Games That Split the Fanbase

I was just thinking about what games I can recall that split a fanbase of an established franchise. Here's what came to mind:

Burnout Paradise: There seems to be a major divide between those who loved the streamlined experience of Burnout 3 and those who appreciate the open world and online innovations of Paradise

Grand Theft Auto IV: The GTA 3 trilogy was one of the most acclaimed game series of last gen. GTA IV has become one of the most acclaimed games of this gen, but is also faces one of the most prolific fanbase splits. Some loved how ridiculous the series got by San Andreas, others praise the more serious nature of GTA IV.

Halo 2: Many were dissapointed by how the storyline went down, while others were too distracted by the multiplayer that set the modern standard for console online multiplayer. 

Resident Evil 4: For many, 2005's game of the year came less than 2 weeks into the year. This highly influencial game reset the series gameplay with a new over the shoulder aiming mechanic and a higher focus on action rather than adventure. Some longtime franchise fans resented that change.

Every Console Zelda Game Following OoT: If there is one thing that just about every Zelda fan can agree with, it's that Ocarina of Time was an exceptional entry in the series and a landmark moment for video games. The 3 major sequels that followed it then provided some noticable cracks in the fanbase. People seem to either love or hate Majoras Mask. Wind Wakers cel-shaded art style provided a new aspect of the series to debate. Most recently, Twilight Princess has created an entirely new split between those who dug the fan service experience it strived for while others were turned off by how similiar it is to OoT and the tacked on motion controls the Wii version included.

Other Ones

Sonic Adventure
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Jak II
Street Fighter 3
Guitar Hero 3
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts
Metal Gear Solid 2
Colin McRae Dirt
Call of Duty World at War
Rainbow Six Lockdown
Left 4 Dead 2
Deus Ex: Invisible War
SW Knights of the Old Republic 2
Super Mario Sunshine
World of Warcraft
Final Fantasy XI and XIV
Fallout 3

41 Comments
41 Comments
Posted by CoolDrMoney

I was just thinking about what games I can recall that split a fanbase of an established franchise. Here's what came to mind:

Burnout Paradise: There seems to be a major divide between those who loved the streamlined experience of Burnout 3 and those who appreciate the open world and online innovations of Paradise

Grand Theft Auto IV: The GTA 3 trilogy was one of the most acclaimed game series of last gen. GTA IV has become one of the most acclaimed games of this gen, but is also faces one of the most prolific fanbase splits. Some loved how ridiculous the series got by San Andreas, others praise the more serious nature of GTA IV.

Halo 2: Many were dissapointed by how the storyline went down, while others were too distracted by the multiplayer that set the modern standard for console online multiplayer. 

Resident Evil 4: For many, 2005's game of the year came less than 2 weeks into the year. This highly influencial game reset the series gameplay with a new over the shoulder aiming mechanic and a higher focus on action rather than adventure. Some longtime franchise fans resented that change.

Every Console Zelda Game Following OoT: If there is one thing that just about every Zelda fan can agree with, it's that Ocarina of Time was an exceptional entry in the series and a landmark moment for video games. The 3 major sequels that followed it then provided some noticable cracks in the fanbase. People seem to either love or hate Majoras Mask. Wind Wakers cel-shaded art style provided a new aspect of the series to debate. Most recently, Twilight Princess has created an entirely new split between those who dug the fan service experience it strived for while others were turned off by how similiar it is to OoT and the tacked on motion controls the Wii version included.

Other Ones

Sonic Adventure
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Jak II
Street Fighter 3
Guitar Hero 3
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts
Metal Gear Solid 2
Colin McRae Dirt
Call of Duty World at War
Rainbow Six Lockdown
Left 4 Dead 2
Deus Ex: Invisible War
SW Knights of the Old Republic 2
Super Mario Sunshine
World of Warcraft
Final Fantasy XI and XIV
Fallout 3

Posted by Binman88

Definitely agree with you on Dirt and Lockdown. I played countless hours of Raven Shield and was extremely disappointed with Lockdown when it arrived, and in fact, every R6 game after that.

Posted by Clubvodka

Sonic Adventure- I loved it...although its not a good game, I just love Sonic.

I wasn't really in to Burnout before Paradise came along so that sucked me in.

Wind Waker was awesome, again from a non-fan point of view it really drew me in.

Posted by Luke

Isn't Left 5 Dead supposed to come along and do this as well? :p

Posted by CoolDrMoney

My take on some of the splits:

Burnout 3 was my favorite game last gen, and when I tried out the Paradise demo I was very underwhelmed and disappointed. However, after seeing Criterion/EA add so much free DLC and show such care for their product, I can't help but pick it up and give it a fair shake sometime soon.

