Jimquisition: Sequel or Slaughter

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Legion:
Especially considering people could read the bloody book in a shorter amount of time than the length of the three films. Which is probably a first actually.

Nah, there's a whole bunch of nouvelles with lengthy big screen adaptations to their name. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button comes to mind.

Cecilo:
Though I doubt Jim will see this I would have a question for him.

Is creating a world, and then creating multiple games inside that world acceptable? Like, Sword of the Stars, it created it's own universe, lore, backstory etc. First Two games, (Not including the expansions) Were 4X games, Third game, Sword of the Stars The Pit was a Roguelike set in Sword of the Stars, included lore, artwork that made it fit, the story for the game fit in with the rest of the lore.

Is that acceptable, because it is still kind of milking the fans of the series, sure it isn't the same game once it goes to the Pit. It tried new things, and they made a profit off of it as a standalone game, but would it be bad if companies started doing that. Let's say. Assassin's Creed. More games set in that universe. But instead of being an action game about stabbing templars, you are now commanding squads of Assassins or Templars in a Dawn of War 2 style. Would that make the Assassin's Creed series okay? Since it is no longer just rehashing the same game over and over?

For me it all comes down to creative justification. I love the idea of a world in which many stories can be told, if they're good stories, and the world can support them. Likewise, I'm happy to get a sequel with good artistic reasoning behind it.

All these things -- franchises, expansions, spirital followups, multiple stories in one universe -- are terrific, so long as the motivation for doing them comes from a place where cynicism isn't the primary factor.

Johnny Novgorod:
There's no real reason to make The Hobbit into three movies. They already made a Hobbit movie in 1977 - it was 77 minutes long. And it's a lovely movie. The whole Necromancer/Saruman/Radagast subplot is just there for filler and to solidify the connections with the comparatively more mature LOTR, just as Galadriel is just there because the movie needs to cast at least ONE actress, and Tauriel was made up by the same principle, and Legolas is there for fanservice, and... you get the picture.

The necromancer storyline has been in the movie since the very beginning, even back when they planned to do it all in two movies. I personally love it being there, it gives Gandalf more to do and makes his presence and arc within the story make more sense. So that's where I stand on how relevant it is. They only split it into a trilogy VERY late in the game--I'm talking May of 2012, just six months shy of the premier. So to me, saying "there's no real reason to make it into three movies" doesn't make sense because it's still the same project they set out to complete from the very beginning. They're just giving all their ideas more breathing room. And yes, they do need to make a few connections with LotR, because unlike when the Hobbit was originally written they know a bit more about the world and what was going on. Hell, Tolkien himself edited some parts of the Hobbit after he came up with the story of LotR so that their continuities didn't conflict.

I'll admit Legolas is probably for fanservice, but his presence still makes sense because Thorin and Co still encounter his father Thranduil and his people in Mirkwood in the original story. It's not like they bent the story backwards, they just said "Hey, Thranduil is the king that imprisoned the dwarves, and even though Legolas wasn't a character when the Hobbit was written, it would still make sense for the son of the king to be there." In fact, knowing the full continuity, if Legolas weren't there in some way they would have had to address it anyway.

They picked through the appendices to make parts of LotR make sense--for example, even though the book never shows how Aragorn died, they got the imagery of showing him on his deathbed during Arwen's vision from the appendices. And now they're doing the same thing in the Hobbit. Yes some things are different from the book, but it's all still from Tolkien and just as with LotR, what they can't adapt accurately they at least try to honor in some way or another.

Lightknight:
Are you saying that Peter Jackson does not also enjoy money and/or keeping himself and his staff employed for another 5 years?

He's Peter Fucking Jackson. He hasn't had a tough time finding work since LotR was completed. He's been doing whatever the hell he wants to do. He directed the 2005 King Kong and Lovely Bones adaptation, he produced District 9, Adventures of TinTin, he's directed and produced a few short films of his own, and there are a few other projects he's working on which are slated to come out in 2014 or 2015. Whether or not he did the Hobbit movies, he was pretty set when it came to money and acclaim. When you're signed as a producer for a film directed by Steven Spielberg, there isn't much you can't do in the realm of filmmaking.

Folks'll still miss the point Jim, despite all the disclaimers at the end. Love the end by the way - and that was an impressive load. Or was it from multiple smaller blasts?

Cecilo:
Though I doubt Jim will see this I would have a question for him.

Is creating a world, and then creating multiple games inside that world acceptable? Like, Sword of the Stars, it created it's own universe, lore, backstory etc. First Two games, (Not including the expansions) Were 4X games, Third game, Sword of the Stars The Pit was a Roguelike set in Sword of the Stars, included lore, artwork that made it fit, the story for the game fit in with the rest of the lore.

