The Gaming Industry Relies On Remakes And Franchises “At An Unnatural Level”
We’re all tired of the shear volume of reboots, remakes and re-used franchises in gaming. It’s often unnecessary and pointless beyond cashing in on existing ideas that someone else came up with. That right there strangles the games as art theory because if gaming was an artform then surely developers would all be able to come up with some ideas of their own. I’m being irrational over here but the lack of new IPs or simply creative progression in sequels of a franchise is upsetting.
Kid Icarus and Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai believes that our beloved industry relies too heavily on the past for its successes. There are some cases where we’re glad to see an old franchise return such as Hitman or Thief although that seems to be all Square Enix does these days – revive franchises and then declare them financial failures. Since I’m harassing Square Enix, how many Final Fantasy remakes can you really produce? Jumping to Nintendo, do I even need to mention all the franchises that they’ve continually been regurgitating for the past 20 years?
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“Is there any industry that relies so much on reusing and reusing their old titles as much as video games?” Sakurai wrote in a Famitsu column translated by Polygon.
“Compared to other media like movies, dramas, animation, novels and comics, the glut of franchises and remakes is at an unnatural level.”
Sakurai said part of the problem is that games, unlike other forms of media, require the player to learn how to play them; rehashes of existing formulae partially avoid this problem. That’s also why many games use similar control schemes, he added. But although games that reuse existing material can be very good, Sakurai emphasised the need for innovation in balance with recycling.
“Good games attract fans, and if you have fans, you have an advantage. You try to use that to make the title something bigger, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to give up on innovation. Popular, well-made games deserve praise, but titles that have some kind of unique creative spark to them also need to be praised in this way,” he said.
Books don’t really do it but comics often retread old ground with the altered perspective of a new writer and movies/TV do it in shocking abundance. American Psycho is getting a series, Psycho already has one, countless movies are being remade. The gaming industry is not alone in this over-exploitation of established money-makers.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s worthwhile to bring back an old franchise and see what can be realised in its universe with current technology or with a slightly different vision but please don’t toss detritus such as Syndicate in our faces. Give me something akin to Deus Ex: Human Revolution