Every game these days has a sequel. And every sequel either has a prequel leading up the sequel, or another sequel set hundreds of years in the future, which leaves room for prequels and sequels to the prequel. A sequel might be a major overhaul, or it may add an extra element or two to an already established formula. That’s just fine. If the game is good, people might want more of it, because we obviously cannot possibly have enough of something which is good and addictive, and gaming is a hobby which strives on addiction. But do we really need ten to twelve games supporting this habit?
We always need more of something when the experience is good
Multiplayer games fall under this category. If a game has a good multiplayer component, then each iteration will only add to the fun as it becomes more polished. Games like Battlefield are a testament to this. Each game in the battlefield series has brought new additions to the franchise, and has become immensely successful because of the same.
Call of duty, now that’s a different story. This series has always had great multiplayer, but recent releases seem to suggest that it is merely a money making machine for Activision than anything else. The story of each iteration is becoming shorter and the multiplayer is starting to seem like a rehashed version of an earlier iteration. And a formula, no matter how great it is, is limited by eventual monotony when it comes to gaming. Make the greatest game ever made, and by the fifth or sixth iteration, it’ll start to feel the same.
Originality is a dying breed
The number of new games released now is much less compared to when developers actually wanted to do something different. And it’s understandable; earlier, experimentation wasn’t as risky as it is now. Game development costs are constantly on the rise, and at the end of the day, gaming is just another business, so it’s okay to play it safe and make something which the general public will like. But this will take the industry to stagnation. Role playing games are now more about the action than actual role play. Real time strategy is heading towards extinction. Graphics rule the roots over gameplay or story when it comes to game development. And making sequels is more appealing than starting something from scratch.
In my opinion, it’s fine to make sequels, as long as you’re trying something different. Bioshock: Infinite is a prime example of this. It has the same basic formula, but the context has been changed completely. And it looks more intriguing to me than any other game this year. Also, making few quality sequels than a dozen average ones should be top priority, because nobody wants to have the same average pizza with a different topping everyday. And as with any business, risks need to be taken. It is the lack of risks because of which so many companies have shut down. Thinking outside the box is a major asset in game development, and it is up to the developers to make sure that they don’t lose this asset.