Is that acceptable, because it is still kind of milking the fans of the series, sure it isn't the same game once it goes to the Pit. It tried new things, and they made a profit off of it as a standalone game, but would it be bad if companies started doing that. Let's say. Assassin's Creed. More games set in that universe. But instead of being an action game about stabbing templars, you are now commanding squads of Assassins or Templars in a Dawn of War 2 style. Would that make the Assassin's Creed series okay? Since it is no longer just rehashing the same game over and over?

This was the original idea behind the Oddworld games, and I loved the concept. The devs saying that they had come up with this cool world, its settings, themes, history and denizens, and that they were going to a bunch of completely different games based on it. Some would be platformers like Abe's Oddysee, you'd get your shooter in Stranger's Wrath.. the had a planned RTS and so on.

I look at the sequels and franchises these days and can't help but wonder "what happened to the idea of making it bigger and better?". We used to get sequels that gave us so much more, new weapons, new enemies, bigger and more complete worlds, new gameplay mechanics but now we just get pretty much exactly the same thing year in, year out.

Look at the main Mario games. With the exception of the New series and the fact Galaxy 2 exists, each main game had huge amounts of new power ups, tools, enemies and game play ideas. The Zelda series was an even better example.

You could say 'but technology was improving over that time', but that doesn't really excuse it. Super Mario Bros 1 to 3 were all on the NES and each very different (ok, 2 was a reskin but even then 3 was substantially different to 1). Zelda Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword had the same theme and characters but played very differently (for better or worse, I preferred the narrative and layout of the former).

But yeah, that's my problem with sequels. They should be bigger, better and more refined, but instead we just get the same dross. Ubisoft of all people should know this, seeing as Assassin's Creed 1 wasn't exactly great (good idea, not brilliantly executed) while Assassin's Creed 2 is probably one of the best games this gen as the devs sat back, looked at what was wrong with the first game and improved it while still adding. Since then, we've had pretty much the same game in either smaller or less interesting environments.

Deathfish15:

Here's a list of sequel spewing series that need to die:

-Call of Duty

-Battlefield

-Diablo

-Starcraft

-Assassin's Creed

-Tomb Raider

-Fallout

-Grand Theft Auto

-Total War

-Halo

-Killzone

-[insert any sports game here]

-[insert anything with "Mario" here]

-Sonic

-Crysis

-Final Fantasy

Is the existence of these games hurting you somehow? Several of these titles are beloved by many people and that's how they're still alive. This video isn't the death of franchises, it's about not ruling out IPs that can still be very lucrative if budgeted for properly.

I actually JUST had a discussion on a forum about how Capcom is only interested in making sequels, and almost nothing else. Someone commented that it wasn't as bad as Ubisoft, and apparently, it's true.

Lilani:

Lightknight:
Are you saying that Peter Jackson does not also enjoy money and/or keeping himself and his staff employed for another 5 years?

He's Peter Fucking Jackson. He hasn't had a tough time finding work since LotR was completed. He's been doing whatever the hell he wants to do. He directed the 2005 King Kong and Lovely Bones adaptation, he produced District 9, Adventures of TinTin, he's directed and produced a few short films of his own, and there are a few other projects he's working on which are slated to come out in 2014 or 2015. Whether or not he did the Hobbit movies, he was pretty set when it came to money and acclaim. When you're signed as a producer for a film directed by Steven Spielberg, there isn't much you can't do in the realm of filmmaking.

So you're saying he doesn't, in fact, like money anymore? He officially now has all the monies he wants and wouldn't perform any actions to obtain a few additional millions of dollars?

Lilani:

Johnny Novgorod:
There's no real reason to make The Hobbit into three movies. They already made a Hobbit movie in 1977 - it was 77 minutes long. And it's a lovely movie. The whole Necromancer/Saruman/Radagast subplot is just there for filler and to solidify the connections with the comparatively more mature LOTR, just as Galadriel is just there because the movie needs to cast at least ONE actress, and Tauriel was made up by the same principle, and Legolas is there for fanservice, and... you get the picture.

The necromancer storyline has been in the movie since the very beginning, even back when they planned to do it all in two movies. I personally love it being there, it gives Gandalf more to do and makes his presence and arc within the story make more sense. So that's where I stand on how relevant it is. They only split it into a trilogy VERY late in the game--I'm talking May of 2012, just six months shy of the premier. So to me, saying "there's no real reason to make it into three movies" doesn't make sense because it's still the same project they set out to complete from the very beginning. They're just giving all their ideas more breathing room. And yes, they do need to make a few connections with LotR, because unlike when the Hobbit was originally written they know a bit more about the world and what was going on. Hell, Tolkien himself edited some parts of the Hobbit after he came up with the story of LotR so that their continuities didn't conflict.

