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Sequel Fatigue Cause of Slow Sales?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the holding-my-breath-for-the-next-sonic-game dept.

Businesses 129

The NYT has a piece which argues that the new console iteration is not the cause for slow sales at the end of the year. Rather, gamers are tired of all the damn sequels. From the article: "... In an industry that has a reputation for growth, the decline certainly clashes with expectations. And there is also evidence that gamers may no longer be as enticed by the type of games that publishers have been putting on store shelves. For the first time in several years, the industry did not have a breakout hit in 2005. Two releases from 2004's holiday season, Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, generated enough anticipation among hard-core gamers that they lined up to buy copies. 'Last season you had some events that drove people into stores,' said Josh Larson, director of industry products for GameSpot, which tracks interest in new games; he was referring to the last two months of 2004. 'There wasn't anything that filled that void,' in the 2005 holiday season, he added." Update: 02/08 18:07 GMT by Z : As much as I like the letter 'q', fixed title.

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Sequel FatiQue? (0, Redundant)

boldtbanan (905468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670513)

Yeah, you have to love that sequel fatique....and how /. moderators know how to spell so well. I mean, the Q key is halfway across the keyboard from the G key (on a qwerty) so don't be calling it a typo ;).

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (1)

El_Servas (672868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670542)

He meant "seguel fatique"

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (5, Insightful)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670565)

They'd call it a "typo" if the Q key was on a different planet from the G key. See, nowadays, typing like a retarded bonobo on crack is considered normal, and daring to point out repeated mistakes (most of which are obviously due to a failure to absorb basic lessons in grade school) is moderated (-1, Flamebait) and (-1, Troll).

I've had people tell me that using "it's" instead of "its" (e.g. "that's not one of it's better qualities") is a typo. Yeah. my finger just randomly slipped all the way to the other side of the keyboard between "t" and "s" to smack the apostrophe... And if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Cue standard rant (stdrant.h?) about how the Slashdot "editors" don't.

Sad but true: Just like how students are vilified for "tattling" on bullies, but not for bullying, people nowadays are vilified for being "language nazis", but not for repeatedly making mistakes any third grader should be able to avoid. The problem is ignored, while pointing out the problem is practically heresy.

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (1)

NFNNMIDATA (449069) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670638)

People don't like to be stupid, even if they are.

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670802)

I've found that people generally enjoy their stupidity, and fail to connect that to the consequences which aren't as likeable. Rather, people don't like to be told they (read: their actions, thoughts, etc) are stupid, even if they are.

I can't tell you how many times I've thought of maintaining a database of stupidities for use in future discussions to avoid past mistakes. I work hard to be open to criticism for myself, but it can be very demoralizing to work with people who insist on repeating stupid decisions then find fault for the outcomes elsewhere while conveniently forgetting their hand in the matter.

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670753)

Actually, in your example anyway, your usage of "it's" is completely incorrect, and the people telling you to use 'its' are absolutely correct. (Again, in the specific case of the example you gave.)

"It's" is a contraction of "it is" and ALWAYS should be used with the apostrophe. "Its" is the possessive form of the pronoun "it" and is used correctly WITHOUT the apostrophe.

In your example, the use of the apostrophe means you are actually saying, "that's not one of it is better qualities" which is obviously complete nonsense. What you really meant was, "that's not one of its better qualities."

So my question is, are you a third grader? ;-)

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670784)

Reading is fun-da-mental, my anonymous friend.

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670825)

Someone needs to take more reading classes.

He said: 'I've had people tell me that using "it's" instead of "its" (e.g. "that's not one of it's better qualities") is a typo'

Maybe it's the parentheses that are confusing you. 'I've had people tell me that using "it's" instead of "its" is a typo.' Is that more legible?

He was absolutely right. His point was that people are using "it's" incorrectly, as in the example. When called on it, they say "it's just a typo, lemme alone."

I don't know about you, but my typos don't usually include pressing extra keys with the wrong finger on the wrong hand and in the wrong row. It's not a typo, it's bad grammar. You can't chalk everything up to being a typo.

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (1)

vistic (556838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671509)

Those are some pretty poor reading comprehension skills you've got.

Brainos (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671207)

I call things like that "brainos", in obvious analogy to "typos" where you have a "typing" problem. I know I am not the only one. My point is that there really isn't an official word for such things, but I don't really let that stop me.

Usually, when I use the word, it's in a coding context. "Yeah, I'm looking at this code and I know you have to check the return value of that function, I've done it a hundred times. I don't know why I forgot that time; must be a braino."

Re:Brainos (1)

IpalindromeI (515070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671441)

My point is that there really isn't an official word for such things

Yes, there is: mistake.

Re:Brainos (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672383)

It's not the same word. "Mistake" is a generic term, covering things intentional and unintentional, a whole range of impacts of the error from trivial to catastrophic, and carries no information about admission of guilt.

"Brainos" are unintentional, freely admitted, generally minor errors.

Since we're communicating in English, which answers the "How do I indicate shades of meaning?" with "Lots and lots of words, all with slightly varying denotations", these little differences are very useful for precise, yet concise, communication. "Braino" fills in a hole, just as "pessimal" or a still-hypothetical gender-neutral third-person pronoun does.

Re:Because we don't come to /. for grammar lessons (0, Offtopic)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671834)

and daring to point out repeated mistakes (most of which are obviously due to a failure to absorb basic lessons in grade school) is moderated (-1, Flamebait) and (-1, Troll).

If we wanted to learn proper english, we'd be trolling ProperEnglishdot.org and not trying to discuss technology and geek releated things.

I mean, I have horrible grammar because I don't really care what other people on this forum think and I'm probaly multitasking talking with someone else on a phone (at work) and writing tech support request emails so its amazing I even post comments in an understandable format.

On occasion I find myself copying and pasting my comment into word and doing a spell check for blatantly obvious problems... But face it guys... I don't really care if you know how to spell nor if I make a good impression on you with my excellent grammar and spelling.

Slashdot isn't a job interview after all and not all of us have the time to sit and proof read everything we type.

Re:Because we don't come to /. for grammar lessons (0, Offtopic)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672078)

If you get into the habit of writing correctly, you won't have to think about it or spend time proofreading your work (beyond a quick runthrough). It will become "second nature" to you.

Re:Because we don't come to /. for grammar lessons (0, Offtopic)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672242)

For that matter, just where the fuck did the idea that the proper use of language is reserved solely for job interviews and schools come from?! I'm so sick of hearing things like "whatever... you're not my teacher" or "I'm not in school". Sure, I could write like a caveman too, but I prefer to have the basic dignity (probably the only dignity I ever display? ;) ) not to do so.

I suppose that, since I'm not trying to impress anyone with my clothing, I could come in to work in cutoff jean shorts and a ripped, stained T-shirt. "Hey, man, it's work, not a fashion show."

That's around as [il]logical as this absurd notion that "since I'm not at school, I shouldn't bother writing properly."

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672133)

I don't know about you, but I'm a fairly fast typist, and I often tend to type words as discrete tokens rather than collections of individually considered keypresses. It's quite similar to the way I read, actually. I see word shapes, not letters.

