'Series Loyalty and Straying from the Path'

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Brother None, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Gamasutra has a fairly good editorial on expectations for series and franchises.<blockquote>Nintendo’s Metroid series changed more considerably when it finally made its way into the foray of 3D on the Gamecube. While past Metroid games had been 2D action platformers using the same viewpoint as its contemporaries, the new Metroid, dubbed Prime by developers Retro Studios, was presented from a first person view, akin to shooters like Quake and Halo.

    When the game was first revealed, many long time Metroid fans demanded and explanation for such a drastic shift in the gameplay. Some even declared that Metroid proper was dead, and this new series was nothing more than a shadow of what 3D Metroid could have been.

    Retro and Nintendo fired back with a simple explanation: both companies felt that Metroid was not defined by its viewpoint or its graphics. Such changes were only cursory and did not take away from what really made Metroid: a sense of exploration, and isolation. Thematically, the argument was air tight. The series still featured heroine Samus Aran as well as her long time enemies the Space Pirates, and of course the alien metroids. Many still condemned the series, and some outright ignore its current iterations.

    For developers, it can be hard to understand what it means for a specific iteration to be part of a series. Many times developers want to take a series in a new direction for the sake of their own sanity, and for the sake of growing the series to be something more. The danger, of course, is in angering fans. Nintendo has been given a tremendous amount of latitude when defining what made a Super Mario game. The series’ progression from Mario Bros., to Super Mario Bros., to even Super Mario Galaxy, the series has time and time again thrown out what it considers the Mario canon and given us a whole new world to explore.


    Perhaps game series with a very consistent make-up from game to game tend to attract fans that expect a specific type of atmosphere and gameplay, and want it over and over again. They consider the series’ synonymous with a certain type of gameplay, story and protagonist. While Super Mario Galaxy seems on its surface like a strong departure from its past entries, each game does still adhere to certain thematic and gameplay related elements far beyond simply ‘jumping on mushrooms with eyes.’

    Maybe the key to giving yourself room for reinvention in later iterations is not to adhere particularly to a given concept from the very beginning. By constantly changing what people expect out of a series, it becomes difficult for gamers to complain that some stale and stagnant gameplay mechanic defines the series, and thus allows developers to continue being creative, and reinventing the series their fans love and desire.</blockquote>Dictatorship of progression. You will conform!

    Link: 'Series Loyalty and Straying from the Path' on Gamastura.

    Spotted on RPGCodex.
  2. goffy59

    goffy59 Still Mildly Glowing

    May 16, 2006
    This seems like a pattern. Am I just an old fart complaining about the future or do the new games really suck this much?
    I'm 19.(very young)
    I would like to see another game like Deus Ex. That FPS/hybrid was amazing. Bioshock was a great game but I felt it was lacking something. After awhile I just got bored of playing it. Am I crazy? I had more fun playing Half Life 2/ep1/ep2. Bioshock truly has amazing style and game mechanics though. Just as I'm playing I feel like the same bad guy is going to pop out, and out of nowhere they respawn over and over again. There should be a limit, specially if you like to explore levels like me. You run out of ammo quite fast. As far as Mario Bro. I'm sorry to say this I know this is like speaking the words of Satan in the gaming community; but I was never really into Mario Bros. I was always a computer gamer. I liked Commander Keen and many other games around that time. Its just console never really cut it for me. I always liked my keyboard and later on the mouse. The Consoles I did like were Atari(which was also my first computer), and Nintendo 64.(oh and mortal combat on sega). Anyone feel what I'm saying?
  3. xdarkyrex

    xdarkyrex Vault Senior Citizen

    Aug 28, 2006
    Chosen perspective is 90% of enjoying something.
  4. 4too

    4too Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 30, 2003
    Which Side Are You On?

    Which Side Are You On?

    Gamasutra scripture:
    This establishes what side of the spin this editorial is recessing towards.

    This curvilinear vector points to an apology for the "BIG SHINY" .
    Or has the cabal of game journalists reinvented the spelling to the ""BIG SHINNY(tm)""?

    Some see FPS shooters that are graphics first,

    with a pause to voice acting in cut scenes,
    that concoct a tale to justify, ... {Insert a Bioware '"paws'' for effect" (tm) here] ... just ,,, just, another killing field.

