The Top 7... games that need prequels


How the story begins: When people die, they don’t go to Heaven or Hell… they enter the Mexican-inspired Land of the Dead and begin an entirely new journey to the Ninth Underworld. The length and difficulty of that epic trip is determined by two factors: first, how well the souls conducted their previous lives, and second, what kind of transportation their Grim Reaper, or travel agent, can wrangle for them.

What the prequel would cover: Grim Fandango displays more brilliance and creativity in its first ten minutes than the majority of games manage over 20-60 hours. Before you can fully grasp the genius of the premise, however, the point-and-click adventure is speeding forward into even wilder scenarios (like cat racing) and even smarter references (like Casablanca). By the end, your character – Manny Calavera – has visited dozens of locations, worked several different jobs and grown four years older.

That first part was more than enough for us, though. We’d happily play a game featuring only Manny’s first career as a Grim Reaper agent, helping various souls to their final resting places. How would he deal with a former murderer, as opposed to a former nun? What happens when a person tries to lie about their sins, or when they don’t accept the type of transportation that is offered to them?

In the original game, verdicts came through a simple office message tube, but that system is eventually revealed as corrupt. In the prequel, each judgment could be more complicated, and more unique. Plus, the cases wouldn’t have to relate to each other. We got episodic Sam & Max stories, and the recent Tales of Monkey Island, so why not The Files of Grim Fandango?


How the story begins: He may wear nightmarish armor, steal religious artifacts, answer to a monster king and make orphaned little girls cry, but Cecil Harvey is really a nice guy once you get to know him. In fact, when he realizes how much evil stuff he’s been doing as a Dark Knight and leader of the Red Wing army, he puts in his two-weeks notice, ditches his badass helmet and goes on the noble pilgrimage necessary to become a pretty, pretty Paladin with tousled hair and soft skin.

What the prequel would cover: Final Fantasy IV is a masterpiece and one of our favorite RPGs of all time. The story, though, follows a very familiar path: conflicted anti-hero is “anti” for all of ten minutes before realizing the error of his ways, discovering his true destiny / identity and spending the rest of the story as a pure-hearted goody-two-shoes with no moral ambiguity whatsoever.

How about the opposite trajectory? What if we played Cecil during his descent instead of his ascent? Imagine an RPG that starts off in a typical kingdom with a typical young boy as its protagonist; he’s even got the expected best friend rival and the best friend love interest. Only from the beginning, we’ll know that the young boy is a future Dark Knight, that his rival is a future Dragoon (Kain) and that his love interest is a future White Mage (Rosa).

More importantly, we’ll know the end – that this parentless, impressionable kid will slowly but surely be led into darkness. His rise from the shadows can be left to the game we already know and love, but this prequel would be all about the fall. Think of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars. Okay, bad example… think of Michael Corleone in The Godfather. Or Arthas in Warcraft III. The path from good to bad is just as compelling, if not more so, than that from bad to good.

Aug 17, 2009

The Top 7... precursor games
Halo 3's ending revealed? Big Daddy's father unmasked? Witness the evolutions that led to today's favorites

The surprising origins of your favorite games
Failed Resident Evils, Master Chief in 3rd person and the Mario game you’ll never play

The Top 7... best beginnings
Games that blow you away right from the start


Top 7


  • holic237 - April 27, 2012 3 a.m.

    "The path from good to bad is just as compelling, if not more so, than that from bad to good." <-- Second that. Also love the idea of co-op Mirror's Edge, and Rapture falling apart while our protagonist looks on in shock, horror and utter confusion. Oh hey, whatever happened to Andrew Ryan's girlfriend, you know, the one who got stood up in the first recording we find in BioShock? Give her a wrench and some plasmids and let her get to it.
  • ashleymenvielle - November 20, 2010 2:01 a.m.

    Great article. I, too, would love to see a prequel to Gears of War and Bioshock. I would really love to see a prequel to Enslaved: Odyssey to the West; just how did the war start that 150 years later leaves the world a beautiful jungle full of murderous mechs? How did Monkey survive on his own and get so ripped? Questions, questions. Of course, it's not looking like Enslaved will get a sequel let alone a prequel but I hold out hope that it could all still turn around for that game and it's awesome storyline.
  • FanofSaiyan - December 4, 2009 11:20 p.m.

