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RoKKeR
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(02-26-2013, 09:11 PM)
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Yes, it is a random CliffyB blog post, but I thought it was really well written and provides some interesting discussion. Love him or hate him, he brings up some great points about sequels in the gaming industry.

Link to blog post

Here’s the problem with video game sequels, as opposed to linear/film ones.

In a game, the users are used to the cadence of the experience. However airtight each game mechanic is. They are, quite literally, learning a new “language” with each new game that they’ve never laid their hands on before. (Case in point: From Gears 1 to Gears 2 we changed the firing speed of the shotgun by 50ms. Barely the blink of an eye for most people. However the die hard fans who loved that weapon felt it immediately. You can’t fool them. Muscle memory is a powerful thing.)

In a sense, if they like the game, they’re experiencing what is most likely the mental equivalent of falling in love while under duress. They’re discovering a whole new world of mechanics, characters, sounds, musical themes. If they love what they’re interacting with then that love runs EXTREMELY deep and is a very powerful thing. Think about your first visit to Rapture, or the Mushroom Kingdom, or Hyrule.

Now, remember, that a great video game often takes years to produce. So the time between your first experience with the original and the long awaited sequel can feel like forever. You read every preview. You salivate over every screenshot. You hear scary rumors, about how character X may die, or weapon Y may fire differently, but you attempt to have faith in the developer. (Now, imagine the pressure that the folks at 343 had taking over the reigns of the Halo franchise from Bungie…no pressure.)

I like to cite the example from the TV show “The Sopranos” now about Tony’s mother and her relationship with Tony’s dad. By all accounts, Tony’s father was a bad man, a criminal who, like Tony, wasn’t a very good husband and father. However, upon watching the first two seasons of that show you see Tony’s mother Livia as she recalls her relationship with the guy as if he was perfect. “He was a saint.”

No, he wasn’t a saint, you’re just remembering the highs. It’s the same reason why one of the most powerful spam/malware attractors on the Internet are “What’s your ex doing now?” Because when you break up with someone you romanticize the highs, the sweet sweet moments when you fell for that person, not the lows, the horrid moments when you knew this person wasn’t right for you.

Now, by all accounts, a sequel is usually a more refined experience. I’m going to let you in on a little development secret. The first features to often go into a sequel are the ones that we cut out of the first one. Shocking, I know, but towards the end of a development cycle a good producer knows to keep cutting in order to get the core of the title out the door. (Remember, this is a business.)

However, a refined experience isn’t always what the user wants. Sometimes they loved everything about that first game, the warts and all. Halo fans loved their overpowered pistol. Smoothing that out seemed to enrage them. Gears fans loved their overpowered shotgun. Quake 1 fans loved the One Rocket Launcher to Rule Them All. Then, in the sequel, when you take the balance to the virtual forge and iron out the impurities something can be lost.

(It’s the same problem that Top Gear has had with Lamborghini since Audi bought them.)

Then, we ultimately get to the sequel conundrum that I’ve mentioned in interviews before.

HARDCORE USERS claim they want the SAME EXACT GAME, only with upgraded graphics. Never mind the fact that one of the things they loved about the original was the clarity of experience, the clean, simple lines, the lack of business in the environment. Ignore the fact that you could have done that with some more DLC to keep their experience new and fresh. (That’s “nickel and diming” them.)

THE PRESS’s #1 question to any developer? “What’s new?” Their #2 question? “What’s changed?” And wait for it, because #3 is coming “How are you going to keep fans of the original happy?”

By and large these are conflicting goals. Making a sequel is an attempt to balance all of that.

But if you give the hardcore what they claim to want then the press respond “It’s just Game 1.5”

And then if you change it too much the hardcore will claim “you ruined it!” while the press might just give you accolades for a bold, fresh take.

That, my friends, is the sequel conundrum.

The balance between pleasing the hardcore and expanding the franchise is a really interesting one that you see in a lot of games. (i.e. Halo 4) I also think this is why new IP is so embraced; with no established fan base you can essentially please everybody as there is not right way or wrong way to making your game.

