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Thematic Series

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Unlike a typical series, a Thematic Series does not follow the same characters or story; instead, it follows the same themes. For instance, a series may focus on themes of war, but with each installment centering on completely different people being affected by completely different wars. One might recognize a few nods to past installments here and there. If the installments share any characters at all, they will be side characters or it may be in the form of a cameo by a former main character of a different chapter. This is assuming the installments take place in the same universe at all. Otherwise, expect Negative Continuity.


This is different from a Spiritual Successor in that the installments are all made by the same creator(s) for an interlocking series. Considering the nature of this series, audiences never have to worry about Archive Panic or Continuity Lock-Out and can even see them out of order. What these two tropes do have in common, however, is that they are sometimes Enforced due to the creators lacking the rights to make a regular sequel or series. Often, these series end up being trilogies.

Not to be confused with a Non-Linear Sequel, which is a video game trope concerning a series that still follows a set group of characters and game elements, but plays fast and loose with the timeline or continuity. Also not to be confused with In Name Only sequels, when a title shares the same name and the progressive number but it's unrelated to previous installments which were true linear sequels.



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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Northlanders by Brian Wood. Each story arc takes place during the Viking age but centuries apart and in locations as far apart as Iceland and Russia.
  • Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos had the 'The' stories, a series of moralistic stories focusing on a specific One-Shot Character to elucidate the various facets of war, starting with 'The War Lover' and concluding with 'The Reporter'.
  • Sin City is about the eponymous city more than specific characters. While many stories share protagonists, they are all stand-alone tales that deal with Film Noir elements.
  • Both Marvel Comics and DC Comics have a series devoted to taking familiar characters and placing them in Alternate Universes with little to no reoccurring characters. Marvel has What If? and DC has the Else World series which was an imprint with many one-shots and miniseries.
  • Marvel also has The End line of comic books, which vary greatly in both genre and tone, but share the base premise of showing the final days of famous marvel characters. In some cases, this extends to also showing the end of the earth, humanity, or the universe itself.
  • Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Batman: The Long Halloween and Superman for All Seasons: both follow the DC icons through a year, very early in their careers. Long Halloween is a 12-issue story that goes month-by-month (on holidays); All Seasons is only four issues, and goes by, of course, seasons.
  • Loeb and Sale also had a series of Color Motif miniseries for Marvel Comics: Daredevil: Yellow, Hulk Gray, Spider-Man: Blue, and Captain America White. In addition to having color motifs, each story revolves around the titular hero reminiscing over a deceased loved one.
  • Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo's Lex Luthor: Man of Steel (re-released as simply Luthor) and Joker are this. They don't directly link to each other, but they're both dark and deconstructive takes on the main antagonists of Superman and Batman respectively as presented largely from their perspectives, with the heroes present only as dark, shadowy and ominous figures.
  • According to Warren Ellis, Black Summer, No Hero, and Supergod are a "thematic trilogy" exploring what superheroes would be like if their level of humanity changed. Black Summer is about superheroes who are "too human"—who aren't willing to idly stand by their ideals in a Crapsack World, and try to change it by force. No Hero is about heroes who are "inhuman"—heroes who have all the worst traits a person can have. And Supergod is about superheroes who are "no longer human at all"—their ideals transcend ours and go straight into Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • Tom King has a trilogy he dubbed "The Trilogy of Best Intentions", consisting of The Sheriff of Babylon, The Omega Men, and The Vision (2015). Each of them are tragedies where the main characters attempt to partake in a seemingly simple goal or mission with humble intentions, then being forced to deal with failure once it goes horribly wrong.

    Film — Animation 
  • Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon has the "Irish Folklore Trilogy" of animated films directed by Tomm Moore, consisting of The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea and Wolfwalkers. While the films' stories and characters are different and are set during different time periods, they all take place in Ireland and focus on similar themes of Irish folklore, the beauty of nature outside of civilization, and the decline of older Irish traditions and beliefs. It's implied that they take place in the same universe as well, with Aisling from The Secret of Kells making a brief cameo in Song of the Sea.

