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  • A publisher variant with Banjo-Kazooie: Though Microsoft has owned the bear and bird for far longer than Nintendo held any rights to them, you'll be hard-pressed to find a fan who doesn't think of Banjo-Kazooie as the latter's property at heart thanks to the first two games being among the most popular on the Nintendo 64. Doesn't really help that the franchise's output after creator Rare was bought by Microsoft consists of two oft-forgotten handheld titles and a third entry that outright killed the series, consigning the characters to cameos and minor guest appearances for the next decade. A common refrain heard after Banjo and Kazooie were announced as DLC fighters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and after their original game was released as part of the "deluxe" Nintendo Switch Online service was that the two were back right where they belonged.
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  • Nintendo has another publisher variant in the Bayonetta series, literally saving Bayonetta 2 after Sega dropped the title, and releasing the title alongside the first game on the Wii U. Even after the game became a Acclaimed Flop, Nintendo still decided to not only port over both games to the Nintendo Switch right away, but also fund a third game despite the low sales. Some wonder why Sega even bothers to even keep the franchise at this point.
  • BEMANI:
    • Naoki Maeda, despite having left his position of DanceDanceRevolution sound producer to work on DanceEvolution before leaving Konami entirely to produce CROSS×BEATS and later SEVEN's CODE, is still seen by many fans as the face of DDR despite the series' team having changed significantly since then, especially since he produced a large number of original DDR songs that gave the series its identity during its nth MIX days. Fans feel that the quality of DDR games has declined ever since he left.
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    • Takayuki "dj TAKA" Ishikawa is often seen as "the beatmania IIDX guy", having served as sound director for nearly every IIDX game until beatmania IIDX 16 EMPRESS. He's still involved in BEMANI in other positions and with other games, but he's the musician most commonly associated with IIDX.
  • The Castlevania series were only a string of loosely connected titles made by various teams within Konami with only the NES trilogy having a common team (led by Hitoshi Akamatsu) working on all three of them. After the success of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (as well as the lukewarm reception for Castlevania 64), assistant director Koji Igarashi was promoted to series producer starting with Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance and from then on, the series started having a unified canon, with an art style overseen by illustrator Ayami Kojima (who became acclaimed for her contributions to the aforementioned Symphony, which in turn solidified Alucard's appearance and Breakout Character status compared to his CVIII debut) and music composed by Michiru Yamane (who had already scored the previous installment, Castlevania: Bloodlines, but likewise caught the attention of many with her work on Symphony). The series later received a Continuity Reboot with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, but this new incarnation only lasted three games before Konami went back with Igarashi's canon with the smartphone game Grimoire of Souls.
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  • The rivalry between developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch on the Call of Duty series. Infinity Ward were the original creators of the franchise, and were behind Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, and the genre-defining Modern Warfare. Treyarch, meanwhile, were widely seen as the "B"-team due to starting with the well-received but comparatively-obscure console spin-off Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, a game they would follow with the much reviled Call of Duty 3; much of that ill-will would follow them in their next game in the series, Call of Duty: World at War (an installment that would see a reevaluation in the next decade). However, over time, Treyarch has received credit for being responsive to fan input and their willingness to experiment, innovate, and take the series in new directions with the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops and especially Call of Duty: Black Ops II, while Infinity Ward has been criticized for a perceived unwillingness to deviate from their long-time formula, as embodied by the mediocre reception of Call of Duty: Ghosts. It doesn't help that many of the leading minds behind the better-regarded Infinity Ward CoD titles have moved on to other things.
  • While the creator of the Devil May Cry series is Hideki Kamiya, he only really had full involvement with the very first game in the series. From the third game onward, the series has been headed by Hideaki Itsuno, which is around the time the series and its protagonist truly hit their stride. One could even argue Itsuno took up this role as early as the tail end of Devil May Cry 2: Though credited as the sole director for DMC2, he was not brought on board until incredibly late in the game's development cycle, taking the reins during what was very much a Troubled Production and managing to piece together the final product in the span of six months. While it's unclear how many of the gameplay elements that carried over from DMC2 to DMC3 were Itsuno's doing, it has been noted that the endgame segments of 2's story, particularly the last two missions of Dante's scenario, are more tonally and thematically consistent with Itsuno's contributions to the subsequent installments than the rest of the game, serving as a prelude to the heavier focus on character and narrative from 3 onward.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Although Shigeru Miyamoto was the creator of Donkey Kong, the iconic arcade game is largely seen as part of the Mario series instead, and that franchise didn't hit its own stride until the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES. Most people consider the true shaper of the DK franchise to be Rare, creator of the Donkey Kong Country games. These games created DK's own corner of the Mario universe by introducing his supporting cast of Kongs such as Diddy Kong, Cranky Kong, and Dixie Kong, the setting of the tropical DK Isle and its surrounding islands, his obsession with bananas, and the villains King K. Rool and the Kremling Krew, all of which would be elements that would help DK gain a fandom of his own beyond being a footnote in the Mario series.
