Everyone got to a point where they asked – “What if I had a chance to explore my favorite game further?” or “Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if I could play the whole game as the sidekick instead?” or even “Why can’t I play as the villain?”
We cannot argue that there are games that are so well written and take place in such vast worlds that it’s impossible to keep the franchise in a single game series. Many aspects may give us a chance to create a spin-off. May it be the character, the villain, prequel events in the game story, gameplay mechanics, or even level design. This sounds great but usually, things go horribly wrong with such gaming experiments. But there are some rare cases where the spin-off game gets smokingly good.
“How is this possible?” – some might аsk. Well, have in mind that when such a game is being made, it is being built on a solid basis, which is a chance for wonderful execution. Even more, a spin-off can prove to be much better than the original.
With the following list, we are going to show you that some great things can be even greater when you change some stuff in them. That’s right, we are giving you a list with spin-off games whose prominence, fan reception, influence on other games, and quality took them so far that they overshadow their original source.
Shin Megami Tensei is a long-running high profile JRPG, having its first entry dating back in 1987. The franchise settled on more than 28 different platforms…crazy isn’t it? It is based on a popular Japanese novel and sprang countless spin-offs. We are not going to praise the entire series, of course, we came here for the main star – the Persona series, which grew bigger and better than its original series. Guess what? Even Persona games have their own spin-offs.
Persona games are beautifully crafted JRPGs featuring the good old turn-based combat, grid-based battlefield, social simulation, and a wonderful story centered around a group of high school students fighting demons. The more realistic setting, the better art style, the better emphasis on characters, the better accessibility of the game to non-Japanese gamers is the reason Persona games gained the upper hand.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Our beloved Far Cry series…always about shooting bad guys in a jungle/forest setting. You gotta love that. But let’s face it, anything can get boring and repetitive. That’s why this baby here proves to be such a stunner. In 2013 our favorite cry went further than ever before. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a spin-off of the original game and it is being set in a dystopian neon shining world. Exactly this unique and brave approach is one of the reasons Blood Dragon got its legendary status.
A parody of famous movies, cartoons and games, Michael Biehn in the main role, dinosaurs, cyber-soldiers, lazers – seal all that with tons of humor and you get this game. Don’t expect the serious tone of the original games, the infantility and frivolity are the main weapons of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
The Sims Series
We bet you never knew that the Sims was a spin-off series. Even die-hard fans of the game might not have a clue of the seriеs’ origins. In fact, the Sims is part of the Maxis long-running Sim series, which started back in 1989 with SimCity and features more than 40 titles.
The Sims is centered around building the perfect life for your sims. But rather than doing it on macro-level like SimCity, this time micro-management of the household and the neighborhood is what you will be aiming at. You will be scheduling the daily life of each of your sims – family life, exercising, going to work, having fun, eating, hygiene, and much more.
The Sims series’ popularity definitely got to a point where it became much popular and better received by gamers compared to any other Maxis game. Why is that? Well, the game is pretty much a reflection of what any of us would want in real life. Who wouldn’t want a glimpse at what their perfect life could look like?
Crash Team Racing
Those racing spin-off titles…it looks like every major console character has its own combat racing game. On Sega’s side we have Sonic Racing, on Nintendo’s side we have Mario Kart and on PlayStation’s side we have Crash Team Racing. CTR is different from the other two due to the fact that it improved over the original as it was the first game in the series that gave an awesome multiplayer gameplay with up to four players.
Crash Team Racing is one of the most complete, brilliant, and fun games for the original PlayStation. You get the opportunity to choose from fifteen playable characters, great track courses, awesome power-ups, weapons to demolish other racers, and much more.
Yep, the original CTR was a breakthrough for its time, but not everybody likes retro gaming. Hey, don’t worry we got you covered here. Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled was released recently with modern-day graphics and improved gameplay. Now, before you get your hands on the game, make sure to get your hands on some PSN Gift Cards first. Sweet though, huh?
Apex Legends is a Battle Royale phenomenon that came out of nowhere. This stylish title proved that a game can be a breakthrough without making too much noise prior to its release. Quietly launching on PS4, PC and Xbox One the game started out pretty well, and despite being more than a year old it still keeps a large player base.
The game takes place in the world of Titanfall (which is still a decent game multiplayer title to this day), but it definitely became Respawn’s most solid game. Cutting out the titans and sticking to more traditional FPS mechanics proved to be better received by the majority of players.
In a world ruled by battle royale games, Apex Legends stands among the finest ones. Competing head to head with giants like PUBG, Fortnite, and the recent Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex counts on unique classes having their own skills and abilities, in-team interaction mechanics, fast-paced combat and movement, futuristic setting and weapons, and more. Keep an eye out for the enemy and the dangerous ring coming at ya, and your team might become the next Apex champions!
Super Mario Bros Series
Mario is by far the most recognizable gaming character of all time. Who in the world would have guessed that even he started his legacy from a spin-off game? (excluding hardcore fans of course). Brace yourselves! He actually debuted in a Donkey Kong game where he was called “the Jumpman”!
Here is more info if you’ve survived the initial shock – in the 1983’s arcade game Mario Bros, Mario and Luigi are plumbers who have to defeat creatures coming from the sewers of New York. Then in 1985, we got Super Mario Bros, where things got bigger with the Mushroom kingdom setting and our favorite damsel in distress – Princess Peach…and the rest is history.
Despite being in a league of its own and a whole other religion, Donkey Kong’s whole franchise was pretty much overshadowed by the adventures of our favorite plumber. Nintendo’s top franchise is still bursting with titles each year, the quality of the games is still sky-high, and paying Super Mario Odyssey (which is the last entry to date) a visit is the best thing you can do if you are a fan.
Spin-off games can be wonderful as long as there is something more to be explored and experimented with the original games. To make a spin-off hoping to match and even surpass the predecessor’s success might be a bad idea, as the bar might be raised too high already.
Doing it solely for the sales is nonsense, as well. Of course, our list proves that there is always a place for such games. Do you think that developers should spare time and expenses on doing spin-off titles or remain focused on their high profile games? What is the most important thing when making a spin-off game? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
I am a junior content outreach writer for OffGamers. I foster relationships between gaming enthusiasts and gaming developers to create relevant content for gamers worldwide. I also happen to be a passionate writer and a certified night owl.