of the original Core Design series or the Crystal Dynamics-developed games.

  • Art of Fighting 3's Japanese name is ART OF FIGHTING: Ryūko no Ken Gaiden, instead of being a numbered sequel. The game itself reflects its Gaiden status, as only Ryo and Robert return from the previous games (Yuri still hangs around as a non-playable NPC, though) and the plot revolves around Robert going to Mexico to help out an old friend, with no real connections to the plot of the previous two games.
  • Guilty Gear:
    • After the original game, the following titles, Guilty Gear X and the Guilty Gear XX installments, were officially designated as sidestories like the novels, drama CDs, and Guilty Gear Xtra manga, with Guilty Gear 2: Overture being touted as the "true" continuation of the first game's story. Word of God says they're still very much in-canon, with Accent Core Plus telling (part of) the story of how certain characters got to where they are by the time of Overture.
    • Guilty Gear Judgement is the only Guilty Gear Spin-Off from its more experimental phase with an actual plot, and it's completely disconnected from the overall Myth Arc, as well as anything that happens in the XX games.
  • Melty Blood, the rather popular 2D Fighter Gaiden Game to Tsukihime, which follows a plotline that didn't quite make it into the actual visual novel.
  • Mortal Kombat:
  • Despite being a small series (in terms of the number of entries, at least), Punch-Out!! has one of these: Arm Wrestling. It used the same two-screen arcade cabinet style of the original 2 games, its art style was similar to the Punch-Out!! series at the time, the main character resembled the arcade version of Little Mac (who had green hair), and arm wrestler Mask X, once his titular mask is removed, is revealed to be Bald Bull.
  • Soul Series:
    • Soulcalibur II: The Weapon Master Mode appears to be a gaiden storyline, as it takes place... somewhere other than Europe and Asia. Also, none of the Soul series characters appear in Weapon Master Mode; the characters in Weapon Master Mode use the fighters as "avatars," i.e. you're not actually fighting Mitsurugi, you're fighting some guy named Edgar. Although there is a Lizardman named Calcos, aka Aeon Calcos who was transformed into Lizardman in the first Soulcalibur. Boy is this complicated.
    • In Soulcalibur III, it was a Euro-Asian conflict, by chance, happened to be in the areas where the characters looking for Soul Edge. The king you worked for had it all along, and is batshit insane.
    • Chronicles of the Sword is an Alternate Universe, set on a fictitious continent with fictitious countries, and starring the Soul cast as mere cameos with no storyline relevance. It's not part of the main canon.
    • Soulcalibur VI has a second Story Mode, Libra of Soul, which takes place concurrently with the rebooted main story told in Soul Chronicle, focusing on a player-created character as their journey to save their soul from the corruption of the Evil Seed takes them across Europe.
  • Street Fighter:
  • The Tekken Tag Tournament games, which bring back almost every character that appeared in the series up until that point, regardless of what happened to them in canon.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Apex Legends takes place in the same universe as the Titanfall series. However, focuses entirely on the eponymous Deadly Game that is held after the events of the main games' stories.
  • BioShock:
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for the Nintendo DS, in relation to the versions released on Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. The game features similar missions, but featuring characters from other teams operating either in parallel or in support of the teams from the main release. Every "main" release in the series from there til Black Ops II was followed by a handheld, mobile, and/or, in one case, last-gen version that acts as a side-story to the main game; the aforementioned last-gen version, for World at War, is notable in that it and the DS version both included a British campaign like every other World War II-based game in the series had, whereas the 360, PS3, and PC version had its British campaign and associated assets cut.
  • Players of DUST 514 take the role of ground-based mercenaries in the EVE Online universe. EVE players can hire Dust players to seize or defend planetary facilities for them, and provide airstrikes
  • The second Expansion Pack for First Encounter Assault Recon is this for both the original game and its first expansion pack, starting within the last hour or so of the original game and ending before the first expansion does.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 3: ODST; despite that 3 in the title (and being based off Halo 3's engine), it actually takes place during Halo 2, and involves an almost totally different cast of characters. The reason why it has that 3 in its title is because it was originally planned to be merely an add-on that still required Halo 3 to play. But as the game grew and grew and more and more tweaks to the game engine were madenote , Bungie decided to make it a stand-alone product for half the price of a normal retail game. Then Microsoft "interfered" and added a second disk containing the multiplayer portion from Halo 3 along with all the DLC map packs, and upped the price to that of a normal retail game.
