Over the past few months I’ve been playing sequel after sequel and truth be told, I’m bored. It’s not that I didn’t like the games I was playing; it’s just that I knew exactly what to expect even before I got the game in hand. To some that may feel like going to a restaurant, ordering the same dish you do every time and relishing it, but after a while, you’ll crave a different dish. That’s how humans roll.
A while back I had touched upon this very same topic debating whether this trend of cashing in on sequels was hampering the industry and now I can emphatically state it is. It seems however that I’m in the minority as sales figures state otherwise. Modern Warfare 3, something I was personally a bit disappointed with has gone on to become the bestselling video game in history, upping its predecessor Black Ops that had smashed all sorts of entertainment records. Even Uncharted 3, something I had huge hopes for could not live up to the standards set up by its predecessor. Once again, it seemed I was in the minority as most of our readers were clearly in love with the game.
And then there are games like Need for Speed: The Run that are not so surprisingly a huge step down from previous iterations. Even though developer Black Box had nearly three years to work on this game while studios like Criterion and Slight Mad churned out other, better NFS games, it seemed they failed hard, forgetting what made us love the series in the first place. Same goes with Assassin’s Creed Revelations that’s a far cry from both Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood. Now I remember reading somewhere that Brotherhood and Revelations aren’t actual sequels and this makes me wonder that if the spin offs have become stale, what could Ubisoft possibly do to get me interested in Assassin’s Creed III? Even if the game makes the jump to modern ages, gameplay mechanics will still stay the same so what would their hook be?
What worries me the most is that this trend shows absolutely no sign of slowing down. As I went through some of the games releasing in 2012, I realised that there are not more than a handful of original IPs releasing next year. And out of those few, I doubt stuff like Inversion or Asura’s Wrath will make a huge dent at sales. This obviously doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to Max Payne 3 or Grand Theft Auto 5, the main reason being Rockstar doesn’t assault us with yearly iterations of these games. Max Payne 2 was released in 2003 while Max Payne 3 is on track for a 2012 release date. Even if this game had not been delayed multiple times and released when it was supposed to in 2010, there was still a seven year gap between sequels, which to me seems like a sufficient amount of time to actually crave a follow up. Same goes with GTA V that will release nearly four years after its predecessor.
Now I know every company out there cannot be a Rockstar games, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try. Churn out sequels fine, but don’t release them so often that players get sick of the very same formula they loved. At least try to innovate a bit expanding upon the predecessor in noticeable or even subtle ways. Franchises like Call of Duty and Need for Speed have already descended down that slippery slope and its only a matter of time before both gamers and developers get burnt out with the same sh*t served on a different day.