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Cage: Sequels And "Annualization" Are Killing Innovation

If you want consistent innovation and creativity, you can't keep buying into this "annualization" trend.

At least, that's what Quantic Dream boss David Cage says. During a recent OPM UK interview, the visionary said that unfortunately, a great many people just "want the same" and if you keep giving it to them, "they'll gladly buy it." And so-

"The result is very simple. Gamers invest money in publishers having no interest in innovation. [Gamers] encourage [publishers] to keep making the same game every Christmas, and everybody’s happy."

If you want to see something different, you have to resist buying every "new" title that arrives on a yearly basis. That's the only way that publishers will stop forcing developers to release another blockbuster every year that's only slightly different from its predecessor. If you want true innovation, you're just gonna have to wait. Said Cage:

"If you’re interested in innovation and believe that games could be more than shooters, then you realise that sequels kill creativity and innovation. We don’t give people what they expect. We want to give them something they want without knowing they want it."

Cage is referring to his studio's upcoming title, Beyond: Two Souls, which is another new IP from Quantic Dream. The last was the critically acclaimed Heavy Rain, and don't forget about Indigo Prophecy last generation. Yep, if we want originality and creativity, we have to support it when it shows up.

Tags: david cage, quantic dream, gaming industry, heavy rain, beyond two souls

1/10/2013 11:29:24 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (20 posts)

Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 11:55:41 PM

Good food for thought for those who would like to see Final Fantasy stop being lame. Classic series' fans need to RESIST buying Lightning Returns if they really want to be taken seriously.

If you can count yourself among those who bought FFXIII and FFXIII-2 then didn't you just as well cast your approval for more content following after the direction in which it has been progressing?

Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/10/2013 11:56:17 PM

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 12:47:49 AM

I got FFXIII-2 used. :) First PS3 game I got used this year! And it felt goooooooood.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 1:46:17 PM

I'll be getting that piece of torture porn late and used to make sure they don't get any of my money for making it.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 4:04:43 AM

thank you captain obvious!
said exactly what ive been saying for YEARS!
problem is people SAY they want innovation, but than go and buy every single last years copy and paster.
as cliffy b said haters will hate right to the cash register!

ive gotta say though davids hate of sequels is a little unfair and unfounded.
hes constantly making it sound like sequels cant be innovative and different.
they can, i would of loved to see a sequel to heavy rain, a continuation of the story.
id love to see him stick to something, create a sequel for once and lets see how different and innovative it can be.
every game you make does not need to be a new IP!

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 5:06:50 AM

And while he's at it, give us those 3 missing DLC's we were suppose to get originally for Heavy Rain too.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 1:54:30 PM

Yeah WTF

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 5:08:19 AM

Nice to hear from a developer but for me it's pretty obvious this is the case. So much so that I'm sure the industry is aware of it. Nothing is going to change though at this point.

Journey is a wonderful exception, not the tip of the spear of any awakening going on in the industry. It should be.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013 @ 9:12:20 PM

Only a select few are immune to this statement, one being naughty dog, they've done wonders with character and story development as well as letting the actors act naturally during motion capture scenes

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 7:33:03 AM

Sequels don't kill creativity, there can be plenty of innovation in them. Even when they're not completely new, they can allow a good idea to be refined into something positively brilliant, Thief 2 and AC2 being good examples. Of course, that's different from annualization.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 8:03:30 AM

Exactly. I'm glad of sequels in series' like Uncharted and Metal Gear but not the yearly ones like Call of Duty. There is not enough time to really innovate and improve things in the space of a year. I know everyone wants, say, Gran Turismo games a bit quicker but imagine if they were released every year. Not much would change from year to year and people would get tired of them.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 10:33:39 AM

Yep. Continuing a story is definently different than making a new game "every christmas". I actually enjoy sequels as it help to build upon the character that I have grown fond of.

My theory on game dev. cycles is, make a game. If you want to do DLC have it come out 4-7 months apart. Then 2 to 2 1/2 years later come out with the next game.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 1:56:26 PM

I think he's arguing that the more sequels and annual games there are, the less innovation they have in each new entry. And that's true.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 10:13:52 AM

I think there's nothing wrong with well done, appropriately timed, sequels. I'm sure that Call of Duty and Assassins Creed are the focus of David's ire here. While I can't speak for COD (I haven't been into shooters since the good ol days of Duke3D). I can say that AC has become one annual franchise that I just can't miss. I really enjoy the games, and I look forward to it every year.

