Sequels of the Year
Posted on Monday, November 30 2009 @ 10:01:01 PST
2009 will be remembered as a year the current generation of gaming took a turn; the all-arrogant Sony dropped their ridiculous $399 price tag for a system with 80 gigabytes of memory for a smaller $299 tag, and with it they increased the overall hard drive size to 120 gigabytes. Seeing a threat, Microsoft had to follow suit, getting rid of their Xbox 360 Pro console all together and dropping the price of their Elite console to also $299, meaning their Arcade model would drop to $199. Realizing people could now buy an Xbox cheaper than a Wii, Nintendo also dropped their system's price to $199. As well as the price drops, this year saw a slew of fantastic releases: games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, Dragon Age: Origins, Borderlands, InFamous, and Brutal Legend to name a few. With all the new IPs coming out this year you would expect an exciting Game of the Year lineup coming from any review site even if most of them haven't announced nominees yet. Spike TV has not followed suit.
Spike TV, which I know is not actually a game review station, has announced its nominees for Game of the Year, winner to be announced at their annual Videogame Awards in a few weeks. With the exception of Batman: Arkham Asylum, every single nominee is a sequel. Sure, games like Modern Warfare 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 are great games, but they have already had their shot at a Game of the Year title when their predecessors (Modern Warfare and Left 4 Dead) were released in 2007 and 2008 respectively. I am tired of seeing sequels be nominated for awards such as these simply because they are taking that chance away from a game that has taken a shot at doing something differently and starting a new storyline.
Now, I have no problem with sequels winning awards. They have taken the original and improved on it or added some new innovative ideas that make the game different and fun again, even if it is simply rehashed gameplay from the one that came before it. Sometimes a sequel can make the series fun to play (see: Saint's Row 2), sometimes it can take away from your fond memories of the series (see: Grand Theft Auto 4), but people always buy them and they are an easy way for a company to make money. This is why instead of taking Game of the Year slots, I propose that there be a new category in video game awards ceremonies called Sequel of the Year. People can vote on their favorite one still, but the only real rules to the category would be that A) the game must be a sequel, and B) if it is in this tier it is not allowed to compete for Game of the Year. On top of making an obvious rift between the two categories that is much needed, this may also encourage more companies to make new games instead of spicing up old ones and re-releasing them for full price instead of just adding downloadable content.
Sequels are great, they expand on the original game's story, introduce new characters, and even open up the universe the game finds its self in even more so that people learn more about the areas they are in. They are just not deserving of a Game of the Year title if they are not a new IP. This winter so many sequels are coming out that new games such as Heavy Rain have been pushed into January so they do not have to compete with the holiday market rushing to grab the newest iteration in their favorite ten-year series whose improvements could simply be thrown online and have the player pay $30 to download everything.