Spiritual Successor

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search

A Spiritual Successor is a type of sequel that is not part of the same world or story as its predecessor, but is nonetheless considered to be a successor because it's made by the same creators, shares common themes, styles, or elements; or, most likely, both. In other words, it's a sequel "in spirit".

The reasons for this are varied, but one common cause is when creative teams are unable to retain the rights to the original work, which would make a direct sequel impossible. Other times, designers don't feel like continuing the same story of the original work (and risking Sequelitis), but their distinctive style remains. Sometimes, a Spiritual Successor is the result of producers trying to adapt a different work following the model of a previous success of theirs while maintaining a prudent separation between the two Canons. And then sometimes it occurs completely by accident.

Present in all sorts of media, although the term Spiritual Successor may have originated within video games (also known as companion games). It's a common phenomenon in the video game world because developers might own the engine and game code with publishers owning the trademarks to the franchise.

A spiritual successor may succumb to Better by a Different Name.

The series version of an Expy. Often overlaps with Serial Numbers Filed Off.

Compare Spiritual Licensee.

Contrast They Copied It, So It Sucks, Dolled-Up Installment, In Name Only, Dueling Shows, and Thematic Series. See also Production Posse.

The opposite is Spiritual Antithesis, though it is possible to be Spiritual Successor to one work and Spiritual Antithesis to another at the same time.

Examples of Spiritual Successor include:


Anime[edit | hide | hide all]


