Generally when a sequel is in the planning stages, things are fairly vague. The themes are uncertain, the setting is unclear, and many of the narrative hooks have yet to be worked out. One thing that’s always a given, though, is the characters. As the driving force of the original story, the characters are always the first thing that people will think of when they hear about a sequel. So what happens when a so-called ‘sequel’ jettisons the original cast almost completely? Well, to this day, Chrono Cross remains an intriguing answer to that question.
The beginning of Mass Effect 3 sets the stage for what is to come. The opening sequence of Earth under assault by the terrifying Reapers shows the odds that Shepard and the rest of civilization are up against. The attack plays out like a futuristic shock and awe campaign, with skyscraper sized Reapers striding among the buildings of Vancouver. The Reapers make short work of Earth’s defenses, and Shepard is forced to flee. As the Normandy flies into the darkness, the realization comes that things will get much worse before they get better.
Anyone old enough to remember gaming in the 90s would, of course, remember the huge splash that Final Fantasy VII made when it first arrived back in the autumn of 1997. Preceded by a mountain of hype, a massive advertising campaign, and a price tag that signified it as the most expensive game ever produced, FFVII had a heady and hefty weight on its shoulders before it even stepped out of the gate.
There’s a moment in the first Uncharted that signposts exactly where the series is heading. It involves a fast-flowing river, a large gap, and a truck parked next to a red barrel. With a well-placed shot, Nathan Drake – the Indiana Jones-inspired hero of the franchise – blows the powder keg, sending the vehicle high into the air and tumbling down to the river below, where it (conveniently) forms a bridge across the gap. “Bingo,” Nate quips, hopping onto the upside-down truck and crossing to the other side. “Excuse me. Pardon me.”