2023 was the year of a great video game sequel

It’s no exaggeration to say that 2023 was one of the best years for video game sequels ever.

Just look at The Game Awards 2023 Nominated for Game of the Year, which are all titles from pre-existing series, proves this. It’s not just that we’ve received a slew of new video game sequels in 2023; this happens every year. No, what makes the 2023 games sequel stand out is how impressively it builds on what came before. OF Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on Baldur’s Gate 3all of these follow-ups addressed their predecessor, identified weaknesses, and addressed those issues directly.

As new IP’s have been fighting more than usual in the AAA space this year – with success Hi-Fi Rush and Star field is defended by inferior titles such as Immortals of Aveum and They prophesied — it’s good that some of the best games of 2023 have re-established the standard for what makes a fantastic sequel.

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Respecting what came before

Marvel’s Spider-Man, Alan Wake, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Baldur’s Gate 2, Street Fighter V, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Diablo 3, Dead Island, Pikmin 3, Forza Motorsport 7and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. All of these games are great, some even excellent, in their own right, but the sequels that came out this year were even better.

For some, it was based on a refinement of what came before. For example, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor it expanded the number of abilities Cal Kestis had at his disposal, increased the size of the planets players explored, and continued the story admirably. Dead Island 2 and Forza Motorsport were similarly enjoyable iterative sequels that fully implemented older ideas for new technologies.

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Others, like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, almost directly addressed every problem point of the posts that came up earlier. Its 2018 predecessor had weak side quests, frustrating sequences where players didn’t control Spider-Man, and a controversial relationship with law enforcement. Even his net swinging, as great as it was, had its limits. WITH Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, it felt like Insomniac Games went through a checklist and tackled all of these issues one by one. The sequel sidequests are more engaging, Non-Spider-Man sequences play betterhis story clearly is pro-criminal reformationand even web swaying has been improved with loop-the-loop, corner-turn and Web Wing features that make browsing even more satisfying.

Subsequent sequels made even bolder changes. Diablo 4 returned to the darker themes of the earlier days of the series while incorporating live service elements. Street Fighter 6 added modern control modes and a lengthy single player story mode, providing a more acceptable amount of content and more accessible appeal than Street Fighter V Pikmin 4 reworked its strategic gameplay to make things a little less chaotic.

Link makes an airship in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Nintendo

Then there it is The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Nintendo recognized how gamers break Breath of the Wild using his systems to create weird shortcuts and crazy cleverness – and made it the sequel’s central gameplay conceit. on top of the best-in-class open design The Ultrahand and Fuse systems encourage creativityopen up even more options for exploration and puzzle solving, and even solve the issue of weapon degradation from Breath of the Wild. These are the titles I want to inspire the next generation of video game sequels.

What comes next

Sometimes sequels can be more than just sequential sequels; they can redefine their respective rows. Although not a direct sequel, I will argue that Super Mario Bros. Wonder built on the best elements of the 2D Mario titles that came before it. And while Digital trends were cooler on Final Fantasy XVI than most, I commend Square Enix for changing things up by having a darker story and more action-packed gameplay. More relevant to the conversation is Baldur’s Gate 3, an older sequel in a niche genre created by a studio that did not work on previous games in the franchise. Despite all the odds stacked against it, it ended up being our game of the year.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a sequel of sorts that modernizes the classic formula for the modern era. It has retained the basic charm of its predecessors and hasn’t strayed too far in terms of gameplay. But many of these special RPG elements improved it so that it was more understandable to a general audience. It was a rare game that could explain almost every urgent action the player takes. The result was a Dungeon & Dragons RPG that went mainstream; it was even referenced South Park.

The character launches an attack on the enemy through the pit in Baldur's Gate 3.
Running studies

by Baldur’s Gate 3 and all the other sequels we mentioned set the bar high for future sequels. Games that do not meet this level of quality, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, they are ridiculed for it. Especially at a time when development is becoming more expensive and takes longer than before, game developers can’t afford for their sequels to not be significant improvements on their predecessors in some explicit way.

The formula for a perfect video game sequel may have been perfected in 2023, and we’ll continue to get new entries in popular franchises. Some of the most anticipated games of 2024 — Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, Final Fantasy VII Rebirthand Senu’s Saga: Hellbald II — are all sequels. After 2023, these degrees must meet much higher standards.

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