One trend I’m noticing this generation is a startling number of fourth and fifth entries into franchises which were billed as trilogies.
I suppose my hat must go off to Mass Effect for its fortitude in being one of the lone rangers to stick to being a three-part series… so far.
But I want to turn now to a potential cause for all this skewering and stretching of what a ‘trilogy’ is – the lengthened console life cycle.
Yes, we’ve been enjoying our PS3s and 360s now for 7 odd years, and from all reports it’ll be 8 until the full suite of next-gen consoles is on our shelves and worming its way sensuously into our hearts.
With this, a bunch of planned ‘trilogies’ have been similarly stretched.
Tell me, which of these do you think would’ve had a short and sharp 3 numbered games (like Prince of Persia did last year) if we’d seen new consoles come out in 2010 like the clockwork generations of old?
God of War
While I will of course grant you that the original God of War was a late-in-the-piece PS2 release, the numerical trilogy still made a very solid ‘complete story’ for anti-hero Kratos and his stalwart journey to stop getting kicked out of Mount Olympus.
Had the Playstation 4 arrived without the couple of year, GFC-induced delay, surely the team at Santa Monica Studio would be working on a new franchise to take it big on the next generation rather than doing an origin story.
Gears of War
Speaking of origin stories, and with a very very similar feel to its execution, how are we to read Epic’s intentions with Gears of War: Judgement?
Surely the change, not only of number to subtitle, but also of main character entirely, signifies that this was always meant to be a tale of one squad which found itself ending a little before its time.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Leigh, you simple-minded cretin with the face of an imbecile! Have you not seen the television, bus shelters or stickers in discothèques of late? Are you not aware that the latest leap-em-up is in fact the third game?
Indeed it is, but considering that Ubisoft Montreal held a supervisory role on Assassin’s Creed 2’s two pseudo-sequels ‘Brotherhood’ and ‘Revelations’, with the bulk of the development work being shipped out to such sterling crews as Ubisoft Shanghai, Ubisoft Annecy and of course the powerhouse at Ubisoft Bucharest?
Had the wrapping up of this generation been due in 2010 (when Brotherhood came out), I see it as far more likely that they’d have jumped straight into a similarly final episode in the trilogy with gusto.
Metroid Prime brought the series back up to speed with a new generation of games featuring the much-loved and oft-ogled (for those who could beat it on hard – innuendo intended) Samus. Its neat rollout of two successors, however, was then to see Team Ninja (of all people) come to the table with Metroid: Other M.
Call me daft, but ditching the fourth number is evidence enough that it’s not *really* part of the trilogy. Using a word like ‘other’ in the title? Well, that’s just giving the game away entirely!
So I guess what I’m asking is this:
Given that its usually the case that new franchises are born at the beginnings of new consoles (Uncharted, Halo, The Darkness, Resistance, Project Gotham Racing, Motorstorm etc), how do we collectively feel about this generation’s neat and tidy storylines getting extra iterations.
Are we glad to see a kickass extra chapter in a saga we just want to eat up more of (Halo 4) or are we still playing the game, but a little weary and fearful that someone’s taking us for a ride (Assassin’s Creed: Revelations)?
By Leigh Harris