I've been seeing a complaint around the forums and, to be honest, kind of a lot of places. Basically it's:
"Why is *game developer* making another game in *series* that's like the previous ones? Why don't they do something NEW?"
This generally branches into one of to categories:
1) They should do a new franchise.
2) They should do something different with the series.
I kind of have a problem with both of these arguments. I completely see where the people saying them are coming from, but I feel like reducing it to such a basic level is kind of silly.
As to one, Nintendo/Capcom/Sega/Whatever can't just pull hit franchises out of their asses. I'm not saying they should continue series that are CLEARLY dead *coughresidentevilcough*, but saying "why don't they just make some new series" is kind of assuming that they can just bust out a new, original, classic on a whim and choose not to.
If you're a game developer that either hasn't thought of making a new hit franchise, or you can just make them at will and decide not to then congratulations, you don't exist.
My point here is that just saying "they should do something new" ignores the fact that it's not an easy thing to do, and from a business perspective is kind of risky.
But that said, just because it's hard and risky doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. I just don't think it's fair to toss that challenge around as if original content is the easiest thing to make.
As for the second part...what was the second part...
Fuck I'm tired. Let me just scroll up and check.
RIGHT. People complaining because series stay the same and don't do original things.
Yeah, this one is less common, and that's mainly because it's stupid.
Now, you usually hear this hurled at Mario and Zelda, but sometimes it goes to Sonic or other major series.
A series exists to present a consistent experience across installations. That's why the sequel is never an entirely different genre and storyline.
Well...sometimes it's a different storyline, but it's usually connected in some way. And if it is a wholly unique storyline, the genre doesn't change a whole lot. The first ten or so Final Fantasy games, despite some changes here and there, are a great example of that.
Saying "the new Mario is lame because it's very similar to the old Mario" is an unreasonable point to make. It's like complaining that the second season to Game of Thrones comes after the first season chronologically. It's a series. They are serial. They go in some order that connects them. Lacking similarity is the worst thing a series can do.
Some of you are bound to think of many, many examples where I am wrong. The various Mario RPGs, the five or sixish separate Mega Man series (Classic, X, Zero, Battle Network, Starforce, Legends...) and others where they are clearly distinct from their predecessors. But if you take a good look at these, they always have some extra name that distinguishes them. Metroid Prime wasn't named "Metroid 6", because it was stylistically different enough for them to label it a separate series despite being so heavily a part of the Metroid canon. The Mario RPGs all have different names too; Super Mario RPG followed by the Mario & Luigi saga, as well as the Paper Mario series. In fact, Mario is mostly made up of small series; SMB1-3, World, and 64 were one. Galaxy was one. Even New Super Mario Bros has developed into it's own, modern replacement for the original Mario series. And of course Mario Kart.
But I'm digressing. The point is, don't say that a developer should "just do something different". Not only are you simplifying things to the point of being insulting, but odds are they HAVE done something different, or still are and you're just not seeing it.
These are the tired ramblings of a very tired rodent though. In fact, I didn't realize till just now that I said "tired" twice back there. I know I said some of this harshly, so if I offended you...that sucks, but I'm pretty confident in my stance here.
Musings 23: Series
Blog entry posted by uglyrodent, Sep 5, 2012.