We don’t need more sequels
I find it very surprising that this past summer movie season has seen a few good original ideas like Pacific Rim and Elysium, with that in mind it makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to say the same about video games. This is an industry that is practically built on sequels, most of which do little more than rehash the first game. It pains me that old ideas continue to sell because there are plenty of sequels that don’t have any need to exist. Every video game has this apparent goal of selling well enough to justify making another one. Is making money the only thing that developers care about?
I’ve always believed that any story, be it a novel, movie, or a game should stand on its own. There are plenty of games I can think of shouldn’t have gotten a sequel, such as God of War, Bioshock and Dragon Age: Origins. These are all games that told a complete story and left little room for expansion. There was no need to continue, and the sequels to all three of these games do pretty much the same thing that the first games do. Games like Bioshock; Infinite are a different story as it does a lot of things differently with the original game in both gameplay and story (mind you I haven’t played it yet) , but that makes me wonder why it can’t be a completely different game entirely. Every single video game franchise, from Halo to Metal Gear Solid started with an original idea that was successful enough to merit a sequel.
I’m not against sequels entirely; Mass Effect 2, Batman: Arkham City and Kotor 2 are terrific examples of how a sequel should be made. These games work because they either part of a bigger story (the Mass Effect Trilogy for example), surpass the previous game in quality by a wide margin, or is released so long after the previous game that everyone wants a sequel by that point (pretty much every Valve game). What I hate most is watching a franchise slowly die and I look no further than the Resident Evil franchise (may it rest in peace). There are plenty of good franchises out there however, the Elder Scrolls franchise, much like the Final Fantasy franchise, is a very special exception. The Elder Scrolls games have little do with each other and are closer to spiritual successors than actual sequels. Final Fantasy goes one step further and significantly alters the gameplay with certain sequels. By that rule, I’m completely fine with another Final Fantasy, or another Elder Scrolls.
The video games industry does not need another Call of Duty, another Pokémon or another Halo. I’m a lot more open-minded towards games like Titanfall, Watch Dogs or Tom Clancy’s The Division. Those are the developers who are taking actual risks and trying something that hasn’t been done before. These are the games I want to play more of, these are the games that I want to see more of.
Let me conclude by addressing the proverbial elephant in the room. Nintendo has practically lived off the same franchises for twenty years. While I certainly disapprove of the amount of Mario games being released each year at least Mario mixes things up every once in a while. There’s a big difference between Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy but Nintendo is still guilty of pumping out sequel after sequel. As for the Zelda franchise the games are incredible, but I wish that Nintendo took more chances with the Zelda games. In every single Zelda game you go from temple to temple, you collect item after item and get the master sword at some point. It’s not as formulaic as Pokémon but it’s still sticking to the same ideas as previous games. Wind Waker was one of the few Zelda games that did things differently and even then it stuck to the basic formula, and it happens to be the only Zelda game I’ve played to completion. Nintendo is just as guilty of putting out sequels as Activision.
There’s a famous expression that applies to the video games industry. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results; that’s half-correct. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is not the definition of insanity, but it’s the definition of stupidity,
Posted on August 29, 2013, in Editorials and tagged Call of Duty, Games, Mario, Nintendo, original ideas, Pokemon, video game history, Video game sequels, video games industry, Zelda. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.