I should probably premise this article by stating that this is in no way a dig at Naughty Dog. It’s certainly not a shot at The Last Of Us, one of the greatest games of all time. And it’s definitely not intending to belittle The Last of Us Part II – which I’m positive will be an incredible game. Instead, this article is focusing on the tradition of sequels and the rise of ‘remasters’. Particularly in the wake of disappointing sales for games like Titanfall 2, Infinite Warfare, WatchDogs 2 and Dishonored 2
Now don’t get me wrong, I like a sequel – provided it’s to a game that I enjoy. I also don’t mind the occasional remaster. I’m currently enjoying Skyrim once again, for instance, and there are a few games that I’d pick up the remaster of in a heartbeat. But nothing compares to the excitement, the wonder, the anticipation of a new game. Something unique. Or unexpected. Perhaps like The Last of Us, back in the June of 2013.
New games or old favorites?
I was partly inspired to write this article off the back of an interesting argument, on one of my previous articles. You can see the comment that sparked the argument above. But you can read the blow-by-blow here. Basically, the argument stems around the fact that developers and publishers rely heavily on ‘rinse and repeat’ titles. It then divulges (shock horror) into a battle between Xbox and PlayStation. Both parties raise good points; that, in general, gamers aren’t often treated to ‘new games’. That’s new games in the sense of not a sequel, one part of a series or a remaster.
That being said, even new games eventually turn to a franchise. Particularly if they’re successful. The Last Of Us now has its sequel, coming some time soon. State of Decay has a second installment on the way. Destiny has a new title in the works. Titanfall recently had its second game released. There are reasons for that. Gamers want sequels to their favorite titles.
The Last of Us Part II is an instant win
But the biggest reason is, most likely, the financial benefits. Why waste time trying to come up with entirely new ideas when you have a hit setting, ready for a new chapter in the story? Sure, Naughty Dog could have created a completely new, unique title. I’m sure it would have been amazing. But why bother when you have The Last Of Us Part II ready to roll, and a new Uncharted game to release and develop to plug the gap. The engine’s there. The characters are there. As are the voice actors, the design team and the animators. It’s much quicker to make a sequel, it’s easier too. Plus, it’ll be a guaranteed win (even if it’s not as good as the original, people will still buy it).
Are sequels good or bad?
You may notice that I haven’t actually said whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Are sequels great, or do they stink of laziness? Do we love or hate franchises? For me, there’s a fine line. In my opinion, the Call of Duty series has crossed that line. I even think that the Battlefield series was close, were it not for Battlefield 1 adding a new perspective to the franchise (for better or worse). There’s a point at which developers and publishers release games for the sake of it, over games that are actually wanted. I don’t think that Naughty Dog are crossing that line with The Last of Us Part II, though – but they move a step closer with each new iteration in the series.
But we do have plenty of new IPs coming out. Cuphead, Days Gone and Sea of Thieves – I’m particularly looking forward to playing those titles. But look at all of the games that have come out this year and I bet that a solid 70% are sequels, or part of a lasting franchise. That might not be a bad thing, but it does suggest a lack of imagination on the publishers’ and developers’ parts.
But what do you think? Do you think that we deserve more unique titles. Or are you happy with what we’re getting? Let me know in the comments below!