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Columns Make It Again, Man

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 11 Mar 2008.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    http://www.bit-tech.net/columns/2008/03/11/make_it_again_man/1

    Cliff Harris, ex-Lionhead AI coder turned indie developer, talks us through why he thinks sequels are actually a good thing. Is it possible that EA's endless sequels are a good thing? Cliff thinks so, pointing to his experience at Lionhead as an example...

    :idea:
     
  2. zelox991

    zelox991 Wanna-Be-Modder

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    You didn't mention GTA a bit! I was like...eh...wth.......
    but true, i can see some of those remakes/seqeuls can be much better and have a better chance of getting a greater profit.
    The thing is PPL dont want to put money into something that they think was a failure.
    There are so many investments that can be made out there that they dont have to stay with one.
    Good luck.
    nice article.
     
  3. iwog

    iwog Linux cursed

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    Lies Spore will be perfect! But on serious note it generally doesnt make economic sense to reinvest in a "failed" project due to the nature of an IP. I mean why is everyone so excited by the latest Duke Nukem when its not being made by the same people that made the first? Its because it has the Duke Nukem brand and if that brand starts off badly (either a total failure or not that good) it gets tainted and public opinion is semi set about it. So this will in turn increase the risk that people will view it negatively and that subsequent sequels will under perform.
     
  4. culley

    culley New Member

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    I agree some games should have sequels and trequels and even prequels, though some should not, but it's the way in which we live and if people stoped buying things because there will always be a version 2.0, 3.0 & 4.0 which will be better, faster and more intelligent then we would stop inovating.
    Games come out and we play them, if we enjoy them we decide what we liked and what we didn't and what we would like to see in the next title or in a the new title, or we buy the sequel in believing that the game has been improved only to find out that its improvements are minor and are barely noticable from the previous version! and our pockets are £30 lighter :)
     
  5. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    Great article, I find myself agreeing with much of what you've said, but it's hard to shake off the dislike of sequels sometimes.

    Some of my favourite games of all time are sequels (System Shock 2, Baldur's gate 2, Fallout 2, X3 Reunion, amongst others), but some of the biggest disappointments in gaming to me are also sequels that didn't quite improve on their predecessors (or completely failed to meet even the fair expectations of fans) in my eyes - Deus Ex Invisible War, BioShock (for all intents and purposes), Oblivion, Black & White 2.

    Your main point of sequels being part of an iterative process of improvement is something I agree with, but I think there's another factor to the process than just the developers being given the chance by the publisher to try a sequel.

    I think it takes another kind of development 'vision' for a developer to see where they can improve on their IP and actually take on-board what they've learned from the original, while I believe it takes developer-integrity, a lenient publisher or existing funds to make an exceptional game that may not necessarily have mass-market appeal.

    All too often we see sequels that dumb-down the concepts and gameplay elements of the original, for the sake of greater mass-market appeal but to the detriment of what actually made the original great.
    Deus Ex Invisible War and Oblivion are my prime examples for that point.
    It's rare that we see a masterpiece sequel to a mediocre predecessor, while we often see mediocre sequels to masterpiece originals which ride on the commercial success of the original but effectively kill off the IP.

    Obviously I can only speak from the point of view of a games-appreciator and consumer, but I'm aware, at least, that developing games (particularly of the exceptional, intelligently variety) is not as easy as we'd like to believe. Kudos. :)
     
    Last edited: 11 Mar 2008
  6. mrb_no1

    mrb_no1 Pie Eater

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    Second to last paragraph, typo in the first line, 'interative' should maybe read interactive.

    Other than that an interesting article all the same
     
  7. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    says iterative here... :eyebrow:
     
  8. Bluephoenix

    Bluephoenix Spoon? What spoon?

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    iterative is a branch off of the word iteration, meaning a different version of the same root idea.

    so an iterative process is one where new ideas are tried and then improved upon by examining their different variations.
     
  9. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    Absolutely, and that's what Cliff is saying :)
     
  10. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    Yes, I think the point has been made now Tim - you don't need to keep re-iterating it!

    ...I'll get me coat.
     