I'll admit Legolas is probably for fanservice, but his presence still makes sense because Thorin and Co still encounter his father Thranduil and his people in Mirkwood in the original story. It's not like they bent the story backwards, they just said "Hey, Thranduil is the king that imprisoned the dwarves, and even though Legolas wasn't a character when the Hobbit was written, it would still make sense for the son of the king to be there." In fact, knowing the full continuity, if Legolas weren't there in some way they would have had to address it anyway.

They picked through the appendices to make parts of LotR make sense--for example, even though the book never shows how Aragorn died, they got the imagery of showing him on his deathbed during Arwen's vision from the appendices. And now they're doing the same thing in the Hobbit. Yes some things are different from the book, but it's all still from Tolkien and just as with LotR, what they can't adapt accurately they at least try to honor in some way or another.

Yes, it all makes sense, in a technical, hand-wavy sort of way ("Oh, Legolas would be around", "Oh, we should show Gandalf's actions, even though we could not and let him be the mysterious character he was written as", "Oh, we could totally stretch every single setpiece to turn an adventure story into an action story"). I can't get over the fact how unimportant Bilbo, The Hobbit, is. I love Martin Freeman as Bilbo but he's pushed aside for the most part even though he's supposed to be the main protagonist and narrator of the story bearing his name. We see more of Legolas and "Tauriel" in the new trailer than we do of Bilbo. And speaking of the trailer - they show they're going as far as Bilbo stepping into Smaug's lair. So what's the third movie going to be about? 170 minutes of the Battle of the Five Armies, which Bilbo totally didn't miss in the novel?

Always love your insights, Jim. As usual, they're spot-on. Honestly, though, I don't think this video needed to be 9 & a half minutes long. Like a lot of your Jimquisitions, you seem to belabor the point when it could be made so much more succinctly and effectively.

Also, I completely disagree with Jim's views on The Hobbit, for the same reasons Bob said in The Big Picture. I don't think it's out of greed, though I WILL say it's probably because Peter Jackson wanted to do it.

Jim, you keep having this misconception that these games are cheap to make. Cliff B. mentioned a great video on used games in one of his recent blog posts and I think you should watch it. It may seem disconnected from what I'm saying at first but trust me, it will all connect in the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G_f8YBy39M

Hollywood is and has been ever increasingly garbage. The business practices and crappy premises have been going stale and stagnant for years, and this is what people want their games to be? Why? Fucking why?

Movies aren't the be all end all of "art" they are very similar to games in that there is just as much pulpy schlock and just as few... ugh, I have to say it, Citizen Kanes.

There are nothing bad about sequels, but I remember playing Halo: Combat evolved when I was really young, and bring wrapped up in the story and the questions it presented, then after completing it having a second game be teased. When that happens, there should be a sequel. But in a game where everything presented and neatly wrapped up in the end, there doesn't need to be. Don't follow Hollywood, its a waste of time. Movies just don't have it anymore.

synobal:
Personally I think Studios should not be attached so much of creating squeals but instead creating new games with in the same setting. Unfortunately this means a lot of times they will be tempted to do the same thing again and again rather than explore new aspects of the setting.

Often, that happens when they hire other writers or another studio to create the sequel. Bioshock 2 comes to mind.

Lilani:
Normally I agree with you Jim, but I have one MAJOR problem with this episode: Back the fuck off the Hobbit. Making it a trilogy was Peter Jackson's idea, not the studio's. The studio approved it of course, but it became pretty evident during production that they weren't going to fit all of their ideas in two movies as originally planned. Because remember--it was originally supposed to be two movies. It was planned that way, and the studio approved it. And there was no doubt in anybody's mind it was going to make money. The halfway point for principle photography was about the same number of days into production as the halfway point for LotR. And the reason it's getting so long even though the Hobbit is such a simple story is because they're bringing in the necromancer story from the Silmarillion, which regales what Gandalf was doing when he wasn't with Thorin and Co. Also, I think he's fleshing out the culture of the elves of Mirkwood a bit, exploring their inner politics more than the original book did. But it's still all from Tolkien.

So that one comparison got a major NOPE from me. Peter Jackson is many things, but a sellout is not one of them. If anything, he had even more creative freedom with the Hobbit. I mean, who else can tell a studio "I want to completely restructure this project in and add a whole other movie to it" in the middle of production and have it approved? That not only requires a ballsy director to make the call, but a lot of trust on the studio's end that he can pull it off and not have the whole thing fall apart like a house of cards.

Peter Jackson may not be a sell-out, but he's very close to reaching George Lucas amounts of overindulgence. King Kong already displayed a lot of that.

