From an outside perspective onto our little hobby it’s safe to presume that all games are sequels, well they are from an inside perspective too. Some have reached a tipping point where money and greed have led them to try to either annualise their franchise or just release the same tat over and over. The following are games that aren’t necessarily bad, but could do with some time off from releases just to work out where they’re going and what the fans of the franchises really want:
1. Assassin’s Creed
Assassin’s Creed started its franchise life with more of a whimper than a bang, the first game in the series had great mechanics and concept but its locale was dour and depressing. A few years later when Assassin’s Creed II came out we rejoiced, an interesting location and main character, then Ubisoft milked 2 more games out of something interesting and people started to lose interest. When Assassin’s Creed III rocked up to the party we initially rejoiced because it was civil war America where we got to do all of our murdering, but then we realised Connor was like Altair, a seriously uninteresting grump of a man with all the charisma of a turkey. Reviews have been strong for Assassin’s Creed IV but with a one year turn around for the games there isn’t enough time to react to audience opinions in time for the next instalment. Assassin’s Creed V will be great but can we really be bothered to wait that long?
2. Resident Evil
Now let me say this first, I love Resident Evil games, I even loved Operation Racoon City, a game that got trashed by every media outlet everywhere. This inclusion on the list comes from a place of love and respect for the series that re-defined, if not created, the survival horror genre. Resident Evil has been going wonkey of late, whether it’s accusations of bad game design or mild racism, the series just hasn’t been holding up the standards of its fore-fathers. The problem is that with a game that has been running for as long as it has with as many spin offs and volumes to its canon it’s hard to attract new fans and please the new and the old. Resident Evil needs a couple of years off to build interest in a new game and then knock it out of the park with a simple but effective story line. Stop adding letters in front of the word virus Capcom, let’s get back to basics.
3. Angry Birds
To say I’m a bit down on Angry Birds might be a slight understatement. To most this could be seen as some sort of elitism, the ‘gaming press’ doing their usual crap where they ignore anything that isn’t made by a 1 man team in his spare time to feed a starving ill child. But it’s not that, I played Angry Birds and I admired the constant stream of updates that allowed us to kill more time whilst on the toilet. I like the way it felt original and fresh, but then the 200 variants and cash ins came, the marketing, the film, the cartoon, the merch, it all just became too much. And now they’ve announced Angry Birds Go, a game that move birds into karts. Put aside the illogical aspect of these birds driving instead of flying, or the question that brings of; Why don’t these things have wings, they’re not really birds. It’s more the cliché way that Rovio have decided to kill their franchise. Bad Piggies was a great puzzle game, one that I got hooked on and loved, but it seems that was just a flash in a pan in terms of originality for Rovio.
4. Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy is a tough one, it’s not that the games are too frequent, or that they are running low on ideas, it’s just its accessibility. Numerically ordering your games is one issue, it’s something films have stopped doing where possible, that’s why we get films like Live Free or Die Hard. My point is that with Final Fantasy although it uses different characters or settings between its games it is one of the least accessible series for a newbie to get in on. Final Fantasy VII was most people’s first introduction to the series, it gave a great story an epic feel and felt like good value for an age where buying a game and having a pile of shame was unheard of. FF VII however quite nicely danced the line between explaining this new lore and being over patronising. Since then however the games have felt locked off to an elite group who have mastered the series and judge those new to it. Final Fantasy doesn’t need a break to redesign their games, they just need to work out where they are going with it and who they’re audience truly is.
5. All Sports Games
If that image above wasn’t as filled with odd self-promotion as it is you probably would struggle to tell me which iteration of the annual sporting franchise FIFA that shot comes from. This isn’t a problem solely squared at FIFA games, it’s pretty much every sporting franchise that annualises games. They all come from the same basic game, one that rarely changes from year on year, all the fans and players are getting is a slightly updated roster and maybe a new control scheme. The advancements in grass technology are not enough to warrant this kind of re-issuing that for some reason is lapped up by the sporting world. Admittedly I am not a sports fan, and I doubt most people reading this nerd and geek culture website are either. I am into wrestling however, not hardcore into it, but I’ll watch it if I happen upon it on the TV. I would never consider buying the new game each year, and that’s crazy really considering that at least new match types get launched each season. My point is until the introduce Multi-ball or streakers into FIFA, NFL or NHL then we really need to start wondering where this supply and demand issue is going.