On Sequels

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On Sequels

Yahtzee discusses why sequels should not be written by fanboys.

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A valid point, Mr Croshaw.

Well it makes perfect sense....but you also said in your SPORE review that if someone has made a masterpiece they have to attempt to live up to that reputation but never do, so in a way it's a lose:lose situation

There are exceptions to this. Take MINERVA for example, it was made by a fanboy of HL2 and now its considered canon.

There are plenty of sequels made that are better than the original's because they have been kept by their original developers*.

*Note: I mean most of them, some of the original developers still stuff it up

He does have a very good point, but it's still sort of a depressing view, that fans will never be grateful with what they're given.

Just a shame it's an accurate view :/

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Sequels should only be made by people who didn't like the original.

If you mean people who have modest criticisms about the original as well as interesting suggestions, then definitely.

But then there are those people who just don't like a game for what it is. And putting them in charge would probably result in a loss of the things that made the original so beloved.

Ex. I remember someone making a user review stating that he didn't much like Dead Space and thought that "Zero-gravity" was retarded. He is entitled to his opinion...I just wouldn't offer him a seat for pitching ideas into the next game.

Note to self: DO NOT correct Yahtzee. Caring about his mistakes is just as bad as disagreeing with him.

Wow, I didn't think I could disagree with every single word in an article so strongly and completely; yet, here we are.

Clearly, geometry and dimensional physics are serious business.

I'll just post what I had in a similar thread:

"I would like less (none, preferrably) sequels. I think that sequels invalidate the original games. I would rather see expansions that add to the game, adding more content to it. In the era of DLC, considering the consoles have been sold with it in mind, it is sad to see few developers take advantage of it, rather choosing to withhold content to milk customers for it.

I still have older games with many problems and glitches that haven't been fixed with patches beyond those that are game-breaking (and in some cases, those still exist). Developers will instead focus on crafting a sequel to the game instead of fixing said older game, essentially shafting the customers that have already placed their faith in the company.

Instead of sequels, develop new games and add to the old ones. That's my take on the subject, and it's sad to see the gaming environment devolve itself into that of the movie industry all for the sake of money. No one takes pride in their work anymore, I guess..."

I find that sequels not made by the original creators have a greater tendency to be lacklustre. Star Control 3 and Master of Orion 3 were phenomenal disappointments, for example.

A small amount of fandom is probably required to make a sequel, or any derivative work for that matter. Otherwise you'll have Monkey Island 11 set in 22nd century New York City with a female/ethnic/robot/mutant/British sidekick butchering aliens with no pirates, monkeys or islands in sight, a greater crime, I believe, since that means the name was only used as a hook to get you to buy an inferior product: which is most commonly seen in the game-to-movie and book-to-movie bugger ups.

Logical departures of established canon(s) are no big crime, although many fan-boys will violently disagree, just so long as it's entertaining and is adequately related whatever you're deriving from.

PS Monkey Planet could actually be a really cool game: Guybrush crawls out of a crashed escape pod and jovially exclaims: "I wanna be a space pirate!"

I don't care what the fuck he says: sequels being banned is just plain stupid. Sure there are many pointless sequels out there that the gaming world could do without, but many of our favorite games are sequels so fuck that idea 'till its dead. I still think Halo 3 is a great sequel, KOTOR 2, SH 2, and RE 2 are my favorite sequels of all time, and if franchises didn't exist I wouldn't have played LoZ Ocarina of Time or any of the Castlevania GBA games.

Ah,but see,if it was like you say in the begining,we wouldnt have half life 2,civilization 4,fallout 2,and many other excelent sequels that werent part of a series.

And its not true that you should give the sequel to someone who hates the game,but to a fan that wants to make it better.You know,some of us do see the flaws in the games we love,no matter how much we love them.I know it shocks you(heck,it shocks me whenever I think about it),but not all people are inconpetent idiots.

I find it's a good point (thinking about improvement and not respect), but the delivery is very confusing, Mr. Yahtzee.

Being a fan is irrelevant. What matters, to me, is making a good game that is relevant to the property. Either a complete departure, or a profound refinement of the previous title, bottom line, what matters is if it's good.