And with The Hobbit he's very content with continuing that same path. With stuff for the sake of stuff, CGI for the sake of CGI, and fan favourite characters for the sake of fan favourite characters.

It took balls for him to demand three movies for Lord of the Rings - A project no studio had any faith in, and one that everyone in Hollywood thought would bankrupt New Line. With The Hobbit he simply had to ask, "Hey, can I make this three movies?" To which the studio replied, "Well, you made shit tons of money with that other Fantasy franchise, so sure!" Nothing really ballsy about that, just regular Hollywood business.

Ishal:
snip

I'm sure it was BS, but Speilberg and Lucas were doing some forum a few weeks back and they were talking about all of those high budget John Carter, After Earth movies that were flopping. If a few more go, they said, the industry would collapse.

Disney wanted to make Lone Ranger another Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; and while I would never fault anyone for wanting to go big, it's ultimately up to them to make a great movie/game/novel. If Watchdogs sucks, it won't sell; and like Aliens: Colonial Marines, it will disappear. But if its ratings and sales are golden, then why not?

A professional writer and creative director is supposed to create -- sometimes for a sequel, or sometimes from scratch.

Deathfish15:
Certain games should get sequels and certain games should not. Binary Domain is an example of one that left a semi-cliffhanger out of the ending, but was still a great enough story plot to not have a follow up.

The problem with the AAA market right now is that every other game, they decide to make a new engine ($$$), new character models ($$), hire new voice actors ($$$), conduct a symphony for the sound track ($$$), and get as many story writers as possible ($$$). But with all that, where's the game? You see the problem, right? There's no game there, it's basically the set up for a new movie that is "one-sitting and done"

I will say this: some sequels do it right. Guild Wars 2 took much of the background story, the character models, races, and the like...and then built on from there. However, it's still a completely different game with a different type of mechanics, newer style gameplay. Though many of the old game's fans [like Jim said] had demanded a sequel to be just like the first, the developers said "no" and went a completely different route. And it works. And it's good.

Here's a list of sequel spewing series that need to die:

-Call of Duty

-Battlefield

-Diablo

-Starcraft

-Assassin's Creed

-Tomb Raider

-Fallout

-Grand Theft Auto

-Total War

-Halo

-Killzone

-[insert any sports game here]

-[insert anything with "Mario" here]

-Sonic

-Crysis

-Final Fantasy

Your list - for the most part - is pretty flawed. For starter's, Diablo is barely a franchise by Ubisoft's standards. There was that whole decade plus between D2 and D3. Same for GTA, Sonic, Fallout, Final Fantasy, and Tomb Raider (at present, no sequel has been announced for the reboot), which aren't even on a yearly release cycles.

Zachary Amaranth:

canadamus_prime:
This is why it irritates me every time the "What games deserve a sequel" thread pops up on this site. We have to accept part of the blame for this.

And the fact that gamers routinely are reticent to try something new.

This is in large part because games are expensive things to try and demos are a pain to make.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QM6LoaqEnY

I too have a lot of jizz on my copy of Dynasty Warriors 8. All slow-down issues aside, it might just be the best DW game yet! All it needs are Gundams.

OT: I personally wish companies would think a bit more about their financial/long-term staffing before they get into sequels. There's nothing worse than a series getting out of control or ending in the middle of a story. Take Assassin's Creed for example - they lost some of their creative staff and the series has gotten out of control ever since. I mean, this is a franchise that was supposed to be a trilogy, and yet the series is now on it's fourth numbered title which is actually it's sixth game.

Arnoxthe1:
Jim, you keep having this misconception that these games are cheap to make.

No I don't. I never said they're cheap. In fact, I know they're expensive, which is why I speak out against senselessly bloated costs on top of an already expensive project.

Games aren't cheap. Through avarice and short-sightedness, they can be more costly than they need to be, a stance backed up by as many devs as refuted, depending on who serves what masters.

I don't want a TLoU sequel. Fuck that.
It's up there as one of my favorite games this generation, possibly ever, and I never want to see it again.
That doesn't mean I'm against sequels mind you. The Assassin's Creed world to me is pretty suitable for making sequels, I just think they did it wrong.

Johnny Novgorod:

undeadsuitor:
If it wasn't for the developer telling us they're related, nobody would have known.

That's the whole point though, isn't it? They tell us.

They tell us they're related, market them as related, sell them as related. The same group of people working under the same developer name for the same production company develop three similarly themed, similarly designed, similarly looking games that are marketed as part of the same franchise and the first two are even sold together nowadays, as halves of one story.