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • Colombiana to Léon: The Professional
  • Parker Lewis Can't Lose is seen as the Spiritual Successor to the movie Ferris Buellers Day Off, featuring the same type of protagonist. In fact, it captured the feel and spirit of the movie much better than the mercifully short-lived series which was the official TV follow-up to the movie.
  • The Wonder Years is reasonably seen as a Spiritual Successor to the movie Stand by Me, both coming-of-age tales about boys on the cusp of adolescence, with voice-overs by the adult versions of the protagonists.
    • It's also seen as a successor to A Christmas Story.
    • And don't forgot Boy Meets World which stars Ben Savage, the younger brother of Fred Savage, who was the main character in The Wonder Years.
    • Everybody Hates Chris could be seen as the African-American version of The Wonder Years.
  • Dead Set can be seen as the spiritual Prequel to 28 Days Later, showing how the disease spread in its first few days, and how society fell to the point that we see it in 28 Days Later.
    • Actually, this can't be a case. Dead Set is about undead zombies, 28 Days Later is about rage-infected (but still living) victims who do not consume flesh.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has been considered by some by some reviewers as a spiritual successor to Forrest Gump. The films share a screenwriter.
  • The 2007 movie Knocked Up is considered by many to be a spiritual sequel to The 40-Year-Old Virgin. It was originally intended to be a direct sequel.
    • And now a direct sequel to Knocked Up is in the works for a Christmas 2012 release.
  • 1997's Fierce Creatures featured the same core cast and much of the same crew as 1988's A Fish Called Wanda, and includes at least one explicit Shout-Out to the earlier film, although they are in no way connected to each other.
    • The actors also play more-or-less similar characters, with Kevin Kline as a dimwitted egomaniac, Jamie Lee Curtis as seductive and manipulative, John Cleese as a stuffy square, and Michael Palin as a weird guy.
  • Labyrinth is a spiritual sequel to The Dark Crystal, in so far as both films feature the puppeteering of the Jim Henson corps, scenarios co-authored by Henson himself, and production design by Brian Froud. George Lucas was also reportedly involved in the making of both films, though only credited in Labyrinth.
    • Mirror Mask was designed to be the Spiritual Successor to both (but mainly Labyrinth). The original plan was to get David Bowie to play the Prime Minister of the White City, but scheduling conflicts forced them to just have Rob Brydon play the PM and Helena's father.
      • All three films have been released as a single DVD set called the "Jim Henson fantasy film collection" (which was, incidentally, a ploy to move unsold copies of the original Dark Crystal and Labyrinth DVDs after the deluxe versions came out).
  • The Dee Wallace Stone comedy Invisible Mom had both a Spiritual Successor, Invisible Dad, and an official sequel, Invisible Mom 2.
  • Hot Fuzz is the Spiritual Successor to Shaun of the Dead. It stars several of the same actors and making a number of references to the zombie comedy. Shaun is in turn the successor of Britcom Spaced; the characters from Spaced who do not star all appear either in the other group of zombie fighters Shaun and his friends encounter, or in crowd scenes. Also many of the running jokes between Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead (e.g. 'We're not gay - thanks babe.' and Cornettos) originally come from Spaced. The so-far unwritten The World Ends is planned to be the third part of Pegg and Wright's Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy. All three will feature a mention of Cornetto ice cream.
  • Scream can be considered the spiritual successor of the obscure '80s slasher film Return To Horror High. Not only does the killer in both movies have a black cloak and a white featureless mask, but RTHH was very post-modern for a film of its age: it is about a director making a horror movie about a series of unsolved murders happened in a high school, set in that same school, where the actors playing the parts of the students are getting murdered in "real life"; there's the conflict between the scriptwriter of the film and the director who only wants tits & blood, and the actresses that complain of being used only as fanservice...
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is the Spiritual Successor to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (and indeed was described by Ferrell as the third of his "unreasonably confident people" series).
  • Corpse Bride was hotly anticipated by fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas. In fact, with his distinctive style and usual repertory cast, you could consider the entire Tim Burton oeuvre outside the more science fiction stuff one big de facto franchise.
    • Henry Selick's James and the Giant Peach and Coraline could also be seen as Spiritual Successors to Nightmare Before Christmas, considering that Selick directed it.
      • In fact, Jack Skellington makes a cameo in Peach as an undead pirate.
  • Pride and Prejudice, directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley, was highly touted and received a couple of Oscar nods. The two got together for Atonement, a serious attempt at the awards.
  • Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet The Spartans, and Disaster Movie (the only real link being their directors, their inability to actually parody the genre they claim, and their total lack of quality), though this dubious quartet probably couldn't come across as more contrived and crass by being a series of actual sequels.
  • David Lynch's latest and supposedly last movie, Inland Empire, is very much a Spiritual Successor to Mulholland Drive, itself a Spiritual Successor to Lost Highway.
  • Ishtar was intended to be a Spiritual Successor to the Road To series, but failed.
    • The animated The Road to El Dorado, on the other hand succeeded admirably.
    • Spies Like Us was, during production, described as a Road movie, and even features Bob Hope in a cameo ... hitting a golf ball into the same tent as the characters in the middle of Afghanistan.
    • And, of course, the "Road to..." episodes of Family Guy take this to the level of straight-up Homage.
  • The western comedies Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter were made by more-or-less the same production crew and cast, and share much in terms of theme and tone, but the second is not a sequel to the first, and no characters reappear.
    • Replace those titles with Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula, and the statement is still valid.
  • From Beyond shares Re-Animator's over-the-top approach to Lovecraftian source material, as well as a significant chunk of the cast and crew. Both star Jeffrey Combs as a Mad Scientist (borderline) Villain Protagonist.
  • Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration are all spiritual successors to Waiting for Guffman, which in itself was a Spiritual Successor to This Is Spinal Tap.
  • A lot of Jackie Chan movies can be considered spiritual successors of each other, especially his earlier works. You could argue this extends at least some extent to other martial arts movie starts like Bruce Lee and Jet Li.
  • 1997's L.A. Confidential, despite being made by a totally different cast and crew, is considered by many fans to be the Spiritual Successor to 1974's Chinatown, as both are set in Los Angeles, both were made 40 years after the time period in which they are set, and both feature themes of betrayal, corruption of public institutions and officials, and "neo-noir" values. Oh, and both have scores by Jerry Goldsmith.
  • There is some discussion over whether Confidence is a Spiritual Successor or an updated remake of The Sting. Both feature a team of small-time conmen accidentally ripping off an underling of a crime boss and getting out of it by pulling a much larger and more elaborate con on him.
  • Similar to the Knocked Up example, Pineapple Express is a Spiritual Successor to Superbad. Both being written by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, produced by Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson, and distributed by Columbia pictures. In fact, Pineapple Express was greenlit based off of the early positive reaction to Superbad footage.
  • War, Inc. is the spiritual successor to Grosse Pointe Blank. They both feature John Cusack as a hitman having doubts about his career choice with Joan Cusack as his assistant and Dan Aykroyd in a supporting role.
    • Grosse Pointe Blank itself is a spiritual successor to Say Anything - although there are some important differences in the backstory, Martin Blank feels in many ways like an alternate history version of Lloyd Dobler 10 years later, with the point of departure being when he joins the army out of high school instead of hooking up with the girl. They're both played by John Cusack (and they both kickbox).
  • Definitely, Maybe is the spiritual successor to Love Actually
  • Richard Linklater's Waking Life is at least a visual companion to A Scanner Darkly
    • Though it is a spiritual successor to Linklater's 1990 film, Slacker.
  • Starship Troopers is a spiritual successor to RoboCop. Released ten years apart from each other, both are directed by Paul Verhoeven, share similar themes and are structured around mock broadcasts of news and information.
  • The 2003 live action film version of The Cat in the Hat was Imagine Entertainment's attempt to duplicate the success of their popular take on another Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, down to the casting of comic star Mike Myers as the Cat as its equivalent to Jim Carrey's Grinch.
  • The films The Snapper and The Van were spiritual successors to The Commitments. They all revolve around a Dublin family with a father played by Colm Meaney and all are based on Roddy Doyle novels. (The novels themselves were actual successors, but due to copyright issues, the name of the family in each of the films was changed).
    • In The Commitments Outspan ended up as a busker on the streets of Dublin. Twenty years later the same actor, Glen Hansard, starred in Once which opened with his character ...busking on the streets of Dublin. Bonus points due to his character in Once being unnamed.
  • Casino is a spiritual successor to Goodfellas. Both are gangster movies directed by Martin Scorsese that span several decades, both are based on nonfiction books by Nicholas Pileggi, both star Robert De Niro with Joe Pesci as a sociopathic madman, both rely heavily on narration (occasionally not from the main protagonist), and both chart the rise and fall of eras in the criminal underworld.
    • Goodfellas is itself a spiritual successor to Scorsese's earlier film Mean Streets. According to the director, each film represents a step up in the mob hierarchy, starting with neighborhood punks and ending with the true power brokers at the top as in Casino.
  • In South Korea, the film Windstruck is considered to be the spiritual successor to the wildly popular romantic comedy My Sassy Girl. Both were written and directed by Kwak Jae-Yong and starred Jeon Ji-Hyun. Of course, Windstruck should almost be considered a spiritual prequel, as its end is a painfully obvious allusion to its predecessor, with two future lovers meeting at a train station.
  • You've Got Mail is the spiritual successor to Sleepless in Seattle.
  • A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly are all considered a part of the same trilogy because they are made by the same guy and star the same actor in the same costume. However, it's never explicitly stated that they take place in the same universe.
    • Similarly, because they all feature a protagonist who is nameless, are all Westerns, and all star Clint Eastwood, High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider are sometimes seen as ... somehow ... part of the same Weird West world as the spaghetti Westerns. High Plains Drifter in particular was directed by Eastwood in a direct homage to Leone's work.
  • Runaway Bride is the spiritual successor to Pretty Woman (shared lead couple).
  • Foxy Brown was the successor to Coffy. It was originally meant to be a sequel titled Burn, Coffy, Burn, but the producers changed it at the last minute.
  • Tim Burton's version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street could be the spiritual successor to Sleepy Hollow - When Johnny Depp's character brings his gorgeous blonde wife back to the city things go horribly wrong, and then they get worse.
  • eXistenZ is essentially Videodrome for the new millennium.
  • It could be said that 2012 is the Spiritual Successor to The Day After Tomorrow.
  • Both Babel and Twenty One Grams which were directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu are considered the spiritual sequels of the Mexican film Amores Perros (also directed by him).
    • The three films also share a screenwriter. The director and screenwriter consider the three films a trilogy.
  • Mexican director Luis Estrada has made a series of satirical films depicting the country's ailments, starting with La Ley de Herodes depicting the political corruption, continuing with Un Mundo Maravilloso portraying the poverty of the people and finishing the trilogy with the upcoming Infierno that will deal with the violence of the drug cartels. All of them cast the actor Dami án Alc ázar (aka:Lord Sopespian) as the lead.
  • A sequel was planned for Blade Runner, and after the script was rewritten and handed down through several different creative teams, it eventually reached the screen as Total Recall. The same process led from Total Recall to Minority Report.
    • Not surprising since all three movies are based on works by Philip K. Dick.
    • Another attempt at a Blade Runner sequel (written by David Peoples, co-writer of Blade Runner) became the blueprint for the Kurt Russell film Soldier.
  • The Tales from the Darkside movie is regarded as the spiritual successor to the Creepshow series (while ironically, 'Creepshow 3' is disavowed by fans as an In Name Only work). After all, it's a macabre horror anthology with writing by Stephen King and George Romero, and work by Tom Savini (who in fact went on record as saying that Tales from the Darkside is the "real" 'Creepshow 3'), and was originally going to be the third Creepshow installment until producers decided to cash in on the Tales from the Darkside name.
  • The film Revolutionary Road is an interesting subversion of Spiritual Successor status. It's set in America, it starred Leonardo diCaprio and Kate Winslet (as husband in wife) in their first film together after they'd co-starred in Titanic. Some people initially thought it therefore as Titanic's spiritual successor. The storyline, however, is, if anything, entirely the opposite of Titanic and only gets worse from there.
  • Erik the Viking succeeds marvelously as a Spiritual Successor to the Monty Python films, even if it wasn't intended to.
  • Many elements that make up the movie Hot Tub Time Machine are evocative of many 80s movies; particularly the themes of Back to The Future (which also starred Crispin Glover) and the ski resort setting from Better Off Dead (which also starred John Cusack).
  • Mystery of the Wax Museum is the Spiritual Successor to Doctor X; both are horror films shot in two-strip Technicolor, directed by Michael Curtiz, and with a number of the same crew members and actors (including Fay Wray). Wax Museum is actually more like Doctor X than is the latter's official sequel.
  • Adventureland carries all the hallmarks you'd expect if they made a Freaks and Geeks movie.
    • This one is more of a spiritual successor to Garden State than anything, as they feature very similar narratives, characters and settings (Pennsylvania borders New Jersey).
  • 15 years before G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra came along, the Van Damme Street Fighter movie was far more G.I. Joe than it was Street Fighter.
  • The Lion in Winter is a spiritual successor to the earlier film Becket in that they're both historical dramas starring Peter O'Toole as Henry II playing him as an old man in Lion and younger in Becket.
  • The Seven Ups is a spiritual successor to The French Connection in that it stars Roy Scheider as a New York detective similar to the one he played in the latter movie and had the same producer and composer and even had a car chase like the one in The French Connection.
  • The Cannonball Run is a spiritual successor to Smokey and the Bandit.
  • Right after directing The Outsiders Francis Ford Coppola made a movie based on another SE Hinton novel, Rumble Fish with many of the same cast and crew. The movie came out months after The Outsiders.
  • Super Mario Bros can be seen as a Spiritual Successor of sorts to Blade Runner as its production designer, David Snyder, was one of Blade Runner's driving art directors. While the exact tone and story of the movie isn't the same the parallel world's appearance was still heavily driven under a "Blade Runner-sensibility".
    • Really, just about every movie made in the decade or so after Blade Runner combining science fiction and City Noir sensibilities has been invariably compared to that film.
  • Zathura to Jumanji, while the book was simply a sequel.
  • Carlitos Way to Scarface. Both are about Latino crime bosses and have the same director (Brian De Palma) and star (Al Pacino).
  • Made starring Vince Vaughnn and Jon Favreau is a spiritual successor to their previous movie playing best friends, Swingers
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends is very much this to Laura. Both directed by Otto Preminger and starring Dana Andrews as a disillusioned New York cop named Mark who falls in love with characters played by Gene Tierney. Mark Dixon in Where the Sidewalk Ends could easily be Mark McPherson from Laura, ten years later and now more jaded, cynical, and violent.
    • Preminger's Whirlpool was described by Jose Ferrer as "like a sequel to Laura -- it had the same star, the same mood and atmosphere."
  • Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon made a handful of movies that were all spiritual successors to the original The Odd Couple film. The spiritual successors began with Grumpy Old Men and included Grumpier Old Men and Out To Sea...the actual sequel was largely considered a lesser effort than all of the above.
  • The box office disaster Torque was a spiritual successor to The Fast and the Furious, even having the same producer and featuring the crime and racing genres.
  • Zookeeper to Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
  • Red Sonja to Conan the Destroyer.
  • Paranormal Activity to The Blair Witch Project. Just replace the search for a legendary witch with a demon haunting a young couple and they pretty much are the same movie.
  • Darren Aronofsky has stated that Black Swan was a "companion piece" to his previous film The Wrestler. In a way, the former is the latter's foil: The Wrestler is about finding beauty in a brutal sport while Black Swan is all about the brutality of a beautiful artform.
  • The movie Tomboy can be seen as a Spiritual Successor to the My Life in Pink movie released 14 years earlier. They both center around transgendered children (one about a transgirl and the other about a gender-queer or potentially transboy girl), are French language, and have the "Just moved to a new town" premise.
  • Horrible Bosses to Office Space. Both feature three men getting revenge on a boss and have Jennifer Aniston in a supporting role.
  • The Hangover to Very Bad Things. The former features nearly the exact same premise as the latter, but Lighter and Softer (for one, a baby replaces the dead hooker in The Hangover).
  • Halloween is a Spiritual Successor to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Not only does Janet Leigh's daughter play the Final Girl, but the hero of the movie, Sam Loomis, has the same name as Marion's lover. Many stylistic choices are clearly influenced by Hitchock, like the simple Leitmotif theme music, and the camera work in Michael's first kill, where we never see knife penetrate flesh.
  • Jerry Lewis's comic style has been so influential in movies that many latter-day comedy film stars have been dubbed his successors. Pee-wee Herman, Jim Carrey, and Adam Sandler have all been explicitly compared to Lewis.
  • The plot points don't match up exactly, but 1999 Best Picture Academy Award winner American Beauty feels uncannily like a Darker and Edgier retelling of the 1955 Billy Wilder comedy The Seven Year Itch. Both feature as their protagonists disillusioned, frustrated middle-aged men, harassed by their wives and sick of their jobs, who develop a sexual fixation on a much younger woman (in the case of American Beauty, much, much younger); both men are prone to Imagine Spots, as well. What makes this theory tricky to refute is that one of the producers of American Beauty, while accepting his award, actually acknowledged Wilder as an influence; ostensibly he was probably referring to the "dead man" narration from Wilder's Sunset Boulevard that he recycled for his own film, but he just might have been thinking of The Seven Year Itch too.
