The Sequel Saga
Gamers control the kinds of games that are made. Remember that line, it’s important and we are going to come back to it later.
If there is one thing there is no shortage of in today’s gaming world it is sequels. Almost every big title that comes out these days is either a numbered sequel, a game that takes place in the same universe as one that came before, or something based on an established franchise. There are tons of Mario and Zelda games out there, most first person shooters are just the same franchise with a new number or tagline added, and every year we get a new slew of sports games with slightly revamped mechanics. The game market is saturated by games that are, for all intents and purposes, just retellings of what came before.
Not that this is always a horrible thing, games come out with sequels for a reason. Some of my favorite games are numbered sequels. Though this makes me wonder if this is just because there are a lot of these kinds of games out there for me to play. This is on the game companies right? They are the ones who put out the games so I should blame them for only making sequels. That’s right, nobody to blame but the developers. Damn you developers!
Or, that would be the case if it wasn’t completely my fault. Remember what I said earlier? That whole “Gamers control the games that are made” thing? Yeah, we are the ones to blame for all the sequels out there. If you are tired of the market being flooded with the same type of game over and over again you need only to look to the faces of your fellow gamers as the reason for your distress. I know, nobody likes to take the blame for something like this, but it’s time we all fess up to the problem and accept it.
You see, it doesn’t much matter if a developer has a brand new idea that they think will revolutionize the gaming world because it doesn’t mean a thing if they can’t get a company to write them a big fat check to cover the expenses of making the game. Like it or not, game making is a business. And you are not going to find many companies that are going to fund a game if they won’t make their money, plus a little more, back in the end. It’s because of this that game companies are far, far more likely to fund an existing franchise instead of taking a chance on a new one. Why would they risk so much money on an unknown game type? If gamers keep buying the same types of games over and over again, those are the types of games the companies are going to give us. If we won’t even take a chance on something new why would they?
Luckily for all of us there are a few trends out there to help combat this issue. Kickstarter is a big one, giving game developers a chance to get funding straight from the fans to make the kind of game they want is huge. This is never going to replace game companies funding big blockbuster games by any means, but it does give game makes an outlet for ideas that would never be funded in a traditional way. We also happen to be living in one of the most amazing ages for artists of all types. Combine to power of the internet and the ability to promote yourself on sites like Twitter and Facebook and you have a combination that let’s people make games and then brag about their games to large audiences. There are new types of games out there, you just need to look a little farther than your local game store to find them. But as far as big name games go we will always rely on big game developers to give us the vast majority of our goods, and as long as they are writing the check we will get games based, at least in part, on sales figures of past games.
Gamers control the types of games that are made. If you want more new, unique titles you are going to have to pick up a new style of game once in a while. This can be scary given how expensive games can be these days, but you may walk away with a title you absolutely love and an experience you would have missed out on if you had not decided to take a chance.