4 Video Games That Were Supposed To Be Sequels In Totally Different Franchises
Original games are hard to make. You have to come up with tone, story, plot, combat, movement—all of these different things with no directions on where to go. Making sequels is much easier, because you just look at an old thing you made, make everyone taller, and then you’re done.
But sometimes, the sequels grow too big, weird, or different to fit into their parent franchise. And no one even ends up knowing that ...
The Last Of Us Was A Jak And Daxter Reboot
The Last of Us is Naughty Dog's hit post-apocalyptic tale about a man, his pseudo-daughter, and the mushroom zombies that haunt them. The series is famous for its chilling ending, its grimdark The Road-esque world, and how much it's not about a weird meerkat collecting magic glowing ooze along with his mute companion. However, when Naughty Dog started out making The Last of Us, it wasn't as an original IP, but as the newest entry in the Jak and Daxter series.
Development got far enough that the team made new designs for the characters. Then they moved on, when they realized they liked some of what they were working on, but none of those good parts were the the Jak and Daxter aspects.
Before it was a Jak and Daxter game though, it was a Night of the Living Dead homage. The creator—Neil Druckmann—pitched it to George Romero as part of a class when he was still in college. After that, he tried to make it a comic book before it became a game, but even then it went through some rough rewrites. One version had you play as Ellie in a world where all women had gone completely feral.
It probably wasn’t called That Time of the Month, but the implications were bad enough that every woman he met told him a game where you shoot crazy women in the face over and over was just an Elliot Rodgers simulator. Eventually, he got the message and took the original core—a young woman being accompanied by an older man who should could help at certain points through a world whose poison she alone was immune to—and created The Last of Us … after it had a brief stop as the newest entry in a game series most famous for starting off as a Mario-lite platformer before turning into a GTA clone but with superpowers.
Wait … does this mean that in the original game, Ellie was just Daxter? Okay, forget it, we want that game instead.
Splatoon And Pikmin Started As Mario Games
Nintendo has had a freakish amount of success with the idea "let's let Mario do something weird now." Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis ... but that flexibility reaches a breaking point sometimes. If things had just been a little different, Mario would’ve been a paintball-wielding kid or a space traveler with a horde of miniature Marios surrounding him.
That’s right. Both Pikmin and Splatoon started as Mario games. Both games feature never-before-seen mechanics—commanding a squadron of li'l guys to go rip shit apart for you, and being a sick-ass squid who can melt into paint while trying to battle royale as much as you turf war—but originally, they were both going to feature the famous mustachioed plumber.
Back at the beginning of the Gamecube era, Nintendo showed off a game demo called Mario 128, which featured 128 Marios running around a large world, and not much else.
It was originally rumored to be the sequel to Mario 64 (because Mario 65 would’ve just led to something awful four games later), but before it got too far into production, Nintendo ran wild with the idea and turned it into Pikmin.
Splatoon, meanwhile, started life as a Mario shooter. It presumably would've sold as well as Pikmin but would've featured significantly less disturbing porn. In the end, it came down to Nintendo wanting to flood the world with Funkos—and the squid won out over the plumber simply because, while Mario would make the game sell, it wouldn’t make a brand-new franchise for Nintendo to capitalize on.
Darkstalkers Was Universal Movie Monsters
Darkstalkers is a game that you've probably only played if you are in at least one hentai subreddit. Known in Japan as Vampire, because why not be straightforward, the fighting game series has been around since the '90s, and has survived mostly by crossing over with Capcom and featuring the most revealing cleavage of any fighting game icon.
Unlike a lot of power fantasy games that ask "what if you knew karate" or "what if you were a catgirl fighting a giant man who shot lasers out of his butt," this game asks “what if you were a cool sexy monster and flirted mostly by punching people?” All of the characters in the game are monsters— vampires, mummies, robots, werewolves, and something called a soul bee.
Originally, though, the series wasn't going to create its characters via blindly reaching into a blender's worth of pulp novels at random. Like Tom Cruise, the series creators were originally trying to create a universe of Universal Monsters. While the main character is a succubus and demon, most of the characters are more prosaic. There's a werewolf kid, a mummy, a vampire, a dracula—everything you could want save Abbott and Costello.
Unfortunately, the rights didn't work out, but the idea of a bunch of sexy monsters punching each other lived on, creating a series that would spawn an anime, body pillows, and more orgasms than any other series.
Doom Was An Aliens Game
Doom is one of the most influential FPSs of all time, mostly because it was one of the first FPSs games ever made. The series, about a commander who goes to fight against demons from Hell on Mars, has one of the most interesting and most video game conceits of all time, but originally, it wasn’t going to be at all like that.
Okay, that’s a lie. It was going to be nearly identical. You still would have been a space marine fighting monsters in the dark reaches of space … but originally, the monsters would’ve been xenomorphs.
Before it revolutionized games as an industry and gave birth to overzealous fratbros, Doom was going to be based on a franchise whose most successful entry is entirely about motherhood. The series would've had you as a nondescript space marine, not Ripley, but it would have been Alien-themed ... if they managed to get the license. Which they did not.
If they did, every single Doom game we’ve gotten since then either wouldn’t exist or would’ve been incredibly different. Even Quake, also made by id software, most likely would’ve been changed had their most successful game been a licensed spin-off of a movie by the guy who directed Titanic. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, but now you can rip demon’s heads off and stab them with their own horns like God intended.
Top image: Naughty Dog