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More Products From the Sequel Factory 257

Posted by Zonk
from the churn-churn-churn dept.
Both the New York Times and Electronic Gaming Monthly have commented recently on the ongoing trend of sequel production in gaming. The NYT specifically cites EA's recent trends regarding endless rehashing of titles, while EGM talks more broadly about the role of sequels in the industry. While most reviewers lament the current state of the sequel factory, those within the industry rely on new versions of old titles for their bread and butter. From the EGM article: "Let's assume the publisher's position that sequels are a necessary evil, and the blockbuster videogame industry we have today cannot exist without sequels to support its often great financial burdens for research and development, marketing, distribution, etc. So, what are sequels doing for the gamer who's not interested in keeping up with the sequel treadmill?"
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More Products From the Sequel Factory

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  • obviously (Score:3, Interesting)

    by willnz (900398) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @07:45PM (#13282840) Homepage
    So, what are sequels doing for the gamer who's not interested in keeping up with the sequel treadmill?"

    hmmm... maybe not buying them?

    however, while some gamers might not venture into the sequel of their favorite game, there must be enough followers to keep the gaming industry making sequels after sequels.

    it's similar to spams, while most people just ignore them, some of them ended up buying from the spammers, and this is what keeps the spamming industry going and even growing.

    creating a different genre or trying something new is a big risk that most companies can't afford to take, this is especially true if each new game costs few millions to produce. that's why we saw a lot of interesting, exciting and ground-breaking games in the '80s because the cost was so low, people were more willing to take risk and create different games.

    i have created a game almost to the words as described here [pointlesswasteoftime.com] (Point 2 Paragraph 2) and discussed here [slashdot.org].

    but let me tell you, it's been very difficult to get people playing it or even understanding it, because everybody's so used to the grinding.

    everyday, i have to answer questions from players who want to know how to grind their stats to the top, because grinding is what defines game at the moment.
    • Re:obviously (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gcauthon (714964) *
      it's similar to spams, ...

      WTF?! Developers spend thousands of dollars if not millions developing these sequels. Spams are essentially free to create by the thousands. How are they even remotely similar? If a few people buy something advertised in a spam session then it's profitable. How many people have to purchase a video game sequel to make it profitable? A few? Try a few hundred thousand.

      • Re:obviously (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I believe they're similar in the words immediately following your quote: "while most people just ignore them, some of them ended up buying from the spammers, and this is what keeps the spamming industry going and even growing".

        Try reading next time, and remember that analogies aren't meant to be perfect. You read for the point of the analogy, not for the analogy (ie spirit of the law vs letter of the law).

      • Re:obviously (Score:3, Insightful)

        by badasscat (563442)
        How many people have to purchase a video game sequel to make it profitable? A few? Try a few hundred thousand.

        Out of how many million gamers?

        The PS2 has sold close to 100 million consoles worldwide. The Xbox is over 20 million, the GameCube at about 15 million.

        The top selling games are lucky to sell 5 million copies - only a few have ever sold more than that (and yes, most that did have been sequels).

        That means the vast majority of gamers do not buy any individual game. It's the same as anything else - Br
    • The true purpose of the sequel is to get the consumer to pay for the second half of a hit game. Has anyone else noted the trend toward shorter games these days? If you liked game A, then they are hoping you will shell out again for part B, which is more of the same, with a couple extra things thrown in to sweeten the pot.
    • The problem isn't the overwhelming amount of sequals; it is the overwhelming lack of original titles.

      Personal gripe: Why is it that Katamari Damacy, one of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling and most original titles of the last few years, is only available in Japan or through import?

      I think it's a just a matter of how much risks publishers are willing to take. Even such a best-selling title is deemed too risky because it's different. In Japan they seem to take some more risks, resulting in a lot of
      • Re:obviously (Score:3, Interesting)

        by el_womble (779715)
        This is exactly why I'll be buying the next Nintendo. Sony and Micorsofts licences are so expensive that publishers are risk averse, which can only be bad for gamers. Loss leader consoles are becoming an evil to the gaming comunity. Remember the old days when games could, and were published by individuals? It would be great to see the big three open up APIs for their consoles so that some inovation can be injected back into modern gaming. We have the technology! If EA et al were forced to compete with sma
  • by Anonymouse Cownerd (754174) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @07:48PM (#13282866) Homepage
    "Originality no longer reigns supreme."

    This is basically the problem with the gaming industry. Sequels can be innovative and original, and new titles can be boring, and direct rip-off of other titles. The Final Fantasy games I think is a series that tries to be original - with different characters, worlds, 2D -> 3D, storylines, etc, and that series count up to over 11 already.

    And then on the other hand, how many Street Fighter/Tekken/Soul Calibur/Virtual Fighter clones do we really need?

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @07:58PM (#13282927)
      Is to try and make a better version. It doesn't matter if you are making the next one in a series, or if your game is highly similar to another one, it matters that you are abot to make your game entertaining, and hopefully by improving on the orignal.

      Take Rome: Total War. Excellent game, one of the best strategy games in a long time. First time in a long time a strategy game has been on the best sellers list for a good amount of time. However not at all orignal. The plot is, well, Roman history. There's some modifications for playability and creative license and so on but the story was taken directly form the history books. The game is, of course, the latest in the Total War series, itself based on earlier games like Civilization.