  • The indie film Meek's Cutoff is an accidental film adaptation of the Oregon Trail series.
  • Strange Days is essentially an unofficial sequel to Brainstorm.
  • The 1980 musical film Xanadu is a spiritual successor to the 1944 movie Cover Girl. In Xanadu Gene Kelly plays an older version of Danny Mcguire (his character in Cover Girl). His character doesn't make any direct references to the story or characters in the older movie except for the mention of once owning a nightclub. Danny also remembers meeting Kira before somehow. Rita Hayworth's role in the older film doesn't really suggest any connectios to Kira or the muses. But In the 1947 film Down to Earth (the direct inspiration for Xanadu), Hayworth actually does play the muse "Terpsichore". And Down to Earth does make references to Cover Girl, however.
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks is Disney's spiritual successor to their adaptation of Mary Poppins, right down to sharing a lead actor (David Tomlinson).
  • Streets of Fire to The Warriors. Both are directed by Walter Hill, and while there's no other link between them, they definitely seem like they could take place in the same universe.
  • Coming to America is, in many ways, a spiritual successor to Trading Places. Both films were made by John Landis, feature Eddie Murphy, and both deal with issues of wealth and poverty. Coming to America even includes a cameo by Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as the still-poor Duke Brothers.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Dave Barry's two novels Big Trouble and Tricky Business.
  • John Christopher's The Tripods trilogy is, as the name suggests, a Spiritual Successor to H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds.
  • Joe Haldeman's Forever Peace is, as the name implies, a Spiritual Successor to The Forever War despite taking place in a very different setting and, indeed, having very different basic assumptions about the setting. It reads as a more "mature" attempt to understand war by probing questions about the inevitable results of technological advances in warfare in the future that The Forever War glossed over so that its sci-fi war could be a clearer parallel to Vietnam.
  • Lewis Carroll's epic nonsense poem The Hunting of the Snark is a Spiritual Successor to the Alice stories, and includes a number of references to "Jabberwocky."
  • Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis is a Spiritual Successor to Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation' series.
  • Frank Herbert wrote four short stories, published later as "The Godmakers", they shared theme and concepts with his masterpiece Dune.
  • David Eddings various works were made of this, being all High Fantasy epics told from a slighlty different slant. The Belgariad was a basic coming-of-age story; The Elenium followed a loosely similar plot but was Darker and Edgier with a world-weary adult hero; The Redemption of Althalus was largely the story of that universe's Belgarath-equivalent; and The Dreamers was the most out-there, being told from the perspective of the gods.
  • The Divine Invasion by Philip K. Dick is a Spiritual Successor to his earlier novel VALIS: Valis appears in both books, the fictional film "Valis" exists in both, and they have similar Gnostic themes, but The Divine Invasion is not, strictly speaking, a sequel. A third novel The Owl in Daylight was going to be written by PKD as another Spiritual Successor to round out the "Valis trilogy", but he died before writing it.
    • The relationship between VALIS and its earlier version Radio Free Albemuth is actually a much more typical example of the trope, as they heavily overlap in themes but are emphatically not part of the same Verse. Or they would have been if PKD hadn't left Radio Free Albemuth unpublished during his lifetime, so that it came out about five years after VALIS.
  • In the extras to the DVD of Dreamcatcher, Stephen King notes that the book (and subsequent film) can be seen as a Spiritual Successor to The Body/Stand By Me.
  • Mary Schmich's essay "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young" (better known From Baz Lurhman's "Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen") is considered by many to be a Spiritual Successor to Max Ehrmann's 1927 poem "Desiderata".
  • Lois Lowry's book Gathering Blue is a "companion novel" to The Giver; it's another postapocalyptic novel which may be in the same universe, but shows a society that has gone the opposite direction.
    • Messenger is similar. It has a number of the same characters (Mattie, Kira, Jonas, Kira's father, etc) and Jonas at one point alludes to his previous village and how the people there made peace with him after he left, but most of the plot focuses on the corruption of the new society that Jonas has built.
  • Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain is a... complicated example. The name indicates that it is an actual sequel (which would disqualify it), but as it turns out it is essentially a remake: taking the basic concept of Fantastic Voyage (miniaturization technology as a potentially crucial part in the Cold War and an attempt to use it to save the life or knowledge of someone who has made a critical breakthrough but failed to communicate it before falling into a coma), and then writing his own story around it, free of the constraints he was acting under when he wrote the novelization to the movie and able to update the science to 1980s standards.
  • Glamorama is a Spiritual Successor in many ways to American Psycho. While Bret Easton Ellis has been accused of writing about the same subjects(shallow, drug addled rich people) over and over again, and frequently using over the top violence to satirize mindless consumerism, Glamorama has a very similar surreal style comparable to American Psycho that his other books don't have since they're more grounded in reality.
  • Warrior Cats has many similarities to The Book of the Named - so much that people were claiming that the Ratha series copied Warriors, until it was pointed out to them that Ratha's Creature was written in the 1980s and Into the Wild came out in 2003.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Alphas is very clearly the successor to Heroes.
  • The Middle is one to Malcolm in the Middle. The creators don't even try to hide this by...at least giving the show a different name.
  • That '70s Show is basically the same concept as Happy Days.
  • Reed Between The Lines is intended to be a new millennium version of The Cosby Show. Both shows even have Malcolm-Jamal Warner in starring roles.
  • Hannah Montana is this to Lizzie McGuire, due to the show's lead Miley Cyrus having Hilary Duff as her idol and reason why the show was made.
    • Hannah Montana can also be seen as a sitcom version of Jem, since both series deal with the main characters with a pop star secret identity.
    • Shake It Up is the spiritual successor of Hannah Montana.
  • Pair of Kings could be considered as Wizard of Waverly Place's as their both fantasy comedy with action elements and some grim world elements there and there.
  • The Prisoner may be considered a Spiritual Successor to Danger Man. Patrick McGoohan plays the same type of secret agent character in both. Some fans (and George Markstein, one of the co-creators of the series) go farther, arguing that Number Six is John Drake, which would make it a true sequel series rather than a Spiritual Successor. However, McGoohan (the other co-creator) denies this, and character differences between Number Six and John Drake call it into question as well. For more details, see the "John Drake?" section of the Wikipedia article on Number Six.
  • Eli Stone to Ally McBeal, both about a lawyer who hallucinates, though both in different ways.
  • The Bill was a spiritual successor to The Sweeney. It was made by the same production house (Thames Television), and in its very earliest years it even shared some of the same production team (in particular original executive producer Lloyd Shirley).
    • The Sweeney was actually made by Thames subsidiary Euston Films, and is closer in style to Euston's earlier Special Branch.
  • Nowhere Man can be considered a spiritual successor to The Prisoner.
  • There are no fewer than three spiritual successors to Mystery Science Theater 3000 being run by various members of the original cast: Riff Trax, Cinematic Titanic, and The Film Crew.
  • The Young Ones had two spiritual successors, Filthy Rich and Catflap and Bottom.
    • One of the live Bottom stage shows had them going back in time and reverting to their characters from The Young Ones.
  • Tokusatsu series Tomica Hero Rescue Force is the Spiritual Successor to Madan Senki Ryukendo, made by the same people and sponsored by the same toy company.
  • Endurance was a clear successor to JD Roth's previous kids-reality show Moolah Beach.
  • iCarly is the spiritual successor to Drake and Josh.
  • Big Time Rush is the spiritual successor to The Monkees.
  • Rescue Me is a Spiritual Successor to The Job.
  • The Stranger was an independent direct-to-video (and audio) spiritual successor to Doctor Who, starring Colin Baker and other actors from the show during its long hiatus.
  • Real Time with Bill Maher could be considered the spiritual successor to Politically Incorrect.
  • Doctor Who. The UNIT stories clearly draw from Quatermass, with the Third Doctor taking on the Quatermass role of a cantankerous scientific advisor aiding military authorities to repel aliens invading Britain, while hampered by the occasional Obstructive Bureaucrat. In fact we're first introduced to The Brigadier in "The Web of Fear" which, like Quatermass and the Pit, featured an alien menace in the London Underground.
  • Psychoville, to The League of Gentlemen.
  • The West Wing was born of material and ideas left over from creator Aaron Sorkin's movie The American President.
    • Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip was a spiritual successor to The West Wing. In fact, the show's biggest problem was often cited as the fact that the style and tone that worked so well for a show about running the government of the United States felt hilariously out of place on a show about running a Saturday Night Live expy.
  • All That was a spiritual successor to the early 90's Nick sketch show Roundhouse, which was a spiritual successor to the immensely popular You Can't Do That on Television.
    • In a similar vein, Mad TV was a spiritual successor to In Living Color, being Fox's competitor to Saturday Night Live with there being only a year between the two. In Living Color is known for giving rise to the careers of Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, and Shawn and Marlon Wayans, while Mad TV arguably did the same for Orlando Jones, Phil Lamarr, Nicole Sullivan, Alex Borstein, Bobby Lee, and current SNL featured player Taran Killam.
  • The entire FOX television network has been called the spiritual successor to the DuMont network, and not just because it's the "fourth network" in the American TV lineup. After DuMont went bankrupt in 1956, many of the remaining now-independent stations formed a company that would later become Metromedia. In The Eighties, Rupert Murdoch bought Metromedia's television operations and used them to launch the Fox network.
  • Drew Carey's Green Screen Show and Drew Carey's Improv-a-Ganza are this to Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
    • So is Mock the Week, even sharing several identical games and a couple of guests.
  • The Pacific to Band of Brothers.
  • Choujinki Metalder was produced by Toei to be an Eighties' version of Jinzou Ningen Kikaider. Both involved robotic superheroes with a two-tone color scheme on their body (blue on the left side and red on the right), both end their names with "der" ("Kikaider" literally means "Machineder"), their human forms are modeled after the likeness of their creator's dead son (Jiro's likeness came from Taro's, while Ryusei Tsurugi's was from Tatsuo Koga), and they're both assisted by a rival cyborg in black who formerly worked for the enemy (Hakaider and Topgunder).
  • The Wire is generally seen as a spiritual successor to David Simon's earlier Baltimore police series, Homicide: Life On the Street.
  • Night Gallery, a supernatural anthology narrated by Rod Serling, can be considered one for The Twilight Zone.
    • Although considering that Serling didn't have script approval on Night Gallery it might be more of a dispirited sequel.
  • The Soup, formerly "The What the? Awards" is a spiritual successor to Talk Soup.
  • Fringe is almost universally considered a spiritual successor to The X-Files.
  • Glee could be seen as a successor to both the short-lived series Cop Rock and Viva Laughlin. Albeit much more successful and well-known.
    • It's more like Fame:The tv series with its theme of people wanting to be special and being a musical, except set in a regular school instead of a performing arts school.
    • The 2003 movie Camp was, essentially, Glee with a smaller budget and way more subversion. It takes place in a musical theater summer camp, all of the numbers are Show Within a Show, and the lead character is a Pet Heterosexual in a Cast Full of Gay.
    • Actually, Glee is closer in tune to another Ryan Murphy high school based show, Popular (except without the music).
  • Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman was this to Zoom, the first season of FETCH! even having one of the same castmates.
  • Undeclared to Freaks and Geeks
  • The rich colors and whimsical feel of Amelie inspired the creation of Pushing Daisies.
    • Pushing Daisies is the third (unsuccessful) series created by Bryan Fuller and is seen as a sucessor to both Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls.
      • Several characters (portrayed by the same actor/actress) have appeared from one show to the other, completing the belief that all three shows exist in the same 'universe'.
      • Not exactly. The universes where clearly different, with Pushing Daisies being retro-cute, Dead Like Me being fairly normal (save the supernatural elements) and Wonderfalls somewhere in between. All of them do carry themes of fantasy, uniqueness, life and death, golden retrievers and touching people.
  • Some people believe Battlestar Galactica Reimagined to be not only a remake of the earlier BSG, but also to have adopted enough elements from Firefly to be considered a spiritual successor.
  • Most of Jack Webb's later series (e.g., Adam-12, Emergency, Project UFO) can be considered spiritual successors to his own Dragnet. They all share a basic approach—following the professional lives of dedicated public servants, filmed in the style of a Police Procedural.
  • The Borgias to The Tudors.
  • Sliders is a Spiritual Successor to Quantum Leap. The shows share a similar episode forumula, Sliders was advertised at least once as "Quantum Leap with an edge," and dialogue in a later episode implies that Maggie Beckett may be Sam Beckett's niece.
  • The Good Wife is perhaps this to Canterburys Law, as both are courtroom dramas starring Julianna Margulies.
  • Cheers is a spiritual successor to Fawlty Towers and was actually written as an American version of the selfsame. It was only when the writers realized that the overwhelming majority of the plots were taking place in the hotel bar that they cut the hotel out and just set the show in the bar.
  • How I Met Your Mother is very much a spiritual successor to Friends, which is itself a spiritual successor to Cheers. All three are sitcoms with some form of restaurant as their default set (Friends is the odd man out, using a cafe instead of a bar), and are centered around a Nakama of unmarried ~30-year-olds, with sexual tension amongst the group.
    • It's also something of a spiritual successor to The Wonder Years, using the framing device of an older narrator telling the audience stories about his past. How I Met Your Mother took the idea and instead of the fairly straightforward application in The Wonder Years, ran with the concept and branched out like crazy, turning the show into a convoluted mystery built on Anachronistic Order and Continuity Porn.
  • Unhappily Ever After was the spiritual successor to Married... with Children, made by the same creator, with each character on UEA an Expy of someone on Married... with Children.
  • The short-lived sitcom "Good News" is this to Amen as they were both created by the same people, took place in a church, shared the same sets, shared a Hettabrink sister (Amelia), and most of the plots involved an Amoral Attorney and the church's reverend. The only thing that's different on GN is that there's no Thelma or Rolly, and GN is set in inner-city Los Angeles while Amen is set in Philadelphia.
  • The Lifetime mini series, Marry Me is a spiritual successor to Maneater.
  • A.N.T. Farm is a spiritual successor to That's So Raven.
  • Deadliest Warrior is a spiritual successor to Animal Face Off.
  • My Summer With Des (one-off slice-of-life dramedy by Arthur Smith against the backdrop of Euro '96) is a spiritual successor to An Evening With Gary Lineker (one-off slice-of-life dramedy by Smith and Chris England against the backdrop of the 1990 World Cup).
  • Jessie could be considered a successor to The Nanny, since they are both about regular women being hired as nannies for wealthy families through pure happenstance.
    • Not to mention that the creator/executive producer for the former, Pamela Eells O'Connell, was one of the original writers for the latter.
  • Chuck, in a lot of ways, is a combination Spiritual Successor. Take one part Jake20 (everyday geek infused with Applied Phlebotinum to make him a badass), one part She Spies (a borderline Affectionate Parody of the spy genre), mix well, top with Adam Baldwin, and serve.
  • The BBC's music show Later with Jools Holland is without a doubt the Spiritual Successor to The Old Grey Whistle Test.
  • The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (surreal Dickensian parody written by Mark Evans) is a Spiritual Sound to Screen Adaptation of Bleak Expectations (surreal Dickensian parody written by Mark Evans).
  • Homeland is a Spiritual Successor to 24. In addition to sharing a lot of writers, executive producers and production staff, both shows are concerned with intelligence and counter-terrorism work, what motivates terrorists and double agents, the personal costs of such a life (both terrorists and counter-terrorism agents) and the lengths that both sides will go to. Homeland, however, skips 24's major gimmick.
  • Downton Abbey can be considered a spiritual successor to Upstairs, Downstairs, given the similar themes (both deal with the lives of a large aristocratic family and their servants, both are period pieces, and both feature numerous characters) that both shows share. As a bonus, Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton, even admits to his show being a successor to Upstairs Downstairs.
    • It can also be seen as a Spiritual Successor to Fellowes' film, Gosford Park.
  • Twin Peaks was a Spiritual Successor to an unrealised Mark Frost/David Lynch plan to dramatise the life of Marilyn Monroe. Both stories featured the mysterious death of a beautiful blonde with a murky secret life, all recounted in a secret diary. Lynch's film Blue Velvet could also be considered the spiritual ancestor of Twin Peaks.
  • While not exactly a case of Spiritual Successor, 3rd Rock from the Sun and The Big Bang Theory have a lot in common with each other. Both shows are about Insufferable Genius physics prodigies with terrible social skills and all of their (equally) weird and socially inept friends, both have vaguely science based titles, and both John Lithgow and Jim Parsons have won Emmy's for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series.
  • "Reaper" to "The Loop". Both had Bret Harrison playing a guy named Sam, who hangs out with his slacker friends. And they both got worse the second season, although YMMV on The Loop. Also Bret Harrison played a guy named Sam on Law and Order Special Victims Unit, who (like in Reaper) had a blonde mother named Linda.
  • "Mr. Sunshine" to "Better Off Ted", and "Better Off Ted" to "Andy Richter Controls the Universe".
  • The Colgate Comedy Hour to vaudeville.
  • Cougar Town to Scrubs. Both have the same creator and share many of the same writers and actors, and are very similar in tone and humor. They even share at least one character. One episode Lampshaded it in the opening title. "Welcome to Cougartown. No, it's not just Scrubs in Florida with a lot of wine."


