Do you like it better when sequels reinvent the wheel or reiterate and refine?

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Topcyclist

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The age-old debate, more of the same but better, or a total revamp.

Which do you prefer, assuming the original was already well received.

Explanation:

I see it all the time, a first of its kind. This is such a great game/movie/show/album/etc. Only a few hiccups here and there and this thing is otherwise perfect or it's so great I don't know how I'd improve it besides just going bigger or smaller etc.

Then the sequel comes out and people complain that they should have kept it a one and done…or the sequel is on paper better but more of the same so that makes it bad…(home alone 2 ITIS)

For games, it can be the nostalgia…dark souls 1 love overlooks all the flaws even the creators said was due to time constraints. Vs dark souls 3 (skipping 2 cause the staff on 3 is closer to 1) where the game on paper has more of everything and people still like 1 better because it's “more of the same” Or Mario galaxy 1 vs 2.

But when you reinvent the wheel and change everything people tend to think it's bad or better…say power stone 1 vs 2, tekken vs tekken tag, god of war series vs the newer revamp, so on.

Personally, I enjoy when the sequel is more of the same, if the studio can do the ideas they left out due to originally having to create an entire engine and assets. Akin to how kotor 1 vs 2 just improved a lot of gameplay or fable 1 vs 2. I find that critics don't enjoy more of the same due to playing so many games, so say crash 1 vs 2 faired worst than say crash 2 vs 3 (more vehicles). So what's the consensus.

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Ginormous76

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This is incredibly difficult to answer, because it's entirely dependent on the end product. Examples:
God of War Ragnarok is more of the same of God of War 2018. I LOVE GoW2018, but Ragnarok feels so stale/boring.

Dead Space 2 is more Dead Space 1, but refined. It's also much better. Other examples: MegaMan 2, Sonic 2, Streets of Rage 2.

There's an argument both ways of Left 4 Dead 2 even being refined. It's definitely more of the same, but it's just as fantastic!

Super Mario 2 USA is very different than SMB1, but it's so much better and set so many details about the characters that hold to today.

Mass Effect 2 killed off all the best parts of ME1 trying to reinvent. It's a significantly worse game.

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judaspete

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#4  Edited By judaspete

Kinda depends on the game but in the most general sense, the second and third game should refine and perfect what the first started. If the series continues beyond that, the fourth should be a major overhaul.

I think Zelda is a good example. Zelda 2 was too big of a departure too soon, but Link's Awakening and Link to the past refined and perfected the formula. OoT moved to 3D and was loved, but MM was not as well received due to being a big departure. People liked WW and TP a lot for doing OoT again, but (motion controls aside) SS was criticised for failing to innovate. BotW greatly expanded the scope and was a huge success, TotK looks to be more of that with some new abilities added in. Depending how that turns out, they could probably do one more on this template, but will need to overhaul again after that.

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Justin258

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It depends on how long the series has run, I suppose.

First time, try your best, see what works and what doesn't, take player feedback and see what you want to do next.

Second time, do the same thing but better, refine it, but not so much that you've sanded off all the personality and interesting aspects.

Third time, do it again, make it the best thing you absolutely can. Maybe you don't need to refine it much more, but you've got a great understanding of what you've got under your belt so just do something amazing.

If you're working on a fourth game there needs to be something significantly different about it. I don't think you need to completely reinvent your series, necessarily, but it needs to be mixed up quite a lot. Halo 3: ODST is a good example of this - it's very definitely a Halo game, but its tone and structure are significantly different.

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daavpuke

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Reinvent the wheel, every time!

I'm fine with iteration, if it's a solid expansion, like I enjoyed God of War 1 to 2, but it has nothing to the classic Mario 1 to 2 or Zelda 1 to 2 arc.

The problem with the reinventing the wheel thing is that developers half-ass it a lot of the time, which leaves both parties frustrated. Those who wanted the same bag can't relate and those who wanted innovation are still playing the same game.

The biggest example I bring up of wasted reinvention is Dragon Age 2. DA2 is a dope game. It's like an arcade Dragon Age. But that's literally the whole gimmick, so it just feels like watered down Dragon Age, instead of something that stands on its own.

