"What I understand least of all is why everyone is saying this is a new release when Wikipedia quite clearly states that it came out in August 1992 - oh, do you know what I've done? I've got Mortal Kombat the 2011 release confused with Mortal Kombat the game from 20 years ago with the same exact name. Do you see how confusing this gets?"—Yahtzee on why he hates this trope.
Coming up with a good title for a new work is hard. No wonder so many people just take the lazy way out and just stick a number on the end.
Of course, if you're really lazy, you could not bother with even the number, let alone a subtitle, and give the latest release in your series the same name as an earlier one- usually, the first installment, which will typically also be the series name. Fans will typically give the later work a Fan Nickname.
Recycling titles became very common in mid and late 2000s.
This doesn't cover remakes, where the new work is explicitly a new version of the previous work. Re-imaginings, such as when a video game is released with significantly different versions on consoles and handhelds at the same time and with the same title, are borderline.
Often used when it might be embarrassing to admit how many times they've milked this particular cash cow.
- There's Sonic the Hedgehog on the Megadrive in 1991 (along with a significantly altered 8-bit version of the same name), and |Sonic the Hedgehog for Xbox 360 and Play Station 3 in 2006. For clarity, people often refer to the 2006 game as Sonic Next Gen or Sonic 2006
- In the Japan, the arcade, Famicom, and Game Boy versions of Bionic Commando were known as Top Secret, Hitler no Fukkatsu: Top Secret, and Bionic Commando respectively. Capcom also used the Bionic Commando name for the 2009 sequel.
- Ninja Gaiden - The NES version in 1988, then on Xbox in 2004. Both have two numbered sequels, although the ones on the NES used Roman numerals and had subtitles. There was also the arcade game released around the same time as the NES game, as well as the Sega-published versions for the Master System and Game Gear, along with an unreleased Mega Drive version (all of them are completely unique games and not just ports of the same game).
- Metal Gear Solid - only outside Japan, where Metal Gear Ghost Babel (the Game Boy Color version released in 2000) was simply titled Metal Gear Solid in the west.
- Mega Man: the second through fifth NES games in the series were titled Mega Man 2-5, as were the four Game Boy sequels. This doesn't apply to the first Game Boy game in the series though, which was titled Mega Man in Dr Wily's Revenge. This was averted completely in Japan, where the Game Boy games were titled Rockman World instead of merely Rockman.
- Also, if you want to stretch things a bit, Mega Man X and Mega Man 10 are completely different games released over a decade apart.
- Donkey Kong - the original arcade game, and the 1994 Game Boy version. Could be said to be a remake, since the first four stages of the GB game are based on the arcade, but the mechanics are changed and there's about 96 more levels after that. The GB game is generally known as Donkey Kong '94.
- Prince of Persia - first on numerous platforms in 1989, then on Xbox 360 and Play Station 3 in 2008.
- Castlevania - first on NES in 1987, then on N64 in 1999. The latter tends to be called "Castlevania (Nintendo 64)", to the extent that many people assume that's the actual title. Also, the Japanese and European releases of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence from 2003 had the subtitle dropped, leaving it as a third game just called Castlevania. Moreover, Circle of the Moon is also just Castlevania in Europe.
- In Japan, the games known in the west as Castlevania (the NES one), Vampire Killer (MSX2), Haunted Castle (arcade) and Super Castlevania IV (SNES) are all titled Akumajō Dracula, as was the X68000 game later ported to the PS1 as Castlevania Chronicles. On one hand, this clears a lot of ambiguity between what are practically five completely different games (not just ports of the same title) by making it easier to tell each game apart by name. On the other hand, this also obscured the relation Vampire Killer and Haunted Castle had with the series (since they did not carry the Castlevania moniker overseas) and caused the common misconception that Super Castlevania IV is a continuation of the NES trilogy rather than a retelling of Simon Belmont's first venture into Dracula's castle.