Music[edit | hide]

  • Atmosphere's song The Waitress could be seen as a sequel to Her Music Box, with the little girl in the latter having grown up.
  • Guitarist Jerry Cantrell's second solo album, "Degradation Trip", has been described as a spiritual successor to Alice in Chains' Dirt album.
  • Chickenfoot is this for Van Halen, considering half of Chickenfoot is comprised of the two least crazy members of Van Halen, and the actual Van Halen has degenerated into a rather pathetic nostalgia act.
  • Some fans consider Gamma Ray to be the Spiritual Successor of Helloween. It was founded by one of Helloween's guitarists, Kai Hansen, and Helloween absolutely did not put out a couple of really bad albums after he left.
  • So many of Frank Zappa's albums were this to each other, it would take a lot of space to list them all.
  • Tom Waits' "Swordfishtrombones" was the precursor for "Franks Wild Years" [sic], which was followed by "Rain Dogs". Collectively, they are known as the Frank O'Brien Trilogy.
  • Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut" is seen by many to be a successor to their earlier album "The Wall". Both are concept albums dealing with pain, loss, and detachment.
    • Also a rock musician who appears in some of the album's songs may be Pink.
      • The Wall and The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking were written as part of the same set of 1978 demos, and both would have been considered to be the successor to Animals. The Wall won. The Final Cut began as new tracks written in 1982 for The Wall movie, along with rejected songs from the album's 1979 sessions, but only "When The Tigers Broke Free" was used. It was to be released as an album called Spare Bricks. It was later completed with new tracks about and a new concept about the schoolteacher from The Wall being angry about The Falklands War and warmongering in general and called The Final Cut. TPACOHH was renewed as Roger Waters' first solo album. As a result, the albums have similar sounds and similar subject matter.
    • Roger Waters' solo album Amused To Death has been described by some fans as on par with Pink Floyd's classic albums.
      • Amused To Death was actually written at first as, literally, a sequel to Waters' Radio KAOS album. Roger's objections to the first Iraq War (and its depiction by the news media as it unfurled) changed all of that.
  • Lady Gaga has been called the spiritual success to Cyndi Lauper.
  • Heaven and Hell is essentially the early 80's Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath itself has returned to its original lineup.
  • When 16 Horsepower started drifting apart, the frontman and primary songwriter started recording and performing under the moniker Woven Hand, basically picking up exactly where his first band left off.
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven is seen as this to Johann Sebastian Bach, and Johannes Brahms is seen as this to Beethoven.
  • Both Post-Grunge and Metalcore have been called the Spiritual Successor to Hair Metal for different reasons. The former for its lyrical content, near total dominance of mainstream Hard Rock, "poppy" hard rock nature, and abundance of same-sounding Follow the Leader acts. As for the latter, well, just look at this.
  • Britney Spears is considered to be the 00's successor to Madonna. Noted on her Wikipedia page, by the clear majority.
  • Porcupine Tree is, according to critics and lots of fans, the spiritual successor to King Crimson. Hell, even frontmen from both bands (Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp respectively) agree on this!
    • Hardly surprising, then, that Fripp actually invited Wilson to supervise the remastering of King Crimson's albums.
  • The Foo Fighters are without a doubt the spiritual successor to Nirvana. Dave Grohl was a member of both bands, and the Foo Fighters' first album was widely stated to sound almost exactly like a Nirvana rip-off.
  • Green Day's concept album "21st Century Breakdown" is almost a direct sequel to their previous rock opera "American Idiot." One could go as far as to argue that this could go beyond spiritual successor, as they both take place around the same time, deal with the same basic themes, and have very similar characters.
    • Several of the songs from 21st Century Breakdown are featured in the American Idiot stage show.
  • David Bowie's Aladdin Sane is this to his previous album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. He wrote some of the songs for it while on the U.S. tour supporting Ziggy Stardust, and keen to wean himself from the Secret Identity Identity issues surrounding the Ziggy persona, he came up with a Ziggy expy who was suffering a mental/emotional decline as he journeyed across America.
  • Arch Enemy's early albums (Black Earth, Stigmata, and Burning Bridges) have all been described as a continuation of sorts to Carcass's sound from the time of their fourth album, Heartwork (which Arch Enemy's lead guitarist, Michael Amott, played on).
  • Arcade Fire is one of these for Neutral Milk Hotel for some. It doesn't help that Arcade Fire signed to Verve Records because Neutral Milk Hotel was part of the label.
  • Sun Kil Moon is the Spiritual Successor to Red House Painters. When Mark Kozelek attempted to get RHP back together in 2002, their music had changed to drastically that he considered the project a separate one and renamed it to Sun Kil Moon.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • TNA currently is WCW had WCW not been bought out by Vince McMahon.
    • In particular, TNA in 2010-2011 was almost exactly the same as WCW in 1996-1997. Heel turn by Hulk Hogan and his emergence as the leader of a dictatorial faction (New World Order in WCW, Immortal in TNA), Eric Bischoff as his sycophant, and Sting as the Robin Hood figure who leads a crusade to defeat them both.
    • Interestingly, TNA usually refuses to acknowledge WWE by name (references are often highly elliptical) even though WWE took on all of WCW's canon as part of its own continuity when it incorporated it.
  • In fact, we have a similar trope that more specifically covers pro wrestling.
  • ECW was so great it needed two promotions to fill the void it left. Ring of Honor is the successor to the technical wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling is the successor to hardcore wrestling. Both promotions run most of their shows in ECW's home venues such as The Arena in Philadelphia and The Manhattan Center in New York.
  • The UFC is considered by most to be the successor to Pro Wrestling in general, since it follows the same exact model, although lately they have been trying to move away from that stucture.
  • WWE's World Heavyweight Championship is this to the WCW's top title of a similar name and design, which was unified into the WWE Championship months after the "entertainment company"'s purchase of WCW.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Hello Cheeky was this to I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again. Both were sketch shows with a surreal bent, a cast that played exaggerated versions of themselves, No Fourth Wall, a shared actor in Tim Brooke-Taylor and, early on, a shared producer in David Hatch. The main difference was that Hello Cheeky was a lot quicker and looser, with sketches not needing a punchline. (Actually, the first season of Hello Cheeky ran parallell to the last season of I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, which resulted in playful potshots by the latter to the former.)
  • 96.3 Radio Aire in Leeds, West Yorkshire, could be considered as a spiritual successor to 103.2 Power FM in Hampshire. Similar playlist, emphasis on personality/music, rather than "more music less talk", and emphasis on dance music at the weekends, whilst retaining an air of locality; in fact they only network 7pm-10pm and 1am-6am weekdays, from 6pm-10pm Saturdays and weekend overnights; otherwise, they're pretty much local.
    • Same could be said for UKRD's takeover of the former TLRC [The Local Radio Company] stations; they sound like live and local stations of the 90s, with emphasis on the local part, despite local radio being Deader Than Disco now. Plus, there were few if any rebrands, except in the North East, and no networking - so it feels local in content terms.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Pathfinder is Paizo's refinement of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 edition rules, made after Wizards Of The Coast released 4.0 edition and upset a lot of fans because it was completely incompatible with 3.5.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • William Shakespeare used a limited amount of themes in his works, to the point that some of his plays are almost identical in mood. For example: King Lear, Timon of Athens, and Titus Andronicus are all dark and heart-wrenching tragedies with Bittersweet Endings about great and powerful men who are reduced to insane beggars because of a single decision which was idiotic in retrospect.
  • Director-writer Franco Dragone helmed the bulk of Cirque Du Soleil's shows through 1998, and has since struck out on his own. Two of his solo shows, Le Reve (2005, Las Vegas) and The House of Dancing Water (2010, Macau, China) can be seen as spiritual successors to one of his last Cirque efforts, "O" (1998, Las Vegas), if only for the fact that they're all stylized fantasies that take place in, around, and upon enormous pools that can be converted to conventional stages as needed. (Le Reve, which was competing directly against "O", was initially poorly regarded by critics for being little more than a grim recycling of the Cirque effort, and substantial retooling resulted.)


