The first Video Games (and arcade games in general) can be seen as a Spiritual Successor to various carnival games such as the claw game, shooting ranges and Pinball as you spend little money for one game that is quickly over and in the case of pinball you aim for a high score. It also helps that the only business experience Nolan Bushnell had before founding Atari was from maintaining these at a carnival.
However, they're more a spiritual successor to the earlier electromechanical arcade games, at least some of which had a similar cabinet design to those first video games.
The freeware game 0 A.D. can be considered a spiritual successor to the Age of Empires series as a whole: it was originally going to be a total conversion mod of Age of Kings before the decision was made to create a whole new engine for it, it is set in a similar time period to the original Age of Empires, and its graphics quality is currently on par with Age of Empires III while also having a similar premise for the multiplayer function (that the player is in charge of a colony or settlement of the larger civilization, rather than building from the ground up). It even has (or will have) a lot of the same civilizations as the first two games.
The Adventures of Lomax is a Lemmings spin-off, but the gameplay and art style make it clearly a spiritual successor to The Misadventures of Flink, by the same developers.
Aliens: Infestation can be seen as a Spiritual Successor to the Alien 3 video game on Super Nintendo and Genesis, and Metroid II: Return of Samus. It also requires saving people during the game (althrough with the difference that in Aliens: Infestation saved people are marines, and are later playable thanks to it), a similar visual style, and Metroidvania style of play, similar to that in the Alien 3 game. The PDA's in Aliens: Infestation, also work similarly to the terminals in the Aliens 3 game. From Metroid II, it has the requirements to use special tools/abilities to get further, a similary variety of enemies, and the general feel of the game is similar, which has sense, seeing how the Metroid series is a Spiritual Adaptation to the Alien franchise, with Metroid II being especialy similar to Aliens.
Alpha Protocol is a spiritual sequel to Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines and Deus Ex, an action-RPG where choices result in tangible consequences and gameplay is more heavily affected by one's character sheet than most games, including other RPGs. More cynically, Alpha Protocol gets a lot of undeserved flak and is often brushed aside as an attempt at "Mass Effectwith SPIES" that failed miserably, so it also shares living with a bad rap (as well as some genuine technical problems) with Bloodlines.
Nintendo's amiibo line of NFC products has been described as partially a successor to the e-Reader accessory for the Game Boy Advance, which allowed players to scan cards to unlock certain game features; in this case, however, the function is built into the game hardware rather than requiring a separate peripheral (save for the original-model Nintendo 3DS, which requires a small accessory that connects to the system via an infrared sensor). Additionally, you don't need to buy another system in order to use amiibo.note One of the biggest factors of the e-Reader's failure outside of Japan was the fact that since it connected to the GBA through its cartridge slot, a link cable and a second GBA were needed to use e-Reader-centric features in compatible games. Since GBAs never exactly sold for peanuts and since e-Reader features tended to be quite minor, many in the west felt that the cost did not justify the reward. While amiibo were initially just in the form of figures, amiibo cards eventually debuted alongside Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, suggesting the possibility of similar uses to the e-Reader. Since then, the amiibo cards have found use in Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival and the Welcome amiibo update for Animal Crossing: New Leaf. The figurines themselves also successors to the NFC figures for Pokémon Rumble U.
Several people have remarked on Among Us's similarity in premise and gameplay to Space Station 13, to the point that the latter is mentioned on its Wikipedia page.
Assassin's Creed is considered by many to be a Spiritual Successor to Ubisoft's Prince of Persia series. However, fans of Prince of Persia are very confused by that notion, seeing as the two titles have almost nothing in common, gameplay and story wise. This may be due to the fact that Assassin's Creed started out as a Prince Of Persia game, but it was made into its own separate franchise, due to those differences in tone, story and gameplay.
Assassin's Creed itself now has its own Spiritual Successor in the form of Watch_Dogs, sharing many thematic elements while still being distinct series. Watch_Dogs also shares a lot in common with the Driver series, specifically DRIV3R and Parallel Lines.
Wanako Studios' Assault Heroes can be seen as a spiritual successor to Konami's Jackal, as both games put you in control of a heavily-armed jeep (though Assault Heroes adds such features as multiple weapons, on-foot stages and dual analog-stick control).
Asura's Wrath was stated by Cyberconnect 2 to be a spiritual successor to God Hand in the sense of over the top action, but the concept of the game itself is more like one of these to Time Gal or Yarudora due to being touted as an Interactive anime like the aforementioned games.
Capcom's obscure arcade beat-em-up Battle Circuit seems to be a spiritual successor to Captain Commando, complete with the protagonist, Cyber Blue, being an expy of Captain Commando.
Battle Garegga's spiritual sequel is Armed Police Batrider, which inherits many of Battle Garegga's mechanics, such as bombing the scenery for powerups and medals, as well as the medal chaining system, and even has guest appearances by the ships of Battle Garegga and the Mahou Daisakusen series. Batrider in turn had a spiritual sequel in Battle Bakraid, which borrows Garegga's option changing feature, has a somewhat modified medal chaining system, and the "tickle laser"-cum-charge-shot from Batrider.
The Dynamic Difficulty system of these games is lifted from Zanac, of all things, only made completely and utterly inconvenient (notably, the removal of every rank reduction method except dying.)
Ibara, sharing the same main designer also counts as a Spiritual Successor, if you can count a near-exact copy of the rank system of Garegga as one.
Its sequel, Pink Sweets, is considered a successor to Recca, with unlimited but charging bombs, separate option firing, and variable speed options.
Bayonetta to Devil May Cry, moreso the first DMC game, but the traits are shared with later DMC games. Both were created by Hideki Kamiya, both share over the top action, and both have styles of attacking where mixing it up grants a higher score at the end of each section/chapter.
Sound Voltex is this to beatmania, featuring a row of white keys, a row of black keys, more white keys than black, and a "build up your Life Meter up to a certain point to pass the song" mechanic. However, while beatmania focuses on hitting keys to piece together the complete song, Sound Voltex involves taking an existing complete song and adding effects on top of it.
Dance Evolution is this to both Para Para Paradise, another motion-sensor dance game, and DanceDanceRevolution, the original Konami "dance simulation" game, but instead of just stepping on tiles you have to use your entire body and actually dance. Better yet, both games have heavy involvement by Naoki Maeda, who was the sound producer for DDR and producer for console DDR games for a while before moving on to produce DanEvo.
Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 have the distinction of being direct sequels to the earlier Fallout games, while also being "spiritual sister" games to Bethesda's other major property, The Elder Scrolls series. (Bethesda purchased the rights to the Fallout series following Interplay Entertainment's bankruptcy.) Fallout 3 was created using the Oblivion's engine, while Fallout 4's engine would be used in the Updated Re-release of Skyrim, intertwining the two series even further.
The Boktai series (including Lunar Knights) can be considered a spiritual successor to Metal Gear: Ghost Babel. The game engine is very similar, and Ikuya Nakamura, the director of all the Boktai games, was also the character designer of Ghost Babel.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is undoubtedly a spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio, down to its gameplay, aesthetics, and it even has its main composer, Hideki Naganuma, working on the soundtrack.
Sega created their own spiritual sequel to Virtual-ON in 2009's Border Break. It takes the storyline conceit of Virtual On that the arcade consoles are networked to future actual Humongous Mecha by networking them on the Internet to play against other players in other arcades.