    • Halo: Reach is a side story prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved that takes place concurrently with the latter parts of Halo: The Fall of Reach. This one is a downplayed example, as Bungie treated Reach more like a full entry in the series instead of an expansion, and its game mechanics are much closer to the other Halo shooter games.
  • Most of Medal of Honor: Frontline, except for the D-Day prologue, is set in between the third and fourth missions of the original game. Allied Assault also has a few continuity nods to that.
  • Unreal:
    • Unreal Tournament is a Gaiden Series to the main series, taking place within the Unreal universe but having little to do with the Skaarj invasion.
    • The Unreal Championship games for consoles are a spinoff from Unreal Tournament, creating a Gaiden Game of a Gaiden Game.
    • Unreal Tournament III could be considered a Gaiden Game for the rest of the UT games — it still plays like they do, but it actually has a storyline beyond "become the Champion" and as such might be the closest we'll have to an actual Unreal 3.

    Open Sandbox 
  • Dead Rising 2 focuses on Chuck Green, who's trying to survive a zombie outbreak in Fortune City Nevada, and keep his daughter from becoming a zombie. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is this, as the main character is Frank West, The Hero from the first Dead Rising, and this version includes several new survivors and psychopaths, more weapons combinations, the ability to collect money from busted slot machines (in the original, slot machines could be broken, but they did not give any money), a new zone making the map bigger than in the original game, as well as new plot twists (Rebecca Chang is only wounded, the villain is the leader of C.U.R.E., and Chuck Greene became a Psychopath after losing Katie).
  • Judgment is this to the main Like a Dragon series. The two are set in a Shared Universe (Lost Judgment notably spoils the big status quo shift in Yakuza: Like a Dragon for those that didn't play that first) with the same setting and heavily related gameplay, but Judgment largely avoids having its story or characters intersect with that of Like A Dragon, instead doing its own self-contained thing. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio doesn't consider Judgment to be part of the Like A Dragon series, deliberately avoiding making announcements of Judgment games alongside Like A Dragon ones.

  • Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins share the same basic platforming elements as other 2D platformers in the Super Mario Bros. series, but take some liberties with the story, settings and items. Instead of rescuing Peach from Bowser like usual, Mario takes a trip to a neighbour country of the Mushroom Kingdom to save a different princess from an evil alien in the first game. In the sequel, Mario has to take back his private island from his evil counterpart, Wario. The third game distances itself completely from Mario and gives birth to the Wario Land series instead. Notably, none of the games were designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, but were well-received nonetheless.
  • Trilby: The Art of Theft is Yahtzee's Gaiden Game for the Chzo Mythos series, featuring as it does one of the main characters years before the series proper starts, and an Unexpected Gameplay Change to stealth platforming.

    Real-Time Strategy 

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Baldur's Gate:
  • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden: A spinoff RPG from the original sports game Barkley: Shut up and Jam! There's also that Space Jam is also part of the game's canon.
  • Breath of Fire IV has had a minor constellation of Gaiden Game treatments—at least two of them being released (along with a Comic-Book Adaptation of IV) fully seven years after the original release. These last two, Breath of Fire IV - The Sword of Flame & the Magic of Wind and Breath of Fire IV: Faeries Light Key, are two separate side-stories of IV. There's also a spinoff of the fishing minigame from IV as well as a "Great Dalmuti"/"Millionaire" game featuring characters from IV. Unfortunately, due to the platform these were released on (Qualcomm's BREW OS, which is only common in Japan) these are likely to remain No Export for You permanently—much to the vexation of the English-speaking IV fandom.