I wasn't a huge fan of the original Halo, but I absolutely loved Halo 2s multiplayer. First online game I really got into.

RE4 was the first RE I played, and it was great. I also bought REmake and plan to play it sometime soon.

I also share the non-fan view towards Wind Waker, which was the only LoZ I've played to completion, and I really liked it. I adore the art style.

I was turned off by the guitar crazy direction Neversoft went with GH3 and the cashcow crazy direction Activision went with the series from there on out.

I loved the original Banjo-Kazooie, and I loved Nuts and Bolts, so thats one split that I definitely transcend.

I love arcade racers and really dislike sims, so Dirt appealed to me much more than any of the previous Colin Mcrae games.

I thought Sonic Advenure and SA2 were fine, but they don't come close to the Genesis trilogy. I think just about all older Sonic fans can agree that the series following the Adventure games took a serious nosedive.

@Luke said:
" Isn't Left 5 Dead supposed to come along and do this as well? :p "
Ha, good point. L4D2 is defintely shaping up to be a World at War style split where some won't mind paying for more of the same, and others are really bitter at Valve/EA for churning out such a quick sequel.
Posted by Alex_V

Nice post. A controversial opinion perhaps, but I think that the gripes of series-fans seem to be ill-conceived and generally turn out to be plain wrong.

Edited by Stephen_Von_Cloud

Very much agreed on Burnout.  I didn't hate Paradise but it's nowhere near what Burnout 3: Takedown was.  Best racing game ever IMO.

Another game to add to your list:  Deus Ex 2.  That game shouldn't even share a title with the first game.  Knights of the Old Republic 2 could also be on there.  A couple of upcoming games that I assume will split the fanbase at least a bit: Max Payne 3 and Bioshock 2.

Edited by SmugDarkLoser
@CoolDrMoney said:

Halo 2: Many were dissapointed by how the storyline went down

Really?  I'm not really familiar with anyone who disliked halo 2's story while they liked the first, just that people hated the fact that it ended on a cliffhanger.  That isn't something to hold against it though.

Halo 2's story didn't really change plot elements, it just expanded on it and fleshed out the universe.
Posted by Stephen_Von_Cloud
@SmugDarkLoser said:
"
@CoolDrMoney said:

Halo 2: Many were dissapointed by how the storyline went down
Really?  I'm not really familiar with anyone who disliked halo 2's story, just that people hated the fact that it ended on a cliffhanger.  That isn't something to hold against it though. "
It was stupid.  What was that plant monster thing?  I wasn't a fan.
Posted by TripMasterMunky

Good picks.

Posted by Death_Unicorn
@CoolDrMoney said:

RE4 was the first RE I played, and it was great. I also bought REmake and plan to play it sometime soon.



Edited by SmugDarkLoser
@Stephen_Von_Cloud said:
"
@SmugDarkLoser said:
"
@CoolDrMoney said:

Halo 2: Many were dissapointed by how the storyline went down
Really?  I'm not really familiar with anyone who disliked halo 2's story, just that people hated the fact that it ended on a cliffhanger.  That isn't something to hold against it though. "
It was stupid.  What was that plant monster thing?  I wasn't a fan."
The gravemind?  Umm.... what's so bad about that?  It's essentially the brain behind the flood. 
Jees, if you don't know this you really can't comment on the story.  This is basic halo plot.

What was "stupid" about the gravemind?
Posted by Meptron

Good picks, but you forgot Final Fantasy XI and XIV

Posted by SmugDarkLoser
@Meptron said:
"Good picks, but you forgot Final Fantasy XI and XIV "

And FF7
Posted by CoolDrMoney
@Meptron said:
" Good picks, but you forgot Final Fantasy XI and XIV "
Good call. The FF series popped into my head, but I really have no clue how the fanbase follows the series. However, like Warcraft, the switch to an MMO focus definitely alienates a core piece of the fanbase.

Also, to Smug, perhaps I shouldn't have tagged the storyline as the main reason why Halo 2 created a split. Rather, it seems the campaign as a whole turned some away. 
Posted by SmugDarkLoser
@CoolDrMoney said:
"
@Meptron said:
" Good picks, but you forgot Final Fantasy XI and XIV "
Good call. The FF series popped into my head, but I really have no clue how the fanbase follows the series. However, like Warcraft, the switch to an MMO focus definitely alienates a core piece of the fanbase.Also, to Smug, perhaps I shouldn't have tagged the storyline as the main reason why Halo 2 created a split. Rather, it seems the campaign as a whole turned some away.  "
You should have said it had a pc following as well but then it died as halo 2 pc sort of was hugely buggy, required vista, and was a generation late.

