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Is there any need for sequel mania?

April 16th, 2013 by Irwin Fletcher Comments


I received a text yesterday from a mate saying he’d just been playing the new Bioshock and confirmed to me what I was already thinking on reading reviews and watching trailers.

Here’s what he said:“Just been playing Bioshock, same game as the first one but in a new place and with lovely lovely graphics but I was still battering in people’s heads in for no discernible reason ten minutes into the game.”

I have no reason to doubt him either. Games have become so predictable these days: Assassin’s Creed, Dead Space, Bioshock, Tomb Raider, Call of Duty and Halo to name but a few games which have become franchises churning out new releases every year and changing nothing other than character costumes and place settings.

Perhaps we need the next gen of consoles. I guess developers and publishers are unwilling or unable to push the boundaries for a console which will become obsolete within the next 12 months, or perhaps they are just lazy or maybe it’s the fear factor that people won’t buy a game unless there is a number after the title.


Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a game bringing out sequels if said sequels are brought out to continue a story, to evolve a game: games such as Halo. From Combat Evolved to Halo 3 we saw a real progression, however gameplay and graphics aside the Halo games changed so much, changed first person shooters and Halo 3 was the culmination of so many years work and finished off, or so we thought – a glorious story that kept us enthralled right until the very last minute but were ODST and Reach fillers to make money? Were they needed at all?

Reach was superb. A masterful game which allowed Bungie to say farewell to one of the biggest gaming communities out there – ending a ten year love affair with one last hurrah and I thank them for it, but ODST? I quite enjoyed the game but then I’m clearly a Halo fanboy and lap it up regardless but it didn’t do anything exciting and really was, as was Halo Wars but the less said about that the better, just a “oh we’ve not brought anything out for a bit let’s put out this series of small side stories and charge forty quid for it” and frankly that’s just not good enough.

Halo has evolved once again now that 343 Industries have taken over the helm and produced a fairly straight forward game. Yeah it was great to see the Master Chief again but something was missing, something wasn’t there that made it great. Hopefully they’ll find that missing piece of the puzzle but I fear that what’s missing is that it’s just another video game making money off a name, which breaks my heart.

There are however worse offenders, at least Halo is still trying to be Halo. No there are two game franchises who have not only turned into cash cows but even tried to change themselves but not into something new but into another game that we already have.


Dead Space 3 and Resident Evil 6 have left me bereft for one simple reason, they have abandoned horror for trying to get more Call of Duty players to jump ship and I’ve got news for them, it isn’t going to happen. The suspense of playing Dead Space alone in the dark was the reason to play it. You were genuinely drawn into the game, you forgot everything that was going on around you, you walked down dark flickering corridors and through rooms filled with hellish imagery waiting for the attack and when it came it came hard and fast, just like Resident Evil used to do before both games decided to give you more guns and more baddies to shoot at, and as long as the kids buy into the brand then, who cares if the games are any good? And more importantly where will I get my survival horror from now?

I would like to see more DLC for these games. If they can’t be bothered to bring out new and challenging games why not just bring out more and more DLC; it’s cheaper and will keep the fans coming back for more. I believe it’s the way Call of Duty and possibly Battlefield will progress when the next Gen are released, buy one game and pay your Elite subscription for more maps and weapons etc. and dispense with a new title every year that no one really cares about any way.

Fifa and other sports game could easily do the same. I’ve not played a lot of Fifa as the only games that bore me more than football games are racing games but I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that they’ve not changed the gameplay all that much in the last few years so why not just bring out a ten quid update to get all the latest players, or the game could auto adjust with updates whenever a player moves. Ookay that’s pushing it a bit I grant you but I don’t think I’m all that wide of the mark, do you?

Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps the world wants Assassin’s Creed 26, Dead Space 14 or Tomb Raider “Mystery of the old folk’s home” but there is no joy for me in them and that makes me sad. I just hope Watch Dogs and Destiny really do deliver what they seem to be promising so that I can have something exciting again and publishers see that new games can be as worthwhile as franchise cash cows.

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.