Jimquisition: Sequel or Slaughter

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Johnny Novgorod:
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.

I really don't know, and I don't find it fair to criticize someone for something that hasn't even come out yet, one way or the other. Will the last Hobbit film be missing a lot of Bilbo? I don't know. I rather doubt it, but I also don't know what they'll do to make him involved. So we'll just have to see.

Oh, and one more thing I forgot to mention in the last post. Yes Gandalf isn't quite as mysterious in The Hobbit, but since most everyone seeing the film today already knows everything about Gandalf and what happens to him in LotR, trying to make him mysterious now would have been a terrible farce that would simply make his character stunted by comparison. After the cat's been let out of the bag, it's rather hard to put a cloak over it and pretend we didn't just see all that.

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.

No, none of them are as lucrative as this project. Not by far. LOTR might as well be the Potter series where fast cash is concerned.

The budget for the LOTR was $281 Million. The Box office? $2.92 Billion. That's over 10 times the investment.

Cost of King Kong? $207 million to make, $550.5 million revenue. 2.66 times cost.
The Lovely Bones? $65 million to $93 million revenue = 1.46

It's great, he's doing very well for himself. But the money to be made in LOTR is just sick. Really easy money. He's not dumb for doing this. It's frankly dumb of the publisher to allow that with the knowledge of the watered down nature of the book if split up that way. However, everyone's seeing dollar signs and so it floated. If they offered him something close to the ration he made on films from his studio then he'd be dumb not to jump on this.

Not sure why you think he farts cinamon and can do no wrong.

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?

The games have similar themes and aesthetic world designs, but are self-contained and nigh unconnected if you look at them on the surface. The only thing actually connecting the games themselves is the very end of SotC and potentially the shadow figures standing around Wander every time you defeat a Colossus, and even those can be interpreted in multiple ways.

From Wikipedia:
the game's director and lead designer, Fumito Ueda, maintained that the game's status as a prequel was simply his personal take on the game and not necessarily its canon nature, as he largely intended for players to decide the specifics of the story for themselves, but he confirmed the two do have a connection.

Being connected in ambiguous ways is fairly different from making something directly designed to continue the story of a previous entry in a franchise.

Also I'm a little dubious about the state of The Last Guardian, considering it's been in development hell just as long as Final Fantasy Versus XIII/XV, but unlike the latter hasn't received any sort of update on the state it's in and has gotten more and more rumors about being cancelled as time passes.

Deathfish15:

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

-Diablo

-Starcraft

Yes, two sequels in seventeen years and one sequel in fifteen years respectively certainly qualify as "sequel spewing series'".

-Total War

-[insert any sports game here]

-[insert anything with "Mario" here]

-Sonic

-Final Fantasy

You know those titles are rarely, if ever, connected between games, right?

Or is their mere existence as long-standing franchises enough to make you lose your mind in rage at their continued ability to sell on mostly brand-name alone?

Would games that take place in the same universe, but have different-yet-tangentially-connected stories count as sequels? Is that setup like the problem outlined in the video?

WashAran:
Love that you included the consumer as a part of the problem.

This. Exactly.

I don't think I could ever place myself on a side. As much as I wish sequels--or the drive to create sequels--would go away, I wold loose my mind if Hotline Miami didn't have one.

Lastly, I'm terrified Ubi will slaughter WD in their hopes of creating WD2+.

Jimothy Sterling:
[
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.

Ah, but it's about public perception, Jim. Call of Duty, while not using the best engine out there, still keeps up at least somewhat in terms of current graphics. Heck, the first Black Ops still looks kinda good for the 360 even today. Minecraft was an Indie game and thus, didn't have any expectations of what kind of game it was supposed to be. The Wii's success even though it had less than stellar graphics power can be explained by two things.

1. The motion controls selling the system just by themselves.
2. Nintendo isn't really known for having the best graphics of anything at all so there's no public pereption that they must watch when it comes to that area.

Lightknight:

Arnoxthe1:
snip

You're coming close to the discussion of Niche vs Broad Attraction. But every publisher wants their own Halo, and Ubisoft wants another trendy Assassin's Creed franchise to sustain their growth. "If we're pouring in $100+ Million, then this better be longevity" -- that's how I see it. Sort of like a Writer who spends years creating a world and its characters; of course it was all meant for the first book, but he did invest so much time (money) into this project that it would be a waste not to continue building this world.

image

But I can see why your frustrated; the "top floor" is pushing its weight and distorting the vision and work of creative directors' efforts. It's sad, but it's business.