Border Down: Successor to Metal Black, a Shoot 'em Up by Taito. Hiroyuki Maruyama, the president of G.rev, started the company and did subcontracting work for Treasure and Taito to generate revenue just to make this game. Why? He just really liked Metal Black.
Brütal Legend's "Stage Battles" were intended as a spiritual successor to Herzog Zwei... and they do have some strong similarities, but also to Sacrifice — not surprising, as they had a developer for that game on the dev team.
The sequel, Chrono Cross, got its own Spiritual Successor in the Baten Kaitos duology for the Gamecube: both games share several staff members, have the same art style (hand-painted backgrounds with 3d sprites), and have similar battle systems.
Cities: Skylines is so similar to the SimCity series, despite being made by a completely different developer with no involvement whatsoever from Maxis or EA, that many consider it to be a better SimCity 5 than the actual SimCity 5! The dev team behind Cities: Skylines was also behind the Cities In Motion games, and such is reflected in Cities: Skylines' heavy focus on designing efficient transportation networks.
Clive 'N' Wrench is this to Rareware collectathon platformers, specifically Banjo-Kazooie for the gameplay, and the worlds having a similar time travel/fairytale motif to the unreleased Twelve Tales: Conker 64.
And yet another one, the 8-Bit series is a spiritual successor of the original Command and Conquer.... BUT ALSO ALL major RTS franchises, including a Warcraft expy and a Starcraft expy. It is probably the closest to an official version of a RTS Super Smash Brothers (though there are mods for other games that fit this bill better).
The Sega arcade game Congo Bongo may had seemed like a blatant Donkey Kong-ripoff, but in reality the game's developer, Ikegami Tsushinki, was the same company Nintendo contracted to handle the programming for Donkey Kong.
Contagion is a spiritual successor to the first two Zombie Panic games, being made by the same developers.
The open world racing game The Crew, published by Ubisoft, is developed by Ivory Tower — a company that includes former employees from Eden Games, the company that created the Test Drive Unlimited games. And it shows.
Cuphead to Treasure's Silhouette Mirage, a similar 2D Platformer/Shoot 'Em Up hybrid also featuring a red and blue main character who uses a Finger Gun that shoots energy blasts at enemies as their primary attack.
Long Live the Queen is also markedly similar to Princess Maker, but with a more story-driven gameplay with many skill checks and fail states added to it.
Konami's Dance Masters is sort of a spiritual successor to Para Para Paradise, and even has several parapara/eurobeat songs, including the famed "Night of Fire".
The Dark Cloud games could be considered spiritual successors to ActRaiser, given their emphasis on reconstructing the world with RPG elements. Sega's 2019 release SolSeraph is an even more blatant successor, even recruiting Yuzo Koshiro to do the music.
Dark Souls, with its near-identical Action RPG gameplay, probably would be Demon's Souls 2 if Sony didn't own the IP. That Other Wiki outright classifies them as part of the same series (the Souls series).
And then came Bloodborne, another horror Action RPG by the director of Dark Souls and Demons Souls, but set in a new continuity.
Elden Ring is yet another dark fantasy action RPG created by the same developers with its own similar but different setting.
Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are the 3rd-person, multi-player spiritual descendants of the 1st person dark fantasy dungeon crawlers King's Field and the two Shadow Tower games. Elements taken from those earlier games include the Moonlight Sword and a poisonous land that'll quickly deplete your health if you don't have adequate protection.
The Dark Pictures Anthology (which so far includes Man of Medan, Little Hope, and the upcoming House of Ashes) is a spiritual successor to Supermassive Games' breakout hit Until Dawn. Until Dawn introduced the shtick: an interactive horror movie with a group of playable characters whose fates would be determined by the players' actions. The Dark Pictures Anthology debuted four years later, with the intention of releasing two short games per year following the same formula (though so far it's been released annually). Other than the fact that the Dark Pictures games are shorter than Until Dawn (5-6 hours vs. 10-12 hours) and feature fewer playable leads (5 instead of 8) the concept is the same.
Dawn of War II plays more like Company of Heroes than the first Dawn of War. It largely abandons base-building, which was a major part of the first Dawn of War.
Deltarune is the spiritual successor to The Halloween Hack. Both games were made by Toby Fox, both with the theme of choice and whether said choices matter or not (The Halloween Hack has Varrick break free of the narrator's given choices, while Deltarunehas Kris seemingly break free from the player's control at the end. Both feature traipsing through a normal town before The Reveal of something more sinister hidden within. Finally, both games have you play as a non-emotive knight that is hinted to be someone else from their prequel games (Ness for Varrick and Chara for Kris).
Dishonored 2 has been cited by some players as the "true successor" of the Thief franchise, due to how many ideas and concepts are carried over from the latter series. A game with Stephen Russell voicing a main character (one of two), a prologue sequence dedicated to showing the main character training a young woman (possibly influenced by the Sequel Hook set up at the end of Thief: Deadly Shadows, in which it's implied that lead character Garrett will train a young girl), deliberate references to aspects of Thief's mythology (a reference to Garrett's line, "It's a long way down..."; the presence of clockwork robots built by a mad inventor, who speak in a third-person tone and deliberately reference their own creator, pronounced steampunk elements) and contributions by several former Ion Storm staff, including Terri Brosius, who provides her voice to a character that the player can hear while exploring a largely-desolate area (Shalebridge Cradle/Dunwall in the final mission).
Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure is a spiritual successor to a game based on Dragon Ball released on the NES that's better known overseas as Dragon Power: both are action games with 2D fighting elements based on Goku's adventures, with Advanced Adventure improving heavily on the gameplay and expanding the scope of the game beyond the Emperor Pilaf saga to include everything up through the King Piccolo saga.
The Drakensang games are a spiritual successor to the Realms of Arkania series, being the first video game adaptation of The Dark Eye system and setting since Realms of Arkania: Shadows over Riva. The first game Drakensang: The Dark Eye was even nicknamed Realms Of Arkania 4, before being published. Although the Real-Time with Pause playing style, and the interactions with companions, also show a large influence of Infinity Engine games, especialy the Baldur's Gate series, and that influence was confimed by the creators. And all of this goes even further back, as the original Realms of Arkania games, were confimed as having influenced the making of the Baldur's Gate games.
Driveclub, created by Evolution Studios, is more a spiritual successor to Taito's long-discontinued Battle Gear series than their own MotorStorm series. The driving physics are somewhat similar, and they are more of skill-based racing games set on fictionalized courses.
Driveclub itself is also a spiritual successor to Sega's discontinued OutRun series, in a similar way like above. Both Driveclub and Out Run are score-based racing games in regard, except the latter has branching routes lead to Multiple Endings when the former has no plot at all.
Far Cry, as well as spawning a couple of re-imaginings, also has a spiritual sequel in Crysis. It was made by the same company, it's set in a similar location, and includes similar themes.
In fact, Crysis plays much more like a sequel to Far Cry than Far Cry 2 does. Far Cry 2 was developed by a different team, is highly non-linear in terms of both storyline and gameplay, and isn't connected to the original's story in any way.