    Some see FPS shooters that are graphics first,

    with design motives that originate NOT from the game dev's,
    but the frigid, dysfunctional imperatives of marketing dictates.
    The entertainment vehicle is no longer a cooperative effort of 'artists',
    but a product for financial investment. Money first. game last. ... Game over.

    Some see FPS shooters that are graphics first,

    having NO guarantee of success as games.
    No matter how big a lie the marketers and the game journalists tell.
    No matter how DOUBLE SPEAK they reinvent the language, what 'RPG' means.
    No matter how ORWELL-IAN they reinvent game history, FPS's are new, FO would have been a FPS if they only had the 2007 tech in 1997 ...

    Some see FPS shooters that are graphics first,

    as potentially boring
    as any other abused game mechanic when in the hands of corporate "losers'' who can't collaborate with the 'hired help' (the dev's) to create a good game.

    In the POLITICS of the game entertainment industry ... Which Side Are You On?

  5. Morbus

    Morbus Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Aug 16, 2006
    Indeed. There are some games that make me sad because they don't use different perspective. STALKER is one of them. That game would be so much cooler had it been turn based free camera style... It'd totally rock. On combat only, I mean. First person for exploration (with an optional 3rd person camera, which STALKER has with a simple command line) is my favorite camera, but nothing, and I MEAN nothing, beats free camera and turn based combat... Nothing at all...
  6. requiem_for_a_starfury

    requiem_for_a_starfury So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Apr 3, 2003
    Perhaps they should stop milking each franchise to it's death, then they wouldn't feel they're going insane doing the same thing over and over. As much as I liked certain series I'd rather see more original IPs than versions 8, 9 & 10 of the same old thing. Or changing from 3rd to 1st person to spice things up etc.
  7. Kukident

    Kukident Still Mildly Glowing

    Apr 21, 2007
    how the hell should that work????
    it's an fps, not an rpg.. you make dmg by aiming right
    turn based combat would be totally absurd in that game, because the rpg elements are really few...
  8. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    Yeah, the answer to the whole thing: if you're "tired" of making the same thing and want to make something different to preserve your "sanity," make a new IP. Don't use, say, the Fallout IP and then change everything with the excuse that things have to change and the old gameplay/perspective is "stale" or some bullshit like that. New. I. P. When you take an established IP and build a game with it, fans, quite understandably, have certain expectations. The established fanbase probably liked the old gameplay and perspective, hence why they're fans in the first place.

    Even from the perspective of the editorial, Fallout 3 wouldn't be justified. Bethesda isn't taking Fallout 3 in a new direction... they're just conforming it to what they know how to do.

    And at least Nintendo had the decency to acknowledge that the new Metroids were sort of a spinoff. Hence why it was dubbed Metroid Prime.

    Further, you can't say the same rules apply to something like Mario as they would to Fallout. I love the Marios, but they're not deep, in-depth, complex RPGs like Fallout. A comparison (not that the editorial makes one I don't think) between Mario and Fallout, or even Metroid and Fallout, would be oversimplified.

    Plus, this transition from 2D to 3D isn't what Fallout fans are complaining about. No one's saying it absolutely shouldn't be 3D (although a really nicely done 2D game would be a refreshing change of pace from the poorly-implemented Havok physics and oftentimes ugly 3D engines that are everywhere nowadays).
  9. Ashmo

    Ashmo Half-way Through My Half-life

    Jul 2, 2004
    Requiem got it right.

    The problem is not that fans grow to demand the features shared in between previous titles in a series in any successor to the same series, the problem is that developers (publishers?) are unwilling to deviate far enough from the established pattern to be willing to create a NEW series.

    An established franchise like Super Mario Bros. is every major developer's dream. It allows the creation of direct sequels, as well as spin-offs and sequels to those spin-offs. It even allows for spin-offs of spin-offs.

    However, most games don't lend themselves to that pattern. Super Mario Bros. started with the lowest common denominator in terms of what defines the franchise simply because it was a really simplistic arcade game. The franchises' defining moment was a spin-off in the first place (Donkey Kong), not a True Sequel to the first game in a series.

