On Sequels

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scifidownbeat:
I'd like to disagree with you. Perhaps completely spontaneous sequels (for example, the Pirates of the Caribbean movie sequels) should also be abolished?

There are good films in that category, too. Wrath of Khan, Aliens, Dawn of the Dead (Romero didn't plan on any sequels when he made NOTLD), etc.

The one type of sequel I would say needs to be avoided is the "More of the Same" variety- the old model where you just rehash whatever happened in the first one with slight alterations. This worked great in the years before home video (let alone video games), because you hadn't seen the first one in a while. And with video games, sometimes it's nice to get a tech upgrade. But a sequel that's a logical continuation of what has gone before, because the story or game concept left room for expansion, is another thing altogether.

Hahahaha I couldn't stop laughing at the last part :P Good point

Yeah. I see his point, but I completely disagree with him. The problem here isn't having fans making something. It is having fanboys making a game.

If you see works continued from people that didn't know shit about the source material, you never got good results. Sans Superman 2. I never liked Supes much, but even having abysmal expectations about that movie (and well knowing from everybody else how much it sucked) I was still disappointed when I saw it. The same can be said about movies based on books that the director simply didn't read. The same can be said about game continuations that were made simply to cash in into the original's success. Finally, changing something that was unique to make it "more accessible" will only take away what set it appart in the first place. (Supreme Commander 2 will play like every Warcraft Clone, Fallout 3 looks like any shooter at first glance).

For a good sequel (or adaptation form that matter), you need someone who AT LEAST understands the original work. If he does and still doesn't like it, it still works. Do a deconstruction. Even fans will love it. If he likes it, just as good. You'll know what makes it likeable and work on it. If you have no idea of how the source material works and your whole experience is a half-baked description given by your agent... do a favor to the licence and your career, and just back the effing off.

It is not fail-proof (George Lucas probably knew what his own works were about, and still ruined it. Plot-wise.), but it works better. But fanboys are a problem. If you let a fanboy make anything about his fandom, he'll ruin it because... well, as Yahtzee, they'll make the game for themselves.

One last note clausule should be: Don't mess with what was already resolved. Make new challenges, don't make your audience endure the old ones again (read: National Treasure 2, Spider Man 3, Transformers 2).

I wrote maybe a 2 page essay on why sequels currently suck. Then I realized it was long winded. Bullet points:
*Fallout 3 is original so stfu already, 99% of us do not care. We didn't play fo1,or2.
*Sequels currently act like expansions - extension of story, minor gameplay differences.
*Addons are currently treated like expansions - 1 hour extensions or new areas that make no differences.
*If you are going to make a sequel, make it in art direction only, change gameplay elements drastically. If the first game is good enough to deserve a sequel, it means that if fanboy don't like your changes they can go play the first game again. While the rest of us go, this is waaaaay better than that last game.
*Starcraft sucks, and Starcraft 2 is going to suck harder.
*George Lucas is a monster, because the original star wars had force as an underused weapon. Light saber duels were slow and cautious. Taking advantage of new technology, Lucas forgot that this is what made them cool - and went with OMG LASERLIGHT SHOW BATTLES.
*Every game is a clone of another game. The only thing that matters is if the new game actually tries to be different on more than a graphic basis.
*Warcraft 3, WoW lore sucks. I don't even understand people who read it and think it is a good story. It's not like I'm anti fantasy. But read some real good fiction and try to comeback to pulp fiction pumped out of generic writers who make a living writing the same novel with different names, and you'll understand.
*D3 is going to be good. If you think it's not D2 enough, then just play D2 again because I don't want to, stop trying to change D3 into D2+.

Yahtzee's exaggerating- it's what he does. Every single sequel shouldn't be made by someone who hated the first, duh- but if it's a choice of a lover or a hater, go for the hater. The first game was good- making the second game different won't change that.

I gotta admit, though, this argument is sounding weaker and weaker to me as I remember my own reaction to Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. I think I honestly WOULD have preffered a game that was just banjo tooie-point-five with fancier stuff, instead of going and steamrollering over the franchise with all-new vehicals. It just felt like they got a completely different game and stuck Banjo's face all over it.

Dears. I've googled for Sapinsky Gasket and what's the first result coming up? The Extra Punctuation!

