The Burning Question: Sequels or New IP?

burning-question-sequel-vs-new-ip

It’s a question that is asked over and over again. I constantly see people complaining that *insert developer name* only focuses on sequels and that we wish they would bring a new IP rather. Just yesterday I saw a brief discussion (thanks @nickdebruyne) around what Rocksteady should do next. Some people said hopefully a new IP, while others disagreed. It begs the question of what is a better thing to focus on.

I suppose the obvious answer is a balance between the two, but if I look at the recent history of what has been successful, and what the games coming out in the near future are, it’s hard to argue against sequels.

Tomb Raider 3

At E3 we saw Uncharted 4, a Tomb Raider sequel, a new Ratchet & Clank, Street Fighter, Batman, Mirror’s Edge, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Ghost Recon, Just Cause, Forza 6, Halo 5, Tony Hawk 5, a new Transformers, new Rockband and Guitar Hero, more Skylanders, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, Star Fox… the list goes on and on. These are just some of the games, and to be honest this list contains a lot of what was most impressive at E3.

On the flip side of the coin there were announcements of a few new IPs such as Recore, Horizon Zero Dawn, Battleborn and… er… Until Dawn and I guess Drawn to Death? Not a lot else in terms of new IP’s from the major studios at all. It does open up space for the Indie developers which had games like Unravel, ABZU, Alienation and a few others.

It seems as though bigger studios are unwilling to take the risks, and who can blame them when you look at new IPs over the last little while. Bloodborne did excellently, but outside of that, not a whole lot has been successful. The Last of Us was great when it released, and its remastered version is one of the top sellers on new-gen consoles. Destiny is probably the only other real success story and even that was received with some trepidation.

Sunset header

What else has there been? Well Sunset Overdrive is a great game that sold terribly. Ryse is not a great game that also sold terribly. Dying Light is as close to a success story as we’ve had but even that didn’t sell too well. Titanfall is arguably the best new IP on new-gen systems but I struggle to call it an absolute success.

Meanwhile the top selling games on new-gen consoles include GTA V, Batman: Arkham Knight (as of right now), The Witcher 3, inFAMOUS, Forza Horizon 2 and a few others. Sequels get preference because developers know that people have interest in a franchise. Hell, even Assassin’s Creed sells like crazy and we know what a mixed reception that gets. Watch_Dogs? Not quite the same. The Order struggled too and is pretty much a joke for all that have played it.

Division

It’s hard to justify to developers to create new IP when the tried and tested seem to do the best. That said, there are a few new games in the pipeline which we should be excited for. Games such as Quantum Break, Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture, The Division (maybe), Battleborn as mentioned, Hellblade, Scalebound and a few others. It means that developers are still working on new ideas, but all of them seem to have long development time, and have to be approached with some caution.

One advantage is that it opens up the space for Indie developers and their fantastic creations. We get to see some amazing things coming out in that space purely because there is less risk attached for them, and they want to express themselves in different ways. The drawback, of course, is that not everybody appreciates the Indie scene and want new ideas from the bigger studios too.

It’s a tough one to decide on. Personally, I like the current balance of strong sequel titles with a few new IP’s coming out each year. It means we get more of our favourite franchises while still getting to experience something new and different, and then of course the supplementary Indie games (which I personally love).

Gaming seems to be in a good spot at the moment if you don’t focus on the minor details too much. We have some amazing games coming out irrespective of whether they are sequels or new IP’s. I think it’s time we stopped worrying if developers have completely fresh ideas, and rather enjoy what they give us (assuming it’s of quality of course).

But that’s just my view, what is yours? Do you think there are too many sequels and not enough new IP? Should developers be taking more risks? Let us know below.

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