Spiritual Successor

Mighty No 9

A spiritual successor, sometimes called a spiritual sequel or a companion piece, is a successor to a work of fiction which does not directly build upon the storyline established by a previous work as do most traditional prequels or sequels, but nevertheless features many of the same elements, themes, and styles as its source material.

Due to the current nature of the publisher/developer system inherent in almost all computer games, as well as the continual purchase and takeovers (which sell the entire developer including its copyrights and trademarks) by conglomerate corporations, creative teams often fail to retain the copyright and trademark rights of their creations. This often makes attempts to create sequels for a product impossible for various reasons, such as the ‘core’ of the studio being fired or replaced after completing a project while the parent company retains control of the copyrights and trademarks.

A good example of this practice is Electronic Arts, which has closed many studios while keeping their copyrights and trademarks, such as Bullfrog Productions, Origin Systems, and Westwood Studios.

To get around this, creative teams will make a product that resembles the original game in some way, without copying or mentioning the original directly, notably omitting the title, story, and character names.

Other times, a spiritual successor is created when the original products were either poor commercial sellers and/or forgotten by the people that would purchase the product.

A spiritual successor extends beyond fictional works. The Honda CR-Z is regarded as the spiritual successor to the second generation Honda CR-X in both name and exterior design, despite a nearly two decade time difference in production. In sports, the rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens is considered the spiritual successor to the older Browns–Steelers rivalry due to the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy.

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