  11. genesisofthesith

    genesisofthesith complete spanner

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    But you can always take your game format, improve on it and rebrand it as a seperate entity if you need to distance yourself from a dissapointing original. To put the collective knowledge built up from the development (and failure) of a game to waste, when you could make a good game, for a relatively small investment by leveraging the experience gained from the original seems odd, after all sequels draw on the budget of their predecessors and their own individual cost. On the other hand if a team didn't live up to their original promises the first time around it's hardly suprising theres some caution about potentially repeating the same mistake.

    I just hope there are studios willing to fund such efforts though, otherwise we'll be left with an endless parade of 'known investments' such as the 300th incarnation of FIFA, or a generic FPS that plays the same as all the others.

    Theres a difference between making sequels to improve on the original concept, and the cash in sequel that for example just updates the players in a football game, or is a rehash of the previous game in a new setting.
     
  12. Kipman725

    Kipman725 When did I get a custom title!?!

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    nah you are the poor smuck who bought bose....

    anyway some sequals are very good, gta has consistantly got better and so have the halflife games (EP2 is a master peice). I think when people talk about there hatered of sequals they are refering to disapointments like deus ex (although its nowhere near as bad as made out) or endless sports games.
     
  13. widmod

    widmod Member

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    Nothing about gta :wallbash:
    i was really longing for that game
    i think i will buy a new computer when i know the games specs
     
  14. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    It sounds more like an arguement for patches and new versions, rather than sequels.

    Sequels have a place, namely when they carry the story forward. Otherwise it just turns into "Spaceballs II, the search for more money"
     
  15. Brett89

    Brett89 Active Member

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    Usually I'd agree, Doom 3 was too linear for my taste, and the sequel was even worse. Half Life gets better and better with each sequel, and I'm eagerly waiting for GTA IV, I can't say all sequels are bad, because it's not true in my opinion, but it takes a lot more work to get it right.
     
  16. wuyanxu

    wuyanxu still wants Homeworld 3

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    as long as sequels have a purpose (eg, most story forward, or introduce a lot of new stuff to a game universe) it's good.

    but i hate expansion packs, eg, Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium War: Kane's Wraith. talking about the attack of two dots
     
  17. Sandwich

    Sandwich New Member

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    You are completely right, usually the original can't be horrible. It has to have at least some good elements that the developer and can help mature. A shitty and dumb and spoiled child isn't going to mature into some magically amazing world leader, its just not going to happen. A talented genius kid who is applauded and revered isn't going to change much as he gets older; you can only go downhill from perfect, right? The same goes for games, it's gotta have some major draw.
    Some I can think of:
    Fallout -> Fallout2
    Burnout -> Burnout 2, 3
    NFL 2K -> Rest of the Series until killed by EA
    Tomb Raider -> Up till 3 and the one after that
    GTA -> GTA 2 (a huge improvement)
    GTA3 -> Vice City
    C&C -> Red Alert
    Warcraft -> WC2
    ... and probably more

    but this is part of the reason I'm not looking forward to Starcraft 2, even though they've been working hard on it for a long time, I'm pretty sure its not going to be the awesome sequel people are making it out to be; it could just be i never liked starcraft all that much either but i still knew it was "perfect". The same is true for Fallout 3, there is nothing Bestheda could possibly change from Fallout 2 apart from the graphics to make it better, no other combat system or voice acting or view perspective would ever capture the raw nature of Fallout.
     
  18. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    A good point, well made. The difficult bit is discerning the good games that are a bit flawed and could do with a sequel from the games which aren't worth the effort of propping up with v2.0...
     
  19. Tyinsar

    Tyinsar 6 screens 1 card since Nov 17 2007

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    I agree with the author that many of those "almost a hit" games should be given a second chance. The thing I disagree with is calling it "____ 2". If you plan to change it greatly call it something similar but not "____ 2". My reasons are: (1) If version 1 wasn't a hit why would I buy version 2? & (2) If the game has major differences it's no longer the same game. One example of the latter is the Age of Wonders series; I loved the first (which was a lot like the Warlords series) and wanted more but 2 & 3 changed the formula (it was all about your wizard) and play style too much for me to even think of it as the same game.
     
  20. paulwebber

    paulwebber New Member

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    i wander if they use the saying in some computer design offices (especially the gta office??) of 'if it aint broke dont fix it' this clearly works for them all their gta games/sequels are massive hits, even though they are so similar. hell they even went to the same city 3 times!! and are still taking our money for it!! it sounds ludacris when you think about it, but you just cant help but to keep buying them!!
     
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