Cold Coffee: Franchises That Need to Die

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bill-swift - November 8, 2012

As with every aspect of life, all good things must come to an end. It's never fun for anyone but that's just the way things work. Whether you're looking at old rock bands that just get worse as the years go on or a movie series that just keep pumping out the sequels, regardless of how badly they suck, it becomes painfully obvious that sometimes things just need to die.

The hardest part of this whole process is that, even though you know that you have to let go, no one ever wants to see the end of a good thing. In this case, we'll be looking at video game franchises specifically. A good video game series usually consists of a strong trilogy of games that just seem to hit their target every single time. It's when the final chapter of this trilogy is done that we all start to panic. It's a simple concept really; the fans want more adventures of their favorite hero and the developers want to be able to make more money off a product they found success with. Unfortunately, this can lead to some pretty bad consequences on both sides of the field.

Because of this, a lot of the time you'll see a franchise continue to pump out sequel after sequel, which usually get progressively worse as the years go on. It would be great if we could continue to see the same series' thrive through multiple generations but it seems as though they're destined to fail. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Characters tend not to age well
  • Developers often move on and leave the series with a different company

A character not aging well is something that we're really beginning to see quite a bit of. The 90's were chalked full of badass characters that you'll probably never hear about. The most obvious case would have to be Duke Nukem; this guy was the king of FPS's in the 90's but is now sadly just the tail end of a bad joke. Fans waited more years than they care to count for a new Duke Nukem game but when they finally received Duke Nukem: Forever, it was just a mess. Many people complain that the game was made horribly but what they fail to realize is that it was a perfect example of classic Duke Nukem, which just isn't able to survive among today's more complex characters. Nintendo's biggest characters are even beginning to see a major decline in their popularity.

Developers leaving their product in the hands of another company is always a risk as well. When a developer creates a series that works, they begin to really know these games better than anyone else. Suddenly they want to move on to other things but they make the mistake of letting another developer man handle their baby. These moves don't always end in tragedy as can be seen most recently by a Bungie-less Halo 4.

Sometimes franchises need to die. I don't like hearing it and I don't like saying it but it's true. As much as it pains me to admit it, sometimes we just need to let go of our favorite games and preserve their image before it's stretched too thin, resembling some sort of video game industry abomination.

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