So, 3 games with complete stories, completely different gameplay, different names, released in a period of over 15 years (if we're lucky) don't deserve to be mentioned as standalone games, but are instead... milking the Ico world? Like... I'm trying to see your point, but I'm really struggling here.

Lightknight:
So you're saying he doesn't, in fact, like money anymore?

No, I'm saying he has access to so many ways of gaining obscene amounts of money that he didn't have to spend another three years exhaustively tramping across huge uninhabited swathes of New Zealand in order to get it. If money was all he was after, he has many easier and faster ways of getting it than three Hobbit movies produced on the same scale as LotR.

Johnny Novgorod:
Yes, it all makes sense, in a technical, hand-wavy sort of way ("Oh, Legolas would be around", "Oh, we should show Gandalf's actions, even though we could not and let him be the mysterious character he was written as", "Oh, we could totally stretch every single setpiece to turn an adventure story into an action story"). I can't get over the fact how unimportant Bilbo, The Hobbit, is. I love Martin Freeman as Bilbo but he's pushed aside for the most part even though he's supposed to be the main protagonist and narrator of the story bearing his name. We see more of Legolas and "Tauriel" in the new trailer than we do of Bilbo. And speaking of the trailer - they show they're going as far as Bilbo stepping into Smaug's lair. So what's the third movie going to be about? 170 minutes of the Battle of the Five Armies, which Bilbo totally didn't miss in the novel?

Again, a lot of the LotR stuff was treated this way. Hell, they even gave totally different characters different lines in LotR. They moved the Old Man Willow scene to the Fangorn so that Treebeard could recite a few of Tom Bombadil's lines, in order to pay tribute to that event. That was not only the wrong place and wrong character, but also the wrong film since that was in the Two Towers, and Tom Bombadil should have been in Fellowship.

While I also adore Martin Freeman as Bilbo, I don't feel he was neglected at all. Yes the Council of Elrond took up time, but it was used to explain how he and the dwarves got out of Rivendell even though Elrond wasn't going to allow them to go on. Yes it took them a while to get out of Goblin Town, but how else could they have stripped that down? They had to fight their way out, and it wasn't as though they were near a door. And then Bilbo's role in the battle against the wolves was greatly increased from what it was in the book. In the book, the eagles basically hear the racket they were making and pick them out of the trees. But in the movie, they had Bilbo fight to make the finale about him and to finish his arc with Thorin. While a lot of the story wasn't about Bilbo, they made sure both the beginning and end were all centered around him.

Casual Shinji:
Peter Jackson may not be a sell-out, but he's very close to reaching George Lucas amounts of overindulgence. King Kong already displayed a lot of that.

The man is a self-taught filmmaking genius. I never saw King Kong, but if I had grown up admiring a film and finally got the access to money and resources to have a crack at my first inspiration, I'd do it too.

It took balls for him to demand three movies for Lord of the Rings - A project no studio had any faith in, and one that everyone in Hollywood thought would bankrupt New Line. With The Hobbit he simply had to ask, "Hey, can I make this three movies?" To which the studio replied, "Well, you made shit tons of money with that other Fantasy franchise, so sure!" Nothing really ballsy about that, just regular Hollywood business.

I'm not sure what you know about the production of LotR, but he didn't "demand" three films. They had written it as two when they were originally going after Miramax to fund the film, but Miramax said even two was too much and after that they gave up. They scrambled to find another studio interested in the project, and eventually found New Line and pitched their two films to the head of New Line. At the end, the man said "Why are there two films? This is three films." So they retooled their scripts to be three films, and never stopped editing the scripts until they had nothing left to film.

Deathfish15:
The problem with the AAA market right now is that every other game, they decide to make a new engine ($$$)

Pretty much this. Remember back in the day when there were only two engines, every game using either Quake or Unreal? They still exist today, but instead of 9/10 games using it the ratio has gone down drastically to something like 3/10. Because EVERYBODY used them they could be licensed for relatively cheap, and when the one parent company made updates just about every game studio on earth could suddenly use them. Nowadays every studio wants in on that cash, so the 'Proprietary Engine' is now a thing. Unreal, DICE, Crytek, SquareEnix, etc. all have really cool engines, but they're functionally equivalent. There are differences sure, but not that much to matter (hoping Frostbite ends up with full destructibility some day). There's just so many that the companies can't make mad cash off it. Some major studios are being clever and sharing the engines internally across all sub-companies, but even that's a minority. Squeenix has how many IPs and how many engines? It's 1:1. FarCry:Blood Dragon showed you can reuse assets for a cheap profit, but what did the market take away? "Hey, the consumers love this stuff! Let's make a NEW engine for THE SEQUEL."