Ben has a point, but I wouldn't exactly say ALL fans of a franchise are destined to ruin it with sequels. I can't think of any clear examples in mind but he forgot to mention the third option: A person who likes the game enough to want to improve upon it rather than rebuild.

Consider any of the failures which were the Digimon games after Digimon World. While the first actually made something of a system that trumped Pokemon's tired and unoriginal battle mechanics by having the Digimon fight on its own and improving the original LED handheld's growth system, the others quickly sank into anime territory and stagnating a promising franchise that nearly rivaled what was a very overhyped turn-based JRPG with mediocre graphics even for its time.

Sacrilege. Heresy.

Fallout 2, the sequel to Fallout, was and is arguably one of the best RPGs ever made. It took everything great about the first and improved upon it.

(Many will say the same about Baldur's Gate I & II. Though BG was sort of a two part story)

I googled Sapinsky Gasket like the guy said, and this was the first page. The second one was the Extra Punctuation permalink... must not be a very popular Gasket, that Sapinsky.

EDIT: Never mind, he's just a bad speller, I guess. It's called a Sierpinski Triangle. IN gaming terms, It's a triforce made out of a triforce that's made out of a triforce that's made out of a triforce, and so on. The fact that it can infinitely go on like this gives it fractals and superfractals, which are partial dimensions. If you ask me, it's just theoretical mathematics, not the "demi-dimensional" anomaly I hoped to gaze upon in order to explode my own head.

By the way, his argument was defeated by the existence of synonyms.

I think the only reason Yahtzee hasn't disabled comments is because he finds it cruelly entertaining to watch people squirm on his words(Non-sexual refrence, that one) and he'll probably mock me by calling me stupid when I say this.

Moi.

I have to say I agree with Yahtzee. I don't have a problem with sequels in particular, I just have a problem with unnecessary ones, which he addressed. Though I would say that games that share the same name due to game mechanics rather than plot reasons (i.e. Persona) ought be exempt from this rule.

I find it interesting that Yahtzee brought this up, what with the recent announcement of Okamiden, and find myself wondering if he has any thoughts on it beyond, "Pointless sequel is pointless." Okami was a great stand-alone game, and doing a sequel, let alone a sequel starring... Chibiterasu... just smells of fanwank and money-grubbing. Of course this makes sense as this is Capcom.

I understand that Clover was a Capcom studio, but making a sequel to their game after shutting them down and them leaving to start their own company is kind of a dick move. Don't forget that it's for the DS meaning the beautiful art style is getting downgraded and we're getting some gimmick toddler to walk where we tell him with the stylus, which is just dumb.

I have little faith in this game as a result of all this, and the fact that any fanservice done will most likely hurt the original story doesn't help either. What's next? God Hand 2: God Hand Harder...

I totally agree with this. Only a few companies (Insomniac Games, Sucker Punch, SCE Santa Monica, Naughty Dog, soon Suda 51, and a few others I haven't mentioned (mostly because I never played their games >.>)) have managed to put out sequels to games that have been MUCH much better than the originals, while others are just...either downright bad or being milked.

Certain sequels have the potential to be fantastic, but I totally agree. By making too big a deal out of the original is the sequel's downfall. The creators often miss chances to improve or change negative aspects for fear of "damaging" the original, as if their changes will somehow REVERSE the number of sales of the original.

Exceptions to Yahtzee's rule:

Descent 2 was a GOOD sequel to Descent 1, truth-be-told, It took what was good about its predecessor and expanded on it in logical directions, without undermining what made the first game so great.

System Shock 1 was a decent game for its day but was a flop, despite being a hit among reviewers and critics. Its sequel blew EVERYONE away, even those who'd never HEARD of the first game.

The original Sonic the Hedgehog games on Sega Genesis and Sega CD remain to this day some of the best 2D platformers EVER produced. Then Sonic Team tried to make the transition from 2D to 3D. (sigh)

The MYST series deserves special mention for its sequels being brilliant (at least through Myst III, I haven't played games 4 and 5 yet, no spoilers please) Myst 3 was made by a different game studio whose employees were self-proclaimed Myst fans (Presto Studios made Myst 3) and the writers of the first two MYST games LOVED Myst 3.

the Marathon trilogy (Bungie's magnum opus of the FPS genre they made BEFORE selling their souls to Microsoft) was rather good, though the 3rd game in it wasn't quite as good. Marathon 2 improved greatly upon the first game but the third, called Marathon Infinity, was relatively mediocre.

