7. Conduit Series
The original Conduit ended on a cliffhanger with super-not-so-secret agent Mike Ford blasting his way into an alien portal (or a "conduit" in the game's parlance) to hunt down evil alien overlord wannabe John Adams. Fans of Wii shooters (who
probably exist?) and B-movie sci-fi hokum were rewarded with Conduit 2, which gave us closure to that story Ford kills Adams. As if there was any doubt. Unfortunately, the fate of the planet nay, universe (or just the planet actually), remains in doubt. Taking a cue from the Dragonball Z playbook, the death of Adams activated an even larger, more powerful alien foe that was hurtling to Earth. Luckily, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln show up in power combat suits to aid Ford. That's not a joke that actually happens. No sequel means we'll never know how the war ended, but more importantly we will never get to see Thomas Jefferson show up as a daredevil starship pilot or Taft appear as a hulking bruiser ("Taft smash!"). Surely there must be some billionaire political nutjob out there willing to put some of that SuperPAC money to a better cause and fund a videogame that would put FDR in power armor.
Still a beloved cult classic, Anachronox had the misfortune of being a great, innovative game that nobody heard about. The plot followed down-on-his-luck private dick, Sly Bucelli, and his motley companions (which naturally included a wise-cracking robot, an eccentric old man, and computer program as a love interest) as a simple sleuthing job evolves to encompass protecting the universe from total destruction so, yeah, high stakes. The game ended as Team Sly made their way through a dimensional gate to chance down the agents of evil forces that existed in a previous galaxy. While the characters had sort of patched up their personal problems, we never learned if Sly succeeded in rescuing an incredibly powerful devil from the forces of Chaos that were about to use to, well, unleash Chaos. The good news is that game designer Tom Hall promised that if he doesn't make a sequel in the next decade, he'll just release all the unfinished plot details on his website. So we just have to avoid dying until then. No problem, right?
5. Prince of Persia (2008)
The story of a jumping, wall running member of the Persian royalty, Prince of Persia has been rebooted several times over the decades but the base story has largely been the same as it has been for countless other game franchises save the girl. The 2008 reboot of the series seemed to offer something different. First of all, you weren't so much an actual prince as a vagabond adventurer who had certain prince-like qualities, such as "jumping" and "wall running." Secondly, the princess was less of a prize to be won and more your constant battle companion. While the prince handled the legwork and brute force stuff, the princess covered the magic-spewing arena in your dual attempt to save the land from the toxic influence of an evil god. The series ends on a twist with the revelation that the princess is only alive thanks to the released evil's magic, and that by sealing all that evil up, the prince was essentially killing his new girlfriend. That didn't sit well with him, so after spending the entire game sometimes literally jumping through hoops to save the world, the prince is able to fully release the evil with a single action. In a downloadable extra chapter the princess, who didn't quite appreciate the gesture, leaves the prince to try and seal up the evil again. Women! Always nobly sacrificing themselves for the good of the world instead of just hanging out, am I right? We'll never know if she succeeds or if the prince accepts his destiny (I assume he had a destiny
they all do), as the next entry in the series is yet another reboot. Hopefully the new universe will answer the question of who is actually running Persia while the future rulers are busy flipping through temples. Probably Viziers. Nice, friendly, totally trustworthy Viziers.
Psychonauts is set in a world where kids born with special psychic abilities are trained in a secret location disguised as an average summer camp to join the elite Psychonaut corps, which is basically saying that the game takes place in a world where summer camp is a lot more fun. The main character, Raz (in a reversal of the usual runaway story), flees the circus to go join the camp. While there, Raz hits all the usual summer camp experience notes: first love, getting in trouble with the counselors, breaking into a mental asylum to stop a brain-stealing dentist just normal summer camp stuff. Raz's quest saw him entering the minds of several characters, both the insane and semi-insane, in an effort to cure them of their psychosis and allow them to help him in his quest to save the camp. The ending sets us on a clear path to sequel-ville: newly christened Psychonaut Raz learns persons unknown have kidnapped the head of the group. Likely the kidnappers were tied to the brain-stealing scheme and it was all part of an even more dastardly plot to steal bigger brains? Or something else! However, funding for an indie-budget sequel never materialized. "Psychonauts" fan Chris Nolan was so upset with this he made a fan film sequel called "Inception" with Leonardo DiCaprio, though he had to change all the characters' names for legal reasons.