Neverending Video Game Sequels, Prequels, Reboots, and Spinoffs

Most Anticipated Games Of 2012

Question: What game(s) on our featured image wasn’t a sequel? The games shown are the 2012’s “Most anticipated games“.

When I began to write this article, I had no idea where to go. Without an immediate assignment and the biggest news stories of the month behind me, I was left with a blank page staring me in the face. To make matters worse, it was laughing at me. I had no idea what to write. I scrolled through past articles. I searched but found little consolation in what I found. I played a game or two, and still the page staring back at me blankly. When my gaze finally broke from the hypnotic nothingness that seemed to express exactly how I felt, my eyes found themselves fixed on my game library. I walked over and let my hand drift over the cases. Collector editions. Box sets.

And then I was angry. If ever there was a winter of my discontent, this was it. Nearly every title on both selves had a secondary, tertiary, quaternary copy with the same name and a number stamped behind it. Those without numbers had some pointless epitaph representing a random spinoff. I couldn’t help but be angry with myself for the investment I’d made into so many pointless sequels, prequels, spinoffs, you name it. The list went on and on. It was like a bad dream and I was stuck in an endless cycle of repetition with no promise of reprieve. God of War, its sequel, the next sequel, two spinoff games, Far Cry whatever, Halo 7, Assassin’s Creed 8, whatever numbering scheme Nintendo has managed to avoid, God only knows how many Call of Duties.

What have we as gamers allowed to happen to us? Not only are we content on making whatever Call of Duty Activision publishes a smash hit, we’ve decided that quality simply doesn’t matter. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you played a good, not great, just good Need for Speed game? How about Assassin’s Creed? We were content to dump loads of cash into Ubisoft’s open pockets every year for spin offs that did nothing for the Assassin’s series while we waited for a better conclusion. We’ve been just as content allowing series like God of War and Halo go on so long that they have to resort to prequels just to find source material they hadn’t already used. Even then, the well was running pretty dry.

If you think I’m being too hard on games, name the last new game that wasn’t immediately labeled a ‘new series.’ Here’s an easier one, name a ‘new series’ that actually impressed you. Try naming five. I couldn’t either.

Developers are simply lazy. They know that they’ll get paid for not taking any risks. And it’s not their fault; we’re the ones to blame. We’re sinking millions into series that show no growth or development. I hear you calling me out because the newest Shoot Something 12 adding a new feature or weapons class in co-op. Good for you. Now think about my favorite quote; “People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty; they drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”

We seem to really have developed a taste for dirt.

So now I’ve made you mad? Good. You should be. You should be mad that you’ve spent hundreds on games that are so repetitive, even the publishers have stopped bothering to tell you their next game is new or original. You should be mad that you are considered a number on a sales chart and not a paying customer. You should be mad because every major publisher has filing cabinets full of press releases ready to address whatever grievance we have, yet seem to have no solution.

We apologize for the inconvenience, it seems some of you can’t connect to games announced as playable during migration… We expect services to be back up on Thursday morning…We’ll provide status updates throughout the day.” – Ubisoft. February 8th, 2012

We at 2K Games extend our most sincere apologies to anyone who was offended, intimidated, or forced into emergency biohazard quarantine due to the overzealous actions of people speaking on our behalf.” – 2K Games. June 30th, 2011

At launch, our registration and login systems were crushed by gamers… We have now fixed the registration and login systems, but we have found that the greater than expected demand is crashing servers. We’re immediately deploying multiple additional servers to beef up the system. We are also going to temporarily limit access… We’ll look to increase access to greater numbers of users as soon as possible.” – Activision. November 10th, 2011

This is an issue we care about deeply… we will respond to it in a fair and timely way… We’re already working hard to do that… [we are] hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey… You’ll hear more on this in April.” – Bioware and EA. March 21st, 2012

We’re sorry, but please be sure to buy all the downloadable content we have planned for the series! Better yet, forget all about your criticism because we throw you five dollars’ worth of DLC your way.* (*We still expect you to pay full price for the rest AND to stop complaining because we gave you that on-disc content for free.)

We cannot simply purchase every game in a series without question and expect the product to improve. It’s simply not how the world works. Gamer’s have as much a responsibility for quality control as developers and publishers. If we as gamer’s want to see genuine ingenuity and the end to the never ending stream of sequels, prequels, reboots, revamps, and spinoffs, now is the time to change. Furthermore, we must be the ones who change.

How, you ask? How do we express our dissatisfaction to multi-million dollar publishers and developers? We use the one thing they need from us; cold, hard cash.

Gamer’s need to put their money where their mouths are. You cannot expect change without sacrifice. If you want better games with new and original content, we can’t buy every Call of Duty that hits the market. We have to pass on the next God of War, no matter what the rating. We simply need to make the statement that we’re tired of the paradigm of incompetent, incomplete, and irrelevant development. We are absolutely not going to allow publishers get away with false, deceptive, misleading, marketing campaigns that consist of smoke, mirrors, and lies.

There’s your solution, folks. It’s that simple. If you’ve read my articles, you’ve seen this coming. The easy way out is to stop spending. This is the first time you can do nothing and change everything. If you must, invest in companies that deserve your money. You’ve heard me mentioned thatgamecompany; buy their games. Their trademark is originality. They’re not alone, but I’m not here to sell you something. I’m here to solve a pandemic, and make no mistake; we are in a trench war against the gaming community.

I’ll leave you with this. It’s one of my favorite speeches. Not everything will be directly applicable to the situation at hand, and I’ve made cuts while preserving the heart off the subject. I hope it motivates you. After all, we’re all in this together.

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression… We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s… as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have… my TV… and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot… All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING… My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’… Things have got to change.”

Author: Jimmy Sharp

Dylan Zellmer

I split time between games journalism and making video games. My love of it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), fitness and my family define me otherwise.
  • I kinda get the impression everyone is afraid to start something new on the verge of the next generation consoles. This doesn’t excuse the past little bit…but if I were them, I wouldn’t want to start something up just to reformat everything to keep it current at the end of the year. Hopefully the turn of the console generation brings about a little more innovation and creativity. Although I find myself guilty of enjoying how nice a lot of these games are being touched up in the latest edition.

    • We wouldn’t have so many sequels if us gamer’s weren’t guilty of feeding the beast. Jimmy does make a fantastic argument, and it’s possible that the gaming community may be as disenchanted with this revelation as they were with the ending of ME:3. If that’s the case Microsoft may be swimming in hate come next gen.

      • I’m not trying to contest his point at all, he is absolutely right. But I think one of the main reasons we feed the beast is because there is nothing new worth jumping out for. Some of the stories are definitely worth following up on and keeping up with the sequels/prequels and I get that, and yes, in general they get better (or should) each time. I just don’t think they are in a position to toss out new lines and stories at this point, because for the most part, the newbies aren’t exactly major revenue streams. And lately, it seems like they’ve been striking out on the things they do try. It’s a vicious cycle and I’m afraid both sides are adding to the destruction. While I’m upset about the soon to be passing on of my PS3, I hope the new round invigorates the gaming world.

        • FreshPrinceofBTOWN

          New console generations give a bit more freedom to new IP’s. Many interesting things may have been held back once devs got hold of Playstation and Next Box dev kits. Some new ideas (if not all) may have seemed like a better fit for a more powerful OS.