Anyway -- I've actually had the its/it's problem happen because by finger muscle memory short circuited. I know perfectly well that "it's" is the contraction for "it is" and not a possessive, but sometimes stuff just slips out when I'm in a hurry.

Soemtimes perfectly spelled but completely imappropriate words will appear in a paragraph I've typed for much the same reason. My fingers typed the wrong common word. :-(

That's one reason why I try to proofread things before sending. Not always successfully, but I find I have pretty good reason to. :-)

Crap... See? s/by/my/ (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672200)

No text here. :-)

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (1)

cornface (900179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671553)

I'm confused as to why it got fixed. Taco has said repeatedly (and angrily) that the typos are there on purpose, and that correcting them destroys the slashdot atmosphere.

Unless, he was lying.

I just can't make myself believe that.

Re:Sequel FatiQue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14672875)

Can you say qnal?

Who's this Fatique chick? (2, Funny)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670520)

That name sounds hot.

Re:Who's this Fatique chick? (4, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670803)

Damn you mods, hot chicks are NEVER off topic.

Wait wait pick one... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670522)

The summary says sales sucked because we are all tired of sequels...but the reason 2004 was such a hit was because of...sequels? Did I miss something here?

Re:Wait wait pick one... (1)

discordja (612393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670601)

I don't people are necessarily tired of sequels, but tired of the endless stream released with no time to fallow. Half Life 2 was a sequel yes, but it was also a fantastic game in it's own right, and it was several years removed from it's original source. GTA I just don't know .. I haven't liked a single one of them.

Re:Wait wait pick one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670870)

I've actually really enjoyed the way the GTA series has matured. In every release, they've added larger areas, more vehicles, and bigger storylines. In GTA:San Andreas, they've even added some roleplaying elements - as you gain skill with one weapon or another, you can fire faster, fire while moving, etc.

Plus, I take a certain ssick pleasure in mowing down my enemies with two sawed-off shotguns. : )

Re:Wait wait pick one... (1)

cornface (900179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671461)

The biggest problem with GTA is that the controls suck. After you lose the 100th mission because of crappy controls and the horrible camera a few times, it stops being fun, and degenerates into seeing who can ramp the Faggio off the fire escape the best.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Re:Wait wait pick one... (1)

Schitzoflink (949390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671992)

I love the controls...except on the Xbox the Drive by controls (L2 and R2 on PS2) on the original controller are hard...and on the S impossible...but by just driving past the person you want to kill, jumping out of the car and locking on to them with the tracking rocket launcher...well that makes up for it.

and to comment on the two weapons thing...well it's ok but it would have been better if they alternated instead of one shot fires both weapons...also...why can't I have two silenced 9mm...or if I can shoot two sawed off shotguns...but not two DEagles?.....anyway...

Re:Wait wait pick one... (2, Insightful)

IpalindromeI (515070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671507)

Where is the contradiction? The summary claims that gamers are tired of sequels, which implies that they were not tired of them in the past. In 2004, sequels did well, but now gamers are tired of them. What you missed is that situations can change with time.

Re:Wait wait pick one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14672148)

Ah, excellent point. The entire gaming community, most of whom have eagerly gobbled up crappy sequels for the last 10 years, suddenly become totally disenfranchised and stopped liking sequels this year. I totally buy that.

Maybe what you didn't get is that the only reason sequels succed is:

A) Extremely well-marketed, like Halo 2 or the Tony Hawk series...

B) Franchise where an update is important for authenticity (Madden, etc)...

C) Just because it's a sequel, doesn't mean its the same old stuff rehashed.

Now, in all fairness, C is much less frequent than A. But I think it is the a good indicator for the difference in sequel-based success. If you release a rehashed piece of crap that didn't need to be updated in the first place, I'm not really sure why anyone is surprised it doesn't sell. If you create an entire new game that uses the same IP as a previous title, and its a badass game, I'm not sure why anyone expects that to NOT sell.

I doubt it. (4, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670528)

In reality, there's little difference between the 413th First Person Shooter and the 414th*. Whether or not First Person Shooter 414 is "ScaryMonsterKiller" or "Son of ScaryMonsterKiller" is something of a moot point.

*Apart from the requirement that you buy a new graphics card at around 45% the cost of your whole system, for the arguable advantage of having another few hundred thousand triangles or this seasons must-have anti-aliasing algorithm.

Re:I doubt it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670689)

or this seasons must-have anti-aliasing algorithm.

Anti aliasing is so last year. We're after different mapping. We've had texture mapping, bump mapping (of various sorts) and parallax mapping. Now we're moving towards cheese mapping.

loss of imagination (2, Informative)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670552)

This is a problem that I think is plaguing the entertainment industry in general. They are not putting out new stuff. If game X did well well then why not try Game X 2.0. Or my personal favorite is making movies out of video games. Some have been good, some have not.

But to be honest the real reason sales are down, is no one wants to spend tons of money for games on a system that is going to be obsolete in a couple of months.

Re:loss of imagination (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670647)

I think that the reason that so many of us love classic games (other than nostalgia) is precisely the lack of hardware. Developers in earlier times were forced to be innovative, or "work with what you've got." These days photorealism is hyped up so much that it's become more important to just make pretty games, rather than anything creative or well-designed. Besides that, let's face it: alot of the good ideas have already been done. What else is left, writing on the screen with a stylus? Replacing the joysticks with a remote?

Re:loss of imagination (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670750)

Very true, (pity you hid as an anonymous coward).

Especially with the fact that game systems are becoming more complex to program, people loose focus on making the games fun and ground breaking and not as realistic as possible. I agree that many good ideas have been done and that it makes it harder to develop new game ideas, but I think also that the industry is expanding to cover new demographics and a single game now wont spark the interest of everyone who plays that system. But i do not think that we are anywhere close to the end of creativism, and that the designers should strive to be more creative and break the molds.

Re:loss of imagination (1)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671115)

It's also gotten to the point that the upgrade in technology is no longer worth the money. Who cares whether the poly count is twice what it was? The original Duke Nukem is still the one of the best multiplayer shooters out there, and the fact that it used sprites didn't really matter--it's just so damn funny, and there are so many ways to frag people. I imagine that sports games are even more pointless. The gameplay probably hasn't improved in 10 years, so why buy another? And for multiplayer RTS, I haven't seen anything that improves on Age of Mythology with the Titans expansion--it has the perfect balance of complexity and simplicity.

At a certain point, the next version is pretty much pointless. You already have the game, and the pretty pictures don't really add much to gameplay--in fact, sometimes they get the gameplay just right, and you can't improve upon it. At this point, the genre is finished. Time to move on.

Personally, I'd like to see something that's more of a detective game than a shooter (hopefully with clues that make sense.) I'd love to see a game where you actually lose points for shooting someone. But that, of course, would not follow the formula.

Re:loss of imagination (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671293)

Ever play Age of Kings? Far better than AoM- AoM tried to crossbreed Starcraft and AoK and ended up with the worst of each.

