Hey everyone, it's been awhile since I wrote a blog and I won't go into why that is so I'll just get right into what I wanted to talk about.
Today I want to touch on the subject of believing that franchises, specifically yearly franchises, would benefit from not being released yearly once subjective aspects like "quality" apparently begin to "dip" and make the franchise seem stagnant, colloquially referred to as "Franchise Fatigue."
First let's get some basics out of the way.
Yearly franchises RELEASE yearly, they DO NOT only take a year to develop. The exception to this is sports games where you hardly ever see any actual changes to the games at all. Normally only large development studios can actually have yearly releases because they have large teams that can swap development schedules, but each game has a standard development time of about 3 to 4 years.
The yearly releases are all planned meticulously, but they do not mean that development is done on a yearly crunch basis. It's important to remember this because way too many people think that Yearly Release = One Year Development. That's not true at all.
Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about an opinion many seem to have about yearly releases.
Let's look at Assassin's Creed. It's no secret that there is a vocal group of gamers, and most of them don't actually play the games, saying that Assassin's Creed needs to take some time off. The reasoning behind this is basic Franchise Fatigue for the most part. I'd like to explain why this opinion is ill-informed and in some ways selfish.
Let's take Assassin's Creed 3. By most accounts, AC3 really dropped the ball when compared to the masterpiece that was Assassin's Creed 2. The biggest problems being the protagonist, and some mechanics like every frickin' chase sequence in the game for example.
Now, many here would probably say that if AC3 was so bad, then Black Flag should not have come a year later and instead should have come at least 2 years later so that Black Flag would be a better game.
Black Flag was an excellent game. How could a game that released a year later be so good when everyone knows that yearly releases mean poor quality?
The answer to that is in the teams.
You see it's not the time that's the problem, it's the people. The people who made AC3 went on to make AC Unity, and we all know the problems that game had. The people who made Black Flag went on to make Syndicate, and while that game is nothing special, it's LEAGUES better than Unity. So do you see the problem?
AC1 team makes AC3, then Unity.
AC2 team makes AC Black Flag then Syndicate.
Notice the pattern?
It doesn't matter how much time the franchise goes into hiatus to allegedly "get better" if the same people with the same bad ideas are still making the games.
I personally have never liked the Creative Director for the franchise, and that started when he tried to tell gamers that we wouldn't like, or want, an Assassin's Creed game set in Japan. His words were that Japan is a generic setting and overused and we wouldn't want it.
I'm sorry, but I know what I want and like better than you do, so please don't try to tell me what I like. This person is responsible for the direction the series takes and is the biggest hindrance to it.
This idea that the franchise needs to take a break is an opinion born solely out of singular thinking. The people who want this are not chiefly those who actually play the games and like the series. They are people who think they know better and love to hate on what's currently the thing to hate on.
There are fans of these games. Why should they have to wait for a new game simply because people who are not fans, and if they are can simply take their own break from the series, think that the franchise needs a break?
Also, what good would a break do the franchise (aside from technical aspects) if, for example, that same Creative Director with those same ideas about telling us what we like is still running the show? You really think the franchise will magically get better even though the same people are taking charge of each game's direction?
The answer is no.
Bad ideas don't have any expiration date. A bad game in development now would still be a bad game 10 years from now if the same people are still in charge.
If you don't like a franchise, don't play the games. But don't try to prevent people who do like a franchise from playing the latest games because you're naive enough to think that time always equates to quality. Duke Nukem Forever went into development hell and released a garbage game, if anything proves that time doesn't necessarily help, it's that game.
And now I'm sure I'll be told why time will help, with each comment glossing over the fact that bad ideas don't expire and the wrong person for the job will always bring the project down.