    Film — Live Action 

  • The Dr. Seuss books are often considered a series. Certainly, they all share the same tone, writer, and artist. The characters and setting typically have the same design styles; the rhyming scheme is always present, as are the aesops.
  • Much like their films, the National Lampoon series of books don't form an interconnected series but rather, share the same writers.
  • William Hope Hodgson actually stated that three of his horror/fantasy novels - The Boats of the "Glen Carrig", The House on the Borderland, and The Ghost Pirates formed "what, perhaps, maybe termed a trilogy" despite them not having the same settings or characters (and possibly not even the same continuity). Rather, they seem to all revolve around ideas, namely how little mankind really knows about the Earth - and even reality - and the mysteries and dangers that lurk just beyond our perception, sometimes in the midst of places and things that we take for granted.
  • Behold The Man and Breakfast In The Ruins by Michael Moorcock are a thematic duology - the only connection between the two are general themes and the same main character, Karl Glogauer, who even has slightly different backgrounds in each book.
  • Ray Bradbury published a collection titled "The Illustrated Man", consisting of a number of unrelated short stories that dealt with themes involving the nature of mankind and their relationship to technology, many of them also dealing with (somewhat dated) ideas of space exploration.
  • The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone is connected only by taking place in the same Magitek-fueled Urban Fantasy setting.
  • The book series of The Ring applies to this, with each entry following a different perspective on the ring deaths: Ring is reporter Asakawa investigating the tape deaths; Spiral is coroner Ando's finding the death patterns and explaining them; Loop is student Kaoru uncovering the "LOOP Project" that connects everything; Birthday explores secondary-yet-vital characters tied to the series; and S provides Sadako's perspective on things.,
  • Jules Verne devoted most of his career to the "Extraordinary Voyages in Worlds Known and Unknown", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a series of novels linked by themes of travel, knowledge, and discovery. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, and all the other famous Verne novels belong to the series. There are a few direct sequels within the series, but most of the time, allusions between novels are limited to The Cameo, a Continuity Nod, or a bit of surprise Canon Welding.
  • James Jones' war trilogy that consists of From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and Whistle, the last of which was published posthumously. All three deal with World War II and draw on James Jones' experience with that war. All three share the same main three characters, but with different names in each one. There was actually a novel written before From Here to Eternity, but that one was written differently than the others.
  • Asian Saga is, according to the author "the story of the Anglo-Saxon in Asia." So all the books have British men in Asia as protagonists, and many of the characters are descendants or ancestors of each other (at least the British). There are also continuity nods, and four of the six books deal with Dick Struan's company, and Gai-Jin provides the major link between the Shōgun and Struan's storylines.
  • Chinua Achebe's "Africa Trilogy" is a mixed example. The first two, Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, are directly related, but the third, Arrow of God, is a similar story to the first but with different characetrs.
  • Dougal Dixon's three most well-known works, After Man: A Zoology of the Future, The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution, and Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future are often considered to represent a trilogy, even if there's no shared narratives or premises.note  However, the three books are considered seminal works of Speculative Biology, each exploring a common subject of hypothetical evolution from a documentary-like format.note 

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Horror Story: Each season explores the tropes of a different horror motif (haunted house, asylum, witches) but the themes of the supernatural, psychological and body horror are constant. So are bittersweet endings, and Anyone Can Die characters. Crossovers in later seasons establish that the seasons are all in one continuity, despite the great number of Identical Strangers this creates due to series mainstay actors playing a new character each season, and that people who meet more than one of these characters don't register at all that they look alike.
  • Super Sentai (less so for Power Rangers): In each series, the main characters are a team of (at first) 3 to 5 Henshin Heroes in color-keyed uniforms. The Rangers first fight the Monster of the Week on foot, and when the monster grows to giant size, they fight it again in their Humongous Mecha. Aside from that, there's no continuity between the individual series (with a few exceptions).
