Making a Sequel

KazukiT

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So recently I decided I would make a sequel to my first game Path of the Martyrs: https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/path-of-the-martyrs.116206/

When I finished the game originally, I wasn't planning to continue the story. Then December rolled around and I thought of what my third game would be. I tried all kinds of ideas from a shop management sim with RPG elements to exploring a dead world and re-establishing civilization. None of these ideas stuck so I scrapped them. I struggled through the whole month of December trying to figure out what my next game would be. Then I asked myself the question about my first game, "Does the story feel conclusive?" The answer was a strange one, the main story felt conclusive but, the world felt like I only scratched the surface. So then I decided I would make a sequel to Path of the Martyrs exploring more of the world I established in the first game. So after this realizations I added little Easter Eggs in the first game to hint the player there is more to this world then what was explored in this game. Another contributing factor to this whole expanding the world's lore was Legends of the Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3. That game series is known for its world building and it somewhat inspired me to use some of the world building technique found in that game and apply it to my own game.

So I want to ask what are your experiences of making a follow up game to a game you already made?
 
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I haven't completed my first game, but I've planned a second game set in the same world. I'm pretty sure that I'll be recycling at least 50% of resources, and development time will be much shorter due to much of the world already being fleshed out and most of the mechanics already planned out.

The second game takes place about a year after the first game and though they will both be standalone games, I'm planning to adjust the NPC dialogues to reflect a year of change in the setting when I build the second game. Nobody needs to play the first game to enjoy the second game, but people who did will be able to maintain immersion from the NPCs not saying the same things they did a year ago in the setting.

The Avernum series would be a good example of a developer reusing assets but evolving their world within the same setting over the course of multiple games.

For tabletop RPG design, I've been writing a series of DnD lore booklets for Dungeon Masters Guild. As I made follow ups after the first booklet, it got more comfortable writing the next one each time because I settled into a format that I developed gradually for the series.

The first creative work within a setting might feel like a trial to complete, but subsequent works will be much easier to slide into because one already has a (hopefully solid) foundation on which to build.
 

bgillisp

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I'm working on this too, and am curious what thoughts are. The issues I can see running into are the following.

1: Do you keep your levels or drop them back to start? Both have issues, and RPGMaker is not set up well for importing saves from other games.

2: Do you use the same cast, or a new cast? If new cast, relating it to the previous cast will be an issue, but if same cast, see #1.

3: Do you use the same areas, or put it in a new part of your world? Same areas you do risk boring the player some, but some may like remembering what is where last time and being able to take advantage of it too.
 

MushroomCake28

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So when it comes to sequel making you have to consider the game world aspect and the making process aspect.
  • When it comes to the game world, a sequel can be highly advantageous to keep your fanbase engaged. If they liked the first game, they will probably get the second one. However, this can back fire, as some people will be reluctant to buy a game with a "2" at the end just because they haven't played the first one. But sharing the same lore but not the same story/characters can help mitigate that.
  • When it comes to the game making process aspect, making a sequel or a game in the same world with the same lore can be highly beneficial for saving time and money (if you commissioned assets). This can easily cut production time by 1/4, or even half. However, the danger is having a game too similar to the first one, and people might feel "cheated". So there's a balance to achieve.
@bgillisp Interesting points. About the first point, it shouldn't too hard to create a system that loads some information from a save file into another. However, I highly doubt there's a plugin for that specific task out there, so OP would need to be a coder, or hire one. But looking at it simply as a coding task, it shouldn't be too hard and the RPG Maker Engine is well setup for that (it just's that the functionality hasn't been added, but there's nothing in the code to my knowledge that would prevent creating a system like that).
 

AmazingKazuki

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One thing I do is everything @bgillisp said, essentially.

A series of games I like to draw inspiration for when it comes to sequels is Golden Sun. That is just me, but I like that they featured new characters as well as old. Maybe playable characters differ to a degree and whatnot. It isn't terrible to show a different route that makes sense and display some sort of development for them.

I did plan a sequel once (never made it through yet) that featured the same setting, an island, but visiting parts that weren't seen. Any that had been seen, I tried to make sure they remained mostly the same but feature different elements to show time had passed or something to go with the story.
 