It's improving the bottom line, and that's all that marketing is geared to do, right?

Quiotu:

WashAran:
Love that you included the consumer as a part of the problem.

He pretty much has to. This wouldn't be a problem if people didn't mindlessly snatch up the next FIFA or CoD or Assassin's Creed. I like these games, and I wouldn't mind wanting to play another game in their world again. But for FUCK's sake, I don't need one every year. Give me some time to appreciate and grow fond of the goddamn thing before you push the next one in my face.

It's why some series get a bigger pass than others. GTA4 had a load of problems, but it still sold over 20 million copies because people waited 4 years and longed for it again, and GTA5 will sell just as well because it's been another 4 years. This is why Rockstar can also try out other ideas and give others chances, throwing out games like Manhunt or Bully or RDD... or hell even LA Noire. They try those out because they know GTA will bring in a mountain of money, and they can experiment in between the iterations.

Assassin's Creed I'm done with, because they're pushing too many out for me to grow fond of them again, and the more they throw the same tired gameplay at me the more I see its problems and loathe them.

I wish more companies did that, I would love to play a mass effect turn based strategy game.

Lilani:

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.

That still doesn't make it a good movie. Now, I like Peter Jackson's King Kong, there's some absolutely fantastic moments in it, and the core experience (the relationship between Kong and Ann) is pulled of fantastically. But on a whole the movie is very bloated. It actually shows Peter Jackson can like things a bit too much. There's a whole father/son subplot for instance that did not need to be there at all, especially in a movie that's already pushing three hours.

Peter Jackson is a great filmaker, there's no doubt about that. The only reason I even went to see the first LotR movie was because I had seen and greatly enjoyed The Frightners. But even great filmmakers can sometimes go a bit overboard, and need to told to tone it down. This indulgence can already be seen somewhat in the Extended Edition of Return of the King.

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.

I know about New Line ultimately making the suggestion to making it three films, but that's because to Peter and Fran that was an impossible dream, and they were low-balling it with the two movie deal. It's hard to imagine now, but back in '97 the Fantasy genre was less popular than Nazi exploitation.

Ishal:

Adon Cabre:

Ishal:
snip

snip

snip

I love your ending sentense, because that is an easy rationale, and it has been the case for nearly century for movies; that is, until I saw some interesting discussion on CNN.

Like I posted in another comment, the market is gearing toward globalization. In other words, this domestic market is no longer what's most important. That CNN discussion was about how the Ice Age sequels did worse and worse in the states, but they doubled each other in the world market. Halo has that cache, and it will most likely last for as long as the xbox console does.

ubisoft wants the world market. this is the trend. how else does iron man 3 gross $700 million abroad? because of the first two; and you're right, iron man was consistently setting up the sequel in style.

That said, there are good spin-offs -- none come to mind right now, but I'm sure there are a few shining spectacles; but there are also lazy spin-offs. The market determines what is golden in the end. Even if it is the Transformers.

But this market is growing.

The issue is Publishers are Corporations, and the leading board of a corporation is REQUIRED to MAXIMIZE PROFITS for the share holders. How do you do that? SEQUELS!

Therefore, business leaders are under tremendous pressure to ALWAYS push for the franchise, to fulfill their obligations - and to do otherwise requires a great deal of justification. This is the fundamental flaw of the Corporate system over the Single Ownership model - you can't just make some of the money, you can't just turn a profit - you have to make ALL OF THE MONEY. FOREVER.

Oh well, this reminded me to get DW8 so that's good :)

I'm a bit neutral towards sequels. Ever since the NES days, I've always enjoyed sequels, heck, some of the best games for the system are sequels (MegaMan almost turned into the Dynasty Warriors of it's era), but I totally agree that making sequels for the sake of making sequels is bad, really, really bad.

I totally agree that some games are best left stand alone (Eternal Darkness and Planescape Torment anyone?) and I totally applaud a dev that makes a sequel because it wants to (kudos for MercurySteam for leaving Lords of Shadow as a two parter series), however I totally disagree with corporate suits churning sequel after sequel just to make money.

