The big gaming season of 2011 has come and gone, and if there's one thing we've learned, it's that sequels are fun. No matter whether you fell into the immersive world of the Elder Scrolls for a fifth time, prepared for modern warfare again, or followed along with Nathan Drake on another adventure, chances are you felt some excitement over returning to a particular franchise. It's understandable that gamers are excited about sequels, but in a fall season where the only big sellers were sequels, there seems to be less room for new IPs in the mix. However, as a gamer, you have to be open to trying new things. Here are five reasons why:
You Don't Want to Miss the Next Big Thing
Though longstanding franchises do have their place in the world, if you want to get in on the next big thing, you are going to have to test the waters with new IPs. Series like Uncharted, BioShock, and Dragon Age have all debuted in the past five years and gone on to become big franchises in their own right. In order to get in on the ground floor with the next big thing, you'll have to go out on a limb and try new IPs. You don't want to be left behind, do you?
Eventually, You Won't Want to Play the Same Old Stuff
Sure, right now the militaristic shooter is the most popular genre, and Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 are the biggest thing since active reloading. However, let's not forget that as each genre reaches its apex, another one is right behind it, waiting to take its place. Consider the PlayStation 2 era. Almost every other game that came out was a JRPG, and franchises like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts ruled the scene. Now? We are lucky to get more than four or five new JRPGs stateside a year. Though you can't imagine not playing the next militaristic shooter, eventually, the genre will get so clichéd that you just won't want to play it any more. But you can alleviate these feelings if you step outside your comfort zone and try a new IP every once and awhile.
The Next Generation Is Rapidly Approaching
Nothing heralds the start of a new console generation quite like new IPs. This is the best time for new games to burst onto the scene. While consoles generally launch with at least one or two big sequels to lure in franchise players, new IPs are definitely what you want to check out when the next console cycle launches. Why? Because new IPs can use the new features of the console better. Look at the WiiSports—the game didn't have any name power behind it, but it became one of the most-played games on the Wii and even spawned its own sequel . WiiSports became so iconic that the Wuhu island location has made appearances in everything from Pilotwings Resort to Mario Kart 7.
The Gaming Industry Needs More Talent
As long as there have been huge franchises, there have been even bigger companies behind them. Though companies like EA, THQ, and Activision Blizzard do occasionally come out with new IPs, most of their money is made by pumping out iteration after iteration of popular franchises. While it is nice to have huge names and production values behind games, the fact is that we need more diversity in the gaming industry. Small companies like ThatGameCompany and Team Meat have become the exception rather than the rule, and independently made new IPs are unfortunately swept under the rug all too often. You owe it to yourself to give games like Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac a try, if only because independent game studios are producing games that are more inventive than the next Call of Duty could ever try to be.
New IPs Create More Franchises
Look, every franchise has to start somewhere. For example, Uncharted 3 was one of the best games of 2011, but if no one had ever played the original way back in 2007, this blockbuster franchise wouldn't have spawned two of the highest-rated sequels of all time. The same goes for franchises like Resistance, Gears of War, and Assassin's Creed. If you pride yourself on being a master of the enumerated games, you owe it to yourself to check out new games that come along every once in a while. Unless of course you want to be living twenty years in the future deciding between Final Fantasy 57 and Call of Duty 24.
Playing something familiar isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, trying something new is a rewarding experience, and can often give players a chance to dive into a brand new world with its own challenges and eccentricities. So now that the fall is over and spring is just around the corner, make sure you check out some of the new IPs that are coming out. You'll be glad you did.
By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*