A guide to practicing safe sequels

There are eight “Assassin’s Creed” games in the main series, along with 11 more games that are related to the universe. The release of “Advanced Warfare” marks the 11th “Call of Duty” game. “Halo 5” will be the 10th game in the series when it comes out. “Madden NFL” has had a yearly release since 1988.

Each and every one of those “Assassin’s Creed” games has to include the fight between the Assassins and the Templars and the Animus. Halo has to have Master Chief and Cortana.

Innovating is much more difficult when you’re weighed down by theww baggage of earlier games. It is difficult to make something out of the box when you are forced to create something to fit in a box.

Countless reviews for the new “Assassin’s Creed” came out last week, and critics said a lot of unflattering things. The game is broken because of how rushed the release was. The story was boring and the progression wasn’t captivating. The new “Halo: Master Chief Collection” is really not that new since it’s just a re-release of the old games (a trend that is cool for archival purposes and cool for publishers who can charge people for an old game with a new paint job). Plus it has tons of matchmaking problems in the multiplayer—“Halo”’s number one draw.

This is a big deal. Repeat games cause people to get tired of the same schtick. The series becomes cheapened in people’s minds. The developers are slaving over copying and pasting the same game while also trying to make it new and exciting. It must be difficult and heartless.

Sales will inevitably go down, forever tarnishing the game series and, in some cases, forcing the development studies to shut down—real people might lose real jobs.

Nintendo is great at making sequels that don’t feel like just a copy-and-paste with a few new bullet points. I love “Super Mario Galaxy,” “Super Mario 3D World,” “Mario Kart 8” and “The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.” I give them props for taking a few years between each release in the series so that people have time to breathe. That said, even with this extended time to come up with something creative, these game developers really don’t go outside of their box often. How many “Zelda,” “Mario,” “Kirby” and “Pokemon” games can you possibly make? My god, the answer is a lot. Like, a lot.

Nintendo has improved in the last year in terms of trying new games: they published “Bayonetta 2,” they’re making a team-based shooter called “Splatoon” and they’re coming out with “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker,” the cutest game ever. This innovative bevy of new games was almost non-existent during the Wii era because of how damn popular that stupid console was. Everyone and their moms (and their grandparents) bought one of those things.

Now, Nintendo has not met its financial projections the past few fiscal quarters. The company has recently realized that it is in a tight spot. Luckily, this dire situation has energized Nintendo  to really experiment.

Ubisoft, EA, Activision and the other big publishers are making sequel after sequel because they sell. Sequels are partly so popular because development in the HD era is incredibly expensive.

The amount of time, talent, (wo)manpower and money (the big one) to make a AAA game is staggering. But they’re also so popular because we, as consumers, keep buying the same shit over and over again. We are happy to see what they changed in the newest release rather than expecting something completely new and exciting.

The rise of HD gaming happened around the same time as the ubiquity of the Internet. As a result of this, indie games have been fueling the “renaissance” of sorts happening in the industry.

Overall, the indie game market may be the antidote to our sequel problem. Nowadays, so many garage developers are creating the games that they want to make and aren’t constrained by the market; people are able to make what they want and release to whoever wants it. It has allowed games like “Octodad” and “Journey” to come out.

So go out and support new and exciting ideas—not just the safe and familiar.

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John Mendiola is the Web Master and an Arts & Entertainment Reporter for the Trinitonian. He is a senior computer science and communication major from Houston, Texas (though originally Manila, Philippines). This is his 4th year working for the newspaper.