      However for all that, it's a ton of fun to play. It is so well done. The gameplay is excellent and engaging, the music is superb and the graphics are amazing, good enough the History channel uses the engine.

      It doesn't matter that there's no orignality to plot or concept, the game is just flat out fun, more fun that those that came before it, and that's what really matters.
    • The real purpose of a sequel is to sell subsequent games based on the reputation of the original. Final Fantasy exemplifies this intent. Save for a few names, they're all completely different games (with the exception of X2, though its exclusion is arguable). Mostly though, people don't quite pull it off. For most game sequels there's a lot of technical and often gameplay advances in sequels, but the story tends to be a (often poor) continuation or rehash of its predecessors. In that sense, the statement yo
    • Soul calibur rules!

      But I agree, the gaming industry is overwhelmingly weak right now. AFAIConcerned, nothing worth the $200+ console price tag has come out in a long, long time. I still sit around playing old RPGs 99% of the time (and 1% downloading new PC games that I never end up playing for more than an hour cause they suck), waiting for the next Final Fantasy to come out. Even looking at reviews of games for the past TWO YEARS I find little that actually interests me. Whatever happened to the good ol' R
      • Try the Elder Scrolls series sometime. Probably some of the more complex PC RPGs around. Albet still bent on the whole "level up, level up, level up, omfg shoot me already, level up" gameplay concept. You can overlook that nicely with how detailed the world is; and as it's single-player, there's no urge to compete as in an MMORPG; so you can just ignore the levelling and enjoy the quests.
    • Final Fantasy?! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DoctaWatson (38667)
      Final Fantasy has changed significantly since FF1... in that it has more cutscenes of a formulaic anime melodrama these days, but it is hardly something to be held as an example of originality in a series. FFX had just as many tired cliches as every other interactive Japanese soap opera.

      I would say Ultima is a better example of a long series that had maintained originality (no pun intended), with the last three games in the series being dramatically different from the previous games- in story as well as ga
      • While the melodramatic stories are certainly not to everyone's taste, each FF game is different in that the skill learning/character customization system gets a shakeup in every game, and the series isn't afraid to try bold experiments that sometimes don't work as well as hoped (e.g. the Junction system in FFVIII -- innovtative system that abolished armour upgrades in favour of using magic for stat alteration; probably worked very well on paper, but made the game too easy in practice).

        FFX-2, the first direc
    • The trouble is what you see as the problem is exactly the reason why the gaming industry has become so succesful. It's the same reason the rest of the entertainment industry make so much money. Cash cows don't graze on originality, they munch on sameness and predictability. In return you can milk them for all they're worth.

      To paraphrase the sage Fry,

      "That's not why people watch TV. Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared."
  • ...is the purpose of sequels. A company only comes up with so many hit titles, and so if they did not release other sub-par games, they would be only releasing games every few months. Now instead of releasing large amounts of games that nobody has heard of, they fill the void between hit titles with sequels because they sell. People play the first game, and hope that the following titles in the series are as good.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @07:50PM (#13282880)
    Some times, you really do a game well, and it's just nice to do more of it. I think the GTA series are a good example. GTA 3 (which itself was a sequel) was just really well done, tons of fun to play. So no we have GTA VC and San Andreas. They aren't really anything new, but just more of the same game done very well. Both also a lot of fun. You can over do it, of course, but I think in many cases it's nice.

    Also sequels over the longer term can be real cool, like GTA 2 to GTA 3. There are many older games that I'd like to see redone to current technology. I mean I still play X-com because it's a great game, but what I'd really like to see is a new X-com, designed for modern hardware, with updated graphics, AI, etc, etc.

    I agree that in many cases it gets stupid, it seems that it's just "Hey that last one made money, let's release another exactly like it!" but you get that even in non-sequels, you get games copying heavily from successful games.

    I really don't think a game has to be unique to be good. I don't care if it's the 5th game in a series so long as it's entertaining.
    • I have to agree. I know it's a little old, but Fallout 2 was just as good, if not better than the original. There are plenty of sequels that have outshined the original. The problem comes when a sequel is made only for profit, against the desires of the programmers and developers. If the PHB's decide it is sequel worthy and the dev's don't, it won't be worth the buy.
      • I think that the problem is not the profit motive, but when the game is utilizing the same technology as the original. Look at Madden20 05, was it $50 better than Madden 2004? Will Madden 2006 be $50 better than 2004? No, just new players added to teams. Maybe a tiny, incremental improvement. Now, take the example of GTA. First game, corny graphics, but so fun!. GTA 2, getting better.. Better graphics, better story, etc.. The key is that the sequals are better graphicaly, technically, and story wise.
        • It all depends on why you're there. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes looks to use the same engine (or was adapted from it) as Metroid Prime. Is it worth another $50 to me? Yes. Is it worth another $50 to you? Maybe not. Wait for it to go bargain bin or pick it up used. Or if people don't want the sequel, just don't pick it up. Just remember, if the Madden sequels weren't making EA enough money at $50, they wouldn't be selling them at $50.

