Comments on The problem with modern sequels


Great points, Felix.

I like your analogy to the movie industry, except I think there is an important distinction — the rapid advances in technology cut off a game’s shelf life much faster than a movie’s. We can still watch and enjoy Raiders of the Lost Ark. The movie is widely available for purchase and rental, and will play in any DVD player. The same is not true for, say, Eye of the Beholder. Although services like Steam and GOG are making older games more available, some technical knowledge is still required to run these games properly. And, of course, console gamers cannot run them at all.

Hopefully the trend you describe will change as console lifespans increase and services like Steam and GOG continue to improve.

-- Larry 2017-10-03 07:45 UTC

Hmm, you’re right about a game’s shelf life. (actually, I think Shamus Young pointed out the same thing in one of his articles). That would encourage the producers to go for the quick buck, now wouldn’t it? But it would also be easy to change — emulators are very popular for a reason. The only thing lacking is will. GOG shouldn’t have been needed in the first place.

-- Felix 2017-10-03 07:46 UTC

I think we should make a difference between ‘natural’ sequels and ‘forced’ sequels. I believe the natural ones are the ones where the story is still going on, like let’s say in… the Harry Potter movies? There the sequels don’t seem to be forced on the public and… they finish with the 8th movie (as in… really finish). I could have come up with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but there the movies cannot be seen separately at all, it’s like one big movie cut in three parts (part 2 and 3 are not actual sequels, but… more like components of the same ensemble).

And then you have the… forced sequels. A movie had success… so let’s make another one, to get more money from the fans… I am looking at… Police Academy for example? Or Resident Evil. Or… the Batman series (the one before Batman Begins). Or…. ‘insert-any-movie-with-lots-of-sequels’. Of course, some of these series were very good as a whole (Alien), but others… should have stopped at some point (Terminator, Indiana Jones). Others… shouldn’t have tried to add anything else (Matrix).

There is one exception to the rule though… James Bond series. Why? Because… those movies are not actual sequels. You can see ANY James Bond movie at any time and in any order (more or less). And they can still be fun (Dr. No) or cheesy (Octopussy) or plain stupid (Moonraker), but entertaining nevertheless.

-- Nightwrath 2017-10-03 07:47 UTC

Good point. Would you call Fallout 3 a natural sequel? 😀

-- Felix 2017-10-03 07:48 UTC

Sequels today are “dumbed down” in many ways. One of the reasons this is happening is the lack of patience of many gamers. Long gone are the times when beating a game was considered ( and was ) a real achievement. The best example is the Baldur’s Gate series. NG1 and 2 were tough. I mean it took me a month or two to even learn how to play it ( or create a survivable character, not to mention party composition ). Then Neverwinter Nights came. Awful in terms of gameplay ( although the story was awesome ). I mean it claimed to be Baldur’s Gate succesor and you only had the main character and another guy that you couldn’t even control. Didn’t play NWN2 so i will not cover that.

Then Dragon Age came, another title that claimed to be a BG succesor ( although it wasn’t as open about this ). Nice game, nice story…it took me 3 days to finish it, Baldur’s Gate took me 3 months and didn’t even manage to complete all the quests ( the side ones ). Taking into account the things said above, the conclusion would be that people today only want “bling” and “action” in all games, disregarding the fact that RPG’s are almost never defined by that ( call them interactive books/movies if you like ).

I’ve also seen that someone mentioned Fallout. The last game remotely related to the 1st 2 games was Fallout tactics ( not really an RPG but it was nice ). Fallout 3 is just junk for the FPS crazed gamers, nothing more. And don’t try to fool yourself thinking it’s an RPG. Not every game that let’s you spend points in you character is an RPG ( i don’t even see Diablo as an RPG lol ).

So there you have it, that’s my opinion ( even though it was oriented towards one genre of games ), hope it helped 😛

-- fabian 2017-10-03 07:49 UTC

the conclusion would be that people today only want “bling” and “action” in all games

Gee, I guess that’s why roguelikes are perennially popular. And 2D Japanese RPGs. And Jeff Vogel’s games — a “niche” so obscure, everybody’s heard about them. Oh, and what about the success of Good Old Games?

Gamers no longer fit into one simple stereotype, Fabian. 🙂 Marketers from big publishers want them to, ’cause that would make their lives easy, but it doesn’t work that way anymore.

Not every game that let’s you spend points in you character is an RPG ( i don’t even see Diablo as an RPG lol ).

No? Then I guess D&D isn’t an RPG either, as all you did in that game originally was to roll dice for a character (you didn’t even get to choose what you wanted to play) and then lead that character in tactical combat through arbitrary dungeons infested with monsters.

-- Felix 2017-10-03 07:51 UTC