There’s been a number of high-profile failures from the AAA crowd over the last 12 months, and there are two things which link a large chunk of them - they are excellent sequels to disappointing new IP.
There’s an old adage from the wisest sage of them all, Kevin Costner, that says if you build it, they will come. Now, Kev was talking about a baseball stadium but it’s applicable in a wider context. Essentially, if you make a good enough game with a large enough budget, people are going to buy it and they’re going to play it. And for years that was true. Kevin was right. But that all flipped on its head when had a number of high-profile cock-ups. Not disasters, but definitely disappointments. I’m talking Watch Dogs, Titanfall, Destiny, etc. These are games bought by millions upon millions of people that, it would be fair to say, didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations.
Wind forward a few years and we’ve seen developers and publishers go back to the drawing board for some of these games. They know the originals sold great but they weren’t rapturously received. However surely if they made the sequels good, the fans would come flocking once more?
Apparently not, because Watch Dogs 2 and Titanfall 2 have seen notably poor sales despite stronger reviews. Titanfall 2 in particular got several game of the year awards. It revamped the multiplayer and delivered one of the best single-player shooter campaigns in years, addressing all the criticism thrown the original's way. Yet less than a month after its launch, Titanfall 2 was available for 50% off on EA’s own storefront. The logical conclusion to be drawn from this is that fans are once bitten, twice shy. They’ve been stung once by these franchises and they don’t want it to happen again, particularly to the tune of $60. Could this be the fate that awaits Destiny 2?
This isn’t even wholly applicable to games with disappointing originals either; there’s a general malaise affecting all numbered sequels. Are we finally getting tired of being given the same game with a fresh lick of paint? Dishonored 2 and COD: Infinite Warfare say hi. It seems gamers have collectively raised their standards, needing something genuinely fresh to justify the outlay. You only have to look at how games like Resident Evil 7 and Battlefield 1, which reinvent their respective series, have proven to be huge success while Titanfall 2 and Watch Dogs 2 weren’t.
So what do you think, have we collectively had enough of unadventurous sequels? Or is this a simple of cash of publishers rushing out the original games and then it comes back to bite them with the sequel? Let us know your thoughts!