Stopped Numbering Sequels

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A common subversion to Numbered Sequel. As the number of installments of a series goes up, the less likely it has a number behind.

Usually the series and sequel titling go in the following order (although only some series go through all five steps):

  1. First Installment
  2. Numbered Sequel
  3. Numbered sequel + subtitle (or 3D).
  4. Subtitle
  5. Recycled Title
  6. At this point, anything can happen, including the subtitle becoming the main title.

There are several reasons for this:

  • Creators might be embarrassed that they have made so many sequels.
  • The plotline of the story is nonlinear and there are lots of prequels and midquels.
  • Especially among video games, the franchise may have Gaiden Game subseries. However, then it can easily be Double Subverted, depending on situation.
  • The studio might feel that a sequel that is numbered too high might be avoided by audiences that could perceive a Continuity Lock Out.
  • Four Is Death in Asian markets, which explains why games originating from there tend to stop numbering after 3.
  • To avoid bringing up previous numbered installments that most people don't want to acknowledge, perhaps even one where you don't want to ignore every detail.
  • Finally, it's difficult to stop doing once you've started; after an installment or two without numbers, people will have completely lost track (which Mortal Kombat game are we on again? Exactly. Oh, the answer is below.).

See also Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo and Numbered Sequel.

Examples of Stopped Numbering Sequels include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Alien is weird about this. The second movie didn't use a number (Aliens), the third did (Alien³), but then the fourth didn't (Alien Resurrection).
    • When counting the Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator Crossover films as part of a singular franchise, the idiosyncrasy becomes maddening: Alien is singular for the first, third, fourth and "seventh" installments, plural in the second and "eighth", and numbered for 3 only (where it is the fifth film); Predator is always singular except for the "ninth" installment, and only numbered for 2 (the fourth film overall). The quantum continuity status that Prometheus presently holds is the only thing keeping a fan's skull from imploding at this point.
  • The Amityville Horror series stopped its numbering when it went to straight-to-video hell.
  • Bloodsport series dropped the numbering from the fourth film.
  • Children of the Corn managed to keep its numbering to the sixth installment.
  • Die Hard series went for the Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo on its third and fourth installments. In the case of Live Free or Die Hard (the fourth movie), Europe renamed it to Die Hard 4.0, though France chose to keep the original title.
  • The Exorcist's dropped its numbering for the prequel, which morphed into two separate films.
  • The Fast and the Furious: The sequel was called Two Fast Two Furious, the third film had a subtitle (The Fast and The Furious Tokyo Drift) and the fourth film is called Fast and Furious (although there is a small "IV" on the side of the DVD box, underneath the title). The fifth film is called Fast Five. Guess they took anger management.
    • And in Britain Fast Five was renamed Fast & Furious 5, presumably because the marketers were concerned that people would see the pictures of Vin Diesel in a big car and not be able to work out which series the movie was part of.
  • Final Destination went for the Recycled Title on its fourth installment.
  • Friday the 13th dropped its numbering after the eighth part when the series was moved to New Line Cinema.
    • Although that was an artifact of Paramount still owning the Friday the 13th name, while New Line owning character, concept and everything else.