Thought this could spur some interesting discussion.
Massa
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(02-26-2013, 09:14 PM)
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Spot on.
NateDrake
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(02-26-2013, 09:14 PM)
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And then if you change it too much the hardcore will claim “you ruined it!” while the press might just give you accolades for a bold, fresh take.

That, my friends, is the sequel conundrum.

This is true, but Gears of War 2 multiplayer was ruined. Epic should have left the MP the same as Gears of War with minor tweaks and it would have been awesome. The shotgun in Gears of War 2 was terrible and falling down from a smoke grenade was the dumbest decision ever made.
Sn4ke_911
If I ever post something in Japanese which I don't understand, please BAN me.
(02-26-2013, 09:14 PM)
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Originally Posted by Massa

Spot on.

Wow you're a fast reader.
vulva
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(02-26-2013, 09:15 PM)
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Originally Posted by NateDrake

This is true, but Gears of War 2 multiplayer was ruined. Epic should have left the MP the same as Gears of War with minor tweaks and it would have been awesome. The shotgun in Gears of War 2 was terrible, falling down from a smoke grenade was the dumbest decision ever made.

so you're basically proving his point "he's right that changes will lead to people saying it was ruined. That said, he ruined it by not keeping it the same!"
subversus
I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
(02-26-2013, 09:16 PM)
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He nailed the problem. I personally hate same-ish sequels, but there are tons of posts like "just make it the same but with better graphix!!!".

Every sequel should be almost a reboot. But fans always want more of the same.
Korosenai
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(02-26-2013, 09:17 PM)
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Originally Posted by Sn4ke_911

Wow you're a fast reader.

Reading the op in 3 minutes isnt hard
GAMERG0D
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(02-26-2013, 09:17 PM)
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Originally Posted by Sn4ke_911

Wow you're a fast reader.

pff I was done before him.

All that aside, he's right. When you change too much the hardcore gets angry about it.
Vire
DancingJesus
(02-26-2013, 09:17 PM)
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Is this what happens when you retire?

You become all mopey and introspective?
NateDrake
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(02-26-2013, 09:17 PM)
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Originally Posted by vulva

so you're basically proving his point "he's right that changes will lead to people saying it was ruined. That said, he ruined it by not keeping it the same!"

It's true that changes will piss off the hardcore crowd, but if the changes are good -- see Gears of War 3 as an example, then the core audience and new players can enjoy it. But Gears of War 2 had changes that weren't good for anyone. Gears of War 2's multiplayer was a complete disaster that required a number of patches to become tolerable.
Omegasquash
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(02-26-2013, 09:18 PM)
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I find myself agreeing with this, for the most part.
Omega Rex
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(02-26-2013, 09:18 PM)
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bullshit. COD gets 11 out of 10s and is OMG INNOVATIVE and its just a $60 reskin and the "hardcore" jizz over its release every year
The Cartographer
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(02-26-2013, 09:18 PM)
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I really like the new definition of ''Hardcore gamer''.
King_Moc
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(02-26-2013, 09:18 PM)
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Yeah, this is the problem with the supposed hardcore gamer. It's led to stagnation within AAA games. Not that most of those seem particularly 'hardcore' to me, but that's a different discussion.

Originally Posted by Sn4ke_911

Wow you're a fast reader.

3 minutes?
Addnan
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(02-26-2013, 09:18 PM)
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Yep. I know a lot of my friend and myself left gears 3 pretty early. Even though it was technically the better game, it just wasn't the same. We wanted the same with better graphics :p
Surface of Me
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(02-26-2013, 09:19 PM)
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Originally Posted by vulva

so you're basically proving his point "he's right that changes will lead to people saying it was ruined. That said, he ruined it by not keeping it the same!"