    AD&D is that kind of franchise because it's similarly vaguely defined. Baldur's Gate on the other hand was a series within that franchise and after Baldur's Gate II there would have been no point in calling Neverwinter Nights a sequel of that series -- it wasn't even a spin-off of Baldur's Gate, but rather yet another series belonging to the same franchise.

    Fallout isn't that kind of franchise. Fallout 1 defined various aspects of the game world, the atmosphere and the gameplay rather strictly. Fallout 2 adhered to most of them and therefore established the fans' future expectations. FOT and, to a lesser degree, FOBOS, were spin-offs of that series. Neither could have established its own series without diluting the original series by retconning various aspects (mostly, lore) of it.

    A way FOT and FOBOS could have worked would be to have them set in a yet undefined different part of the same world so that there were no conflicts in the lore (FOT fucked up by claiming an unlikely relation between its story and that of the previous games). Even then there'd have been certain restrictions to the games' artistic style and atmosphere ("retro-future pulp" and "dark irony" being the central points here), which neither game even remotely met.

    The stupidity in this debate is that it is far easier to create a NEW, SIMILAR franchise than to expand an existing franchise without losing or upsetting the fanbase. The only reason to stay within the safe bounds of a franchise whilst trying to come up with something new because the monotony is driving you insane is cowardice -- usually on the side of the financial or marketing department.

    What you get by expanding a franchise by "innovating" like this is a weakly defined, incoherent and bloated franchise. "Homogeneous" is not a four-letter word -- there's no point in changing a franchise so much you can't recognise it any more.
  10. Morbus

    Morbus Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Aug 16, 2006
    So what? It has more RPG elements that, say, Silent Storm, and S2 has turn based combat. Turn based combat is not only for RPG's, and STALKER with tactical combat would rock.
  11. requiem_for_a_starfury

    requiem_for_a_starfury So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Apr 3, 2003
    It isn't so much about vaguely defined, I'd say that can be applied just as much to a simplistic franchise as well, where AD&D worked is that it comes from outside computer gaming with a large selection of varied stories to tell and different settings in which to tell them. The same goes for Star Wars and Star Trek, allowing for a variety of different series that can provide lots of different gameplay types in the same setting.

    I've always said the best story for FOT would of been a prequel. What better setting for a tactical combat game than 'the' war, rather than post war. Saving ghouls, mutants and death claws etc for multiplayer (if you really have to have multiplayer).
  12. LuckyOasis

    LuckyOasis First time out of the vault

    Jun 21, 2007
    How can you say that Fallout 3 is going to be such a huge departure from the series when you haven't even played the game yet? Bethesda hasn't said anything about the story-line beyond the first hour of gameplay. Give them a chance, people. Why can't Fallout 3 be a direct sequel? We don't know the prior history of the original vault dweller, do we? Maybe the original vault dweller's father was visiting DC on business when the war started. After all, with so few vaults around, you might think you would need some sort of military-industrial connection just to get a spot in a vault.

    Also, wasn't it made clear in Fallout 2 that nobody knew who launched the first missile? Fallout 3 has the perfect setting to find out how the war really began.

    And weren't all the vaults supposed to have some sort of social experiment associated with them? Going from 13 (an early vault with one of the first experiments) to 101 (a much later vault on the vault building timeline with perhaps a more sophisticated experiment) might have a lot of cool reasons behind it that you folks are not giving Bethesda even a chance at early credit for.

    Personally, I wish they would have chosen Vault 69... but maybe 101 has something equally cool, and more marketable... or maybe you could find a Vault 69 jump-suit and wear it around. I don't know.

    I loved Fallout and Fallout 2, but if Van Buren were completed and released tomorrow, I would not buy it. I would look at it and say, "That's nice they finally made a sequel, but why is it still turn based? Why do the graphics suck? Why am I so thrilled when I actually see one of the seven talking heads in the game? Why can't I explore this world from the first-person perspective?" I could go on for days. The lack of a compelling story and the relatively poor graphics of the spin-offs caused me to never play them.

    Let's give Fallout 3 a chance. MassEffect looks awesome, and seems to feature similar combat. Can't we stop the negative feedback, be happy to have a chance to once again play in a world we love, and open our minds to what looks like it will be an amazing new gaming experience?
  13. generalissimofurioso

    generalissimofurioso The Hole Time Orderite

    Jun 17, 2007
    So... what I'm reading from this, is that this guy thinks that games don't need series.