  • Chrono Cross is somewhat of a Gaiden Game for Chrono Trigger, being set 10 years after the "present" time in the latter and retaining only a handful of characters, all of whom show up in three scenes or fewer. What really makes it gaiden, though, is the fact that, in the end, the entire point of the story is to resolve a hanging plot thread from its predecessor (see Urban Legend of Zelda). Radical Dreamers was a Japan-only text adventure Gaiden Game to Chrono Trigger released on the Super Famicom's Satellaview add-on. It was later overhauled, greatly expanded, turned into a proper RPG... and became Chrono Cross.
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory focuses on a seperate cast dealing with their own issues that mix with the plot of Cyber Sleuth and its cast along the way. It has various new dungeons and Digimon as part of its story, though the revised edition of Cyber Sleuth released in a bundle with Hacker's Memory does have several of the new gameplay additions like costumes and added Digimon due to both being built on the same engine. It was stated that the various things shared between both games like dungeons and music was the result of it being an interim game made to fill in the gap as other teams worked on more time-consuming projects.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a couple DLC missions that don't star the Grey Warden: Leiliana's Song, which explains how the secretive nun came to Ferelden, and Darkspawn Chronicles, a What If? where the Warden didn't survive the joining and the Darkspawn won the war.
  • Similar to 'Sailor Moon: Another Story below, there's Dragon Ball Z Gaiden: Plan to Eliminate the Saiyans. Its story has no bearing on the manga or anime, though Toei did produce a companion OVA.
  • Drakengard:
    • NieR is one of the original Drakengard, with the former taking place after the most bizarre ending of the latter (Caim and Angelus chase an Eldritch Abomination into modern day Tokyo and and after defeating it are blown to hell by fighter jets). Drakengard's joke ending becomes very serious for NieR. Caim, Angelus, and their quarry brought magic into the real world... and magical diseases like White Chlorination Syndrome against which a world without magic had no defense...
    • NieR: Automata is a Distant Sequel (as in, thousands of years in the future) to the original NieR, and other than Emil being a supporting character and a vague allusions to the previous game, there's no need to have played the original to appreciate Automata (though it does make certain details about the Devola and Popula that appear in Automata way more of a Meta Twist).
  • The Deus Ex Game Mod Zodiac has JC Denton's brother Paul Denton investigate a separate conspiracy.
  • The Elder Scrolls: In addition to its main series of Wide-Open Sandbox Western RPG style games, the franchise includes several other games which take place in the same world and are generally treated as canon, but offer different experiences from the main series. To note:
    • An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire is an action-oriented Dungeon Crawler with downplayed RPG mechanics. Originally planned as an expansion to Daggerfall, it was released as a stand-alone game and takes place during the time frame of Arena. The Battlespire, a Wizarding School for Imperial Battlemages, comes under attack by the forces of Mehrunes Dagon, who seek to use it as a conduit for invading Tamriel. A single student (the PC), must fight through the Battlespire to defeat Dagon and free their partner. A good chunk of the information of the things known about the Daedra originates in this game.
    • The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard is a spin-off Action-Adventure game with very few RPG elements. Some 400 years before Arena, a Redguard by the name of Cyrus travels home to find his sister missing and himself embroiled in a web of political intrigue. It was well received by critics and fans, but due to the cost of production and being built on outdated technology, it was a financial flop. The Pocket Guide to the Empire, which came with the game, gave one of the first comprehensive looks at the series' background lore, which would be greatly expanded on in future games.
    • Another The Elder Scrolls Adventures game, The Eye of Argonia was planned but never made, though the Eye itself is mentioned in the main series. (Those who don't know this often erroneously assume that it's a reference to The Eye of Argon.)
    • The Elder Scrolls Travels is a side-series of small, mobile phone games developed for Java-enabled devices, including the N-Gage. Travels consists of Dawnstar, Stormhold, and Shadowkey, with the canonicity of each unclear at best (though elements of Shadowkey have been mentioned in the main series).
    • The Elder Scrolls Online is an MMORPG prequel of the main series, set roughly 500 years prior the events of Arena.