Granted, I wouldn't list The Hobbit as a greedy corporate affair to milk money, just because it's attached to The Lord of The Rings, although I'd love for Peter Jackson to leave it as a two parter, he already introduced a lot of stuff to flesh out the story even more because he wanted to, not because Warner or Tolkien Indistries told him to, heck, considering how overzealous Tolkien Industries has become with it's franchise, it's a wonder they let him do it at all.

I've got absolutely no problem with Ubisoft's statement.
This is coming from one company only and doesn't reflect the AAA industry as a whole.

A gaming franchise doesn't mean that every story will be filled with cliffhanger endings and open ended questions. We've seen a ton of gaming franchises whose games tell a solid self-encompassed story. I can appreciate Dragon Age 2 without having played the first one, same for Resident Evil 4, most final fantasy games, Diablo games, etc.

I'm of the view that I would rather have too much of a good thing then not enough. Portal 2 had no reason to exist but guess what, it was fun. I'm glad it was made even though the original had no business turning into a franchise. Mass Effect was a new IP made with a trilogy in mind and many of us regard as one of the best RPG's of this gaming generation.

Starting a new IP with the idea of a franchise in mind doesn't establish a negative precedence unless the industry does the worst case story telling tropes that Jim seems to imply will be the norm.

The thing about sequels is that the game devs approach them the wrong way. Naughty Dog did it right with Jak and Daxter, where they took the world they created and did things with it. Jak and Daxter was a 3D Platformer, Jak II was a GTA-like game, Jak 3 was an Open World Adventure game, Jak X was a frigging Racing game. They took their world and built on it like proper champs. And then we have games like Assassin's Creed that create an interesting world, but never really go anywhere beyond putting their game in a different setting.

Arnoxthe1:

Jimothy Sterling:
[
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.

Ah, but it's about public perception, Jim. Call of Duty, while not using the best engine out there, still keeps up at least somewhat in terms of current graphics. Heck, the first Black Ops still looks kinda good for the 360 even today. Minecraft was an Indie game and thus, didn't have any expectations of what kind of game it was supposed to be. The Wii's success even though it had less than stellar graphics power can be explained by two things.

1. The motion controls selling the system just by themselves.
2. Nintendo isn't really known for having the best graphics of anything at all so there's no public pereption that they must watch when it comes to that area.

It IS about public perception, and the public does NOT perceive graphics to be that important. Source Engine games can be frighteningly popular, despite being based on positively archaic tech. And to re-use the COD example, sure, it's still doing enough to hang with other games, but that doesn't alter the fact it's reused an engine all generation and not suffered from it. Point being, you don't need to be like Square and build a new engine constantly. Games do not have to be as expensive as they are.

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.

Ya I agree. We are really to blame for this while thing. They pump out sequels because they know people will lap them up and if we didn't then they wouldn't do this.

Adon Cabre:

Lightknight:

Arnoxthe1:
snip

You're coming close to the discussion of Niche vs Broad Attraction. But every publisher wants their own Halo, and Ubisoft wants another trendy Assassin's Creed franchise to sustain their growth. "If we're pouring in $100+ Million, then this better be longevity" -- that's how I see it. Sort of like a Writer who spends years creating a world and its characters; of course it was all meant for the first book, but he did invest so much time (money) into this project that it would be a waste not to continue building this world.

image

But I can see why your frustrated; the "top floor" is pushing its weight and distorting the vision and work of creative directors' efforts. It's sad, but it's business.

It's improving the bottom line, and that's all that marketing is geared to do, right?

It would make sense if they had severly limited capital. Like if they could only invest in one or the other but not both. That's not generally the case here, though. Ubisoft in particular is completely capable of supporting multiple large-scale projects at the same time while still having large reserves of investment capital on hand.

So this isn't an either/or scenario. It can easily be both the huge Halo franchise and the ltiny but hugely popular/profitable minecraft. There is completely room for both and Ubisoft just said, "Nah, not going to bother". It's like the statement that said Bill Gate's time wasn't worth him stopping to pick up a $100. In reality, you'd bet he'd pick it up. Ubisoft is saying no. Only in this case, instead of $100, you're talking about them refusing to pick up a potentially higher rate of return on a smaller sum of money as opposed to making huge investments and making a much smaller rate of return but on more money. It's a bad call on their part. They would do well to have a group dedicated to smaller projects like that rather than getting too bloated and slow to handle smaller things.