  • Kamen Rider: Most series in the franchise follow most or all of these themes: A hero with an insect-inspired costume, a prominent belt (which is usually their Transformation Trinket) and a Cool Bike fights Monsters of the Week (whose powers are connected to the hero's one way or another) and defeats them with a Diving Kicknote . Apart from that, everything changes from season to season since there's only been one direct sequel in the entire franchise, Black RX following off of Black; Agito has some allusions to Kuuga, but the producers didn't make it a direct sequel to avoid Continuity Lockout and left it up to the viewers to decide if they're related or not.
  • Metal Heroes, even more so than Super Sentai or Kamen Rider. While most of the seasons share the Power Armor theme, each of them is different from the last. Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya is the most outler by not even having the hero using Power Armor.
  • Anthology shows feature self-contained stories that involve a consistent theme (often the mysterious, macabre and gruesome), with a different story in each episode.
    • Tales of the Unexpected is a series of unrelated short stories revolving around blackly surreal horror behind everyday lives.
    • The Twilight Zone (1959) is one of the earliest and probably the best known of these.
    • Black Mirror, for the first two seasons, consisted of three films per season, all joined by dark, technology-focused and socially critical themes. It then upped to six films per season starting with its third season.
    • Inside No. 9 is a Black Comedy/drama series where each self-contained episode uses the number 9 as an Arc Number.
  • True Detective: Each season follows a different group of "true detectives" as they investigate a case.
  • Fargo. Each season takes place in a different time period with a different group of characters, but they all share a continuity that includes the events of the movie. The first three also share a common setting in rural Minnesota, although the upcoming fourth will change main setting to Kansas City, Missouri.
    Noah Hawley (Fargo showrunner): I like the idea that somewhere out there is a big, leather-bound book that's the history of true crime in the Midwest, and the movie was Chapter 4, Season 1 was Chapter 9 and [Season 2] was Chapter 2. You can turn the pages of this book, and you just find this collection of stories... But I like the idea that these things are connected somehow, whether it's linearly or literally or thematically. That's what we play around with.
  • Heroes: Was originally envisioned as an example of this trope. In the same vein as the aforementioned True Detective and American Horror Story, each season would have its own cast of characters with their own stories. In the end, the season 1 cast ended up being so popular that the NBC vetoed the idea of an ever-shifting cast forcing the writers to find a way to incorporate as many of the original cast as possible in the next seasons. It's played straight with the revival, Heroes Reborn, which will feature an almost entirely new main cast, with only a single returning character in a leading role. Other characters will return in supporting roles.
  • Room 104: A television series that changes genres every episode based on what guest is staying in the room.
  • Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson saw their three comedy series as a trilogy on life— The Young Ones is life in your twenties, Filthy Rich & Catflap is life in your thirties and Bottom is when you hit middle age.

  • David Bowie's albums Low, "Heroes", and Lodger form the Berlin Trilogy, a series of Krautrock-inspired art rock albums recorded during Bowie's time living in Berlin, taking heavy influence from the area and its place in the Cold War.
  • Blur's albums Modern Life Is Rubbish, Parklife and The Great Escape form a loose trilogy about the lives of the Working, Middle, and Upper classes in Britain, respectively.
  • King Crimson guitarist/de-facto leader Robert Fripp had two of these in the late '70s and early '80s:
    • Firstly, Fripp produced a trio of albums intended to deconstruct the idea of pop songs as an artistic medium: Scratch by Peter Gabriel, Sacred Songs by Daryl Hall, and Exposure by Fripp himself with contributions from Gabriel & Hall. The three share a distinctly experimental approach rooted in Post-Punk and Progressive Rock, with emphasis on Fripp's tape-delay method of Frippertronics.