Re:loss of imagination (1)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671842)

Yes, I've tried all the other Ensemble games, but Age of Kings plays really woodenly after playing Age of Mythology--too much micro-management. This isn't as obvious in single player, but it becomes painfully obvious in mutliplayer. I have several groups of friends who like to play multi-player RTS's, and they all dropped AoK like a hot potato when AoM came out. And the latest Age of Empires hasn't impressed us much either.

Re:loss of imagination (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671749)

But to be honest the real reason sales are down, is no one wants to spend tons of money for games on a system that is going to be obsolete in a couple of months.

Weren't you listening when the fat cats were talking? By now, we all know that if sales are down, it's because of piracy! Game companies need to add some anti-copying measures that piss the hell off their customers in their games now... ... ... oh wait...

No Diversity (5, Insightful)

laxcat (600727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670559)

It seems to me that the game industry doesn't have the diversity that the movie industry does. Movies come in all shapes and sizes and feature a variety of subject matters.

90% of these big budget games are sci-fi or fantasy or something with loads of automatic weapons. Think how boring movies would get if that ratio was the same. Where are the games that could be compared to indie films? The game industry will never develop if they don't try and broaden their scope.

Sorry, did I sound like a Nintendo rep there? I'm not I swear.

Re:No Diversity (1)

theJML (911853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670715)

I'd buy this, other than the fact that the movie industry is also sucking as of late. It seems like they're really digging for ideas and those ideas aren't working. There honestly hasn't been a movie that's made me jump up and say "Wow, I need to go see that!" since Lord of the Rings.

To a point, the same goes for games. I'd say that games actually have more to choose from than movies, but not all of those choices are "Hot New Titles". I haven't bought a game since the first Rogue Spear: Raven Sheild. Sure I could get an expansion pack, but #1 all my friends that I play with online would also need to drop that money. #2 I can find plenty of added maps/mods online and I'm still quite happy with the experience.

You can't say that the gaming industry doesn't have a wide variety though. I mean, not everything out is an FPS. There are plenty of things like Rise of Nations, or the Sims, or Tetris 5 billion, or need for speed, or Sim City, or whatever. There's a lot of variety. I think /.'ers just spend more time playing FPS's so they don't see the whole picture.

I suppose another thing is the fact that a good game has a good amount of replay to it and if you have good replay the casual gamer won't want to go out and spend more money on something new when he already has something that he wants to replay.

It's not that I don't like buying games, it's that I don't like any of the new games available for buying. Nor do I really see the point to spending $50 on a game when I still have 4+ games I still want to complete/replay.

Re:No Diversity (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670816)

There honestly hasn't been a movie that's made me jump up and say "Wow, I need to go see that!" since Lord of the Rings.

Batman Begins. Seriously. If you haven't seen it DO SO!

The movie industry tends to fluctuate a lot more than the games industry. Sometimes they produce nothing but stinkers like Tomb Raider, Planet of the Apes, and the last Highlander. At other times they produce wonderful stuff like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars Ep3, Polar Express, The Incredibles, and Batman Begins. It all depends on which studios are currently in business, who's been hired/fired, how many writers are on strike, and the general direction of the wind.

The biggest trend I see as of late is Hollywood's inability to work from original material. Sourced movies based on things like Comic Books, famous novels, and older movies have been doing pretty well. (Though there have been plenty of stinkers in those too.) But unsourced materials? Um, let me think.

(thinking)
(thinking)
(thinking)
(thinking)
(thinking)
(thinking)
(thinking)

I got nothin'. How about you?

Re:No Diversity (1)

imadork (226897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670894)

I got nothin' either.

The last time I was at the movies (which admittedly was quite a few months ago), I noticed that every single preview was either a sequel, a re-make of an older book or movie, or a movie which was virtually identical to the last one that particular screenplay writer wrote. Pixar is the only company putting out original stuff right now. That, and the gay cowboy movie, I suppose.

Re:No Diversity (3, Funny)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670966)

Pixar is the only company putting out original stuff right now. That, and the gay cowboy movie, I suppose.

You've never been to Texas, or you'd know the gay cowboy thing has already been done a zillion times -- art imitating life.

Re:No Diversity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14671820)

They are gay sheep hearders not gay cowboys.

based off a book (1)

eudas (192703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672786)

I was informed recently that that, too, was based off of a book.

eudas

Re:No Diversity (1)

MrPeavs (890124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671244)

While we are on the subject of sourced based movies, specifically comic based. I would have to say that Sin City is the best comic to movie, if not the best whatever to movie out there.

There is a huge surge of comic to movie right now. With some great, some good and a lot... down right ugly. At least they are better then what they use to be, the three that pop into mind right away are: The Shadow, The Phantom and Spawn.

Sin City raised the bar, probably too high that we probably will never see another executed so well. For those whom have not read the comic or seen the movie, you really owe it to yourself to do so. If not for anything else just to see what a near perfect execution of staying true to the source that it is. I doubt everyone will like the movie, I don't expect everyone too, and we all have different tastes. But when you can flip through the comic book and see that exact scene, setup to near perfection on the screen. Read the comic before you watch the movie and if you can, flip through the comic during the movie. It is just something that leaves me in awe, a movie so true to its source, especially with the state Hollywood is in these days.

I give a lot Robert Rodriguez for demanding that Frank Miller was a major role of the film. I cannot confirm the validity to this, but I Robert Rodriguez told the Directors Guild off when they were getting pissy about Frank Miller major involvement with the movie. I also have to give a lot of credit to Frank Miller himself, for sticking to his guns and making the movie so true to the comic.

I do have a few problems with the movie however. My first one is the use of color when it wasn't used in the comic. It is only minor, very minor, but still it is different and it bugs me. Though, I am sure Frank Miller had his reasons and it is his book and his movie. The other was a few scenes were left out, nothing too major. But it bugs me when you can flip through the comic book and easily follow the movie, that scenes are that precious with each other. Lastly, the use of Jessica Alba as Nancy. Firstly, because she is a horrible actress, but mainly because she has a no nude clause. If you read the comic, you know the Nancy is topless. It just bugs me that because of a stupid actress selection, they couldn't stay true to the book.

Re:No Diversity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14671883)

Super Troopers, damn good for their limited budget, but really didn't make it much in the box office, but original.

Re:No Diversity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14672173)

How is a movie from 5 years ago part of recent trends in the movie industry?

Re:No Diversity (1)

laxcat (600727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670927)

I would agree there is an amount of variety in the gaming industry but compared to the film industry its not nearly as developed. This will come with time of course as the film industry has a 70 year head start. Games like the Sims and Katamari Damacy are the exeption that prove the rule.

You state that "the movie industry is also sucking as of late," because (I'm infering) of a lack of big event movies. This is precisely what is happening in the game industry. As entertainment consumers we are getting gradually more sophisticated as a whole. We don't want McBain 9, or BoneStorm 7, but rather a wider variety of smaller features that appeal to our diverse tates. The film industry has been going through the same thing lately and as a result indie films have become incresingly popular.