If your wife comes up with a delicious new recipe and you tell her it's one of the most amazing meals you've ever had... are you saying it's bad if she makes it again next month? No, of course it's not. She'll make it again because you really liked it last time, and you praised her for it. And guess what? you'll be happy she made you another meal just like that last one, and you'll gobble it up with a giant smile on your face.

This industry is about entertainment. Constant innovation is not a requirement for entertainment. Don't get me wrong, I love it when a unique new IP comes along that grabs me. Journey is in my top 3 games for this entire generation. But my point is you can't expect every developer to always be working on brand new and innovative projects. It's costly, it's risky, and more importantly the consumers don't really want that.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 1:58:08 PM

"If you're interested in innovation..." he says. Obviously not everyone is so I don't think he is at all saying his way is the only way.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 11:11:46 AM

I love this man. I think if I sat down and chatted with him in real life we would get along great >.<

I hate when developers say that technology is holding back innovation, or something like that as well. It really isn't, some steam indie games are 16 bit sprite graphics and actually try new innovative gameplay ideas.

Not every game has to be innovative, but for every risk some devs/publishers take, there are a dozen copy and pastes, rehashes or streamlines of beloved genres. Whats even worse is when a game succeeds it seems like the devs tweak/streamline the formula so that it will appeal to even more of the casual majority of gamers.

Again this isn't all bad, but it was nice when games on the PS1 and PS2 tried to differentiate themselves and be unique and different and THAT was the selling points behind them. Not making their game as familiar as possible to a popular franchise.

Last edited by xenris on 1/11/2013 11:12:07 AM

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 2:05:03 PM

Cage is getting a lot of interviews lately, I think one day QD will be seen as a trailblazer in unique gaming experiences. Telltale seems to be following them now and hopefully others will decide to set themselves apart as well, instead of trying to create the next COD they can set themselves apart by making something unique. I hope he knows we appreciate the effort.

I don't think there has been a huge lack of innovation this gen as some say, but there is a big gap. There's been almost none in big productions (or there's been backwards innovation that makes everything automatic) but plenty in indie games. We gotta fix that.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 9:56:41 PM

Give this man a medal.

That being said, I really also don't reckon we trilogies. See, with most franchises in a trilogy, the middle one tends to be the filler. Better to have a beginning (fulfills twist as normal at the of the first), then conclude with a 2nd (end).

Either that or just do it right and make an interestign first title with a little twist, then show an awesome twist in the second game, like they did with the Assassin's Creed series before they got greedy and cut off some value of their franchise with annualisation and unecessary sequels, believe it or not.

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Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 11:43:49 PM

That's why I've stopped buying COD and even AC because of the annualization over saturated the market. I don't care about ACR or ACIII. I want to play them at some point, but because there's one every year, there was no build up or excitement. It's too soon. And COD has just killed itself with one every year and very little iteration.

I played COD BO II and wanted to slit my wrists. Poor level design in the multiplayer. I didn't even borrow this one from my friend. We played it together and then I couldn't handle it any more.

So, I agree Mr. Cage. I look forward to Beyond with great anticipation because he doesn't annualize his games. And his vision is just about unparalleled because of his unique take on game design.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013 @ 6:52:37 PM

I think a healthy mix of both new IP's and "sequels" where applicable makes the most sense. I put sequels in quotes because I think there are sequels that are story continuation (where too much innovation can kill a great game) and non-continuations, something like a new game in the same universe perhaps (where a little innovation might be good). IDK, I had a good thought and then it splopped onto my keyboard and came out like this...

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Sunday, January 13, 2013 @ 7:24:45 PM

It's a good thought, problem is, the majority of sales around the world are from people who don't give a damn about innovation, they just want to get that next prestige level.

The masses will always control society.

They are the reason why the gaming society has redirected it's attention to more 'casual' gaming experiences, and why traditional J-RPGs have died.

All because of the dumber, ignorant masses.

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