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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.

Remember when there were 150?

Remember when there were 150?

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.

Cloud belongs in Final Fantasy VII and nowhere else.

Cloud belongs in Final Fantasy VII and nowhere else.

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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  1. A few sequel runs I agree with, some I don’t.

    For instance, what if Team Ninja didn’t fail with Ninja Gaiden 2, and made a Shinobi type game instead. Also, Bioshock shouldn’t have any sequels.

    I do like the idea of episodic games like Mass Effect, though. Also you’re right; games like Thief II vastly improved upon the first one, and there are a boatload of sequels that surpass their predecessors. But for every Thief II, we get a Devil May Cry 2.

    • avatar Mahendra

      Tell them stuff. Tell them they are not even as bad a R rated movies. They are rated M beausce they have blood or a few curse words. Nothing past that. I play and own both games, and theres only a handful of times you hear a curse word. So its basically what you can see on regular tv.. And if that doesnt work, hang around your gamestore and ask somebody to buy the game for you!

  2. So many sequels are better than their predecessors, though. Mega Man 2, Sonic 2, Silent Hill 2, Resident Evil 2, Doom 2, God of War 2… the list goes on. What would our would be like without them?

    Still, very interesting though, :D

  3. avatar Megaman 9

    I don’t agree with this article at all… Sequels are great, because if every other game was a brand new IP then every concept would be done to death. With sequels we get more of what we love, and yeah, companies do tend to milk things dry, but then at the same time almost every franchise out there has untapped potential. I for one would much rather see great sequels than new IP’s all of the time, but that’s just me.

  4. avatar FrostDMC

    You’re right that some series are better of with one game, but some need sequels, to further develop a complex story. A story like the one of the Metal Gear needs to be continued. It holds a deep story, which simply can’t be told in one game. But the story for Solid Snake should end now, after MGS4. I could still imagine prequels (Raiden’s or Frank Jaeger’s stories) or remakes (of Metal Gear 1 and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (not MGS)). But no further sequels featuring Snake, as his story is now over. Although he may live on as a legend, referenced in a sequel (featuring new characters).

  5. avatar Asha

    I completely agree with all the Nintendo sequels being stopped, but some games are fit for sequels (only 2 sequels at most, not 50 like Nintendo does)
    Halo 2 should defintely have been made. Halo 3 should NOT have been made.
    But some games like Uncharted, Ratchet&Clank, and MGS need sequels to carry on their wonderful story. MGS series stopped at a perfect time, Ratchet&Clank can stop after 2 more games, Uncharted can be a trilogy, and Final Fantasy needs to stop soon.

    • avatar Svetlana

      Super article, Gordon! I think the Saw fasnchire works because the stories stand on their own. There’s a historical sequence is there to enjoy if you know it, but if you don’t know it, you can still watch Saw 6, and enjoy it, without needing to know anything about Saw 2.The Potter and Star Wars series, on the other hand, require genesis familiarity in order to understand the present. I don’t find mandating sequel familiarity a good way of building a long-term, independent, brand that can live on the merits of its own pieces. I understand the idea of franchising movies, but I aesthetically much prefer the single payer model.

  6. Nice read…

    I’d like to think more games will utilise the DLC feature with worthwhile sequel-esque content for us to really get our teeth into in years to come, when memory on consoles expands and broadband is fast enough for it to take less than a day for a full game to DL.

    Sports games could do with yearly updates like this, changing stats and improving gameplay, rather than a brand new disc.

    It’s just about maintaining brand loyalty and recognition.

    I’m a sucker for a shiny new sequel disc though, with its new smell…

    Also, I thank the gaming gods for Killzone 2 ;)

    • avatar Michal

      wow dats mad srtupid every1 s patnres let them play m rated game wow you shud have never got a 360 cuz ur bette of with a wii wow n u r16..i was playin grand theft auto @ like 10yrs old. wow what do they want you to play. barbies playhouse and viva pinata and btw ur missin out on halo 3..my gamertags sinlessfuture im a corporal grade 2

  7. avatar Guy

    You actually go and make a point against sequels and bring Halo as a prime example, and then bring on FF7 and the FF series in general? That’s the biggest candidate for the shitus-sequeltis disease.

    I won’t even talk gameplay changes, because from your notes on Halo it seems you understand nothing in this field whatsoever.
    But story-wise, at least in the Halo series the universe and story expended and grew with the sequels. You learned the motives behind a few characters (friends and foes) and the plot became more complicated. That’s good continuity, and FF basically has none of that.
    The only reason to thing FF7 in particular is any good, is because (as Adam Sessler put it) “you’re childhood sucks”. That’s one ongoing series I won’t mind disappearing altogether.

    But what about the aforementioned MGS and other series? Imagine a world without MGS2. Without Half Life 2. Without System Shock 2. Without Descent Freespace. Without Baldurs Gate 2. Without new Elder Scrolls and Call of Duty and GTA and Fallout sequels.

    You know what that world would be? A Wii World, were stories don’t matter and games don’t get sequels. They simply get recycled.

  8. avatar Maqsood

    Swarm is a great new abstract steartgy game. Easy to learn with only one piece like checkers, but different spaces allow you to stack and unstack your pieces for more power. Different boards will be available which will add different spaces and change the strategies. Like chess and checkers, no two games will be the same. Currently there are 2, 3, and 6 player boards available. More info can be found at the links given. There will be a Swarm tournament at the PentaCon convention in Fort Wayne IN on Nov 7th, and 8th.

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