          Also, what about games that are developed on others' engines? Should they be in
        • You're right that the endless stream of Madden 200x games is marketing driven, and it just happens that 2006 was released this week. They really have a short shelf life. A few months ago I picked up a used copy of Madden 2004 for $3.99. I'm sure there are incremental improvements to the gameplay from year to year, but for a casual sports gamer like myself, I'll never notice the difference.
        • That's why they bought out the NFL so no one else can make a football game. Their product blows, and even they know the competition will eventually eat them alive if they don't do something now.

          BTW EA expansion in the US has hit a brick wall. I have relatives from Vancouver CA who worship them. Quite frankly they don't have a fucking clue about gaming or sports. They buy whatever is marketed to them. Fuck EA.

    • I agree that not all sequels are bad, and I'll even go so far as to defend the sequel giant EA Games.

      They catch alot of crap (probably deserved) for having many sequels to popular games, but it has been my experience that they are doing more than fiddling with the game a little to extract another $40. I only own Command and Conquer Generals and Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield Vietnam. This may not apply the the company's offerings as a whole, but Battlefield 1942 was a fun game. Battlefield vietnam, in w
    • I dearly wish someone would do a sequel for Alpha Centauri, preferably with the guy that did the first one (which wasn't really Sid Meier) on the staff.

      That is a great game, and I'm ticked it doesn't seem to run on my AMD CPU, says it doesn't recognize the CPU, play at your own risk and then just exits.

      Wish it had much better AI's and revived online play or maybe even move to more real-time instead of turn based.

      I really wish they would open source it to keep it alive. I know there is Freeciv and all but I
      • Apologies for the OT post, but did you try changing "ForceOldVoxelAlgoritm=0" to "ForceOldVoxelAlgoritm=1" in your .ini file? It works okay for my AMD.
        • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! That worked great. I'm eternally in your debt.

          I was playing WoW but the grinding and dungeon crawls get old and predictable. Only interesting part after a while is the economy and WoW's economy is poor compared to EQ.

          I bought "Nexus: The Jupiter Incident" a few weeks ago but got tired of it after two nights of being lead through preplanned scenarios ala "Wing Commander". Made me crave a game of Alpha Centauri and I was bummed when it didn't work on the new computer.

          You k
    • I'm still longing for a worthy successor to X-Com. Nothing is as satisfying as mind-controlling a sectoid, having him scout around for other aliens, and then dropping a blaster bomb on all of them :)

      As for modern implementations, you've got UFO: Aftermath and Silent Storm. UFO:AM is very similar in terms of combat, but you don't have nearly as much control over your base. SS has great combat and a simple RPG system (character classes and levels with an ability tree). Both were developed by Eastern European
    • I mean I still play X-com... it seems that it's just "Hey that last one made money, let's release another exactly like it!"

      Sorta like X-Com: Terror from the Deep? Same exact game as X-Com: UFO Defense, but underwater :)

      • True that, and I'd say TFTD was a good example of a sequel that wasn't really worthy. I mean yes X-com was good and more of the sam was cool, but they didn't really expand the game enough to make it worth it. Persaonlly, I think it should have been an expansion pack to the orignal X-com.

        Now what I really want to see as a modern integration of the two. You start off fighting aliens on the land, then as it progresses you have to take on a second battle front. Update it with a bigger better tech tree, more kin
    • A game on the same lines was made not to long ago that was just like an updated X-com... I own it, but it had a number of bugs and I eventually stopped playing because of them (the biggest one caused your teams to stop developing further skills forcing you to cheat them up enough to be effective)... However it's been a bit to long since I last played to remember it's name now...
    • Laser Squad Nemesis (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kaellinn18 (707759)
      Laser Squad Nemesis [lasersquadnemesis.com] is supposedly a pretty good modern version of X-Com. It was actually created and developed by former X-Com developers, so you may want to download the demo and give it a try. I haven't been able to try it out yet, so I couldn't tell you how it is, personally. The reviews seem pretty favorable, though.
  • With lots of feedback on the gameplay of the originals, a sequel can be tweaked to make it better.

    Some games are also rather short, especially ones with intricate levels, and releasing a sequel or expansion pack allows the publishers to continue working on the game while also earning money.

    If you don't like the game, just don't buy the sequel!
  • Ars comment (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cow_licker (172474)
    Ars has a good comment up already here [arstechnica.com]. Basically saying that there's nothing wrong with sequels per say (ie. Half-Life 2), but series like Madden where things seem to be changed just for the sake of changing them from year to year.
    • Re:Ars comment (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Edgewize (262271) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:03PM (#13282953)
      The Madden jabs that everyone makes are a little unfair. It's true that every year, it's essentially the same game with updated rosters and one or two new mechanics. But the new mechanics often change the game in a substantial way.

      And quite frankly, there is a huge audience that would buy the new game just to have the new rosters. The fact that they develop, play-test, and balance new mechanics (well, develop anyway ;) seems like an honest effort by the developers to work for your money.
      • "New Game" (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phorm (591458)
        I'd to throw in that not everyone plays "sequal" style games in a linear manner. I played the original GTA, and I own Vice City. Didn't play any of the ones in-between though, so perhaps people who grab Madden 2010 haven't played 2009 and below... but they'd still like an up-to-date roster, physics, etc.

