What caused the creator of Tetris to abstain from making a sequel called Tetris 2?

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Tetris 2

Tetris has sold over 500 million copies, making it one of the most popular and cherished video game franchises of all time. Its unlikely journey even led to the creation of a movie, which recounts its origins. While the numerous spin-offs and adaptations of Tetris continue to be enjoyed, the 2018 release of Tetris Effect, which received several Game of the Year awards, is a true testament to the creative power and commercial success of this exceptional franchise.

Despite this success, Tetris sets itself apart from most modern entertainment franchises. Typically, any remotely successful franchise is almost guaranteed to receive an immediate sequel with as much of the original creative team as possible. So it’s remarkable that the Tetris creator, Alexey Pajitnov, never created a game called “Tetris 2” despite contributing to some future Tetris spin-offs and creating other games that followed the basic Tetris formula, such as Hatris and Welltris. In fact, in 2012, IGN named him one of gaming’s greatest “one-hit wonders.” This raises questions as to why Pajitnov didn’t work on a direct sequel to such a successful game, especially considering he reportedly lost out on millions of dollars when the USSR controlled the rights to Tetris. Pajitnov himself has stated that a sequel to Tetris never seemed obvious to him.

Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, has stated that he did not think about creating a sequel to the game. As a game designer, he believed that Tetris was already a complete game and that there was no need for any significant extensions. According to Pajitnov, creating a sequel would spoil the pleasure of the original game. However, his friend and business partner, Henk Rogers, who was a publisher at the time, remembers asking Pajitnov about what Tetris 2 would look like. Rogers believes that when you make a good movie, you make a sequel, and the same applies to Tetris.

Although Pajitnov never worked on a direct Tetris sequel, Rogers considers the game’s many spin-offs, reboots, and thematic reimaginings to be sequels of a kind. In 1993, Rogers helped publish a title named Tetris 2, which made numerous changes to the Tetris formula. However, Rogers believes that the game is so pure and clean that it is tough to add anything to it. When licensing Tetris, the licensees are advised to understand the core fun of the game and then add stuff.

Despite not designing a traditional sequel to Tetris, Pajitnov has spent time thinking about the future of the franchise as the co-founder of the Tetris Company. He even has some favorite Tetris spin-offs and thoughts about what Tetris games still have left to accomplish. Pajitnov hopes to see more breakthroughs with Tetris in the future and wants to see an outrageously good two-player version of the game that emphasizes communication, which, in his opinion, has not been done yet. He also believes that artificial intelligence will eventually add something to his small game.

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