2012/08/19

Sequelitis - bad or worse

Strange that Assassins Creed got criticized by having too many sequels. I have to agree 100% with Alex when he says that yearly sequels are ok, hell, I would even buy Assassins Creeds if they come every 6 months.

But what does make a sequel good for publishers? First it is a return of investment. If you got a blockbuster its easier and cheaper to develop the sequel as usually the tools and technology only needs upgrades - not a rewrite.

Also the risk is less as the sequel should sell nearly as well as the original right? Well from blockbuster data I have seen sequels actually outperform the originals - that happened to Call of Duty - Modern Warfare.

Speaking of CoD: they are milking the franchise even more by having alternativing teams on the IP. Not too bad either if they can deliver the experience and quality. I bought Black Ops and it was worse than the earlier ones. Did it hurt sales? Nope. So it seems that one title in a series with slightly less quality doesn't hurt your sequel plans - delivering multiple bad sequels does.

My question is wether a brand can be over saturated and destroyed. On this Gamescom Ubisoft anounced three Might & Magic titles at once. Customers might get confused but on the other hand each title adresses a different audience. While Might & Magic Heroes Online adresses the fans from the original the Champions card game is more casual (good for iPads?) and the dungeon runner adresses a slightly younger action RPG crowd. I am curious how those titles work out.

So: if you love a game series how much sequels would you manage to buy each year? One? Two? Or even more?

*Disclaimer: The above is Teut's personal opinion - none of this is official Ubisoft policy or statement

2 comments:

Sebastian Gail said...

In the end, there would be no limit of purchases I would make, I think. It all depends, like you already and correctly pointed out, on the quality of a title. This means: Technically and with regards to content.

Best example would be the annually Fifa/NHL/Sport series at EA. With Fifa 11, they put the series on the PC onto next gen mechanics. Before that, graphics got pimped as much as possible, the game yet remained a PS2 title. Sales were ok, but noting in comparison to the PS3/360 sales. With Fifa 12 the focused on the quality of the game on PC. Sales went through the roof...

For me in person, I want to experience exciting stories and enviroments, technically well solved and without major technical problems...why not in a 6month rythm? Of course, some day, the amount of money spent on those titles makes you think about it, if it was ok etc. But don´t we waste more money on more useless stuff than good games?

Floh said...

As long as the sequels keep the quality level and keep the story fresh, I don't mind buying them annually. The latest Assassin's Creed didn't quite have the quality level as the original AC2 and AC2 Brotherhood. Unfortunately most sequels are significantly worse then the original, mostly in the cases where the publisher really sees them as a cheap "cash cow", or where the original team has moved on to another project.

I disagree with Black Ops being worse then the main line by the way. COD4 still hasn't been topped by its direct followups regarding single-player-story (yes I said that hehe) and multiplayer gameplay. Black Ops was the first COD after COD4 where I actually really digged the single-player-campaign, and the multiplayer felt more like back-to-the-roots of COD4, not plagued by featurities like MW2 and MW3. I think Treyarch was really sick and tired of WWII, and this really shows in Black Ops where they've been let off the leash a bit (and the quality level has really increased since World at War). Not sure whether Blops2 will be just as good though...