Should more game franchises be retired (and later rebooted)?

by Ben Salter Featured 9 Comments 11 Votes 7089 Views 21/07/2014 Back to Articles

Will there ever be a day when the final instalment in a tiring franchise is announced knowing it will be the last one?

Or more realistically the last one before a total reboot?

The question swirled around my dishevelled mind at the weekend, as a Foxtel promo reminded me most if its best shows are voluntarily coming to an end. None of my favourites have been prematurely cancelled, they’re simply nearing the end of their intended lifespans and bowing out with something left in the tank and reputations soaring high, rather than continuing for as long as they remain profitable.

But with video games, there’s rarely an end in sight, outside of a trilogy concluding, and that tends to lead to a new trio almost immediately. I don’t expect the stalwarts like Mario or Halo to disappear forever, but when The Last of Us 2 is inevitably announced, is there any chance Naughty Dog will confirm then and there this is going to be it – regardless of strong sales, there won't be anymore?

The only game series that disappear seem to enter forced retirement. Microsoft’s backhanded compliment to Conker all but confirmed they’re leaving him on the pine, and Crash Bandicoot might as well check into a retirement home now – he’s not getting a call up.

The thing is, these once legendary characters were pushed aside as the fruition of rushed development and deservedly poor sales. What if, say, there was a new Conker game towards the end of the Xbox 360’s life that Rare was given ample time to finish on the basis it would be the last game they’d ever make in the series – then handed him to the community in Project Spark.

It would have been a more momentous and celebrated end compared to the token DIY comeback we were offered.

Of course, a series being “retired” needn't mean it’s definitely gone forever. But it could confirm the current story is concluding, the developer is moving on and when it returns, it won’t be for a while and take an unrecognisable approach – that’s very different to the closure of Halo 3 being undermined by Reach and Halo 4 igniting a new trilogy that we know will be followed by another, and another.

If admitting a series is entering retirement, or something more than a (it isn't selling well) hiatus, is too risky, perhaps we can compromise. Imagine how much more compelling the Uncharted 4, 5 and 6 arch will be if Sony says from the start that all three will launch on PS4, but there won’t be another game in the series this console generation. That’s more than likely already the plan, but the buzz it could generate by announcing it now could be electric.

After seeing many of my favourite TV shows go, I’d like to see an equivalent enter the realm of video games. While established series aren't going anywhere permanently until they've been burnt out like Crash, Spyro, Conker and Banjo, they could be invigorated if more developers announced when an upcoming game would be the last as we know it – imagine if Capcom announces Resident Evil 7 as the last in the current storyline. An end to the lingering story, with a vastly different reboot presumed to follow, would certainly peak my interest.

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Should more game franchises be retired (and later rebooted)? Comments

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Funny you use The Last of Us 2 as an example considering Uncharted 4s plot details and name imply it may be the last in the series.
At this point, the title of a game should just now be a brand -- a hub for current and future characters provided the game is successful enough to warrant sequel. Kinda like the old Batman movies where they had a different actor playing Batman every time, but you would do this after three games and move on. It certainly makes a series feel fresh.

Reboots are dumb because developers don't know when give their games enough time (ugh, Crackdown) to even make it seem like a reboot. God of War wouldn't feel overkill if they finished Kratos' storyline right after 3.
In a way, Reboots are nice to have if the game's former achievements does well or at least enough to warrant a reboot. BUT, just only if its being stopped by a brick wall called story or just flopped for a ridiculous reason.

A game only warrants a reboots for me if it reaches a time where in my son doesn't recognize the certain game and needs reintroduction , and a facelift.
I don't have an issue with reboots because generally they're entirely new interpretations, which essentially make for an entirely new experience. You can't compare Tomb Raider 2013 to any of the Tomb Raider's before it. I think that's a good thing. It's why I found criticism of the new Dante to be tedious.

@K4ZMA said:
Reboots are dumb because developers don't know when give their games enough time (ugh, Crackdown) to even make it seem like a reboot. God of War wouldn't feel overkill if they finished Kratos' storyline right after 3.



*publishers :P Developers might have an idea and prototype but often these are transformed and changed at the request of whatever publisher is financing.

TBH I think Crackdown has always been an under-utilised franchise for Microsoft. Infamous has established itself as a defining brand of PlayStation and Crackdown should be the same. I enjoyed the first two games but they weren't great and could (should) have been a LOT better. The first one felt like a "making up the numbers" game and the second one was just a re-release with zombies, really. It could have been released as DLC. I think there's a lot of potential for Crackdown so starting from scratch is probably a good thing. Really looking forward to it more than most other reboots tbh.
there's no such thing as 'retirement' in the normal sense. they'll retire a series once every dollar from the consumer is soaked up and the annual releases have been abused and the audience starts declining.

activision uses this to great affect.

The way to save some of these franchises esp from the 'wilderness' is to reboot it, change devs and take the number off ;)

Hello Doom(4)

Btw, I don't mind reboots esp if its just trailed off from what it was and I think a new developer could easily breath new life into the game. Really depends on the publisher and how much control they have over it.

I just feel some of the devs/publishers motives in F2P, In-app purchasing and DLC bother me but that's a whole another topic.
Aren't there two Tomb Raider games coming out? A sequel to the reboot, and a sequel to the Lara Croft game? I don't mind that kind of model, assuming they don't release right alongside next to each other.
I'd be happy for A.Creed to follow this model. New game every year, with standalone story lines that take turns to be told. Or they can fill the gaps with Altaïr's Creed. I'd be happy with that.

Silence said: Aren't there two Tomb Raider games coming out? A sequel to the reboot, and a sequel to the Lara Croft game?



I'm so confused lol

Tano said:

Silence said: Aren't there two Tomb Raider games coming out? A sequel to the reboot, and a sequel to the Lara Croft game?


I'm so confused lol



One is a proper AAA Tomb Raider game, the other is an isometric like this: store.steampowered.com/...

maxiboy said:

Tano said:

Silence said: Aren't there two Tomb Raider games coming out? A sequel to the reboot, and a sequel to the Lara Croft game?


I'm so confused lol


One is a proper AAA Tomb Raider game, the other is an isometric like this: store.steampowered.com/...



Ah yes, I read it as though there was a third game being made.

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