Another game by Square-Enix, that's technicaly a spin-off, but also feels like a throwback to the first six Final Fantasy games, is Final Fantasy Dimensions. Many characters, not seen since Final Fantasy return here, like Bikke and his crew, Matoya, and the Prince (well, now King) of Alfheim. The Final Boss is also a form of Chaos, and the super boss is the Omega Weapon from the Gameboy Advance port of Final Fantasy VI.
The Final Fantasy games set in the Ivalice universe (including Vagrant Story, which technically isn't a Final Fantasy game) are successors to Quest's Ogre Battle franchise. Final Fantasy Tactics, the first game in the Ivalice universe, was already a spiritual successor of Tactics Ogre in its gameplay. Not surprisingly, Yasumi Matsuno, the director of most of the Ivalice series, was also the director of Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre, as well as the script writer of Ogre Battle 64, while Hiroshi Minagawa and Akihiko Yoshida were the illustrators in most of his games. After the release of Vagrant Story, Squaresoft actually purchased all of Quest's assets and absorbed them into the company.
Technically, Final Fantasy can be seen as a "Spiritual Series", as virtually none of the games have direct relation to each other, unless they have odd numberings or alternate subheadings, like Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy: Dirge of Cerberus. Every numbered Final Fantasy game has no direct relation to any other other than a few series trademarks. Even though they are technically sequels based on numberings, fans never consider them to be actual sequels. Thus Final Fantasy takes Spiritual Successor to the extreme.
In the other direction, Richard Eisenbeis of Kotakuargued that Lost Odyssey and The Last Story were closer to being Final Fantasy games than the actual Final Fantasy games that came out during the Seventh Generation. This is particularly notable given both games' lineage — they were made by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series, with music by Nobuo Uematsu, who scored Final Fantasy through X.
Following development of the late-80s soccer simulation Kick Off and its sequel, author Dino Dini left publishers Anco. Although Anco released a poorly-received "official" Kick Off 3, Dino Dini's Goal (written for another company) is considered to be the true successor to Kick Off 2.
Football Manager to the earlier Championship Manager, as the development studio Sports Interactive split from the publisher, retaining the game code but not the name of the franchise.
According to Turn 10 Studios, they consider Forza Motorsport 3 to be the true spiritual successor to Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo series. To paraphrase Polyphony Digital president Kazunori Yamauchi, "No it bloody well isn't".
The Tiger Game.com could be considered the spiritual successor to the Game Gear, as the Game.com featured games from Sega licenses (like Virtua Fighter II and Sonic Jam), and was launched the same year as the Game Gear was discontinued in 1997, with Sega not making a new full handheld console after that.
The G.I. Joe arcade game by Konami is a spiritual sequel to an obscure pseudo-3D shoot-'em-up titled Devastators by the same company, which itself was loosely based on the 3D stages from the original Contra.
Pilot Brothers games don't share any creators, but feature slapstick misadventures of a Red Oni, Blue Oni investigating duo similar to Gobliins 2. They were created by fans of Gobliins 2 in the dark time when a real sequel was beyond hope.
The two Icewind Dale games that run on the Infinity Engine, are argubly the most similar to Gold Box games in general feel and gameplay. In the Icewind Dale games, like in Gold Box games(and many other older games), the player creates the whole adventuring party.
The Realms of Arkania series creator, Guido Henkel, outright admited in an interview, that the split into the first person exploration, and isometric view battle mode, is patrly inspired by the Gold Box games. In turn, the founders of Bioware admited that the Realms of Arkania games, were also one of the inspirations for the Infinity Engine games, like Baldur's Gate. Guido Henkel himself latter worked personaly on Planescape: Torment, one of the Infinity Engine games. It's actualy even him in make-up as the Nameless One, on the game's box.
Rareware's GoldenEye and Perfect Dark are likely the prime video game examples. Perfect Dark is built on the Game Engine of Goldeneye, so it feels like a natural extension of the same game, despite Bond being nowhere in sight. They even use Rare Guns and settings from Goldeneye with the names slightly changed. Goldeneye had another Spiritual Successor in the form of the TimeSplitters games, done by the core team behind Goldeneye. Time Splitters 2 is extremely similar to Goldeneye and with the use of the Map Maker, one can get extremely close to it.
The Two Guysfrom Andromeda, the guys behind the Space Quest games, have just recently come back together to try and create a "SpaceVenture" that looks every inch like it'll be a successor to their previous series. They've even gotten Gary Owens back to narrate again!
A similar case of a spiritual successor to the Contra games could be made with Sin and Punishment, another game by Treasure. It also has programmers returning from Contra III: The Alien Wars, and the very story and setting of game is very much a darker version of Alien Wars. It was, and is also regarded as way superior 3D Contra game, than the contemporary Contra: Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure.
The other theory is that the Halo series takes place between Pathways into Darkness and Marathon, though that seems more unlikely now due to the Halo IP no longer being owned by Bungie. With that said, Destiny appears to be a successor to that franchise.
Heretic is a spiritual successor to Doom. Both are published by id Software, and both use the id Tech 1 game engine. In fact, using the God Mode and Weapons cheats from Doom will result in death and loss of all weapons, respectively, when used in Heretic.
Heroes of Newerth was intended to be the Captain Ersatz of Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars. With the only real difference being that the Warcraft-based characters and visuals are replaced with ones from S2 Game's previous game, Savage, all the mechanics, items, and heroes are nearly identical to the original, barring a few new additions. With Icefrog leaving development to work with Valve to create Dota 2 however, the game was left to its own and became a more straightforward example.
Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma are considered to form a thematic, though unofficial, trilogy as successors to SoulBlazer. Although there are direct links included; The first boss of Soul Blazer is a Bonus Boss in Illusion of Gaia, with a storyline explanation of why, albeit a somewhat bizarre one. Meanwhile, Terranigma is explicitly referred to as "Illusion of Gaia 2" in a Developer's RoomEaster Egg.
There's also a dog named Turbo who shows up in all three games.
The Infinity Engine games themselves had a colossal impact on the Western RPG genre and, thanks to their complicated parentage (it's virtually impossible to separate BioWare and Black Isle's contributions to their awesomeness), received a plethora of successors:
BioWare's Neverwinter Nights (a series later continued by Black Isle's successors) was a successor both to their own Baldur's Gate series and to the aforementioned Gold Box game by the same title. All three games were based on D&D.
I Wanna Be the Guy itself is arguably the spiritual successor to a Japanese flash game known as Zinsei Owata no Daibouken/The Big Adventure of Owata's Life, which inspired IWBTG's creator. Owata acknowledged this in its final version, which ended in a Homage to I Wanna Be the Guy...followed by a Crossover appearance of the main character as the Final Boss.
Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass is clearly being inspired by EarthBound, being a RPG with simple colorful graphics, quirky characters and a similar battle system (with similar psychedelic backgrounds too) which hides some serious and creepy themes behind the cheerful facade. Theme-wise, it also reminds of Rakuen, in that you play as a young boy with cancer who travels to a fantasy world that is a distorted, colorful reflection of his own life and experiences.
Japanese video game developer Arzest, is essentially Artoon, without actually being Artoon. Many key staff members, such as SEGA veterans Yoji Ishii and Naoto Ohshima, worked for Artoon before it went defunct and then moved on to work at Arzest. Additionally, many games developed by Arzest resemble games developed by Artoon, including games in the Yoshi series.