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Most of Bandai's toylines are major successors or each at one point. In fact, they do love this trope:
    • SH Figuarts to the Souchaku Henshin line.
    • Robot Spirits to the Mobile Suit In Action! and In Action! Offshoot lines.
    • Super Robot Chogokin to Soul of Chogokin to regular Chogokin, despite both regular and Soul versions still exist.
  • Hero Factory to Bionicle (it even said so on the packaging of the first-wave figures). Bionicle itself was this to the earlier and short-lived Slizers and Robo Riders lines.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Torchlight is a spiritual succesor of Fate
  • Minecraft is a spiritual successor to Infiniminer.
  • Pokémon Black and White to Mother 3 in many ways.
    • The music: The Nuvema town theme, the Surfing theme, Route 10 theme, and N's Farewell are all remixes or Jimmy Hart Versions of MOTHER 3's songs (respectively: Hinawa's Theme, The Green Train's Fun, Too!, Run, My Dog, Run!, and the Love Theme).
    • The story: The back-story reveals that Unova's two dragons, Reshiram and Zekrom (and probably Kyurem) were once one, and twin heroes formed Unova alongside it. However, one twin wanted things to remain natural and the other was in favor of urbanization. The dragon then split in two as a result, the older twin forming Reshiram and the younger twin forming Zekrom. N and Ghetsis are said to be the decendents of one of these twins.
    • The Pokémon: Drilbur and its evolution, Excadrill, are reminiscent of the Mischievous Mole and Reconstructed Mole enemies respectively. Garbodor is similar to the Forlorn Junk Heap. Many others resemble enemies from the other Mother series games.
    • One could make a case for the entire Pokémon series being a spiritual successor to the MOTHER series, considering that the two series were made in part by a common developer (Creatures Inc.), and share a number of uncanny similarities.
  • Raw Thrills, the arcade game devhouse headed by Eugene Jarvis, has three instances of this.
    • Target: Terror is a Spiritual Successor to Area 51 and Maximum Force, down to the similar graphical style.
    • The Fast and the Furious arcade driver series is the Spiritual Successor to Jarvis' Cruis'n series.
    • And their latest project, H2Overdrive, is the Spiritual Successor to Hydro Thunder, from the same developers as the classic 1998 boat racer. Seriously, just look at the thing.
  • Rareware's Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark are likely the prime video game examples. Perfect Dark is built on Goldeneye's game engine, so it feels like a natural extension of the same game, despite Bond being nowhere in sight. They even use Rare Guns and settings from Goldeneye with the names slightly changed. Goldeneye had another Spiritual Successor in the form of the Time Splitters games, done by the core team behind Goldeneye. Time Splitters 2 is extremely similar to Goldeneye and with the use of the Map Maker, one can get extremely close to it.
  • Fumito Ueda's Shadow of the Colossus was thought to be a Spiritual Successor to his previous game, Ico. However, he revealed a direct connection between the two games in an interview several months after the game's release: the protagonist of Shadow of the Colossus is actually a direct ancestor of the protagonist in Ico. However, the two play very differently and have no further storyline connections.
    • Team Ico's upcoming game "The Last Guardian" appears very likely to be one to both Ico AND SOTC.
  • Starcraft can be argued to be a spiritual successor to the first two Warcraft games, also made by Blizzard Entertainment.
  • Chris Taylor's Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander.
  • The Paper Mario series was conceived and created in-house by Nintendo's Intelligent Systems after a direct sequel to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars became impossible due to Nintendo and Square's late-nineties falling-out.
  • System Shock has two. BioShock (series) retains the gameplay of System Shock 2, and Dead Space retains the horror atmosphere and setting.
  • Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma are considered to form a thematic, though unofficial, trilogy as successors to Soul Blazer. Although there are direct links included; The first boss of Soul Blazer is a Bonus Boss in Illusion of Gaia, with a storyline explanation of why, albeit a somewhat bizarre one. Meanwhile, Terranigma is explicitly referred to as "Illusion of Gaia 2" in a Developer's Room Easter Egg.
    • There's also a dog named Turbo who shows up in all three games.
    • To some, The Granstream Saga on the PlayStation may be considered a fourth game due to a few shared themes.
  • The turbulent history of Wasteland's developers has prompted a lot of this:
    • After Interplay made Wasteland for Electronic Arts, EA made a "sequel" named Fountain Of Dreams, which they ultimately decided not to market as a sequel to Wasteland.
    • Since IP couldn't get the rights to Wasteland back from EA, IP (specifically, the RPG group inside IP, Black Isle Studios) instead repurposed a prototype GURPS RPG to make Fallout and Fallout 2.
    • As the crowning glory to this nonsense, InXile head Brian Fargo (the producer of the original Wasteland) has reacquired the rights to Wasteland recently, opening up the possibility for Wasteland itself to get an actual sequel.
    • Interplay also released Dragon Wars, the spiritual successor to The Bards Tale trilogy they developed for EA. Brian Fargo then obtained the rights to The Bard's Tale and published another game under that title in 2004.
    • The scepter then has to go to Afterfall which is being developed as a spiritual successor to Fallout, set in Nuclear Winter Eastern Europe.
  • Bioware's Neverwinter Nights was a Spiritual Successor to the early Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game of the same name.
  • Ikaruga was a Spiritual Successor to the Saturn game Radiant Silvergun; both are by Treasure, and Ikaruga was known in development as Project RS2.
    • The octahedron-shaped object also makes an appearance in both games. The track that plays when you fight it is even called "The Stone-Like", which was its name in Radiant Silvergun.
  • The Track Mania series is considered to be the Spiritual Successor of an early 90's game called Stunts, which not only has the merit of sporting super-sleek 3D graphics (for the time of course), but is about clearing obstacle-laden tracks on powerful sports cars. Coincidentally, Trackmania Nations, to put an example, is about clearing obstacle-laden tracks in an Formula-1-lookalike racing car.
  • Maximo was created as an heir to the Ghouls 'n Ghosts series, to the point of borrowing the first-stage music of the latter.
    • And the fact that the protagonist is stripped to his boxer shorts after taking enough damage.
  • Fallout 3 bears the distinction of being the spiritual sequel of The Elder Scrolls series while itself being an actual sequel to another game.
  • Some consider Bungie's Halo series a spiritual sequel to their earlier Marathon series.
    • Marathon itself might be a spiritual sequel to Pathways into Darkness.
      • There are a lot of fans, especially older fans, who still hold to the theory that Marathon is actually a direct sequel to Pathways in all but name.
      • The other theory is that the Halo Trilogy is a PREQUEL to PiD and Marathon.
  • Xenosaga was one for Xenogears (although the third game & the sourcebooks hint that the two take place in the same timeline, albeit very distantly apart). This was due to copyright issues; Square Enix still holds the copyright for Xenogears, while all the people who actually worked on it went to Monolith Soft. There are a metric ton of Shout Outs and characters that are strikingly similar. Word of God, however, states that Xenosaga was a Continuity Reboot for Xenogears, and not an actual prequel.
    • And history has now repeated itself: Xenoblade Chronicles is a spiritual successor to both Xenogears and Xenosaga, once again caused by Namco retaining the saga franchise while Monolith, now owned by Nintendo, wanted to make more Xeno games.
  • The 2000 RPG Wizards and Warriors by D. W. Bradley (not to be confused with the NES Wizards and Warriors game) is one for the Wizardry series. Bradley was also the creator of Wizardry games 5 through 7.
  • The arcade top-down shoot-em-up Smash TV was a Spiritual Successor to both the movie The Running Man and the arcade classic Robotron: 2084.
    • Smash TV later got its own Spiritual Successor, Total Carnage, with the same gameplay and over-the-top violence, except you're fighting a Saddam Hussein lookalike instead of going through a futuristic game show.
      • It's actually Hitler.
  • Chris Sawyer's Transport Tycoon and Locomotion.
  • Valve's Portal is officially the Spiritual Successor of Narbacular Drop, and the whole team behind ND now works at Valve.
  • One of the victory conditions in Civilization II is to make a journey to Alpha Centauri, thus beginning the colonization of the galaxy by your side. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri can thus be seen as the direct sequel to this particular victory. Or, it's just Civilization II IN SPACE!
  • Rise of Nations, a strategy game designed by Brian Reynolds, is to some degree a Spiritual Successor of Civilization III.
  • While Guitar Hero III is obviously the notional sequel to Guitar Hero II, many feel that the "soul" of the franchise has moved along to Rock Band; after Harmonix, the series' creator, sold the Guitar Hero IP to Activision, they moved on to Rock Band, making it the game which still employs the Guitar Hero II development team, game engine, and philosophy regarding note chart design.
    • While we're on the subject of Rock Band, Unplugged for the PSP hearkens back to Harmonix's pre-Guitar Hero days, playing much more like Frequency or Amplitude (in fact, it was orginally supposed to be a direct sequel to the latter, but Sony then vetoed the idea, forcing Harmonix to slap the Rock Band label on it). The DS version of Rock Band 3 continues the trend, while the DS version of Lego Rock Band is similar but more watered-down than the other two.
    • Also on the subject, there's a disgruntled group of fans of GH I & II that feel that the 'soul' of the series isn't the subtle control differences, scrolling note layout pattern or the level of difficulty, but the fun and wacky spirit of the first two games is part of neither Rock Band or Guitar Hero. The closest to this spirit is probably Lego Rock Band.
  • Killer7 and No More Heroes, both brainchildren of Goichi Suda. Travis, the protagonist of No More Heroes, can learn special abilities themed after the various personalities from Killer7 by bringing balls to a drunk in a bar.
  • Far Cry, as well as spawning a couple of re-imaginings, also has a spiritual sequel, Crysis, which was made by the same company, is set in a similar location, and includes similar themes.
    • In fact, Crysis plays much more like a sequel to Far Cry than Far Cry 2 does. Far Cry 2 was developed by a different team, is highly non-linear in terms of both storyline and gameplay (it's a "sandbox game"), and is still not connected to the original's storyline in any way. Other than brand recognition, there is really no reason to call it a sequel. Thus, while a Spiritual Successor has to "feel like" a sequel, a sequel clearly does not have to feel like a Spiritual Successor.
  • The game Heavenly Guardian was originally supposed to be a game in the Kiki Kai Kai series (Pocky and Rocky), and had its sprites reworked into a new game when the publisher lost the license.
  • The little-known GameCube game Gotcha Force is considered by its fans a thematic successor to Virtual On.
  • In a rare example of spiritual sequels crossing from one franchise to another, a group of developers wanted to make a new Ultima Underworld game, but failed to secure the license. They changed the project to a Spiritual Successor in an original IP, Arx Fatalis. They were later hired by Ubisoft, and created a Spiritual Successor to Arx Fatalis as part of Ubi's revived Might and Magic brand, becoming Dark Messiah.
    • Ultima VI received its own spiritual sequel in the form of Cythera, which featured an improved resolution and expanded skills.
  • Lego Indiana Jones to Lego Star Wars, and Lego Batman to both of them - we tropers have even filed all three as a single series. It helps that they ran out of Star Wars movies to adapt.
  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is considered to be the Spiritual Successor to Trace Memory (Another Code outside the U.S.).
  • Odin Sphere is a Spiritual Successor to the little-known and Japan-exclusive Sega Saturn title Princess Crown, being created by the same director and company, and featuring several thematic similarities, including the 'little girl reading the game story in a book' narrative device.
    • The Wii game Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a spiritual successor to both of them, and was in earlier stages referred to as Princess Crown 3, in the same way Odin Sphere was named Princess Crown 2.
  • Haunting Ground is considered to be the Spiritual Successor to the Clock Tower series due to its similar gameplay and style. The fact that it was made by some of the same people behind Clock Tower 3 didn't hurt either.
  • God Hand is said to be a better 3D version of Final Fight than either of the actual 3D Final Fight games (one which was a competitive fighting game, and other a GTA-clone).
  • Super Robot Wars W for the Nintendo DS is the Spiritual Successor to Super Robot Wars J for the Game Boy Advance. Despite being in separate continuities, they both share many of the same series' (Full Metal Panic!, Martian Successor Nadesico, Gundam Seed, and Tekkaman Blade are the standouts), with units even using the same sprites and attacks. W also has many of the same features as J, such as Unit Switching with battleships, altering background music, and series favorites. A common fan theory is that the other race J's Fury mention they're avoiding is in fact W's Database, or at least will be once their storylines come up in the Original Generation series. Similarly, K has a similar engine and graphics, but series-wise it really only shares SEED This all culminates in Super Robot Wars High School, which combines all three.
    • Similarly, the original mecha of Super Robot Wars Advance are descended from the mecha of Super Robot Wars 64, and SRW MX is considered to be a successor of the Compact/Impact series.
    • K is actually a successor to Z - created out of all the content the devs wished they could have put in the latter, and sharing a few series and several themes.
    • Super Robot Wars Z is likewise one for Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden, sharing many of the same series as well as largely taking place in a post-apocalyptic setting.
  • Cute Knight is quite similar to the Princess Maker series of games.
  • The Boktai series (including Lunar Knights) can be considered a spiritual successor to Metal Gear: Ghost Babel. The game engine is very similar, and Ikuya Nakamura, the director of all the Boktai games, was also the character designer of Ghost Babel.
  • The Donkey Kong Country series seems like a Spiritual Successor to Super Mario World, where they took everything that set that game apart from the earlier Mario games and expanded on it, and the gameplay was even reminiscent of a Mario game. Keep in mind that Yoshi's Island only picked up its sequel status for American release.
  • Nintendo recently announced a Chinese company is developing an MMORPG featuring all of the Disney franchises separated into different worlds that the players can visit called "Disney Fantasy Online". That's right, it's an MMORPG version of Kingdom Hearts with the Square elements subtracted. The website really screams it out, since the Disney characters are wearing the same outfits they do in Kingdom Hearts.
  • The Wii's menu system (including the default channels and at least part of Wii Sports) is a Spiritual Successor to Mario Paint. The music is too similar to be a coincidence, and the Wiimote works a lot like the old SNES Mouse did.
