Warning: This might be too long for some to read ;)
Let me start off first with saying that I love playing video games, and no I should not just “take a break” from gaming until it gets fresh again because that is not the problem at hand. The issue is that in the past few years I find myself picking up “new” games, playing them, and then realizing that there is nothing new I am experiencing.
How many times am I to shoot the nameless terrorist/bad guy?
How many times am I to narrowly grab onto that ledge with a few fingers an avoid falling to my death?
How many times am I to assassinate the Templar unaware of my presence?
How many times am I to buy the same Guitar game just for new songs?
How many times am I to save the Princess?
I think you get my point. This generation of gaming (playstation 3, xbox 360, and Wii) is facing an identity crisis, and now is being compared to Hollywood much more often than in previous years. Sure a few top notch unique games come out each year that breaks the mould like Dark Souls, Enslaved, Minecraft, and The Witcher 2. However, the industry has largely shifted away from taking risks and sticks with what is popular for the time being.
Remember Guitar Hero? It used to be “the game to have” just a few years ago. Many people who never considered themselves a gamer instantly found themselves playing Guitar Hero for hours every day with their friends. Then came the new Guitar Hero….then another…and another, and so on until the series was bone dry. The same is being done with now popular franchises such as Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, Need for Speed, and the Madden Football games. How long until these beloved(or once beloved for some) franchises are sucked for every last penny?
Personally I loved Call of Duty 4, and then World at War. But then I purchased Modern Warfare 2 after being pestered by my friends to get it. After a week of beating the single player and diving into multiplayer I said to myself, “Don’t I already have this game?” After that I stopped with the Call of Duty franchise since it was all to familiar, and guess what happened to those friends I mentioned earlier? They bought Black Ops and then after that same old experience they were also done with the franchise.
Assassin’s Creed? I loved AC: 1, AC:2, and AC:B since I was drawn in by the story and the game play was interesting enough to drag me along. Currently I have Assassins Creed Revelations sitting in my PS3 and I try to force myself to play the game, but I just can’t. Everything is the same!!!! I’m sorry Ezio/Desmond/Altair , I love your story but it is just to drawn out over 4(and soon to be 5 or more) games for me to continue.
Back in the PS2 days I loved the Need For Speed series as well as the Madden Football games. Now? Not so much. Need For Speed doesn’t suffer from stale game play, but instead it suffers from a publisher abusing a franchise name and expecting people to purchase a game that is only a portion of its former glory. Madden on the other hand attempts to introduce slight improvements (if you can call them that) for its yearly games. There is only so much you can do with a NFL game, however why charge your fan base every year for the same game with different rosters? You would be better off allowing those who own previous games to update the rosters and add new rookies to the game for their “outdated” game. It should be free, however given that it is a business if I owned Madden 2011 and had an option to update the player base/rosters for a small fee ($10) I would gladly do so. Instead you force your diehard fans to suck it up and fork over another $60 every year if they want the newest game. As far as the other sports games I feel that they do a good enough job at justifying yearly releases.
After Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Madden, and the other over-used franchises are sucked dry then what next? If things continue this way then they will just be brushed off to the side and replaced. Then much like the previously mentioned Hollywood these franchises will be dusted off years later and “rebooted” thus repeating the process. I just hope it does not get to the point where all major games suffer from this trend since they are becoming fewer by the year.
This year alone I only truly enjoyed my purchases of Portal 2, Skyrim, The Witcher 2, and Batman Arkham City. I hope that these franchises will not fall into the aforementioned franchises. While on the otherhand I was very disappointed in Assassin's Creed Revalations, Socom(it was CoD-fied), Killzone 3(CoD-fied), The Legend of Zelda, and Battlefield 3(with the exception of the few true BF maps). For 2012 I hold my breath that Mass Effect 3 will not be a shell of the former games as this could be the next franchise to suffer from this painful fate.
I know that what I just wrote will not change the negative trends occurring in the video game industry nor will it be heard by the game publishers who insist on beating a franchise to death. However, for those who spent the time to read this somewhat lengthy “rant” I ask of you that the next time you plan on purchasing a game that you ask yourself, “Is this really a game that I want to buy?”
Have any of your own "How many times am I to....?" feelings? Feel free to post them below!
Edit/Update: I think some people missed the point I was trying to get across. The main point of the article isn't about me but rather the gaming industry. I already had stated that I am not tired of gaming and still love playing games(unless you just read the title in which case you would think that im just complaining). Saying "Take a break, or play less mainstream games" doesn't really help since I already know that! I played God of War, Valkyrie Chronicles, Yakuza for consoles and moved over to PC for the most part since the game selection is better. Thank you for the comments trying to help me but I am perfectly fine game wise, it is the gaming industry as a whole that needs our help. :)