    Some other games that need prequels: Sly Cooper, Metroid series, Ratchet and Clank, Jak & Daxter, and Wild Arms to name a few.
  • w40kfanatic - November 27, 2009 6:52 p.m.

    Im pretty sure that bioshock 2 IS a prequel. You play as the first big daddy during the rapture civil war, dont you? Also, i would love a gears prequel!
  • CARLINNIT - November 26, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    Grim Fandango = simply the greatest videogame of all time.
  • ReaperD23 - November 23, 2009 1:05 a.m.

    "Since he’s obviously not available after Modern Warfare (spoiler?), a prequel will have to do; fortunately, his previous life could be the perfect time period for Infinity Ward to tackle." what? Last time I checked, That BAMF was still alive.
  • Vader999 - November 22, 2009 2:47 a.m.

    How has KOTOR not been mentioned? from the Mandalorian Wars to the rise and fall of Exar Kun, to the even onlder fall of the Sith Empire, there are a lot of backstory in Kotor that would make great games.
  • AaronTheGamingGeek - November 8, 2009 8:22 p.m.

    i would like to see a Uncharted Prequal
  • deathrebellion - November 6, 2009 1:24 p.m.

    u guys didn't mention DMC3 as on of d best prequels??!!! Mirrors Edge DEFINITELY needs a prequel AND a sequel (abt the ppl who hired Jacknife) it has soooooo much potential and anyway the game wuz waayyyyy short -_-
  • franklin11 - August 24, 2009 2:07 p.m.

    CPT. Price isn't in MW2 the new CPT. int that game is CPT. (SOAP) McTavish CPT. Price died at the end of the first MW
  • lorchan - August 24, 2009 1:26 a.m.

    I think Mirror's Edge needs both a prequel and a sequel. I hear a small team is working on Mirror's Edge 2... but I don't know anything more. It needs a prequel for all the reasons listed in the article, but, if those looking to avoid spoilers would stop reading this comment right now, everyone Faith knew was either killed or betrayed her, as far as we know, except Kate. Sure, it's all because of Icarus, but if Faith had just let Kate go... would things be so bad? There's a lot of potential for a sequel story wise... minus the fact that we have a grand total of two characters left over: Faith and Kate. I wouldn't mind seeing Celeste brought back as a villian, though!
  • blademage20 - August 23, 2009 7:33 p.m.

    if Too Human wouldn't take years to make one game in the trilogy, a prequel would be nice. Too find out how the war began and how the "gods" came to be. One can only dream though...
  • Woods - August 21, 2009 5:13 p.m.

    he has got one hell of a point
  • Anbu204 - August 20, 2009 7:01 a.m.

    I want prequel for Left 4 Dead. It would be awesome to see how the infection went around instead of being put straight in the middle of the infected planet. But i guess the developers chose so that you don't know how the infection happened and you are meant to feel confused as to what is happening. But saying that. i love consistency and i would REALLY love to know how it happend :)
  • CountFenring - August 20, 2009 4:39 a.m.

    I always wanted a Quake II prequel. NOT QUAKE WARS. I want the attack on Station Armstrong. You'd play as the same guy as Quake IV.
  • Zeipher - August 20, 2009 3:35 a.m.

    Do you guys really need to pump 4000 characters into these comments? No one reads them. Keep it concise, kids. I'll agree to any Infinity Ward creation. Secondly, the reason Kingdom Hearts is great is because its a hybrid. Sacrificing that makes it into another average series.
  • adadadad - August 19, 2009 7:04 p.m.

  • wcatdoor - August 19, 2009 4:58 p.m.

    wow now that i think about it, bioshock before the havock could be like a underwater GTA, or oblivion
  • adadadad - August 19, 2009 8:20 a.m.

  • magicwalnuts0 - August 19, 2009 2:06 a.m.

    I would only play the Grim Fandango prequel, otherwise the only reason why you want a prequel is because the the stories were presented crappily.

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