  • EverQuest Online Adventures takes place 500 years before the first Everquest. Lords of EverQuest is an RTS. Champions of Norrath and Champions: Return to Arms are action games set in the EverQuest universe. The Pocket PC games Hero's Call, Hero's Call 2 and War On Faydwer share some thematic connections to the main games.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout: New Vegas is an odd case of a Gaiden Game that is more of a sequel to its predecessor (Fallout 2) than the actual sequel is: 3 was made by a different developer (Bethesda) than Black Isle, the developers of the first two, and moved the setting to the opposite end of the country. New Vegas's developer (Obsidian) had many key members in common with Black Isle, takes place closer to familiar ground, and incorporates many elements from the cancelled Van Buren project that was originally going to be Fallout 3. Additionally, most of the add-ons for 3 and New Vegas have a separate map from the main game, as well as a self-contained story.
    • Fallout Shelter is a base building side game made to hold the fanbase over until Fallout 4.
    • Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel is a side-game that takes place in a different part of the post-apocalyptic United States and, as the title implies, focuses more on turn-based tactical battles than exploring a sandbox environment. It is officially considered to be semi-canon in the series lore: while the events of the game contradicted 3 and were thus considered non-canon, the concept of splinter factions of the Brotherhood of Steel would be incorporated into later games, and references would be made to the Chicago-based faction of the Brotherhood.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The GBA remake of Final Fantasy II contained a short quest after beating the game, detailing what happened to all the dead party members after they died.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 originally was informally referred to as a Gaiden Game before being treated as a direct sequel. Largely existing as an exercise in producing a sequel and light-hearted enough to occasionally take the piss out of its premise and characters, it was mainly dismissed in the West for being much sillier than its predecessor, and for deviating too much from the Final Fantasy formula. Then there's Last Mission, a roguelike which is included as an extra with the International and HD Remaster versions, and can more properly be considered this, though it also is considered a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
    • Even before X-2, the developers weren't sure if Final Fantasy IX would be considered part of the main franchise due to how much is deviated from Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII; it was less than a year before release that Square officially called it IX.
    • The spinoff games to the VII universe could be considered Gaiden Games, including the PS2 sequel Dirge of Cerberus, and two prequels, Before Crisis for mobile phones and Crisis Core on the PSP. Fans are divided how much material has been stapled on as a cash grab and how much was simply cut for time.
    • Final Fantasy Type-0, part of Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy is a gaiden game of Final Fantasy XIII, and was given the Working Title of Final Fantasy Agito XIII. While XIII-2 and Lightning Returns are direct continuations of XIII, Type-0 tells a different story that takes place in a completely separate setting while using elements of the lore of XIII. Another gaiden game titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII was originally planned before it was changed into a main series title, Final Fantasy XV. Even though it is also part of Fabula Nova Crystallis, it has practically no connection to XIII beyond being part of the same subseries.
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy is a gaiden game that combines elements of the series' RPG Mechanics with a 3D arena-style Fighting Game. It would have a follow-up in the form of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, which also got a gaiden of its own: Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia, which plays more like a traditional RPG while borrowing gameplay elements from Dissidia.
  • Front Mission: Gun Hazard is not only a side-scrolling shooter, but also takes place in its own alternate universe.
  • Galaxy Angel EX is a non-canonical glorified giant minigame.
  • Kingdom Hearts :
    • The handheld titles of the series are frequently considered Gaiden Games to the "main" series, perhaps because of their tendency towards Word Salad Titles and the fact that they're on handhelds, rather than consoles. This is not the case; these games are all full installments of the series which build upon the story of the games and lead directly into the next "main" game. Kingdom Hearts II makes more sense if you've played Chain of Memories and the games released after Kingdom Hearts II are quite clearly building up to a climax that's resolved in Kingdom Hearts III.