- In addition to the MSX2 game, Vampire Killer was also the title of the Japanese version of Castlevania Bloodlines.
- Borderline: The 2008 Turok game. While the first game in the series (from 1997) had a subtitle (Turok: Dinosaur Hunter), it was often just called Turok, which is of course the accepted series name.
- Shinobi: The 1986 side-scrolling action game for the arcade, the 2002 3D action game for the PlayStation 2, and a 2011 side-scrolling sequel for 3DS. May also apply to The G.G. Shinobi for the Game Gear, which was simply titled Shinobi on the American cover art (but still kept the original title in the actual game).
- Neverwinter Nights (it was on the Gold Box engine)
- The Samurai Shodown games had a few 3D games. These were, Samurai Shodown 64 and Samurai Shodown 64: Warrior's Rage for the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 and Samurai Shodown: Warrior's Rage for the PlayStation. To avoid confusion, they are called Samurai Shodown 64 Part II and Samurai Shodown: Warrior's Rage.
- In addition, there were two Samurai Shodown games for Neo Geo Pocket: Samurai Shodown! and Samurai Shodown! 2 (the exclamation marks are part of their titles).
- Punch-Out!! has had three games called Punch-Out!! First is the original arcade game, second is the NES game, and third is the Wii version.
- Punch Out also has two sequel titled Super Punch Out: the arcade sequel and the SNES sequel to the NES version.
- Wolfenstein. Sure, the 2009 game doesn't have the "3D" in its title (not to mention the "Castle" from Silas Warner's original Wolfenstein games), but still.
- The newest version of Dance Dance Revolution on the Xbox 360 and Play Station 3.
- Rebellion Developments has made not one, not two, but three separate games based on the Alien vs. Predator universe: Alien Vs Predator (1994, Atari Jaguar), Aliens versus Predator (1999, PC), and...Aliens versus Predator (2010, multiplatform).
- And that's not counting the SNES and Capcom arcade versions, which are both titled Alien vs. Predator as well. Note that, unlike the above Jaguar game, this one has a period after vs! That makes it completely different.
- A Boy and His Blob for Wii is a borderline example since it has no subtitle, but the original NES game had the subtitle "Trouble on Blobolonia". Still, the Wii version is usually referred to as A Boy and His Blob Wii.
- Borderline: There was a Japan-only FMV game based on Street Fighter II the Animated Movie simply titled Street Fighter II Movie (which was the film's original Japanese title). This is unrelated to Street Fighter the Movie, a fighting game released for the arcades based on the live-action film, or with the console game of the same name (which was released in Japan as Street Fighter: Real Battle on Film).
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the NES game and the arcade game, both based on the first animated series and released roughly at the same time in 1989 (as such, the NES port of the latter was labeled a sequel to the former) and the 2003 multiplatform game by Konami based on the second animated series. The 2007 multiplatform game by Ubisoft based on the CGI film is simply titled TMNT, much like the movie itself.
- The 1987 and 2003 animated series are themselves an example in America, but not in Europe, where the 1987 series was called Teenage Mutant HERO Turtles for censorship reasons.
- Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010) is a sequel to Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit II (2002), itself a sequel to Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998). Confused?
- Mortal Kombat: The first game in 1992 and the ninth game (a reboot) in 2011.
- The upcoming Devil May Cry reboot by Ninja Theory is currently titled simply DMC.
- EA has done this with Medal of Honor. The first on the PlayStation in 1999 and then in 2010 on the Xbox 360, Play Station 3 and PC.
- There are three different games called Battletoads: the original NES game, the Game Boy game, and the 1994 arcade game (which is sometimes referred to as Super Battletoads). To make matters more confusing, the original game was also ported to the Game Boy under the title Battletoads in Ragnarok's World.
- The next Tomb Raider is called...Tomb Raider.