    • Actually, they didn't drop it completely. The tenth movie is titled "Jason X" (although the series is called Friday the Thirteenth, not Jason).
  • Halloween series dropped its numbering after the fifth installment.
  • While the Harry Potter films never had numbered titles, the DVD spines were labeled "Year 1", "Year 2", Year 3", etc. (This is taken from the U.S. editions of the Harry Potter books, which labeled the book spines the same way.) When Deathly Hallows, Part 1 hit DVD, it was labeled "Year 7: Part 1" on the spine. For some reason, this is where they stopped and the Hallows, Part 2 DVD has a blank space where it should logically say "Year 7: Part 2".
  • Hellraiser dropped the numbering after Hell on Earth.
  • The Highlander film series dropped the numerals with its fourth film.
  • The Howling stopped numbering on its seventh (and ultimately final) installment.
  • Jaws dropped the numbering on the fourth installment.
  • The fourth Karate Kid film was called The Next Karate Kid, which makes sense since it has nothing to do with Daniel this time, and the fifth one is simply called Karate Kid, even though it's not an actual continuation of the previous films and the martial art focused on the film is Kung-Fu, not Karate (they try to justify the title in the movie).
    • The film is called The Kung-Fu Kid in some countries.
  • Jurassic Park dropped numbering on the second film and returned it for the third film.
  • The Land Before Time gave up on numbers on the front cover about halfway through the twelve sequels.
    • Starting with the eighth film, "The Big Freeze" the roman numeral was nowhere to be found on the front cover, instead, you will find "Volume VIII" on the spine of the VHS cover. However, with the thirteenth film, "The Wisdom of Friends" the roman numeral doesn't even appear in the film at all. The opening titles just say "The Land Before Time" shortly followed by "The Wisdom of Friends".
  • Leprechaun series dropped numbering when the fourth film recycled the whole thing IN SPACE!
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street series stopped its numbering on the sixth film Freddys Dead the Final Nightmare.
  • Police Academy series. The seventh installment officially doesn't have number as a title.
  • The Rambo series which has oddest title-evolution of them all, going from First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II to Rambo III to the 2008 sequel, (John) Rambo.
  • Predator stopped numbering from the 2010 film Predators.
  • Rocky series. Justified because there was over 15 year hiatus between Rocky V and Rocky Balboa, enough to make it Rocky XIII. Plus a lot of stuff in Rocky V did not happen.
  • Saw can be criticised for many things, but it was doing so well with its numbering. Sequels had Roman numerals... until its send-off, Saw 3D.
  • Silent Night Deadly Night stopped its numbering after the third film but returned to it for the fifth installment.
  • The Star Trek movie series dropped its numbers with 1994's Star Trek Generations, as it was felt that with the The Next Generation cast taking over the franchise, it was best to make a fresh start for marketing purposes.
    • The final movie (a continuity reboot) is simply called Star Trek with no numbers (although some refer to it as Star Trek XI) or subtitles.
  • Star Wars prequels were titled Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and the like. But starting with the 2010s sequels, the title drops the episode number, as in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  • Every Terminator sequel from Salvation (the fourth one) and onward will be subtitle only.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series stopped its numbering after the third film, which is fitting because nobody wants to remember the fourth film.

