Sequels, a love/hate affair
Posted on Friday, April 4 2008 @ 21:35:04 PST
Sequels, always expected, yet hated almost just as much. Movies and novels all have a sequel at some point and they are always welcomed by the fans since they want to see more. Sometimes sequels are either planned from the start or pop up unexpectedly due to huge demand for it. There can also be sequels after a sequel, which may cause some people to think that either the writers are bored or the producers just want a quick buck (Prequels fall under this as well, but it's not used as often as sequels). Video games are no strangers to the sequel card, but what makes a sequel noteworthy or trash for this field?
Sequels quickly started during the NES days and gamers were always excited to hear about another game in the franchise because, who wouldn't want to see more Mario or another Zelda? Back in those days, video game sequels were almost the holy grail of gaming and it meant to many people that a franchise was THAT good. Sequels in that time proved its worth by adding new characters, expanded gameplay, or simply a whole new element. When a sequel does that, you know that a lot of effort was put into it.
So why are some sequels in games today looked down upon? Mainly, it's a "been there, done that" feeling. While developers use the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset, not changing much to the sequel can actually hurt it and if a series has numerous sequels that don't change much, it will turn off people. One example is the Metroid Prime series. The first Prime game was widely praised and of course a sequel got everyone's hopes up. By the time Echoes came out, some people were disappointed that it played pretty much the same way the first Prime game played with just a different story and few new items.
Super Smash Bros. Melee greatly improved upon the original with many new modes, elements, and characters and it was one of the Gamecube's most popular games. The ever hyped Super Smash Bros. Brawl was on nearly every Nintendo fan's minds. It was supposed to be the game that will propel the Wii further along and surpass Melee, according to the growing hype from the Nintendo....no, Super Smash Bros. fanboys. When the game finally came out, many people, including myself, saw that Brawl had barely changed in terms of overall quality. While Brawl is a very good game, it barely did anything to make the game different from Melee since single and multiplayer were mostly unchanged (yes, online was added, but it's barely worthwhile unless you have friends, so Brawl still feels like a rehash of Melee). While many fans will disagree with this, it is a good example on what a sequel shouldn't always be.
Sequels should never be seen as something you want to avoid in a game (unless it gets to too many), but if developers keep making sequels where it's more of the same from the previous game, people will start to question why they should waste $50-60 on a sequel that plays almost like the original.