    • After Rare's departure from Nintendo and buyout by Microsoft's gaming division, the fans have not forgotten Rare, but have also embraced Retro Studios as a second "adoptive" daddy for the Donkey Kong franchise thanks to their work on Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze. Not only did they save the Donkey Kong franchise from the Dork Age that started since Rare's departure in 2002 (or, depending on how you feel about Donkey Kong 64, since that game's 1999 release), they also tried to add to the series' lore with new villains like the Tiki Tak Tribe and the Snowmads, and introducing new gameplay mechanics to the games, most notably the rocket barrel levels.
  • For many fans of The Elder Scrolls series, former writer Michael Kirkbride is considered this. Kirkbride wrote for both Morrowind and Oblivion, as well as for the Action-Adventure spin-off Redguard. In addition, Kirkbride wrote dozens of the series' in-universe books. Kirkbride is credited in particular for establishing the series' famous "lore", essentially taking the loose assembly of fantasy elements that existed as of Daggerfall and forming them into a unique Constructed World with a deep backstory, mythology, and cosmology. He still contributes "Obscure Texts" to the series, essentially supplementary items treated as canonical by most of the fanbase (or at least the equivalent of the series' famous in-universe Unreliable Canon). Kirkbride still does some freelance work on the series, and as of Skyrim, some of the concepts in his works have been officially referenced in-game (the idea of "kalpas," Ysgramor and his 500 companions, and some of the motivations of the Thalmor), moving them to Canon Immigrant status.
  • Though 2K owns the license of Evolve, Turtle Rock Studios is the one beloved by the fandom due to their connection to the community and actually being the ones to make the game. This attitude only intensified after 2K revoked TRS's use of the franchise and called the game complete, to which TRS responded by using their last few hours of authority to answer fan questions, wrap up the mysteries in the story, and talk about what they'd had planned.
  • Obsidian Entertainment are seen as this by quite a few Fallout fans, considering the company was primarily made up of former Black Isle employees. Chris Avellone, in particular — even though he wasn't involved until Fallout 2, as the editor and compiler of The Fallout Bible, he's accepted by many to be the true father. A large part of the reason for this is because Fallout is very short and only has a couple of factions. Most of the Fallout universe concepts actually originated in Fallout 2. Fallout 1 set up the general idea for the series, but Fallout 2 took that idea and fleshed it out. Also keep in mind that there is a character in Fallout 1 named after him, so it isn't like he was a new hire for Fallout 2. He just wasn't directly working on Fallout 1 when it was in development. This became Hilarious in Hindsight in 2020, as Fallout, Obsidian, and Bethesda are now all owned by Xbox Game Studios, with many people calling for Obsidian to return to the series they helped shape.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Hironobu Sakaguchi created the franchise and was director up through Final Fantasy V, as well as a (somewhat distant) producer of the series until he left shortly after the bomb of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the Square Enix merger. The franchise's first direct sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, soon followed his departure, as did as the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Sakaguchi himself disliked creating sequels, insisting that each new Final Fantasy title have its own world and story. Some of the work he did following his departure, like Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon, are considered Cult Classics that received a fair amount of hype when they became available on the Xbox One.
    • Yoshinori Kitase was more influential in shaping the franchise into what it is known for. He started as the writer of Final Fantasy V (which got rid of many of the Dungeons & Dragons elements and introduced a new form of plot structure that is associated with the series), went on to help write fan favourites Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII, was the person who decided on the "cinematic" aesthetic that went on to define the PS1 FF entries, and then oversaw the next several games as a director while allowing his former co-writer Kazushige Nojima to handle the writing, before getting Kicked Upstairs to producer around the time of Sakaguchi's departure. Within VII at least, the Compilation entry considered by far the best (Crisis Core) was the one he was directly involved with writing, and this was something he'd done even though it was unusual for him to be writing at all at that point in his career.