I don't think it's really something that split the fanbase at all though on the xbox.  It's just not the truth and I really don't understand why anyone would say so.   Like, even if, what the hell are they spliiting it between? 
Posted by CoolDrMoney
@SmugDarkLoser said:
"
@CoolDrMoney said:
"
@Meptron said:
" Good picks, but you forgot Final Fantasy XI and XIV "
Good call. The FF series popped into my head, but I really have no clue how the fanbase follows the series. However, like Warcraft, the switch to an MMO focus definitely alienates a core piece of the fanbase.Also, to Smug, perhaps I shouldn't have tagged the storyline as the main reason why Halo 2 created a split. Rather, it seems the campaign as a whole turned some away.  "
You should have said it had a pc following as well but then it died as halo 2 pc sort of was hugely buggy, required vista, and was a generation late.I don't think it's really something that split the fanbase at all though on the xbox.  It's just not the truth and I really don't understand why anyone would say so.   Like, even if, what the hell are they spliiting it between?  "
People who really enjoyed the original Halo and disliked the sequels, and those who enjoyed the series as a whole. The former is a pretty prominent group if you weren't aware.
Edited by SmugDarkLoser
@CoolDrMoney said:
"
@SmugDarkLoser said:
People who really enjoyed the original Halo and disliked the sequels, and those who enjoyed the series as a whole. The former is a pretty prominent group if you weren't aware. "

But tHat's a small minority there buddy.  And there's a group that likes and dislikes any combination as well.  Not exactly "splitting the fanbase".  The majority of those you are talking about really are pc gamers who never really played it proper.

I really don't see why you draw halo into this.  FF11 yes.  Burnout Paradise yes. FF7 yes.  GTA4 yes. However, Halo 2?  What the heck? Where talking about radical shifts versus people just not liking a particular game. 
Posted by AgentJ

All of the ones you did captions on are very true. 

Posted by Serker

world of warcraft... can't get over how utterly and completely they undid what happened at the end of The Frozen Throne.

Posted by The_A_Drain
@Alex_V said:
"Nice post. A controversial opinion perhaps, but I think that the gripes of series-fans seem to be ill-conceived and generally turn out to be plain wrong. "

I'd like to hear why you think that, and with some specific examples... There's a lot of opinions and a lot of different reasons that different games split the fanbase...

Anyhow yeah, fanbase splits happen a lot, pisses me off when i'm on the losing end of a split though (Thanks for killing the Survival Horror genre, Resi 4) but for the most part I keep my head down, take things on a game by game basis, enjoy what I enjoy, and don't enjoy what I don't enjoy. The only two exceptions are Fallout and Resident Evil, those are my fanboy vices and I tend to get very very (irrationally you could argue) emotional about them. Needless to say I was on the anti-Bethesda side before Fallout 3 dropped andI I was blown away by there attention to detail and how much improved the game is over that pile of shit Oblivion. Even if I still don't agree with some of the aesthetic choices theres no denying it's quite possibly the best action/rpg ever.
Posted by RHCPfan24

I actually agree with pretty much every game there, or at least I know the split the fanbase even if I didn't agree with them.

  • I love Burnout Paradise and Takedown, so that didn't bother me. Both are amazing games in their own right and I appreciated both of their natures.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV remains one of my favorite games of all time, and I actually was not a big fan of San Andreas so I can see how the fanbase was split.
  • Halo 2 is a great game and I love it for the multiplayer and co-op. The singleplayer got a bit disappointing as it went on, and, yes, the cliffhanger ending was stupid but I still like the first two to this day.
  • Resident Evil 4 is also of my favorite games ever, and I vastly prefer its control style to the others. I have actually beaten the first game and most of the 2nd, but once I played the 4th it was hard for me to go back. I also like (not love) Resident Evil 5.
  • The Zelda argument is true as well. I love Ocarina of Time, obviously, and I thought Majora's Mask was a unique game that I never got into that far because I couldn't understand it fully at my young age. Wind Waker is a breathtaking game and probably my 2nd favorite on the Gamecube (next to RE4) and I did not like Twilight Princess because it was too much of the same.

Good list and I feel that there is not a lot to argue in terms of the evidence you present.
Posted by ShadowKiller
@Luke said:
" Isn't Left 5 Dead supposed to come along and do this as well? :p "
That's the first thing that came to my mind when I seen this topic :P
Posted by CoolDrMoney
@The_A_Drain: Oh man, I forgot about Fallout 3. That definitely created a major stir among the long time fanbase
Posted by ArbitraryWater

I will agree with everything you have posted, although I have yet to meet a person who liked KotOR 2 (out of the box, with all the gamebreaking glitches) over the original. On the Zelda side of things, I am completley mystified by the people who like the sidequest-heavy Majora's Mask over the other games in the series. But to each their own, right?


