I want to preface this extra credit with my belief that the game industry is not in trouble. I think it’s thriving and more and more people become interested in what was once an odd phenomenon and I do think that people threatened by this are silly. I say this because I want to dissect an article that talks about how the lack of creativity is killing the game industry while he does make some good points, it doesn’t change the fact that it is an over-reaction. I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I am basically going to be pulling out quotes and analyzing them, but you really should read the whole article first.
“However, one issue that’s often overlooked is the sheer amount of sequels and reboots that companies insist on releasing each year. In fact, I would argue that it is this very thing which is seriously wrong with the industry as a whole. It’s stunting the growth of our medium, and will eventually kill it.”
Franchises disagree with you. The biggest sellers out there are those in a long running series like Call of Duty or Halo. Within the industry, if a publisher commissions a sequel, that is one of the biggest compliments a developer can receive, because it means a lot of people liked their game. In fact, for the author to even come to the conclusion that sequels and reboots will kill the industry is contradicted in his next paragraph:
“A few weeks ago I visited the annual Eurogamer Expo, and was shocked by how many sequels and reboots there were on the show floor. Not only that, but these were the games with the longest queues, while new and original IPs were relegated to only having one stand – as well as generating the least amount of interest from the legions of gamers in attendance.”
I agree that new IPs do have the hardest times getting off the ground, and that is a shame. But the advantage to a sequel is that people tend to know exactly what they are going to get.
“If you go onto any forum of any gaming website, you’ll hear people bemoan the fact that Call of Duty has spawned yet another sequel; but from the gargantuan queue that swamped the Black Ops 2 stand, you would think that this criticism was simply non-existent. In a just world, stands promoting sequels to games would be the smallest of them all, while the stands for the likes of Dishonored and Tokyo Jungle would take center stage.”
This is a very common fallacy amongst internet dwellers such as myself that the voice of the internet is the voice of the masses. That is simply not the case and the fact that Call of Duty sells so much should prove that the people who complain about it on the internet, are not the majority.
“To me, the argument that DLC is the major contributor to the decline of the games industry is unfounded. Sure, day-one DLC and charging for content which should have been included in the initial release is hurting the industry, but it isn’t hurting it as much as sequelitis.”
Again, the industry is not in that much peril. At least not as much as this author seems to make it. I’ll admit, that I am not a business analyst who knows the ins and outs of the game industry, but seeing as I’m not the author who wrote a piece asserting that sequels are causing the industry to crumble beneath us, without posting sources, I’m not going to make that call.
“Back in the early days of consoles, developers were more willing to take a risk as to what they made, whereas now they are becoming lazy; slipping into the same routine of make a game, recycle and repeat - and it’s really starting to show. You only have to look at the gameplay for all the modern day shooters to realize that they not only have the same maps and environments as the previous installments, but also pretty much the same storyline and end-game.”
Excuse me? Since when? Mario 2, the real Mario 2, was more of the same from Super Mario Bros. 1. How many Megaman games did we get? In fact, what is a good example of a game that tried something new for it’s sequel and didn’t do all well? Wouldn’t that be The Legend of Zelda II?
“How are future generations of developers meant to be inspired by the same recycled maps, the same colour palette of browns and greys, the same generic gameplay and same the dull and uninteresting characters? You could argue that they churn out sequels and reboots because of the risk that untested and original franchises might not make any money, but that again is unfounded. Games such as Super Meat Boy and Braid have sold in excess of a million copies since their launch, garnering not only critical acclaim, but also – since Team Meat is made up of just two people – huge commercial success as well.”
This author also fails to understand that Super Meat Boy and Braid are miracle stories. Most indie games don’t get the recognition and fame that those two games got. And really, I’m pretty sure that the franchise super-hits make a lot more money than Super Meat Boy or Braid, probably by like a million fold.
Overall, this article is just a perfect example of his little some people know about the game industry. Aside from just a lot of fallacies in his arguments like claiming the voice of the internet is the voice of every single gamer as well as a failure to understand that the game industry is almost built on franchises that makes me wonder why this kind of stuff is even taken seriously.