Jewelry Master is Arika's attempt at making a Falling Blocks game that isn't a Tetris game with all the copyright baggage that follows. Like Tetris: The Grand Master, one of Arika's best known series, Jewelry Master features a speed level counter that increases with each piece dropped (in addition to each line cleared), a short delay between when a piece reaches the stack or floor and when it locks in place and a "firm drop" command that instantly drops the piece without locking it in place. The key difference is that instead of clearing lines, you try to surround gems with blocks to clear them.
Kaze and the Wild Masks to the classic Donkey Kong Country games. Kaze plays very similarly to Dixie Kong, the Wild Masks function much like the Animal Buddies, and many other elements of the games are reproduced; for example, giant crossbows that Kaze can launch herself out of stand in for the series's signature barrel cannons.
Killer7 and No More Heroes, both brainchildren of Goichi Suda. Travis, the protagonist of No More Heroes, can learn special abilities themed after the various personalities from Killer7 by bringing balls to a drunk in a bar.
Nintendo announced a Chinese company is developing an MMORPG featuring all of the Disney franchises separated into different worlds that the players can visit called "Disney Fantasy Online". That's right, it's an MMORPG version of Kingdom Hearts with the Square elements subtracted. The website really screams it out, since the Disney characters are wearing the same outfits they do in Kingdom Hearts.
L.A. Noire is a spiritual successor to the (very) rough but surprisingly ambitious Dick Tracy videogame on the NES. With a nigh-identical open-world structure about finding clues and using them to interrogate and incriminate perps with shooting sections in between.
Triforce Heroes is a spiritual successor to the Super Famicom title, Marvelous: Another Treasure Island as both games are teamwork puzzles, and both were directed by Eiji Aonuma.
The infamous CD-i games, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, were designed by the creator of the acclaimed Below the Root and have a rather similar gameplay style. So it's easy to see them as spiritual successors. Whether or not they're worthy successors, that's a different question.
Len'en Project has a lot of influences from Touhou Project, from the Fantasy Kitchen Sink setting to the Expies of Touhou's characters to the spellcard system. Heck, some of the assets from Len'en were initially used in unpublished Fan Remakes of the PC-98-era Touhou games made by the same creator!
Little Dragons Café is a Spiritual Successor of a Spiritual Successor. It's Hometown Story (in itself a Harvest Moon successor) but in a cafe. Little Dragons Cafe is made by the same team who created Hometown Story and all three series share a creator.
Mad News to MADtv. Both were designed by Ralph Stock, but for different publishers. The only major difference is that you run a newspaper instead of a TV station; it is heavily "implied" that you still control the same character, just with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny is this for the Wild ARMs series. To start with, the Original Generation main character is a combined Expy of the various Wild ARMs protagonists, and she comes from a dying wasteland planet that's a Filgaia Expy and whose restoration serves as one of the main plots of the game. It helps that Kaneko, the Wild ARMs creator, is the one in charge of the game's development, and that he and Tsuzuki, the Lyrical Nanoha creator, are old acquaintances. This was confirmed in an interview Tsuzuki included in the guide, where he mentions that the Wild ARMs elements were included as a show of respect to Kaneko and the franchise he made, of which he had been a fan of since Wild ARMs 3.
Mario Kart DS was not only a successor to the previous Mario Kart games, but to Crash Team Racing as well because of the infamous snaking mechanic: both games required a vehicle with low drift stats to spam boosts on straight lines.
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory was created as an heir to the Ghouls 'n Ghosts series, to the point of borrowing the first-stage music of the latter, and having protagonist stripped to his boxer shorts after taking enough damage.
The platformer Mighty No. 9 is one to the classic Mega Man series, from the bright cartoony artstyle, upbeat music styling (which also has an 8-bit rendition composed Manami Matsumae), similar run and gun gameplay but the crux of the gameplay is built around the character's faster mobility, and copying some other abilities beyond their special weapons.
Azure Striker Gunvolt is a spiritual successor to the Mega Man Zero series, and made by the developed by the same company, Inti Creates. It loosely takes the themes and gameplay of said series, particularly when the sequel introduced Copen as a playable character, whose Power Copying abilities are rather evocative of Mega Man.
Mighty Gunvolt is more a retro-throwback to the Classic series' platforming with Beck and Gunvolt as the stars, with various other characters thrown in for good measure.
Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light are considered by many to be the successors to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R franchise. They are very similar in theme, the major difference in setting being Metro taking place mostly in the underground Metro in Moscow, and for the gameplay, that Metro is a traditionally linear fps as opposed to the sandbox of the Stalker series.
The Konami arcade game M.I.A.: Missing In Action is pretty much an unofficial official sequel to Rush'n Attack (aka Green Beret), using what is essentially a more advanced version of the same engine, but with a different setting (being set in Vietnam instead of Russia).
The old Taito game Mizubaku Adventure AKA Liquid Kids could be considered a successor to The New Zealand Story. Both of them are cutesy maze-like platformers with a hero who needs to rescue his kidnapped relatives/friends from cages in every level, have enemies pop up from randomly appearing portals, and have warps to other levels that appear by shooting empty portions of the stages. They also both have the same font for in-game messages!
Nexus War to Urban Dead, with the added twist that the former made off with a substantial chunk of the latter's player base when it came out. So not only does it have similar mechanics and interface, it's played by all the same people.
The rare coin-op Nightmare In The Dark is a spiritual successor of sorts to the more well-known Snow Bros., except that you control a hunchback who engulfs enemies in balls of fire rather than snowmen burying enemies in snow by pelting them with snowballs.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a direct sequel to the first Ni no Kuni, but it borrows a lot of elements from Level-5's much older RPG Rogue Galaxy. Both Ni no Kuni II and Rogue Galaxy are action RPGs where each character uses both a melee and a ranged weapon, where battles in dungeons take place on the dungeon map instead of in specialized arenas, and jumping is an important mechanic. Compared to the first Ni no Kuni, which was not a pure action RPG, was Mons-focused, and, while you could jump, it was a bonus ability that was not supposed to be as good as it was.
The Tetris clone NullpoMino is somewhat of a spiritual successor to Heboris: Unofficial Expansion (sharing the same font and a similar level of customization), developed from scratch due to Heboris UE's source code—a mixture of C++ and a gaming script — being an Eldritch Programming Abomination.
As far as art style, setting, and combat system goes, Octopath might as well be considered a spiritual successor to the Bravely Default series. (This is a little contentious for some, though, as while the producers at Square-Enix worked on both games, the development studios are different - Silicon Studios for BD vs. Acquire for Octopath.)
The Legend of Legacy shares the same concept of choosing one of many characters and watching their story unfold within the same setting, while also recruiting any other characters that weren't chosen from the start. The vague connections between each character's story also hearkens back to Square's own game Live A Live.
Finally, the overall structure of the game, with the choosing of a protagonist, the freedom to go in your own direction, and even the arrangement of the battle screen, harkens back heavily to the SaGa series, particularly the Romancing SaGa games. It's to the point that a number of fans jokingly say that the game's other title is Romancing SaGa 4.
Oddity was developed, art style, gameplay, and all, to be a successor to the Mother series. This is an invoked trope, though, as it was initially conceived as an outright fan sequel.
