HOW TO: Making Sequels That Feel New

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Staff Blog Post

So, I guess you all know that I love Prince of Persia. It’s got visuals that trigger primal gawkery, ridiculous strings of platforming, a great combat system and a heartfelt story to give it all some wonderful context. With sequels often being derided by practically everyone (BUT MAFIA II LOOKS SO [email protected]@!!), this latest sequel feels nothing like a sequel. It feels new, while keeping the same gameplay foundations that I have come to know and love about the series. Ubisoft simply started over.

Companies love sequels. They love the brand recognition, they love the assurance that their sequel will sell well. Money is awesome. And they often get a lot of flak for pumping out a new entry every few years. It’s usually not because a sequel is an inherently bad thing. I mean, we all wanted Half-Life 2. I’m pretty sure we all wanted Dreamfall. And I know we all want Mafia II. It’s that sequels can feel unneccessary and forced. Just look at Fallout 3. You can send me all the hate mail you want. I will read them. Probably.

So, Ubisoft avoided this by simply keeping the franchise name and tossed everything they set up and developed with their trilogy into the bin. Prince of Persia isn’t a spin-off. It’s a total reboot and that’s the kind of sequel anyone can love. It’s familiar, but oh so different. Just like how Batman Begins revitalized the franchise and made Batman relevant again.


1. Just start over. Like what Ubisoft did. Or what Square-Enix does with every Final Fantasy, but since only Final Fantasy 3/6 is the only Final Fantasy worth playing, their games don’t really strengthen my point. Again, send the hate mail. I might read them. 
2. Wait two infinities before releasing a sequel. Nostalgia will gnaw at us and taunt us, telling us that we will have no new memories of Mafia, because a sequel will never materialize. And then Mafia II appears out of the woodwork after 6 years. Seriously, I can’t believe Mafia II is a real game that was really announced. Finally.
3. They should feel meaningful and relevant. Episode Three is relevant. The F.E.A.R. expansions were kind of pointless. Exhuming the Fallout franchise is unneccessary.

Cliffs, if you really want them: Sequels can be cool.


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Prince of Persia Boxart


  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Release Date: January 28, 2015
  • Link: The Official Site
  • ESRB Rating:

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