  • Bungie Studios created the Halo series, but it was Eric Nylund's Halo: The Fall of Reach that expanded its universe. The retcons that began to come about later, particularly in Halo: Reach, caused a good segment of fans to cry foul over negating parts of the Nylund books' continuity. There's still favoritism towards Bungie's end, though, now that 343 Industries owns the series.
  • There are fans who believe that Shinji Hashimoto, the Squaresoft executive who conceived of the idea of making a game alongside Disney, deserves credit as the Real Daddy of Kingdom Hearts rather than series director Tetsuya Nomura. It also helps that Hashimoto was the series' producer up until Kingdom Hearts II, after which he was promoted to the more distant role of Executive Producer, and all the producers who have come after him have done nothing to curb Nomura's more controversial qualities, to many fans' dismay.
  • Though Roberta Williams created the King's Quest series, fans generally consider the Jane Jensen-penned King's Quest VI to be by far the best one out of all of them. Most KQ fan games either are inspired by it or seek to remake earlier games to more closely match it in tone/artistic quality.
  • Kirby
    • While Masahiro Sakurai is the one who created Kirby and directed some of the main games through its run in the 90s (Dream Land, Adventure + its remake, and Super Star), most fans nowadays tend to consider Shinichi Shimomura (the "Dark Matter Trilogy") and Shinya Kumazaki (main director since Super Star Ultra) as having given the series a much more planned direction than Sakurai did.
    • Although Bandana Waddle Dee originally made his debut in the Masahiro Sakurai directed Super Star, it is universally agreed that Shinya Kumazaki is the character's true creator, as he took who was originally just one of several opponents you face in Super Star's Megaton Punch mini game and fleshed him out to be a unique character in his own right.
  • Legacy of Kain: The series was created by Silicon Knights with Blood Omen, but once Amy Henning stepped into the director's chair for Soul Reaver onwards, many people considered her to be the de facto shepherd for the series.
  • The Legend of Zelda: While Shigeru Miyamoto created the franchise, it was a series of loosely connected games with no real storyline until Eiji Aonuma took over during The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. From then on, the plots became more cohesive and continuity nods became more frequent. The games also started to come out more frequently, with a game a year being released from 2000 to 2007. Of course, given Miyamoto's status amongst gamers, Aonuma has to share the spotlight a bit, but most fans only take his Word of God as canon.
  • Keiji Inafune was often identified as the "father of Mega Man" due to his involvement with the franchise since the original NES game. However, the actual lead designer of the original Mega Man and Mega Man 2 was Akira Kitamura, who left Capcom during the development of Mega Man 3 to form his own company before eventually retiring from the industry in the early 1990's. Since then, Inafune took a loose creative role in almost every Mega Man title until his highly publicized departure from Capcom in 2010.
  • Metroid:
    • Following the derisive fan reaction to Metroid: Other M, the fandom became split over whether Yoshio Sakamoto (the series producer/director of the 2D games) or Retro Studios (the developers behind the 3D Prime games) best deserve the title of series caretaker. Complicating the matter is that Sakamoto took criticisms of Other M to heart, with his subsequent entries giving the Metroid franchise the greatest publicity it has seen in years, while Prime 4 still remains in Development Hell.
    • While several individuals were key to the creation of the series, who fans credit the most for the franchise's creation usually comes down to either Sakamoto or Gunpei Yokoi. Whereas the latter conceived the concept of a non-linear adventure game that would help push Nintendo's Famicom Disk System, the former helped coalesce the team's disparate ideas, developed the iconic maze-like gameplay and elements that became a genre onto itself, and was the director of the franchise's most defining entry.
  • While Namco is the creator of Pac-Man, some die-hard fans of the series as a whole argue that it was Midway, Namco's American publisher at the time, who truly expanded the universe of the franchise. The initial sequels to Pac-Man developed by Namco themselves were never particularly popular due to suffering They Changed It, Now It Sucks!, but the (mostly) unauthorized sequels developed under Midway's watch were received much better, with Ms. Pac-Man surpassing the original in financial success while the not-as-successful Spin-Offspring games Jr. Pac-Man and Baby Pac-Man still left their mark on the franchise. Even though Namco terminated their relationship with Midway due to the unauthorized use of the IP, they eventually incorporated Midway's characters into later Namco games, starting with Pac-Land and most notably with the Pac-Man World series. However, due to a combination of legal issues with the Midway sequels and a desire to move away from them, Bandai Namco eventually phased out the Midway characters first in the Ghostly Adventures reboot, and later in the maze games in favor of a back-to-basics "only Pac-Man" approach, much to the frustration of fans who like the Midway characters.
