Does gaming need sequels? There are quite a few reasons for “no”, but my main one would be that sequels take the originality out of gaming: eventually leaving it dry. Franchises like Halo, Metal Gear Solid and Pokémon: these eliminate the creative gaming rainbow and replace it with just a single colour; that colour is beige. It’s tough to like beige.
Developers would rather spruce up an old game and call it a sequel than create a brand new one. It cuts costs, development time and if the previous title was a hit, it’s a guaranteed seller. So why bother coming up with a new game? The Halo series is not one I enjoy referencing, as it often gets me flamed, but it is a prime example of developer unoriginality.
The Halo series is one the Microsoft Community prides itself on, for the reason that it’s the best FPS they have. They also like to think it’s the best FPS out there, which is debatable. If you take a close look at all three Halo games one thing stands out above the rest; similarities. You could say that saying three games of the same franchise are similar is a redundant argument. But I’m not just saying that they’re similar, I’m outright claiming that they’re 80%+ identical.
Strip all three games down to the core and you’ll see exactly the same thing, beyond the graphical upgrades that took place and inclusion of multiplayer in Halo 2 and 3 they are exactly the same. This is sheer laziness, it’s the same game but with the story continued. The Halo Franchise isn’t the only one to do this, take a look at Gears of War. Same characters, same enemy, story slightly updated. You can’t disagree when I say that it’s lazy developers. We need to force them out of their nook. Sorry Microsoft fans for complaining about your favorite franchises, but Nintendo and Sony are gonna get their turn.
Story continuation isn’t even the worst thing when it comes to sequels. Repackaging a game and selling it as something new really disgusts me, so I have one thing to say; “Nintendo, you disgust me”. You and your Pokémon franchise. When people talk about Pokémon they say that they used to like it, but not any more. This is simply because the series never offers anything new. Every time they release a new game they add new Pokémon and update the graphics. You can’t add Pokémon forever Nintendo, eventually you’ll run out of ideas and start coming up with weird disturbing Pokémon like Rapeon, the raping Pokémon. Then all your fans will leave you.
It’s all based around money, when did the gaming industry lose sight of the real goal? Pleasing the general public, not sucking its money away with tricks and scams. Releasing two Pokémon games at once and leaving specific things out of each game, forcing deluded parents to buy both games for their child, that’s despicable. I thought Nintendo were supposed to be family friendly.
Street Fighter, Soul Calibur and Tekken all have one thing in common, they’re all guilty of slinging out the same game multiple times. Imagine something with me. One game from each franchise, constantly updated through downloads. New characters, stages and gameplay tweaks all through updates and patches. For a small price of course. I’d much rather pay $3 for a new character and stage that I want then shell out $50 for another game in the series which is almost identical to the old one. With Sony coming out with statements like keeping the PS3 for 6+ years, this could be entirely possible. What about creating brand new fighting franchises? The main reason we don’t see these is because they don’t sell. If Street Fighter was limited to one game people might be more inclined to trying out different fighting games. But that isn’t going to happen any time soon.
Final Fantasy know how to do sequels right, with each game there are new characters, new leveling and battle systems and a brand new story. Why can’t every sequel be like that?
Companies have the problem of not being able to see when enough is enough. They will continually release sequels for games until the river runs dry. Metal Gear Solid will eventually run out, as will other franchises like Metroid or Mario Kart. You can only use a concept so many times before it becomes stale. That’s why games like Final Fantasy stay fresh, that’s why we all loved Bioshock when it was released. I fear 2K may run the series ragged, stripping the whole thing of its charm. Push one sequel that bit too far and you can ruin the entire series.
Lets wrap this up on a high note. I do not hate sequels, some of my favourite games of all time are sequels. Neverwinter Nights 2, Ocarina of Time and Thief II would all be greatly missed by me. But it would be a small price to pay for fresh innovative games with new stories every year, don’t you think? Imagine if every game that was released was a stand alone title. If every game was like Ico, Shadow Of The Colossus or Folklore. I’m sure we’d all be very happy. But this will never happen, well not as long as money exists anyway.
Stay tuned for the follow up next week, examining why sequels benefit the industry.
Check out how I feel on remakes here: Video Game Remakes, Is It Really What We Want?
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