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Topcyclist

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@judaspete: I like the idea that zelda BOTW 2 will be more of the same but maxed out, trimmed of all the fat that held it back...so all the extra time isn't spent drawing assets and tweeking stuff and instead is just maxing out how cool the game can get. Critics usually hate it, but the second in a franchise being more of the same really shows how cool the first game is. Reinventing is good too but yeah...too soon and you end up saying...why not just make a new franchise. For example Bioshock 2 gameplay wise IMO is better than 1. Minerva's den is a nicer compact good story...Infinite is the reset needed at the time to shake things up. Infinite 2 just being more infinite wouldnt work thou. It's tough. Like an elden ring 2 where you make every boss unique, cut back on the length of the game and add flying mounts and other stuff would be good vs just overhaul where your just playing sekiro or bloodborne ehh.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#8  Edited By ll_Exile_ll

It totally depends on the game. Take Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom. To me, this is perfect case where iteration can take something and make it much better. BotW had a lot about it that was fantastic, but it was by no means perfect and there were a lot of elements that I thought could stand to be improved upon. Taking that solid foundation and building on it while improving upon its shortcoming is the ideal path for the next game. Trying to take the next game in a totally new direction would feel like a waste of the untapped potential of BotW.

In other cases, iterative sequels can feel less exciting. If the sequel is unable to build upon what the previous game did in a meaningful and interesting way, it's probably better to just try something new. I feel like you see this with a lot of third entries in a series. The first game is the proof of concept, the second iterates and builds on the first game to a strong degree, but by the third there isn't much room to take the idea further and you end up with a game that is technically a bit better than the second, but feels far less impactful. See Uncharted 3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed Revelations (Ezio's third game), Mass Effect 3, Dead Space 3, and many others I'm probably forgetting.

Considering this, I think it was actually a very smart idea for the God of War Norse sage to wrap up in two games. I liked Ragnarok, but if they tried to do another one of these without shaking things up a lot I think it would be one too many.

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hermes

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If it is the first or second sequel, they should focus on refining and improving. Most of the times, the first game is solid, but there is a lot of things that have to be scraped or half baked to put the game through the door. With more time, it comes the hindsight and the opportunity to fix what was wrong, add what was missing and improve on what works...

Beyond that, a franchise becomes stale, and there needs to have a mayor redesign of the game to justify it.

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constantk

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This has happened in so many different ways over the years it's tough to say...

If I had to choose, I think I like the iterate and refine method (note: this is not just spitting out a copy of the previous game). It doesn't prevent the new thing from happening in another game and I still know what I'm getting if I buy a new game in the same series.

To be honest, this sort of brings up the issue of series getting too stale or getting forced in different directions because the name makes money. Either way can be a huge problem for the IP and the industry as a whole. Just look at Call of Duty; any time they try something new they are criticized by a portion of the fanbase for not being true to the spirit of the series, yet when they "stay true" people get bored or say it's not as good as the previous iteration. It's a tough spot to be in, for sure.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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If the formula is great, I'm fine with refinement. I don't need or want XCOM to become a shooter, though I'm fine with that if they want to create an offshoot IP under that game's moniker. But I also really don't want to limit creators to just one thing, so I guess it's more a matter of naming conventions for me. Like Final Fantasy. We all know Final Fantasy ended after X and love the fact that they named every Final Fantasy after that Final Fantasy Ugh It's Getting Even More Actiony 1-6. That was a great way of doing things.

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clagnaught

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With that there is an element of sameness.

The example I think of is with Bethesda, I feel like I have seen their games before, because I played through Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim. I haven’t played one of their games in a decade, but I still feel like I’ve been there, done that. (Although I kinda want to play New Vegas…)

In general, I like when stuff advances. Metal Gear Solid 1 through 5 are all different, even if they are in the same mold. It’s interesting to have different styles and mechanics over the years. Even MGS2 and MGS3, which both play and look very similarly, are pretty different. You could almost make the case that they have a different mood with them.

In reality, my answers probably say more about how I feel about those games than anything else. Like there are some games I would gladly play every 2-3 years if they kept coming out, even if they are largely similar.

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cikame

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I generally like more of the same if it's something i really like, similar to music, there are many bands where i love one of their albums then they change and i don't like them anymore, you could argue that Rammstein have been doing the same thing for nearly 30 years but the quality is always high enough that i enjoy it, they're still doing what they do really well.

I'm trying to think of a game franchise that changed enough to the point where i didn't like it anymore, in general when a game does well enough to have sequels they follow the formula pretty closely, bad sequels don't really count, Devil May Cry 2 is way worse than the first game but that's just a quality thing, you're still doing the same stuff as before just worse.