  • The Pokémon franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri, but there are many fans who consider Junichi Masuda, who served as series director from Gen III to Gen VII, as the Real Daddy of Pokémon, as he further fleshed out the world of the franchise and established many enduring elements of it, with increasingly greater emphasis on story and character. This wasn't helped by the shy and reclusive Tajiri completely disappearing from the public eye after Masuda took over.
  • Puyo Puyo: Either Masamitsu Niitani of Compile or Mizuki Hosoyamada of Sega, depending on which side of the Compile-Sega fracture you sit on. Niitani's role in the creation of the series was relatively minimal, while Hosoyamada didn't play a major role until Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary. Both are more recognized than Kazunari Yonemitsu, the man who actually developed the game.
  • Red Dead Revolver was initially created by Capcom but Rockstar Games bought the franchise fairly far along in the development process. While Revolver did well critically and commercially, the franchise didn't really take off until its sequel, Red Dead Redemption, which was developed entirely by Rockstar without any involvement from Capcom. The second game was released to critical acclaim and amazing sales, and is widely considered some of Rockstar's best offerings (if not the best), which is why the third game completely ignored Red Dead Revolver and went by the title Red Dead Redemption II, which was met with similar (if not greater) critical acclaim.
  • While the first game in the Sega Superstars series was made by Sonic Team, it's only after Sumo Digital started working on the series (particularly with the racing installments) that it gained popularity among fans.
  • The creator of Silent Hill is Keiichiro Toyama, but he left Konami immediately after finishing the first game, and has not worked on the series since. For most fans, the real papa of the franchise is Akira Yamaoka, the composer for every mainline game in the series (sans Downpour) in addition to serving as producer for two of them — and was the only member of the games' staff to be involved with the movie, as executive producer and co-composer.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: While the character of Knuckles the Echidna was created for Sonic 3 & Knuckles in 1994 by developer Takashi Yuda, his lore, background and personality weren't defined until Sonic Adventure, written by Akinori Nishiyama. While the debut of the character is iconic, more of what we know about Knuckles comes from Adventure's depiction.
  • Shin Megami Tensei has master artist Kazuma Kaneko, whose demon designs have been used in every game of the franchise. Famous for treating every god, spirit or demon he draws with respect and care, with plenty of Shout-Outs to their original mythologies.
  • While the very first Street Fighter was planned by "Finish" Hiroshi Matsumoto and "Piston" Takashi Nishiyama, who both left Capcom and to work for SNK in many of their early fighting games (including all of The King of Fighters games until '99), the Street Fighter series didn't really take off until Street Fighter II, which was planned by Akira "Akiman" Yasuda and Akira "Nin Nin" Nishitani (who both previously worked on the original Final Fight). Afterward, Noritaka "Poo" Funamizu served as the planner for the Super and Alpha series, as well as general producer for III. Currently, Yoshinori Ono has been serving as the producer for Street Fighter (and Capcom's fighting games in general) since IV.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Despite creating the character and brand as a whole, Shigeru Miyamoto has been a divisive figure following the Mario games of The New '10s for his seemingly strict grip on creative control over the series. Because of this, many people see Yoshiaki Koizumi as the better caretaker for the series, as he co-developed Super Mario 64 and then went on to direct the future 3D titles, frequently touted to be the series' Sacred Cow more than the 2D games by the general fanbase.
  • The Super Robot Wars series was designed by many programming teams until Takanobu Terada took over as the producer of the series in Super Robot Wars 2 G for Game Boy. His name has been associated with it ever since.
  • Richard Garriott rightly gets a lot of credit and respect for creating the Ultima series, but many fans consider the games to have been at their peak when Warren Spector was working alongside Garriott, starting with Ultima VI and encompassing Ultima VII and Ultima VII Part II, the two Worlds of Ultima games, and both Ultima Underworld entries. Plus, Spector has the advantage of not being involved in Ultima VIII or IX, which are widely considered the series' Dork Age.
  • Nintendo employee Koichi Kawamoto created the "Sound Bomber" mode in Mario Artist Polygon Studio that served as the basis for the WarioWare series, and consequently he's sometimes referred to as "the creator of WarioWare" in official interviews, although he's not actually been involved in the series proper beside "Concept" and "Prototype" credits for his work on Polygon Studio. While Hirofumi Matsuoka directed the original game, fans usually see Goro Abe as the true creative lead of the series as he was heavily involved in the development of the original game and directed most of the sequels.

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