    • Played straight with Kingdom Hearts coded to a degree. The main purpose of the game is to reveal the content of the letter written by Mickey to Sora at the end of Kingdom Hearts II and how Mickey found out about the fate of Aqua, Terra and Ventus, something the player already knows if they played Birth by Sleep previously. Most of the actual plot (Mickey creating a data Sora to restore Jimminy's journal by defeating bugs) has little bearing on the Myth Arc and is never alluded in the next game, Dream Drop Distance. It does contain a few relevant points that are obviously setting up for future games, though, including the first mention of the Book of Prophecy; Maleficent and Pete gaining knowledge of such a thing; and Mickey seeing all the people Sora has to help which includes Xion, a character he previously would have had no reason to be aware of at all, and that fans may have expected not to see again.
  • Lufia: The Ruins of Lore is one to the Lufia series, dealing with a subplot from Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals rather than the overarching plot of the rest of the series. Even its Japanese name is Estpolis Gaiden.
  • The Mana series has a number of titles not in the main series — Legend of Mana, Children of Mana, and Heroes of Mana. But what's more interesting is that the original game, released as Final Fantasy Adventure in the States... was actually called Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden (and was in fact the first game released in the U.S. to have a Chocobo in it!).
  • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, as a crossover with Paper Mario, is one to both series simultaneously, but more so the former. As confirmed by Word of God, to keep the budget down, several musical themes are reused from earlier games and the settings and characters draw more from the main platformer games than other installments before. Adding to this, it's the only Mario & Luigi game to eschew Numbered Sequels in its Japanese release.
  • The Mass Effect series has had multiple examples of this:
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda tells the side story of a group of colonist who left the galaxy before the events of Mass Effect 3. There are some references to the main characters of the original story.
    • Mass Effect: Galaxy (for the iPod Touch/iPhone) focuses on Jacob Taylor and Miranda Lawson between the events of the first and second game. Completing Galaxy unlocks more dialogue in Mass Effect 2.
    • The iOS game Mass Effect: Infiltrator runs concurrently with the events of Mass Effect 3, and follows an ex-Cerberus operative who works to free a number of captive civilians from Cerberus' laboratories. The game has similar mechanics to the main game, and completing it allows the player to export a War Asset and a weapon over to 3.
    • Mass Effect: Datapad is another iOS game integrated with the third installment, and includes a galactic Codex, the ability to receive personal messages from squadmates and various characters in the universe, and a strategy minigame that allows you to increase your Galactic Readiness in the main game.
  • Many gaidens are found in the Mega Man franchise — in fact, each series seems to get at least one. Typical examples are Mega Man & Bass, Mega Man X: Command Mission, Mega Man Legends and The Misadventures of Tron Bonne, and Mega Man Battle Network: Battle Chip Challenge.
  • The Ogre Battle series has two. Ogre Battle: Legend of the Zenobia Prince, a Japanese-only game for the Neo Geo Pocket and Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis, both of which tell the backstories of characters from Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre, respectively.
  • Phantasy Star:
    • Phantasy Star Gaiden was originally intended to fill in some side events to the series to act as the lead-in to an earlier concept for Phantasy Star 4. As that game ended up using a different storyline in the final version, and there hasn't been a single game released in that continuity since, said Gaiden is now meaningless to the overall continuity.
    • Although Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution is technically a major expansion, it takes place at the far end of the game's timeline, has an entirely new cast, and introduces a sudden Genre Shift into a Card Battle Game (as the title implies). Its successor, the PC-exclusive Blue Burst, is more conventional to the series by comparison.
    • Phantasy Star Nova is one to Phantasy Star Online 2, being set in the same universe and sharing most of the same concepts but introducing an entirely new setting and cast with original story elements. Some of the concepts used in Nova were integrated back into its parent game in later expansions.
    • It is heavily implied that IDOLA: Phantasy Star Saga is another Gaiden Game to Online 2 despite being set in an Alternate Continuity.
  • Pokémon has had a bunch of side games. An incomplete list: the First-Person Snapshooter game Pokémon Snap; the Puzzle Game Pokemon Trozei!; and the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and Pokémon Ranger series. Likewise, the main series games are all Gaiden Games of each other, with references and allusions but no actual interactionnote . Mystery Dungeon & Ranger also have references and allusions but no interactions to their own series', so gaiden games that are gaiden games of each other...
