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Default Why All The Sequels?

June 18th, 2010, 19:03
Here's few upcoming RPG:

- Fallout (4): New Vegas
- Gothic 4: Arcania
- Dungeon Siege 3
- Diablo 3
- Deus Ex 3
- Fable 3
- Two Worlds 2
- NWN 2
- Drakensang 2
- The Witcher 2
- Mass Effect 2
- And so on…

Why so many sequels? Okay I understand the more recent games like Drakensang, The Witcher, Mass Effect 2 and NWN2 because the original games were successful and they are in fresh in memory. But why do dig up old series like Dungeon Siege which was never a successful game (series) in the first place, so that makes me wonder why they cannot develop something new? Are they really out of ideas?

I bet we're going to see a lot of new sequels to series that have been dead and decomposing for ages.
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June 18th, 2010, 19:18
Iz strictly business. It's easier to get investor money for revisiting a well-travelled road than for something new and untried. Even for the indies, where investor money might not be quite as dominant a factor, you've got a time issue—it's quicker to develop a new game on the foundation of an old game than to build from the ground up. Those indie guys have to keep the products simple because there just aren't as many man-hours available.

And really, it's not like us gamers can put on our halos here. Go thru a "review" thread of any decent game and you'll see a dozen comments, "Great game, bring on the sequel!" Like in many other situations, we say we want one thing (new IPs), but we demand and purchase the opposite (more games in a successful IP).

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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June 18th, 2010, 19:22
Uhm.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
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June 18th, 2010, 19:23
But back in late 90s/early 2000 there were lots of new franchise born; Baldur's Gate, Diablo, Fallout, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Planescape Torment and more. Why is the situtation changed so much now? I'm so glad that I lived that era playing games.
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June 18th, 2010, 19:24
3 letter answer, and I'm the stupid one?

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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June 18th, 2010, 19:39
Originally Posted by Ergonpandilus View Post
But back in late 90s/early 2000 there were lots of new franchise born; Baldur's Gate, Diablo, Fallout, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Planescape Torment and more. Why is the situtation changed so much now? I'm so glad that I lived that era playing games.
I'm not sure it really has changed as much as you're thinking. In the early 90's, Might and Magic was up to number 6. Wizardry was up to number 7. Ultima was up to the point where they gave up counting properly. Wing Commander was up to number 4. X-Com was up to number 2 with 3 on the way. Civilization was on number 2 with plans for number 3. The Sierra adventures were all above number 5. Hell, Leisure Suit Larry was up to number 4 by then, IIRC. I realize not all of those are RPGs, but I think the point stands.

Even if you limit the question to "reach backs", how many times did Pirates get brought out, even back then? Wiz8 came 8 years after Wiz7 (IIRC). HoMM was a repackage of the original King's Bounty, several years later. There are new IPs coming out recently that might eventually turn into long-running franchises (Witcher and Drakensang in particular) that get the same over-glorified worship as Baldur's Gate.

And again, let's not polish our halos here. Doesn't take long to find threads pining for the old days of gaming, much like yours does. If that's what we say we want, then we really can't complain when some developer digs up Master of Magic (which didn't sell all that well) and puts a fresh face on it (and Elemental made my most-anticipated list). How many comments do you see, "I just wish they'd take [insert decade old game here] and reissue it with modern graphics so it works on modern systems." Hell, GOG has an entire business structured on giving us "dead and gone" titles, so why should it be a surprise that developers would try to tap into that market?

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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June 18th, 2010, 19:49
And look at what happens when developers depart from a series and fail miserably with a new or relatively new IP; it's a quick going out of business sale. Troika made three classic top notch seperate games and no sequels—history. Bill Roper leaves Blizzard to start a new franchise—Hellgate: London—and tanks. Space Seige bombs(rightfully so)—Titan Quest is popular but not enough to save the devs (Iron Lore closed shortly after a quick expansion pack)—and I'm sure the list could be expanded. The safe answer is to produce a sequel, which can re-use your original resources in art and code, and pander to people's love of an old title to sell a 'new' one.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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June 18th, 2010, 22:35
@magrette:

Troika did buggy games that received poor reviews and they DID make a sequel, Blood Lines, which also was very buggy. And same goes for Hell Gate London. Titan Quest on the other hand is more interesting case, why did it fail really. I guess the devs blamed on piracy, I say bad marketing.

@dteowner:
Yes there is truth on that the sequel is less risky since there is already "free marketing" done, because the people know the game series already. But from players perspective, is it a good or a bad thing? And as you said, there was few of those long going series, like Ultima and M&M, but not that many (90%?) 1nd and 2rd sequels like now. Again, few years back the situation was whole different like in late 90s; there was several new coming RPGs that now are getting those sequels. Maybe it follows same curve that goes up and down every five years or so. But why no sequels to any long going series, like Ultima?

Agree you on the GOG case too, gaming industry has grow in to adulthood and there is now lot of adult players who love nostalgy, but that's whole different story…

PS. Don't say over-glorified worship with Baldur's Gate, it's THE CRPG for me and I've never played any other game so many times through.

Articles about sequels:
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-21539_7…-10391702.html
http://sarcasticgamer.com/wp/index.p…-the-same.html
http://www.pixelvulture.com/index.ph…uels-for-2010/
Last edited by Ergonpandilus; June 18th, 2010 at 22:48.
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June 18th, 2010, 23:12
I would also add that the game engine is already developed so if you go with a sequel significant money doesn't have to be put into that developmental end except for tweaks, etc..

Of course there are always exceptions especially if enough years separate the original from later renditions.