My main point is that the game industry's sector comparable to the "indie film" is still pretty under developed. Casual gaming is definately on the rise, but I think there is a market for more "middle budget" titles. Something that might still consume a weekend or two of my time but doesn't neet to sell 5 million copies just to break even.

Re:No Diversity (1)

HunterZ (20035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671498)

I'd buy this, other than the fact that the movie industry is also sucking as of late.

Indeed. In fact, I would argue that the movie industry is following a parallel path to the games industry, except that it's currently using remakes as its cash-cow crutch.

No, you don't sound like a Nintendo exec. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670826)

A Nintendo exec would have said the same thing, but in the same breath mention the "innovative" new games they come out with, like uh....the billion sequels to their tired flagship series they trot out every system.

Re:No Diversity (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671310)

A lot of it has to come with risk vs reward. Coming up with unique, quality product is HARD. And there's no guarantee that the public will even like it. (Otherwise, games like Ico would have sold better, and shows like Firefly would still be around) In the meantime, the same public gobbles up anything with "Grand Theft Auto", "Madden", or "Final Fantasy" in the title. Not all sequels are bad, but it's much easier for developers to be lazy, knowing that you've already gone fans waiting to buy the next version regardless of how good or bad it may be.

So on one hand, making a sequel is certainly a safe thing to do business wise. On the other hand, the developers now have the added problem of being stuck with whatever game lore or gameplay that was established in the first game. Trying to become too creative can draw the ire of your hardcore fanbase. For example, refer to the reaction of many Nintendo fans when the first screenshots of Wind Waker were released. Or how many FF-purists are upset with the new battle mechanics in the FFXII demo. Also, many gamers were upset by the dark tone in the sequels to Price of Persia and Jak & Dexter. (Not that all of these were the best changes to begin with, but you get the idea)

Also, I wouldn't say Nintendo is necessarily the pinnacle of delivering unique entertainment. They have plenty of their own sequels (countless Mario, Zelda, Metroid games), and constantly put their franchise characters (Mario, Samus, Link, etc.) in a constant barrage of spin-offs. The difference is that their games are generally well polished, no matter if they're a sequel, spin-off, or new work.

In the end, I wouldn't say that sequels themselves are bad. I'm guilty as charged for wanting to see the next X-Men movie, or wanting to play the next FF game. It's the bad sequels that really irk us, when the developers get lazy, or don't innovate the series enough, or change it too much. And I don't think anyone would disagree that entirely new games, if done well, are always a good thing.

Re:No Diversity (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671717)

You are definitely right in principle. However, as others have pointed out, the movie industry is in a terrible rut at the moment and is completely obsessed with sequels, remakes and plundering other cultural media like comic books for 'new' material. Infact, it seems as though both industries are in a race to outdo eachother in terms of effortless moneymaking.

But forgetting current lapses and addressing the original point, I believe that the games industry could learn a lot from film-making in order to eke out better games. Think of your favourite film. What makes you like it so much? For most people those answers would be all of the following:

  • Engaging premise, storyline and plot development.
  • Believable and memorable characters to identify with.
  • Realistic and well-designed sets, costumes and effects (i.e. visuals).

All of these can be translated across to a computer game, yet I really doubt I would find many titles, if any, fitting the above criteria by walking into my local branch of Game.

I'm not saying that there's no room for mindless, repetitive games to pick up and play for 5 minutes at a time, I just believe that the balance has tipped too far away from creativity and thinking outside the box.

Perhaps we can start by not leading players by the hand everywhere.

Go to checkpoint A. Shoot some Nazis. Then, go to checkpoint B and shoot some Nazis in a truck. You can not go straight to checkpoint B. There is only one route to checkpoint A. The switch to the bridge will have a big hand icon above it because you are too fucking stupid to figure out how to lower the bridge on your own. This type of thing will happen for ten or so levels until you are sitting there in your living room trying to convince yourself that this was worth 50 bucks.
Yours sincerely, EA.


We need more spontaneity. We need more risks. We need more genres. We need cutscenes to not fucking suck with contrived dialogue and 2d (metaphorically!) characters. We need more games that place you right in the middle of something big, where you ask yourself 'what the fuck?' as you start unravelling the storyline, overcoming the twists and turns that are presented to you.

If I may to refer to movie eXistenZ (a love-it-or-hate-it film, I'm in the former camp), set in a world where virtual reality games are commonplace and interface directly with your spinal column, the lead characters find themselves in a virtual, cyberpunkesque games emporium where some of the titles on offer are 'Chinese Restaurant' (slogan 'Will You Make It Out Alive?') and 'Hit By A Car'. While we may not have that level of mind-altering technology, I quite like the idea of games becoming less of a throwaway timesink and more of a rollercoaster ride that leaves you in a post-orgasmic state of sheer amazement. VR needs to get out of the 80s and catch up, although Nintendo's new controller looks like a stepping stone.

Perhaps when the time finally comes when we hit the technical ceiling (I'm talking graphics, physics, audio) and there is no room for improvement left except in gameplay and fundamental ideas we will see some real leaps-and-bounds improvement.

In summary, redefining games as 'interactive movies' need not be a negative connotation.

Re:No Diversity (1)

Schitzoflink (949390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672662)

The one thing I would love to see, would be a sandbox type game (I.E. GTA, TES) That was able to handle a large realistic world. 10,000 People in a city each going about their lives, and a storyline that progresses with or without you, but that you can directly influence...basicly more realistic simulated worlds with good or better storylines...

We Need Innovation! (3, Insightful)

Ryz0r (849412) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670575)

It's not just all the sequels... there's also the fact that even the 'different' games are always the same! Half-Life, Halo, Doom, Battlefield, Call of Duty, GUN, KillTheGermans, ShootTheGermans, TortureTheGermansWithGuns, Unreal, Quake, FPS, war, FPS, war! Is anyone else BORED of FPS / war games, or am i the only one?

There needs to be something completely new and original, something nobody has thought of yet. It will sell millions.

Re:We Need Innovation! (1)

nexthec (31732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671471)

I one day felt an urge to play the old school adventure games. SO I dusted off Laura Bow II: Dagger of Amon Ra, an old sierra game. I played it through in a couple of days, and went searching for more. I found the Adventure Company, and have been purchasing their titles to play with the wife. You can find them sometimes for 5 dollars, though 15 bucks is what I usually play. Which isn't a bad deal for 10-20 hours of entertainment for both my wife, and I.

Re:We Need Innovation! (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672058)

There are already tons of games like this- on consoles.

Maybe MMOGs are to blame a bit. (5, Insightful)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670591)

When I was playing Evercrak and WoW, I pretty much stopped buying other videogames, there was no motivation to play other games. I only bought KotOR and Galactic Civilizations over a long period of time (3+ years). I suspect the 5.5 million WoW customers might no longer be buying, or buying significantly less, single player titles.

Re:Maybe MMOGs are to blame a bit. (1)

shut_up_man (450725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670864)

I gotta concur with this... when I was in the grips of WoW, my games-buying dropped to zero. My friends got into it, their friends got into it, and then the guys at work... it's got to be making some kind of impact on the industry. I cancelled my subscription (only until the expansion, I swear) and have started buying games again. Simple equation.