The Nintendo Wii game Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a spiritual successor to both of them, and was in earlier stages referred to as Princess Crown 3, in the same way Odin Sphere was named Princess Crown 2.
One Piece: Gigant Battle for the DS was developed by Ganbarion, makers of Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars, and reuses many of the same assets.
After a falling out between the developer and publisher of Operation Flashpoint, the publisher won the rights to the name and would reuse it for a rather different duology, while the developer kept the rights to the engine behind Operation Flashpoint and went on to create the ARMA series, which is widely considered to be the true successor to Operation Flashpoint to the point that the developers collectively call both series the Armaversum.
As a twist, for the tenth anniversary of the original Operation Flashpoint, the developers released a final patch (just over six years after the penultimate patch) that actually renamed the game to ARMA: Cold War Assault, as well as removing the Codemasters-developed expansion campaign "Red Hammer."
Overload, by the creators of Descent, is a spiritual successor to that series.
The Pandora is the spiritual successor to the GP2x which is the spiritual successor to the GP32. While all three handhelds differ in developers, companies, and even nationalities, the philosophy of being and open games device anyone can make games for has been present and strengthened throughout the series.
A more closely-related successor to the GP2X is the Wiz, made by the same company (Gamepark Holdings). The Pandora, it should be noted, is made by a separate group of developers though its underlying philosophy is very similar to the GP32, GP2X, and Wiz.
The Paper Mario series was conceived and created in-house by Nintendo's Intelligent Systems after a direct sequel to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars became impossible due to Nintendo and Square's late-nineties falling-out.
Likewise for the hand-held Mario & Luigi series. Practically the only differences between Mario & Luigi and Super Mario RPG are the plot, characters, and change of perspective from isometric to more traditional side-scrolling. Incidentally, Alphadream, the development company, is made of staff originally from Square.
Same as goes with Planet Zoo from the same developers that are widely considered to be the successor of Zoo Tycoon series.
The emergent "battle royale" genre of game, including Trope CodifierPlayer Unknowns Battlegrounds and its competitorFortnite Battle Royale, are spiritual successors to the controversial Japanese novel Battle Royale. Both of the aforementioned games follow very similar sets of rules to the novel's eponymous death game: players are dropped off in the battlefield and tasked with killing one another until only one player (or team of players) is left standing. As the game progresses, areas of the map become cordoned off, forcing players into closer proximity with one another and forcing them to fight, less they be killed for staying out of bounds.
One could make a case for the entire Pokémon series being a spiritual successor to the Mother series, considering that the two series were made in part by a common developer (Creatures Inc.), and share a number of uncanny similarities.
The music: The Nuvema town theme, the Surfing theme, Route 10 theme, and N's Farewell are all suspiciously similar to songs from Mother 3 (respectively: Hinawa's Theme, The Green Train's Fun, Too!, Run, My Dog, Run!, and the Love Theme).
The story: The backstory reveals that Unova's two dragons, Reshiram and Zekrom (and probably Kyurem) were once one, and twin heroes formed Unova alongside it. However, one twin wanted things to remain natural and the other was in favor of urbanization. The dragon then split in two as a result, the older twin forming Reshiram and the younger twin forming Zekrom. N and Ghetsis are said to be the descendants of one of these twins.
The Pokémon: Drilbur and its evolution, Excadrill, are reminiscent of the Mischievous Mole and Reconstructed Mole enemies respectively. Garbodor is similar to the Forlorn Junk Heap. Many others resemble enemies from the other Mother series games.
Mewtwo looks quite similar to Giygas from Mother 1, except with some purple and a few extra details added.
According to Word of God, the inspiration for Prototype came about due to Hulk's "weaponize" ability; that is, the ability to turn vehicles and such into improvised weapons, rather than limiting the player to "pick up and throw." Reportedly, during testing, somebody posed the question "what if you could weaponize the player?"
Continuing the chain of succession is Saints Row IV, which features a set of superpowers that control and function almost identically to the ones in Prototype.
Pochi & Nyaa, the last game Compile was working on before they went bankrupt, was an obvious attempt to recapture some of the gameplay and aesthetics of the Puyo PuyoCash Cow Franchise which they no longer owned.
Pump It Up Pro is, oddly enough, this to In the Groove. Since the rights to ITG were picked up by Konami (in other words, Konami nixed ITG), the team behind ITG, who had collaborated with PIU developer Andamiro for the In The Groove 2 dedicated cabinet, decided to collaborate with Andamiro once again, this time working on a Pump It Up game geared towards the same sort of players who enjoy ITG, featuring a lot of ITG elements such as the use of the StepMania engine, notes colored by beat (rather than each column having its own color like in mainline Pump, although the option to use that coloring scheme exists), scoring based purely on accuracy rather than other factors like note streaks, and a good chunk of the soundtrack consisting of songs from artists who contributed to ITG such as Kyle Ward. In short, it's In The GrooveWITH A PUMP IT UP PAD LAYOUT!
Pumpkin Jack bares more than a few similarities to MediEvil; 3D Defanged Horror platformers about men brought back to life in a cartoonish, cel-shaded, Standard Fantasy Setting with their mission to kill a wizard. Health comes in the form of a green potion, their soundtracks are similar and the protagonist's reward is safe passage into the afterlife.
The UK-based company Graftgold ported Rainbow Islands to the Amiga and other European-market home computers. They followed it up with a game called Fire and Ice, which had somewhat similar game mechanics (in particular, combat is done by shooting something that immobilizes an enemy and then touching it while immobilized, enemies left immobilized for too long will become stronger, every level contains a certain amount of enemy-dropped items which the player is supposed to collect, and taking too long to finish a level causes something to chase the player character), and its box cover had a quotation from a review that called it "the best platformer since Rainbow Islands".
The Banjo-Kazooie series also got a spiritual successor in 2017 with Yooka-Laylee, made by former Rare developers.
RayStorm: spiritual successor to RayForce. RayCrisis is the official prequel to RayForce.
Razing Storm is the spiritual sequel to Crisis Zone, the Gaiden Game to Time Crisis. Like Crisis Zone, you use a machine gun instead of Time Crisis's handguns (though for bigger targets, you automatically switch to stronger weapons), and instead of hiding behind objects, you take cover behind a heavy-duty shield. Razing Storm has since been renamed Time Crisis: Razing Storm for its PS3 release.
Time Crisis is itself a spiritual successor to Rolling Thunder, borrowing some elements from the older games. Take Cover! and a Timed Mission is a common similarity between them. The themes are also similar.
L.A. Noire is also considered a Spiritual Successor to Grand Theft Auto (what if GTA was a film noir?), though arguably less so, due to the fact that this one's much more story-driven; the Wide-Open Sandbox aspect of GTA and Redemption is not used in the main storyline. Instead, it has you moving from one mission directly into the next.
Refazel was supposed to be the sequel to Ferazel's Wand—hence the similar title. Sadly, the fellow who was in charge of the first game left Ambrosia Software shortly afterwards, and they wouldn't give him the sequel rights, so he made it into a sort of inverted Dolled-Up Installment.
The Remothered trilogy for the Clock Tower series, unsurprisingly, considering it started out as a Fan Remake of the first Clock Tower (1995) game before it slowly morphed its own thing during its long development. Despite the changes in story, it retains the atmosphere and Alone with the Psycho-style gameplay that defined the Clock Tower games. It even has traces of the original Clock Tower plot and characters, most notably in how it ended up swapping the roles of Jennifer and Mary, with the originally villainous Mary — now named Rosemary — being the protagonist of Remothered.
