[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]he movie industry has seen a sharp decline in the number of original movies. Simultaneously, the largest box office winners are generally movies that are sequels, remakes, reboots, or ‘based on a true story’. Hollywood has discovered what people like, and what people like is what they already know. The gaming industry has recently followed suit announcing and releasing a huge number of HD remakes, remasters, and sequels. In fact, it has become so uncommon that an original game become an industry powerhouse that, in recent years, there are really only a few to name. The Last of Us is one title that instantly comes to mind, an artfully told story, with visuals and gameplay to boot. In fact, vastly more games have a 2, 3, 4, “remastered”, HD, etc. after them than do not. This shows that the game industry is following in Hollywood’s footsteps.
While it’s true that franchises endure and succeed for a reason, an argument can also be made that gamers’ thirst for HD classics and the next franchise installment is slowly but surely degrading the creativity of the video game industry. If studios become so financially secure in the sales of remakes and sequels, there will be little incentive for them to take risks on games with original storytelling, ideas, and characters. This process has already started. One only need look at two of the industries giants: Ubisoft and 2K. Ubisoft is so tied up in its franchises that it only dedicated resources to one original game in the last year, Watchdogs. The rest have been from the Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, and Tom Clancy franchises. 2k similarly seems solely focused on its sports franchises and Borderlands.
The intention here is not to put down franchises, only be wary of the effect they tend to have on the industry. A machine that runs off sequels will eventually stop creating original content altogether, and eventually, that machine will start to get stale and where will that leave us? The indie game sector has been blossoming as of late, arguably a direct result of the sequel/remake craze with the big studios. But, these small scale developers cannot compete financially with the juggernauts who simply have more resources. It should be our duty as the gaming community to support those original titles we enjoy, and think twice about purchasing a sequel we’ve heard bad reviews for, but bears the namesake of a beloved game.
In short, if Title X was amazing, and you’ve heard Title X: 2 wasn’t good, kill your darlings. Don’t buy it out of nostalgia. This can help spur creativity in the gaming industry.