SupahGamuh:
Granted, I wouldn't list The Hobbit as a greedy corporate affair to milk money, just because it's attached to The Lord of The Rings, although I'd love for Peter Jackson to leave it as a two parter, he already introduced a lot of stuff to flesh out the story even more because he wanted to, not because Warner or Tolkien Indistries told him to, heck, considering how overzealous Tolkien Industries has become with it's franchise, it's a wonder they let him do it at all.

Then answer this riddle all of us cynical people have been pondering. If it's not about money, why did they think it was a good idea to split it into three movies?

Oh Jim. I love dynasty warriors. MOre than you (I challenge you)
I own the God damn tv show. I bought a Dvd player that could play vcd's so i could watch the live action series of romance of the three kingdoms. (Made it half way though it's a long ass series).

I've seen half of red cliffs.
I've seen Romance of the three kingdoms resurrection.
I own all 3 warriors orachi games, and love them to fucking Death.

But Dynasty warriors itself is the very essence of mining a game fucking dry LOL.

for the redundancy of the game of the game from koei it's criminal. AND I LOVE FUCKING Dynasty warriors,
(seen one of the animes, and played and owned both tactical games which i ran into the ground lol).

Jimothy Sterling:

It IS about public perception, and the public does NOT perceive graphics to be that important. Source Engine games can be frighteningly popular, despite being based on positively archaic tech. And to re-use the COD example, sure, it's still doing enough to hang with other games, but that doesn't alter the fact it's reused an engine all generation and not suffered from it. Point being, you don't need to be like Square and build a new engine constantly. Games do not have to be as expensive as they are.

But the Source Engine is highly modifiable by the looks of it and updates to its power are constantly being made, thus rendering the point that it's an old engine, moot. And they could reuse the main CoD engine because, as I said, it was a great engine for the 360. There wasn't really any need at all from a graphical standpoint to change it that I know of. And I didn't say that a new engine needed to be built all the time. Not at all. What I'm saying is that to even come into the ballpark of current gen graphics will cost you. A lot. Especially with this new generation out which will probably push budgets up even more. They also can't keep relying on an old engine most of the time because unless it's very well designed, there will be a limit as to what you can do with it before you need to make another one.

Is it right to just keep making franchises? Not really. But try to understand the place where these guys stand when they are saying this at least.

Mr. Q:

Perhaps companies need to take a page from the Bene Gesserit and recite this in their corporate offices.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

I don't know any other quotes that would speak against greed that are as cool as one from Dune but perhaps this will help.

Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction. - Erich Fromm

There's a wonderful quote from Dune which is one of my favourites. It goes like this - 'Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife--chopping off what's incomplete and saying: 'Now, it's compete because it's ended here.'

It's what I tell myself whenever I hear of an unnecessary sequel.

Big_Willie_Styles:
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.

That's a pretty poor excuse to justify sequelitis. Plenty of designers license their in-house engines for use in other games and by other developers -- DICE being one such example. Just because a shiny new engine is used in a new game, it doesn't necessitate the creation of a whole new IP.

We as consumers need to face facts: IPs these days are made specifically to line pockets, and we're the ones willfully handing them the money.

Arnoxthe1:

Jimothy Sterling:

It IS about public perception, and the public does NOT perceive graphics to be that important. Source Engine games can be frighteningly popular, despite being based on positively archaic tech. And to re-use the COD example, sure, it's still doing enough to hang with other games, but that doesn't alter the fact it's reused an engine all generation and not suffered from it. Point being, you don't need to be like Square and build a new engine constantly. Games do not have to be as expensive as they are.

But the Source Engine is highly modifiable by the looks of it and updates to its power are constantly being made, thus rendering the point that it's an old engine, moot. And they could reuse the main CoD engine because, as I said, it was a great engine for the 360. There wasn't really any need at all from a graphical standpoint to change it that I know of. And I didn't say that a new engine needed to be built all the time. Not at all. What I'm saying is that to even come into the ballpark of current gen graphics will cost you. A lot. Especially with this new generation out which will probably push budgets up even more. They also can't keep relying on an old engine most of the time because unless it's very well designed, there will be a limit as to what you can do with it before you need to make another one.

Is it right to just keep making franchises? Not really. But try to understand the place where these guys stand when they are saying this at least.

Left 4 Dead is nowhere near the level of Battlefield 3. It does not matter.

