Gaming's Best Prequels

You voted, and now we have a list of the 10 greatest prequels in gaming history. This epic list features titles from different genres, systems, and generations. They offered insight on the histories and backstories of their respective series.

GamesBeat defines a prequel as any game that takes place earlier in the series’ chronology than titles released before it in a series. God of War: Chains of Olympus takes place before the first God of War but hit stores almost three years later, so it counts as a prequel. But God of War 2 doesn’t count, because it’s a sequel to the original God of War and was released before God of War 3.

Now then, let’s get to the list.

God of War: Ghost of Sparta -- Number 10

Percentage of the vote: 3
Release date: 2010
Place in the series’ timeline: Ghost of Sparta takes place after the original God of War and before God of War II.

Staff Writer Mike Minotti: The upcoming PlayStation 3 action game God of War: Ascension won’t be the first prequel in the series. Heck, it won’t even be the second. That honor falls to God of War: Ghost of Sparta, the second PSP entry in the deity-killing franchise.

Now the god of war after killing Ares, Kratos is searching for his lost brother, Deimos. This gives the pale Spartan ample opportunity to once again brutally kill an impressive cast of mythical creatures, but the plot offers insight into a Kratos driven not by rage but by personal motivations.

Most important, the sad tale in Ghost of Sparta helps us understand the source of Kratos’s anger and justifies his actions (you know, basically killing every god ever) in God of War II and God of War III. Sure, the PSP couldn’t compete with the epic scope and high-definition graphics of the PlayStation 3’s God of War III, but Ghost of Sparta feature the better story.

Neat prequel fact: The plot of Ghost of Sparta was originally set up with a secret video that players could unlock in the original God of War (released in 2005, more than five years earlier), which showed Kratos and Deimos as children being trained for the Spartan army. Deimos is left to die for being too weak, and his spirit in Hades wants revenge against his brother.

Crisis Core -- Number 9

Percentage of the vote: 3
Release date: 2007
Place in the series’ timeline: Crisis Core chronicles the seven years before the events of Final Fantasy VII, the groundbreaking role-playing game for the original PlayStation.

Staff Writer Rob LeFebvre: This action role-playing game on the PSP had many fans excited about the prospect of more Final Fantasy VII content, and it showed many of us the potential of the PSP handheld system. The game’s story takes the player from the war with the Wutai to the events at Nibelheim and right up to the time just before the beginning of Final Fantasy VII, one of the most popular installments of the venerable Japanese RPG series.

Originally, director Hajime Tabata and character designer Tetsuya Nomura planned on porting the mobile phone game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, but they decided to start from scratch, utilizing the new PSP handheld’s capabilities. They also wanted to enrich the stories of the beloved characters from VII, including fan favorites Aerith, Cloud, and the evil Sephiroth, who ended up showing a much more human side.

Fans responded with their money. Crisis Core sold 350,000 copies in Japan on its release date, eventually becoming the third best-selling game for the PSP in that region, according to Square Enix. It also became the sixth best-selling PSP game in the States when released here in March 2008. Critics gave the game positive reviews, showing that you can please both groups on occasion.

Neat prequel fact: Final Fantasy VII spawned a large number of other titles, including Crisis Core, Before Crisis (the aforementioned mobile phone game), the feature length Advent Children, and an original video animation titled Last Order: Final Fantasy VII. Crisis Core is the fourth entry in this metaseries of media created around the Final Fantasy VII story, titled Compilation of Final Fantasy.