Yahtzee, what is your opinion on the Thief 2 FM Campaign, "Shadows of the Metal Age"? While I agree with your points...a lot, I'm just curious because Thief 2X is completely fan-made content, do you just consider this one an exception? Or do mods even count, considering they're using the same engine as the original game and a lot of elements from the original?

Doesn't his argument falls flat on its face when you consider the fact that silent hill 2 was made by the same developers of the first one.

Correct me if i'm wrong.

Regarding sequels, I have to agree with Mr. Croshaw.

I absolutely hate it when sequel developers claim that they're trying "pay respect" to an old franchise. As an artist, I could say that I'm "paying respect" to Leonardo da Vinci by tracing over the Mona Lisa and slapping it on a canvas, but in the end, all I'll have done is exploited a famous piece of artwork and pissed off every Italian in heaven.

However, I do think that a good sequel is possible in the hands of a die hard fan. Sure, most fans would probably fill the sequel with all the textures, running gags, and characters that made the original great, but in order to keep my faith in humanity, I have to believe that some fans would be willing to try and make the game their own.

If we consider games to be an art form, then we have to consider them a form of self-expression first. Returning my previous metaphor, several artists have used the Mona Lisa in their work (ex: Dada), but what separated their work from mere plagiarism was the fact that they took it and made it a part of themselves. That said, I truly believe that the best sequels are those that are completely detached from the original. I applaud any developer that takes the giant risk of taking an old franchise, and instead of giving it a new look, gives it a new personality altogether.

While I agree that games that have endings in which everything gets closure and the story is 100% finished shouldn't get sequels, I disagree with the part that only stories that can be told from start to finish in 10 hours of gameplay should be made.

You can have compelling stories that take more than one game to unfold. Take Max Payne for example, even though you did get an ending in the first game, his story wasn't over, and it only came to a true conclusion at the end of the sequel. The game also serves as an example of a game sequel that was true to the original in every single aspect, almost like watching Kill Bill vol.1 and vol.2 (one movie in two parts).

I don't think simplifying a storyline to fit in a single game will make it better, as long as you don't screw up other things about the game in the sequel (like gameplay, voice acting, art style, etc).

I think a differentiation needs to be made between fanboys and just regular fans. If you bring in people who DIDN'T like a game to make a sequel to it, odds are that they're going to remove all the fun stuff that made the original good. If you left Monkey Island in the hands of people who didn't like it because they thought the original was too hard, you may end up with a game that's so simple and stupid that it sucks all the principal fun from the adventure game experience.

I played Monkey Island I + II and enjoyed them, even though I'm not very good at adventure games and had to have gamefaqs open constantly. Also, am I crazy for thinking that MI 2 didn't end in a way that no sequel could have been possible? Given how crazy the ending and general plot was along with it's huge amount of self-parody, I don't think it's fair to classify MI as a pure fanboy resurrection.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
Clearly, geometry and dimensional physics are serious business.

It would seem so.

Personally, I think fans making a game is not a bad idea as they know what made the game good in the first place. However, as mentioned, fans will make the game 'theirs' with disregard to improvements that could be made.

There needs to be a mix of fans and haters of the original in the development team.

I do agree that fanboys shouldn't be the ones to make a sequel because what you almost always end up with is a glorified fanfic (see the new Bionic Commando).

But I can't really agree that somebody who didn't like the game should work on its sequel, because are they really going to have their heart in it? No, and they'll probably resent having to work on said sequel.

On Bethany Rogers' email:

It's actually spelled Sierpinski.

yourbeliefs:
I think a differentiation needs to be made between fanboys and just regular fans. If you bring in people who DIDN'T like a game to make a sequel to it, odds are that they're going to remove all the fun stuff that made the original good. If you left Monkey Island in the hands of people who didn't like it because they thought the original was too hard, you may end up with a game that's so simple and stupid that it sucks all the principal fun from the adventure game experience.

I played Monkey Island I + II and enjoyed them, even though I'm not very good at adventure games and had to have gamefaqs open constantly. Also, am I crazy for thinking that MI 2 didn't end in a way that no sequel could have been possible? Given how crazy the ending and general plot was along with it's huge amount of self-parody, I don't think it's fair to classify MI as a pure fanboy resurrection.