  • Sailor Moon: Another Story was not so much a franchise distancer as a nod that it is not canonical to the Sailor Moon mythos in very Broad Strokes.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Shin Megami Tensei if... started off originally as a gaiden game of sorts in the SMT universe, taking place just before Shin Megami Tensei I. It later became canon when the protagonist appeared in Persona and Persona 2, and started the Intercontinuity Crossover that occurs throughout the MegaTen franchise. Part of this crossover is with the Devil Summoner games, which goes into detail sometimes as to why the events of Shin Megami Tensei I didn't happen, and the protagonist of if... later works for the famed Kuzunoha detective agency from Devil Summoner by the time of Persona 2, whose protagonist also is implied to be possessing someone.
    • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey may sort of count; despite the fact that it was originally meant to be the fourth game in the main series, it doesn't have a clear-cut connection with the previous three entries (which themselves were pretty closely linked together). Amusingly enough, it turned out that the actual Shin Megami Tensei IV isn't all that connected to the other main series games either. note 
    • There are more spinoff games than there are main series games. Hell, there are more games in the Persona series than in the main series. There are even Persona spinoffs (a spinoff of a spinoff,) including a browser-based RPG, and a long series of cell phone games based on Persona 3 (including one focusing on Aigis 10 years before the start of the game).
  • The first two Shining Force Gaiden games (Game Gear) were eventually bundled under the name Shining Force CD (Sega CD). And just to be confusing, Shining Force Gaiden III: Final Conflict is unrelated to the previous two Gaidens (aside from being on Game Gear) and is instead a bridge taking place between the first two 'proper' Shining Force games.
  • There are two Japan-only games in the Suikoden series called, quite simply, Suikogaiden volumes 1 and 2. These games are basically side-stories featuring a previously unknown character from Harmonia named Nash Latkje (who would later appear as a Star of Destiny in Suikoden III). The two games take place around the time of Suikoden II, the first starting before and ending during II, and the second taking place shortly after the end of II. In both games, Nash interacts with various characters from Suikoden II, giving more perspective on many of the lesser-known characters. Lastly, Suikoden Tactics/Rhapsodia is another example, set just after Suikoden IV.
  • Super Robot Wars:
    • There are three Gaiden games with each of them a part of the three major continuties ("Classic", Alpha, and Original Generation). The first Gaiden game Super Robot Wars Gaiden: Lord of Elementals told of the origins of the Masou Kishin characters, a group of Banpresto-created originals not seen anywhere else. Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden focused on Time Travel and wasn't necessary for players to enjoy the previous Alpha game (most likely because Banpresto wanted an excuse to show off obscure mecha series, since it was full of them). Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden fits this trope because it was shorter than the average SRW, including several extras such as a battle viewer and a card game. It's also downplayed, though, since all three are essentially sequels that happen to have the word "gaiden" in their name. Super Robot Wars Alpha depends on the player having some foreknowledge of the events set in Super Robot Wars EX or Super Robot Wars Gaiden for background on the Masou Kishin characters, otherwise one can get too confused at the references they make to Alpha's back story. Alpha Gaiden is heavily referenced in the proper sequel Alpha 2, where the Dinosaur Empire is defeated for the third time, and the finale Alpha 3 assumes the player knows of Sanger Zonvolt's role at the Earth Cradle, despite the fact it was supposed to be highly secretive. Hell, the fact the Titans are more or less liberally screwed and Char Anzable's disillusionment with humanity DEPENDS on the events of Alpha Gaiden. In short, Banpresto's definition of "gaiden" means a game that provides story details bridging the gap and answering the Epileptic Trees present in the other games in continuity. In fact, there's very little an "Original Generation 3" couldn't reference the events of Original Generation Gaiden, considering both the effects on existing characters and all the Early Bird Cameoes present in that game.
    • 'Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Endless Frontier. While a spin-off, the back-story establishes the events in Original Generation continuity ultimately influenced the entirety of Endless Frontier. Its sequel Endless Frontier EXCEED even manages to rope in characters from'' the main Original Generation games.
