Is it just me or has there been a major lack of creative and original titles in the mainstream market lately?
This year’s E3 only stood to point out the massive sequel problem we have with the industry today. Microsoft’s presentation at E3 consisted of sequel, sequel, sequel, sequel, sequel, original, sequel, remake, sequel. Some games are allowed to get away with this like sports games or Final Fantasy. However, we do not need all of them and many turn out disappointing piles of garbage that should have never tried to revamp or continue the series. Where are all the original titles?
The answer to this question of course is the indie market. That’s where all the original content is nowadays and that is why the indie market is flourishing as much as it is today. Sure there may have been some pretty awesome changes in the past few years with distributors like Steam allowing indie games to sell to a broader audience, but indie developers are also the only ones that create truly original titles and take risks anymore it seems.
I partially blame Call of Duty. It is a game with a well established and perfected formula that has been repeated the past several installments and it has continued to sell more with each installment despite there not being much of a difference between each one. This kind of thing is perfectly fine for a franchise like Call of Duty but unfortunately it has caught the eye of many publishers who have decided to follow suit in hopes of having similar success. There are of course some developers that escape this criticism. Arrowhead Studios and Tripwire Interactive have created titles like Killing Floor and Magicka. Neither of these are indie titles and yet they are both amazingly unique games which offer twice the entertainment of AAA titles at half the cost. These are what I consider great, original games. Now AAA developers need to just take a tip or two from them.
Sequels are not a bad thing though. I certainly endorse sequels of my favorite games. I very much want there to be a Killing Floor 2 or maybe even a Minecraft 2. The problem is in balance between sequels and original content. There are so many sequels coming out these days and so little good originals that there is truly nothing new for us to enjoy as gamers; only potentially better gameplay and an advanced storyline. Do we really need another Sonic or Mario title? They are iconic and will live in our hearts forever but their recent games have just been awful and their series’ are being kicked around like dead horses. Why not start working on something new Nintendo? Notch created the Creeper and Herobrine characters in Minecraft and people have developed a fandom for them just as much as they did for Sonic, Zelda or Mushroom Kingdom characters. You don’t need to depend on your staple characters to make you money. Gamers love new content, not re-hashed crap for the umpteenth time. The time and money you spent on making Super Mario Galaxy 2 could have been spent making games that are truly innovative and new.
We don’t need another Halo. We don’t need another Gears of War. We don’t need another Call of Duty or a horrible Devil May Cry reboot or another failed attempt at rebuilding the Tony Hawk franchise. Publishers: If you want gamers to continue buying games from the mainstream market you are going to have to change-up your game and start making new content. Just look at some of the sequel-less games out there that were hugely successful.
Shadow of the Colossus
Beyond Good & Evil
These were all amazing games! While some should definitely have at the most one sequel done, some should not. Shadow of the Colossus was amazing and any revisiting it would ruin the story entirely.
In the realm of movies this kind of thing does not fly nearly as much among fans. Sure there were seven Saw films and six Rocky films but that doesn’t mean people appreciated them all as much as the originals. The Final Destination series keeps trying to revive itself but fails to draw in adequate audiences every time. The Star Wars prequels are considered some of the worst films in SciFi history. The latest Indiana Jones film was universally panned.
Producers need to learn when something has run its course and let it go so they can create something truly original. Look at Inception for example. It was amazing, got great reviews and its idea was entirely original and unique. While this kind of thing occurs in both movies and games, the gaming industry is far more guilty of rehashing the same garbage and overall producing low quality content just to try and squeeze money out of a franchise even more. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Just look at the Power Rangers. We all got sick of the non-stop ‘to be continued’ labels at the end of each episode eventually. Where’s the closure? When will Link finally kill off Ganondorf for good? Where’s the appeal to the storyline if he just keeps coming back in every game? At least Final Fantasy has a brand new story for us to enjoy with each installment.
This trend has to stop. I cannot wait for the day when the indie developers of today have taken over and know what it means to actually make games.