        Sequels that are "same ol' same ol'" are definately a problem, but just because something has the same name doesn't mean it's the same game... and sometimes sameness elements make the game familiar/fun as

      • There's a difference between a sequal and a remake. A sequel usually involves the same characters in a new (though perhaps similar) story. A remake however involves the same characters in pretty much the same story.

        GTA3, GTA VC, GTA SA each use a slightly updated engine, but with new characters, in a new story.

        The EA games however use a slightly updated engine, with the same characters, and the same story.

        While sports games are sometimes an exception because the rules of the game are fairly ridgid, people t
  • by GGardner (97375) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @07:52PM (#13282892)
    I read today that Hollywood will produce 40 movies this year that are derived from old TV shows. And that doesn't count movie sequels.
    • by techno-vampire (666512) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:28PM (#13283061) Homepage
      Nothing new or different about that. It's been said that the biggest ambition of most people in Hollywood is to be the first person to be the second person to do something.

      Making a movie with a brand new concept is a risk; sequels are almost risk-free.

      • Making a movie with a brand new concept is a risk; sequels are almost risk-free.

        Exactly. Movies can be art, movies can be entertainment, but most mainstream movies are vehicles for profit. And studios know that a movie based on a popular television show or book will bring in moviegoers even if it's not very good, simply because it's familar.

        Luckily for all of us, there are hundreds of movies every year from major studios, and many thousands more from independant sources. Don't blame studios for wanting to m
  • New Slogan? (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Desert Palooka (311888) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @07:54PM (#13282903)
    EA Games: Sequel Everything

    • Try this:

      E, A, Sports. It's in the game. It will be in the sequel too, but with up-to-date rosters and a few extra unused features to make you actually pay for it.

    • "EA Games: Sequel Everything"

      EA Sports: You've Already Played the Game.
  • by Captain Pringle (893220) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @07:54PM (#13282904)
    Whereas movies typically get a healthy amount of advertising on TV, the majority video game ads are found in magazines or online. Thus, name recognition in a title - "The Legend of Zelda: _______" or "Mario [sport]" - plays a much more important role in selling video games to casual gamers than it does in getting casual moviegoers to the theatres.
  • Madden (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:01PM (#13282942) Journal
    you won't play the same Madden commentary sound files on every fifth play. "Whoa, he looked like he was hit by a truck! A five-ton truck hauling a trailer!" Yes, you'll hear that one six motherslapping times in one game of Madden '05. YOU HAVE A HARD DRIVE NOW, taking data from a 9 GB DVD. You have NO excuse to keep recycling the same mindless observations over and over and over again until we're pointing at our television with a shaking finger and screaming "EAT ME, JOHN! JUST EAT MEEEEEEE!" as most of us do now.

    Obviously this guy has never watched a football game where Madden was doing the commentary. Madden moves between a few mindless quips and stating the obvious. Why people are so impressed with Madden, I will never know. Yes, the guy really knows football, but listening to him makes me want to shoot myself.

    • Re:Madden (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jason1729 (561790)
      That describes most commentators in most sports. Almost everyone I know watches sports with the volume muted to avoid having to listen to that meaningless babble.

      When CBC's French hockey commentators went on strike a few years ago, the CBC played the normal game/crowd sounds without and commentary. It was the best ratings they ever had as a large number of English speakers turned to the French channel so they could hear the game without the chatter.
    • Yeah John Madden says the same stuff over and over again, but I still love the guy. It's almost comforting to hear him say his greatest hits during a MNF game. Great announcers don't get in the way of the game. Does anybody want Dennis Miller back? The ESPN Sunday Night Football announcers are examples of guys who make you shoot yourself if you don't turn off the sound. Sometimes I want to break Joe Theisman's leg like Lawrence Taylor. (I know 95% of Slashdot doesn't understand the reference.)
    • I finally lost all patience with Madden when he completely blew his coverage. It was the equivalent of a cornerback hitting on the cheerleaders while his man scores a touchdown. During a 49ers game some years ago he was narrating a video feed of seagulls and missing a 49ers touchdown. We saw it on the replay, but it's not the same.

      Loser. WTF is that man on television ?
    • Re:Madden (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Obviously this guy has never watched a football game where Madden was doing the commentary.

      Actually, he probably has. The quote is from an article called "A Gamers' Manifesto" from www.pointlesswasteoftime.com, and in the very next paragraph, he says, "Have you ever actually watched a real game where Madden was in the booth? Yeah, that's pretty much the way he really talks."
    • Re:Madden (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DeadPrez (129998)
      My feeling is because, at least in America, unless you are listening to radio, most sportscasters do their damnedest to appear as unbiased as possible. Which leads to very poor commentary as not to offend anyone. This also why when obvious faux pas do happen sportscasters jump all over it because this is the one time they get to put some real emotion into it.

      This actually one of Madden's strengthes and why he is still on the air, sometimes he still speaks his mind, or whatever is left in there. ;)

      Most is
  • Captain Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coopaq (601975) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:06PM (#13282962)
    You all know these points, but I will list them anyway.