You're asking me to understand things I already understand, which is patronizing, and clearly off-base considering you're assuming I've said games are cheap to make when I have not. People go where the games are best, not where they look best. Another case -- PS2, last in its class in the tech department, best in show when it comes to success.

Besides which, we're supposedly arguing about the cost of making a game people perceive to be good. Modding a source engine is not as expensive as building a new one. You're saying I don't understand that a game must spend extra money to hang with the big dogs, then telling me Valve games can hang with the big dogs because they can use their engine that doesn't need extra money to be rebuilt. Telling me you need to spend a ton of money to be in the same ballpark as a successful game, then telling me Source Engine can be tweaked to look good, does not compute.

What YOU're not considering is that engines can be reused for many things, and can last a long time, so unless you decide to build every new IP on a new engine, the costs just aren't gonna stay the same.

Everything in moderation. Jim's not really stating anything new here :)

It's unlikely that we'll ever see a Minecraft 2, but we did see another game(Scrolls) that's not all that good and hasn't begun to scrape the surface of CCG games. So, not every one-off pays off either. (I'm sure it's a financial success, mostly because of Mojangs brand and the low costs. I hope people get the point.)

This attitude is just a consequence of devs wanting to make big titles and spending ridiculous amounts of money on them, without hope of getting the sales they want.

Lightknight:
Not sure why you think he farts cinamon and can do no wrong.

Because he already has everything. He has nothing left to gain, and he never set out to gain much in the first place. Again, he's self-taught. He never went to film school, and even back when he was working for peanuts he made the films he wanted to make. He didn't make Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles because he wanted a lot of money, he made them because he loved those kinds of films and he made connections to get them done. Hell that's why he linked up with Weta workshop--because they were willing to help him get what he wanted done, regardless of how niche his early films were. He grew up living and breathing film, and as far as I can tell he's still living and breathing it.

Lightknight:
Then answer this riddle all of us cynical people have been pondering. If it's not about money, why did they think it was a good idea to split it into three movies?

Because they had enough material to make three movies, I imagine. The Hobbit is being created in much the same way LotR was being created, in that they are doing rewrites and altering scenes even on the day of filming. Both during LotR and now during the Hobbit, the actors are getting rewrites as they arrive on set to shoot the scenes. It's a very organic process, and it would seem they're getting more material than they bargained for. And I'm excited, as at this moment I have no reason to doubt the quality of that material.

But Jackson has a very critical eye when it comes to editing, so I'm certain he wouldn't have made the call if he didn't know that all three films would have definitive beginnings, middles, and endings that would both work as standalone films and as a trilogy.

Yes I am a bit of a fangirl, but I know all of this because I've watched all the extra features for LotR and the vlogs they've released showing the production of The Hobbit. Jackson doesn't do stuff because it's easy or it'll make money. He does it because he loves to do it, and he would never sacrifice quality for money. That's not to say he can't make a bad film, I hear the Lovely Bones was all around pretty terrible. But as far as LotR, he knows what he's doing and he knows what he wants. Not everybody has to like or agree with it, but strictly speaking his approach to the Hobbit is pretty much the same way he approached LotR. His calls are based on what will give his films quality, not on fulfilling any demands put on him. He fought demands for certain things when he was risking even more with LotR[1], so I don't see why he would need to give into demands now when he's risking almost nothing regardless of what he does.

[1] Originally, New Line didn't want a prologue in Fellowship, and Peter and the writers Fran and Philippa had to fight to keep it in. Then for Two Towers, New Line actually DID want a prologue, and Peter and Co didn't. In both cases they got their way, and in both cases it worked out.

Okay, just to get this out of the way, that ending gag? I had to fight my gag reflex.

That out of the way, I wholeheartedly agree with the message here. Setting up a game so that it HAS to be turned into a franchise seriously runs the risk of taking what could be a great idea for a standalone game and piledriving it face first into a steaming bucket of dog shit. And yes, this is a business practice that really got off the ground in Hollywood and the games industry following example is akin to watching someone play Russian roulette, see them shoot themselves in the head, then picking up the gun and giving the cylinder a spin yourself.

The absolute best example I can think of here is the "Saw" movie franchise. The first Saw movie, for its time, was very impressive. It was a very clever way of focusing more on the victims than on the killer, making the crisis and threats to the characters very creative and disturbing. The first sequel expanded well on the first movie, extrapolating what came before and explaining a bit more behind the killer's past and making him seem more human, accentuating the flaws in his reasoning but showing he was incapable of admitting his philosophy's drawbacks and faults. The third movie, while not great, brought the killer's reign of terror to an end and saw his death.

