Spiritual successor

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A spiritual successor,[1][2] sometimes called a spiritual sequel, is a successor to a work of fiction which does not build upon the storyline established by a previous work as do most traditional prequels or sequels, yet features many of the same elements, themes, and styles as its source material, thereby resulting in it being related or similar "in spirit" to its predecessor.

Reasons for creation[edit]

Due to the current nature of the publisher/developer system inherent in almost all computer games, as well as the continual purchase and takeovers (which sell the entire developer including its copyrights and trademarks) by conglomerate corporations, creative teams often fail to retain the copyright and trademark rights of their creations. This often makes attempts to create sequels for a product impossible for various reasons, such as the "core" of the studio being fired or replaced after completing a project while the parent company retains control of the copyrights and trademarks. A good example of this strategy is Electronic Arts, which has closed many studios while keeping their copyrights and trademarks, such as Bullfrog Productions, Origin Systems, and Westwood Studios.

To get around this, creative teams will make a product that resembles the original game in some way, without copying or mentioning the original directly, notably omitting the title, story, and character names. For instance, the video games TimeSplitters and, more often, Perfect Dark are often considered to be the spiritual successors to the hit video game GoldenEye 007.[3][4][5]

Other times, a spiritual successor is created when the original products were either poor commercial sellers, forgotten by customers, or on a different platform with little overlap. By abandoning the original content's name and implied requirement to be familiar with the previous games, the spiritual sequel can be appreciated by fresh eyes. An example of this would be the commercially successful BioShock, which has been referred to by its developers as the spiritual successor to the acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful System Shock 2.[6]

The concept of a "spiritual successor" extends beyond fictional works. The Honda CR-Z is regarded as the spiritual successor to the second generation Honda CR-X in both name and exterior design, despite a nearly two decade time difference in production.[7][8] The Canon Cat computer was Jef Raskin's spiritual successor to the Apple Macintosh.[9] In sports, the Ravens–Steelers rivalry is considered the spiritual successor to the older Browns–Steelers rivalry due to the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy as well as the "reactivated" Cleveland Browns having a 4-20 record against the Steelers since returning to the league in 1999.[10]

Further examples[edit]

Video games[edit]


See also[edit]


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  26. ^ Bayonetta Review: To Infinite Climax Action And Beyond
  27. ^ Sony Reveals Demon's Souls
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  29. ^ Odin Sphere Details - IGN
  30. ^ Super Mario RPG 2 (Paper Mario) [Beta - N64] | Unseen 64
  31. ^ http://www.supersonic-ftp.co.uk/wordpress/?p=177
  32. ^ 'Mega Man' spiritual successor coming to PS4 and Xbox One after smashing Kickstarter goal | The Verge
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  39. ^ 5years interview with Romero
  40. ^ Game Genres: Shmups, Professor Jim Whitehead, January 29, 2007, Accessed June 17, 2008
  41. ^ "The FlatOut Successor Publishers Don't Think You Want". IGN. 
  42. ^ Keller, Andy (May 26, 2014). "The Evil Within hands-on: a bloody spiritual successor to Resident Evil 4". PCGamer. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  43. ^ http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/36132/Square_Enix_Nabs_Rights_To_True_Crime_Hong_Kong_From_Activision.php
  44. ^ http://www.webpronews.com/sleeping-dogs-spiritual-successor-to-true-crime-launches-in-august-2012-04
  45. ^ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thimbleweedpark/thimbleweed-park-a-new-classic-point-and-click-adv
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  47. ^ Daily Llama - NEWS 1997_02_12 - Fierce Creatures - New Film Brings the Stars of 'A Fish Called Wanda' Together
  48. ^ Park Chan-wook Explores Self, Dream in Thirst
  49. ^ Parks Thirst Is Riveting
  50. ^ The Vengeance Trilogy DVD special features, director's audio commentary.
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  52. ^ AintItCoolUK (27 March 2012). "THE WICKER TREE - Robin Hardy Interview Part 1/2". YouTube. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
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