Re:Maybe MMOGs are to blame a bit. (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671013)

It had a more far-reaching effect for me. I used to buy FPS, FSPv2.0, FPSv2.1 now with On-line play! and all those sorts of games. Same for RPGs. Then I got hooked on Everquest and played that for a long time. During that time, I stopped playing other games (like you mentioned). Once I quit Everquest because the game play was repetitive and a lot of it was gigantic time sinks just for the sake of being time sinks, I started examining other games with the same view that I looked at Everquest.

When a new FPS comes out that says they have 30 levels and 600 hours of gameplay, I look a little deeper. I don't want to spend 600 hours shooting the same five things in slightly different environments using the same gameplay mechanics that I used in Rise of the Triad years ago. When a new RPG comes out, and it bosts insane hours of gameplay, I do the same thing. I've become a smarter game consumer, and unless companies offer things that are really innovative, I'm not going to bother buying it.

Re:Maybe MMOGs are to blame a bit. (1)

metarox (883747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671040)

Well I would assume that the monthly fee in WoW is a reason why the "other" games' budget is down for many people.

Re:Maybe MMOGs are to blame a bit. (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671353)

Well I would assume that the monthly fee in WoW is a reason why the "other" games' budget is down for many people.

IMO, that maybe has a very little impact but I think mostly because succesful MMOGs are gigantic, there is always "stuff" to do, replay value is huge. I remember logging into WoW/EQ and always have something to do: raids, quests, dungeons, PvP, gaining new factions, crafting, whatnot. And every "stuff" to do resulted in power gain for my avatar. These games are centered around making your avatar more and more powerful with levels, alternate advancement, raid items, quest items, gold, etc. My reasons for not wanting to play were simple: why invest X hours into a single player game when during this time I can play online with friends AND my avatar will be more powerful as a bonus!

You know, you're absolutely right: (1)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671860)

In fact, the argument a friend of mine made to me for his EQ subscription was just that: He was previously spending $100s each month on new game titles, now he only pays $12 per month to get the same amount of gameplay and content. And now I understand.

What's more, he's one of a group of friends I hung out with in high school who would always get together and play games. We didn't get together for the purpose of playing games; getting together was the whole point. Playing games -- board games, D&D, Mechwarrior, video games -- was something to do while we were together. It's more interesting than being a mallrat and more social than watching TV.

I'd later see this same dynamic in MUDs, which were essentially chat rooms with some game behind them more than games with chat capability. And MUDs of course are the spiritual predecessor to the MMOG.

Now that all of these friends have moved apart from each other, the MMOG is a place where they can continue to meet and play every night. Hell, before EQ, we were doing the same thing in Diablo.

So not only is the MMOG cheaper, it's more social.

Re:Maybe MMOGs are to blame a bit. (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671869)

Yup, gotta wonder how much of it is WoW's fault ;)

Been playing Asheron's Call for 6 years now and played MCO when it was live. During the time both were active (almost 2 years?) i think i bought 2 retail games and a d/l. Maybe a dozen* games during the other 4 years or so grand total. Even with multiple monthly payments on AC and another monthly fee i was actually SAVING money on games and playing more hours!

Even if only some of the 5 mil ppl in WoW follow suit thats gonna add up quick if they buy 50-75% less :O

* several were duplicates for 2nd computer even, about 7-8 titles total. Some of those were trying to replace MCO, if it had stayed live i probably would not have hit 10 new games in 6 years.

One other smaller issue...currently looking for FPS to get back into...but i get frustrated now by soo many that all sound the same and i am out of touch a little with current favorites...tend to just brush it off til later...and later.....and later....6 months after deciding it was time to try one again i still haven't actually bought one ;)

Because $SPORTGAME $year+1 isn't enough (2, Interesting)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670616)

Sorry, but with online gaming the updated team details, players, stats, etc, could easily be accessed by a game and used to update the relevant details.

People know this, and they aren't going to pay $50 for an update which is basically only that.

When they have a next generation console, they will buy the game however, because it will have better graphics. Again, they'll do this only once. That's if they bother with the next generation console.

Sports games are the worst offenders here, but it is hard to get excited about any sequel unless it brings something new to the scene. And this type of originality is what is lacking. It is hard to get excited by TheSameGame... 3!!! Think back to Tomb Raider. Each game was better than the previous one, adding features, until pretty much all the modern 3D platformer features were added. You can't get much further. There's only so many ways to jump/climb/etc. The current consoles don't have the power to get to the next level of immersiveness.

Again, Nintendo will bring out a whole ramp of '$Sequel Revolution' games, and they'll all have new controller features as well as new graphics, and they'll be bought by the boat load.

Stopped years ago... (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670622)

I personally stopped buying part X of games years ago.

Now only buy few games that will bring enough intresting things with them.

Definitely do not think that $60 for "Another FPS" is worth it unless something truly revolutionary.

There is nothing new under the sun (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670631)

So you're telling me that gamers want original, new, and fun gameplay? The shock!

I mean, really. I was just bemoaning yesterday how much the market has moved to nothing but sex and violence. When every commercial for the XBox 360 ends with "Rated M for Mature", you know that they've stopped selling games. The market is instead trying to sell you an "Entertainment Product" targetted at "the adult market". Which is a nice way of saying, "We want to separate fools from their money by giving them gratuitous sexual and violent content." The actualy *game* is nowhere to be found.

As of late, I find myself missing the days of adventure games (e.g. Space Quest), space simulators (e.g. Wing Commander), puzzle adventures (e.g. Bioforge, System Shock), Real Time Strategy Games (e.g. C&C), and other innovative genres invented in the golden age of computer gaming. Not to mention some of the cool arcade genres like Fighters (e.g. Killer Instinct, SFII) and Drivers (e.g. SF: Rush, Hydrothunder).

Today we just see Another First Person Shooter, but With A New Twist!(TM) Which really is nothing more than a vehicle for the aformentioned sex and violence. When are we going to see all this technology put to good use in making innovative new games? Hell, imagine the cool 2D (or 2.5D) platformers that could be done on modern hardware! Do we see anything like these? Nope. It's all just games with the names of old games reused on new First Person Shooters. When will the industry rape of our beloved gaming stop?

Here's hoping for the Nintendo Revolution. If they can pull it off at least as well as the DS, we may get back some of what we've lost.

Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670963)

"As of late, I find myself missing the days of adventure games (e.g. Space Quest), space simulators (e.g. Wing Commander), puzzle adventures (e.g. Bioforge, System Shock), Real Time Strategy Games (e.g. C&C), and other innovative genres invented in the golden age of computer gaming. Not to mention some of the cool arcade genres like Fighters (e.g. Killer Instinct, SFII) and Drivers (e.g. SF: Rush, Hydrothunder)."

Spoken like someone who hasn't played a single game in the last 5 years, or at least, no good ones.

I get so fucking sick of this argument about how everything is the same, but when pressed for references they give the podunk answer of "FPS and Sports titles" and a callback to what is now one of the least innovative companies in history when it comes to actual games; Nintendo. Yeah, 6000 Pokemon titles are original, the same "collect the $CollectableObject" Mario game, the Zelda series which hasn't changed one fucking iota outside of graphical presentation, just...argh.