MI2 ending made no sense. Even Ron Gilbert didn't know how to follow up that. So the creatores of Curse went with "Fuck it lets forget about it.".

And when it comes to videogames, if you can't tell a complete story within 10 hours of gameplay then maybe you should consider simplifying it a tad.

Or 10 hours of cutscenes if you are Hideo Kojima :) Sorry, was that too obvious?

I guess the problem is that a sequel is really a company exploiting the fact that they have a "property" whose name is well known in the gaming community, and where they know how much money they stand to make. This then makes the investment part of the game an easy calculation.

And once you have a budget and you know which audience you're pitching to, you pick up your "cut & paste" tool and, erm, cut & paste.

Basically, sequels are pretty much always fan service and a play for easy money. Fans of the games only have themselves to blame, really.

I don't know, I actually liked the 3rd and 4th Monkey Island games - the voice actors for one are all terrific, and they were still quite funny.

Ironically the folks who wrote the dialog in Monkey Island didn't realize at the time it was intended to be comedy, they were inserting 'joke' text as a placeholder, expecting to replace it with actual serious dialog later only to be told the game was going to ship with their 'lame jokes' firmly in place.

The problem with lack of sequels is that even if it's often disappointing compared to the first opus, having a rule forbidding sequels would have made us miss things like Half-Life 2, but anyway, imho things are never black and white (except two-bits GIF files)(...ahem, sorry, geek joke), there are shades of grey.

Sometimes a sequel ends up more interesting than yet another generic *insert your favorite genre here* game with no backstory and going nowhere (on the other hand, overkill lengthy backstory is not my cup of tea either).

Edit: also, let's take for example Beyond Good & Evil 2: somehow, I trust Michel Ancel & Christophe Héral more to make another hauntingly beautiful game than newcomers who hated the first game: I've got nothing against changes (so I guess I'm not a real fangirl) but if someone hated the first one, it seems logical they are less likely they'll make something I'll enjoy than someone who I know for sure made something I greatly enjoyed.

On the other hand, I'm probably one of the few people who actually enjoyed Deus Ex: Invisible wars because it continued DX's story, so I'll now go hide in shame somewhere.

In sonic's case, living up to the originals is the best he can hope for.

Uhm. Yeah. Listen to the "Sequels made by people that did not like the original" and you get a bunch of sequels that are hated by everyone who loved the first game.

And we would get more Neverwinter Nights 2's - bad sequels, that while improved SOME of the aspects of the game, destroyed the MOST important things.

Besides, look at Ubisoft or Blizzard or Valve - they love what they do, and people see it in their games. Especially Blizzard and Valve.

This reminds me of a discussion I once had about similar subject...

There are two types of "fans" when it comes to, well, just about anything: true fans and "fleas".

Fleas are called such because they live off of various media as a source of nourishment, usually in the way of adopting portions of it into their own lives and personas. They take something from a media source and literally make it theirs.

A good example is die-hard Star Wars fans. These people would no sooner admit that the first three episodes were as bad as they were than admit that they have no purpose on this planet and summarily shuffle off into a large furnace. They CANNOT admit that something bearing the Star Wars logo is bad because to criticize it would be to criticize themselves. To these people, Star Wars is as important (if not more so) to their lives than religion is to most.

These are not real fans, because they do not see any error or room for improvement.

TRUE fans are the ones who respect a piece of media, be it a game, movie, book, etc., for what it is. They too will adopt pieces of it into their lives and enjoy their fanship thoroughly. There's nothing wrong with this, as I think we can all admit that it feels great to be passionate about something we enjoy.

However, what separates the fans from the fleas is that fans will see room for improvement where it exists. They will see when something that was once great is not living up to its former glory and they'll call it. As the series continues to drift away from its former greatness, the fans will also drift away, continuing to drift until they're no longer fans at all. They saw what was great in their favorite series and, as that greatness diminishes, so too does their love for it.