    • Second was the Drive to 1981, which encompassed the aforementioned Exposure plus Fripp's later solo projects God Save the Queen/Under Heavy Manners, The League of Gentlemen, and Let the Power Fall. These albums share a common focus on Frippertronics and "Discotronics," Fripp's experimental take on disco.
  • Peter Gabriel described So, Us, and Up as his "two-letter, single-syllable trilogy," with the albums sharing common themes of introspection, personal discovery, and mental health (So being euphoric, Us being therapeutic, and Up being traumatic).
  • King Crimson's '80s albums (Discipline, Beat, and Three of a Perfect Pair) make up the Incline to 1984, a trilogy of gamelan-inspired New Wave Music records. They were put together under the same lineup (an outlier for the Revolving Door Band), they feature shared cover art motifs, and they explore the boundaries between commercial accessibility and obtuse experimentation (with Discipline being experimental, Beat being accessible, and Three of a Perfect Pair having a different approach per side).
  • R.E.M. has two such instances:
    • Lifes Rich Pageant, Document, and Green form a trilogy of Protest Song-centric albums themed around the band's distaste towards the Ronald Reagan administration, with an overarching theme of Cold War disillusionment.
    • Up, Reveal, and Around the Sun represent the band's electronic trilogy, all being recorded with Pat McCarthy as producer and sharing themes of introspection and change (reflecting drummer Bill Berry's retirement prior to the making of Up).
  • Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock and frontman Mark Hollis' eponymous solo album collectively form a trilogy of Post-Rock albums rooted in experimental jazz, impressionist Classical Music, and ethnomusicology with heavily spiritual lyrics.
  • Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle wrote "Slowly Growing Deaf" for their self-titled album, then later "Carry Stress In The Jaw" and "Phlegmatics" for Disco Volante. Only after having written all three songs did he realize they shared particular themes (sleep, illness, and Body Horror), and thus decided they were part of a trilogy he called "Sleep". This is why the latter two tracks were subtitled "Sleep Part II" and "Sleep Part III", with "Slowly Growing Deaf" retroactively becoming part one.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is essentially the whole point of settings in roleplaying games like D&D. The creators of a setting define the basic feel of the world and some of the more important locations and people, but players then take their own characters through their own stories with no connection to those of other players, and often little connection even to the background. Everyone playing in, for example, the Forgotten Realms is effectively playing an independent thematic sequel to the backstory of that setting.
  • The Chronicles of Darkness games could be considered an example since all of them have horror elements (with the arguable exception of Mage: The Awakening) and take place in a darker version of the real world, but each of them is meant to be separate and self-contained unless the Storyteller chooses to interlink them (in contrast to the earlier World of Darkness games, where all the different varieties of supernaturals explicitly coexisted in the same world).

  • When William Shakespeare's plays were collected into the First Folio a few years after his death, his editors did their best to impose this trope: the plays are "The Comedies", "The Tragedies", and "The Histories", even though there's actually a lot of overlap between categories. (For example, Julius Caesar is at least as historically accurate as Richard III, but since it isn't about a non-mythical English king, into the Tragedies box it goes.) Later editors invented additional categories ("The Romances" is particularly popular) to keep the Thematic Series system going. That's right, folks: even when he wasn't deliberately using a trope, the Bard can still manage to fulfill The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples.

    Video Games 
  • The trilogy of Light Gun Game / Rail Shooters based on the Alien franchise, consisting of Alien 3: The Gun in the early 90s, Aliens Extermination over a decade later and Aliens Armageddon after eight more years. All three games are standalone, set in an Alternate Universe, with the player(s) assuming the role of a Space Marine battling various Xenomorphs, and all of them ends with a bleak Bolivian Army Ending after the final stages.
  • The Final Fantasy series is mostly this, sequels aside:
    • Most games take place in Alternate Universes, although there is some small overlap. All the worlds do exist in the same multiverse, though, since Word of God confirms that Gilgamesh is the same person in (almost) every appearance.
