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The problem with sequels

Or Why SMRPG2 is destined to failure
By Lioness 470

In 1996, Nintendo and Squaresoft worked together to make Super Mario RPG, and it was a hit. Millions of copies were sold, and nearly everyone who bought this game never regretted it. (Some hard-core RPG players hated it, but not many.)

And what a game! It made the best of a 16-bit platform, and ended the era of the Super NES with a very loud bang. The graphics were beautiful and successfully created an almost 3-D environment. The music was so good, Nintendo and Square made a good profit off of the SMRPG soundtrack in Japan. (Another addition to the Mario products list.) The plot was in-depth and original. (Original for a Mario game, that is.) And some of the characters became the most famous in the Mario Universe. (Kyleorl said, "Everyone loves Geno", but that's not true. At least 8 people hate him. Not me, though!) And no doubt the strategy guide was also successful. What do you do with a game this good? Make a sequel, of course. Unfortunately, that's not possible.

Now, you're thinking, "Of course they can make a sequel. After all, their entire job is writing software." That's not what I mean. I mean they can't recreate the superior quality of the original SMRPG. And I'm not talking about the graphics, even though they are pretty bad.

The secret to making a good sequel is to make one that is original, yet effectively ties into the previous game, movie, or whatever. If you make it too much like the first one, then you just might as well play or see the original, because you're not getting enough new stuff. If you make it too different than the first, there's no sense of continuity. It would be just as well to slap a different label on it and say it's something else from the original product. Super Mario RPG 2 falls in the latter category.

The problem is that the plot to Super Mario RPG left no loose ends. Everything is resolved. Smithy is gone for good, and the Star Road is repaired. The end. There's nothing to continue on. The sequel would have to start on an entirely new plot, and then you couldn't call it a real sequel. Of course, you could legally call it Super Mario RPG 2 because it's the second RPG that has Mario in it. And you could use the same areas, music, specials, etc. to give it some sense of continuity.

Another problem is that the things that made the first Super Mario RPG so good were rare occurrences. One of which was that Bowser joins up with Mario, because his keep was destroyed by Exor. Another thing that players loved was Geno the doll. Nintendo and Square did a wonderful job in designing that character, and, not surprisingly,he became one of the most loved characters in the game. But the only reason Geno shows up at all in SMRPG is because the Star Road was destroyed. The only way to get both Bowser on your team again and bring Geno back is to virtually do the first SMRPG all over again. Then what would be the point of making a sequel?

But you don't just abandon a good game like SMRPG. No doubt people will want more. And I think it's a waste to use perfectly good characters only once and never again. Therefore, I think Nintendo should make a spinoff rather than a sequel. Although it has the same problems of a sequel, I think a spinoff would be a little easier to handle, because you don't need as many "ties" to the first game to create the same sense of continuity that a sequel requires.

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