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Sequels of sequels sequels

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Comments: 24
jimothyjim said...
It's rare for me to nudge on a non-adventures in gaming post but recently I've gotten to wondering, what;'s everyones take on some of the franchises that just keep going? I mean I personally think the Tony Hawks Series has been getting worse with every new release, with Tony Hawks Ride completely uninteresting me. I also much preferred Burnout Revenge and Burnout Takedown to Burnout Paradise, although I get the feeling a lot of you will disagree with me on that one. I enjoyed GTA4 though, but a lot of my friends didn't like it because it got all 'realistic'. Even games like Sonic evolved into crazy 3d games, although I'm informed that Sonic Adventures was good. Is change usually bad? Should sequels just be the previous game with better graphics and bad gaemplay elements ironed out, or do you think it's important that games strive to keep evolving?

I'm gonnna take the fence on this one myself, some games really do get better with each new release, but I've also seen a lot of franchises seemingly turn their back on me :/ Opinions please.

Oh, I tagged a couple games I used for examples, but decided not to tag the entirety of every major franchise to date.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2)

Genre/Style: Action/Action Adventure
Release Date: 29/OCT/02
Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog (SMS)

Genre/Style: Action/Side-Scrolling Platform
Release Date:
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PC)

Genre/Style: Sports/Skateboarding
Release Date: 24/OCT/00
Tony Hawk's Underground

Tony Hawk's Underground (PS2)

Genre/Style: Sports/Skateboarding
Release Date: 28/OCT/03
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (PS2)

Genre/Style: Shooter/First-Person Shooter
Release Date: 25/OCT/05
Burnout: Revenge

Burnout: Revenge (X360)

Genre/Style: Racing/Sports Car Racing
Release Date: 07/MAR/06
Burnout Paradise

Burnout Paradise (X360)

Genre/Style: Racing/Sports Car Racing
Release Date: 22/JAN/08
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (X360)

Genre/Style: Sports/Skateboarding
Release Date: 16/OCT/07
Sonic Unleashed

Sonic Unleashed (X360)

Genre/Style: Action/3D Platform
Release Date: 20/NOV/08
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If i wanted to play the same game, i would just play the same game and not waste my money on an updated one (unless they finally remake FF7 on the PS3).
Honestly, when it comes to sports, racing and sadly sonic games, I think they are ALL the same as the previous ones except better graphics and maybe a few cool new features. WHATS THE POINT THEN?

Games need to involve, push the envelope with each new addition. If they dont experiment, then nothing creative will ever come out with it and we will still be stuck with shit.

My favorite series is Final Fantasy, and sure, its basically the same story and people you play with, but at least on each game the battle system and the way you actually operate the game play is different, showing they like to keep a similar feel, but yet make it different with each new title you play.

Thats my rant on the matter....
I don't think one can really judge sequels or franchises on an overall scale. It really comes down to those behind it. Simply being a franchise doesn't mean you are going to make worse and worse games, nor the reverse of getting better and better. Some do better, some do worse, and some are roller coasters.

Truthfully, I can think of a lot more successful franchises than I can failed ones.
Well what about Zelda and Mario? Have there been a bad game in either of those series?
@EarthboundX Honestly, I think I could have lived without 50 different mario parties, but other than that they are all great!
I meant the actually Mario games themselves, not the millions of spin offs, hehe.
EBX is right... Nintendo's major players haven't degraded in quality over their lifetime, unlike most other game makers. I think that's because they're not changing the basic gameplay, so there's always that common ground, as well, they keep to the Mario/Zelda universe fairly well. (I, too, am not referring to the countless mario spinoff games)
@Torinir I always assumed, because Nintendo, even though it''s been years, are still the best first party developers. Now if only they could cut all the crap on the Wii from third parties.
That's true, and it's because of what I stated in the previous post. :o
@EarthboundX agreeed
there acutally coming out with a 2d sonic next year, im looking forward to that, also burnout paradise was a shift in a new direction for criterion. i rather enjoyed it over revenge.
well to some extent some franchises just seem to go downhill. Destroy all Humans, Sonic, Tony Hawk, some of (but not all of) the Suikoden games, the Unreal Tournaments, and maybe it's just me, but I think EA's stranglehold on football must end. after madden 08 I just gave up on that one.

Some games get BETTER with sequels. the aforementioned Zelda and Mario series (although Mario Sunshine wasn't all it was cracked up to be imo), Halo got way better, and Gears of War 2 far outshone an already great entry, looking forward to how they wrap that one up in 3, or go into GoW 10. I'm also looking to certain sequels in the future as well, Mass Effect 2 just to name my all time personal "I want" game of next year.

A lot of it, I think, has to do with dev teams changing around. Some quit, some move on to other positions, and overall some games that try "fresh" stuff with a "fresh" team sometimes just doesn't work out the way it should.