The original Resident Evil was conceived when Capcom wanted an updated version of their Famicom horror RPG Sweet Home. An early teaser for Biohazard even used an arrangement of the Sweet Homebattle theme and it is believed that the international title of Resident Evil came from a line in Sweet Home which describes the mansion where the game is set "a place of residing evil."
The 1995 pinball machine Attack from Mars turned out to be a huge seller, but didn't get a proper sequel until the Pinball 2000 machine Revenge from Mars. In the meantime, the 1997 pinball Medieval Madness was created by the same developers and, despite the different premise, was far more similar to the original game's structure than the sequel was.
RiME: Another "Myst"-like game, very much in the mold of the original. The protagonist lands on an eerie, beautiful island, is given no prompting, so the only way forward is to start exploring. The story unfolds as puzzles are solved.
Risen to Gothic series after Gothic 3. Developers — Piranha Bytes — left the publisher, who retained rights to the title, world and most characters. Risen uses similar mechanics, but tries to correct the drawbacks of Gothic games.
The Gothic series is already a Spiritual Successor to the Ultima series, with the future Piranha Bytes seeing Ultima IX, and trying to do a better 3D Ultima game. The interactivity with the surroundings, life-like NPCs with their schedules, and many more will seeM familiar to fans of the Ultima series. The war with orcs, is even similar to the war with gargoyles from Ultima VI, with the orcs, like gargoyles being also revaled as a much more sympathetic species, that averts Always Chaotic Evil. The Sleeper is also defeated in a similar way to Exodus. both are defeated not in battle, but by destroying the things that bound them to reality. In Exodus' case, you insert 4 punchcards into slots in Exodus' computer interface, which overloads and destroys it, while in the Sleeper's case, you must stab the 5 hearts that anchor him in the Mortal Realm.
Mobile game DomiNations is in turn yet another Spiritual Successor to Rise of Nations, not only being developed by the revived Big Huge Games but also having Reynolds as head developer.
While Guitar Hero III is obviously the notional sequel to Guitar Hero II, many feel that the "soul" of the franchise has moved along to Rock Band. After Harmonix, the series' creator, sold the Guitar Hero IP to Activision, they moved on to Rock Band, making it the game which still employs the Guitar Hero II development team, game engine, and philosophy regarding note chart design.
While we're on the subject of Rock Band, Unplugged for the PSP hearkens back to Harmonix's pre-Guitar Hero days, playing much more like Frequency or Amplitude (in fact, it was orginally supposed to be a direct sequel to the latter, but Sony then vetoed the idea, forcing Harmonix to slap the Rock Band label on it). The DS version of Rock Band 3 continues the trend, while the DS version of Lego Rock Band is a similar but more watered-down game. The similarities then ballooned into Rock Band Blitz, which is little more than a direct self-plagiarism of Amplitude. This means that, in a way, Harmonix finally got thatAmplitudesequel they wanted!
And now, Amplitude has its own successor, thanks to Kickstarter.
The fan made Clone Hero is aiming at being a Spritual Successor to Guitar Hero III.
R-Type had a line of actual sequels, but before most of these Irem made a spiritual successor titled X-Multiply.
Satellite Reign is the spiritual successor to Syndicate. It was created by the lead programmer of Syndicate Wars, who was irked to see the renowned action-strategy series rebooted as a first person shooter.
The shoot 'em up-fighting game hybrid Senko no Ronde (known as WarTech in other countries) is one to Psychic Force. Both games are developed by Taito's arcade division, who then split up and formed G.rev, and both titles also share similar gameplay flow. What sets these two apart however is that Psychic Force is much more akin to a traditional fighting game, whereas Senko no Ronde plays much more like a bullet hell shooter.
Shadowverse is one to Rage of Bahamut. In fact, nearly every card in this game uses card art from Rage of Bahamut (not to mention the huge failure of Rage of Bahamut in the west due to Screwed by the Network). The second expansion is even called "Rise of Bahamut".
Fumito Ueda's Shadow of the Colossus was thought to be a Spiritual Successor to his previous game, ICO. However, he revealed a direct connection between the two games in an interview several months after the game's release: the protagonist of Shadow of the Colossus is actually a direct ancestor of the protagonist in Ico. However, the two play very differently and have no further storyline connections. In turn, The Last Guardian is part of this world.
Persona is an obvious spiritual successor to one-off MegaTen Gaiden GameShin Megami Tensei if... This is most prominent in the first Persona, with there being a truly astounding number of parallels between the two games, but even later Persona games have some of this; if nothing else, the "persona" system remains a greatly revised and expanded version of the "guardian" system found in If....
At the time of release, Digital Devil Saga was a Spiritual Successor to Persona, featuring some noticeable similarities in both story and gameplay. However, the Persona series itself has been fully revived since then, thanks to the success of Persona 3 and subsequent games.
Devil Survivor is a Spiritual Successor for the Majin Tensei spinoff series, although this statement is based only on the fact that they are strategy games.
Persona 5 Strikers ended up not becoming a typical Dynasty Warriors spin off given that it incorporates day and nighttime social interactions of Japanese cities to find clues when not exploring dungeons, while level exploration takes more from a typical action rpg, especially with its elements of platforming and stealth as opposed to the focus on defeating large number of enemies to guard points on a map. With combat itself also emphasizing Megaten weakness exploitation, the game is pretty much a modern Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army in both setting and release. Funny enough, Raidou was the first Megaten star to dress in black with a talking black cat sidekick.
One of the victory conditions in Civilization II is to make a journey to Alpha Centauri, thus beginning the colonization of the galaxy by your side. Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri can thus be seen as the direct sequel to this particular victory. Or, it's just Civilization IIIN SPACE!
And interestingly enough, the series it used to duel with, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, is itself a spiritual successor to 720 Degrees.
Skies of Arcadia is considered to be a spiritual successor to Phantasy Star since both were developed by Sega's Overworks studios, and they're both turn-based roleplaying games. In fact, some fans consider Skies to be more a successor to Phantasy Star than Phantasy Star Online.
Smash TV later got its own Spiritual Successor, Total Carnage, with the same gameplay and over-the-top violence, except you're fighting a Saddam Hussein lookalike instead of going through a futuristic game show.
Squad is for the Project Reality, a Game Mod for Battlefield 2. Squad actually spun-off from a failed Project Reality 2 project, which was slated to be a standalone version of the mod in a more modern engine.
Starbound is this to Terraria, as one of the developers of Terraria is the head developer of Starbound.
Stardew Valley was apparently always designed to be a spiritual successor to the Harvest Moon games, borrowing many elements from them while also rectifying a number of common criticisms, such as the lack of a Gay Option. It uses an art style especially similar to the original SNES Harvest Moon.
Mass Effect director called Starflight a key inspiration. More so, the twist ending reveal Drew Karpyshyn originally planned was quite similar: the frequent use of mass effect caused stars to explode, thus Reapers wiped all advanced civilizations, hoping one of the harvested races would be able to figure a solution. (And harvesting Protheans took so long, it almost destroyed the galaxy. And the human proto-reaper seemed like their best bet.)
