On The Backs Of Giants
Among the pile of dirty secrets that I keep locked away ... is the fact that I love sequels. Occasionally they disappoint me, just as any game holds the potential to disappoint, but by and large they constitute some of my most anticipated and loved games. Being able to slip into a familiar environment with instantly recognizable rules and mores is like relaxing into a warm bath.
I have to agree wholeheartedly. Who doesn't love sequels to their favorite games? The problem is, like you mentioned, when they milk the cow dry, then slaughter it for meat, and beat its hollowed carcass, all for one more penny.
Quake 4 was quite good also, but that's not the point obviously. The article itself did have a point which was basically just pointing a finger at some elementary thing that's there, but sometimes we need that finger to quite get it.
The game industry needs sequals the most honestly, since they are the ones with the most hype and is more than likely to be a sure fire hit.
Sequels, are it, it is true, much maligned, and do not deserve much of their malignment.
People are notoriously habit prone creatures, and many a game has suffered by being *too* ahead of its time, a little *too* innovative. By the same token, putting a familiar skin on a diffrent skeleton can make something more approachable, understandable, and make the player more prone to taking a chance on it. I know I would never even give Spore a chance were it not the latest in a long iteration of similar games from Will Wright.
And of course, some game methods and mechanics are justly loved and enjoyed, and even bringing those mechanics to a new platform or refreshing its look can be worthwhile, to a certain extent.
I wasn't aware of this problem. What I usually hear is that movie sequels worsen a franchise until the temporary insanity rates cross the 20% line whereas game sequels often are an improvement over the predecesor, fixing problems and adding features, improving grahpics and gameplay.
There are only a few types of games that suffer/can suffer from sequels:
- Very story-driven games, for the same reason as movies. You can always make bigger explosions, but if the story is the basis for your game and it sucks you're left with a sucky game.
- AAA+EX-titles (since AAA is overused nowadays) which everyone loved, like StarCraft, where every little detail is going to be judged by the players of the prequel mercilessly. This isn't neccesarily a problem as it makes patch-making easier for the producer, and if the basic idea was good enough the game can be pollished to the shine it was first intended to have.
- Expansion packs where you often pay a lot for too little. The HOMM-expansion packs are a good example of that. A few more maps, units and items that you'll never really use in a normal game + a badly built campaign.
It's quite clear that people are going to bash you if your sequel doesn't improve, so in certain ways, it does generate creativity, within already set parameters. This applies less to exploitations of an established franchise, but with a different gameplay and genre.
Above all, some companies will just dismiss any cricisim regarding the stagnation of their successive designs... are often those which fuel the bias against sequels.
Same for films. Why I want more of a given game is simply because I feel, as a fan, that there were more stories to tell, or variants to exploit, more levels to visit, or richer game mechanics to try.