You know what they say: always strike while the iron is hot. What developers don’t often take into account, however, is exactly how many times said iron should be hammered. Of course, a second blow can often work wonders for an already booming arsenal. But with that in mind, any crooked swing can often fracture a well-established collection. That’s why many studios often leave a video game franchise to fizzle out on a high note with no further interest to milk the udder dry. But then, of course — there are those who milk it ’til it bleeds.
As the other saying goes: if it ain’t broke — don’t fix it. And the same goes for successful video game timelines too. Sure enough, if something is drawing in money with every addition to the portfolio, then why should the continuation of the series be disrupted? It only makes sense, to be fair. And yet, even with the many overwhelming franchise favourites out there with major numbers in their ranks, we still can’t help but question their true north. Are they likely to work towards a grand finale — or are they destined to stay afloat for all eternity?
Okay, so there might only be nine major instalments to the Dynasty Warriors timeline, all of which loosely follow the identical narrative of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms saga. However, besides the nine hack and slash mockups that refuse to take a backseat from the genre, there are also mounds of spin-offs that spread across several platforms, too. Xtreme Legends, Empires, Warriors Orochi — to name but a few.
All in all, the Warriors kingdom has designed and published just shy of seventy games — maybe even more if you consider the random appearances as part of the overall throne. But do Omega Force plan on holding back on the same old tale of Wei, Wu and Shu for future projects? Of course they don’t. In fact, they’re probably just gearing up to publish yet another sequence for 2021. Still, I can’t say I’m not a little tired of banishing the Yellow Turban rebellion every other year without fail. I mean, there really are only so many times you can sing one note before it becomes monotonously flat, to be fair. And yet, we always flock to the series like a moth to a flame.
It’s fair to say that, with a franchise as globally celebrated as Pokemon, the revenue surrounding it practically flows without any form of setbacks. Thanks to the endless spool of video games, shows, movies and adaptations — the favoured franchise essentially runs itself, even when ideas have dried up and the only thing left on the drawing board is rehashed ports. But who cares, right? It’s Pokemon. It doesn’t matter if something was released three times in a row with only the slightest tweak in improvements. Truth is, it will always sell, and nothing will ever change the course of the winds when it comes to that.
From the dawn of handheld gaming to next-level console editions, Pokemon has been spreading its fluorescent joy for well over two decades. With a forever changing roster of Pokemon to unearth, catch and collect, the world evolving around the critically acclaimed platform need only change the protagonist every once in a while to stay afloat. Apart from that, these games practically sell themselves without ever having to break away from the best-selling formula. But hey — whatever rakes in the coin, right?
3. Final Fantasy
It’s common knowledge that Square Enix practically kisses the earth that shifts beneath the oversized boots of Final Fantasy. That’s sort of why the Japanese developer devotes at least ninety per cent of their time to creating and publishing new content for their enormous stream of titles. Although we haven’t seen a major instalment to the timeline since 2016, it’s no secret that Square has still continued to pour dozens of working hours into the spin-off and remake catalogue.
Apart from the 15 bulky chapters that have been gracing our hardware since ’87, Final Fantasy has also introduced plenty of other original worlds for players to bask beneath. From Chocobo racing to child-friendly RPGs, top-down strategy chapters to stylized rhythm games — Square Enix has embellished the household name in enough enchanting lights to shine for decades to come. Plus, with the renowned publisher looking to narrow in on reviving older fan favourites, it’s clear that there is still plenty more to come.
2. Mega Man
It’s everybody’s favourite side-scrolling humanoid robot, Mega Man. As one of the fan favourites from the 1980s NES era, Mega Man and friends have been keeping a firm grip on the action community ever since its ’87 debut. With well over a hundred titles, all of which follow a similar structure, this iconic timeline easily stacks up as one of the meatiest yet most loved franchises on the market. And it still hasn’t drawn to a conclusion, either, wouldn’t you believe?
As far as video game timelines go — Mega Man is clearly the one to look out for. While he may not take the gold for the richest legacy in gaming, he definitely homes the silver with pride. Thanks to not only the main timeline of games, but also the ocean full of spin-offs, handheld ports, and exclusive chapters — Capcom can sleep rather peacefully at night knowing that their little robot hero will never drift from the forefront of the community.
As the face of not only Nintendo but also gaming as a whole — it comes as no major surprise that Mario tops the list of biggest video game timelines. With enough diversity to please gamers of all backgrounds and a far enough reach to draw crowds from every corner of the earth, Mario rests as the go-to icon in the gaming universe without having to raise a single finger. But then, homing 115 games might have something to do with that.
While Mario is ultimately known for his quirky platformers and one-note goal to rescue the beloved Princess Peach, Nintendo has also used the famous little plumber to jack in to various other areas of the community too. From karting to side-scrolling, open-world to battle royale — Mario and friends have been tapping into new markets for years. But despite the enormous cluster of video games backing the franchise, it still very much feels as though the timeline as a whole is still in its infancy, and that there is still plenty of wriggle room for development. But you don’t have to tell Nintendo twice. They’ll be stacking up games a hundred years from now, no doubt.