There are many franchises in the video game industry that generate billions of dollars worldwide and allow their creators to live sumptuous lifestyles. It is this area that comes in for the heaviest criticism. One of the biggest franchises is the Call of Duty series. Couple this with the inception of live on line gaming such as x box live, and you have a license to print money. There are now 6 in the series, but the last two have come under heavy criticism. A shoot and kill game where you dispense of the enemy using various weapons is a simple concept, and one that may have been taken too far now. The launch of Black Ops in 2010 had stores opening their doors at midnight and pre-orders totally millions, yet once purchased many gamers had a feeling they had been ripped off.
You know what you are getting with any Call of Duty game, but after the hype and the multi million dollar marketing push, gamers were left feeling ‘same old, same old’. Their general opinion was that improved graphics and new, bigger weapons don’t bring anything new or imaginative to a game. Of course, there are many that disagree, and they can be heard praising the amount of pixels used and the all the technical improvements, but for your average gamer, it doesn’t warrant the hard earned cash you have handed over under the illusion of the greatest gaming experience of your life. Maybe these developers should turn their attentions away from a 7th game in the franchise, and produce something that really is new and exciting.
At the recent gaming awards, the video games equivalent of the Oscars, Heavy Rain was the runaway winner. This game really pushed the boundaries of gaming and has industry insiders hailing it as the next generation of video gaming. Role playing games are nothing new but the way this game has been developed and the interaction you have with the main character and the other characters he comes into contact through the duration of this game is ingenious. The game plays like a movie and is completely absorbing. The characters are created in such away that you actually care about them and what happens to them. The obvious danger is that the market suddenly becomes swamped with Heavy Rain wannabes, thus leaving the genre stale and the gamers wanting something else again.
You can see why franchises run and run. Any sports game which brings out a new game a year, such as the FIFA soccer series, or WWE wrestling, basically does what it says in the tin. You will play soccer or wrestle, the graphics will be improved, there will be new players and teams, and every gamer hands over their money knowing exactly what they are going to get. The creators of other genres of franchises need to have the same mindset as a movie maker, and not take the franchise past its sell by date. Many great movies fade in significance as people remember the 2 or 3 inferior sequels. Sadly, gaming already seems to be going down this route, and it is the gamers who are suffering for it.