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"Imagine a world where sequels are banned. Would this not be a beautiful place?"
Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw, Zero Punctuation

A subculture, arising primarily in game journalism, that is so jaded by Sequelitis and Capcom Sequel Stagnation that its members are predisposed to dislike any product that is a sequel, regardless of its actual value.

This group seems to have a grudge against any release that doesn't revolutionize and revitalize its genre, while overlooking that people like sequels and that if they didn't, sequels wouldn't sell. Never mind that, for example, cars aren't dinged for having four wheels, a steering column, and an internal-combustion engine, just like every other car out there. This group and their reviews seem to grow louder and louder in direct proportion to the uptick of sequels in general.


This is the group of fans that is upset that expansion packs don't create an entirely new game, or that sequels use similar user interface features, even if the original engine was just fine.

As with most extremists, they have a legitimate point underneath all the bluster: Series and genres must innovate at some point, or they become stagnant. And of course, some series do get worse over time despite their sales holding steady. Where this group gets it wrong is assuming that every single game has to innovate. As long as it's still fun, it doesn't need to be mind-blowingly revolutionary. (There is also a legitimate counter-point; as Brad Wardell points out here, a sequel game ought to resemble its predecessor to some extent, or it has no business being sold under the same name as the original.)


See also Mission-Pack Sequel, Franchise Zombie.



  • Certain members of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fandom freaked out when it was announced that the last part of an upcoming movie trilogy will be a continuation of the anime's events. An oft-used argument is that the original ending was perfect and adding a sequel will ruin it forever.

Comic Books

  • Given how Watchmen is considered a Sacred Cow in many circles, some fans dismiss any continuation as little more than lazy cash-grabs. Granted there is some legitimacy to this sentiment as DC Comics have been creating new sequels and adaptations of Watchmen against the wishes of Alan Moore in order to hold on to the property. However, some fans still choose to ignore both HBO series and comic sequel despite their critical acclaim simply because Moore isn't involved in them.


  • While Godzilla has seen a large number of entries in the franchise, with all three series having periods where there was one movie per year and catching some form of Sequelitis as an inevitable result, the series has become increasingly prone to this viewpoint, even by some within the fanbase - even Godzilla (2014) managed to get flak for it despite being released a full ten years after Godzilla: Final Wars, despite not being a sequel in the first place. This was especially noticeable in the press coverage surrounding the film, which rarely referenced the sequels directly and often dismissed them to focus on the artistic merit of the original film, despite the sequels' obvious influence on the 2014 film's approach to the title character.
    • This is even in effect within the fanbase to a mild degree, as several of the senior historians and writers active in the community, who provide valuable commentary on the earlier films and do painstaking work archiving and translating information from Japanese sources on their production, admit fully to a blatant disinterest in the recent films and related media.
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  • Zig-zagged with Joker. You'll find as much moviegoers who are perfectly fine with the movie being standalone and think a sequel would diminish its impact (and be a more obvious cash grab) as you'll find others who very much want a sequel that could also introduce a new Batman. Todd Phillips flip-flopped on the subject, until he was reported as working on a sequel in May 2021.
  • This attitude has mostly come to characterize the the Muppet franchise outside of the fanbase; they'll watch the TV shows and the original films, but for some reason not the sequels or follow-ups. While The Muppet Movie (1979) was a huge hit and is still considered a classic, its follow-up films The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) did not do nearly as well. The films released after Henson's passing, The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) and Muppet Treasure Island (1996) did decent business (albeit much better on video than in the theaters), but the failure of Muppets from Space (1999) temporarily ended the Muppets' theatrical career. The franchise was bought by Disney a few years later, who managed to reboot it with The Muppets (2011) to some acclaim, but that film's sequel Muppets Most Wanted (2014) was a box office flop, though well-recieved by fans. The subsequent failure of another television revival, and reassessments of the 2011 film, has lead to the franchise's Disney years being seen as a Dork Age and an increased view of the franchise as having suffered this since the nineties.
  • Psycho does have sequels (Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning, all starring Anthony Perkins) but most Alfred Hitchcock purists tend to ignore them. It doesn't help that III and IV are very much Sequelitis.
  • Star Wars: When Disney bought the rights to Star Wars and announced they were reconfiguring the franchise in 2014 with a new theatrical film trilogy as a sequel to the original and prequel trilogies, some fans were wary. Many people considered the main plot of Star Wars and the story of the Skywalkers to be done after Return of the Jedi. While some works in the old Expanded Universe that tried to continue the story were well-received, others were...not. However, other fans were on-board with the idea. The Sequel Trilogy ended up being massively successful financially (when adjusted for inflation, The Force Awakens is the fourth highest-grossing film ever), although the critical reception has been far more mixed.
  • Most fans of the Terminator franchise hold only the first two movies in high regard. The second movie tied up the franchise nicely; even if the ending was somewhat open-ended, the point was that there was now hope in a world with one of the bleakest futures imaginable. For any sequel to pick up where that film left off, however, a Happy Ending Override is inevitable—which is exactly why Rise of the Machines, Salvation and especially Dark Fate became Contested Sequels. For there to be more Terminators, the bleak future has to be restored in some form or another and the message of the second movie, "There is no fate but what we make for ourselves", has to be ignored.

