In May 2014, Strauss Zelnick of Rockstar Games gave hundred of fans hope for the future of their favourite series, describing the Red Dead, Bully and LA Noire properties as “permanent franchises”. In other words, having thrown each at the wall and observed that they stuck, the studio considers releases in those intellectual properties to be more or less guaranteed success.
Are you happy to foster an industry that decides what to produce based solely on ratings and is willing to theoretically provide endless streams of almost, but not quite, entirely the same content rather than taking a chance on an original venture? Sequels have an understandable habit of gradually improving graphically but deteriorating in intellectual quality. After all, there’s only so many times you can beat a cash cow, or flog a horse. I can’t think of a nicer-sounding idiom to describe the phenomenon - is that no coincidence?
But then again, if we like something why wouldn’t we appreciate more of it? If a sequel is more-or less guaranteed to please us and in turn secure a decent return for a studio, who’s losing out there? The stand-out original experiences tend to come, of course, from indie studios who have less loss to consider than their more expensive corporate counterparts. And we’ve seen some astounding takes on gaming conventions, as well as many titles that change them altogether. Some can just be too wacky to enjoy for some of us, naturally, but the experience of trying something entirely new is a uniquely tantalising and irreplaceable one.
What do YOU think, you attractive Game-Debate supremos, you? Is there nothing as valuable in gaming as an trailblazing new IP to boldly go into, or are you more than happy to play every Final Fantasy and Zelda entry because you can’t get enough of the worlds you’ve built a thorough love for, thanks to continuous instalments? What is the best game legacy and why is it important? What's the finest example of games exploring new frontiers and expanding their potential?