And then...the franchise KEPT. GOING. The parade of half-baked, poorly done, torture porn sequels that came after was a stark, unabashed look at Hollywood's unadulterated greed and complete indifference to the quality of its work. The characters were made deliberately unsympathetic so people would have no emotional interest in their survival and could see them dying in slow and sadistic ways without any feelings of discomfort outside of the physical brutality of the spectacle. The main antagonist, long dead and buried, was dragged back through flashbacks over and over, attributing him with absurd degrees of foresight to the point it bordered on him being fucking clairvoyant. Not a single movie ever ended on a sense of any sort of closure; not even the very final movie, which they KNEW wasn't going to have a sequel, they KNEW was planned to be the last installment in the series. Still they couldn't end it with any sense of closure, letting the last of Jigsaw's protege's walk away Scott free in the very same manner as all the other hackneyed and trite installments of the franchise; sequel bait for a movie the film makers and producers never intend to create, but are incapable of resisting the urge to leave the door open for. Those. Fucking. ASSHOLES.

The Saw franchise, past the third installment, in my opinion, was a metaphorical stage light shining full on the mainstream film industry as it loudly said in front of its entire audience "all we care about is taking your money." And the games industry is behaving increasingly like it. How many fucking Halo sequels are we going to get? Master Chief was supposed to have come to the end of his journey in Halo Reach, wasn't he? And then suddenly, boom, he's right back where he started; different planet, sure, but the same old conflict, if I recall. How many increasingly nonsensical installments is Final Fantasy going to get? It's up to 13 now, right? And from what I've heard, the plots aren't getting any more thought provoking, they're just becoming increasingly ridiculous in their made-up words and failure to have a sensible narrative or logical setting. And how many old school gamer's childhood memories are they going to piss all over with what they've done to the Sonic the Hedgehog series? Everything I've heard about any of the 3D installments to the franchise can be summed up as "Oh dear God, what have they done to Sonic THIS time?!"

Much like Jim, I too enjoy and have enjoyed sequels. I LIKE it when a character I enjoy playing as and following their adventures returns with a new challenge to face. But there's a right way to do it and a wrong way. To me, the core of the problem can be summed up in two words: Sequel Baiting. For the love of GOD, stop ending games with an ending stinger that takes all sense of closure and grinds it under a heel. A story can have potential to lead to a sequel without making it fucking obvious. An audience isn't fucking stupid; if a hero conquers an enemy and they end with something akin to "The great threat has finally ended; now we can start to rebuild," anyone past the age of five knows that means more can happen in the future. This chapter is over, but could a new chapter start later? It's a distinct possibility, but there's no loss of the feeling that something has been accomplished.

A good example here would be the ending to Dishonored. Now okay, I realize there were two endings, but assuming one of them (for the sake of argument let's say the good ending) was canon, it brings one chapter to a close and leaves the door open for another. Corvo returns the child empress Emily to the throne; with her trusted bodyguard at her side as advisor and protector, she leads Dunwall from the bring of destruction to an age of hope and opportunity, during which Corvo eventually passes away from natural causes and is buried beside Emily's mother. It's a story that brings the tale of Corvo to an end, but with the empire only just having recovered from a plague and a massive bout of political intrigue and corruption, what happens in the future is really anyone's guess. There is definitely material for a sequel here, but it's not blatantly obvious, so it doesn't wreck the self-contained story of the game.

Why the industry can't follow this example more, I can't imagine.

KungFuJazzHands:
We as consumers need to face facts: IPs these days are made specifically to line pockets, and we're the ones willfully handing them the money.

And how is that a bad thing? It takes money to make new IPs. If said companies have investors (i.e. public companies,) they have to show profit. That's how American accounting standards work.

You think a company that will forever operate at a loss will somehow make better games than one making mass profit? Because the former can't exist in that form. It just can't.

The motive behind a game is to explore something, a new idea or new take on a character or whatever. The game requires, usually, some sort of investment to make. Said investors expect a return on said investment. That's just how things work. Without start up capital, a game never gets made.

