Monday, May 2, 2011

Sequelitis: A Growing Epidemic

"What? They've accidentally revealed the next Assassins Creed game?"

"That's awesome! I can't wait to play AC3 and see how the series ends!"

" mean......"


Yep, if Revelations turns out to be a full fledged game and not some side game like the DS and PSP entries, then Assassins Creed will have officially been stricken with a disease that befalls most popular original IPs (Intellectual Properties).


Now, for those that don't know, Assassins Creed was originally planned to just be a trilogy, but now that Brotherhood has come and ANOTHER non-numbered game is in the works, Ubisoft is coming dangerously close to potentially ruining the series. What started as something fresh and new has now started to show its wear. There was a two year time frame between the releases of Assassins Creed 1 and 2, but Brotherhood was out a year after 2, and now it seems like Revelations will be out later this year, making it another yearly release. Now, I do like the Assassins Creed series, and maybe Revelations will change up the character and locale, but there is a term that people use for things like this.

How can I miss you if you won't go away?

Yearly releases are a double-edged sword. On one hand, you get more of a game you like in a shorter amount of time, but on the other hand, the quality suffers, and eventually it seems like you're playing the same game you've been playing the last few iterations. Let's take a look at some of the more well-known offenders.

Guitar Hero

Now, I've been with Guitar Hero since the beginning. I spent a good part of my Freshman year of high school clacking along to the so-so covers of No One Knows and Sharp Dressed Man on my plastic Gibson SG, and I loved every minute of it. And as time went on, I picked up each new iteration and watched as the series became a rockstar in itself. I watched Guitar Hero become an overnight success, then watched as it began to fail, hard. You could honestly call Guitar Hero the Guns n' Roses of gaming. Guitar Hero stopped being good after 3 (which is a stretch), and every game that came afterward (with the exception of GH Metallica) just didn't have the same kind of "feel" as the earlier entries, mostly due to lack of innovation. It also didn't help the Activision called for numerous sequels to be released in one year. 2009 saw the release of 7 Hero games (including DJ and Band Hero). That is ridiculous. 6 years and 17 games later, Guitar was officially canned by Activision due to low profits.

Madden NFL

The Madden series was started in 1988, and since 1990, there has been a Madden Football release EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Now, granted, that was excusable in the 90's. Back then, the only way to update a game was to put out a new entry. Now, with the advent of digital distribution and downloadable content, there is no reason why EA can't just put out a roster update and continue try to improve more on the next game in the series. The first Madden game released for a new console will be just like the last Madden game that console will have released for it. Perhaps EA needs a failure on the scale of NBA Elite 11 to get the hint that more time needs to be spent on the game?
Jesus Christ Pose!
And I've saved the best for last

Call of Duty
What started as critically acclaimed PC game has become an unstoppable juggernaut in the gaming industry that has spawned countless imitators. But, the series didn't really take off with console gamers until the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It was a breath of fresh air in a genre dominated by numerous WWII shooters, and it became the best selling game in the series at the time. Activision took notice. Now, for the last 4 years, we have gotten what amounts to reskinned versions of COD 4.
All of these kids are just like the others!
While the locations may change, we have been getting the exact same game engine since COD 4. The same BS kills, the same crappy hit detection, the same online lag, all because they don't have the time to make a new engine from scratch. Sure, Infinity Ward and Treyarch may trade off development duties with each title, but that still doesn't change the fact that the same game still gets put out every year. Now, it may be fun, but anyone will get sick of the same thing if they have it for too long. This series is crying out for some kind of innovation, but I'm afraid it is never going to get it at this rate. Maybe if Modern Warfare 3 ends up failing, due to the mass firings/leavings at Infinity Ward and having 3 developers working on the game, they'll try to rework the series, but I doubt it.

This has been a PSA on Sequelitis. Hope you enjoyed it!


  1. AC Revelations, I like that name.

  2. They really should just put out a zombies game based on the COD 4 engine and then move on.

  3. I can't agree with you. Most of the time I love sequels.

  4. guitar hero is ok because there are constantly awesome songs being released. but i think the CoD series should just end now

  5. Guitar hero probably would have been able to last a bit longer if they had gone with the approach that Rock Band took. All of those non-numbered games could have just been DLC rather than a full retail release.