Wolf’s Wicked Words: How Do We Stabilise The Sequel Scenario?
Before I make any statements, let it be clear that I have nothing against sequels and some of my favourite games are sequels. There. Done.
The game industry has some pretty odd ways of approaching things lately whether it be the whole Titanfall debacle here in South Africa or the comparisons of footage regarding Watch_Dogs or even the madness of the ever increasing microtransactions. Priorities, at least to me, feel weirdly out of place here. Priorities regarding the actual goal of playing a game. It can easily be seen when looking back and seeing the games appear on shelves, us buying them and as a result having good times as well as the people who actually made the game not eating discarded leftovers at take away establishments due to bankruptcy. Today we have a borderline psychotic fixation with games making their money back whether the game was liked or disliked; the publishers want to make money. “Well, improve this and that with a sequel. Here’s millions of currency. Don’t disappoint us.”
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I have this obsession with Papers, Please and I recently read that the creator of the game, Lucas Pope, is sick of the game. Which is rather ironic and sad, because I feel I cannot get enough of the game. He’s been spending so much time with it, adding language options and fixing issues with the game. He doesn’t even consider something like a sequel and that is good, because he’s not pursuing a quick and easy buck due to the game’s success, but rather venturing into other territories to challenge himself and make something new.
These two different scenarios, where sequels get churned out to make more money out of an existing name and where greener pastures are continuously pursued. The reason I used the word “stabilise” in the title is because I don’t want sequels to disappear from the face of the Earth, but rather a nice balance to be found in this industry. Fresh ideas and sequels all living happily together with nary a curled lip towards one another.
It is not that there is a lack of new and fresh ideas for games, in fact, there are an astronomical amount of these ideas. The major difference is that sequels receive a ton of hype and pre-orders are most certainly guaranteed, where a fresh faced game will create hype, but with an underlining skeptical approach on doubting whether the game will be good at all. This is not the case with all scenarios, but I feel that we should become equally excited by a small downloadable title where you check paperwork for discrepancies as well as the multimillion dollar franchise where you shoot dusty people in a dusty environment while your heavy armaments are all dusty from the dust that gets carried across the landscape by the dusty wind.
People want a sequel to The Last of Us… There is no need for one. It is a great game with a story that doesn’t need any prolonging with new characters or even the existing ones. It was one Hell of an experience and it can be remembered as just that.
I conclude today’s rambling with following: remember the ambitious indie guys, get hyped for triple A titles as well as the smaller projects and don’t demand a sequel for every game you’ve enjoyed – you might regret the now tarnished name of a great franchise.