Arnoxthe1:

Jimothy Sterling:

It IS about public perception, and the public does NOT perceive graphics to be that important. Source Engine games can be frighteningly popular, despite being based on positively archaic tech. And to re-use the COD example, sure, it's still doing enough to hang with other games, but that doesn't alter the fact it's reused an engine all generation and not suffered from it. Point being, you don't need to be like Square and build a new engine constantly. Games do not have to be as expensive as they are.

But the Source Engine is highly modifiable by the looks of it and updates to its power are constantly being made, thus rendering the point that it's an old engine, moot. And they could reuse the main CoD engine because, as I said, it was a great engine for the 360. There wasn't really any need at all from a graphical standpoint to change it that I know of. And I didn't say that a new engine needed to be built all the time. Not at all. What I'm saying is that to even come into the ballpark of current gen graphics will cost you. A lot. Especially with this new generation out which will probably push budgets up even more. They also can't keep relying on an old engine most of the time because unless it's very well designed, there will be a limit as to what you can do with it before you need to make another one.

I still fail to see anywhere that you've presented graphics as the end-all demand in the market. I'll present Nintendo's continued existence and even profitability over the past generaiton as enough evidence of that. Just Dance 4(just dance 3 for the Wii), Paper Mario, Angry Birds Trilogy, and Lego Batman were all in the top 100 best sellers in the video game category of Amazon in in 2012.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/2012/videogames#1

Do any of those strike you as particularly demanding of hardware?

Is it right to just keep making franchises? Not really. But try to understand the place where these guys stand when they are saying this at least.

Right? It's a bad business decision but there's no ethical quandary here. No more so than a hotdog stand refusing to sell hamburgers even if it'd make them more money.

Jimothy Sterling:

Left 4 Dead is nowhere near the level of Battlefield 3. It does not matter.

You're asking me to understand things I already understand, which is patronizing, and clearly off-base considering you're assuming I've said games are cheap to make when I have not. People go where the games are best, not where they look best. Another case -- PS2, last in its class in the tech department, best in show when it comes to success.

Besides which, we're supposedly arguing about the cost of making a game people perceive to be good. Modding a source engine is not as expensive as building a new one. You're saying I don't understand that a game must spend extra money to hang with the big dogs, then telling me Valve games can hang with the big dogs because they can use their engine that doesn't need extra money to be rebuilt. Telling me you need to spend a ton of money to be in the same ballpark as a successful game, then telling me Source Engine can be tweaked to look good, does not compute.

What YOU're not considering is that engines can be reused for many things, and can last a long time, so unless you decide to build every new IP on a new engine, the costs just aren't gonna stay the same.

But most engines aren't made to be reused. Here's a brilliant example. Halo 4 was built off of the Reach engine. While they got it to play nice for the most part, they couldn't get Theater for campaign or Spartan Ops to work right so they had to cut it because the engine wasn't meant to be modified so. And that's not exactly a small feature to cut.

Can Publishers make adaptable engines? Certainly. Do they? Most of the time, no. I don't really know why though. Most likely because it's cheaper. If a publisher has a good old engine they can use, more power to them but not all publishers have this luxury.

Yes, engines can be reused but as I stated in the above point, it can cause a lot of headaches if it's not meant to be modified. Further, making a new engine, eeven if you do have a good modifiable engine, is inevitable sometime.

The problem with Dragon Age II wasn't that the first game wrapped up all its loose ends. There was still plenty of room for a new story exploring new facets of the same setting. The problem with DAII wan't DAI, it was DAIII - specifically that unlike the first game II was designed to be part of an open ended franchise, and as such had no conclusion or resolution.

Worse, it was rushed out in a year to fit the sequel factory mentality. While the first game's team had the time to craft a fully fleshed out and rounded game, the second game had to cut every conceivable corner so it could be rushed to market.

So it's not that a sequel couldn't have worked for Dragon Age, it's that the sequel factory mentality ruins even the sequels that are worth making in the first place. And even original games are getting ruined by being forced to leave all their ends loose to begin with.

Off Topic: What is that game with that white cloaked figure fighting monsters that kept getting shown?

On Topic: I couldn't agree more with this. If sequels are justified, if it is intended to be a series for artistic reasons, then more power to you. If it wasn't intended for sequels from the start, but you can come up with an artistic reason to continue, then that's perfectly fine as well. But if you are making sequels and intending them to be series because that's what makes money, then you're doing it for all the wrong reasons.