On a side note:

Dear Jim,

I was really jiving with this episode, and then THAT happened. Do you enjoy causing gut wrenching vomit to your viewers, or just REALLY like mayonnaise?

Sincerely,
Tiberius

Arnoxthe1:
Jim, you keep having this misconception that these games are cheap to make. Cliff B. mentioned a great video on used games in one of his recent blog posts and I think you should watch it. It may seem disconnected from what I'm saying at first but trust me, it will all connect in the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G_f8YBy39M

Cynical Brit's pretty much right. At Gamestop I have to push over and again at the counter: "No, I don't want a used game; I want the new one. Yeah, I know it costs more. Blah-blah-blah... just get me a new one!"

I think it's important to distinguish between "Spiritual Sequel/Prequel" and actual sequel/prequel. In the former category (which includes Ico-Shadow of the Colossus), it may make detached reference to its predecessor and/or have similar themes, but in general you have a new cast of characters and gameplay that is significantly (if not totally) different.

A sequel like God of War 2 is a continuation of the stories of previously introduced characters, with typically only minor adjustments to gameplay.

Jimothy Sterling:

Arnoxthe1:
Jim, you keep having this misconception that these games are cheap to make.

No I don't. I never said they're cheap. In fact, I know they're expensive, which is why I speak out against senselessly bloated costs on top of an already expensive project.

Games aren't cheap. Through avarice and short-sightedness, they can be more costly than they need to be, a stance backed up by as many devs as refuted, depending on who serves what masters.

I'm sure some of the costs for some games are bloated but for a lot of them, I bet they aren't. And if they aren't and they start cutting down on the budget, then we're looking at possible features now not being possible. Less than stellar graphics. Now I what you're gonna say to that last point. We don't need expensive graphics, right? Well, we may think that but others would probably get the wrong idea. They release a game with noticeably worse graphics than the other games currently released and people will say, "Oh look, the publishers are so cheap that they're even cutting the budget on graphics just to be greedy and keep more money." And if they have to do that with features, well, multiply that uproar by 3.

Casual Shinji:
Ubisoft already expressed this opinion before the very first Assassin's Creed was even released. And now they seem to be fully embracing this ideal of turning every new IP into a baby factory before it's even conceived. Meaning Watchdogs will already be passť before we've even played it.

I really wanted to play Watchdogs, and likely still will. But now the experience is going to feel a bit dirty.
We now know it's going to end open/ambiguous, have some "sequel bait", or God help us, end with a cliffhanger.
And the game could be really good, and "deserve a sequel", but will it get the sequels it deserves?

Johnny Novgorod:

undeadsuitor:
If it wasn't for the developer telling us they're related, nobody would have known.

That's the whole point though, isn't it? They tell us.

They tell us they're related, market them as related, sell them as related. The same group of people working under the same developer name for the same production company develop three similarly themed, similarly designed, similarly looking games that are marketed as part of the same franchise and the first two are even sold together nowadays, as halves of one story.

The difference is that those games are similar, but they don't need each other to exist and make sense. As for the marketing, it's like when a painter/musician makes more than one painting/song. Yes they can be similar in some ways, but they can still be very different in ways too.

Games made for sequels NEED sequels so they can make sense.
For example, Half Life 3 *Stares at Valve for a minute*...Needs the games before it to make sense. If they only made one, the experience would feel unfinished.

On the other hand, look at the Spyro games, and then the Ratchet and Clank games. Made both by Insomniac, and they share similar elements (fighting enemies while jumping on platforms with a friend by your side to help(Sparx and Clank)).
However, they are very different games, and they don't need the other to exist and make sense of their own stories.

Legion:
*Puts hand up* Guilty of wanting a Last of Us sequel.

*Puts hand up too*
:/ Yeah, me too. Or at least some DLC for the game that continues the story some.

Legion:

I honestly cannot believe how many people didn't get last weeks video, but then again people always ask what the joke is in Critical Miss and believe Yahtzee is serious with half of the things he says, so perhaps people just struggle to understand the British?

I'm sorry, what?
:/ I don't understand what ya mean......................................... ;D

Arnoxthe1:
Jim, you keep having this misconception that these games are cheap to make. Cliff B. mentioned a great video on used games in one of his recent blog posts and I think you should watch it. It may seem disconnected from what I'm saying at first but trust me, it will all connect in the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G_f8YBy39M

No, Jim doesn't have a misconception that "games" are cheap to make. Of course, that statement is like saying that "movies aren't cheap to make" when some movies certainly are. What Jim maintains though, is that games should cost what the budget allows for them to cost or they shouldn't be made at all. He appears to believe (correctly, in my opinion) that these companies aren't budgeting properly.