In Japan, Hudson Soft produced the NES and MSX ports of Star Force and ran a nationwide tournament around it. But Star Force was a Tecmo game, and so Hudson developed a rather similar game called Star Soldier to feature in the next year's tournament. Star Force and Star Soldier each had their own line of sequels.
Among the Wii U games revealed at E3 in 2014 was Project Giant Robot, which had the player controlling a Humongous Mecha. Unlike fellow "Project" game Project Guard (which went on to become Star Fox Guard), Giant Robot never went anywhere and was seemingly cancelled. Come January 2018, and Nintendo unveiled Nintendo Labo for the Nintendo Switch, and the second revealed kit for that game is Robot Kit, which took the mecha theme even further. Hilariously, one video promoting the original version has Reggie Fils-Aime duking it out with a man dressed up in a cheap cardboard robot costume, looking very prophetic as a result.
Tales of the Abyss is the spiritual successor to Symphonia, particularly in terms of gameplay, but also in cartain thematic elements. This is due to it sharing Symphonia's development staff ("Team Symphonia"). It was followed in turn by Tales of Vesperia, making a sort of spiritual trilogy.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is strongly influenced by Super Mario Bros. 3, from the Tanooki Leaf power-up, to those colorful rectangular sheet platforms Mario can walk on, the Koopalings, and each World's map being a wide rectangle. Reznor's role in this game is also rather similar to that of Boom Boom, guarding the midpoint of each World.
New Super Mario Bros. U is likewise heavily based on Super Mario World, featuring the return of Yoshi after his absence from the above, baby Yoshis, visual elements like the slanted polygonal hills seen in the background of some levels, Edible Theme Naming, a level select consisting of one large map instead of eight separate small ones, a haunted shipwreck, and the hidden Brutal Bonus Level Superstar Road.
Super Mario 3D World is highly based on the American Super Mario Bros. 2, as it involves Mario being joined by Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad on an adventure to another world to free a world of cute fairy creatures from the bad guy. The characters keep their own unique abilites (Mario is balanced, Luigi jumps higher, Toad moves fast, Peach can float) like in said game. The Sprixies are a stand-in for the Subcon fairies. The "Player Select" theme from Mario 2 get a Musical Nod in the Lucky Houses. Toad in particular even has his color scheme from the NES version of the game rather than his normal look. Finally, Bowser, who wasn't in Mario 2 originally, apes the original Big Bad Wart in the idea of capturing the Sprixies and imprisoning them inside of a jar.
A sandbox collectathon platformer, in which a hero and his sidekick change into myriad different forms to navigate the world? Sounds like a damn fine Banjo-Kazooie game.
Glitch Strikers is this to Super Mario Bros. Crossover in that the game is based on characters from vastly different games with their gameplay retained. The differences in this case are that Glitch Strikers is a Writing Around Trademarks version for commercial release (as such, the characters are replaced with expies — Mario himself, for example, is replaced by a German miner named Manni), the worlds in the game are based on each of the characters rather than solely emulating Super Mario Bros.., and there's an actual storyline that ties everything together.
The ill-fated 1st party PlayStation Vita action game Freedom Wars has one: Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet, of all games. Fatal Bullet is made by the same developers and features a more RPG-oriented spin on most of Freedom Wars' core mechanics. It even includes a hookshot mechanic that is clearly inspired by the Ibara Hookshot.
SWIV was created by the developer of the home computer versions of Tecmo's Silk Worm, reusing some of the sound effects, and was all but advertised as a sequel to it. "Silkworm IV" was only one of three official expansions of the Initialism Title.
Deus Ex can be considered as a spiritual successor to System Shock as well. Warren Spector, the creator of Deus Ex worked on System Shock in the past.
Deus Ex also shares many similarities to Commodore Amiga adventure game KGB, also known as Conspiracy.
The Talos Principle: To co-writer Jonas Kyratzes's earlier game about an android questioning human spirituality in what might be the ashes of our civilization.
TearRing Saga, a Japanese-only strategy RPG for the PlayStation designed by Fire Emblem creator Shozo Kaga, is practically an unofficial Fire Emblem sequel, to the point that Nintendo sued Kaga's company, Tirnanog, for copyrights infringement (but lost the case). In 2019 he released another one called Vestaria Saga I: War of the Scions.
Tell Me Why feels like Life Is Strange 3 in all but name. Developed by Life is Strange developer Dontnod Entertainment, Tell Me Why features a coming-of-age narrative, sympathetic focus on LGBTQ+ characters, and young people developing superpowers in Everytown, America. Some have even speculated that the stand-alone nature of Tell Me Why is mainly due to the game having a different publisher, suggesting that it might have been tied in to LiS in some way if not for that.
Tenchu was originally Acquire's work but then FromSoftware had the license. This would lead to Acquire making the similar Shinobido games, which has Tenchu's stealth kills and Ki-meter for detecting enemies. FromSoftware had plans on returning to the world of Tenchu, but instead their Project Ninja would become Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Tetris: The Grand Master is the spiritual successor to Sega's Tetris games, and borrows many elements such as the piece colors, the bottom-biased rotation system, fast sideways movement and soft drop, and piece lock delay (a feature present in all of Sega's Tetris games but not in Nintendo's, at least for a while).
The 1997 comedy hospital management game Theme Hospital had a spiritual successor in 2018, in the form of Two Point Hospital, and several old hands from Bullfrog (the developer of the original) worked on the successor.
The cancelled Tiny Toon Adventures: Defenders of the Universe / Tiny Toon Adventures: Defenders of the Looniverse is a gameplay successor to Treasure's earlier Rakugaki Showtime.
Titanfall to Call of Duty, more specifically Modern Warfare, due to the fact that developer Respawn Entertainment is composed of the majority of developers from Infinity Ward who left Activision following the release of Jason West and Vince Zampella, the co-founders of Infinity Ward.
Uber Entertainment is trying to fund a new one called Planetary Annihilationon Kickstarter.
The Trackmania series is considered to be the Spiritual Successor of an early 90's game called Stunts, which not only has the merit of sporting super-sleek 3D graphics (for the time of course), but is about clearing obstacle-laden tracks on powerful sports cars. Coincidentally, Trackmania Nations, to put an example, is about clearing obstacle-laden tracks in an Formula-1-lookalike racing car.
Even though it's an entirely different setting and story, Tree of Savior has been hailed as a successor to Ragnarok Online for a multitude of reasons:
Tree of Savior's developer, IMC Games, was founded by one of RO's original developers (prior to the Samsung buyout that caused most of Gravity Corporation's founders to leave). Several other people from those days are also working on Tree of Savior—notably, SoundTeMP, who provided most of RO's memorable soundtrack.
The game has a 2½DSprite/Polygon Mix, like RO, and the in-game art style looks like a higher-detailed evolution of RO's.
Twin Cobra was a spiritual successor to Tiger Heli, which in turn had a predecessor in Gyrodine, whose programmers went on to found Toaplan, the company which made the other two games. All three of these helicopter-based vertical shooters were distributed by Taito.
Ultima VI received its own spiritual sequel in the form of Cythera, which featured an improved resolution and expanded skills.
