10 Best Video Game Prequels

What's GTA III without Liberty City Stories??

Halo reach

Whilst franchises are expected to continue to grow and rake in as much cash as possible these days, in certain circles the word "sequel" was (or is still) a dirty word. The possibility of letting down your audience by failing to capture lightning in a bottle the second time is omnipresent.

So "prequels" then are even more of a tricky proposition.

It's one thing to follow a plotline forwards from its conclusion into the next logical stage, but being able to go backwards and make an engaging origin story is a tall order. What if the two don't line up well enough? What if the characters don't feel right? Do you have enough to work with to make it worthwhile?

As it turns out though, there are plenty of good video game prequels that manage to tell interesting stories, deepening their respective worlds and visualising things that were previously only mentioned. Good prequels show us our favourite characters at different times in their lives, and explain why things got to the state we know them.

A step back into a story's past doesn't have to be a step down in terms of quality.

10. Street Fighter Alpha

Halo reach

Upon a time the old joke went that Capcom were afraid to count to three. Street Fighter II got numerous upgrades and became a cash cow for Capcom, both in the arcades and at home. When it came time for a brand new entry in the series though, that made for a lot of pressure.

Thankfully, Street Fighter Alpha paid off.

Even after spending years tweaking SFII, Capcom weren’t resting on their laurels. Alpha introduced many important instruments to the Street Fighter toolkit; Airblocking, Chain Combos and the tiered Super Combo system, which gives players a lot of choice about their super moves. Do you fire them off weak and often, or wait for the all powerful Level 3 Super?

Known in Japan as Street Fighter Zero, Alpha takes place between the original Street Fighter and its sequel. In fact, it specifically references the Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie duel between Ryu and Ken, and M. Bison.

Street Fighter Alpha's placement in the timeline - between Sagat and Bison's tournaments - allowed for a more character-led style of storytelling, with its cast wandering the world pursuing their own goals.

Alpha also introduced new characters who would go on to be regulars, such as Dan, as well as crossing Final Fight characters into the Street Fighter universe.

In this post: 
Halo: Reach
First Posted On: 

The Red Mage of WhatCulture. Very long hair. She/they.