The video game industry always has, and always will be driven by sequels. Game publishers are always looking for ways to leverage a franchise and turn into something that can be milked for the long haul. For many franchises, this ends up being a good thing. After all, if there was no sequel to Mass Effect, we would have never played one of the best games ever made in Mass Effect 2. If Rockstar did not continue after the first couple Grand Theft Autos, we would have never seen how incredible the franchise is in 3D.
Still, there are some occasions where the attempt to cash in and build a franchise is a bad thing. Some games have absolute garbage sequels that actually cheapen the experience of the original. I understand that publishers are looking to make as much money off their intellectual property as possible, but sometimes it is best to follow the advice of Kenny Rodgers – “you got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run“.
Duke Nukem Forever
This is the mother of all disappointments. We have one of the best games of its time, delayed for years and years, only to come out and flop. I was not too surprised that the game was an utter failure, but I just wish they could have left it alone. The way the development cycle of this game ran its course was clearly the antithesis of what a well-made game should go through, and the results obviously reflected that.
Sure, if they could have launched this sequel in a timely manner it would have been fine, but when the game became the longest running joke in the video game industry, I think the best choice was to let it die and allow Duke’s legacy to live on unscathed.
Crackdown 2 is not a bad game. In fact, just like the first Crackdown, it is actually well above average. However, the problem is that it is just like the first Crackdown. It feels like nothing was changed in the sequel, and sometimes I actually forgot that I was playing a new game. I thought I entered some time flux and I was actually playing the original.
Suddenly, I remembered that time travel is impossible, and I was actually just playing a sequel where the developers seemed to forget that innovation and originality is a thing. Oh well, it was still an okay game, I just do not see any reason for them to bother with a sequel if they were not going to change a single thing.
Any Recent Sonic Game
Seriously, just let Sonic rest already. He just has not adapted well to modern platforms, especially in 3D. That is not to say there is anything wrong with the old Sonic games. In fact, they are fantastic, but there is no reason to keep cheapening his legacy by pushing crappy sequels to market to try to make a buck.
Some games just do not work so well in 3D, and it is clear that Sonic is one of those. There is still a place for 2D Sonic games, and it looked like they were going to finally do right by him and launch a well-made 2D game. Then, they announced it would be episodic, and then they barely released any episodes. They just refuse to leave poor Sonic alone, and frankly, I feel bad for the little guy.
Tony Hawk Ride – Activision thought to capitalize on the peripheral craze by releasing Tony Hawk with a skateboard. It could kill two birds with one stone: revitalize the Tony Hawk franchise and make big bucks on cheap plastic. Instead, it just killed one Hawk.
Perfect Dark Zero – This game is proof positive that a Nintendo 64 shooter does not work well on modern consoles. Everything was stacked against Perfect Dark Zero. First, it was a launch game, which never bodes well. Second, it was a sequel to a game far too long in the making, which makes it impossible to meet expectations.
Guitar Hero – Guitar Hero is an example of a game that did not need to die, it just needed a rest. Activision shoved Guitar Hero in our face so much that we began to hate it, even if they were still quality games. It is too bad because I actually miss playing rhythm games. When Activision hit the four millionth iteration of the franchise, gamers stopped caring.
Sometimes, it is better to cut your losses and move on. This is a lesson the video game industry (and most entertainment mediums for that matter) just cannot seem to learn. When sales start dwindling on a franchise, the solution is not to release more versions of it faster. It is sad to see some great video game franchises have their legacy tarnished by game developers and publishers trying to cash in.
What sequels do you think should not have existed? Let us know in the comments!