Franchises are arguably backbone of the gaming industry. Not a year goes by without a new sequel to a blockbuster series. Some long-standing franchises even date back decades, appealing to gamers across multiple generations and platforms. So, what makes a gaming franchise stand the test of time? While most household names were pioneers when they first came out, they would not have fared so well if not for innovative titles putting a fresh spin on their formula. So, let’s take a look at some retro game sequels that managed to reinvent their franchise.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Created in 1986 by Shigeru Miyamoto, The Legend of Zelda soon became the golden standard of the RPG genre. Nineteen entries were released ever since the original introduced the fantasy realm of Hyrule. But few instalments have proven so transformative as Ocarina of Time. While featuring many core elements from its predecessors, this Nintendo 64 title
changed the game as it brought to the screen 3D graphics for the first time in the series. The core gameplay further popularised features that would become staples of every 3D action-adventure game to follow, from context-sensitive buttons to target lock systems and dungeon progression. Hence, this Nintendo masterpiece revolutionised games forever. And even developers of franchises like The Witcher, Final Fantasy, and Grand Theft Auto have praised Ocarina of Time for its lasting influence on their work.
Grand Theft Auto 3 (2001)
Released in 1980, SEGA’s Jet Rocket is often cited as the first-ever open-world game. But the genre owes even more to Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto 3. The first 3D entry in the series, GTA 3 laid the foundation for the open-world concept that so many action games have embraced since then. Channelling the power of the PS2, developers recreated the freedom of their four previous entries in a living 3D world. This revolutionary spin on the formula proved a pivotal moment for the series and video games as a whole. The fifth instalment in the GTA franchise is rightly hailed as one of the most influential games in history. And while GTA 5: San Andreas has long superseded GTA 3 to become one of the highest-selling entries of all time, it is in no small parts thanks to the forward-thinking nature of its predecessor.
Metal Gear Solid (1998)
The Metal Gear franchise kicked off in the mid-90s, spearheaded by the creative mind of Hideo Kojima. But while the original and its sequel would be later deemed cult classics by retro gamers, it wasn’t until Metal Gear Solid that the franchise found its footing worldwide. While building upon past elements and characters, including the special operations soldier Solid Snake, the title reinvented the series by jumping to 3D graphics. Additionally, the development team leveraged the PlayStation’s improved technology to add lengthy cinematic cutscenes complementing a gripping and complex storyline. Metal Gear Solid therefore felt like one of the first games akin to an honest-to-goodness movie. Kojima’s story-driven masterpiece also put the stealth genre on the map, inspiring countless series like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed.
Super Mario 64 (1996)
Over twenty years after its release, Super Mario 64 is still one of the greatest video games ever put out. With its non-linear style of gameplay and open freedom, this classic Mario entry delighted critics and gamers alike. And not only did Super Mario 64 pioneer 3D graphics, but it provided the blueprint for all 3D platformers to emulate. The spiritual successors to this timeless gem are too numerous to count, ranging from Banjo-Kazooie to Kingdom Hearts.
This influential sequel even inspired the iGaming industry, with machine slots like Mario’s Gold playing up the retro gaming card. Newcomers may therefore delve into such free slots before switching to real money casinos. Top real money slots allow players to aim for heftier jackpots. Bonuses such as welcome packages and match deposit deals await to fund a bankroll more easily. Thus, gamers may have a blast with classic slots and progressive jackpots alongside casino tabletop classics.
Top franchises have a way of transcending time. But at one point, all the greatest gaming series benefited from that one sequel to reinvigorate them entirely. And we obviously left out many significant titles, including such recent reinventions as SEGA’s Sonic Frontiers. So, why don’t you revisit some of these sequels to take a trip down memory lane?