    • The way you can customize the Wii menu through drag-and-drop is also very similar to the GBA Movie Player. Both the Wii and GBAMP also have 512MB of memory.
  • Assassin's Creed is considered by many to be a Spiritual Successor to Ubisoft's Prince of Persia series.
    • Fans of Prince of Persia are very confused by that notion, seeing as the two titles have almost nothing in common, gameplay and story wise.
  • Some people consider the Yakuza series as a Spiritual Successor to Shenmue, due to a shared publisher (Sega), a similar emphasis on hand-to-hand combat and time-killing minigames, and an elaborate, intricately-told story.
  • Despite being a beat-'em-up instead of a competitive Fighting Game, Final Fight is a spiritual successor to the original Street Fighter. It was even marketed at trade shows under the Working Title Street Fighter '89. Guy and Sodom would later show up as playable characters in the original Street Fighter Alpha, followed by Rolento and Cody in the sequels.
  • Blaz Blue is a Spiritual Successor to Guilty Gear, with more emphasis on offense and greater penalty for turtling. Early in development, Arc System Works received a lot of flak for basically just giving Guilty Gear a huge makeover.
  • Guilty Gear 2: Overture is a spiritual successor to the Herzog Real-Time-Strategy/Action hybrid games. Really.
  • The Pandora is the spiritual successor to the GP2x which is the spiritual successor to the GP32. While all three handhelds differ in developers, companies, and even nationalities, the philosophy of being and open games device anyone can make games for has been present and strengthened throughout the series.
    • A more closely-related successor to the GP2X is the Wiz, made by the same company (Gamepark Holdings). The Pandora, it should be noted, is made by a separate group of developers though its underlying philosophy is very similar to the GP32, GP2X, and Wiz.
  • The Age of Wonders series is a spiritual successor to Master of Magic.
  • Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island (aka Sonic 3D Blast) is more of a spiritual successor to the early arcade game Flicky, than a proper Sonic title.
  • Dawn of War 2 plays more like Company of Heroes than Dawn of War 1. It largely abandons base-building, which was a major part of Dawn of War 1.
  • Battle Garegga's spiritual sequel is Armed Police Batrider, which inherits many of Battle Gareggas mechanics, such as bombing the scenery for powerups and medals, as well as the medal chaining system, and even has guest appearances by the ships of Battle Garegga and the Mahou Daisakusen series. Batrider in turn had a spiritual sequel in Battle Bakraid, which borrows Gareggas option changing feature, has a somewhat modified medal chaining system, and the "tickle laser"-cum-charge-shot from Batrider.
    • The Dynamic Difficulty system of these games is lifted from Zanac, of all things, only made completely and utterly inconvenient (notably, the removal of every rank reduction method except dying.)
    • Ibara, sharing the same main designer also counts as a Spiritual Successor, if you can count a near-exact copy of the rank system of Garegga as one.
  • NBA Jam is a spiritual successor to Arch Rivals (both are arcade-style basketball games created by Midway which played fast and loose with the rules).
    • Likewise, NFL Blitz to High Impact Football.
  • Noby Noby Boy and Katamari Damacy, due to sharing the same creator.
  • Heretic is a spiritual successor to Doom. Both are published by id Software, and both use the id Tech 1 game engine. In fact, using the God Mode and Weapons cheats from Doom will result in death and loss of all weapons, respectively, when used in Heretic.
  • Star Ocean 1 was a Spiritual Successor to Tales of Phantasia, the first game in the Tales (series). They share many gameplay and interface elements, and even things like items and spells; the original Tales of Phantasia team splintered into the two series, with the exception of music composer Motoi Sakuraba, who remains the composer on both series.
  • Snatcher and Policenauts, both of which are sci-fi graphic adventure games directed by Hideo Kojima.
  • Robo Warrior (Bomber King in Japan) to Bomberman, both developed by Hudson Soft and starring protagonists who use bombs as their main weapon (though RoboWarrior's hero also has a rather weak-by-comparison Arm Cannon in case he runs out of bombs).
  • Nexus War to Urban Dead, with the added twist that the former made off with a substantial chunk of the latter's player base when it came out. So not only does it have similar mechanics and interface, it's played by all the same people.
  • Sigma Star Saga is considered this in regards to The Guardian Legend. While both games are hybridizations of the Action Adventure and Shoot'Em Up genres, Sigma is more story-driven.
  • Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Endless Frontier is considered a Spiritual Successor to Namco X Capcom. Both games are developed by Monolith Soft, and shared a similar action-styled battle system, even though the latter game was structured like a Turn-Based Strategy game, and the former being more a Eastern RPG. The kicker is though that the protagonists of Namco X Capcom, Reiji Arisu and Xiaomu, get caught up in the events of Endless Frontier, while chasing down the Big Bad they thought they had killed at the end of Namco X Capcom, thus making the two games in continuity.
  • Persona is an obvious spiritual successor to one-off Mega Ten Gaiden Game Shin Megami Tensei: if...—most prominently in the first one, with a truly astounding number of parallels between the two games, but even later ones have some of this; if nothing else, the "persona" system remains a greatly revised and expanded version of the "guardian" system found in If....
    • Digital Devil Saga, was, meanwhile, a Spiritual Successor to Persona, featuring some noticeable similarities in story and gameplay... although the Persona series later ended up getting true continuations in Persona 3 and 4.
    • Devil Survivor is a Spiritual Successor for the Majin Tensei spinoff series, although this statement is based only on the fact that they are strategy games.
  • Prototype is this to The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Both are superhuman Wide Open Sandbox games by Radical Entertainment that downright relish in their Video Game Cruelty Potential.
    • According to Word of God, the inspiration for Prototype came about due to Hulk's "weaponize" ability; that is, the ability to turn vehicles and such into improvised weapons, rather than limiting the player to "pick up and throw." Reportedly, during testing, somebody posed the question "What If you could weaponize the player?"
  • Demon Sword: Spiritual successor to Legend of Kage. Irem's Ninja Spirit, although made by completely different developers, was also a spiritual successor (pardon the pun).
  • The popular, but now dated, X-COM series has a number of unrelated spiritual successors, including the UFO Afterblank series, the open-source UFO Alien Invasion, and Rebelstar:Tactical Command for the GBA.
  • Krazy Rain is a spiritual sequel to the massively-multipler online Rhythm Game O2Jam.
  • Raystorm: spiritual successor to Rayforce. Raycrisis is the official prequel to Rayforce.
  • Mars Matrix is a spiritual sequel to the Giga Wing games.
  • Strikers 1945 series: Successor to the Aero Fighters series, but more Bullet Hell-ish.
  • Border Down: Successor to Metal Black, a Shoot'Em Up by Taito. Hiroyuki Maruyama, the president of G.rev, started the company and did subcontracting work for Treasure and Taito to generate revenue just to make this game. Why? He just really liked Metal Black.
  • Hellgate:London to Diablo.
  • Razing Storm is the spiritual sequel to Crisis Zone, the Gaiden Game to Time Crisis. Like Crisis Zone, you use a machine gun instead of Time Crisis's handguns (though for bigger targets, you (automatically) switch to stronger weapons), and instead of hiding behind objects, you take cover behind a heavy-duty shield. Razing Storm has since been renamed Time Crisis: Razing Storm for its PlayStation 3 release.
  • The Tetris clone NullpoMino is somewhat of a spiritual successor to Heboris: Unofficial Expansion (sharing the same font and a similar level of customization), developed from scratch due to Heboris UE's source code—a mixture of C++ and a gaming script—being an Eldritch Programming Abomination.
  • Metal Slug is the spiritual successor to Gunforce 2 and In the Hunt, which were made by the same staff back when they were working for Irem.
    • Bu the same developers, the golf game Neo Turf Masters is a spiritual sequel to the Major Title series.
  • The Konami arcade game M.I.A.: Missing In Action is pretty much an unofficial official sequel to Rush N Attack (aka Green Beret), using what is essentially a more advanced version of the same engine, but with a different setting (being set in Vietnam instead of Russia).
  • Irem's Vigilante is pretty much a more advanced version of their earlier single-plane Beat'Em Up Kung Fu Master in a different setting, although there was an official sequel for the Family Computer in Japan titled Spartan X 2.
  • Tear Ring Saga, a Japanese-only strategy RPG for the PlayStation designed by Fire Emblem creator Shozo Kaga, is practically an unofficial Fire Emblem sequel, to the point that Nintendo sued Kaga's company, Tirnanog, for copyrights infringement (but lost the case).
  • Gunstar Heroes was considered a spiritual successor to Contra III: The Alien Wars due to the fact that two of its main programmers worked on both games. In fact, it was the closest thing to a Contra game for the Sega Genesis before Konami decided to release Contra: Hard Corps.
  • Tetris the Grand Master is the spiritual successor to Sega's Tetris games, and borrows many elements such as the piece colors, the bottom-biased rotation system, fast sideways movement and soft drop, and piece lock delay (a feature present in all of Sega's Tetris games but not in Nintendo's, at least for a while).
  • Prince of Persia (the original game) was a Spiritual Successor to Karateka, an earlier game by the same author. The rotoscoped kicks and punches in Karateka prefigured the rotoscoped swordplay in Prince of Persia.
  • Fatal Fury to Street Smarts. The first stage music from the latter is even featured as the Versus Mode theme in the former.
  • The Mitchell arcade game Osman and feelplus/SquareEnix's recent Moon Diver are this to Capcom's Strider, both developed by the same designer (Kouichi Yotsui).
  • Data East's Neo Geo platformer Spinmaster stars the same characters from the Genesis game Dashin' Desperadoes, but plays more like a modernized version (literally and figuratively) of the original Joe & Mac (aka Caveman Ninja) than the game it's supposed to be a sequel to (which was more of a racing platform game). Spinmaster might as well had been called Joe & Mac AS INDIANA JONES-STYLE TREASURE HUNTERS.
  • Neo Geo Battle Coliseum is a practically a sequel to SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, only without the Capcom characters.
  • The first Video Games (and arcade games in general) can be seen as a Spiritual Successor to various carnival games such as the claw game, shooting ranges and Pinball as you spend little money for one game that is quickly over and in the case of Pinball you aim for a high score. It also helps that the only business experience Nolan Bushnell had before founding Atari was from maintaining these at a carnival.
  • The Final Fantasy games set in the Ivalice universe (including Vagrant Story, which technically isn't a Final Fantasy game) are successors to Quest's Ogre Battle franchise. Final Fantasy Tactics, the first game in the Ivalice universe, was already a spiritual successor of Tactics Ogre in its gameplay. Not surprisingly, Yasumi Matsuno, the director of most of the Ivalice series, was also the director of Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre, as well as the script writer of Ogre Battle 64, while Hiroshi Minagawa and Akihiko Yoshida were the illustrators in most of his games. After the release of Vagrant Story, Squaresoft actually purchased all of Quest's assets and absorbed them into the company.
    • Technically "Final Fantasy" can be seen as a 'Spiritual Series" as virtually none of the games have direct relation to each other, unless they have odd numberings or alternate subheadings, like Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy: Dirge of Cerberus. Every numbered Final Fantasy game has no direct relation to any other other than a few series trademarks. Even though they are technically sequels based on numberings, fans never consider them to be actual sequels. Thus Final Fantasy takes Spiritual Successor to the extreme.
  • The G.I. Joe arcade game by Konami is a spiritual sequel to an obscure pseudo-3D shoot-'em-up titled Devastators by the same company, which itself was loosely based on the 3D stages from the original Contra.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a spiritual sequel to the two-installment Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. It shares many elements with Higurashi: written by the same person, Groundhog Day Loop that loops at the beginning of each new arc, and spikes from happy scenes to Nightmare Fuel; however, it's in an entirely new setting: instead of a small, secluded village, it takes place on an island owned by a multi-million-yen family with new characters. It does have a couple Continuity Nods, however, in the form of Bernkastel and Lambdadelta.
    • But that hasn't stopped the fans from theorising that there is a connection between the series, especially around Bernkastel and Rika since it is hinted that Bernkastel is the collection of memories that was used to revive Rika each time she died in Higurashi plus that Higurashi was labeled When They Cry 1 & 2 (Higurashi and Higurashi Kai) while Umineko is When They Cry 3 & 4 (Umineko and Umineko Chiru). This might indicate a closer connection between the series.
  • The team that worked on Pro Wrestling for the NES later formed Human and developed the Fire Pro Wrestling series.
  • Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity is a successor to Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth, as the two games share a lot of the same battle mechanics.
  • Word of God says that Golden Sun is this to the Shining Force tactical RPG series, which makes sense considering Camelot was the ones who developed said series before they split with SEGA. In fact, the botched release of Shining Force III on the Saturn is the whole reason why they split and started Golden Sun.
  • According to Turn10, they consider Forza Motorsport 3 to be the true spiritual successor to Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo series. To paraphrase Polyphony Digital president Kazunori Yamauchi, "No it bloody well isn't".
  • The Tokimeki Memorial series got, during its 15 years-long run and ongoing, three Spiritual Successors:
    • Mitsumete Knight in 1997, which used Tokimeki Memorial 1's game engine and most of its mechanics, with several twists such as easier girl management, an expanded battle system, and a rich medieval/heroic-fantasy storyline where Anyone Can Die ;
    • Meine Liebe in 2001, using too the same game engine than Tokimemo but in a Gender Flipped version, making it the predecessor of the Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side branch of the series ;
    • Love Plus in 2009, reducing the datable characters to a measly three of them, but with lots more development around them and an After Story of sorts where the player can interact with the girl long after having they have confessed their feelings (a system which got a lot of controversy, especially with some Otaku pushing the thing a bit too far).
    • In 2007, Konami released Brooktown High in English. It was an In Name Only successor to the Tokimeki Memorial series. It received mixed reviews and weak sales.
    • Shira Oka: Second Chances was meant to be an unofficial fan-made spiritual successor to Tokimeki Memorial, but in English. It began development around 2005, but the full game was not released to the public until December 2010. Therefore, the title of "first fan-made spiritual successor in English with a commercial release" goes to the independent game Summer Session.
