Series Like Tomb Raider, God of War and Call of Duty Need to Die

Sequels are like flies, they seem to only show up when you least want them to be around and when one shows up you can expect many more to follow. That isn’t to say that all sequels are bad, because they aren’t all bad. Sometimes games were made to be stretched out over multiple games and console generations. There is sometimes a story that needs to be told and it quite simply could not fit into  one game, or new gameplay features that could really enhance the experience and make for a better game. Most of the time, though, a game series will simply go on too long and create a stagnant, dull series of games that come out year-after-year and only hurt the brand.

The sales might be good, the review scores might even stay up there for a while, but in the end, most of these series become so stagnant that it only becomes a bane on the industry as a whole and holds it back from reaching its true potential. We see the same thing in Hollywood, as popular films tend to continue on into trilogies and then from there, we see trilogies become sets of trilogies or reboots. I can’t think of a single person who needed a reboot of the Spider-Man films so close to the last trilogy, just like I can’t think of that many reasons why Tolkien’s novel, The Hobbit, needed to be broken up into three separate films, other than to make more money. After a while, the consumer picks up that they are being milked for all that they are worth and further releases only taint the original that much more.

While Tomb Raider has seen almost universal acclaim and a marked growth in the character of Lara Croft from just eye candy to a fully-realized character, why continue milking Lara Croft for all that she is worth? Crystal Dynamics could have just as easily worked on an entirely new series of games with a female heroine that followed in the same basic tradition as Tomb Raider. It would come without the baggage of being called Tomb Raider or the sordid history of Lara Croft the pop culture sex symbol that needed to be remade into an actual human being instead of walking eye candy.

The name Call of Duty might still sell a game on the name alone, but the basic product has gotten to be so stale and recycled that what originally made the Call of Duty games so unique and fun seems to be lost in its own hype. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was nothing short of amazing as a new course for the series, looking to modern times and modern conflicts and providing a really fun single player experience and a legendary multiplayer experience. Every game in the series since then has tried to recapture that and has failed on many levels, even if more and more consumers are buying the games.

God of War was a fun hack-n-slash series on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 that saw the muscle-bound hothead Kratos go to war with mythological gods. At the time it was a breath of fresh air for hack-n-slash fans and did a lot of cool new things, like using QTEs in a fun and unique way. God of War: Ascension is a prequel to the God of War games, elaborating on a story that we didn’t really need to have elaborated and creating an interesting plot hole in making the gameplay more advanced even though it is a prequel.

Trust me, I understand the arguments that can be made; series make money, gamers come to know and trust brands, but then how do you explain the success that Naughty Dog has seen? They made a few games in the Crash Bandicoot series before stopping, the same for the Jak and Daxter games and will hopefully discontinue the Uncharted games soon and go off on a high note. They are launching the much-anticipated “Last of Us” this year and have shown that taking risks and making good games is all that you need to do.

The rest of the industry needs to catch up with them and others who do the same and just focus on making good games, not milking fans for all that they are worth. Series like Tomb Raider, God of War and Call of Duty have run their course and made their money, it is time to move on.

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  1. An excellent article and spot on. With more options for funding like kickstarter, more games will be made for gamers, not shareholders.

  2. Well one may say a series need to die. It’s a give that real jounalism is already dead. Say or do anything to get website hits. It’s all about the money. Professionalism my booty.

  3. What would “killing” these franchises really achieve though? There’s always other games available, and whether these particular franchises exist or not won’t have any effect on that.

    Not all series become “stagnant”, and almost all of Nintendo’s franchises are living proof of that. Mario has been around for over 30 years, and the latest console release Galaxy is considered one of the greatest games of all time – as is 1985’s Super Mario Bros.. Why? Because games evolve, which is what a successful sequel can do. Not giving series a chance beyond a couple of sequels benefits no one.

    On a side note, the last Tomb Raider game prior to this year’s instalment was released back in 2008. I think it was due a reboot, and it worked out great. Saying that Crystal Dynamics could have labelled the new game something else makes no sense – why does it matter as long as the game is great? Why can’t Lara be allowed to evolve along with the game?

    1. I think that the best example that I can provide for this is George Lucas.

      George Lucas never grew as a filmmaker and became the guy who did Indiana Jones and Star Wars. I don’t think that I need to say anything more about Star Wars and quality, do I?

      Gaming is still a relatively new medium and we are already seeing Star Wars-like stagnation as a widespread thing. That is not good, not good at all.

  4. So three beloved, acclaimed and massively popular franchises need to die? Fuck off you entitled cunt. If anything needs to die it should be the writer of this useless article, you don’t have to kill off highly successful franchises just for new franchises to exist, they can co-exist you know, damn imbecile.

  5. lol your site needs to die. tomb raider reboot is amazing, cod needs real fresh ideas and gow 4 will probably melt our minds so much that its unreal.

  6. “Editors who troll game franchises simply to get traffic need to die.” See? I can use your same simplistic baiting techniques and share a random opinion.

    Have you thought through your argument? How are these other developers going to “catch up” if they cannot expect the same unit volume to pay for those costs? If a major franchise requires 50 million to be competitive and garner largely positive reviews from the gaming press, what new franchise is going to step up and do that? There are several attempts every year, the problem is consistent, customers are not purchasing them as they can’t take the risk of blowing 65 bucks for a flop. Although 65 dollars feels like a lot, in adjusted dollars from 15 years ago when we played Nintendo games, it is about the same cost.

