A spin-off in a video-game is another piece that is derived from one or more existing works, focusing more particularly into the details of an aspect in the original content such as a character, event or a significant topic. Sometimes referred to as a sidequel if it exists in the same chronological frame of time as the game prior to the spin-off, it indicates a substantial change in the viewpoint and the overall activity from that of the previous storyline. They will usually be somewhat based around the activities of the previous protagonist and will shift the action to another, be it a relative, significant other or supporting character from the game – for example: playing as Lee in the first of The Walking Dead games, and Clementine in the second season. But more importantly, what games from past and current generations do we need spin-offs of? In no particular order:
Red Dead Redemption
The open world, western action-adventure, developed by Rockstar San Diego and released initially on May 18th, 2010 is a follow up to the brilliant 2004 Red Dead Revolver. This game was an absolute triumph, being awarded with four VGX awards such as Game of the Year, Best Song in a Game, Best Original Score and Best Original Game. Following in the footsteps of the hired gun John Marson in 1911, who’s family have been taken hostage by government agents for his services of bringing his former crew to justice for their crimes.
It creates an incredibly immersive setting for the players, somewhat familiar to the fans of the beloved Grand Theft Auto series, amongst a well shown off level of overall detail in the world that definitely sits atop a high podium of Rockstar’s best work. The missions you play and in what particular order are up to you, and outside of the story you’ll find yourself trying to accomplish the hardest of achievements – other than this, you’re likely to find yourself hunting (animals or bounties, it’s up to you), helping out random citizens, duelling in the middle of Armadillo or even playing five finger fillet.
This game ends on a pretty heart-breaking finale, putting you in the shoes of John’s son, Jack. Giving you a side-mission later on to bring back the honour of your family but this definitely has the potential of a spin-off, and there are a lot of notable news articles with a presumption of a June release for Red Dead Redemption 2 which is speculated to be a prequel set in Japan, however with E3 2015 far gone and no official news, it’s unlikely – but this would definitely be Rockstar Game’s next big thing if it is to be.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Admittedly, this game is not a favourable one on a lot of gamer’s lists – however it undoubtedly had a lot of potential. Having two current games in the series, the first starts with Darth Vader leading the Galactic Empire’s forces in Kashyyyk in search of a Jedi Knight in hiding, with help of the revolting Wookiees. Upon the murder of the Jedi, Vader discovers the force-sensitive Galen Marek, the Jedi’s son – later codenamed “Starkiller” – and taken under the Sith Lord’s wing as his apprentice.
I’m not saying that this is the best Star Wars game released, however this is one of my favourite games of the series, and I’ve definitely had my fair share of fun playing both games of it. During the first, we meet a gathering of characters such as General Rahm Kota on Nar Shaddaa, who – before his intended execution – (questionably) predicted that Vader won’t be Starkiller’s master forever during a fierce battle, foreshadowing the events leading in the second game as Kota is leading the Rebel Alliance.
General Kota is a huge part in both games, and I feel that a spin-off for him would be a brilliant addition to the long list of Star Wars games, and after the somewhat poor reception that Star Wars: Battlefront (2015) received with the presumed cancellation of Star Wars 1313, it would be a pretty damn good game. Kota served as a Jedi Master and
General during the Clone Wars, being taught the ways of the force by Yoda after meeting Mace Windu at the age of 18. He served as a general in the Grand Army of the Republic, leading a militia of volunteers after completely disregarding clone troopers (something to mention in regards to The Force Unleashed II) and refusing to lead them. There is a lot we haven’t seen of Kota, and there is definitely a lot more we can see, especially with big names being seen in his lifetime, and his participation in some huge wars, I can definitely see a spin-off for Kota alone.
The Joker: Arkham Series
“Now…Why? Why? Why would you do that? Newsflash: I’m the one who’s trying to kill you!“―The Joker
We see a lot of different characters throughout the Arkham series and Batman in general, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this long list of games are some of the best I’ve played story and gameplay wise beside their incredible mechanics. However, one character stands out entirely when you think of Batman’s enemies: The Joker. Throughout the Arkham games we’re given several different altercations with the lovable psychopath, who is a self-styled Clown Prince of Crime with no superpowers, which is made up for in his undeniable capacity for violence and deadly mayhem.
