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When Sequels Go Too Far
Sequels have always been a huge part of the gaming industry and many other industries. This is because they are often easy cash-ins that require less effort than creating an entirely new intellectual property.
Some of my favorite games of all time are sequels, such as Final Fantasy X, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Civilization IV. At the same time, some series ruin themselves by continuing to make sequels and pursuing money over creative expression and uniqueness.
For example, the Call of Duty series experienced a veritable renaissance with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, one of my favorite shooters to date. Unfortunately, instead of trying to pursue new endeavors, Call of Duty developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch have essentially made the same game for 5 years in a row, with very minimal improvements in each iteration. Personally, I am thoroughly tired of the series, and wish that the developers would go in a bold new direction with a new intellectual property.
Similarly, all sports games that release new versions each year seem totally unnecessary to me. While I love these games, it seems like all I pay for each year is a roster update, and a couple graphical changes. Lately, I’ve stopped buying each year’s version of games such as Madden and FIFA, instead getting the game every couple of years.
An example of series that will overstay its welcome if it releases another sequel is the Uncharted series. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was by far one of the best games I’ve ever played, but Uncharted 3 generally failed to impress me, and I began to get tired of the classic Uncharted antics of Drake and his friends. Uncharted 3 was not the giant leap in quality that its predecessor was, and began to expose the tropes of Uncharted franchise that have begun to get a little tired: Drake complaining, a hidden city that collapses, very simple stories, etc.
Overall, while not all sequels are bad, developers must be careful and keep their sequels fresh and unique, and if that isn’t possible, then they must not be afraid to pursue new franchises, new series’, and new worlds.