  • Refazel was supposed to be the sequel to Ferazel's Wand—hence the similar title. Sadly, the fellow who was in charge of the first game left Ambrosia Software shortly afterwards, and they wouldn't give him the sequel rights, so he made it into a sort of inverted Dolled-Up Installment.
  • The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers video game by Bandai for the Super NES is a spiritual successor to the Choujin Sentai Jetman game by Angel for the Famicom. Not that surprising, considering Natsume developed both.
  • The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces, a Wii flight sim game made by Project Aces with WW 2 like planes, is this to the Ace Combat series.
  • Wario Ware D.I.Y. appears to be one of Mario Paint.
  • Buck Bumble for the N64 is a 3d spiritual successor to Codemasters' C64/NES game Bee 52.
  • Wanako Studios' Assault Heroes can be seen as a spiritual successor to Konami's Jackal, as both games put you in control of a heavily-armed jeep (though Assault Heroes adds such features as multiple weapons, on-foot stages and dual analog-stick control).
  • Wii Party appears to be one of Mario Party.
  • Galactic Civilizations is this to Master of Orion 2. In fact, it's a better Master Of Orion 3 than Master Of Orion 3 was, since MoO3 was Spreadsheets In Space.
  • Ghost Trick is a Spiritual Successor to the Ace Attorney series. Both of the games even share the same director and creator, Shu Takumi.
  • Star Trek Online's space navigation/combat portion is a spiritual successor to Star Trek Starfleet Command.
  • Heavy Rain is a spiritual successor to Fahrenheit (2005 video game). Both from the same developer and both being mostly interactive movies.
  • Naughty Bear is the spiritual successor to Manhunt with teddy bears.
  • Elemental War of Magic is the spiritual successor to Master of Magic.
  • While Red Dead Redemption is the official sequel to Red Dead Revolver, Redemption has a lot more in common with the Activision-made Gun than it's true predecessor.
    • Also, Red Dead Redemption is considered a Spiritual Successor to Grand Theft Auto (namely, Grand Theft Horse).
      • L.A. Noire is also considered a Spiritual Successor to Grand Theft Auto (what if GTA was a film noir?), though arguably less so, due to the fact that this one's much more story-driven; the Wide Open Sandbox aspect of GTA and Redemption is not used in the main storyline. Instead, it has you moving from one mission directly into the next.
  • Blur is this to the Project Gotham Racing series, which itself was a spiritual successor to the Dreamcast game Metropolis Street Racer.
  • Ikari Warriors is a spiritual successor to Front Line. Both had a rotary aiming control.
  • Although the two games are very different, much of Final Fantasy V's dungeon/castle layout system is seen in Treasure of the Rudra.
  • Codemasters' GRID is a spiritual sequel to the TOCA Race Driver series, while DIRT was the spiritual successor to Colin Mc Rae Rally.
  • Lost Odyssey is a spiritual successor to the "Sakaguchi era" Final Fantasy games, which include Final Fantasy I through Final Fantasy X. Appropriate, since Sakaguchi himself actually is the game's creator.
  • Electronic Arts's Skate is a successor to their NES-era game Skate or Die.
    • And interestingly enough, the series it used to duel with, Tony Hawks Pro Skater, is itself a spiritual successor to 720 Degrees.
  • Alpha Protocol is a spiritual sequel to Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines and Deus Ex, an action-RPG where choices result in tangible consequences and gameplay is more heavily affected by one's character sheet than most games, including other RPGs. More cynically, Alpha Protocol gets a lot of undeserved flak and is often brushed aside as an attempt at "Mass Effect with SPIES" that failed miserably, so it also shares living with a bad rap (as well as some genuine technical problems) with Bloodlines.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has a spiritual successor by the name Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril, endorsed by the maker of I Wanna Be the Guy.
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault led to Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 1, 2, and the Modern Warfare trilogy.
  • Jade Empire is either the successor to Bridge of Birds, or the only game adaptation it's ever going to get.
  • While Knights of the Old Republic II is the sequel to Knights of the Old Republic, it is the spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment.
  • The NES game Laser Invasion can be considered the successor of the two first Top Gun games released by Konami for the NES. Laser Invasion shares the same engine used in Top Gun: The Second Mission and similar HUD, except that you control a gunship instead of a F-14, and there's a few light gun and maze sequences set on foot.
  • Kane and Lynch can be seen as a successor to Freedom Fighters. Both were developed by IO Interactive and feature music by Jesper Kyd, and aside from the co-op mode in the former game, the gameplay in the two games is practically identical.
  • Brutal Legend's "Stage Battles" were intended as a spiritual successor to Herzog Zwei... and they do have some strong similarities, but also to Sacrifice -- not surprising, as they had a developer for that game on the dev team.
  • The 1995 pinball machine Attack From Mars turned out to be a huge seller, but didn't get a proper sequel until the Pinball 2000 machine Revenge From Mars. In the meantime, the 1997 pinball Medieval Madness was created by the same developers and, despite the different premise, was far more similar to the original game's structure than the sequel was.
  • Konami's Dance Masters is sort of a spiritual successor to Para Para Paradise, and even has several parapara/eurobeat songs, including the famed "Night of Fire".
  • PlayStation 2 game Kengo serves as the spiritual successor to the unfortunately deceased Bushido Blade series.
  • Bulletstorm is this to the Painkiller.
  • In Japan, Hudson Soft produced the NES and MSX ports of Star Force and ran a nationwide tournament around it. But Star Force was a Tecmo game, and so Hudson developed a rather similar game called Star Soldier to feature in the next year's tournament. Star Force and Star Soldier each had their own line of sequels.
  • Bayonetta to Devil May Cry, moreso the first DMC game, but the traits are shared with later DMC games. Both were created by Hideki Kamiya, both share over the top action, and both have styles of attacking where mixing it up grants a higher score at the end of each section/chapter.
  • Bangai-O was originally supposed to be a remake of an old Japanese PC game called Hover Attack.
  • Jumping Flash is very similar to an earlier game by the same developers, Geograph Seal for the Sharp X 68000.
  • Treasure's Bleach fighting games for the Nintendo DS are considered to be spiritual successors to Yu Yu Hakusho: Maky?t? Issen for the Japanese Mega Drive.
  • One Piece: Gigant Battle for the DS was developed by Ganbarion, makers of Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars, and reuses many of the same assets.
  • Forbidden Siren was made by former members of Team Silent, the original developers for the Silent Hill series.
  • After a falling out between the developer and publisher of Operation Flashpoint, the publisher won the rights to the name and would reuse it for a rather different duology, while the developer kept the rights to the engine behind Operation Flashpoint and went on to create the Arm A series, which is widely considered to be the true successor to Operation Flashpoint to the point that the developers collectively call both series the Armaversum.
    • As a twist, for the tenth anniversary of the original Operation Flashpoint, the developers released a final patch (just over six years after the penultimate patch) that actually renamed the game to ARMA: Cold War Assault, as well as removing a Codemaster-included campaign called "Red Hammer."
  • EYE Divine Cybermancy has been called a successor to Deus Ex.
  • Alan Wake developed by Remedy Entertainment, is the Spiritual Successor to Max Payne also by Remedy. Both are third person shooters with a gimmick, Max Payne has Bullet Time while Alan Wake has weaponized Weakened by the Light; both have Shows Within a Show; both use a genre that video games do not normally dabble in (Film Noir and Stephen King-esque horror), both have evil old ladies as the main antagonists, and both have Shout Outs to Norse mythology.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 is slated to be something of a Spiritual Successor to Chrono Trigger, with it's storyline that revolves around Time Travel through the centuries with the goal of preventing the postapocalyptic future one of your main characters hail from and multiple endings depending on your actions in the game.
  • Parodied by Valve, who tried to pass off Deus Ex Human Revolution as the spiritual successor to Midway's Rail Shooter Revolution X, starring Aerosmith.
  • HAWX, to Blazing Angels (both arcade flight sims by Ubisoft's Romanian studio).
  • The old Taito game Mizubaku Adventure AKA Liquid Kids could be considered a successor to The New Zealand Story. Both of them are cutesy maze-like platformers with a hero who needs to rescue his kidnapped relatives/friends from cages in every level, have enemies pop up from randomly appearing portals, and have warps to other levels that appear by shooting empty portions of the stages. They also both have the same font for in-game messages!
  • The rare coin-op Nightmare in the Dark is a spiritual successor of sorts to the more well-known Snow Bros., except that you control a hunchback who engulfs enemies in balls of fire rather than snowmen burying enemies in snow by pelting them with snowballs.
  • Sega's Confidential Mission is considered by many a spiritual successor to their Virtua Cop games.
  • Dark Souls, with its near-identical gameplay, probably would be Demon's Souls 2 if Sony didn't own the IP.
  • R-Type had a line of actual sequels, but before most of these Irem made a spiritual successor titled X-Multiply.
  • Command & Conquer is the spiritual successor to Dune II, both done by Westwood Studios.
  • Twin Cobra was a spiritual successor to Tiger Heli, which in turn had a predecessor in Gyrodine, whose programmers went on to found Toaplan, the company which made the other two games. All three of these helicopter-based vertical shooters were distributed by Taito.
  • Skies of Arcadia is considered to be a spiritual successor to Phantasy Star since both were developed by Sega's Overworks studios, and they're both turn-based roleplaying games. In fact, some fans consider Skies to be more a successor to Phantasy Star than Phantasy Star Online.
  • Valkyria Chronicles too is considered such to Skies of Arcadia. While Valkyria is a strategy RPG instead of turn-based, it has some members of Sega's now extinct Overworks studios on its development, and even Skies protagonists Vyse and Aika make a cameo in it.
    • It's also been described as one to the Sakura Taisen games, especially given how many of the same people responsible for developing them were also involved with Valkyria Chronicles.
  • Pochi & Nyaa, apparently the last game Compile released before bankruptcy, was an obvious attempt to recapture some of the gameplay and aesthetics of the Puyo Puyo Cash Cow Franchise which they no longer owned.
  • Chrono Trigger can be seen as Live a Live's Spiritual Successor due to the similarities of both games.
    • The sequel, Chrono Cross, got its own Spiritual Successor in the Baten Kaitos duology for the Gamecube: both games share several staff members, have the same art style (hand-painted backgrounds with 3d sprites), and have similar battle systems.
  • Obliterator, a Platform Game by Psygnosis, features a slightly more refined form of the mouse-based control system and gameplay of their earlier game Barbarian (not to be confused with Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior), but takes place in a science fiction setting instead.
  • The Vic Tokai Platform Games Kid Kool, Psycho Fox and De Cap Attack all feature different characters (and the Japanese versions are different still), but have many elements in common, including the acceleration physics.
  • Word of God claims that Transformers Fall of Cybertron is a spiritual successor to their previous game, War for Cybertron rather than a true sequel.
  • Doublesix's All Zombies Must Die is a spiritual successor to their earlier zombie-slaying game, Burn Zombie Burn.
  • Fire Pro Wrestling is this to Nintendo's classic Pro Wrestling game, following the same style of gameplay mechanics as well as the use of Captain Ersatz versions of existing wrestlers.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny is this for the Wild Arms series. To start with, the Original Generation main character is a combined Expy of the various Wild Arms protagonists, and she comes from a dying wasteland planet that's a Filgaia Expy and whose restoration serves as one of the main plots of the game. It helps that the Wild Arms creator is the one in charge of the game's development, and that he and the Lyrical Nanoha creator are old acquaintances.
  • People have joked that Team Fortress 2 is a Spiritual Successor to Runescape, as both are games about collecting party hats, known for their "The one with the most hats wins" rule.
  • The X Universe series is widely considered a Spiritual Successor to Elite and Privateer.
  • Skullgirls is being considered a spiritual successor to Arcana Heart, according to people in the fighting game community who attend professional tournaments and have played both of them.
  • Kenka Bancho is sometimes considered to be the 3D version of Nekketsu Koha Kunio-kun that Technos never got to made.
  • The Two Guys from Andromeda, the guys behind the Space Quest games, have just recently come back together to try and create a "SpaceVenture" that looks every inch like it'll be a successor to their previous series. They've even gotten Gary Owens back to narrate again!
  • The original Resident Evil was conceived when Capcom wanted an updated version of their Famicom horror RPG Sweet Home. An early teaser for Biohazard even used an arrangement of the Sweet Home battle theme and it is believed that the international title of Resident Evil came from a line in Sweet Home which describes the mansion where the game is set "a place of residing evil."
  • The upcoming Halo 4 seems to be more inspired by Metroid Prime than the previous Halo games.
  • Project P-100, an upcoming Wii-U project by Platinum Games, seems to be based somewhat on Viewtiful Joe.
  • The Sega arcade game Congo Bongo may had seemed like a blatant Donkey Kong-ripoff, but in reality the game's developer, Ikegami Tsushinki, was the same company Nintendo contracted to handle the programming for Donkey Kong.
  • Eugen System's Wargame series is generally treated as this to its own RTS game R.U.S.E. albeit set during the Cold War. Its other RTS game Act of War and Act of Aggression are seen as this to the Command & Conquer franchise.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • In John Allison's own words: Bad Machinery "is son of Scary Go Round in the same way that Scary Go Round was son of Bobbins."
  • Shaenon Garrity's Skin Horse is a bit of an odd duck here—it was the spiritual successor to Narbonic. A group of misfits providing each other with emotional support; one or two non-human sentients trying to find a way to fit into the world; and a dash of UST. Now, however, a Narbonic character has made an appearance in Skin Horse, promoting it (retroactively?) to actual sequel.
  • Girly by Josh Lesnick is... kind of a Spiritual Successor to his previous webcomic Cute Wendy. The two main characters from Cute Wendy are the mother and father/mother of Winter from Girly, but the stories are separate and unique enough to be considered a league of its own.
  • Three Panel Soul is the Spiritual Successor to Mac Hall. The relationship between the two comics is not dissimilar to the relationship of one's life during college, and one's life after college (and not without good reason, either, since that's what they're about with regards to Matt and Ian).


