At this point, “E3” and “sequel announcements” have become practically synonymous. Some sequels are inevitable; if a franchise is successful, there’s no reason not to follow it up or expand on the concept with another game. That explains why we’ll be seeing new Madden, Mario, and Call of Duty installments until our dying days.
But some games that deserve a full-fledged franchise will never, ever get one. No matter how much we hope and pray, these are the sequels that we likely won’t see announced at E3 2012 – or any E3, for that matter. We’d never be happier to be wrong if any of these get confirmed this week, but for fear of asphyxiation, we won’t hold our breath.
7. Shadows of the Damned 2
Why we want a sequel: If you’ve never heard of this out-of-the-blue grindhouse romp, that’s a damned shame. Uniting the industry-veteran holy trinity of Suda51 (Killer 7), Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil), and Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill), this balls-to-the-wall-insane third-person shooter was equal parts monster-killing madness and nonstop phallic humor. As the debonair demon-slayer Garcia Hotspur, we loved every minute of blasting away enemies with his crudely-named handgun, Boner, while a floating skull named Johnson rattled off witty British-isms. What surprised us most was how funny and downright fun it was, amidst all the gratuitous gore and jokes about slang words for “penis.” It’s a game so tongue-in-cheek tasteless, it ended up being a breath of fresh action-packed air.
Why it won’t happen: Though many critics, ourselves included, were fond of the game’s devil-may-care attitude, unique world, and crass extravagance, the game all but bombed in terms of sales. Sometimes, no matter how cool a game is, people don’t buy it – and developers won’t make what people won’t buy.
6. Power Stone 3
Why we want a sequel: The Dreamcast had a slew of distinctive, whimsical games that we couldn’t play elsewhere, as well as an impressive lineup of Capcom fighters like Marvel vs. Capcom and Street Fighter III. Power Stone was the best of both of these awesome worlds – riotous, four-player, three-dimensional melees controlled from an aerial view, so you can see every hammer-to-face impact as it happens. Each character had a Power-Rangers-esque transformation that would wreck unprepared opponents; the seductress Rouge morphed into a fiery ifrit, while Wang-Tang, the martial artist with the best name ever, mutated into a golden god. Even if Smash Bros. 64 was stealing all the casual-fighting-game glory at the time, we’ll forever remember Power Stone for its zany cast and rowdy battles.
Why it won’t happen: Capcom’s content to stick to 2D fighters at the moment – and it’s a wonder if anyone would even recognize main man Edward Falcon at this point. Oh well; we’ll always have the Power Stone Collection on PSP.
5. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand 2
Why we want a sequel: Many men might’ve ignored this follow up to the “meh” 50 Cent: Bulletproof, but those who were patiently waiting with their piggy bank in hand were rewarded with a shockingly solid third-person shooter. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit entourage find themselves in the desert heat of a non-descript Middle Eastern territory, chasing after a diamond-encrusted skull that’s been swiped. Mayhem ensues. It’s such an insane idea for a game that it only makes the gat-blasting gunplay and hand-to-hand brawling that much more enjoyable. We felt like kids in a candy shop as we vaporized thugs with rocket launchers and AKs, and the massacre of para-military insurgents was made hilarious by the utter absurdity of the “rap group vs. the forces of evil” premise.
Why it won’t happen: 50’s more or less a legitimate businessman these days – he’d rather sip a VitaminWater than spray bullets across the desert. Also, Blood on the Sand’s developers are hard at work on F1 2012, which is no doubt devoid of gangster rap.
4. Jade Empire 2
Why we want a sequel: After the substantial success of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare decided to tackle an entirely different setting: a mystical version of ancient China filled with martial arts masters and monsters of myth. Jade Empire took the best elements of KOTOR, like the pause-anytime battles and moral consequences of your actions, and spiced it up with a plethora of fighting styles and awesome magic spells like animal-form transformations. We’d love to see the game’s lavish countryside and fast-paced combat rendered in high-res, and the imaginative setting would offer a refreshing change of pace from space warfare or medieval fantasy. Plus, any RPG that features fighting styles like Heavenly Wave, Thousand Cuts, and Stone Immortal is a winner in our book.
Why we want a sequel: Before there was Fatal Frame, Pokemon Snap was the first experience that made taking in-game photos fun. Protagonist photographer Todd Snap (yep, that’s his name) might not have had the same charisma as Ash Ketchum, but darn it if he wasn’t an expert at capturing the moment with the perfect shot. By offering a first-person perspective of those adorable Pokemon and the natural environments they inhabit, Pokemon Snap was one of the first Pokemon games to make them feel like living, breathing entities. Bringing a sequel to the 3DS and/or Wii U would be a perfect fit – lining up photos would totally intuitive with motion controls, and just imagine if it included augmented reality features that populated your living room with Pokemon photo ops.
Why it won’t happen: It’s not that Nintendo is so against trying bizarre ideas with the Pokemon franchise (Pokemon Conquest comes to mind), but they probably aren’t eager to revisit a 13-year-old concept that was more about novelty than innovation.
2. Republic Commando 2
Why we want a sequel: This game could very well be the best thing to come out of the Clone Wars, awesome cartoons non-withstanding. As team leader on a squad of elite Clone troopers, Republic Commando brought tactical, first-person shooting to the Star Wars universe in style. The enemies were a varied mix of infantry, insect-like Geonosians, droids, and even Wookies – all attacked using reliable, simplified squad commands. It also had some welcome good humor: your motley crew of cloned squadmates felt like a cross between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the goofballs of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. It’s a shame Lucasarts invested so much into games like The Force Unleashed when they had a perfectly good sequel opportunity waiting in the wings.
Why it won’t happen: Besides the awesome-looking Star Wars 1313, most games concerning stories from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away tend to be more family friendly fare. Also, the pre-planned sequel Imperial Commando got axed in 2004 after disappointing sales. Gamers in search of tactical shooting would just go with Ghost Recon or Rainbow 6 anyways.
1. Kingdom Hearts III
Why we want a sequel: One of the most unlikely crossovers in history ended resulted in an action RPG series that’s still close to our hearts. The teenage love triangle between Sora, Riku, and Kairi was classic Final Fantasy drama, and getting to explore the vastly different worlds of timeless Disney films – and smack down the Heartless goons who invaded them – was, for lack of a more macho word, magical. Traversing terrain in Halloween Town, Agrabah, and the Pride Lands was the ultimate fulfillment of childhood yearnings, and the combat was accessible while scaling nicely into the later levels. KHIII could up the ante by including the worlds and characters from Pixar films, and could finally answer the dozens of loose-ends that the compelling-but-complex plot has woven thus far.
Why it won’t happen: It seems like Square Enix is content to simply branch off the main series with a cavalcade of spinoffs (the latest being Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance). Disney Interactive is doing their own thing, taking pointy-haired keyblade wielders out of the picture entirely with games like Epic Mickey and Disney Universe. The Wii was practically screaming to have this sequel made for it; if we haven’t seen KHIII by now, we wonder if we ever will. And that saddens us greatly.
Don’t stop believin’
There are so many series deserving a second chance with another sequel, and E3’s the best time to win over the masses with announcements for reviving franchises. Which series do you hold on to hope for, no matter how improbably a sequel might seem? Shenmue, Enslaved, Bulletstorm, Darkstalkers – whatever your continuation wish, let’s cross our fingers in unison for an announcement this week.
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