4. New heroes
“How can we refresh this franchise? There must be a way… aha! We’ll completely balls it up by replacing the main character. What a grand idea!”
That’s fine if it suits the series. After all, The Doctor wouldn’t be The Doctor if he wasn’t someone else every now and then. There’s no reason to maintain character fidelity in games like Call of Duty, in which any soldier will do. But who got excited when they found out they were playing almost the entirety of Metal Gear Solid 2 as a nubile blond idiot? And who the hell jumped into Devil May Cry 4 to play as Nero?
Above: Different characters!
Nero evaporates Dante’s specialness by aping everything about him. Now the badass hero you were used to playing as has a doppelganger… so maybe he wasn’t such a big deal in the first place. Great!
3. A subtitle
If a series or subseries consists of thematically-related games which don’t necessarily follow a “1, 2, 3” progression, it makes sense to give them subtitles instead of numbers. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions makes sense, because it takes place in the Spider-Man universe(s) but isn’t a direct sequel. Fallout: New Vegas makes sense, because it’s not a significant enough advancement to warrant the grand number four.
But if you’re already numbering your games, that extra bit of cheese after the colon is superfluous and cheapening. BioShock 2 sounds good. BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams, sounds lame. Good thing the subtitle was dropped (or was never there, depending on whom you ask).
Above: A sea full of dreams, you say? What a totally non-trite thought!
Did Sacred 2 really need to be called Sacred 2: Fallen Angel? What does tacking a cliché to the game’s title tell me about the game? NOTHING AND IT’S STUPID. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty gets somewhat of a pass given that it’s coming in multiple installments, but still, what’s more inspiring: “STARCRAFT 2” or “StarCraft 2: Hackneyed phrase?”