By MisterBananaFoam 10 Comments
I saw a recent Jimquisition on the subject of genre-swapping old IPs, and I began to ponder about it. Is change really what we need? Should our franchises stay the way they are, or should they take a bold step in a new direction?
I guess it depends on what series we're talking about. Probably the biggest example of unwanted change in a video game that I can think of right now (and is completely opinionated, so I don't mean to drone out the people who like it) is the newest Banjo-Kazooie game. Everyone loved the hell out of the first two games, which were both intuitive platformers that essentially vitalized the genre, but the third one was received negatively by most gamers I knew since the mechanics were drastically changed in the process.
My take on this is that they could have so very easily turned it into a new IP by forgoing the Banjo-Kazooie characters and either recycling a character from Diddy Kong Racing (like Bumper the Badger, for instance) or coming up with a completely original character. It would have given their fans something to tide over until the release of a proper Banjo-Kazooie or Conker sequel (if there ever would be one), but no, they took the lazy way out and slapped Banjo's name unceremoniously onto the game, which pretty much ruined any chance of us getting an on-foot Banjo-Kazooie game like we did in the days of the N64. I liked Nuts and Bolts, don't get me wrong, but I think it was received this way because nothing about the series previously was really that stale in the eyes of Rare's fans, and didn't really need the change.
Another egregious Rare example is Star Fox Adventures. I'll admit to not having played any of the Star Fox games prior to Adventures, but I heard they were pretty great, and when I played the game it was radically different than Adventures. I did some research and, apparently, it was another case of "the genre wasn't boring but they tried to change it anyways," and it was pretty inexcusable considering the title was first shown being developed as a new IP called Dinosaur Planet, and it had nothing to do with Star Fox or anything of the sort, and it's all because of the stupid brand name popularity. It's akin to making a shitty movie about a popular movie persona like Thor or E.T., since it is essentially pasting the characters into an already-fine game just to get it to sell better. If you had stuck with the original IP, maybe people would have liked it, and you would have another successful franchise under your belt. I'm not all biased toward gameplay-changing games based on a previously popular game series, but some games, like the ones I've mentioned, are officially canon to the story and aren't spin-offs, and it feels out of place to me.
But enough about me rambling on, what's your take on this whole subject?