I guess... Tomb Raider? I'm not going to defend the awkward (but rewarding) controls of the originals or the often insane and terrible level design, but torturing the s*** out of student Lara in an attempt to make me sorry for her didn't work at all, the change in gameplay was executed well enough that the game itself is good, but i'll never get over rebooting and removing all of the style and confidence of the character.

Maybe The Witcher for some people? The combat in the original was pretty bad but manageable and fans were happy with the changes they made for the 2nd game, however i know some people disliked where it went with the 3rd game, more action and less RPG, i didn't mind at all i thought it was a good change.

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dooz

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#14  Edited By dooz

I enjoy new IPs, but companies of course hate risk. It's one thing if a game series explores new ideas that are somewhat related to the mechanics of the prior, but I have been very annoyed at games that are clearly unrelated -- with the prior's assets pasted on to try and milk the popularity of the existing franchise, and that annoys me.

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ll_Exile_ll

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@cikame said:

Maybe The Witcher for some people? The combat in the original was pretty bad but manageable and fans were happy with the changes they made for the 2nd game, however i know some people disliked where it went with the 3rd game, more action and less RPG, i didn't mind at all i thought it was a good change.

The Witcher 3 is not really any less of an RPG or more action oriented than Witcher 2. That big shift from weird hardcore PC RPG to action RPG happened in the Witcher 2. All the Witcher 3 did was take that idea and shift it to an open world and improve the combat from Witcher 2. The only major mechanical change from 2 to 3 was that in 2 you needed to drink potions before combat, while in 3 you can do that during combat.

If anything, Witcher 3 leans more into the idea of you role playing as Geralt with all the Witcher contracts. Being able to role play the Witcher profession wasn't well supported in Witcher 2, with only a few monster contracts that were mostly about killing a bunch of the same type of monster rather than hunting a specific one.

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styx971

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it really just depends for me i think. i mean generally speaking i want to to be refined n expanded vs changing everything up, that is to say if i'm gonna play a sequel to something its cause i liked the first n usually want more of it in the first place. thats not to say that something too much the same is good either. ppl lately have been a bit mixed on gow: ragnarok cause of how similar it was to 2018 and while i can agree to a point with that that aspect didn't bother me too much vs the story being kinda middling with good moments. but even when you refine n expand things they aren't always amazing. i love the yakuza series but the added characters of different styles plus the different style modes for kaz felt too un-natural as a longtime player of those earliest entries since the first. .. but also in the same series i was super mixed on the idea of them going turn-based with 7 , and you know what it was great n they incorporated it great so it worked nicely. on the flipside of that tho take assassin's creed for example . i loved those first handful of games cause they refined it n expanded , then it got stale for some ppl , i never minded the gameplay but they clearly didn't always have new elements that worked , then they totally reworked the combat n structure n now they're kinda the worst monotonous things to play cause of it even tho it functions fine for the most part . so it really all just depends on the game in the end , either can be good if handled well.

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hack1501

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I want sequels to iterate and refine on the previous game. It's why I appreciate the terms reboot/reimagine because these tell me upfront that the next game is not a direct iterative sequel, so at that point I am ready for the developer to go nuts and show me what they got. Otherwise I love the refinement of iterative sequels, which is probably why I love GOD: Ragnarok and Horizon Forbidden West so much.

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cikame

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@ll_exile_ll: In the grand scheme of things the change to the combat wasn't an enormous change, i just remember playing 1 and 2 with mouse and keyboard and my damage and misses being dictated by dice rolls, whereas i played 3 with a controller like it was realistic Dynasty Warriors.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#19  Edited By ll_Exile_ll
@cikame said:

@ll_exile_ll: In the grand scheme of things the change to the combat wasn't an enormous change, i just remember playing 1 and 2 with mouse and keyboard and my damage and misses being dictated by dice rolls, whereas i played 3 with a controller like it was realistic Dynasty Warriors.

The Witcher 2 is an action game. Maybe playing with a keyboard and mouse gave you a different perception, but it's essentially the same combat system as Witcher 3, but clunkier. Weapon damage in both Witcher 2 and 3 is based on the damage range of the weapon, so that comment about dice rolls existing in the earlier games but not 3 is inaccurate. I have no idea where you're getting any kind of Dynasty Warriors similarities for Witcher 3, but that's honestly a very silly point of comparison.