I would also say that the number of 90s games such as BG, Icewind Dale, etc. already had a a tremendous amouunt of material written out and developed from the Pencil and Paper days. This is not to say there wasn't the need for game engines, story development, coding, or implementation for the PC/console but a very detailed background and game mechanics were already well in place.

Thus we have had some tremendous cRPGs.
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June 18th, 2010, 23:41
Well, the engine can be re-used in similar game under different/new franchise, but yes it's easier to do a sequel. But in many cases it doesn't use the same engine than the previous game.

PS. Thief is also one of those good "RPG" series that was started at the same time with Diablo and BG.
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June 19th, 2010, 00:50
ME2 and NWN2 are upcoming? I know ME3 is in development, and I'd be looking forward to NWN3 if it was actually on its way, but I doubt that.

I like sequels, so I don't mind. We got both Risen and Alpha Protocol as original RPGs the last year, which isn't too bad. Don't think we've ever been in a position where we got more than two good, original cRPGs per year (that are not sequels).
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June 19th, 2010, 04:48
It is simple really. No fresh new ideas.
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June 19th, 2010, 07:56
Nearly all of the sequels in the list follow well-known patterns: Established companies follow up on their established IP's (Fable 3, Mass Effect 2, which by the way was planned from the get-go, Gothic 4, Diablo 3), young start-ups try to capitalize on their first investment (The Witcher 2, Two Worlds 2, Drakensang 2), and then there is this one company that made follow-ups of established brands their major business model (NWN 2, Fallout: NV, Dungeon Siege 3).

The only interesting point I see is regarding Dungeon Siege 3 and Deus Ex 3. Both are now Square Enix IP's, and I have the feeling they try to break out of their "for anime fanboys only" image and become more important on the US and European market. Last year's presentation of "The Last Remnant" with a PC demo was already an indicator that they wanted to try out new marketing strategies, but I guess that attempt more or less bombed. As this didn't work, they now took some "western-style" IP's that are pretty cold but still have high recognition value and started a new, double-pronged attack. I have the feeling, this time it will work better for them.
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June 19th, 2010, 12:07
I don't see, why the existence of sequels as such can be conceived as a problem.

With respect to ideas, a sequel can be as good as a new game. With respect to engine and game mechanics it can be better than the first game, since the developers can invest in improvement.

In many game series the second game was better than the first due to the fact that developers learned from the first, like Baldur's gate 2, Drakensang 2, orGothic 2 (with expansion). As non Rpg examples I see: Thief 2 or Tomb Raider 2.

At some point in time it changes from improvement to degradation, either because it's simply milking a brand (the Tomb Raider instalments later than three e. g.) or because developers get over-ambitious in trying new things (like Gothic 3).

But again: very often the second in a series of games is the best one.
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June 19th, 2010, 12:19
The easy answer is: money…….

Now it costs a looooot more to make an AAA game than it did before….. first you need funding.. and say you are making gubbie the master bear RPG….. you'll probably have zero founding, even if you get funding it will take a lot of marketing and press to sell it. However say you are making Mass Effect X, and the prequels sold 18 million copies…. fans can't wait for the next game, it gets free press even without marketing and it will probably sell like butter even if the game mechanics, story, and whatever else are not that great…..
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June 19th, 2010, 13:44
I think they just hate to create new lore , seriously , think what they have give us outside Tolkien's mythology creatures…. rats! yes , this is how far their imagination gets and rats are as common as swords.
Lack of creativity is like a global phenomenon , i recently read somewhere that Hollywood will remake "Millenium" film series , V(visitors) series have been resurrected from the 80's and the short old story even got a 2nd season…we are also experiencing flashbacks in economics, politics , religious bigotry , everywhere …so i don't see why games should be an exception.
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June 19th, 2010, 14:37
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Now it costs a looooot more to make an AAA game than it did before….. first you need funding.. and say you are making gubbie the master bear RPG….. you'll probably have zero founding, even if you get funding it will take a lot of marketing and press to sell it.
Right, but if you came up with something cool (so no master bears), original and good-looking, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have problem finding a publisher.

I feel like I could… like I could… TAKE ON THE WORLD!!!
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June 19th, 2010, 16:20
I don't think it's a creativity problem AT ALL. Creativity is trivial. Practically anyone can come up with a fantasy/SF world that has some interesting twists to it. (If we couldn't, we would all be pretty awful liers!) It's more about risk aversion on both sides of the game.

Companies are spending a truck load of cash on a game. If the game fails then they get hurt pretty bad. An IP will eventually get tired and start to fail, though, so the publishers have to keep inventing new ones. They dump most of the money on the existing, strong IPs so they will make a profit in the short run and put the rest into risky new IPs in hopes of some of them working out well enough to become the sure-thing games three years down the line.

On our end, it's actually kinda similar. Especially for the gamers that don't read reviews or watch the industry all that closely. A game that is a sequal to a game they had fun with is probably going to be fun, too, so it's a good low-risk game. Eventually, though, the series gets to be too much of the same old thing, and you have to take a risk on a new series. (And, if money is really tight or you are just plain old chick… umm… risk averse, then you probably want to buy a game that already has at least one sequel.)

It all works pretty nicely, too, IMHO. Though the buyer has to beware - not all sequals are really sequals.
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June 20th, 2010, 10:47
Classic example is Final Fantasy series, yeah?

BG2 fan girl
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IWD: Orhlanna & Korin
ME: Shepard & Garrus
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June 23rd, 2010, 21:55
But why we haven't then seen Baldur's Gate III? It feel odd not to use such a powerful brand, that the most of the new RPG games are compared to. Is Atari afraid, that gamers have to high expections for it?

Or is Atari saving BG3 for the rainy days?
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