KazukiT

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I'm working on this too, and am curious what thoughts are. The issues I can see running into are the following.

1: Do you keep your levels or drop them back to start? Both have issues, and RPGMaker is not set up well for importing saves from other games.

2: Do you use the same cast, or a new cast? If new cast, relating it to the previous cast will be an issue, but if same cast, see #1.

3: Do you use the same areas, or put it in a new part of your world? Same areas you do risk boring the player some, but some may like remembering what is where last time and being able to take advantage of it too.
@bgillisp
1. In my game you don't keep your levels they will be dropped in the same world but a different part of it.

2. Most of the cast will be entirely new with the main cast playing a more supportive role this time.

3. You will be able visiting mostly new areas with only revisiting one major location.

Here my thoughts on though bullets.

1. I find carry over data is nice but it I don't see much point in it if you are exporting it to another game because their difficulty levels may vary.
2. I believe this depends on the story, is it a continuation of the old cast's story or are the new cast picking up where the old cast left off. I think for a new cast you should an old cast member meet the new cast if its within their lifetime. If its past hundreds of years they should referenced in some way.
3.I think you should have a little mix of both so you are aren't just visiting the same locations, but have new locations to show the player an area they weren't able to explore.

@MushroomCake28
I can agree with you that people who loved the first game will come back for the subsequent title. However, the opposite also applies because if they didn't like the first game they are less likely to try the sequel. As for the title I prefer using a different subtitle rather than using a number like the the "Tales of" series.
Reusing assets can be good time savers, but you shouldn't reuse everything, able you can touch up somethings that you wish turned out better.

@AmazingKazuki
I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts on sequels, the new and old should intermingle in some form so narrative the two games can connect. That is what I like about Trails of Cold 3, (I started in Cold Steel) but, the main character influence the growth of his students(the new cast) and used his experiences to guide them so they find their own path.
 

TheoAllen

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I'm doing this, been 4 years since my first complete game and wanted to make a sequel, but what I can say about this matter is, it's horrible. There're a few times that you might think "If I changed slightly in the previous game, I can make this work" or "why I made a plot like this in the past?". You may end up either trying so hard to stay true on your previous work and make a workaround (story-wise) or decide to update the game just to change a slightly on some part of it so that it would make sense in the sequel, although the problem is that your players may refuse to replay to see what is changed (it's already spread). So if you plan to have a sequel, do it in the beginning. It might be easier to create a prequel than a sequel.

As for bgillisp's question, I don't find not carrying level is a problem on its own. Personally, I find that the sequel is an entirely new game on its own which I find it if the level is not carried over and I have to grind once more, besides it's easier this way and you do not need to play the previous game to have an advantage.
 

Pelgrimp

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I'm doing this, been 4 years since my first complete game and wanted to make a sequel, but what I can say about this matter is, it's horrible. There're a few times that you might think "If I changed slightly in the previous game, I can make this work" or "why I made a plot like this in the past?". You may end up either trying so hard to stay true on your previous work and make a workaround (story-wise) or decide to update the game just to change a slightly on some part of it so that it would make sense in the sequel, although the problem is that your players may refuse to replay to see what is changed (it's already spread). So if you plan to have a sequel, do it in the beginning. It might be easier to create a prequel than a sequel.

As for bgillisp's question, I don't find not carrying level is a problem on its own. Personally, I find that the sequel is an entirely new game on its own which I find it if the level is not carried over and I have to grind once more, besides it's easier this way and you do not need to play the previous game to have an advantage
. mycfavisit survey
That is just me, but I like that they featured new characters as well as old. Maybe playable characters differ to a degree and whatnot. It isn't terrible to show a different route that makes sense and display some sort of development for them.

I did plan a sequel once (never made it through yet) that featured the same setting, an island, but visiting parts that weren't seen.
 

KazukiT

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That is just me, but I like that they featured new characters as well as old. Maybe playable characters differ to a degree and whatnot. It isn't terrible to show a different route that makes sense and display some sort of development for them.

I did plan a sequel once (never made it through yet) that featured the same setting, an island, but visiting parts that weren't seen.
That is one of my favorite aspects of sequels/prequels where the new and old cast interact with one another. Visit the same location with different circumstances is also something I like to see.
 

