Community post: Are annualised sequels making us bored?

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keepsongoing

By Llewellyn Crossley

I realised the other day, with a great amount of shock, that I was bored with my games. All of them. Usually I’d just weather the storm until the next awesome title releases, play it and be back on track and happy with my hobby that is gaming. This time however something seems different and it worries me.

You see we all go through dips. A kind of “gamer burnout” if you will. This is pretty normal. We have our games that we enjoy and at some point they just aren’t enough anymore. We’ve played them as much as we are going to. Achieved most of the achievements and we need something new. So we will then wait for the next set of big releases and enjoy those. While we wait for the next big releases we might even take care of some of our backlog.

This is not happening for me this time. I don’t really care for my backlog as they are mostly indie games and while fun, they are ultimately not what I am looking for. I am not excited for the next set of big releases and so I am completely underwhelmed and don’t have any form of excitement in me towards gaming at all. So I sat thinking about this and wondering why and I came to the point where I am no longer excited. I came to the following conclusion: Yearly releases and constant sequels have spoiled gaming for me. Or at least the golden age of gaming (My golden age anyway) has spoiled me for the current age of gaming.

CS

Games used to be brought out as new IP’s pretty much all the time a good few years back. You had Star Craft, Red Alert, Counterstrike, your first Call of Duty and Battlefield games, a slew of RPG’s such as Anachronox, Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls, over the top shooters such as Duke Nukem, Heretic, Unreal and all the rest. There were space sims galore, each one different from the other (Terminal Velocity, Decent, Wing Commander, Freespace etc;). The list of games coming out were huge and each one was vastly different because gaming was in its infancy. Developers had a huge amount of free reign and new creative ideas to put out to the world. It was a true golden age. When a sequel was released it usually wasn’t the very next year or if it was, it wouldn’t get another sequel or ad-on for a long time after. Heck most of them never made it past 2 games and an expansion.

This kept us interested. You’d finish a game and wonder whether or not a follow on would arrive. Would there be a number 2 of this game? Would we get to experience more of the world we got in to in the game? You’d sit and wonder about this all the time until one day you open up your PCFormat (Why does that still hurt me?) or your NAG mag and WHAM. News about the next instalment of the game coming soon. The excitement would take over and you would go and try to find out as much news as you could about the next game as you could from wherever you could. This excitement was born from not knowing if there would be a next game or not.

This is not the case in today’s gaming. Today you are guaranteed a few things:

  1. If the game is good it will get a number 2, then a number 3 and if it’s still going then it will most definitely turn in to a yearly release title.
  2. Reboots: You will have reboots of old games or games that are currently in a yearly development cycle. This is an attempt by publishers and devs to “freshen” things up a bit.

These certainties kind of destroy the excitement for a game. When you finish it and you see the world rave about it, you don’t have to worry if there will be a next one. You know there will be. The moment the game is done one already starts hearing rumours of the next instalment. This knowledge dulls the hype in a sense. Just look at CoD and BF. Every year people are less and less excited. News breaks about the next game and everyone kind of goes “Yeah, we were expecting it. Duh”.

COD

The games may be cool and the fans may be excited to try the games but are they excited because it’s the next instalment or simply because it’s not the same BF or CoD they’ve been playing for almost a year? Aren’t we all just excited that we will have a few new maps and maybe some new modes under a new skin? Whatever happened to games getting huge amounts of maps on release to keep people going? Or at least a huge library of maps being available at any given time all across the internet? Just look at Unreal and how many maps there were for it.

Whether user generated or official. Warcraft was the same. Those were just the multiplayer games. There was always something to add to an existing game to keep you going until the next big thing. The single player games relied on a good story to keep you interested and to keep you wanting more without knowing if you’d ever see more of it. It would be like a great book (For those that are in to reading). You get drawn in to the world and didn’t enjoy it at all when the story was finished. You wanted more story! Games from back then had that same effect.

D3

Just look at the excitement that was Diablo 3. The game was terrible at release. The story weak, the multiplayer was lacking (Heck there wasn’t even PvP yet). Yet it sold millions. It sold well. Why? Because of the excitement of the wait. Of not knowing if Diablo 2 would ever get a true sequel. When people found out it was getting it, they freaked out. This is why it sold well. Because people needed the next game. Why? Because of the time between releases.

This magic is gone.

Yes we get a few gems. The Batman series of games (which already is starting to be overdone), the new Far Cry (This will eventually turn in to just another yearly release) and a few others. Yes, we even still get new IP’s (Destiny and such) which keep people interested. But they don’t hold the same magic.

They don’t have the same excitement after you finish it. You don’t go afterwards and say “I need the next game and I have no idea if the developers are going to make it.” And then proceed to wait in angsty anticipation for some news that there will be a next one. Mostly, I feel, this is due to game developers focusing too much on the experience of how the game plays different to others and not on separating the game with a good story.

Instead you know it will get a number 2 on the end. Or you know it’s online and will eventually be replaced by a separate game or continuous updates to the base game or simply the next instalment next year.

Naturally this is my view and everyone may not agree but I do feel that it is true and that the magic of gaming is gone. That or I am really getting too old for gaming… That thought actually scares me a bit. I’m not good at sports so I don’t know if that would be a good alternative for a hobby….

What do you think? Am I wrong? Am I just too old for gaming? Do I perhaps just not “get it” anymore?

Last Updated: August 25, 2014

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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