    1.) Movies make tons of money off sequels that may not give the same emotion as the original hit.

    2.) Technological Advances are usually a very very attractive feature without having the game being identical otherwise (cept Doom 3 which was technically a very sweet redo minus the original emotion for most)

    3.) There are always new kids/buyers to sell to and nobody wants to buy old games or watch old movies. Maybe the hairstyles turn people off ;)

    You may agree or disagree, but I believe these are obvious points.

  • some sequels.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brickballs (839527)
    some sequels are completely lame, but others OTOH are actualy a marked improvement on a fun game.

    take the command and conquer series. the first game was awesome and each consecutive release was better than the last. now were going on to something like the sixth or seventh and they have yet disapoint me*

    even after ea took over, I grudgingly admit, red alert 2 and generals were (and still are) a lot of fun. and from what I hear, theres a red alert 3 comming.

    *renegade dosent count. that game was completely lam
  • Sequels (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gogo0 (877020) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:11PM (#13282980)
    Sequels are fine.
    Sequels that are marginally different from their predecessor suck *COUGH EA*.

    But then again, when you try to make a sequel that isnt a mirror image of its predecessor, people stop chanting how they want innovation just long enough to bash the game *COUGH Mario Sunshine, Zelda Wind Waker, etc*.
  • by LionKimbro (200000) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:16PM (#13283005) Homepage
    People are now working on making and visiting complete worlds, not just sequels.

    I believe it's similar to how our songs are getting longer and longer, too- it's not unusual to hear a song that goes on for 20 minutes, now. In fact, we just call it a "mix," and it's a big long stream of music, with a little of this, a little of that, mixed in for funn.

    People feel attached to these worlds, and they wonder about these characters. They don't want to be hit with a brand new world everyday. Rather, they like a particular world, and they want to see it carried out further.

    Also, they want it on multiple senses. They want to read it in book format, they want to play it as a video game, as a role playing game, they want to see it as a movie, they want to keep up with it as a TV show. All these things that people want to do.

    People want to know the side stories, feel out the nooks and crannies of the complexities.

    This is Slashdot, so I should mention that there are implications for Free Software game developers: [taoriver.net] network your worlds. Make a Tetris game that celebrates a theme from a constructed world that some tabletop gamers articulated in detail. Fetch fanfic authors to create stories based in this world. Get an existing RPG engine, and see if you can make a short game out of one of those authors' stories. See if an illustrator won't do an illustration of a major scene. We can have whole worlds, not just isolated projects.
    • "People feel attached to these worlds, and they wonder about these characters. "

      And yet, some people still insist that games have no effect on people.
    • "I believe it's similar to how our songs are getting longer and longer, too- it's not unusual to hear a song that goes on for 20 minutes, now. In fact, we just call it a "mix," and it's a big long stream of music, with a little of this, a little of that, mixed in for funn.

      Err.. Autobahn from Kraftkerk. 1974. The 20 min song is not a new thing! And thats not including classical muzak..

      • No, it's not a new thing. (Myself, I've been listening to the Grateful Dead, and they go on for ages.)

        I am talking about the younger generation's listening habits. I think my generation is listening to longer "songs" for longer periods of time. I don't have the data for you, but I think a study would show that more people are listening to longer songs.
    • I believe it's similar to how our songs are getting longer and longer, too- it's not unusual to hear a song that goes on for 20 minutes, now.

      Er, I would like to point you to the 70's : Almost all songs around that time were 10+ minutes : Most of them gave every artist in the band a little solo.

      Saying that songs are getting longer (give me some examples) is ridicilous imo.

  • by gx5000 (863863) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:17PM (#13283011)
    Shaddup already and gimme.... Deus Ex 3, System Shock 3 Doom 4 UT2005 XIII part deux StarCraft 2 etc etc etc.. Sh*T man, Get us hooked on storylines and THEN makes us wait until we're over 35 ?? Hey Brossard, you Jerk ! where the Hell is Duke Nukem Forever ??!!! Peace out to ALL Game Coders
  • Sequals are easier (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:18PM (#13283016) Journal
    Sequals are easier to make, that's why we see so many of them.

    If little Timmy doesn't have to buy Halo, Half-life and Doom sequals he can buy 3 "not sequal" games. Which then means they make the same amount of money but don't risk annoying a fanbase.

    If you flood a market with oranges and then see oranges getting 75% of all sales on that market, oranges arn't running the market, they're bring forced down peoples necks because there is nothing else.
    • How on earth are they easier?

      Generally a sequel is more complex than some new games. Look at the past: Deus Ex, Klingon Honor Guard, Rune, etc, were all based on the Unreal Engine. Unreal II on the other hand, was built on a new, improved engine.

      So all the "original" games that were built on U-1 were mostly story, and graphics, etc, hanging off an existing engine. U-2 on the other hand, was all of that, plus an all new, more complex, bigger, more expansive engine.

