Gamers may bemoan the fact that franchises such as Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed have saturated the market with too many sequels, but at least fans of those series are continually being served new games on a yearly basis. Finding yourself a fan of a game that most people — including the teams that worked on them — have long since forgotten can be a frustrating and lonely experience. Development teams spend often spend years working away on one title and it goes without saying that the hope of the team — and the publisher backing them — is to have their games be successful as possible and become a hit franchise. Unfortuantely, as is all too clear in the entertainment business, quality doesn’t always translate into dollars. All of the following games have built up a cult following, but remain without sequels years after their initial release. While it’s a longshot to expect we’ll ever see follow-ups to these games, it’s hard to deny that they all have massive sequel potential.
10. Brute Force (2003)
Brute Force, a somewhat obscure Xbox title, was a surprisingly good third-person cooperative shooter created by Digital Anvil. A sci-fi game set a few hundred years in the future, Brute Force was one of the best co-op games of its era, primarily because its gameplay put so much emphasis on teamwork and utilizing the various skills of the four members of the titular Brute Force squad. Of course, the game was released at a time when online gaming on consoles was still in its infancy, so Brute Force could only be played locally via split-screen. While it received criticism at the time for not being as tactical as advertised (and for not being the “Halo killer” that some had prematurely labeled it as), there is so much promise in Brute Force‘s lightly sketched universe that a compelling multi-game series could have been something special. Sadly, Brute Force was Digital Anvil’s last game, as the company was shut down by Microsoft in 2006. While that definitely put a dent in the possibility of a sequel, the game sold very well and Microsoft still owns the intellectual property (IP), so there’s always the possibility that they will resurrect it.
9. Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (2004)
Midway’s Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy was released at a time when there was still a market for mid-tier games with modest budgets and it turned out to be one of the PlayStation 2’s best hidden gems. A third-person shooter featuring the clever integration of psychic powers such as telekinesis, Psi-Ops was a blast to play. The game’s ragdoll physics engine made flinging enemies around a grin-inducing experience and while the game’s story wasn’t anything mind-blowing, it gave players a reason to try out a bunch of neat abilities on unsuspecting goons, which is what’s really important. Despite the prominent “TO BE CONTINUED” text that appears at the game’s conclusion, Midway’s financial problems and eventual closure put any plans for a sequel to rest. To make things even worse, a combination of Midway’s closure, mediocre sales numbers, and a lawsuit from another company pretty much ensures that a sequel will never be made. Although at this point, we’d just love to see another game that combines shooting and mind powers as well as Psi-Ops did…
8. Singularity (2010)
The first-person shooter market had reached a point of oversaturation by the time Raven Software’s Singularity came out. Instead of wowing people with its well-realized time-travel mechanics and fun gameplay, most players wrote it off as just another generic shooter and promptly ignored it. That’s really too bad because Singularity actually approaches the original Bioshock in terms of story and gameplay quality — and that game is celebrated as one of the greatest ever made. Too bad Singularity‘s publisher, Activision, really didn’t seem to care about any of this or if the game sold well at all, as they did little to market it and essentially put it out to die on store shelves. With the recent popularity of story-driven first-person shooters like Wolfenstein: The New Order (fun fact: Raven Software actually made a Wolfenstein game prior to Singularity), right now would be a perfect time to resurrect Singularity and release a proper sequel. Raven Software has been transitioned to Call of Duty development however, so unless Activision randomly decides to give the IP another chance, Singularity 2 is probably never going to happen.
7. Kingdoms of Amular: Reckoning (2012)
The post-development woes of Kingdoms of Amular: Reckoning‘s 38 Studios are essentially gaming lore at this point, to the point where it’s easy to forget that they made a pretty fantastic role-playing game before they kicked the bucket. Kingdoms of Amular not only had a unique gameplay system built predominately around action-heavy combat, but was a collaboration between multiple notable talents, including author R.A. Salvatore and comic book artist Todd McFarlane. Sadly, the game was released in a crowded RPG market and suffered from a lack of brand awareness. Despite largely positive reviews, Kingdoms of Amular did not break even and combined with issues surrounding a loan from the state of Rhode Island, 38 Studios had to close its doors only a few months after the game’s release. Further working against the chances of a sequel ever being made is the fact that nobody bought the rights to the franchise when it was put to auction in December 2013, ensuring that any hopes for a new Kingdoms of Amular are about as defunct as the studio that created it. We can only hope that someone sees the series’ potential and picks up the rights in the future.
6. Perfect Dark Zero (2005)
Most gamers really hated Perfect Dark Zero when it was released as an Xbox 360 launch game in 2005, and that hate seems to have gone a long way in convincing Rare to hold off on getting a sequel off the ground. Although the company has hinted at the possibility of making a new Perfect Dark at some point, Rare should get to work on one sooner rather than later. Rare is enjoying a wave of renewed interest nad goodwill this year in light of the Rare Replay collection, which means it would be a perfect time to announce a new Perfect Dark. Perfect Dark Zero is nowhere near as bad as everyone makes out, as it absolutely nailed the one component that every fan truly cares about: the multiplayer. Right now, Rare is missing out on the opportunity to fill a void in the marketplace, as Perfect Dark‘s distinctive sci-fi elements could help reinvigorate a genre dominated by similar-looking military shooters. If Rare doubled down on fixing the issues of PDZ and listened to fan feedback, there’s no reason a new Perfect Dark couldn’t stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Halo or Gears of War as one of Microsoft’s leading shooter titles.
5. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010)
Enslaved is a perfect example of how risky it is for game companies to invest in creating new intellectual properties, as all the market research in the world won’t guarantee a hit. Developed by Ninja Theory, the team responsible for the early PS3 graphical showcase Heavenly Sword and the divisive Devil May Cry reboot, Enslaved‘s lush post-apocalyptic environments and character-driven story were a breath of fresh air in 2010 amid all the dour, ugly games in the same genre that were being released at the time. While the game’s mechanics were hit and miss — the combat sections were fun, but the envronmental puzzles were way too oversimplified — Enslaved showed a lot of promise and felt like the start of an impressive new franchise. Unfortunately, the game hit less than 50% of its sales projections and publisher Namco Bandai cancelled any plans for a sequel. While it now seems all but certain that Trip, Monkey, and Pigsy’s adventure will only ever be a solo outing, we still hold out hope that someone will pick up the franchise again in the future. On the bright side, Guerrilla Games’ upcoming PS4 title Horizon Zero Dawn looks somewhat like a spiritual successor to Enslaved.
4. Brütal Legend
Let’s get this out of the way: Brütal Legend is a deeply-flawed game that tried to do too much and ended up suffering from a lack of focus on gameplay fundamentals. The inclusion of Jack Black as the lead character was a stroke of genius and the soundtrack is easily one of the best ever assembled. Unfortunately, issues such as a poorly-explained and difficult to play real-time strategy elements dragged the final product down significantly. That being said, it’s still one of the coolest games of the last generation and arguably the most “metal” game ever made, which honestly should have been reason enough for Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine to revisit it. And they were going to too, but Electronic Arts cancelled the sequel while it was already in development, which nearly led to Double Fine’s financial ruin. Despite these setbacks, there is still hope for a sequel as Double Fine is now an independent developer, but Schafer has said that it would require a significant amount of funding to get off the ground. Considering the crowdfunding success Double Fine’s already had with Broken Age on Kickstarter, it’s hopefully only a matter of time before the developer decides to take another crack at melting our faces off with Brutal Legend 2.
3. Bully (2006)
Bully may be one of the most misunderstood games ever made. The game was a subject of controversy among concerned parents and educators due to the track record of the game’s developer. Rockstar Games, of course, was responsible for the Grand Theft Auto series, so critics used that precedent to unfairly misjudge Bully as “Grand Theft Auto, but with kids.” Anyone who actually took time to play the game knows that it’s not a game about assaulting children or a “Columbine simulator” as one infamously-misinformed (and now disbarred) attorney would have us believe. In reality, Bully is an entertaining and often humorous look at the teen social hierachies that transplants GTA’s winning sandbox design to protagonist Jimmy Hopkin’s experience at Bullworth Academy. A potential sequel has been rumored for years but there has still been no official confirmation one way or the other. On the bright side, Bully is the game on this list most likely to receive a sequel; Rockstar just needs to stop counting its GTA money long enough to get Bully 2 rolling along.
2. Prince of Persia (2008)
The PS2/Xbox era Prince of Persia trilogy was quite a roller coaster ride in terms of quality. While 2003’s Sands of Time is a legitimate masterpiece, the two back-to-back sequels — Warrior Within (2004) and The Two Thrones (2005) — were nowhere near as well-received by fans and critics alike. Understandably, Ubisoft wanted to make a fresh start with the next title, which led to Prince of Persia, the simply-titled 2008 reboot for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Rather than a sure-fire comeback, Prince of Persia divided the fanbase. Some people loved the game’s visual aesthetics and the central relationship between the Prince and sorceress Elika (still one of the better female video game characters of the last decade), while others criticized the game’s lack of difficulty, as it was actually impossible to “die” in the traditional gaming sense. Although it had its flaws, Prince of Persia represented a bold new direction for the series, but with sales figures hovering around the 2 million mark, Ubisoft decided to abandon the reboot and made a direct sequel to Sands of Time next with 2010’s The Forgotten Sands. While we probably won’t end up seeing a direct sequel to the reboot, at this point it would just be nice to see a new Prince of Persia game after five years of nothing new.
1. Freedom Fighters (2003)
Squad-based action games were all the rage in the early 2000s, but IO Interactive’s Freedom Fighters always seems to be left out of the conversation whenever discussions about the genre take place. Featuring an interesting alternate history plot that sees the Soviet Union invade the United States, Freedom Fighters is full of Cold War-era cliches, but it revels in them to the point where it actually feels unique when compared to similar games of the era. The gameplay remains innovative to this day, employing easy-to-use squad commands and a mission structure that demanded careful planning when infiltrating various Soviet-held strongholds. As an added bonus, the game’s soundtrack is absolutely stellar, employing a Russian choir/orchestral score that went a long way in evoking the game’s sombre, “fight for freedom” tone. A modern day sequel has almost unlimited potential (especially in the online multiplayer area, which the original didn’t have), but considering the original’s low sales numbers, the chances of ever seeing a Freedom Fighters 2 are practically nonexistent.