(CNN) -- When a series of video games is beloved by fans, it's risky for makers to put a new game in the series out for testing.
The fans can be brutal if a sequel doesn't live up to expectations about the franchise.
But sometimes the risk pays off.
Here are some of the best of the best upcoming sequels, set to be released this fall and in the spring. The list is based on interviews at the recent Comic-Con convention in San Diego, California, where professional gamers and amateurs got a chance to demo these new titles.
"Gears of War 3"
Kevin Pereira, of G4's "Attack of the Show," was especially interested in playing the third edition of the popular "Gears of War" franchise.
"I might have to scurry down there and throw an elbow to play it," he said at Comic-Con.
The game delivers. Rod Ferguson, the executive producer, said it features methods of play that are different from previous versions.
"We're showing off our five-player beast mode. It's a cooperative mode. You can play a monster and tear apart the humans for the first time," he said.
"Gears of War 3" hits stores April 5 and costs $59.99.
"Marvel vs. Capcom 3"
Also going for the trilogy is "Marvel vs. Capcom 3," which is due out in the spring and also will retail for $59.99.
Fans at Comic-Con got to test out this comic-book-themed game inside a boxing ring on the convention show floor. Those who tested it had mixed reactions.
One critique came from a longtime fan of the series.
"Prior to playing it, I was really excited, but afterwards I felt it was too dumbed-down," said Henry Wan, a conference attendee from Vancouver, Canada.
"There's just one punch button and one kick button."
"Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2"
Both the original and this sequel, which are based on the popular movie franchise, allow players to command the powers of the Force and those of the Dark Side. Developers demonstrated the game, which is set for release October 26 for $59.99, for the first time at Comic-Con.
"We were really cognizant of the fan feedback from the first game," said the game's executive producer, Haden Blackman.
"We've overhauled a lot of our [artificial intelligence] to make it more tactically relevant and really think about what powers to use in any situation. The Force grip will be easier for people to pick up and use, and we'll be sure that cool stuff happens when they get it. Stuff that doesn't come across from the static screenshot."
"Metroid: Other M"
Nintendo provided an early glimpse of this sequel ($49.99, August 31) at a rooftop party in New York in July.
Just one month from release, anticipation is high as many gamers still fondly remember the original for the 1980s 8-bit Nintendo system.
A "theater mode," the game will allow those who have beaten the game to rewatch their accomplishments in the form of a feature-length movie.
"DC Universe Online"
Another upcoming franchise game that's generating talk from fans is "DC Universe Online." The developers recently unveiled a trailer for the game that came across like a big-budget "Justice League" movie.
Even though it's not a sequel, "DC Universe Online" certainly has a built-in audience of comic book fans and has franchise expectations to live up to.
Wes Unagi, senior producer, said that some features were generated after listening to fan response.
A simulation mode, for example, allows fans to play characters like Batman and Superman outside the regular game play mode.
The game debuts in November. It costs $49.99 and up, depending on the console.
When it comes down to it, this and other sequel games are all about creating a new twist on expectations that have been building for years or decades.