    • Amusingly, a remake of the original Super Robot Wars Gaiden was later announced, only it now carries the "OG Saga" subtitle instead. Thus, the name "Gaiden" then became reserved for half-sequels while "OG Saga" is given to the actual Gaiden Games.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World revolves mainly around a whole new cast of characters, though the cast from the previous game make frequent appearances as Guest Star Party Members.
  • Valkyria Chronicles III is a Gaiden Game to the original Valkyria Chronicles. It takes place during the same time frame from the perspective of a different unit in the same army as the original game's protagonists.
  • The Enhanced Edition of The Witcher has two additional stories named 'Side Effects' and 'The Price of Neutrality', which are completely unrelated to the main game, but feature locations and characters known from there.
  • The Worlds of Ultima series were gaiden games taking the fantasy-based Ultima VI engine (and main character) to other settings, such as Mars. Ultima Underworld was also a gaiden game, being a side story set in the main Ultima world, because with the second installment directly bridging Ultima VII and Ultima VII Part II (in fact, the PC starts the latter with a quest item obtained in UU2 with no in-game explanation of where it came from). There are also the two console games from the mid-90s, Ultima: Runes of Virtue and Ultima: ROV 2. Both games are set in the usual Ultima game world, and feature characters and towns familiar from the parent series. But both games are more like action games than RPGs, and neither one is part of the official Ultima chronology. They are, like Underworld, a separate mini-series of their own.
  • Zoids Legacy, which is like a Mega Crossover fanfic of all the Zoids series continuums in video game form.

  • Aleste Gaiden, in contrast to other Aleste games, has the hero running and jumping in Powered Armor and a relatively limited weapon selection. The ending reveals that it takes place in Another Dimension from the original Aleste, with the same protagonist and villain. Interestingly, Musha Aleste (M.U.S.H.A.) is officially a sequel to this game, whereas GG Aleste follows the alternate timeline of Aleste 2.
  • Darius has its own gaiden game in the form of Syvalion. You even have a Silver Hawk fly along side you in one stage and the metal dragon cameos in Darius Burst.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy does this in a similar way to the Touhou examples - and inverts it. How does it invert it? 1, 2, and 3 are basically RPG games. EBF 3.3: Bullet Heaven is a Bullet Hell game.
  • Gradius Gaiden, the only Gradius title that allows the player to rearrange the power meter, and the second non-Parodius game to have multiple selectable ships (the MSX title Nemesis 3 being the first). And for that matter, the MSX version of Salamander, and MSX exclusives Nemesis 2 and 3. The MSX Salamander plays more like a Gradius title, and has several new features such as a powerup that temporarily stops the screen scrolling. Nemesis 2 is an original title with the ability to fly into about-to-be-destroyed boss ships and obtain new powerups such as an upward-firing laser, at the cost of having a longer power meter. Nemesis 3 is a retelling of the more mainstram Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou with Nemesis 2-style gameplay. Also, the Salamander series is a gaiden series to Gradius.
  • Halo:
  • Link's Crossbow Training for the Wii is vaguely set during the events of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and stars the same Link. The game's actual canon status is rather iffy, though.
  • Metal Slug has a canon gaiden game on the Game Boy Advance, detailing a new training facility that was overrun by Morden's forces. Best of all, two of the trainees, playable characters Walter and Tyra, single-handedly take it all back.
  • R-Type Leo has gameplay significant from a "real" R-Type game. Instead of a Force Pod, you have two smaller pods that provide additional firepower and have a homing charge attack, and the plot takes place before any other games in the series. Armed Police Unit Gallop is also a Gaiden Game, featuring similar mechanics but involving police chases of criminals rather than extraterrestrial threats.
  • Star Fox Zero's companion game, Star Fox Guard, is a Tower Defense game starring Slippy Toad which is based around a twelve-camera security system. Shigeru Miyamoto himself visualises these games as TV shows, with Zero as a primetime series and Guard as a late night series.