Others, I also think, are just in it for the money. Once they make that cold hard cashout, they just don't care about the series they make anymore -coughTonyHawkcough-

Overall I don't think any REAL game developer and maker wants to make a bad game, but they shouldn't rush some out to meet some deadline like the christmas holiday, or force some new team that doesn't understand the game's appeal and history like the original into trying something so completely off the wall it turns off many would-be players.

I find it's less about the number of sequels, and more about where exactly the peak lies. To me, San Andreas will always be the greatest GTA of all, with IV only really being interesting in the realism, and the actual game being pretty boring. Although The Lost and Damned was more fun. In any case, they had to sequel the game until the series evolved into GTA3, and then they had to evolve that two more times to get to San Andreas, the series' peak.

My favorite Sonic game is Sonic Adventure. The Gamecube enhanced port, so that's really a sequel and a half if you think about it. It had to evolve to 3D to get to the best, and then it was downhill from there. Sonic 2 is my second fav, though.

You need sequels to get to the best, but once you do a bad sequel to *that*, it's time to stop because you'd hit the peak. If there hadn't been several sequels, my favorite game, Metal Gear Solid 3 (Subsistence, so that's another 1.5 for ya), would never have existed.

Metroid Prime was my previous favorite until I played MGS3, and that's a heavily-evolved sequel to the rest of the Metroid series. A series that never really hits rock bottom. I mean, Fusion, the fourth in the non-Prime series, is easily my favorite of the 2D ones. So sequels certainly did something for that. Of course, I'm really sort of dreading Other M, because it just doesn't sound like a Metroid game the way a Metroid game should be, so I guess we'll see. And I will say that I didn't play Corruption, but Echoes definitely wasn't as good as Prime. It was still a great game, though, so I don't consider that a problem.

A lot of the time what it really all comes down to is that people love the original too much to give the sequel any credit. I personally like Majora's Mask much more than Ocarina of Time. I liked that they had more than seven people in the entire world. But Ocarina will forever be known as the best, and the argument always seems to go something like, "Well, it's the original. Plus, it was the first Zelda game I played. I loved it so much, it will always hold that place in my heart." Being there first tends to cause more of an impact and causes the sequels to be judged harshly.

The same goes for Goldeneye / Perfect Dark. While not technically a sequel, it might as well be. But you're much more likely to hear about Goldeneye since it set the precedent, rather than Perfect Dark for improving upon it. But of course, Perfect Dark Zero, the eventual prequel, was hands-down terrible. It had its moments, but only just barely. So it still comes down to that peak. I could list series all day and how they fit the bill as well, but I'm sure you get the idea I could have fit in two sentences but stretched out to six paragraphs by now.
two words:
Dynasty Warriors
I must admit, I think Nintendo do a good job. I mean even excluding spinoffs there must be quite a few proper Mario and Zelda games out there, and maybe the newest ones aren't the best for whatever reason, but I very rarely hear anyone complain that the latest Mario game is terrible.

I never really thought about games hitting their peak, I guess the problem is that it's hard to judge where that peak is, and just how much you're damage you're going to do trying to improve on what is already just about as good as it can get. I also suppose that if a franchise doesn't release a few sub par games afterwards, how do you even know a game has hit his peak? I still have hope for GTA, but although the game was technically 'worse', I enjoyed San Andreas more than the new one. I did enjoy the new one too though, so it's not like they ruined it.

Maybe I was little harsh at the start, I mean developers are going to want to try and better previous games, and if they don't try they can't succeed, and a lot of developers probably get told to make a new game because the higher ups know another sequel will make money no matter what. I wonder if any of the original Tony Hawk developers are still developing Tony Hawk games or if they've moved away now.

I guess I was just kind of crabby that I've been playing a few sequels recently that just missed for me.

I know somebody mentioned a sports franchise, they don't even make sequels, they annualy make games. They have about a year to make it, and they have to finished by then. I don't like sports franchises much at all. I'd prefer it much more if they released a version in 2006, then for 2007 they just released a download or addon disc to update the teams for the new season, and then released an actual new version of the game in 2008. Sports franchises probably all about the money though to be fair. They will always have a target audience ready to buy the next game.

At this stage I've forgotten what I've written above...
I don't mind sequels if it is a good game, like the Ghost Recon series, Rainbow Six, COD...etc. I do mind though, in a case like Call of Juarez, when they change the controls so much that it is hard to go back and complete the original one. I mean thats part of the fun is picking up the continuation of the story without changing the whole feel of the why you liked the game in the first place, to go out and buy another one, without learning a completely new layout/ button configuration.
If the sequels are good, I say bring em on. I only hate sequels when they are just betting that the name alone will get people to make a purchase and don't worry at all about quality.

While there are often bad sequels, there are also plenty of terrible brand new IPs. I don't really care if a game is a sequel or not, I only think about the quality of each individual game.