      The *only* think made much easier in man
  • Gameplay, graphics, sound, literary quality (I'm old, I used to play text adventure games), responsiveness, intelligence of the AI and so on. "Is this a sequel?" is nowhere on my list. I have played good sequels and I've played bad sequels. I've played good games that are not sequels and bad games that are not sequels. "Sequelness" just isn't relevant. If you want to know how EA are doing don't look at the number that comes at the end of the name of the game. Play the actual game and then make a judgement.
  • ... Recent trends??? EA has been putting the same crappy sequel year after year to their games. In my opnion single handledly the most un-innovative game company out there!
  • by garylian (870843) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:44PM (#13283141)
    It's pretty simple, really. If I can't beta a game (for MMOs especially) then I don't really want to shell out $50 to find out it sucks.

    For non-online games, it still hold's true. I have more games that turned out to be complete stinkers on my bookshelf than I care to admit.

    Most gamers don't just look at the company and say "Oh, EA made X, so Y should be great!". They look at X, and believe X2 should be at least as good, or at least offer a reasonable hope of fun.

    If you played and loved Fallout and Fallout 2, and Interplay releases Fallout 3, aren't you going to buy it? Heck, even if the game engine doesn't get a radical overhaul, I'd still want to try it when it hits the bargain bin.

    New games often require new engines, and a ton of creative juice. A sequel to a very successful game requires a new plot, maybe some engine tweaks, some graphic tweaks, and you are done.

    And even if they do update the engine, etc... If they had released Doom 3 with just "Resurrection of Evil" as it's title, with no reference whatsoever to it's Doom legacy, what do you think it's sales would have been?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @08:48PM (#13283163)
    John Buchanan, the university liason officer for Electronic Arts, came to our university. I remember him specifically talking about how EA was not an "art house" and that their main objective was to entertain people and make lots of money doing so, much like Spielberg (sp?) and Lucas want to do this very same thing in Hollywood.

    The way to achieve this? Sequels of course, and rehashes of tried and true concepts (read: steal ideas liberally from best-selling games). Nothing else is guaranteed to be a profit, and although you won't ever come out with a truly stellar bar-raising game that makes zillions of dollars, on average you're going to be doing better. How do you get new ideas? Buy out smaller companies. John challenged us to name one original game that EA has put out in the last five years -- he said he'd give us twenty bucks -- and nobody could. He was sort of strangely proud of this, proud that they'd figured out a way to just, well, fucking rip people off and let them have a good time at it. How does EA get new games, ever? They buy out smaller companies.

    If you want to become a games programmer because creativity is your thing, EA is not the place for you. It was quite disconcerting to hear someone be so upfront about these things.

    I asked him if it was depressing, to him personally, as a human -- the fact that he acknowledges what they're doing is hardly art, is hardly revolutionary, but just aims to please the masses while earning them all a big fat paycheck -- and his answer? No... the money's good, I have some fun, I get to travael, why should I complain?

    Basically I was just disgusted by the whole experience. IBM, Google, Microsoft, Sun -- they can all afford research departments, I don't see why the major games companies in industry cannot... even if there's no short-term payoff, in the long term I think there's a lot more money to be made... there's an incredible amount that simply *hasn't* been done with computer games and interactive entertainment to date, to the extent that it could really really push outside of the current teenage "gamer" market.

    I mean, think about it: the games industry grosses more than the Hollywood box office, yet its real market is a fraction of the size. How are you going to reach a larger market? Research, risks, bona fide works of art, and truly engaging experiences.
    • EA stands for... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by runlvl0 (198575) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @09:55PM (#13283454) Homepage Journal
      John Buchanan, the university liason officer for Electronic Arts ... talking about how EA was not an "art house" ... I asked him if it was depressing ... he acknowledges what they're doing is hardly art, is hardly revolutionary, but just aims to please the masses while earning them all a big fat paycheck ... and his answer? No...

      No, you want depressing? Your comment prompted me to reach for my copy of Strike Fleet [the-underdogs.org] (circa 1987) and read the box copy:
      "About Our Company: We're an association of
      electronic artists who share a common goal. We want to fufill the potential of personal computing. That's a tall order. But with enough imagination and enthusiasm we think there's a good chance for our success. Our products, like this one, are evidence of our intent."
      And remember, this was the company which in its early days brought us (stolen from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]):
      • Pinball Construction Set (1982)
      • Archon (1983)
      • M.U.L.E. (1983) - Dani Bunten, we miss you.
      • One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird (1983)
      • Music Construction Set (1984)
      • The Seven Cities of Gold (1984)
      • Skyfox (1984)
      • The Bard's Tale (1985), by Interplay Productions
      • Adventure Construction Set (1985)
      • Populous (1989)
      • Chuck Yeager's Air Combat (1993)
      Could those games have been made at EA today? I may just go and cry now.
      Then Gordon [Bing Gordon, Marketing] proposed [the company name] "Electronic Artists," in tribute to the film company United Artists. However, Steve Hayes opposed, saying, "We're not the artists, they are..." meaning that the developers whose games EA would publish were the artists. ... A novel approach to giving credit to its developers was one of EA's trademarks in its early days. EA was the first video game publisher to treat its developers like rock stars in an industry where developers were more prone to be treated like nameless factory workers. ... EA routinely referred to their developers as "artists" and gave them photo credits in their games and numerous full-page magazine ads. EA also shared lavish profits with their developers, which added to their industry appeal. Because of this novel treatment, EA was able to easily attract the best developers.

