Every now and again a videogame is released that is so unequivocally bad, its developer brushes the remnants of its awfulness under the carpet in the hopes that no one will ever mention it again. Then there are the videogames that have achieved cult classic status, diamonds in the rough that shot from obscurity into the hands of a select few gamers who cherished them like the wonderful little secrets they were. Last but not least are the videogames that achieved such popularity in their heyday that their developers have warily avoided the notion of a follow-up ever since. The one thing all these titles have in common is that, for better or for worse, none of them will ever likely receive a sequel.
Disheartening, yes, but them’s the breaks, kid. Here are 5 such titles that we’ve almost definitely seen the last of.
5. Battletoads 3
The original Battletoads for the NES is regarded as the most unforgiving titles in early-90s gaming. This was a decade that also saw the releases of both Contra III and Super Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts. Battletoads really was THAT hard.
Released to directly rival the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, Battletoads became a firm favourite among NES owners thanks to its over-the-top sense of humour and superb graphics (if not for its insane difficulty level).
Unfortunately, just like Duke Nukem Forever before it, a next-gen predecessor to the retro beat ‘em up has now become something of an industry joke, with the above image being touted by witty forum members as the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Rash, Zit and Pimple in the third dimension.
The last we saw the slimy trio was in the underrated arcade gem Super Battletoads, which saw the series adopt a grittier, more violent tone that would be perfectly suited to this generations bloodthirsty gamer. It’s a shame, then, that the series has long been forgotten, with its developers Rare now turning their focus away from quality old-school gaming and onto mediocre new-school arm-flailing in the form of Kinect Sports.
Ah well. At least we still have the awesome pause menu music.
4. Psychonauts 2
Tim Schafer hasn’t had the greatest of luck when it has come to selling his games. Despite being one of the most original minds in the business, Schafer’s output has managed to elude a mainstream audience and consistently undersell, with Psychonauts being a prime example.
Although it was hailed as one of the greatest and most unique platformers to grace consoles at the time, Psychonauts rested uneasily with the public and was met with disappointing sales figures. Those who did give it a chance, however, have championed the need for a sequel, with the original title leaving the story on a dramatic cliffhanger that begged to be concluded.
Schafer appeared to be undeterred by the commercial failure of his project, going on to create the equally underappreciated Brutal Legend which, despite featuring the vocal talent of Hollywood star Jack Black, still failed to connect with a wide audience, selling just 215,000 copies in the US in its opening month.
Schafer then went on to create downloadable titles such as Stacking and Costume Quest, before finally caving in to the money-making machine and attaching his name to Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster. In all honesty, Tim, we do not blame you. Godspeed, buddy.
3. Killer Instinct 3
Another Rare title that is unlikely to see the light of day thanks to the developers aversion to making games that gamers actually want to play, Killer Instinct gained notoriety by combining the attack system of Street Fighter with the finishing movies of Mortal Kombat, sprinkling a healthy dollop of insane combo’s into the mix for good measure.
With a character list that featured everything from werewolves to Velociraptors, the original Killer Instinct was an arcade favourite until its successful port to the SNES. An arcade-only sequel was released in 1996, with a modified console version of it appearing at the launch of the Nintendo 64 under the title Killer Instinct Gold.
A reboot of the franchise would be welcomed with open arms, with Rare’s Nick Burton teasing that it could be a possibility. Unfortunately he then went on to say that the follow-up may be “Killer Instinct Kinect”. F*** you, Nick Burton.
2. Beyond Good and Evil 2
Look, before you start trolling and pointing out that Beyond Good and Evil HD was recently released on XBLA and PSN indicating that a Beyond Good and Evil 2 must be in the works, and that there was a teaser trailer released 3 years ago that showed how Ubisoft must at least be considering work on the damned thing, allow me to burst your bubble by reminding you of a little game called Duke Nukem Forever.
Now I’m not saying that Beyond Good and Evil 2 is going to be this generations DNF. I’m saying that Beyond Good and Evil 2 is this generations DNF. I mean, C’MON. If you simply equate its re-release as DLC with Duke Nukem 3D’s ports to iPhone’s and the like, the much-anticipated sequels painstakingly slow trajectory onto current-gen consoles is almost exactly the same as the Duke’s, except with smaller tits and more pig-headedness (geddit?).
1. Shenmue 3
The sad fact of the matter is Shenmue 3 would be probably be lapped up by today’s gamers. Boasting an unparalleled amount of freedom for its time, the Shenmue series allowed gamers to follow the story of well-groomed protagonist Ryo Hazuki in any way they saw fit. Whether it be simply slaving away at a shitty part-time job or following a long tale of redemption, players felt like they had Ryo’s world at their feet and as such Shenmue proved to be a big hit for the Dreamcast.
Shenmue may not seem as revolutionary in a gaming market that has now seen many a sandbox game offering gamers endless possibilities, but Ryo’s quirky take on the genre would still inevitably find a big audience if it adapted itself for a 21st century audience. Hell, even quick-time events are no longer viewed as laborious thanks to Heavy Rain’s perfect implementation of them, and with gaming moving further and further into interactive movie territory, Shenmue’s cinematic-heavy gameplay would fit in perfectly.
While various projects have been unveiled only to be canned before development, including an intriguing Shenmue Online, the only noticeable signs of life in the franchise are in the upcoming Japan-only mobile phone game Shenmue City, Ryo’s cameo appearance in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and this Mega64 video.