Video Games

  • Video game review site GameSpot is a major offender, as "too much like the original" is one of their most common complaints. Particularly bad was giving Metroid Prime a 9.7, and then giving Metroid Prime 3: Corruption an 8.5.
    • More reasonably, IGN's review rated Prime 3 a 9.5, only .3 points lower than the first game, and openly stated it would have gotten those extra three tenths if Prime hadn't done it first, as innovation counts for something.
    • They even do it with Expansions. Check Heroes of Might and Magic V and watch the score decline despite the new features and overall increase in quality.
    • IGN's worst offense: The original Backyard Basketball on the PC got a 6.5. It deserved the score because the game crashed a lot and the controls were weak. The follow-up on the PS2 improved on everything the original game did, adding nine more playable characters and making the controls like other NBA games; it got the exact same score. This has been a problem with other games in the series too.
  • The founding Real-Time Strategy series, Command & Conquer, has legions of anti-fans who hate them for being more of the same, time after time, despite "the same" being just fine. Until Command & Conquer 4 completely changed the game mechanics to not be dependent on base-building and tank rushes.
  • Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation has a pretty turbulent relationship with sequels — one on hand, he considers sequels the "scourge of creativity" and tends to dislike them on principle alone, finding their cash-grab nature and inherent need for recycling ideas and continuation of stories an easy road to unnecessary ruin. However, he also believes that sequels can be done well (he prefers ones that only have the loosest connection to the originals, refining elements that worked and excising ones that didn't), and ironically, sequels often tend to make his annual "Best Of" lists. It should also be noted that he isn't above this as a creator himself with works like the Chzo Mythos, though he's greatly slowed down on them following the development of his current attitude.
  • Despite being in a genre that wasn't represented very well that generation and being the sequel to what is considered one of the best games of all time, Super Mario Galaxy 2 has attracted sequelphobes based on a 90 second trailer, mainly due to apparently being a Mission-Pack Sequel.
  • Punch-Out!! for Wii caught some flak for not being different enough from the preceding games... the last one of which came out fifteen years previous.
  • If a new Fire Emblem game is coming out, you can be sure that reviews are being written which either accuse it of being too difficult and its graphics as not being up to par, the combat systems not adapting the mechanics from the previous games and the graphics not being up to par... or the gameplay not being completely different from the previous installment, and the graphics (despite improvements) still not being up to par.
  • MacUser rated the old arcade-style platformer Dark Castle 5 out of 5. Beyond Dark Castle had many more levels than the original, new types of levels including side-scrolling flying sequences and vast labyrinths, the transition from a One-Hit-Point Wonder to a health meter, and new items to use such as bombs — yet MacUser gave it only a 3.5, citing disappointment at it being "more of the same".
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 completely changed the layout of story mode and more than tripled the content of the third game, but many gamers refused to give it a chance due to it being the fourth game in a yearly series. In a similar fashion, Proving Ground, which takes place in a whole state (well, three cities and the areas linking them), was not given a chance by many people because of the popularity of Skate.
  • Some game series seem to get this even from quarters that aren't usually Sequelphobic. Dynasty Warriors and any other game in the Warriors series are recurrent offenders, usually on the grounds of It's the Same, Now It Sucks!, despite significant changes in game mechanics, play modes, and various other improvements. An infamous review for Bladestorm The Hundred Years War dismissed it as 'yet another DW buttonmasher by Koei'... despite the fact that Bladestorm was a squad based RTS, not a buttonmasher. On the other hand, Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce suffered from the criticism of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
  • Averted in the case of Thief II: The Metal Age. While most reviewers couldn't help pointing out the fact that the game looked and played exactly like the original, including the same user interface and end-mission mini-movies, the game was so incredibly good that they generally said this wasn't a problem, as the game improved upon its predecessor in several non-superficial ways. In this case, most reviewers were simply expressing dismay at the fact that the game didn't have graphics that could compete with other modern first-person games and would thus likely be overlooked by the public. And to a large extent, they were right.
  • This article comments on the phenomenon, noting that Basketball 2009 is basically the same game as Basketball 2008 and nobody cares.
  • This trope is the reason Masahiro Sakurai stepped down as president of HAL Labs. He was tired of people demanding Kirby sequels (even if the game was a sequel). He was even hesitant to work on Brawl, but decided to continue making Super Smash Bros. games once Iwata convinced him to.