    • There's a small pool of otherwise-disconnected games taking place in Ivalice, consisting of the Tactics series, Final Fantasy XII and possibly Vagrant Story.
    • The saga that started with Final Fantasy XIII is a mixed bag. The trilogy of XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII are all directly related to each other as sequels. However there is also Final Fantasy Type-0 and its companion piece Final Fantasy Agito, which are related to each other but only thematically to the XIII arc (originally called Agito XIII). Then there is Final Fantasy XV, which was originally called Versus XIII, and is a standalone piece but also thematically linked to the others. All of these together are called the "Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy Project", which is the overarching Thematic series tying all of them together with a lightly-linked mythological undercurrent.
    • Starting with VI, Hironobu Sakaguchi said he wanted to explore a theme of magic and technology evolving and coexisting with each other; thus explaining the increase of science fiction elements.
  • The Dragon Quest series has been this since Dragon Quest VII. (The first three games were a trilogy, and the second three games were another, albeit loosely connected, trilogy.)
  • Quintet's Heaven/Earth series: ActRaiser, SoulBlazer, Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma and The Granstream Saga all revolve around restoring a destroyed Earth and defeating the great evil that was responsible for destroying the Earth, with the main character disappearing after his job is done. The games also contain similar thematic ideas about human beings, their connections to nature, the human soul, and resurrection.
  • The "Soulsborne" series note : Though the series spans 6 games, 4 separate continuities and 2 different publishers, all of the games do share certain recurring motifs and thematic elements, most notably the cyclical Eternal Recurrence of some cataclysmic event and the chance for the Player Character to make a single choice towards the end of the game that decides the outcome of said event and if/how the cycle should continue.
  • The Team ICO Series consists of ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian which are standalone games that take place in the same universe, share visuals and gameplay, and are all connected by the appearance of horns on certain characters, which mark them as sharing the blood of a god.
  • The Silent Hill series has had one continuous plot line across three games (part 3 follows from part 1 and Origins precedes it), but otherwise all the games are different, self-contained stories that revolve around the eponymous town. Or don't revolve around it, for that matter, such as Silent Hill 4, which has the most tenuous connection to the other installments by far (it's based on a single document found in Silent Hill 2).
  • The World of Mana series by Square, include a mythical sword that all other famous Swords are based on (as in they are all the same Sword, just a different name in different eras), also, the world commonly has its own Tree of Life, and there are various espers guarding the elemental forces of the world(probably orbs).
  • Each of the three entries in the Escape Velocity series uses the same mechanics (sprite graphics, lack of Space Friction resulting in Hit-and-Run Tactics and Air Jousting, etc.), but each one takes place in a different universe.
  • Far Cry. None of the 6 main series installments share the same main characters and only a few secondary characters ever pop up in more than one of them, nor do they share a location. What they do share is several common themes, the most prominent is men's descent into savagery in a wild environment. Only a few of the DLC packs even used the same map, and it took until New Dawn before any of the Far Cry games received a direct narrative sequel, and even then it was after a long Time Skip and the main character was different to the one from Far Cry 5.
  • The Fire Emblem series has, as of this writing note , seven different Verses (nine if one counts Heroes and Warriors), each with their own characters, settings, mythologies, and plots. The MacGuffin in each universe is almost always the titular Fire Emblem, although it's called something completely different except for one line thrown in about how some people (who you'll never meet) call it the Fire Emblem. Fire Emblem: Awakening seems to tie everything together. The game definitely takes in the same universe as the Archanea games (and Gaiden), but several thousand years later. From this, we can assume that the Jugdral games are also in the same universe due to Word of God. One downloadable character is a descendant of Ike from the Tellius games, and the DLC confirms that the remaining two verses (at the time of Awakening's release) exist at least as legends within that world, if not explicit history that just hasn't been placed yet. The following installment, Fire Emblem Fates, similarly has a DLC chapter where the Avatar of that game meets the original traveling party in Awakening of Chrom, Lissa, and Frederick shortly before they encounter their game's Avatar, with Hoshido and Nohr described as "mythical kingdoms."