  • Time Crisis: Project Titan, Crisis Zone, and Razing Storm. Project Titan was a PSX-only sequel starring Richard Miller. It most definitely took place after 1 (note Wild Dog's mechanical arm); how long is uncertain. It doesn't affect anything that happens afterward, so it's no surprise you don't hear about it. Crisis Zone and Razing Storm are unrelated games which use the TC2-and-later engine.
  • Touhou Project:

  • Colony Wars III: Red Sun feels like this in comparison to its two predecessors. The main character is a neutral bounty hunter with no ties to either of the main factions, it takes place concurently with Vengeance rather than after it and the League/Navy conflict is mostly in the background, with most of the missions instead involving feuds between newly-introduced factions and the protagonist investigating an outside threat.


    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • FunOrb's "Armies of Gielinor" is a Turn-Based Strategy based on the history of the world of Runescape.
  • Disgaea:
  • Because everything is better with penguins, this Turn-Based Strategy series has a platformer spin-off for the PSP called Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? starring everyone's favorite explosive waterfowl squad.
    • Disgaea Infinite (also for the PSP) can also be considered a Gaiden Game to the series. You also play as a Prinny in this game, however the approach is different than in the previous title.
  • The aptly named Fire Emblem Gaiden is a side-story to the first Fire Emblem game, and the remake, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, also links it to the distant past of Fire Emblem: Awakening. Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, meanwhile, is one to Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. The two titles are generally considered full instalments in the Fire Emblem series, being the second and fifth respectively, though there are some portions of the Japanese fanbase who don't consider Gaiden to be a full Fire Emblem game. Also present are the Satellaview instalments in the series, which are briefer games focusing on small groups of the cast of the first/third game doing things in the intervening time period between Dolhr's victory and the start of the first/third games; they were later remade and included as a bonus in New Mystery of the Emblem.

    Visual Novel 
  • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is this to the Danganronpa series, being a story-heavy Third-Person Shooter rather than a Visual Novel set between the first and second games and not having a mutual killing game, starring the first game's protagonist's sister and a secondary character from the first game.
  • Fate/hollow ataraxia: After the high body-counts and "You can't give everyone a happy ending" of all three Routes to Fate/stay night (each of which is equally-canon), hollow ataraxia is a... sequel(?) that does exactly that. The majority is a light-hearted comedy-romance Slice of Life that takes place after the events of stay night, but somehow with all Masters alive, all Servants alive, and all of the main cast having a happy ending (despite more than one being mutually-exclusive to the other). Details are intentionally vague as to what happened in the Grail War, and don't coincide with any one Route. As it turns out, it's a much more direct sequel than it looks. There are some timeline shenanigans going on, and things aren't quite as perfect as they seem...
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • Higurashi Daybreak, a doujin game that's literally become a canon side story.
    • There's also Jan, in which the characters can (depending on the mode) go crazy and kill each other just like usual, and they're dueling with... mah-jong?
    • Umineko: When They Cry will soon have its own Gaiden Game in the form of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni - Tsubasa, and will contain all the side stories released beforehand.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
    • The bonus case, only present on the DS version (the original Japan-only GBA version ends at the fourth case), features a case where only five characters (Phoenix, Edgeworth, Gumshoe, the Judge and the Bellboy) from the rest of the series appear, the rest being completely new. This is due to the case taking place between the first and second games, and the writers couldn't mess with the continuity already set by the sequels which had already been released in Japan. The plot and characters feel perfectly like a sidestory. The fifth case has been fully worked into the canon with Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney featuring Ema as the game's Gumshoe.
    • Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, a Gaiden Game where you play as Miles Edgeworth, Nick's rival. It follows the same general formula except that Edgeworth is actually on the map as a sprite and walks around rather than looking at a static image. There are no court segments (unless the case taking place in a courthouse counts), but witnesses are still cross-examined in much the same manner as the main series. It later got its own sequel, becoming a Gaiden Series.

Other media

    Tabletop Games 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Side Game, Gaiden Games


Big Willy Unleashed

A spin-off for the Nintendo Wii which pretty much stood on its own with no regard for canon or continuity.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / GaidenGame

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