Here's a clue: DON'T PLAY THEM THEN. PLAY SOMETHING ELSE.

Adventure? Have you not heard of Still Life? Missing? A Moment of Silence? It's a wonder the Adventure Company stays in business since people just don't seem to see their damn good games. What about the newly approved by Sierra Kings Quest remake?

Space simulators? Eve Online anyone? There are more examples, but none come to mind readily since I'm not a space sim fan.

Puzzle adventures? I would say System Shock was more of a sci-fi horror/FPS/adventure title. If you want more along the lines of System Shock try Vampire: The Masquerade in all of its buggy but awesome glory. Deus Ex 2 to a much lesser extent, and Thief 3. Those may be sequels but they're definitely not run of the mill FPS titles.

Fighters? Killer Instinct was a joke of a game. It's considered universally awful by pretty much everyone in the fighting game community. Try Street Fighter 3, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, The Soul Calibur series, Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Guilty Gear. Have you honestly played any games since 1990?

As for drivers, Burnout renders your argument effectively moot all by itself. Of course, Gotham Project Racing, Forza, Gran Turismo, Need for Speed, etc. etc. etc. don't hurt either.

Re:Right... (1)

BRSQUIRRL (69271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671623)

space simulators (e.g. Wing Commander)

Space simulators? Eve Online anyone?

I've played EVE...and while I enjoyed it, it is not a space simulator, at least not in the "joystick required" way that X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and Wing Commander were (and the grandparent was probably referring to). It is more MMORPG than simulator.

However, I will say that the graphics in EVE are beautiful...which REALLY makes me wish that a good game development shop would take a crack at a new space combat sim. Something with the action and mission intricacy of X-Wing that took full advantage of today's GPU power? :::drool:::

Over priced, under innovative (4, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670679)

The games industry charges a lot for what frequently turns out to be very little. Everything is being hyped as being the ultimate experience, but very little seems to justify the price tag.

There is still the occasional gem, but no reliable way to tell the gems from the dross. No one wants to slag the games off in a pre-release review in case the company stops giving them demo releases, innovation seems to be extinct, and the latest painful lesson is that even a sequel to a fondly remembered classic is no guarantee of quality.

In other words, they are charging premium rates for low quality tripe and trying fix it in marketing. And they wonder why people are stopping buying games?

Gosh. I had no idea I was that annoyed about it...

Fatigue is just one part of it... (2, Insightful)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670682)

Sequels have and always will be a part of gaming, movies, books, and just about any media. It is seen as easy money and folks fall for it every time. Even though we all damn well know we will be getting a rushed, less thought out, money making product piggybacking on the success of its predecessor... people still buy them.

The bigger issue is that most games out right now are not being created to FILL A NEED/NICHE. They are trying to force genre's that are quick, easy, and cheap to produce on gamers. (Sports/FPS/RTS/MMO/Sequels) Gamers are at a saturation point. Innovation can never be supressed for long. Gamers are demanding new and unique experiences. Katamari Damacy was the first shot that made companies stop and take notice. Nintendogs was another. A whole shift is approaching gaming, and it is not the more powerful, more expensive, more complex, bullshit being forced down our throats now. Look how much press and play Geometry Wars has been getting, more than any other 360 launch title.

2D gaming needs to come back, it is natural for some games. 3D needs to be refined besides just more/better/faster. Emphasis needs to be placed back on creativity and innovation, not greed and hype.

Re:Fatigue is just one part of it... (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671193)

They are trying to force genre's that are quick, easy, and cheap to produce on gamers. (Sports/FPS/RTS/MMO/Sequels)

Massively Multiplayer Online games are quick, easy, and cheap to produce?

Re:Fatigue is just one part of it... (1)

Miraba (846588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671349)

I was going to say the same thing. -1 to GP for not thinking.

Re:Fatigue is just one part of it... (2, Informative)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671472)

I'm not sure if you have ever done any game programming but MMO's are not difficult. They do not require lots of AI (except scripted enemies), They do not require elaborate writing/linear storylines, they do not require a number of things that many non-MMO games require. They require a fairly robust server architecture, they require a fairly balanced weapon/skill system (but it can always be tweaked as you go), a basic framework/engine, and not much more.

While not as simple as an FPS, they are easy. And they are cash cows. Take for instance the COH/COV franchise, COV took almost no time or effort once the basic framework was laid down... just like an FPS. MMO engines will become just like FPS engines, and the content will be all that changes.

Why anyone would think that an MMO is some monumental undertaking is beyond me, many user-created/indie MMO's exist and while they wouldn't stand up to WoW levels they could with enough money and infrastructure. MMO's are residual income for game developers, something only possible with expansion packs/sequels previously... and as with anything residual income is where the money is made. Companies like NCSoft are not dumb, and these companies are making money hand over fist due to the fact that MMO's are cheap, easy, and quick to produce - as long as the scope is kept reasonable such as with Guild Wars.

Re:Fatigue is just one part of it... (1)

softspokenrevolution (644206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671624)

Look how much press and play Geometry Wars has been getting, more than any other 360 launch title.
 
Which is an amazing accomplishment considering the great depth and breadth of 360 launch titles. (/sarcasm)

Re:Fatigue is just one part of it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14671710)

Yeah, duke nukem forever and half life two sure were rushed thoughtlessly out of the door.

Bad sequels are bad, good sequels are good. Mediocre-to-bad game fatigue is the problem.

Only one cause (3, Insightful)

ameoba (173803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670738)

Of course, we have to attribute every phenomena to a single cause. It can't reasonably be a combination of economic factors, a change of interests in the consumer-base, next-gen hype AND the lack of original content in the industry.

Re:Only one cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14672192)

Agreed. Another previously unmentioned large factor slowing down sales may be the fact that many publishers target the Christmas season - with five or six 'blockbuster' game titles hitting the shelves at once, well... gamers can't possibly get every single one.

Price too (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670752)

Aside from the fact that every game today looks exactly like the games we had 7-10 years ago, they're just too expensive. And PC games today have that annoyance of hearing the CD spin in the drive all the time because due to copy protection it refuses to run without it, then eventually failing to run if it gets too scratched. Then, 9/10ths of the games released in the last 4 years state that they require better hardware than came with my cheap 2 year old Dell. And finally, I have to be sure that they'll run on Linux before I buy them.

Re:Price too (1)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671805)

Yes, Games haven't changed at all in the past 7-10 years, which is why DOA4 looks and plays like Tekken 1, Resident Evil 4 looks and plays exactly like resident evil 2, Stealth games like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and MGS3 look and play precisely like MGS1, and Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is exactly like final fantasy 7.

Think about what you're saying man, it's ridiculous. I'm not a PC gamer, but I imagine there's a substantial jump between something like Duke Nukem and Half Life 2, also.