  • The Tales Series' main canon consists of 17 games. Two of these are direct sequels to others Destiny 2 and Xillia 2), while Symphonia and Berseria are distant prequels (which are sufficiently separate from Phantasia and Zestiria, the games they are prequels of, for the four stories to stand separately). All the rest are standalone stories with their own distinct worlds and timelines.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series takes place across three different universes (called 2D, 3D, and HD respectively), with different generations having different city layouts, general setting, and characters.note  The games do have central themes regarding the life of criminals.
  • True Crime: Streets of LA zigzagged this. Though it was intended continue as a thematic series, due to Nick Kang's popularity with fans and developers, he was to be revisited in the installment following True Crime: New York City. But the series was cancelled, then later moved to another company and restarted as Spiritual Successor Sleeping Dogs.
  • Games under the Shin Megami Tensei label, including the main series, and about a dozen other spinoffs, generally follow this pattern. Sometimes there are direct sequels, such as with SMT I and II and the Raidou Kuzunoha series, but generally the only connections are demons and game mechanics, with possible themes of abuse of power and YHVH being a huge jerk.
    • On the other hand, Persona downplays/averts this to varying degrees. The first two persona games and their paralogues averts the trope by being direct sequels. 3 and 4 (Golden) started off with separate stories and characters, but they also ended up averting this trope through Persona 4: Arena, which continues the stories of the characters from both games. In all of the main games, characters and entities from previous main games either appear as cameos, or made references to within the story, establishing the series being under a common universe/timeline.
  • Super Robot Wars, provided an installment is not part of an overarching series such as Alpha, Z or Original Generation. All standalone titles feature different Humongous Mecha series (with some consistent examples), but all deal with Massively Multiplayer Crossover elements.
  • The Xeno series has a history of both direct sequels and Spiritual Successors, but Xenoblade Chronicles X is the first to be part of the same official series as a previous game without having a related story.
    • The next game after Xenoblade Chronicles X is Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which takes the "thematic series" route. Or so it seems. At the end of the game it's revealed that the game takes place on a post-apocalyptic earth, and the one who reintroduced life to the planet is the same person (sort of) as the villain of the first game; he used to be a scientist called Klaus who split into two when he created the world of the first game, and his good half stayed behind to become The Architect in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, while his evil half became Zanza in his new world.
  • Suda51's "Kill the Past", which revolves around characters having to confront their past in order to move on from it. Uniquely, there is no official listing of what games are actually part of the series, leading to it being mainly pieced together by fans.
  • The Legend of Zelda: zig-zagged here compared to Final Fantasy or Fire Emblem. The main series is connected into a branching timeline, and characters such as Link and Zelda recur between installments. However, these recurring characters are different individuals in most installments, and most games in the franchise function as Soft Reboots that repeat and recontextualize the roles of Link, Zelda, and Ganon rather than focus on an overarching narrative.
  • Each Fallout game takes place at a different time after the War, features different characters, and is almost always in a different location. The most common theme is the terrible consequences of war (War. War never changes), and some characters (MacCready, Dogmeat, etc) and nations/organizations (the Brotherhood of Steel, the Enclave, the New California Republic, and so on) are carried over, but more often than not, the games are pretty separate and stand alone.
  • Most of the Assassin's Creed games take place in different time periods, and share very few characters. The present day framing narrative, however, share many characters, including the "main" character for the first three/five games, at least. The overarching plot of the series (Assassins vs. Templars) is what really connects the games, not the actions of one assassin. note 
  • The Elder Scrolls series is arguably this. While the games all take place in the same world, each is set long after the last with no direct connection between them.
