Up For Debate - Are Publishers Rushing New IPs and Damaging the Success of Sequels?

Written by Jon Sutton on Tue, Feb 7, 2017 10:00 AM
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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!

Have poor new IP damaged sequel's successes?

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10:25 Feb-08-2017

This article brings up a great point and I very much agree. The publishers must realize that they must make something that is worth our money. With so many games releasing people wont just buy anything thrown at them thankfully. It also makes publishers think twice before making crappy releases or else they will suffer long term damage to their name and franchises. EA and Ubisoft have been an example of this mainly for the years 2014-2015.

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10:38 Feb-08-2017

Well you make a good point but people still buy the crap games, so when will the carp games stop.

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11:53 Feb-08-2017

True but I believe that the gamers are learning and becoming more suspicious and vigilant of such releases little by little. Or at least I hope so :)

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05:26 Feb-08-2017

WD 2 is much improved and fun to play, based on my personal experience. at least the main character is not a gloomy-shady individual anymore

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13:50 Feb-08-2017

Well,that was one of the reason i actually like the first-the character.No talk,no funny business,just straight to the point.The new one...eehhh-smart mouth-know-it-all-millennial-hipster.No,thanks.
And i played it for about 4 to 5 hrs on PS4-an improved gameplay,true,but the story didn't grab me at all.But to each his own.

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04:26 Feb-09-2017

yeah, but the main guy is too serious, it felt like playing altair or master ezio. and true, the main protagonist on WD 2 is sooooo hipster. but i guess ubisoft just try to counterpart almost everything that Aiden Pearce was, into somewhat Anti-Aiden Pearce. to me it's somehow refreshing and felt new

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19:26 Feb-07-2017

If companies keep investing millions into DRM and Denuvo instead of getting groundbreaking new ideas this is what happens. Poor sales for decent games. Gamers just don't appreciate Denuvo and other DRM crap well.

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19:01 Feb-07-2017

In defence of TitanFall 2, it was really the timing of it's release that led to it's unfortunate demise. Really got clobbered between B1 and COD: IW. Had it sold anywhere apart from the fall season it would've most probably found many gaming machines to call home. But alas!
As for the others, I dunno... On one (and from what I've read) Watch Dogs 2 and Dishonored 2 really improved from their predecessors. On the other and they didn't sell well. So is it the publisher's fault if good.. nigh great games don't get picked up? It's a tough spot to be in but I firmly believe that smart marketing & release date are two key elements that decide a game's fate. I won't include COD in this conversation since it is a rare title that always sell well despite the critical response...
As unfortunate as it is for these great titles for not selling well, I think (hope!) the publishers have learnt a thing or two about marketing and releasing their games in the market. Taking a cue from the film industry in this aspect may do some good. Anyhow, I really hope these games sell well in the long run so it's devs get some satisfaction for their hard work :)

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18:23 Feb-07-2017

Yes, because games are too cheap. Doesn't matter if you like it or NOT, 60$ is too little for modern game and games have been 60$ for way too long, while their cost to produce has increased dramatically and the people that buy them have barely increased(in general, I know there are some exceptions).

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15:17 Feb-07-2017

"oh wow this game was pure garbage cant wait for the sequal" said no man ever.

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13:12 Feb-07-2017

There should rather be an article about how devs'/publishers' greed ruins (potentially) good franchises...

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13:49 Feb-07-2017

That makes more sense!

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21:58 Feb-07-2017

they ruined the division so badly

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12:31 Feb-07-2017

Titanfall 2 actually owes its bad sale to sub-bar marketing and a bad release date. It was released in the same period with Battlefield 1, which is a leading IP for EA, again, by EA. It is all around a bad marketing for a very good game.

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13:44 Feb-07-2017

Completely agree, TF2 does right everything the first one did, and also right a lot of what it did wrong. TF2 was stuck with a terrible launch date, with BF1 and CoD nearby and was noticeably outsold by two inferior games (yes I got all 3).

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11:44 Feb-07-2017

Does that even matter as long as the game is good. I just make sure I like a game before I buy that's all. That prevents a lot of issues like complaining about the game.

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10:56 Feb-07-2017

What exactly is the article trying to say about Dishonored 2? Sure the PC port was shoddy, but the game itself was fantastic, and certainly not a retread of the first one. I guess the author must've chosen Corvo and played it exaclty like the first.
Watch Dogs 2 and Titanfall 2 really improve on their predecessors too

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10:52 Feb-07-2017

Huh? Dishonored 2 was a fantastic game, an improvement on the already amazing first one in every way. I don't see how it relates at all to CoD 27 or whatever we're at now.


And does Battlefield 1 REALLY reinvent the series? It still plays, feels, and controls like Battlefield, even has the standard 50 dollar season pass.

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10:50 Feb-07-2017

BF1 reinvented the series??? Really?

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10:15 Feb-07-2017

I actually like Watch Dogs 2, the storyline is still kinda ok but the character development is... good

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10:55 Feb-07-2017

WD2's story/characters was a mixed bag for me. On one hand it took the Cyberpunk culture undertones from the first one and went full 80's with it.


On the other, that phase ended for a reason, lol.

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