I hope you’ve been enjoying our look at the best sequels that have graced Nintendo’s consoles, but I want to take a moment to step aside and question the need for them.
I’m sure that you’ve played a sequel at some point. From a business standpoint, it makes sense to take established characters and settings and create a new experience using the same old tools. But I submit to you today that sequels are not necessary and are a shameless attempt to rob you of a few more dollars for the same experience.
Honestly, the only point of a sequel is to beat the same horse until it’s dead. The more shameless the sequel, the more horse beating that goes on. And they keep doing it for one simple reason: it makes them money.
What is the last major new franchise that Nintendo introduced… besides the “Wii X” series of games? That would have to be Pikmin on GameCube… in 2001. Other than that all we have seen from Nintendo is established franchises. Oh sure, they have mixed it up a little with the likes of Metroid Prime (gameplay overhaul) and The Wind Waker (graphics overhaul), but apart from that Nintendo has been content to rely on the same franchises and game styles, the worst offender of course being Animal Crossing: City Folk.
Look at this year’s E3. What was Nintendo’s breakout new franchise? There wasn’t one. The Nintendo press release this year was a load of fanboy wish fulfillment. The biggest new thing at the press conference was Epic Mickey. You could make a case for Kirby’s Epic Yarn, but why did Kirby have to headline that title? Why couldn’t it become its own franchise? It smacks of laziness and reliance on the old guard to continue raking in the cash.
I don’t mean to lay the blame solely on Nintendo’s shoulders. Look at the God of War series or the Halo series. Of course there’s always the various sports and music games such as Madden 20XX and Guitar Hero: Rock-Related Subtitle. And yet each of these franchises makes their respective companies barrels of money because gamers want to continue the same experience.
But sequels will continue to be a mainstay as long as they remain profitable. Can I really blame studios for putting out the next installment of a long-running series when I’m more likely to buy something regurgitated with a couple off added bells and whistles versus something from left field? Yes, I can, because I’m tired of it.
I want a world where new ideas flourish instead of old ones. I want a world where it’s ok for game developers to take a risk with their games, where players will gladly shell out $50-60 in order to experience something they never have before. Do I want all sequels ever to go away completely? No, there is still a place for them. I do, however, want the new ideas to get a chance. If sequels did not exist, I think gaming would still be healthy. If new games die out completely, gaming as a whole will die and rot. So think about that the next time you boot up your high profile regurgitation.