The XBOX 360 notwithstanding, games are as cheap or cheaper now than they've ever been. Most AAA titles are down to 29.99 or less within 6-8 months of release, and ultra rare titles like guitaroo man and Rez are being re-released at their original MSRP so those who want to play them without getting bent over on ebay have a chance to. Am I the only one that remembers paying $75+ for SNES era RPGs like Final Fantasy VI and The Seventh Saga when they came out?

No, actually the slump is because... (2, Insightful)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670761)

...we're all spending every free hour playing World Of Warcraft and don't have time to play anything else.

G.

The real cause of sales drop is... (2, Interesting)

BinaryOpty (736955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670823)

In my opinion the real cause of smaller sales is not because of people not caring about sequels, but because the consoles are reaching the end of their lifespan and a new one was released. the $400+ dollars one would spend to get an Xbox 360 could have usually been spent on 8 or so games. Of course, there weren't that many good games to purchase anyway because producers are winding down current gen support and evaluating whether or not they should port their game to new systems or just move it entirely over to the new system. So there's less games out, a new moneyhole just opened, and sales are down. Doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Call me if this happens 2 years from now when companies are back in the swing of things and then I'll believe the retards who buy Madden XX for every console they own and the people who when you mention "Halo 3" simultaneously orgasm and start to drool have suddenly dissappeared from the earth.

Not Just Sequels, but BAD Sequels (2, Insightful)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670835)

"Sales also seem to indicate a marked decrease in enthusiasm for certain genres as well as for the endless sequels that have become common in the industry. For example, Bond: From Russia With Love has sold 277,000 copies since its release in November 2005, while the previous James Bond game from Electronic Arts sold 430,000 copies in a similar period in 2004."

From Russia with Love is a great example of what I'm talking about. Sequels should build on what worked from previous games, not implement something worse. Case in point: the camera in the game From Russia with Love. You had to constantly manually maneuver the camera to keep it behind you. And when you died, who knows what position the camera would be in when you rezzed. I'm sorry, but under no circumstances should the camera ever start in second-person mode when I'm playing a deathmatch (happened to me once; in the few seconds it took to spin the camera around, I was shot to death. Wheeee!). Worst camera behavior in an FPS *ever*.

What sequels? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670847)

I mean, there are just so many original titles at the store.

Half-Life 2, Doom 3, Civilization 4, Age of Empires 3, Empire Earth 2, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, The Sims 2...oh, wait. I think I see your point.

I Think The Xbox 360 Is Distorting Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670914)

If the Xbox 360 was made by any other company I don't think it would be getting any press coverage and would be ignored as just another unremarkable marketplace failure.

All this doom and gloom we are hearing will go away the minute the Revolution and PS3 consoles hit the shelves this year.

Moment of clarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14670936)

>For the first time in several years, the industry did not have a breakout hit in 2005.

There have been several 2005s? The phrase "in 2005' is completely superfluous.
What hope is there for Zonk if Real Journalists can't write?

Hybrids (3, Interesting)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670968)

Game industry, I hear your cries begging me personally for advice on what you should do about this problem. Fear not, for here is my wisdom:
We're sick of sequels, but we're not receptive to things that feel too new. You need to create hybrid games that use popular elements from existing related games. For example, most people don't play Grand Theft Auto $number because of a love of all things criminal. What keeps us coming back to those games is the overwhelming freedom they give you. We're not playing MMORPGs out of our love of Tolkienesque fantasy, but because MMORPG coop gameplay is fun.
We need network-capable, non-linear gameplay that puts trust in players, instead of making us choose "DEATHMATCH MODE", or "RACE MODE" before entering the world. Games need to evolve so that players can hang out and decide for themselves how they want to use the engine. Your job as game programmers should to provide us with tools to enjoy ourselves, not to write us a rigid schedule which inevitably leads to an "end point" when apparently at the whim of some game designer we are to stop playing.

Re:Hybrids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14671314)

There's a saying in the MMO industry, at least - "The client is in the hands of the enemy." Players cannot be trusted to have a client that makes any meaningful decisions, but instead must rely upon the server to mediate things. And even then, you've got speedhackers and folks who rely on automation, which spoils it for those who don't automate their gameplay.

I recall that there was a flash experiment up on the Internet somewhere, where a user could move letters as if they were on a refridgerator. And the biggest thing I took away from that is that there are people whose sole purpose is to spoil others' fun. Someone might be spelling out a message, but someone will almost always start tearing apart those words before the message is done.

The fact of the matter is that most players, without any sort of limits, will be jerks. And there's only two ways you can put in limits - a police-like enforcement, which is costly and breeds resentment ("Why'd they put in the functionality to skullfuck a sheep if they didn't want em doing it in front of the virtual auditorium?") or limits on functionality.

Re:Hybrids (1)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671696)

I've been playing online games for a while - I wholly agree with you. My point here depends on my experience that gamers quickly form into cliques which they play with routinely. This occurs even in rigidly disciplined games like Halo 2 on the xbox, where even with set goals and time limits, griefers and hackers make the "public" multiplayer experience feel almost like babysitting other peoples' kids. Even in a game like this all the interesting people were to be found (or not) playing custom matches, either having met through a community website or in a game.
The thing about the client being in the hands of the enemy is more related to the design of the software, which is a different matter completely. Cheaters are found in every kind of game. I'm not talking about games giving the client more control than that of the player character's movements, I'm talking about the structure of time spent gaming. You spawn, you warp/walk/whatever to the place where people go to play FPS deathmatches. You pick up a gun/paintball rifle/whatever and join a team. At this point, yes, there'd be some arbitrary "JOIN RED TEAM" decision, or there could be a WoW-style perma-side system. The devil is in the details: You'd need a minimum play time in this kind of thing to prevent griefers from being able to screw with games efficiently etc.

Re:Hybrids (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672575)

Some games are trying to do this. Racing games are the first that come to mind and all the ones I've heard of use microsoft's Live service, but they allow a great deal of freedom to a roam a game world online and interact with others at random.

On the other hand I think some types (most notably FPS's, RTS's, and TBS) wouldn't work well like that at all... I could sorta see a form of coop FPS, where if while running through the game you could encounter other people also playing the game... That would require alot of changes and it wouldn't work to well for those who don't want to or can't play online. RTS's and TBS's though would be the hardest to implement and I'm not sure anyone would want that even if they did make it...

Also I should point out that free romaing gameplay can sometimes hurt a story, and I for one would like more good stories... Lack of good stories is one of the reasons I haven't bought alot of games lately.

More questions than answers... (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670978)

I'm not sure what to think of this. Super Mario Brothers 2, if implied as a sequel to Super Mario Brothers, definitely didn't have the same characteristics. There are enough differences between SMB, SMB2, SMB3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine to say that they may be sequels, but you definitely got a different playing experience each time. Oh, and it helps that those six games cover almost 20 years (!!!) of NES history.

The one drag is that Nintendo can't seem to get another franchise going like Mario. It's not Star Fox Tennis, it's Mario Tennis (and Mario Power Tennis, which was a step down from the N64 version). Pokémon is about dead, and Metroid has only had about four games to its name. Would Animal Crossing have sold better if it had been... I dunno... Mario Crossing? Would Super Mario Strikers sell if it were just some ordinary soccer game?