  • The Divine Divinity series dances around this trope. The second game was a direct sequel, but the rather misleadingly named third game was set long after and had no real connection to the previous games. Meanwhile Divinity: Original Sin is technically a distant prequel to the first game, while sort-of-sequel Divinity: Original Sin II is set long after the previous game and actually forms more of a traditional sequel to the first two games. Divinity: Dragon Commander is set even further back than Original Sin and has even less connection than any of the other games.
  • With the launch of Life Is Strange 2, the Life Is Strange series has become this. According to the creators, a Life Is Strange game is "having a set of relatable characters, facing real-life issues in a world which is as close as possible to the real world just with a twist of some supernatural elements."
  • The Science Adventure Series includes Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate, Robotics;Notes, and all sequels and spin-offs. They all take place in the same world, and all of them deal with a group of characters taking down a conspiracy, but they rarely ever reference each other, and the main unifying factor is the Committee of 300.
  • The Phantasy Star series can be cleanly split into four different "subseries", each with their own individual continuity and taking place in their own universe. While each subseries shares several themes and gimmicks (use of Photons and Techniques, recurring Eldritch Abomination Dark Falz, Science Fantasy setting), they share no direct connections to each other.
    • The original four games, commonly called the "tetralogy" or the "Classic" series, deals with the solar system of Algol and its residents' struggle to banish the evil of Dark Force once and for all.
    • Phantasy Star Online and its expansions (Episode II, Episode III, and Blue Burst) follow the exploits of Pioneer 2, who have arrived on the planet of Ragol following a disaster befalling Pioneer 1 and must uncover the planet's secrets.
    • Phantasy Star Universe, the Ambition of the Illumini expansion, and its direct sequels Phantasy Star Portable and Phantasy Star Portable 2 details the story of the GUARDIANS, an elite military force of the Gurhal System, and their fight against the SEED virus plaguing the galaxy.
    • Phantasy Star Online 2, as well as its numerous spinoffs and indirect sequels, follows ARKS, an intergalactic military force dedicated to fighting the Falspawn, and their quest to save the universe from the threat of Dark Falz and its minions.
  • Hideki Kamiya's Viewtiful Joe, The Wonderful 101, and Project G.G. were confirmed to be a "Hero Trilogy" upon the announcement of the latter. All three games/game series are homages to superhero tropes (one man transforming in to a hero, a team of heroes, and a giant hero), but aside from a few minor Viewtiful Joe cameos in Wonderful 101, they do not involve the same characters or story.
  • Sierra's Phantasmagoria series was intended to be this: a series of otherwise unconnected adventure games in the horror genre. However, due to only two games being released in the series, this is not immediately clear, and it just looks like the first game got a completely unrelated sequel.
  • The Haunted Hotel series is effectively this, as it has no overarching storyline and only some of the games are connected to one another. Two of the games are completely stand-alone and have absolutely no relationship to any of the others. The only thing they all have in common is that the player character is investigating the events at a haunted hotel.

    Web Original 
  • The Kindness of Devils is a series showing how All Myths Are True, and features the immortal Hardestadt Delac wandering the earth saving people from supernatural or mythical monsters, demons, devils, etc. While Nights in Lonesome Arkham and Under The Cold Moon expect you to know a few details from the previous (chronological) stories, they are still heavily self-contained with their own new plot and villains. Every other story in the series can be read in any order.
  • The Legatum series all takes place in the same universe and features the same lore, same countries, same mythical creatures, etc, with the primary theme being about how someone or a group of people will leave behind some kind of legacy, or how their actions will impact the setting and other characters around them. However, with the exception of a couple recurring characters, the series can be read in any order, as each one has its own set of characters and plot that manages to (mostly) stay self-contained.
  • The Tails Series takes place in a completely different galaxy mostly populated by a race of Beast Men and aliens coexisting with humans. Each story deals with the various races going through their own set of tribulations while trying to maintain peace. While the stories all take place in the same galaxy, they can be read in any order, since each story has its own self-contained plot and cast.