Half-Life is a genuine epic, and deserves to be kept under the control of a skilled studio like Valve.

Anyone else have contributions to offer to my list?

I guess the only problem with banning sequels (that have no lead up) is you remove a few really good sequels. I.e. Empire Strikes back, Terminator 2, Crash Bandicoot 3 was actually much better than the first 2 (if you're into platformers) and more that i could think of but really don't feel like it. I feel that they shouldn't be banned because although there is a sea of shit out there, the few islands are amazing enough to justify the sea of shit.

I'm not sure if you are correct here benny boy. I think there are ample cases to support and overturn your opinion. Fans shouldn't determine the direction of art perhaps, but they should be shown some more respect than you give them credit for. Fans are the market we're trying to tap, games should be made for them, not for the artist's sake. Look to your own review of Too Human for the reasons why.

Take this recent Star Trek movie. On the one hand we should applaud the producers and Paramount for finally rolling the dice on the series and taking a risk. But doing so has alienated the people that kept that franchise afloat for the last 40 odd years. The same folks that will go out and actually buy that film will no doubt fall for the next 'splosion-fest this summer and will probably shrug-off the announcement of a sequel. Fans of a series are the exact opposite, they give longevity to the industry that casual consumers don't.

Asking the same pool of producers to constantly deliver creative and new products is what turns something beautiful into something schizophrenic and stagnant (e.g. John Wu, U2, George Lucas, Star Trek, Legos, Hot Pockets, and U.S. Domestic Auto manufacturers).

There are numerous examples of how sequels do NOT always need to be made. The movie franchise SAW is a primary example. I think SAW one was a real groundbreaker and, for its time, very edgy and unnerving. SAW two did adequately to continue the storyline and explain a bit more behind the Jigsaw Killer. And SAW three was a good conclusion to the criminal career of a devious and morally warped madman.

And then...they JUST WOULDNT STOP. They had to keep going! It became painfully obvious they were continuing the franchise just for the money, because the plots got more convoluted and shittier, they had to pull another follower for Jigsaw out of their asses just to keep it going and they keep going back to flashbacks of Jigsaw because, lets face it, he's the one fans of the movies are interested in so they've got to keep bringing him back even though he's DEAD. The tagline for SAW five was "you won't believe how it ends" and when I saw it, they were right; I couldn't believe they were leaving it open to ANOTHER DAMN SEQUEL.

The cliffhanger ending sequel series are some of the worst; the ones where, as Yahtzee pointed out, the story's self-contained, but it ends with a sudden last surprise at the end that leaves an indistinct possibility for another movie to be made. Horror movies are particularly bad for this, though sometimes action movies do it as well. The problem is nothing's ever resolved with these kinds of movies because everything the hero did winds up being utterly futile if the villain comes back or somebody immediately picks up where the baddy left off.

However, there are good sequels. The best ones, however, are ones that don't seem like you're just watching the first one over again. Case in point are the Thief games. It has several recurring characters, but the specific locations change as does the villain and the overarching problem to be overcome. Going back to movies, the Alex Cross movies starring Morgan Freeman are also a good example. The first one, Kiss The Girls, had him hunting a serial killer while the next one, Along Came A Spider, had him searching for a kidnapper who abducted a senator's daughter.

The best sequels seem to be ones that strike a balance; they have familiar characters to the last game or movie or book or what have you or are in some way tied to the events in it. But they don't have so many of the same characters and the events don't mirror the first game/movie so much you might as well just play/watch the first one over and lip sync a few of the characters yourself with new, amusing lines just for laughs.

Let's take a look at a couple upcoming sequels that make these mistakes. First, Max Payne 3. Now granted I've only read the Wikipedia info on this, but according to what I've read, the game's a complete departure from the first two. Max Payne is now about 10 years older, he's gained weight, bald, bearded, and living in South America. The game seems to have no ties whatsoever to the first two and they've even done away with the bullet time mechanic and replaced it with giving Max the ability to use human shields. Shit, why bother calling it Max Payne? Seems to me like they just slapped the name on the game so it would have a built-in market in the first two game's fans.