  • Master of Orion III shows what happens when the Sequelphobes get what they ask for. The designers said repeatedly that they were making "Master of Orion 3, not Master of Orion 2.5." And they did; they built a totally new game with a new interface, new mechanics, and so on. The result was a bloated monstrosity that ran far over schedule and over budget, and bombed on release. In retrospect, Master of Orion 2.5 would probably have been much better.
  • Bioshock has this in spades; as soon as the sequel was announced, hardcore fans of the original were saying that the first game was now ruined, and that a sequel was both unnecessary and would somehow cheapen the original. It went From Bad to Worse when it was announced that the sequel was to be developed by 2K Marin rather than Irrational Games, and that it would have multiplayer. Ultimately the game was mostly well-received by critics and fans alike, though to notably less praise than the original thanks to sometimes seeming too similar. It wasn't until BioShock Infinite that the franchise received a sequel universally considered as good or even better than the original.
  • There was a variation of this when Left 4 Dead 2 was announced, released one day short of a full year after the first's debut. Fans of Left 4 Dead were furious that the sequel was being worked on before their supposedly promised downloadable content for the original was released. So much so, in fact, that a boycott of several thousand players arose. It didn't play out, though: Valve invited the leaders of the movement to try out L4D2. The two left the HQ speaking very highly of the game, causing their own followers to break into those who changed their minds and those who called their former leaders idiots and wanted to go through with the boycott anyway.
    • That being said, the developers did throw the die-hard L4D1 players a bone, as the second DLC The Passing was released both for the original and the sequel. Coupled with semi-frequent free giveaways of Left 4 Dead 2 and the eventual importation of all the original's content into the sequel, almost all of the fandom sticks with the second.
  • Similar to the Left 4 Dead scenario, when Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was officially announced, only after the release of a fraction of a minute of gameplay footage, perhaps out of habit from the lackluster games before it, fans wanted to boycott Sonic 4. By buying Sonic 1.
  • The Call of Duty franchise has been getting this reaction from both fans and non fans since the one year development cycle began with World At War. Considering the franchise is now popularly considered the exemplar of videogame Sequelitis, this fear was probably justified.
    • The backlash was significant when details of Call of Duty 2013 (now known as Call of Duty: Ghosts) were leaked days after Black Ops II was released.
    • With the pre-release reactions to Infinite Warfare, this trope has hit the other side of the problem. After the trailers, the internet reacted with overwhelming negativity... to it appearing to be too different from the previous games. It's worth pointing out that, for long time fans, Infinite Warfare seems like merely the extreme end of a trend in the series for awhile, and that the overwhelming hate for it is probably more memetic than genuine mass outrage. It's the people who have never much payed attention to the series's usual offerings that see it as finally different enough to be worthy of interest. Notably from critics usually disparaging of the series's Sequelitis traits.
  • This applies to video game hardware as well as software. Nintendo gets a lot of criticism for giving Product Facelifts to its handheld systems (to the point where some people claim that the early relatively poor performance of the Nintendo 3DS is due to people mistaking it for another redesign of the DS). Even entirely new video game systems get complaints from people who don't want to have to spend money on a new system to play new games if the older console doesn't get enough support as a Daddy System.

Western Animation

  • In the 2010s, this attitude started getting directed toward Pixar due to them spending much of the decade creating sequels to their previous animated features rather than starting many new stories, with seven out of ten(!) films released between 2010 and 2019 being sequels. It's certainly a downplayed example as a number of said sequels were either something the Pixar fanbase had clamored for for years (Incredibles 2) and/or were critically acclaimed smash-hits upon release (such as Finding Dory, the two Toy Story sequels, and Incredibles 2 again), but regardless, by the end of the decade the fanbase was growing weary of the sequels and campaigned for Pixar to pursue more original story ideas, especially upon the announcement of the aforementioned Toy Story 4 (which garnered a borderline hostile reaction from the fanbase, which questioned its necessity following 3, until it eventually won over the crowd). When Pixar announced that their list of upcoming movies from Onward...erm...onward were not going to be sequels to any of their previous movies, the Pixar fanbase was quite delighted.
  • Many of the bad movies The Critic is tasked with reviewing are sequels. In his Rousing Speech that won him a Pulitzer, he says to stop at "Roman numeral II".