What happened along the way to make such a great series sink like a stone? Where did it all go wrong? These are questions I find myself often asking when playing the next “great” game in one of my favorite series. I can’t seem to understand why developers are so determined to build a completely new experience with each new iteration and instead of ensuring the fans are happy, leaving the game to die. Time and time again I see sequels that could have been so much better, but fell to the wayside because somewhere along the development cycle someone wanted to make a different game, or maybe they got lazy. But why is it that we have to go down with the sinking ship?
It’s hard to think that minor changes to a game, like the way a clan system works or how certain guns react, can create new fans of a series and eliminate old ones. The fact of the matter is some people like change, others don’t, but in gaming changes are rarely accepted. As far as some of the changes that have been made to certain franchises, some lose more fans than they gain. Of course, it’s all relative to what the people want, but developers sometimes forget that when they’re trying to create “new experiences.”
In most cases, it is very disconcerting seeing a game, that you were otherwise looking forward to, become something entirely new. However, I’ve only come to realize recently that this generally isn’t bad. Most developers don’t want to recreate the same exact game with minor adjustments every year. That’s fine and dandy, but throw us a bone. Some developers just don’t seem to get “it.” So, what is “it?” We, the gamers, the followers, the players will happily support and buy your game if you live up to the hype you create for it. Don’t give us anything less than a sequel, when you promise us a better experience. The ones that understand, are the people that support their community, the people that will listen, along with doing their absolute best to please the people that love what they do. What makes you any different from them?
You may remember a game called Burnout: Paradise that came out a few years ago. If you do, you’ll probably also remember how heavily Criterion games supported the title with frequent updates, patches, and downloadable content out the wazoo. The same can be said for the newest Mortal Kombat installment. Netherrealm studios did an incredible job with the game, and it is jam-packed full of content without even considering the 4 unique additional characters and costume packs. Media Molecule is another fantastic developer that deserves mention, giving LittleBigPlanet fans free patches with new tools, in addition to paid DLC that have more than enough content to keep the original game alive and well. Even now people still play LBP1, all the while LBP2 is striving and being supported just as well as it’s predecessor. The thing is people happily purchase the massive amounts of downloadable content these developers shell out, because they listen, it’s really not that hard of a concept to grasp.
I’m really disappointed in some of these development companies today. Even the shitty ones that have basically industrialized the development cycle of a game by releasing the same thing every year, still get “it.” They provide support for the game in the form of downloadable content, update and patch it frequently, and most importantly they listen to the fans. That’s really all it takes, but go ahead, continue what you’re doing. I don’t think I speak for everyone, but I, for one, probably won’t be buying your games anymore.