I once considered myself an avid Star Wars fan. I don't any longer. Episodes 1-3 thoroughly destroyed any love I once had for the series. It's both sad and ironic, but George Lucas wound up completely missing the point of why people loved Star Wars to begin with. It wasn't because of the special effects, it was because (though the acting was generally bad) the characters in episodes 4-6 absolutely OOZED humanity. This made the whole thing believable and enjoyable.

With the human element missing from 1-3 with stiff, lifeless characters, my reasons for liking the series ceased to exist (as it did for the majority of the series' fans). Yet, that hasn't stopped millions of fleas from marching right along, pretending as if everything as fine, as admitting otherwise would equate relinquishing a large part of who they are. Were Star Wars to die completely, the fleas would simply hop off the carcass onto the next warm host to suck nourishment from and start incorporating huge portions of it into their lives.

In summary, fans will see greatness and appreciate it for what it is, noticing when it diminishes and offering criticism upon how it could be better. Fleas will see greatness and latch onto it (mostly due to extreme insecurity), never admitting that there can be any fault found with it because doing so would equate admitting they were wrong about associating it into their lives to start with.

Daemian Lucifer:
Ah,but see,if it was like you say in the begining,we wouldnt have half life 2,civilization 4,fallout 2,and many other excelent sequels that werent part of a series.

And its not true that you should give the sequel to someone who hates the game,but to a fan that wants to make it better.You know,some of us do see the flaws in the games we love,no matter how much we love them.I know it shocks you(heck,it shocks me whenever I think about it),but not all people are inconpetent idiots.

I can't help but think he meant outside the original development team. Also, points of hilarity for misspelling incompetent.

The Sapinsky Gasket makes me want to cry.

Erm.... Tales of Monkey Island's design director is Dave Grossman, one of the "big three" to work on the first two MI games you apparently worship.

Tales isn't made by "fanboys," it's made by one of the three original writers of the series.

So... What constitutes a lame sequel, and what constitutes an imaginative romp through the same elementary framework/universe as a previous work?

I'm thinking particularly of Star Trek here, which has inspired unholy amounts of spin-off work, both sanctioned and otherwise. Some of it is great, and some of it (mostly easily identifiable by looking for the name "Rick Berman" scrawled on it somewhere) is arse. And some would argue that the whole franchise was beaten to death so thoroughly and comprehensively under the feet of millions of "adoring" fans that JJ Abrams had no choice but to punch master reset.

Two of those feet were unquestionably mine. I watched the series ardently in my younger days and even attended a fan convention. If I look hard enough, I can find my copies of the Star Fleet Technical Reference Manual and the Franz Joseph blueprints to the Enterprise. TNG showed up and I watched that religiously for a while, but around season six something changed, either in me or in the series, and I started to lose interest. I still haven't seen all of the sixth or seventh seasons. Deep Space Nine showed up (concomitant with Babylon 5 -- nothing suspicious there, nope, nope) but almost nothing about the situation or the characters grabbed me. When Voyager showed up, I said, "Oh, fsck you, this is an impossibly lame Lost In Space ripoff," and even Berman tacitly acknowledged this when he added Jeri Ryan to the cast. When the Enterprise pre-quel showed up, I didn't even bother, because it was evident they didn't care anymore. It seems that universe had nothing left to say to me.

Having said all that, I don't think the universe/template/framework of Star Trek is dead -- it just needs to find someone who has something to say through that framework. In "rebooting" the franchise, Abrams changed the framework, presumably in the hopes of finding new things to say. But for all energy and hype and flash, this first film didn't have much to say (except possibly, "We still don't know how to handle time travel in a non-lame, non-deus-ex-machina fashion").

Which leads me back to the original question: What constitutes a good sequel? Are there universally applicable rules, or is it all ultimately subjective?

Fractals?... Those are just shapes, not another dimension. 2 or 3d shapes. Space is space whether it's full or not.

Why do we even need sequels? Can't they just release a game in the same universe as the one they just made, but not a sequel? For example, Generic soldier saves the world. Well, why can't the "Sequel" be called "The Day We All Died" or something, and keep it in said universe, taking on the role of a civilian. Or, you know, we could just milk the proverbial knob until all of it's baby making juices that create sequels are gone...

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