Being the self-satisfied, money-sucking enterprise that it is, the video game industry produces its fair share of shamelessly irrelevant garbage. And, following in the time-honored footsteps of filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, it finds increasingly creative ways to wring every last drop of revenue from even the most mildly successful franchises.
But just because we're constantly being duped by the industry's perpetual motion machine of monotony, it doesn't mean that we're incapable of grasping what's actually going on. We get it. We're not stupid. We understand that very few developers know how to construct a truly unique character, setting, or storyline, so when a title shows off some kind of mild success, the sequels start showing up faster than diabetes in a game journalist.
But an honest look back at the last couple of decades quickly produces a fairly notorious list of sequels that probably shouldn't have made it into the market. Yet, there's a very good chance that you own one or more of these games, which makes you part of the problem.
Turok: Evolution was by no means the first sequel in the Turok franchise. In fact, by the time Evolution hit the market, there were already five titles in the series. But this was the first edition to land on a non-Nintento console.
Now, typically when a developer steps outside of their comfort zone, they take great care in having all their ducks in a row. Well, Acclaim Entertainment managed to bungle almost every single element in the Turok transition, causing what should have been a spectacular failure. But gamers, it seems, like shooting dinosaurs too much to notice the poor frame rates, non-existent storyline, and unimpressive graphics.
It probably won't surprise you to find out that Acclaim went bankrupt two years later and eventually got purchased by Activision in 2005. The new developer cut ties with the old franchise and rebooted the series in 2008.
Final Fantasy X-2 is so different from its predecessor that it almost exists in an entirely different universe. When it hit the market in 2003, it instantly split the fan base in half.
The sequel's decidedly darker tone showed off the franchise's more serious side and gave the writers a setting to handle a significantly more mature set of subject matter. However, the game almost couldn't help but be sucked back into its adolescent beginnings, and many of the gameplay elements seemed out of place altogether. But it often feels like the elements themselves are actually perfect for the series, and it's Final Fantasy X-2 itself that's out of place.
A couple of years ago, EA managed to take one of the best real-time strategy titles in history and turn it into an unplayable pile of garbage. Tiberian Twilight shifted the franchise's focus so heavily toward multiplayer that the single-player campaign became an afterthought. This, coupled with a newly designed always-on DRM, made the game unappealing to the vast majority of its fan base.
However, brand recognition and the multiplayer experience have continued to fill EA's coffers with sweaty, careless money. For shame.
When GoldenEye was released in 1997, it quickly became one of the most iconic titles in video game history, but developers have been practically wiping their British bottoms with the James Bond franchise ever since. 1999's Tomorrow Never Dies was plagued with wonky controls and an inexplicable move to a third-person viewpoint. 2001's The World Is Not Enough performed well on the N64, but substandard texture and childish animations drove fans away from the PlayStation edition. Then, in 2004, EA practically performed blasphemy by releasing GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, a patently awful game that had no reason to exist except to devalue the entire franchise.
Sure, there have been a few glimmers of hope in the junk pile (2003's Everything or Nothing being a notable example), but the fact is developers genuinely don't care about creating a unique and memorable Bond experience; they only want to relive their past success. This is most evident in GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, a re-skinned version of the original GoldenEye for Wii, PS3, and 360.
If you can't think of a more clever way to use one of cinema's most beloved characters, stop using him. You're ruining it for everyone.
By the time Bomberman: Act Zero touched town in 2006, there were over thirty games in the series and none of them had broken from the cookie-cutter gameplay that made the original so popular. So, why Hudson Soft decided to completely revamp the formula for Act Zero is anybody's guess.
Either way, the developer traded those charming cartoon bomber-people for a couple of generic cyborgs and added a mode called "first-person battle," even though the gameplay is obviously from a third-person perspective.