- Double Dragon: the original 1987 arcade beat-'em-up and the 1994 Neo-Geo head-to-head fighting game based on the movie. There were other games simply titled Double Dragon, but they were more or less ports or remakes of the first game (except for the PlayStation version, which was a port of the Neo-Geo fighting game).
- Twisted Metal: 1995 PlayStation original and the 2011 PS3 sequel to Twisted Metal Black.
- Super Dodge Ball: the 1987 arcade original, the 1988 NES version (which is technically a port, but very different from the original), and the rare 1996 Neo-Geo sequel.
- Operation C, the Game Boy sequel to the NES Contra games, was simply titled Contra in Japan. However, the title is spelled in katakana instead of the three kanji characters used in the arcade and console installments to phonetically spell out "Contra" in Japanese.
- In Europe, the early console games in the Contra series were released as Probotector, replacing the original human heroes with robotic counterparts. Three games in the series were simply titled Probotector: the NES original (based on the first Contra), the Game Boy version (based on Operation C), and the Mega Drive version (based on Contra: Hard Corps).
- Borderline example: The English version of Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken ("The Sword of Flame") is the only game in its series that is simply titled Fire Emblem, as it was the first one to get an international release (it's actually the seventh game in the overall series and the second one for the Game Boy Advance). Every Fire Emblem game since the Famicom original (Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi, or "The Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light") has a subtitle in Japan.
- Adventure Island, the NES version of the Famicom game Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima, has nothing to do with the PC Engine game Adventure Island, which was released for the TurboGrafx-16 under the name of Dragon's Curse. However, they were both produced by Hudson Soft and both were remakes of Sega/Westone games (Wonder Boy and Monster World II respectively)
- Alien Syndrome: the original 1987 arcade game that was ported to various platforms and the 2007 multi-platform sequel.
- Metal Slug: the original 1994 2D action shooter for the Neo Geo (that was ported to various platform) or the 2006 3D third-person shooter for the PlayStation 2.
- Borderline: Rocket Knight is the fourth game in the Rocket Knight Adventures series, which consists of the Genesis games Rocket Knight Adventures and Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2, as well as an SNES game simply titled Sparkster.
- You Don't Know Jack: The original was released in 1995. It had its share of sequels and expansion packs, then it laid low for about eight years until a new one was released in 2011 with the same name as the original. Most fans just append "2011" to the name.
- Cobra Command was the title of two different arcade games by Data East. The first one was an animated laserdisc game originally released in 1984 (originally titled Thunder Storm in Japan) and ported many years later to the Sega CD. The other was a side-scrolling shoot-'em-up released in 1988, with a NES port that same year.
- Doctor Who: The 1996 TV movie.
- Serenity is the most overworked title around: it's The Movie, the pilot episode, the ship, and the comic miniseries (later reprinted with the subtitle "Those Left Behind"). Because Fox owns the name Firefly, Joss seems determined not to use it for anything but the actual show.
- Alien, and then Aliens.
- In Japan, The Return of Godzilla was "Gojira" just as the original film.
- The series also has entries titled Mothra vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.
- Sherlock Holmes
- Some borderline examples:
- The fourth Rambo film is technically the first to be titled just Rambo - the first film was actually called First Blood, while the second was Rambo: First Blood Part II and the third Rambo III. As pointed out by The Angry Video Game Nerd, this has plenty of potential for confusion, since just the name "Rambo" alone can be used to refer to three of the four movies.
- Star Trek (reboot). The new film is the first and only film in the entire history of 'trek to be known as Star Trek with no subtitle, as the first film had the full title of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- The Final Destination, whereas the first film was called Final Destination.
- Likewise, the third sequel to The Fast and the Furious is simply known as Fast & Furious.
- The Muppets is not to be confused with The Muppet Movie.
- Batman: The Movie, a film adaptation of the Adam West TV series, is not to be confused with the Tim Burton movie simply titled Batman.
- The fourth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film is a CGI animated movie simply known as TMNT.