Role Playing Games[edit | hide]

  • Paranoia started with (in order) 1st edition, 2nd edition, 5th edition (later declared an "unproduct", and 3rd edition (unpublished). Then it was revived with XP (formally dropped after Microsoft complained, so this version was just called "Paranoia") and 25th Anniversary Edition (a reprint of XP with some additional material).

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Castlevania series only had three numbered sequels to the original NES game (Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, and Super Castlevania IV) and one for the Game Boy game Castlevania: The Adventure (Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge). The series stopped using numerals once sequels were being released for other companies' platforms.
    • The numbering stopped earlier in Japan, where Dracula II: Noroi no Fūin (Simon's Quest) for the Disk System and Dracula Densetsu II (Belmont's Revenge) for the Game Boy were the only numbered sequels. The Japanese version of Dracula's Curse was titled Akumajō Densetsu (although the ending credits refers to the developers as the "Dracula III Staff"), while Super was simply titled Akumajo Dracula (justified, since it was a retelling of Simon's first adventure and not a continuation of the earlier Famicom games).
  • The Marathon series' second game had both a number and a subtitle (Marathon 2: Durandal), then the third fulfiled the trope (Marathon Infinity: Blood Tides of Lh'owon)
  • Need for Speed series, leading to the pretty akward numbering of the Hot Pursuit subseries (Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit -> Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 -> Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog series. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is named as such simply for in-universe chronology reasons and because its in the style of the original numbered games.
  • Super Mario Bros. series after Super Mario Bros 3 (not counting the Japanese version of Super Mario World, which bore the subtitle of Super Mario Bros. 4)
    • However, Super Mario Galaxy 2 was the first numbered sequel on consoles since the leap to 3D. The general idea seems to be that each console has its own series of Mario games, and the N64 and Gamecube only had one game each.
    • Hilarity ensues when you look at the remakes that were released on the Gameboy Advance. Each remake is chronologically numbered, but the games weren't remade in any real order... so you get names like "Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World" and "Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3". (At least they avoided Colon Cancer with "Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island" since the original full name of Yoshi's Island was "Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island".)
  • Red Faction series
  • The Legend of Zelda is an odd example, the second game was simply titled Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the rest of the series just used subtitles, making the second game a black sheep in naming (though the third game is often known as "Zelda III", especially in Europe).
    • And the games had some internal number in their product IDs (The Oracle games were 7 and 8).
  • The Star Wars: Dark Forces saga, see Colon Cancer for what it would look like.
  • Tomb Raider series, starting with the fourth game, The Last Revelation.
    • While later games are not numbered, fans still refer to them by number in casual conversation, and the desktop icons for Last Revelation and Chronicles stated that they were Tomb Raider 4 and 5, respectively.
  • Interestingly, that was inverted with Command & Conquer's Tiberium series by the third game, as otherwise Tiberian Sun would've been named as Command & Conquer 2.
  • Subverted by the Contra series. The first sequel to the original game was titled Super Contra, which was adapted to the NES under the shortened title of Super C, while the third console game (following the two NES adaptations of the arcade games) was Contra III: The Alien Wars for the SNES, which was actually a Market-Based Title (the original Japanese name was Contra Spirits). There were further Contra sequels afterward, but none of the had any numerals except for Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS, which was named mainly because of its placement in the series' timeline.
  • Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker was originally titled Metal Gear Solid 5, but was changed before release, likely changed due to the fact that releasing a sequel to a PS3 game on the PSP didn't feel right.
    • Moreover, Peace Walker is the third game in the "Naked Snake series" and the second one for the PSP. Additionally, a comedy short implied that Raiden would get to star in Metal Gear Solid 5.
  • Repton. The first three games had no particular setting, so the next three dropped the numbering in favour of titles that advertised the fact that Repton was now going around the world and through time. Next comes Repton Infinity, which includes a subgame called Repton 4, but there's also the entirely separate Ego: Repton 4 --. To add to the confusion, the PC remakes don't include Repton Infinity (and so don't include either Repton 4). The result is that no-one can agree on what number comes next, so all subsequent games have been unnumbered.