      - also stolen from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
      What a difference twenty three years makes, eh?
      • Oh gosh, I remember Pinball Construction Set. I used to have hours and hours of fun with that on my 4.7MHz IBM PC/XT, with 12" CGA display and internal PC speaker, building pinball tables and playing them.

        That was software that was truly ahead of its time. Sad to think of how EA has evolved into a company now that is one step behind the times, and PROUD of that.

        (An interesting side note about PCS -- it did not run from DOS. You booted directly from the floppy disk, which contained its own micro-OS that h
  • Hey Blizzard...

    WHERE IS DIABLO III?

    Some of us got very sick of WoW and want our old favorites back =(.
  • by Geekbot (641878)
    People have commented about Open Source games, or the lack thereof, and what this would do to innovation in the gaming industry.

    To that, I think the answer is commercial games that are developed with the concept of mods from the very beginning. We've all scene some funny mods show up to add a little this or a little that to game play.

    But many of us are aware of some excellent mods that have kept an otherwise dead game alive-and-kicking for years.

    A sequel is fine, especially to release enhanced interfaces an
  • Sequels, eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Erwos (553607) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @09:23PM (#13283326)
    Man, how dare they give me:
    1. Half-Life 2
    2. Battlefield 2
    3. Freespace 2
    4. Civilization 2 and 3
    5. Jagged Alliance 2
    6. Descent 3
    7. Quake 3 (bad example?)
    8. Unreal Tournament 2004 ... and, you get the point. The idea that because a game is a sequel means it's "unoriginal" and unfun is kind of stupid.

    -Erwos
    • Hell, the best of the Ultima games was Ultima VII.


      In any case, "sequel" doesn't mean "no originality". The first First Person Shooter was "Wolfenstein 3D", a sequel to an old Apple game.

    • 7. Quake 3 (bad example?)


      Q3A was still a great game IMO. Fast action made it what it was. No story, no real care for characters. Just instant multiplayer action.

      I played a lot of Q3A with the bots to clear my head between work sessions and so on. Always seemed much faster and more stable than Quake II.
  • by TrevorB (57780)
    List 'em here:

    Star Control 2

    umm... umm...
  • There are still innovative games like Katamari Damashi coming out, but I'm beginning to see web-based games (yes, Flash is severely limited in some ways) as analogous to indie cinema, cheap to make and free to play so there's less risk- and in some cases the production value is really good.

    Sure, the web is full of SameGame & Lights Out variations just like the indie film scene is choked with copycats & also-rans, but there are new ideas out there, too.

    I think we all loved the Red Room puzzles &
  • For those that bought a prequel, why won't game companies offer a reduced price, like other software companies offer for version upgrades? Why should i shell out $40 for a new Madden every year just because the roster has changed? Sure i'd prefer to have the new version and if i, as a repeat customer, could get it at half price, i'd buy it. Wouldn't the economics of this work for the game comanies?
  • I don't play any games on my computer. I do, however, keep purchasing the latest Playstation, without fail. Why? To play one game, and one game only. Tony Hawk Pro Skater. And the reason I continue to do so, is that with each successive release, they push the bar so much higher. Now, my definition of "so much higher" may be skewed. I don't know how other games progress version to version, as I don't play any of them.

    But the THPS folks have pushed the features and fun of the game with each release so much,

    • So you don't buy a computer because you've purchased the only two console game systems made by Sony up to this point?

      I think you point would hold more weight if it used Mario or Zelda....
      • So I don't buy a computer? What the hell are you replying to? We're talking about sequels and the five games and required systems that those entailed. I never said anything about buying computers.

        The makers of THPS have had me shell out an inordinate amount of money for their products and the consoles to play them, and I loved it. Nothing more, nothing less. I thought that's what we were discussing here. Sequels. Not some shit-ass PC gamez machine. And yes, I still have my NES with your aforementioned ti

  • by kemapa (733992) * on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @10:31PM (#13283597) Journal
    Many of the titles that EA creates are sports titles, and so it is not exactly accurate to say that they just keep releasing sequels because sequels are absolutely necessary in many sports games. I'm an avid sports watcher and an avid sport video game player and I *want* the updated rosters and draft picks and whatnot. To be honest I could care less about new features. The game could stay EXACTLY the same from year to year and I'd still buy it just for the updated season info.

    Now I realize this is not the same for a lot of people, so from the point of view of a consumer I can see that it gets boring and old for a company to keep releasing the same game with minor updates, but please keep in mind that developing and selling a Madden '06 is not exactly the same as developing and selling a Metal Gear Solid 12 would be.
    • You know, increasingly we do have hard disks, even on consoles, for that kind of stuff you want. They're called "updates". No need to gouge someone for them, if all they want is an updated roster. Sure, charge them a bit to recoup the investment in licensing the player's names and stuff, and make a buck, but $50 (yes, I know they use new graphic engines)?
  • and keep brand names of game fresh. After all, who wants to Play Civilization II when Civilization IV and V are coming out? Maybe the abandonware sites can allow Civ I and II to be downloaded, but if IV and V are out, they can claim to be based off of I and II, and thus they are not abandonware.