Gears 2 MP is known to be shit. If someone played that Gears 2 MP first and then Gears 1 MP, they would prefer Gears 1. Gears 2 MP is shit, nothing to do with the fact that it is the sequel to one of my favorite MP games of all time, it is shit all on its own. Gears 3 MP was fun though.
Diablo Rosso
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(02-26-2013, 09:19 PM)
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Hard to disagree really. It's a double edged sword which developers need to watch carefully.
Arrogant Menace
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(02-26-2013, 09:19 PM)
He's right
HK-47
Oh, bitch bitch bitch.
(02-26-2013, 09:19 PM)
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Originally Posted by vulva

so you're basically proving his point "he's right that changes will lead to people saying it was ruined. That said, he ruined it by not keeping it the same!"

Thats sort of simplifying a complex issue though. Is it bad cause it changed or is it bad does the design decision detracts from the experience.
Wario64
works for Gamestop (lol)
(02-26-2013, 09:19 PM)

Originally Posted by Sn4ke_911

Wow you're a fast reader.

I probably read it just as fast. It was posted like 30 minutes ago on Twitter anyway.
The Smoking Bun
Banned
(02-26-2013, 09:20 PM)
I used to have such a dude-bro impression of the guy but he's quite eloquent and intelligent.
I hope he does go through with his plans to produce more off the wall or risky game ideas he has had and not just play it safe. He was actually upset Gears 3 could not follow up on all the cool stroy and lore hinted at in Gears 2.
PIMPBYBLUD
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(02-26-2013, 09:20 PM)
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Bigger.Better.More Badass
HK-47
Oh, bitch bitch bitch.
(02-26-2013, 09:20 PM)
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Originally Posted by subversus

He nailed the problem. I personally hate same-ish sequels, but there are tons of posts like "just make it the same but with better graphix!!!".

Every sequel should be almost a reboot. But fans always want more of the same.

Thats absurd from both a design and business standpoint.
Coolwhip
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(02-26-2013, 09:21 PM)
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Originally Posted by Wario64

I probably read it just as fast. It was posted like 30 minutes ago on Twitter anyway.

No sorry, you're post 20. You lose!
meta4
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(02-26-2013, 09:21 PM)
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Man Cliffy B has been preaching a lot lately. Complaints about Linearity, sequels, narrative in games etc.
noobasuar
Banned
(02-26-2013, 09:22 PM)
Gears of war was one of the best multiplayer games I've ever played.

Gears 2 on the other hand was one of the biggest pieces of shit I've ever played.

I'll take more of the same, thank you very much.
Coolwhip
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(02-26-2013, 09:22 PM)
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Originally Posted by meta4

Man Cliffy B has been preaching a lot lately. Complaints about Linearity, sequels, narrative in games etc.

He probably realised it's better to never make a game again.
Edag Plata
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(02-26-2013, 09:23 PM)
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So it's pretty much what Nintendo has to deal with with each and every single game they release...
-Pyromaniac-
(02-26-2013, 09:23 PM)
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I keep saying it but this guy is seriously all talk these days lol. I mean there isn't anything terribly wrong with the things he is saying but yeesh bro.

yeesh. I'm anticipating his return to gaming with gears of war: bulletstorm part 5.
nbthedude
Member
(02-26-2013, 09:23 PM)
This is a pretty good assessment of what I realized.

This is also why I have learned to avoid the "hardcore" fans here on message board forums for games like Hitman: Absolution, DmC, and (now) Tomb Raider. I am not going to get into arguments with them again. I just know I can ignore them outright. I love those franchises and I'm a "fan" but not the same kind of fan they are.

Throw everything out the window. Start fresh. Give me something brand new. A new interpretation, or spin, or hell even a new genre applied to an old concept. That is my idea of an awesome sequel. If I have problems with games like Absolution and DmC it is that they still listened to those hardcore fans too much and tried (pointlessly) to appease them.
effe
Banned
(02-26-2013, 09:24 PM)

Originally Posted by subversus

Every sequel should be almost a reboot.

no
Deitus
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(02-26-2013, 09:25 PM)
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Originally Posted by nbthedude

This is a pretty good assessment of what I realized.