Example:

Let's say making a certain kind of game should reasonably bring in $2 million in revenue. You then need to make a game that costs less than $2 million to produce/market/sell.

What producers are currently doing is hiring their inept grandsons who can't find a job elsewhere (on account of their terrible crack habit) to work in their forecasting depatartment. This department, full of inbred inept beings of stupidity, then does "market research" in which they see how much money COD makes and then project COD's revenue as a possible trajectory of their own RPG. The board of the company then make budgetary decisions based on what their ridiculously out-of-touch forecasting department tells them they can make on the game if they spend money that compares with COD investments.

So then, they spend $250 million on a game that can only make, say, $150 million and are suddenly shocked that it fails to make the eleventy billion that their slack-jawed mouth breather of a department thought it would. That's how great properties like Sleeping Dogs or Tomb Raider can be immensely popular and sell VERY well but not cover the costs of production. So now, they are trying to cover their asses by making only safe bets that equates to them relying on IPs that are francizes. Even inbred Johnny can't screw up that forecasting. The last game sold X, so spending Y on marketing should increase X by around Z amount. They can look at actual data from that market segment so it works well.

With Ubisoft's mindset that they can't profit off smaller scoped IPs, they're essentially saying they don't understand budgeting where new titles are concerned. They either have to swing for the fence or not try at all. That's bad business. Small IPs ARE risky and so should be budgeted for conservatively. They should be forecasted for by looking at games that try to do similar things rather than the top of the line seller in the industry/genre. If they could spend a reasonable sum on a few new ideas, they could see a HUGE return on their investment per dollar. They're giving that up because they don't know how not to spend millions of dollars on a game that would make less.

It's ok to make a smaller game that caters to specific market demands rather than the entire market. That can be very profitable and can produce an extremely viable franchise where sequels were not initially considered. You just have to remember to play it safe with new IPs and only budget what you can reasonably cover with sales. That's essentially what big publishers are supposed to do. Play it safe and put money into good/reasonable investments.

EDIT: If anyone here is part of a marketing department that forecasts profitability, I don't mean all such people are dumb. I got my start in marketing. I'm just saying that there are some REALLY bad forecasters in gaming right now.

Arnoxthe1:

Jimothy Sterling:

Arnoxthe1:
Jim, you keep having this misconception that these games are cheap to make.

No I don't. I never said they're cheap. In fact, I know they're expensive, which is why I speak out against senselessly bloated costs on top of an already expensive project.

Games aren't cheap. Through avarice and short-sightedness, they can be more costly than they need to be, a stance backed up by as many devs as refuted, depending on who serves what masters.

I'm sure some of the costs for some games are bloated but for a lot of them, I bet they aren't. And if they aren't and they start cutting down on the budget, then we're looking at possible features now not being possible. Less than stellar graphics. Now I what you're gonna say to that last point. We don't need expensive graphics, right? Well, we may think that but others would probably get the wrong idea. They release a game with noticeably worse graphics than the other games currently released and people will say, "Oh look, the publishers are so cheap that they're even cutting the budget on graphics just to be greedy and keep more money." And if they have to do that with features, well, multiply that uproar by 3.

Having the best graphics do not mean much in the sales department. If it did, we wouldn't have Call of Duty dominating every year, Minecraft becoming a ridiculous sensation, and the Wii trouncing its competitors.

Lilani:

Lightknight:
So you're saying he doesn't, in fact, like money anymore?

No, I'm saying he has access to so many ways of gaining obscene amounts of money that he didn't have to spend another three years exhaustively tramping across huge uninhabited swathes of New Zealand in order to get it. If money was all he was after, he has many easier and faster ways of getting it than three Hobbit movies produced on the same scale as LotR.

Johnny Novgorod:
Yes, it all makes sense, in a technical, hand-wavy sort of way ("Oh, Legolas would be around", "Oh, we should show Gandalf's actions, even though we could not and let him be the mysterious character he was written as", "Oh, we could totally stretch every single setpiece to turn an adventure story into an action story"). I can't get over the fact how unimportant Bilbo, The Hobbit, is. I love Martin Freeman as Bilbo but he's pushed aside for the most part even though he's supposed to be the main protagonist and narrator of the story bearing his name. We see more of Legolas and "Tauriel" in the new trailer than we do of Bilbo. And speaking of the trailer - they show they're going as far as Bilbo stepping into Smaug's lair. So what's the third movie going to be about? 170 minutes of the Battle of the Five Armies, which Bilbo totally didn't miss in the novel?

Again, a lot of the LotR stuff was treated this way. Hell, they even gave totally different characters different lines in LotR. They moved the Old Man Willow scene to the Fangorn so that Treebeard could recite a few of Tom Bombadil's lines, in order to pay tribute to that event. That was not only the wrong place and wrong character, but also the wrong film since that was in the Two Towers, and Tom Bombadil should have been in Fellowship.