Posted by The_A_Drain
@CoolDrMoney said:
"@The_A_Drain: Oh man, I forgot about Fallout 3. That definitely created a major stir among the long time fanbase"

Yeah, I honestly think it was one of the biggest uproars of this type ever seen. And there's a whole, huge, backstory to all of it as well, promises made, promises broken, bethesda previous track record, it's really an epic tale of deceit and treachery on both sides, and honestly I felt at the time (and still feel now that at the time we had every reason to be worried) that anyone who wasnt worried for Fallout 3 was either an idiot or a bethesda fanboy.

Before finally getting it (almost) right with Fallout 3, they had done some unforgivable things to the Star Trek fanbase (they didn't just put out a shitty game you see, they turned two major fansites against each other by offering the supporting site exclusive content, and publicly demonised the other, and a whole host of other things) and after whatshisname calling Fallout fans a bunch of "rabid crazies" as his first move, who wouldn't be worried as a 10+ year fan of such a beloved franchise? Not to mention there net move, turning down the chance to work with the two men responsible for the majority of what Fallout is. At the time, worried was the only place to be for a Fallout fanatic. But fortunately it turned out ok, shame Star Trek didn't. Or Cthulhu. :(
Posted by Absurd

You never mentioned Counter Strike :o

Posted by vidiot

Halo 2 by far. The lack of context (It's a giant plant! We will now call it Gravemind!), the lack of an ending, the lack of actually fighting on earth and the lack of playing MasterChief all of which were all soundly addressed in the single player campaign of Halo 3. I remember a ton of players being turned off by the time the credits rolled at the end of that game.

I don't remember seeing much division for Jak 2. Probably wrong. If anything I think it made more fans in the long run.

I don't remember much division against Sonic Adventure when it came out. Sure there's alot of anger in regards to recent Sonic Team endeavors, but when SA dropped on DreamCast I remember alot of fans just happy Sonic finally went 3D.
 

Posted by Deathawk

Banjo Kazooie: Some people loved the shift to vehicle creation, found in Nuts and Bolts, while others hated it.
Sly Cooper: Sly 1 was an excellent platform game, the second was an excellent Sandbox game, some welcomed the change others hated it.

Posted by Player1

With Gta IV it didn't "split" a fanbase at all. The sales were better then ever, and I haven't heard of many people who didn't love the experience. Maybe a couple griped about the serious story, but people still loved the game. 


Also with the halo games...I guess. The sales went up and up each game, so I didn't see much spliting going on.

But besides that good points. 
Posted by LeoMinor

Resident Evil 4 is the first one that came to mind.  But many long time Final Fantasy fans don't like XII, which is probably my favorite, even after beating VII and X. 

Posted by Nasar7

You can add Oblivion, Mario Kart Wii, Star Fox Adventures, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl to this list.

Posted by natetodamax

I would have included the CoD4 to WaW transition and said that the series went from totally awesome to absolutely terrible.

Posted by Akeldama

silent hill 4 

Posted by Falerix

Counter-Strike people...this war is still going on today. 1.6 players against Source players has affected tournaments and even patches, and now Valve is completely overhauling the graphic system.

Posted by Turambar

FFIX as well.  Those that came to the series only after VII simply didn't get it.

Posted by Feanor

L4D2 did not split the fanbase,  It just angered some people that it came out so soon.  And most of those people probably own the game right now. 
  
From a genre point of veiw, Halo really split a fan base.  It caused every 12 year old wannabe power player to think they where gods at fps, and we all got to hear about it on forums.  It over simplified the genre and really alienated the hardcore fps players.  Same thing happed with CoD4 and MW2.

Posted by Dad_Is_A_Zombie

Definitely GTA 4.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Final Fantasy XIII, it seems. It's all a matter of patience.

Posted by EpicSteve

I understand how your examples split fanbases, but all those games made those franchises better and evolved their respective series. 

Posted by JokerSmilez

Metroid Prime was pretty divisive. I'm a big Metroid fan, and was really skeptical when that came out. I've still only played a couple hours of it. I keep meaning to go back to it, but haven't got around to it.
 
Grand Theft Auto 3 was pretty divisive for me too. I dismissed the game for a long time (a year or more) before finally trying it. In the end, I really liked it, but the first GTA is still my favorite.
 
I still haven't played Ocarine of Time. I've played all the early Zelda games when they were new, but never owned an N64. Still haven't gotten around to playing it, but I doubt it'll replace Link to the Past in my mind as the best Zelda. Too much history and nostalgia.