As a nerd I hate when a story decides a universe ends with its main characters.
Recently it’s been suggested that the “One Off” video game is too expensive to produce, and no one wants another Highlander sequel. However it’s not impossible to continue a mythos or universe.
This got me on the line of thinking what if they did make, just as an example, a Last of Us Sequel (Last of Us 2 Knights of the Damned). I would set the sequel in England, you’d have to retake the ravaged British islands. Joel and Ellie are still in America doing whatever; the new version would simply be King Arthur vs Zombies with improvised weapons.
Maybe it’s not a worthy game story but it’d be a way of doing more with the Last of Us universe.
That’s not to say that every game universe can be expanded into a sequel. For the games with non-recyclable settings you can always recycle the game assets.
Make a World That Can Last
A strong narrative works out best with a strong setting.
Cities don’t just exist they have communities and a commercial interdependence upon one another. The lands in which these cities are found have laws and some sense of order so the player can make good decisions. Perhaps most importantly every universe has rules which allow for logical cause and effect.
These elements form a more complete setting and thus allow the story to unfold in a more natural way and create room for new stories to be told.
You don’t have to continue the Narrative
Once you have your robust setting you can also tell new stories that may not match the original even thematically.
If a setting or premise is to be recycled it’s best to allow each narrative to complete within the game it spans.
Sequel begging often ruins any sense of closure a game can have or encourages a one minded plot structure.
A good example of stories ruining themselves is Assassin’s Creed. Assassin’s Creed refuses to resolve its primary plot and continually have characters dress in an increasingly impractical garb for their chosen vocation.
If we are willing to break convention and simply setup game universes to stand the test of time, we can make recycling them less painful for gamers at large. Lord knows I still enjoy Star Trek, despite the shooty-bang-bang approach of recent years.