It's why I was so apprehensive when they announced a sequel to Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, despite wrapping up just about everything. It's why I'm cautiously optimistic at best at rumors of a sequel to The World Ends With You. It's why I actually appreciate David Cage for taking a stance against sequels and just doing what he wants. Because I'm worried about what may happen when one is driven not by what one wants to do, but by how much money they want to make.

One of my favorite games is Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon. It had great atmosphere, wonderful story, beautiful graphics and music, especially for a Wii game...and not a sequel in sight. Because it doesn't need one. It will never need one. It is perfectly good on its own. So why do so many game developers fear the very concept of something done in one? Well, obviously for greed. But some of the best games out there are ones you don't need to slap a new number on every year.

Lilani:

Lightknight:
Not sure why you think he farts cinamon and can do no wrong.

Because he already has everything. He has nothing left to gain, and he never set out to gain much in the first place.

This has not been the case for even the wealthiest people on the planet. Gates still slogged into work a decade after being a Billionaire because there was more money to be made. He only recently decided to start doing things he really wants to do with his time and make the world a better place. I'm afraid you're mistaken regarding human nature. There's always more to be had. As of 2012 Peter is apparently worth around $400 million with nearly half of that being made from the LOTR series:

http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/directors/peter-jackson-net-worth/

Just the first Hobbit movie has already made over $1 Billion at the box office. If Peter Jackson managed to negotiate a higher pay rate then he could be looking at a tremendous payday. Like with King Kong when he negotiated $20 million up front and then 20% of the box office.

He can always have more and what if having a TON more means he can start funding his own movies without fear? $400 million net work is a lot, but it isn't enough to pay for the kind of movies he's been making. Or maybe for just one if he's not shooting for LOTR porportions.

Because they had enough material to make three movies, I imagine.

You didn't feel like the first movie dragged on? Spread thin like, I don't know, butter spread over toast? It seems like $3 billion gross sounded better to everyone than $2 billion. I don't blame them.

I understand and appreciate the point, and I agree... But I'm not sure anything was said that couldn't have been said in, say, six minutes rather than nine and a half. It felt rather like for every point, sub-point, clarification or support, there was an attached moment of "and that sucks and people suck and the industry sucks and these games suck and these programs suck and it's all so screwed up and aaaarrrrgh."

I can't entirely pin it down, because there are definitely times when hearing Jim go off on a subject that he feels passionately about fills me with glee and a warm sense of shared righteous indignation. This time, I found myself sort of tuning out, despite my general agreement with the sentiment. Maybe it's me?

Arnoxthe1:

Jimothy Sterling:

Left 4 Dead is nowhere near the level of Battlefield 3. It does not matter.

You're asking me to understand things I already understand, which is patronizing, and clearly off-base considering you're assuming I've said games are cheap to make when I have not. People go where the games are best, not where they look best. Another case -- PS2, last in its class in the tech department, best in show when it comes to success.

Besides which, we're supposedly arguing about the cost of making a game people perceive to be good. Modding a source engine is not as expensive as building a new one. You're saying I don't understand that a game must spend extra money to hang with the big dogs, then telling me Valve games can hang with the big dogs because they can use their engine that doesn't need extra money to be rebuilt. Telling me you need to spend a ton of money to be in the same ballpark as a successful game, then telling me Source Engine can be tweaked to look good, does not compute.

What YOU're not considering is that engines can be reused for many things, and can last a long time, so unless you decide to build every new IP on a new engine, the costs just aren't gonna stay the same.

But most engines aren't made to be reused. Here's a brilliant example. Halo 4 was built off of the Reach engine. While they got it to play nice for the most part, they couldn't get Theater for campaign or Spartan Ops to work right so they had to cut it because the engine wasn't meant to be modified so. And that's not exactly a small feature to cut.

Can Publishers make adaptable engines? Certainly. Do they? Most of the time, no. I don't really know why though. Most likely because it's cheaper. If a publisher has a good old engine they can use, more power to them but not all publishers have this luxury.

Yes, engines can be reused but as I stated in the above point, it can cause a lot of headaches if it's not meant to be modified. Further, making a new engine, eeven if you do have a good modifiable engine, is inevitable sometime.

Which all goes back to the wanton waste that feeds into overspending. Meanwhile, the makes of Unreal, and CryEngine, and Source are doing quite well making and also licensing their engines, so they can make money rather than just cost it.

It gets to the point where I'm gonna have limited to zero sympathy for a company that makes disposable, expensive engines.

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