  • The Mortal Kombat sequels went from Mortal Kombat II to Mortal Kombat 4 and after that (when the series no longer had arcade releases) we got Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (fifth), Mortal Kombat: Deception (sixth) and Mortal Kombat Armageddon (seventh). The Continuity Reboot is officially titled Mortal Kombat, but everyone, including the game's own developers, are simply calling it "Mortal Kombat 9" (yes, they are counting Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe as the eighth Mortal Kombat game, go figure) so there's the answer to the above question.
  • Call of Duty 2, 3, 4: Modern Warfare, then Call of Duty: World at War, Modern Warfare 2 (which actually dropped the Call of Duty name in some places), and now Black Ops.
  • Advance Wars dropped the numbers for the third and fourth games on the DS.
  • Guitar Hero has gone back and forth, as the sequels are II, III, World Tour, 5, and Warriors of Rock.
  • The second main game (the third overall) in the Kingdom Hearts series was called Kingdom Hearts II, and all subsequent games used subtitles, even the "episode 0" game, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. Nomura is unclear if there will be a "Kingdom Hearts III". Oddly enough, two games possess a "3" in the title, despite not being main games or the intended KH III: The interquel 358/2 Days and the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3D for the Nintendo 3DS.
  • The Ace Combat series (produced in Japan, mind you) fought a long and hard battle against sequel numbering starting with the fourth. Its first sequel was simply Ace Combat 2; the second added a subtitle to Ace Combat 3 Electrosphere. When making the fourth title became inevitable, they padded it with a zero to make sure it doesn't blow up: Ace Combat 04 Shattered Skies. It didn't. So they made Ace Combat 5 The Unsung War—and stumbled again. In the following three years, Ace Combat Advance, Ace Combat Zero, and Ace Combat X were released. The final swan song for Numbered Sequels was Ace Combat 6 Fires of Liberation. After that, Namco couldn't take it anymore: an Ace Combat Xi and an Ace Combat X 2 later, they have finally announced a full-blown Continuity Reboot with Ace Combat: Assault Horizon.
  • Inverted with The King of Fighters (somewhat). From 1994 to 2003, the series numbered its installments with the year of its release. Starting with XI, SNK chose to go with the installment number instead of the year (probably because XI took more than a year to release due to SNK spending some time messing around with new hardware). Gets confusing because the second Maximum Impact game (which is a Spin-Off series) was released in the United States as The King of Fighters 2006.
  • The PC games of the SimCity series had a good streak of numerical titles. SimCity,SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000, and SimCity 4. The next (and most recent) game of the series is titled: SimCity Societies.
    • This may have been intentional because the gameplay of SimCity Societies is significantly different from its predecessors.
  • Hudson Soft's Power League baseball game series for the PC Engine dropped the roman numerals for its sixth installment, which was titled Power League '93.
  • Prince of Persia after Prince of Persia 3D. Since then we've had a new trilogy, a Recycled Title, and then a Trilogy Creep to the aforementioned trilogy.
  • Inverted with Puyo Puyo. The early sequels used Japanese pun-based titles to indicated their placement in the series such as Puyo Puyo Tsu (2), Puyo Puyo Sun (3), and Puyo Puyo-n (4). Afterward, we had Puyo Puyo Fever, Puyo Puyo Fever 2, and Puyo Puyo 7.
  • Inverted by the Mario Kart series, where at the end of a long series the 3DS game is numbered instead of getting a subtitle. So it goes Super Mario Kart (SNES), Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA), Mario Kart: Double Dash (GC), Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7 (3DS). The numbering does not count Mario Kart: Arcade GP and Arcade GP 2.
  • Assassin's Creed has 1, 2, Brotherhood and Revelations so far. Justified by the developers in that numbered sequels are reserved for new ancestors in new eras. AC 1 followed Altair, AC 2, Brotherhood and Revelations followed Ezio. AC 3 will feature a new main character, Connor Kenway.
  • Crash Bandicoot stopped numbering after the third game, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped.
  • Spyro the Dragon stopped numbering after the second game, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage.
    • Done again with the GBA Spyro games. After the second, Spyro 2: Season of Flame, they stopped being numbered.
  • BioShock (series), Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite.
  • Only the second Monkey Island is numbered, the others are just called Curseof Monkey Island, Escape from Monkey Island and Tales of Monkey Island. Justified as Fanon Discontinuity by many, since creator Ron Gilbert planned a trilogy but left LucasArts after the second. The third game had to retcon some things in order to tie in the plot.

Other[edit | hide]

  • Windows. Stopped using version numbers after 3.1 on the DOS-based versions and 4.0 on the NT versions, opting for sequel numbers based on the year of release. Then came XP which combined the DOS and NT lines,[1] and then Vista,[2] but then averted with Windows 7 (internally 6.1), Windows 8 and Windows... 10? While never officially said (though never denied) the rumor everyone believed was that some legacy software refer to 95 and 98 as "Windows 9" and serious issues would result with a real 9.
  1. Internally, it's Windows NT 5.1
  2. Windows NT 6.0