Anyways, yeah. No answers. Just questions. Ultimate, a good chunk of sequelitis (most notably, iterations 3 and onwards), we gamers bring upon ourselves.

Re:More questions than answers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14671494)

What are you talking about?

Metroid has had no less than SEVEN games (eight if you count the Pinball game that just came out) with one on the way on the DS and one supposedly in development for the Revolution.

Also, how can you make the claim that Mario is Nintendo's only big franchise when people hype up the Zelda series way more than any Mario game.

I'd have to say that one of the few things Nintendo does really well is sequels. Now, junk like Mario DDR or Mario Baseball is where they have some software failings, but those aren't exactly sequels.

Re:More questions than answers... (1)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671901)

I'm sure you're aware of this, but SMB2 wasn't a mario game- It was a totally unrelated franchise called Doki Doki Panic that had mario characters inserted into it to make it palatable to US audiences.

The REAL SMB2 (released as "the lost levels" on SNES) was EXTREMELY similar to SMB1 only much, much, much harder.

If you view the mario series as going from SMB - Lost Levels - SMB3 - SMW- its a much more linear evolution of the series until you hit SM64, which redid the concept of the series to take advantage of 3D.

Good sequels, and bad ones (2, Interesting)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671025)

Most of the greatest games ever are series

Megaman, Castlevania, Final Fantasy, Ultima, Mario, PacMan, sequels are nothing new.

Dev costs make investors risk-averse (2, Insightful)

mwfunk (807792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671163)

I agree with the premise that people are buying fewer games because of sequelitis and the general lack of originality, but what's more interesting to me is, why has the industry in general gotten less innovative? I think a big part of it is because of the skyrocketing costs of making a game. In the 80s, one or two guys could make a game in a matter of months. Now you need teams of dozens (if not hundreds) of professionals, not to mention higher costs for marketing, development and content creation tools, etc.

It seems like the increased capabilities of game systems these days has caused the cost of making a game to grow exponentially, while only giving us linear improvements in the quality of the games themselves. Investors are much more likely to fund a game based on a known property (a sequel, a sports game, a movie knockoff...) than something totally original from out of the blue. It's much more difficult to recoup the costs of making a game than it used to be, so gambling on an unknown quantity has far worse consequences than it did back in the day.

I have a feeling that a lot of the future growth and innovation in the market is going to come from handheld systems (due to lower development costs), and from companies like Nintendo who aren't so concerned with milking every last polygon from the hardware, but are more focused on innovations in gameplay.

Lazyness... (1)

PrimeNumber (136578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671417)

Is it me or are game publishers becoming more and more like Hollywood every day?
Why dont they realize that diluting a title, like a movie is at best a short term fix?

Re:Lazyness... (1)

beisbol (173766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672035)

well at least some of these game publishers are public companies who have to worry about quarterly earnings, being accountable to shareholders, etc. sometimes a quick fix is what they need to make "the street" happy.

"Sequel != Same Old Same Old" for everything (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671566)

Probably the two greatest examples of sequels that were done right are Ultima (before EA got their hands on it anyway) and Final Fantasy. But even with series like Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, and Theif, at least they had improvements on each iteration that made each game the series work well.

Splinter Cell might not have had a lot of gameplay diffrence between the various versions, but the storyline, graphics, and level designs all came together so well that each version kept me interested without feeling like "Oh, man! I did this same thing in the last game!"

Rainbow Six kept adding great new levels and weaponry. The space shuttle launch pad was always a fun addition, and I remember all of my R6 network/LAN friends drooling with anticipation over the 747 rescue mission.

The Thief series always kept the perfect atmosphere to make each sequel better than the last. I defy anyone who has played Thief 3 to admit that they weren't scared shitless in the hospital/asylum level or that it comes close to the intensity of any level in the two prequels. (Okay, the blue "warp doors" were hokey, but I can live with those.) That's the kind of thing that makes sequels good.

No One Lives Forever 2 is another example of a well-done sequel, particularly in the area of well-done humor.

I think that a lot of people are applying a broad brush that "sequel == lack of originality". Maybe for the majority of games that's true, like with the [enter any "Don Madden" or similar sports title here] series; but there are quite a number of them that don't deserve to be scorned just because they're sequels. If it's nothing more than a rehash of a previous version, however, then no one should be surprised if it doesn't sell well. But if a sequel is done right, it won't even feel like a sequel. Yes, I'm probably being Captain Obvious by saying that, but it seems that "sequel" is being given a bad name, and that's not really fair.

I don't think that sequels are causing a sales slow down. It's the plethora of poorly done sequels that are the problem children, particularly those "sequels" that feel more like expansion packs.

Just my two cents. Convert that to your currency as necessary.

Nah. Games are just not original (or I'm too old) (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671709)

Although many of these new games on PS2/XBox are fun, I haven't really played many in a while that had any new gameplay designs to them. It's more like the marketplace is flooded with "sequels" not in the licensing perspective, but the gameplay perspective. Sequels In terms of "Final Fantasy #" and such have been the lifeblood of games for a while now, and it worked for a while for hit series (since to an extent, there's nothing wrong with more of a great thing). And as much as many complain about sequels, if they liked the first game, they will almost def. get the sequel. Thus the reason Why Madden * seems to sell every year (I personally don't see the point to many sport games sequels since very little changes with most new versions other then graphics or some gimmicky game elements and team statistics). Although I sometimes ponder if my older age (21) is causing me to become "old skool", and liking "retro" games that were on the PSX/n64/SNES (like it or not, PSX/n64 are becoming more retro as times goes on), and loosing touch with the current generation.

I like sequels! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14671863)

Frankly, I like sequels. Usually when it's a triple-A title, you know you're getting a certain level of quality. You know you're getting a certain kind of gameplay you like. You're not risking your bucks.

Franchises I've bought every title in:
  Grand Theft Auto III through San Andreas
  All Onimusha titles
  All Silent Hill titles
  All Devil May Cry titles

And if they make a sequel to God of War you can bet your ass I'll be buying it!

Gamers are getting older too! (3, Insightful)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672333)

There are a lot of factors at play here. One of the biggies is that the audience for games is getting older. When you're married/attached, and have responsibilites (job, house to keep up, kids to raise, etc.) the amount of disposable income you have to spend on video games goes WAY down. Also, the amount of playtime you have decreases.

I tend to buy a very small number of games and play them through over a very long period of time (I'm still working on GTA San Andreas and I bought it when it came out...) 15-year-olds, on the other hand, bug their parents to buy them every new $50 game on the market, and the $300 video card-of-the-year to go with it. I made the decision a while back to not keep up with the PC game platform wars and bought a PS2. At least I know that games written for it are going to be playable on it next year.

Feeding into the problem, parents are getting sick of buying every $50 game and new gaming hardware for their kids every year. This is especially true when parents are game-savvy enough to see that Madden '06 is Madden '05 with prettier graphics and an updated team roster. Or that this year's FPS hit is the same FPS engine as last year with new characters.

I honestly can't blame the game studios for catering to the audience that will make them the most money, but I have a feeling the demographic shift will get them.

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