    The three series you mentioned are responsible for billions of dollars of revenue which sell consoles allowing independent developers to have an audience. If these franchises went away, new ones don’t take their place. They supersede the predecessors. Look at a case example. Let’s rewind 10 years. “Medal of Honor, Metal Gear, and Quake need to die”. Well… here we are, 10 years later, they aren’t “dead”, however a competitive product in most cases has superseded them and dominate the market they were in. If you remember correctly, Quake 3 Arena was bragging they sold 50,000 copies in the first 48 hours. This last month, Tomb Raider sold 1,000,000 copies in the same 48 hours. If mega franchises go away, they don’t just move out of the way for the competition leaving independent developers to step up. They actually alter the general populartity of the whole marketplace and users will turn to other entertainment markets such as Mobile, handheld or other mediums.

    Don’t believe me? You’re a “Combat Sports Journalist” I use quotes because it seems you are more of an opinion caster than a journalist from the articles I’ve read. Where is boxing? Ask someone on the subway to name two heavyweights that have been in the ring in the last year. They wont’ know the answer. If you would have asked that question 15 years ago, people could have mustered probably four names even though they are not avid fans. No one cares about boxing because the big stars have “Died” as you put it. New champions replaced them, but fewer people are interested in them. Instead, a new, more modern contact sport is taking it’s place. The audiences have slowly lost interest in the “primary” acclaimed sport and now seek entertainment elsewhere.

    Articles such as this, which are meer trolling rhetoric used to have compelling headlines are what is making me rethink reading this site. I’m sorry if I’ve insulted you, I’m merely pointing out details using the same extremes you often share.

    If I were drafting this article, I would have turned my attention towards the next generation of consoles. It is long standing, that new franchises have the highest chance of success if they are released during the early days of every new console cycle. I would be encouraging developers to stay focused and work long and hard to deliver unique IP within the first six months of the next console cycle.

  7. Who is this attention seeking whore writing such nonsense article ? You Retard Motherfucker deserve a high five on your face…”WITH A CHAIR”. ! Go back to sucking on your mama’s tits days and get a life. LOL Your life is a total waste Dick Walse.Tomb Raider will keep on raiding tombs for years to come, bullets and bombs will keep on blasting in COD and Kratos will keep on hacking and slashing gods.Its you who needs to die and not our beloved franchises. Just kill Yourself mate,do it 😀

  8. Who is this attention seeking whore writing such nonsense article ? You Retard Motherfucker deserve a high five on your face…”WITH A CHAIR”. ! Go back to sucking on your mama’s tits days and get a life. LOL Your life is a total waste Dick Walse.Lara will keep on raiding tombs for years to come, bullets and bombs will keep on blasting in COD and Kratos will keep on hacking and slashing gods.Its you who needs to die and not our beloved franchises. Just kill Yourself mate,do it 😀

  9. I thought the article might be troll bait, as the title certainly was, but I really do agree with the main points. It creates stagnation and prevents us from receiving new IP, and making strides in the medium overall.

    1. @twitter-265654799:disqus

      “Adding endless sequels because they know some mindless fans will buy
      solely based off the franchise name (almost everyone is guilty of at
      least thinking about doing this)”

      Not trying to sound like Seinfeld but who are these ‘mindless gamers’?

      “The fact that the comments here often resort to outrage and name calling kind of proves his point”

      Oh kind of the way you just called people Mindless? Kind of the kettle calling the pot black IMHO.

      Sure sequelitus reached a new paramount this generation, mostly due to the shrinking game market and the publishers wanting to retain revenues with sure winners and not take chances with new IPs.

      This wasn’t true for all publishers, Uncharted was a new series that was born this generation. For all intensive purposes Battlefield with it’s destruction added enough to the mix that they were able to re-use old maps and provide a new unique game-play experience. David Cage still hasn’t made a sequel yet (as far as I know).

      Certain games are just destined to bring about sequels. Uncharted is just a modern representation of the old school serials that people used to flock to the movies and see. Its the same mentality that brought us Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter and to some degree even Tolkien’s great works. The fact is that creating a sequel in and of itself is not a bad thing. There may be some bad motivations behind it, but with this generation being such a money loser for many developers I wouldn’t think that all of them are just looking to cash in on names. If you have a solid IP it doesn’t help to wear it thin. Rebooting Lara Croft was a good move overall, as it gives the developers a new platform to create content from that isn’t hamstrung by her PS1/PS2 days. Flushing out more of Kratos’ story in GOW:A may seem superfluous but those of us that love Kratos’ kick assness aren’t complaining, the multiplayer is actually a nice change of pace from what we are typically getting.

      Honestly if there is any one franchise that deserves to be on this list it is Call of Duty. They have proven gamers will buy annualized versions of their games regardless of how little innovation has taken place between versions.

      1. I don’t consider mindless in the context I meant it in to be purely an insult – besides that, my comment has nothing to do with the author. He didn’t insult anyone, but he’s getting insulted. I mean that they are not thinking about whether or not the game will be good, but they are just buying it based off the fact that they liked one of the prior ones.

        I never said creating a sequel was a bad thing – in fact, I said that developers could be working on creating sequels to games that need it. Working on one franchise and putting out 7, 8, 9 titles and then rebooting continuously is what I believe helps to kill innovation (with the exception of series like Final Fantasy which is an effective reboot everytime…or was until they decided to churn out sequels there too to save money.)

        Mass Effect is another good example, so is Dragon Age. Those worlds are huge and they’re in a completely different time and universe, so they can keep making games within the franchise, but they’re smart to play out one story and then let it go to move on to another character. Regarding Uncharted, as the author mentioned, Naughty Dog is one of the few that do well with knowing when to stop and not being afraid to take a new risk anyway.

        I think it would be better for devs certain series like Lara Croft or GoW to work on a similar game – maybe even in the same universe, but give people a new character and they’ll be able to innovate without players complaining about how much their favorite game series has changed.

          1. Most people don’t have the patience to hear others out and just scroll down to bottom and start yelling obscenities. That or they read it without an open mind in the first place.

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