That said, bad sequels sting a lot simply because of the enjoyment the previous game or games have brought you.
@WILDMAMMOTH I agree. You make a bad sequel to a good game and pretty much you can kiss your built in fan / customer base goodbye.
How about this... proper sequel or downloadable content? GTA IV seems to have taken the DLC instead of publishing standalone games like Vice City and San Andreas. If you look at a game like Rock Band/Guitar Hero, they release DLC every week, and yet they still feel the need to put out a new game every year. When are they gonna run out of songs? And lastly, look at Left 4 Dead. They seem to be trying to support both DLC for a current game and releasing a new game...
A lot of DLC seems to be stuff that should have been in the original game, taken out so that they could charge extra for it later. I'm pretty sure Beautiful Katamari is the shining example of this. But when it's actually new and adds something, I'm all for it. Like Mass Effect and such. And all of the games that have released a free map pack or two for the fans.

Of course, then there are the games who are actually releasing brand new content who really don't seem like they know what they're doing. GTAIV does come most readily to mind. The main game was boring, and the DLC does redeem it a bit (even though all of it together will make the game, what, $100?), but they're missing the main point: *Liberty City* is boring. I love San Andreas so much for the variety and how worth it it was to explore, and they seem dead-set on cranking out more LC drivel.

On the other other hand, there's Fable II. Which released a boring DLC, and then a fairly entertaining DLC which was really only a disguised trailer for Fable III, which they're already cranking out. In fact, I'm pretty sure they've planned out up through Fable V already. How good can the games be if you don't leave them time to improve?

So I guess my answer is... I don't know. But I am kind of tired of continuously paying for stupid little additions to my games.
@jimothyjim @amedeus8 Would you rather pay a few bucks here and there to add more fun to an existing game or risk the whole sixty dollars on a new one they may be a bland shadow of a former entry in an otherwise great series? I perfer the former myself. I am personally waiting for the GTA: Episodes entry to get both parts of the GTA expansion. and TBoGT looks to add a lot more mayhem than GTAIV packed. I don't understand the love for GTASA, there was so much dead space in that game it really detracted from the experience for me. I like that they add new characters and content to existing framework, keeps it fresh. Oh, and the online on GTAIV is FANTASTIC! Give it a shot.

I think Halo is overrated, granted I enjoyed the stories of the first two, but the focus on the online aspect hurt the third installment. Have to wait and see what happens with ODST.

With Burnout, I definitely enjoy Revenge more than Paradise, if for no other reason than the ability to punt cars in your lane. The crash mode was better in Revenge too, but I like being able to explore the massive city of Paradise so I guess I am on the fence about that one.

The Sonic series ENDED at Sonic Adventure IMO. Hasn't been the same since.

Nintendo knows what makes their games great, and doesn't deviate from that. But it doesn't take away from the fact that the Wii is garbage. The great games on that platform are so few and far between it does nothing but collect dust and hold down papers in my room. I actually avoided renting Tenchu: Shadow Assasins because I didn't want to sully my favorite franchise on an inferior console. And that makes me very sad. I'm sure myself and Tenchu will make up some time in the near future. One dispute doesn't necessarily cause a break-up afterall.

As for developers meeting schedules, it is often up to the publisher who bankrolls them. In that way it is out of their hands. Not everyone gets to put a game out when it's actually done. Sometimes its just 'when it will get past the first-party submission' without being kicked. Its sad but true,

As a dev it's hard to know when something will really work or not work. Often the case is that by the time they get that feedback the game is too late in the cycle, too much money has been spent, the focus group giving the info is a little shaky, or they are just too close to the game to see the greater picture. There are a million variables.

In closing: Rent before you buy. It saves a lot of heartache.
i have to say i feel the same alot of the time but i think there is an exception with FPS games, well, at least a good number of them.

With good FPS games where the story is progressed (or as in ODST told in a new perspective but with gameplay changes) i enjoy that way of doing things.

but for games like burnout and tony hawks, guitar hero and rock band, and other such games it does bug me. the GTA games are the same im afraid, but then ive never enjoyed GTA that much

i must say however, i did enjoy burnout paradise compared to the rest because of the sandbox nature of things, and i do enjoy most of the need for speed titles for the same reason
I'm partial to Saint's Row myself. It takes the seriousness of GTA and throws it out the window. Many of the activities are completely absurd, but fun as all hell. And from one iteration to the next it has improved a lot. Plus the vehicles don't handle like ass. That series has yet to peak I suppose. Then there are the Final Fantasies that I have an On and Off relationship with. Loved VII, hated VIII, loved IX, liked X...but only as a friend. Didn't toucn XI or XII (haven't taken it out of the plastic yet). XIII looks good. Its so hard to draw absolutes on this subject.
FFXII is one of my favorite FF games, which from what I gather, is not a common opinion.
@EarthboundX I've only played X and XII but i love XII too.
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