Counterpoint: Who Needs Sequels Anyway?

When it comes to sequels, I’m mad as heck, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!

By Matthew Tidman. Posted 07/30/2010 14:45 6 Comments     ShareThis

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Screenshot - Thwomp!

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.

Kirby's Epic Yarn ScreenshotLook 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.

Epic Mickey: Skull IslandBut 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.

6 Responses to “Counterpoint: Who Needs Sequels Anyway?”

  • 132 points
    Robert Thompson says...

    “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.”

    “Chibi-Robo!” was a worthwhile effort, no? “Nintendogs” is getting a 3DS sequel, and has four entries to its name. “Big Brain Academy” and “Brain Age” both haven’t been doing too bad, either. And you knew the mention was coming– “Art Style” is way too rad, and shows how a title can be an entry to a franchise while still maintaining its own identity. Finally, “Elite Beat Agents” needs and deserves a name-drop, as it’s the only entry to the “Osu” franchise that was established in 2005 to be seen in the US.

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    • 1358 points
      xeacons says...

      Good point though. And another thing. Matt said there haven’t been any good “franchises.” What about great games? For a game to become a franchise, it needs sequels. He’s not cutting down on “sequels” in general.” Just the “tired old franchises that have been run into the ground.” Like Mickey. Dude’s over 80 years old.

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  • 1358 points
    xeacons says...

    Matt’s right, as far as why sequels are made. People recognize them. That’s why ” Epic Yarn” was still Kirby. If it was something new, in amongst these classic remakes and sequels, it may have gone unnoticed (like “Lost in Shadow” or “Ghost Trick”). Take Soul Reaver, for instance. Originally a game of it’s own, entitled “Shifter”, but tie it into “Blood Omen” and PRESTO! Legacy of Kain becomes a series (also helps sales of the prequel which didn’t do too well).

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  • 3 points
    nintygaming says...

    Ok, I gotta do this……..

    The Mega Man series.

    I mean SERIOUSLY why do we need so many Mega Man rehashes?

    ALMOST all of them are identical. Sure there are a few “minor” differences here and there, like a new upgrade or wall jumping, playing as Zero or Bass, but come on Capcom…….just because the games are addicting doesn’t mean we need so freakin’ many of them.

    If Mega Man 2 were the last one for the NES, then lets say, Mega Man X3 was the next one after 2, then perhaps most people wouldn’t look at these games like they look at the Madden games (rehashes).

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  • 183 points
    Williaint says...

    Most sequels are just updates.
    Why not just take a blank memory cartridge that comes with a games’ engine, download an update from online for every sequel made?
    It’s almost the Sonic and Knuckles/Sonic Three, (or even the mods for The Sims…) sort of thing, only with internet.
    If internet isn’t available, to update the new game, you could just go to some game merchandiser.
    The Characters who are used in games which didn’t have to use them, ie; Yoshis Cookie, Doctor Mario…
    Some games may be fun, but character exploitation is kinda getting tiresome.

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    • 183 points
      Williaint says...

      What I’m trying to say is: Why make a game if it’s not fun?
      Or a bad sequel(I’d say movie’s sequels are a lot worse than most video games sequels)?
      Nostalgia Hype,
      Character Hype,
      Media hype.
      The things that sell a sequel.
      FUN only matters on the first game.

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