    When I play a sequel, I expect improvement and refinement, not needless reinvention for the sake of being something new. Personally, what makes me sick is the lack of innovation in terms of story and characters...

    Can we have a Sci-Fi game that isn't just fending off hordes of things that aren't from here? Please?
  14. Witchlock

    Witchlock First time out of the vault

    Sep 18, 2007
    Re: Which Side Are You On?

    Am I the only one that thinks it is hilarious to attack a editorial that makes extensive references to Metroid by saying that FPS changes are all about graphics? Seriously, if that was true Nintendo would at least try to be graphically competitive on the hardware side of things...

    Of course, this may or may not apply to Fallout. If Bethesda manages to recapture the spirit of Fallout through some type of demonic arts, I'm not going to be totally put off by the view changes.
  15. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    and enter bethtroll #5832, GJ oasis.

    have you completely missed the previous discussions previously about those very points you bring up because they are irrelevant?

    beth is violating the origial vision. thats how we know its not a worthy sequel. really quite simple.

    the very reason i never bought or played metroid prime when i had a gamecube was because it was FPP. they lost sales for going that route. would they have garnered more sales sticking to the side-scroller? nobody really knows but we do know lots of nes players of the side scrollers didnt buy it.

    if you create a vision of a game with certian specific gameplay, and then later in a "sequel" you dismiss and diminish the originals because you are basically saying that this new one is better than the old one or that the old one was so horrible, you had to change it.

    if you feel you must drastically change the future incarnations of the IP, its far better to just make a new IP with the elements and changes you want and then just attach an "inspiried by" tag so people know its going to be similar to in some fashion.

    but that would require brand loyalty rather than money grubbing. which on one side can be forgiveable because the whole goal of these companies is to make a profit no matter what. it just means you wont get MY money.
  16. Ashmo

    Ashmo Half-way Through My Half-life

    Jul 2, 2004
    Oasis, before saying anything else on this topic, I suggest you read up on the definition of what constitutes a sequel in PC games -- no, not what developers CALL a sequel, but what classifies a game a sequel rather than a spin-off.

    Also, I suggest you read up on what the original developers of the original Fallout RPGs listed as the defining aspects of the series. In particular, what the developers of Fallout 1 were looking at when making the damn game in the first place.

    Then, if that doesn't get the point across, please do us a favour and read up on the reasoning why we consider Fallout 3 grossly incompatible with the Fallout series -- there's even a couple of articles on this topic so you don't need to afford the time to search the forum beforehand, which you undoubtedly never did.

    If you find that you can provide well-founded arguments that can logically disprove the point, feel free to post them so we can see whether we are wrong.

    It's called logical debate and there's really no way to cheat in it, so feel free to try and take us on. But please don't provide any further flamebaits -- it'll only end ugly (particularly for you).
  17. cazsim83

    cazsim83 First time out of the vault

    Sep 18, 2007
    Get behind me, Satan!!!!!! :evil:

    --- In all seriousness, what are some franchises that have made drastic changes and been successful? He's already mentioned Mario, which I completely agree with as being a great series even though it's changed much ( I especially enjoyed Super Mario RPG and Paper mario )
  18. Moving Target

    Moving Target Mildly Dipped

    Oct 25, 2007
    The Legend of Zelda series...kind of did. Not so much, though, since the series has been more or less the same since the Gamecube.

    I also loved the Super Mario RPG. Never played Super Paper Mario- I don't have a Wii, just a DS.
  19. DarkCorp

    DarkCorp Ninja Lurker

    Oct 27, 2003
    Blah Blah more stuff about "re-invention".

    As said earlier, if the developers are so adamant about new ideas, graphics, etc etc, make a new damn game. If the devs are so sure about their "new ideas" being the wave of the future and all of this nonsense then no doubt whatever new franchise they invent would be an instant hit.
  20. welsh

    welsh This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 5, 2003
    Reinvention nonsense.

    Seriously Call of Cambat 3- the Russian Front, was the best of the bunch. Battle of the Bulge was weak in comparison. Had sequels followed the model from 3 than sequels would still be produced today.