This is also why I have learned to avoid the "hardcore" fans here on GAF on Hitman: Absolution, DmC, and (now) Tomb Raider. I am not going to get into arguments with them again. I just know I can ignore them outright. I love those franchises and I'm a "fan" but not the same kind of fan they are.

Throw everything out the window. Start fresh. Give me something brand new. A new interpretation, or spin, or hell even a new genre applied to an old concept. That is my idea of an awesome sequel.

How is that a sequel then? Wouldn't it make sense to just make a new IP at that point?
Nibel
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(02-26-2013, 09:25 PM)
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He's spot on, but it's a known problem and in some ways obvious

He had to work on many sequels though, I see this as some kind of venting - I think even though he loves Gears, Cliff can't wait to work on something entirely new
Into
Banned
(02-26-2013, 09:25 PM)

Originally Posted by meta4

Man Cliffy B has been preaching a lot lately. Complaints about Linearity, sequels, narrative in games etc.

You are right, he clearly has a lot to say now that he serves no other master.

He is spot on, fans generally dislike if things are changed too much where as the press almost always, in ever review ive ever read online since 1998 on GamesRadar, GameSpy and other gaming websites has a line in there that goes sorta like this "..however the game does nothing new and it is just more of the same".

I feel like every review ever written and recorded has that line or something similar to it.

When i buy a game, it is most of the time a sequel and yeah i want more of the same, it is why i bought it in the first place. If i wanted something new and fresh, i would buy a different game and get into a different series (or genre or platform).

When Street Fighter 5 comes out, i and millions of other fans want more of the same. Not some zany attempt at making it "fresh" and "innovative".
Last edited by Into; 02-26-2013 at 09:28 PM.
DaBoss
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(02-26-2013, 09:26 PM)
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It is pretty accurate. I wonder if he is saying these things lately due to a self-reflection of his past works and experience.
nbthedude
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(02-26-2013, 09:26 PM)

Originally Posted by Thanasis Deitus

How is that a sequel then? Wouldn't it make sense to just make a new IP at that point?

It's a radical reinterpretation of a theme. Like Zelda 1 to Zelda 3. Castlevania to Symphony of the Night. Resident Evil 3 to Resident Evil 4. Etc. etc.

The good thing about it is from a marketing standpoint you have a recognizable brand. Use that to go fucking crazy behind the board members back that want you to do nothing more than grind out the same shit to milk the same people. It is also just cool to see a brand new fresh take on some old idea.
eot
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(02-26-2013, 09:27 PM)
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I just think it's a conflict of content vs mechanics.
A game that's very gameplay driven, and that has great mechanics, often doesn't need a sequel because the mechanics already work about as well as they're going to. In a sequel they often get diluted because of the expectation of changes in a new product. Content driven games on the other hand are well suited for sequels because you just make new content to consume.

So for example, Counter-Strike never needed a sequel and none of its sequels have truly succeeded because they could never improve on the original mechanics.
TheFightingFish
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(02-26-2013, 09:27 PM)
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The thing is with games you spend so much time and money on stuff like the engine, content pipelines, and high resolution assets that it's just too tempting to knock off at least a sequel or two when you already have those in place. Then with all the basics out of the way you can put out a game of equal or greater length much easier and affords you the chance to stretch the system in different ways. Not sure how many movies or TV shows have such a big reusable infrastructure investment like AAA games do. Mario Galaxy 2 would be a good case of this, the basics were already in place with Galaxy 1, then they used the basic framework to prefect the level design, was well received by press and fans and I'd hazard to guess that with the graphics and gameplay engines and some assets already in place it probably cost 1/3 as much.

They are still often done poorly, but given the above I feel like most studios get a "freebie" sequel to a popular game in my book. Only makes sense to try to earn back their investment from the first one.
Tawpgun
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(02-26-2013, 09:27 PM)
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Doesn't excuse bad design decisions and change for the sake of change.

343 was under a lot of pressure but they not only changes too much but they changed things that were VERY fundamental to the game.

Player equality? Gone.
Weapon control? Gone.
Fandangox
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(02-26-2013, 09:27 PM)
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Bah, it depends on the game really. I'd want the next F-Zero to be pretty much like GX but with online and better graphics.