We always see through the eyes of Batman, and did have the ability to play as The Joker in some challenge maps in Batman: Arkham Asylum, but there is a lot we do not know about the highly intelligent, skilled chemist who started his days as an unsuccessful stand-up comedian who, after a displeased audience heckled him, attacked them with both rage and terror, ruthlessly beating them unconscious… did I mention he was a psychopath?
After several unfortunate events, The Joker (whose real name is never revealed) is forced into committing a heist at the ACE chemicals factory under the alias ‘the Red Hood‘ who was, at this time, under the command of the Falcone crime family. This is where we first meet our caped crusader, Batman. During the heist, he was ambushed by Gotham’s hero and dunked into experimental chemicals and decided not only his new name – The Joker – but his new desire of revenge against Batman.
There is definitely potential for a Joker spin-off as his backstory is something of a nightmare, and rarely we get to be put in the shoes of a villain in videogames. And considering the long list of affiliations The Joker has, it really would make for an interesting game in my opinion, especially to see firsthand how the manipulation of Hugo Strange’s Blackgate Penitentiary intern, Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn) actually drew out.
Frank Fontaine, commonly known as Atlas is the leader of the opposition in the collapse of Rapture. Not only is he a successful conman, criminal mastermind and arch-enemy of Andrew Ryan, but he is an incredibly influential character in a number of different BioShock games.
“This Fontaine fellow is somebody to watch. Once, he was just a menace, to be convicted and hung. But he always manages to be where the evidence isn’t. He’s the most dangerous type of hoodlum… the kind with vision.“―Andrew Ryan
Frank lived as an orphan in his early ages before running away to start a small-time stage boy job in a vaudeville theatre. Having worked three years in the theatre, he gained a lasting impression of how audiences can be influenced through costumes and acting. Not many people knew of Frank’s last name as he went through life using different aliases such as Gorland, Barris, Wiston, Moskowitz and Wang and one was a bruiser named Reggie who, prior to the 1958 raid on Fontaine Fisheries, underwent plastic surgery to resemble Frank and without spoiling too much about Reggie, let’s just say that he was more than dedicated to Frank Fontaine during the shootout.
Frank was investigated closed by the FBI, with efforts of connecting him to an interstate bookmaking operation which prompted him to change from Fontaine to “Gorland”, going so far to forge a birth certificate, supporting his new identity before settling down in New York and setting up a bookmaking business above a basement drug store.
There is much more about Frank Fontaine that is more than worthy of a spin-off, and his backstory – much like the aforementioned characters – is incredible and worth a read if you get the chance. Being tied into many different federal investigations and conning situations it begs the question, how did a con man bring down Rapture?
Far Cry: Vaas Montenegro
“Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?“— Vaas Montenegro, the secondary antagonist in Far Cry 3 after appearing as the main antagonist for half of the storyline. Born in 1985, when the game first released he was 27 and as a younger man, he was a member of his native Rakyat on the Rook Islands.
Before 2012, Vaas became incredibly addicted to drugs that were brought to the islands by Hoyt Volker (who we also meet in Far Cry 3), a deranged slave and drug trafficker. Vaas managed to establish contact with Volker and after showing his potential, he was later promoted to Volker’s right-hand man and proceeded to lead the Pirates, a faction consisting of pirates with the intention of coming to the Rook Islands (once Vaas’ home) to rape, pillage, murder and steal.
Vaas and his crew would be instrumental in Volker’s businesses such as growing marijuana, kidnapping and selling the unfortunate people who landed in the North Island into slavery. Amongst this, he would strike terror and injustice into the Rakyat and the islands that were once rightfully theirs. Vaas operated in a hidden fortress, overseeing the deaths and the terrible destruction of the natives & Rakyat who once were his family.
Vaas is undeniable a brilliant character with an incredible potential for a lead in a game as Ubisoft tend to do the same thing over and over again, so this would be a change that many would welcome with open arms – however it may be too late for this to take place (not to mention what does happen in Far Cry 3, without spoiling it if you’ve not played it). This, at the time, would’ve been incredible and still could be.
These are just 5 games that I would’ve loved to see a spin-off of and are completely opinionated. But if I were to see one spin-off from the list as a main game it’d have to be a tie between a Red Dead or Star Wars: The Force Unleashed spin-off as these two game series were simply one of the greatest I have ever played.
But what about you, reader? What game would you like to see a spin-off of? And are there any supporting characters in games that you feel weren’t given enough of their own story? We’d love to hear from you, so let us know in the comments down below!