Tai_MT

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While I've yet to complete work on a single game, I do have 6 games set in the same "universe". When I created the setting and fleshed out the world, I grew to sort of like what I'd created and wanted to flesh it out even more. Lots of mysteries and events to solve as well as a natural progression of how the world gets to where it is.

I decided early on that each story would simply take place far enough apart (in terms of time) that I'd never need to worry about carrying characters, or items, or anything else over from game to game. After all, it's the universe I care about, and not really the characters and trying to bring more problems to the same characters.

I started, essentially, in the most "recent" of the games. Namely, the last one. I did also start work on "the first one". The plan is, essentially, to create a game in the universe I created using each RPG Maker.

This is for practical reasons, mostly. The first engine, RPG Maker 2000, has the most "primitive" of systems and graphics, so it would be good for a "this is the beginning" type game. MV is the newest engine and has a ton of bells and whistles, so it makes sense to set the last game in that engine.

So, basically, to keep each game as "unique" as possible while also not having to deal with "how does everyone lose their powers?!" nonsense, I just set each new game in its own time. Characters may be referenced, but they'll never be seen or interacted with. Likewise, I have a plan for an element of "history being told is never the way it actually happened" in the series of games. If you want to know what really happened at an event, you play the game and experience the event. Otherwise, you gotta take someone's word for what happened. History is written by the victors.

Doing things this way has allowed me to dabble in all sorts of different things. After all, the last game is all about "choice", while the first game is largely about expending time and resources to build up a settlement. I've got a game planned in there where you swap between two separate parties, sometimes playing the "good guys" and sometimes playing the "bad guys".

When I do sequels, I don't want to be stuck in the whole "now I have to justify why all the systems changed, and why we're using new items and techniques, and why characters have changed or lost power levels". I want to make each game new and unique. I want to try new features and concepts and themes. I don't want the themes of one game to be able to ruin the themes of another. I want each to be distinct. They take place in the same location, but at different times in history, painting a picture of the world as you go along. Each game offering entirely new gameplay than previous games.

Honestly, if you want to continue to play in the world, there's no reason to continue a concluded story. Just make some new characters, set it in a different time, then explore something new about that world.
 

KazukiT

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While I've yet to complete work on a single game, I do have 6 games set in the same "universe". When I created the setting and fleshed out the world, I grew to sort of like what I'd created and wanted to flesh it out even more. Lots of mysteries and events to solve as well as a natural progression of how the world gets to where it is.

I decided early on that each story would simply take place far enough apart (in terms of time) that I'd never need to worry about carrying characters, or items, or anything else over from game to game. After all, it's the universe I care about, and not really the characters and trying to bring more problems to the same characters.

I started, essentially, in the most "recent" of the games. Namely, the last one. I did also start work on "the first one". The plan is, essentially, to create a game in the universe I created using each RPG Maker.

This is for practical reasons, mostly. The first engine, RPG Maker 2000, has the most "primitive" of systems and graphics, so it would be good for a "this is the beginning" type game. MV is the newest engine and has a ton of bells and whistles, so it makes sense to set the last game in that engine.

So, basically, to keep each game as "unique" as possible while also not having to deal with "how does everyone lose their powers?!" nonsense, I just set each new game in its own time. Characters may be referenced, but they'll never be seen or interacted with. Likewise, I have a plan for an element of "history being told is never the way it actually happened" in the series of games. If you want to know what really happened at an event, you play the game and experience the event. Otherwise, you gotta take someone's word for what happened. History is written by the victors.

Doing things this way has allowed me to dabble in all sorts of different things. After all, the last game is all about "choice", while the first game is largely about expending time and resources to build up a settlement. I've got a game planned in there where you swap between two separate parties, sometimes playing the "good guys" and sometimes playing the "bad guys".

When I do sequels, I don't want to be stuck in the whole "now I have to justify why all the systems changed, and why we're using new items and techniques, and why characters have changed or lost power levels". I want to make each game new and unique. I want to try new features and concepts and themes. I don't want the themes of one game to be able to ruin the themes of another. I want each to be distinct. They take place in the same location, but at different times in history, painting a picture of the world as you go along. Each game offering entirely new gameplay than previous games.