The upcoming Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is the spiritual Spiritual Successor to classic Ultima series, and it's MMORPG offshoot, Ultima Online, being even developed by Richard "Lord British" Garriot, the Ultima series creator. Interestingly, you will apparently be able to control if the game will be a single player, few friends online, or a full-blown MMORPG experience. The setting of game is even called "New Britannia", the player character will be called the Avatar, and there are other, almost sequel-like nods to the old series.
Irem's Vigilante is pretty much a more advanced version of their earlier single-plane Beat 'em UpKung Fu Master in a different setting, although there was an official sequel for the Family Computer in Japan titled Spartan X 2.
Warframe is this to darkSector. Developers at some point hinted to Warframe taking place in the same universe, thousands of years in the future, though this was since recanted. They have also stated that Warframe is the game they wanted to make back when they were in early development of darkSector.
The turbulent history of Wasteland's developers has prompted a lot of this:
After Interplay made Wasteland for Electronic Arts, EA made a "sequel" named Fountain Of Dreams, which they ultimately decided not to market as a sequel to Wasteland.
Since Interplay couldn't get the rights to Wasteland back from EA, Interplay (specifically, the RPG group, which later became Black Isle Studios) instead repurposed a prototype GURPS RPG to make Fallout and Fallout 2.
After Fallout 2, Interplay committed many dark and evil deeds that sapped away Black Isle's strength and ultimately led to all of their development efforts (including Fallout 3, codenamed "Project Van Buren") being canceled. After firing droves of Black Isle employees, shutting them down, and ultimately going down in flames itself, Interplay put Fallout on the auction block.
As the crowning glory to this nonsense, InXile head Brian Fargo (the producer of the original Wasteland) reacquired the rights to Wasteland and released an actual sequel in 2014 thanks to the Kickstarter's success. Oddly enough, this game works in many ways as the spiritual successor to the first two Fallout games, since the Fallout 3 that was released is often considered to be different compared to the first two.
Then there's The Outer Worlds, developed by Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian Entertainment and led by Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, key staff in the creation of Fallout. While Fallout is about 1950s culture in the 21st century, The Outer Worlds is about Gilded Age space exploration, and essentially embraces and advances the concepts that were largely abandoned by Bethesda, including the emphasis on player choice over linearity.
The scepter then has to go to Afterfall which is being developed as a spiritual successor to Fallout, set in Nuclear Winter Eastern Europe.
Interplay also released Dragon Wars, the spiritual successor to The Bards Tale trilogy they developed for EA. Brian Fargo then obtained the rights to The Bard's Tale and published another game under that title in 2004.
Similarly to the Starflight and Mass Effect example below, one of the Baldur's Gate series' designers, Kevin Martens, named The Bard's Tale game and series among the most important inspirations.
After Michael Cranford, the main creator and programmer of the first two Bard's Tale games, stopped working with Interplay, and wasn't involved in the creation of The Bard's Tale III, he created his own take on how he would make the third part of his game, Centauri Alliance, which was more, or less Bard's TaleIn Space!, although with a lot of improvements to gameplay, and a battle-mode similar to that found in the Gold Box games. Centauri Alliance even had an option to transfer characters from the three Bard's Tale games.
The Westport Independent has been frequently compared to Papers, Please in style, theme, and tone. Both have a low-fi dictatorship setting, a somewhat similar art style, rebellious organizations, "choices mean everything" plots, and gameplay revolving around paperwork. The former revolves around a newspaper that must adjust to new government regulations or aid a rebellion, while the latter is about a border checkpoint official. Interestingly, Papers Please author Lucas Pope had also created a game with a similar premise called The Republia Times prior to the development of Westport, though the Westport development team have stated that they were unaware of Pope's first game until their game jam was over.
The Wii's menu system (including the default channels and at least part of Wii Sports) is a Spiritual Successor to Mario Paint. The music is too similar to be a coincidence, and the Wiimote works a lot like the old SNES Mouse did.
The way you can customize the Wii menu through drag-and-drop is also very similar to the GBA Movie Player. Both the Wii and GBAMP also have 512MB of memory.
WarioWare D.I.Y. also shares a lot of elements with Mario Paint, such as the usable colors. The music maker borrows all of the symbols used for notes and the man running above the staff outright.
The Witness: Very much in the style of Myst (even more so its sequel Riven), with the lonely Beautiful Void and numerous puzzles aimed towards a common goal.
The 2000 RPG Wizards and Warriors by D. W. Bradley (not to be confused with the NES Wizards & Warriors game) is one for the Wizardry series. Bradley was also the creator of Wizardry games 5 through 7.
Class of Heroes is the Spiritual Successor to the (Japan-only) Wizardry Xth subseries, although much of the races, and (in the first game only)classes are almost identical to those in the Dark Savant Trilogy (Wizardry 6 through 8).
World's End Club is set up as a successor to Danganronpa, in a deliberate attempt to make the player believe it's just another "death game". The plot then spins off in another direction, and it ends up feeling like a Zero Escape successor instead, although it's significantly more lighthearted than either.
The original Xbox is widely considered to be the spiritual successor to the Sega Dreamcast, since many Dreamcast games - particularly those from Sega themselves - were ported to (Shenmue II) or received sequels on (Panzer Dragoon Orta, Jet Set Radio Future) the system, they both have similar controller layouts, the Xbox was at one point going to be backwards compatible with the Dreamcast, and both are compatible with Windows CE and Direct X.
To a noticeably lesser extent, the PlayStation 2 can also be considered a successor to the Dreamcast. While the two don't share any hardware or software, the PS2's mere existence being a factor in the Dreamcast's failure meant that those Dreamcast games which didn't see ports to or sequels on the Xbox instead saw them on the PS2. Amusingly, the PS2 even managed similar third-party support long after its time had ended — the Dreamcast still saw official releases in Japan until 2007 (and indie devs are still making the occasional game for it beyond then), while the PS2's last official release was in 2013, just two months before the debut of a fourth PlayStation.
Even the Nintendo GameCube can be seen as a spiritual successor to the Dreamcast, as many Dreamcast games like Sonic Adventure, Phantasy Star Online, and Crazy Taxi received updated ports on the GameCube, and both systems used proprietary disc formats. Also, the dual-screen functionality with the GameBoy Advance link-cable can be seen as a spiritual successor to the Dreamcast's VMU.
Xenosaga was one for Xenogears. This was due to copyright issues, as Square Enix still held the copyright for Xenogears, while all the people who actually worked on it went on to create their own studo: Monolith Soft. There are a metric ton of Shout Outs and characters that are strikingly similar, and the third game and the sourcebooks would even hint that the two take place in the same timeline. Word of God, however, states that Xenosaga was a Continuity Reboot for Xenogears, and not an actual prequel.
The popular, but now dated, X-COM series has a number of unrelated spiritual successors, including the UFO After Blank series, Xenonauts, the open-source UFO: Alien Invasion, and Rebelstar: Tactical Command for the GBA.
After the series reboot by Firaxis Games in 2012, XCOM Apocalypse received a spiritual successor in the form of XCOM: Chimera Squad in 2020, which like its predecessor takes place in a single city and revolves around a multi-species squad, but in a far less dystopian setting.
The Yakuza series is a spiritual successor to Shenmue, being an action-adventure game with in-depth combat, a Wide-Open Sandbox with a plethora of content to uncover, and various minigames, sidequests, and other diversions.