What the Hay?

adam_head By: Adam

Playing: The Last of Us Remastered     Watching: The Flash


On the last episode of Mega Dads Live we had a discussion about video game franchises. Specifically what makes a good, or worthy, sequel. There is no denying that the video game industry loves it’s sequels. There are multiple franchises that crank out a new edition year after year, and these staple franchises also seem to be the industry’s biggest money makers. Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and various sports franchises all make it to shelves on an annual basis and are met with hungry consumers lining up to put down $60 to get the latest entry in their favorite series.

Personally, I’ve been burnt out on Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty for years, and I attribute that to the fatigue that comes from marginally different takes on tried and true formulas that don’t offer me anything meaningful over last year’s model. I have absolutely NO interest in taking another nose dive 100 feet down into another bed of hay. Seriously. How much f*cking hay can one man jump into?


But there is no denying that we as gamers like to go back to the same well time and again for the same entertainment. I’m guilty of that myself. I own ten Tomb Raider games for crying out loud. There’s just something about wanting to know what we’re getting into that seems to draw us in.

In fact, our love of certain games even has power over our interest in games outside of those franchises. How many people bought The Evil Within because of their love of Resident Evil? Right now I am eagerly awaiting Mighty No. 9 because of the greatness of Mega Man. And just this week I found myself skimming reviews of Dragon Age Inquisition trying to see if there were comparisons to Skyrim, because I’m looking for another game that gives me that same kind of experience.

What the hell, right?

Game development is a business, and these companies know exactly what the consumer will shell out their hard earned money for. There are certain ways for them to make a guaranteed buck by playing to what we want. I hate to say that I’m a sucker for the system, but I am. The trouble is, and the thing that developers need to be careful of, is making sure that these sequels bring something new to the table. Just giving a game a new subtitle and change the location isn’t going to be enough to float a stagnant idea forever. Just look at what happened to Guitar Hero or Tony Hawk if you want proof of that.

It’s not all bad though. The foundation of the games that have come before have done a lot to inspire and push creativity to a very high bar in the medium. If it weren’t for the groundwork laid by Ratchet and Clank we wouldn’t have Sunset Overdrive. If Metal Gear Solid didn’t make such a shockwave we never would have been introduced to Splinter Cell. Great games plant seeds that inspire some truly great new games that otherwise would never have happened.

That’s not say that I don’t truly appreciate new ideas from my video games. In fact, brand new experiences like Journey, or The Last of Us are the breath of fresh air that keeps the medium relevant. I love to be blown away by something that I never saw coming. Games like No Man’s Sky show us that there are still new and refreshing concepts that can brought forward to keep us on our toes. So don’t worry about all the good ideas being taken. For as many piles of hay that we as gamers may jump into, there’s a Shadow of the Colossus that gives us a one of a kind experience that we will never get again.

…Until the HD remake comes out.



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