While I also adore Martin Freeman as Bilbo, I don't feel he was neglected at all. Yes the Council of Elrond took up time, but it was used to explain how he and the dwarves got out of Rivendell even though Elrond wasn't going to allow them to go on. Yes it took them a while to get out of Goblin Town, but how else could they have stripped that down? They had to fight their way out, and it wasn't as though they were near a door. And then Bilbo's role in the battle against the wolves was greatly increased from what it was in the book. In the book, the eagles basically hear the racket they were making and pick them out of the trees. But in the movie, they had Bilbo fight to make the finale about him and to finish his arc with Thorin. While a lot of the story wasn't about Bilbo, they made sure both the beginning and end were all centered around him.

What about the third film though? Bilbo is already confronting Smaug in the second movie. What do we have left? Lake Town and 5 Armies? Seems like a stretch. I predict the movie will be 50% filler.

Jimothy Sterling:

Arnoxthe1:
Jim, you keep having this misconception that these games are cheap to make.

No I don't. I never said they're cheap. In fact, I know they're expensive, which is why I speak out against senselessly bloated costs on top of an already expensive project.

Games aren't cheap. Through avarice and short-sightedness, they can be more costly than they need to be, a stance backed up by as many devs as refuted, depending on who serves what masters.

I hear ya, but Ken Levine had very interesting things to say about the process of trial and error in Bioshock Infinite; how the team would scratch whole set pieces and recorded dialogue because it wasn't consistent with the direction of the narrative.

But because art is a feeling out process, and because the larger more ambitious titles require extraordinary amounts of coordination, there may always be high costs, and even more likely, a desire to mount a franchise; especially as the markets globalize -- i.e Iron Man 3 grossing $700 Million abroad.

I guess it comes down to quality.

Johnny Novgorod:
I like to see Shadow of the Colossus and ICO cited but I'm not sure they deserve to? Shadow was marketed as a "spiritual prequel" to ICO after all. And Sony's making Last Guardian, the third in a trilogy of similarly-themed games. So why cite them as examples of one-off stand-alone games, Jim?

Probably because, first off, Ueda never stated Shadow was a spiritual prequel until after it was released, and second: if it didn't have a similar art style and end with a baby with horns there'd be absolutely nothing to link the two at all. Shadow of the Colossus isn't even remotely similar to Ico. For all intents and purposes, they are one off stand alone games with one having a minor nod to the other at the end.

Adon Cabre:

Ishal:
snip

I'm sure it was BS, but Speilberg and Lucas were doing some forum a few weeks back and they were talking about all of those high budget John Carter, After Earth movies that were flopping. If a few more go, they said, the industry would collapse.

Disney wanted to make Lone Ranger another Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; and while I would never fault anyone for wanting to go big, it's ultimately up to them to make a great movie/game/novel. If Watchdogs sucks, it won't sell; and like Aliens: Colonial Marines, it will disappear. But if its ratings and sales are golden, then why not?

A professional writer and creative director is supposed to create -- sometimes for a sequel, or sometimes from scratch.

If the ratings and sales are golden, and it was set up to have more, then there is no issue. If something is put together, say a movie, and characters keep referring to this thing that is supposed to happen, or they refer to meeting a character that is very important and a major driving force in the story. The movie then ends on a cliffhanger clearly alluding to what happens when these events finally occur... in the next movie. What I mean is, if the author purposely sets time aside to plant these seeds for future events, then they should happen in a sequel, and I say go for it. Nothing wrong with it.

However, if the story is told and completely wrapped up in the first installment, then we have a problem. I get wanting to make money, I can see where these suits are coming from. But the thing is, I ain't no suit, I'm a consumer. As a consumer, I get bummed out and ornery when a perfectly good story is necromanced back to life to make a few quick bucks at the theater.

Going back to Halo for a moment, people didn't like Halo 4 because they feel the series should have ended at Halo 3. Bungie might have wanted to move on to other things, but the thing is, they left a lot of things open and ambiguous for another game, so imo its justified that another one gets made.

There is nothing wrong with creating, creators should create but they should do so with planning and outlines. If I'm a producer I want the writer in my office with an outline telling me step by step what will happen in part 1,2, and 3 of our trilogy, that way I can get the guys in marketing to sus out their plans. The way things are going now is just boring and stale. I didn't care about the 2nd Pirates of the Carribean movie let alone the next two. They can make sequels, but even the general public will get bored of it eventually, its how people are.

Personally, games that require a wholly new game engine be built for them nearly necessitate a sequel of some kind to make use of the same game engine.

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