    I heard in Civlization V, that you can play as George W. Bush, Tony Blair, or Osama bin Laden, and other timely figures in Modern Civlization.
  • Sports != Sequels (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fwitness (195565) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:05AM (#13283979)
    I don't know why no one has figured this out yet, but sports games are not "sequels." For the majority of sports fans, they are buying NFL200X because it has the new players/rosters, anything else is just gravy. In all honesty, if you told them it was the same exact game they have, but with the teams updated, they would still pay 50 clams for it.

    Now that we can do local storage on consoles, why not just sell the rosters every year at the same price, and sell a true "sequel", i.e. an improved game, every other? Your current revenue stream would remain largely unchanged, and every other year you could double it by selling a new game.

    Sports fans buy sports games. Sports fans are fiercly loyal. Give them what they want, the players/teams they identify with. Let the sports *gamers* decided when they want a new game.
    • Yes, for the professional sports games I can somewhat understand that someone would pay $50 for the new rosters with names, likenesses, etc. But what about the college games, where the companies are _not allowed_ to put the players' names into the game? Do people still buy them because the players' jersey numbers have changed, and that is good enough of a reflection for them? Or do those games actually sell based on the features added each year?
      • I don't play NCAA, but all of my friends do. The players, numbered not named, are all fairly accurate portrayals from what I understand, and you can name them.

        In fact, there's some decent money to be made out there on Ebay selling memory cards with the full player names on them.

        I live in a college town for a football school in a state with no professional team, that's another deal-breaker.
  • I can remember when Lucas Arts canned Sam & Max 2 (itself a sequel, although to a very good original adventure game). Presumably, this was to focus on profiting from an abundance of star wars games. This explains it pretty well:
    http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=90 [vgcats.com]
  • Pirates! Oustanding remake of an outstanding classic.

    I'll be happy if the NEXT Pirates! isn't for another 10 years or so. This one was worth the wait!
  • I can think of something worse than sequels. Games based on movies. Remember Enter the Matrix and Catwoman?

    I think sequels have a much better market than those types of games.
  • Blame Capcom. Nobody knows how to churn the exact same game out over and over again like Capcom. Eighteen years later they are still pumping out Megaman games, each one nearly intentical to the one before it (I believe we are up to over thirty Megamans, excluding Battle Network). And lets not forget Street Fighter II, which probably spawned ten different editions and spinoffs before Capcom moved up a number in the series. And who can forget Reisdent Evil, while although only technically at number four in th
  • by xenocide2 (231786) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @03:39AM (#13284544) Homepage
    They might have a point if only the greatest games around weren't sequals themselves. Anti-sequalists have this idea that games should come out perfect the first time, fully god-breathed and explore all potentially interesting aveneues. Yet the best games we have are almost exclusively sequals. A Link to the Past was a second sequal, as was Super Metroid. Grand Theft Auto 3 was in the same boat. Final Fantasy is probably the most legitmate target of sequal haters, in that aside from a few common semi-plot elements (crystals, airships, etc) the only thing uniting them is a combat system and a desperate need for your money.

    The history of literature disagrees with anti-sequalists. Long before the written word set story in stone-type, civilization had the oral tradition. Tales were told of ancient gods, and of heroes in epic battles of fate. But each telling of the tale was different, and afterwards the storyteller could evaluate what worked and what didn't work, and maybe what might have worked had it been changed only slightly. The origins of comedy come from improvisational humor, and even today's stand-up routine is a dynamic, flexible presentation. Live music is improvizational, and improvization is central to Jazz music. None of these forms of entertainment are capable of calling a singular act 'perfect.'

    I like to consider each Zelda game not as an internally consistant series of adventures of Link, but an evolving image of the Hero of the Master Sword. In fact, we've come to accept and require that the series introduces changes. The most common and valid criticism of the Zelda Oracle games was that they were too similar, both to Zelda DX and to each other.

    Anti-sequalists essentially translate the modern literary theory onto games, and ignore the naggling details that emerge when finished. Games aren't the work of a single guiding authoring force, responsible for the day to day decisions that encompasses the work, forming a singular message for the player(s).

    I wonder, then, what people who promote 'originality' have to say about 'We Love Katamari.'
  • by Flyboy Connor (741764) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @03:47AM (#13284551)
    Sequels have a bad name because movie sequels generally suck. Game sequels do not necessarily suck, and actually are often an improvement on the original game.

    The reason that that is the case, is that the state of the art in games progresses at a much faster rate than the state of the art in movies. You could even remake a game within three years after its original release, and it would be a quite different game, and probably of much higher quality.

    Basically, there are two reasons why game sequels may suck: (1) when the creators think they can "improve" the original concept (e.g., the simplification of Deus Ex 2, the MOO3 overhaul); and (2) when a publisher gives the developers not enough time to develop a real sequel, because it has to go to market quickly (e.g., Knights of the Old Republic 2 without a proper endgame).

    However, if a sequel is just like the original game, except with better graphics, better AI, and better sound, it may give players the same good playing experience but modernized. And there is no reason why its quality has to be lower than the quality of the original game.

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