Then there's the F.E.A.R. games, specifically the first one and it's first sequel. Now I've played the first, but I confess I haven't played the sequel. However, from everything I've heard, the main characters are interchangeable, the scenarios are exactly the same just experienced from pathways, even the timeline's the same. Okay, the F.E.A.R. story was pretty interesting, I think, but it wasn't so fascinating I think a recap is warranted from a slightly different camera angle.

So in closing, I'd say sequels aren't a bad thing, as long as they're two things: a) not just carbon copies of the first product and b) not something random crapped out by a company with a popular title tagged on it as a marketing ploy.

"Fans create sequels that hold up the predecessors as something to live up to, rather than something to improve upon. And that's not the right mindset to take. "

Agree

I've been playing the Special Edition of Monkey Island, and ya, the forest maze was terrible, in the end I just kept hitting the hint button. I know I'm used to games with simple no brainer "puzzles" but I'm not sure how anyone can know to use that map all by themselves.

Is he talking about sequels being made by a different person ,other then the original creators, that respects the franchise that he will make a sequel to?

Because if that's what he means then I can more or less agree with him.

I still don't support his "fuck the fans" demographic though.

All I can think of reading this is:

I wonder what Yahtzee thinks of Back to the Future? :\

The common misconception is that the second and third movies were planned from the start, but it was one of those situations where Robert Zemekis and company were approached by Universal and told, "Okay, we're making a second movie, with you or without you. What's it gonna be?" and they all just went, "well, better us than someone who has no idea what they're doing..." and just forced out Back to the Future II and III, kind of against their wills. Where does that fit into Mr. Croshaw's morphology of sequels?

Yeah I hate him so much.

It should be a law! HAVE YOU SEEN THE SAW SERIES?

"Because when you've got a sacred monument it's better to tear it down and rebuild it with hookers and rocket launchers, rather than leave it unchanged to gather pigeon poo for another few stagnant years." - Yahtzee Croshaw

So, why do you spend so much time getting annoyed about the more recent Silent Hill games? Aren't you a fan of the older Silent Hill games, and don't you resent the (arguably terrible) changes that were made in the name of 'trying something new'?

"The fans will like it even less, but frankly, fuck 'em." - Yahtzee Croshaw

Right... I'm confused.

Honestly, I don't think this is the appropriate way to go, either. Back when I was in high school, I used to write fanfiction, but as a rule I never wrote a fic on anything I liked. Instead, I took things that I didn't like, but saw potential in and experimented with the ideas to see where I could take them. Now, if you're willing to excuse the fact that I really didn't know how to write very well in high school, the stories ended up being decent to pretty good (with certain qualifying statements attached, obviously, they were high school fanfiction, not War and Peace).
That said, I still have to say you're wrong to think that non-fans should write sequels, because X-men 3 was written by a non-fan. Then again, so were X-men 1 and 2 and those were pretty decent. So, putting a non-fan in charge isn't the solution. The trick is to put someone in charge who is willing to explore the idea and see what can be done with it. Some fans might be willing to do that and some non-fans won't. And sometimes, the original creators will do that (the best example of this is Thief 2, which was in every way better than its original, which was already a pretty good game to begin with).
Basically, what you'd need to get rid of is the willingness to milk a cash cow with no concern for the franchise itself. That's where sequels get screwed. So, a lot of problems would be solved if executive committees were all tied to their chairs and not allowed to do anything other than provide funding to the real creators. The rest of the problems would be solved if creators would just have some fucking integrity and not sell out at the first sign of shiny objects.

sequels are good, they allow us to hopefully improve a game, but just because it offers a chance to make a game better, and make more money, doesn't mean you should. but if a sequel is worse than the original game then it will do more harm than good

portal is probably the best game i have ever played, yet i feel that a sequel will ruin the game,
maybe its because i see it as impossible to improve upon it, or just because of the way it ended.

On the other hand, in series where people *do* do as Yahtzee commands, we get OoT in the same series as the original LoZ, because the devs of OoT hated LoZ.

I despise OoT for lack of challenge and freedom. Or did, until the RBA, which almost makes the game decent, so now it's just a bit below "meh".

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