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • TWiT and Diggnation are both spiritual successors to The Screen Savers
    • Likewise, The Totally Rad Show is a spiritual successor to Geekdrome and Burt Monroy's Pixel Perfect can be seen a spiritual successor to Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting
    • Alex Albrecht's show 4Points on the Nerdist network can be seen as a successor to Diggnation as it more or less picks up on the same format but with an additional two hosts.
  • New York Magician: Compare the writer's earlier Ethereal Park Ethereal series, which also features magical elements in an otherwise normal New York, along with some Urban Exploration influence. However, the protagonists are very different; Michel is an rich man experienced at all this magic stuff, while the narrator of PE is a broke homeless guy who can't remember his name or past and has no real idea what's going on.
  • The Whateley Universe is the spiritual successor to the 'Of Masks and Marvels' universe. The author of the latter is one of the key creators and main authors of the former, and they are both superhero universes with transgendered protagonists. The main character and main superhero team of the Masks and Marvels world even have expies in side characters at Whateley Academy.


Western Animation[edit | hide]


Other[edit | hide]

  • Adult Swim to Toonami's "Midnight Run" block. Several anime series that aired on Toonami ended up airing on Adult Swim during its first year. The fact that it is run by the same studio that ran Toonami, Williams Street, was a plus. These comparisons stopped, however, when Adult Swim (and Cartoon Network in general) underwent significant Network Decay.
  • The free/open source office software LibreOffice is essentially a spiritual successor to the older and also free/open source OpenOffice.org suite; after Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, the latter of which sponsored and maintained the latter, the developers quit and joined the LibreOffice team. The LibreOffice maintainers did try asking Oracle for the OpenOffice.org trademark, as they originally planned to be a regular successor to OpenOffice.org, but after that didn't happen, LibreOffice became an independent software suite that took the code of OpenOffice.org and expanded on it. Several Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, eventually replaced OpenOffice.org with LibreOffice.
  • Similarly, the Mozilla Suite, which was eventually split into the Mozilla Firefox Web browser and the Mozilla Thunderbird email client, are essentially spiritual successors to Netscape; originally Mozilla was intended to be a codebase for the proprietary Netscape suite, but Netscape was discontinued and Mozilla's projects continued development, with Firefox and Thunderbird being maintained by Mozilla subsidiaries and the Mozilla Suite was rebranded and continued as the community-maintained SeaMonkey suite, which in turn succeeded the entire Mozilla Suite rather than parts of it.
  • The Raspberry Pi computer, a $35 single-board Linux machine the size of a credit card, is meant as a successor to the BBC Micro, with its low cost and heavy emphasis on computer science education for children. The Raspberry Pi Foundation laments the change in emphasis from open computer platforms that encouraged experimentation and programming at an early age in the 80s, to using office software and depending on closed-source programs just to get basic computing done of the present day, and they hope the success of their product (which crashed the two stores that sold it on launch day and at one point was said to have received 700 orders per second) will bring about a renaissance of children tinkering with their computers' internals just like the heyday of the 8-bit computers. It goes so far as to have two models, a basic Model A and an enhanced Model B (now on sale, unlike the A), just like the BBC Micro did, and even sweetens the deal by having 1080p h.264 playback capability at 30 fps.