Or Sticker Star to be what was Thousand Year Door .The gameplay changes would have not even bothered me had they kept the settings/plot more interesting like TTYD.

But the next Zelda, or Assassins Creed? I would not mind drastic changes made on those.
RiccochetJ
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(02-26-2013, 09:28 PM)
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Originally Posted by meta4

Man Cliffy B has been preaching a lot lately. Complaints about Linearity, sequels, narrative in games etc.

Probably saying the things he's always wanted to but couldn't because he was one of the faces of Epic.
RoKKeR
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(02-26-2013, 09:29 PM)
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Originally Posted by Tawpgun

Doesn't excuse bad design decisions and change for the sake of change.

343 was under a lot of pressure but they not only changes too much but they changed things that were VERY fundamental to the game.

Player equality? Gone.
Weapon control? Gone.

Exactly. They were trying to please everybody while changing a ton about the basic Halo formula, and in the end it just ended up as a jumbled mess.
nbthedude
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(02-26-2013, 09:29 PM)

Originally Posted by Tawpgun

Doesn't excuse bad design decisions and change for the sake of change.

343 was under a lot of pressure but they not only changes too much but they changed things that were VERY fundamental to the game.

Player equality? Gone.
Weapon control? Gone.

Another example of the desparity between my perspective and "fans."

I have played every Halo game ever released. Many of them for number of hours going back to hosting Xbox LAN parties for the original game where we would put 8 people in each room and play CTF.

My problem with Halo 4 is it didn't come close to going far enough. It was way too far the same. But the "hardcore" people are exactly the opposite. I don't begrudge you guys whatever perspective you have. I just know it is like we are from different planets. And I have had to learn that these kinds of fans opinions will mostly be the complete opposite of my own.
JB1981
I am full of shit.
Rich, smooth, creamy shit.
(02-26-2013, 09:29 PM)

Originally Posted by -Pyromaniac-

I keep saying it but this guy is seriously all talk these days lol. I mean there isn't anything terribly wrong with the things he is saying but yeesh bro.

yeesh. I'm anticipating his return to gaming with gears of war: bulletstorm part 5.

The Gears franchise speaks for itself. If you don't think that gives him some credibility then I question your judgment.
vogelkacke
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(02-26-2013, 09:32 PM)
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So basically nostalgia ?
Seems about right ...
ZeroGravity
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(02-26-2013, 09:35 PM)
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Originally Posted by Edag Plata

So it's pretty much what Nintendo has to deal with with each and every single game they release...

Very much so. Super Smash Bros. Melee to Super Smash Bros. Brawl was the biggest example that stuck out in my head when reading this.

Great read Cliffy.
vidcons
Banned
(02-26-2013, 09:37 PM)

Originally Posted by subversus

Every sequel should be almost a reboot. But fans always want more of the same.

Oh yes.
Mogwai
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(02-26-2013, 09:37 PM)
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Originally Posted by meta4

Man Cliffy B has been preaching a lot lately. Complaints about Linearity, sequels, narrative in games etc.

Yeah, seems like he has some free time on his hands.

Anyway, I think what Cliffy sketched down is a pretty well known paradox in game development. You gotta find a balance.
gryz
Banned
(02-26-2013, 09:37 PM)
I agree with his points, and on a side note its funny to see all these gamedevs like cliffyb and inafune having their midlife crises in the public eye
nbthedude
Member
(02-26-2013, 09:37 PM)
My basic take away is this:

Average gamer dudes, ignore "fans" when making gaming decision purchases. Or at least hold them in as much suspicion as you hold "game media" people. Those people who play that last game in the series for a thousand hours? They aren't like you. They don't want the same thing you want out of a game's sequel. If you listen to them, you are going to end up with sequels that don't give you what you want out of a sequel and you will end up punishing sequels that are actually trying new stuff you may like. If you want sequels that take risk, do something new, etc., don't let the fans be the "experts" on your game purchases.

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