Honestly, if you want to continue to play in the world, there's no reason to continue a concluded story. Just make some new characters, set it in a different time, then explore something new about that world.
Making a game with all the RPG Makers sounds like a cool idea and it could show the mechanical and artistic progress. I am somewhat the opposite of you where I like my new and old characters to interact. Trails of Cold Steel 3, made me want to make my game where all the characters interact. However, I also follow your philosophy of making every game its own thing. The first game in my game series is about sacrifice and what you will give up to get what you want. The second game set 5 years later, is about the characters missing something in their lives or feeling a sense of regret. The characters from the first game do appear in this game, but they play a more supportive role this time around.

Battle mechanics, skills and items are only there for the sake of gameplay and don’t influence the story in my games.
 

RachelTheSeeker

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I mean, that's the game I'm working on right now. My last game I've completed was a prequel to introduce my main character, Raziya. I made it on a whim (and some egging on from a RMN member) for Pride Month 2019. Now that I've got that introduction out of the way, I've got a world to expand and my MC's party members (and nemesis) to meet. To address Bgillisp's points for my own WIP, "A Lion In Scarlet":

1) As my setting is inspired by sword-and-sorcery (kinda), I like the idea that my cast will never be the stuff of legends. However, I also like the idea that they're still a cut above everyday folks. If they were D&D characters, they'd essentially start at 3rd level or so. Raziya will begin play with her two abilities from A Maned Lioness, her debut game. However, I hand-waved away a claw weapon from her first outing. As the elder of the village has a weapon collection, the claw that she found on her first adventure was used to seal the deal for her small house.

Maned Lioness only had Raziya advance to 2nd level, and only after beating two of the three possible battles before the boss. I'm thinking the cast's levels will go no further than 6th or 10th each, but these aren't a hard measurement; all four heroes will be somewhat capable adventurers, with the final party member being their most experienced friend. Which works, as I'll be adjusting her levels to match the rough guesstimate of where the team will be when she's introduced.

2) Same cast from Maned Lioness, but with new characters added. All the villagers from Dawn's Light, the village Raziya settles in, make a return. Jengo, only mentioned and with like three dialogue boxes in the outro, will be met up with "in person" as a party member. In addition I'm expanding the village a smidge, hand-waving that the new villagers are related to the town elder and are hanging out in their summer home at Dawn's Light. Heck, the village was me copy-and-pasting maps and tweaking them with new events and added tiles! New faces include two new party members, Maia the illusionist and Nazreen the bard; Maia will be the first party member obtained, and Nazreen the last.

I'm very much looking forward to expanding what's known about the returning cast from the prior game. There's the implication that the rude Big Bemus has a reason to be a jerk. The inciting incident for the adventure involves the son of the shopkeeper and eatery owner going missing; Zander, this missing son, looks up to Raziya even in Maned Lioness. Dialogue with the innkeeper Khloe, of whom Raziya stayed with before she could afford her home, implies that our martial artist MC is lonely. The pastor is having trouble making ends meet, which hand-waves why you can't buy items to warp back to town, and why full healing from him is no longer free.

3) Answered a bit in #2, I'm mostly reusing the village's design and tweaking it for my needs. However, this is only the first area of the game. There's a whole savanna full of adventure awaiting Raziya and gang. And this makes sense, as Maned Lioness is only a ~30 minute event game with just the village and dungeon.
 

Milennin

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Got an unfinished RM2003 project (FADE) that was a sequel to my first finished game in RM2000 (BETA). It got to far enough of a stage to have a fairly lengthy demo consisting of the tutorial, 2 dungeons, 1 explorable area, and several bosses and mini-bosses, and was decently successful (by my near rock-bottom expectations). I made it so it didn't require playing the first game to understand what was happening. Even if it remained unfinished, I'm pretty proud of where it ended, and glad it did end on a high note.
My current project (HERO) will have a few small references to my game RTP, and while it's basically set in the same universe, I wouldn't consider HERO a sequel or anything. (also because RTP hardly had a story to begin with, lol...)
 

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