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Should Changing Franchises Be Split Up?

So here's the deal: whatever you happen to like or love about a franchise probably doesn't matter anymore.

That's the reality these days. For better or worse the genres are getting all mixed up, big sales numbers often depend on appealing to (or appeasing) the mainstream, and traditional gameplay elements are being jettisoned along with their corresponding adherents. I can't blame anyone who wants to bemoan these things in internet comment sections but for now I've had a thought: why not just split up these franchises with controversial changes?

I fully understand that it would not be cheap, but the goal wouldn't just be to appease fans of previous play styles. The goal would still be for companies to profit. Imagine a gaming landscape where there were still turn-based Final Fantasy games, a continuation of Devil May Cry's original story line, a new storyline for Mass Effect that was mostly RPG, or a subset of Resident Evil and Dead Space games that were still survival/horror.

Resident Evil: Revelations is on its way to consoles but we have to remember it is still a handheld port. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light turned out great but it wasn't exactly the same classic experience and was more of a dungeon crawler. Personally I think the new Tomb Raider is a perfect reboot and upgrade for the series, but we should remember that there is already an install base of fans for the stylized Lara and her original gameplay.

It's the same for all of the franchises that have made big changes; a fan base is left behind wanting more of what they love. Nature abhors a vacuum. Doesn't it make sense to fill that void with something instead of trying to convert the old fans to new gameplay? Sometimes it works but more often you wind up with a whole group of angry gamers exploding with rage across the interwebs and messing with your review scores.

As far as production costs go, I've noticed that less is more for traditional fans. A true survival/horror game relies on tension and emptiness instead of set pieces and special effects. Old school Final Fantasy games (and JRPGs in general) relied on great stories, character development and clever battle systems instead of quick and constant action and flash. Basically fans of older gameplay just want what once was back with a nice coat of next gen polish over it. Developers could share resources to reduce cost and all the really hardcore fans would likely buy both the mainstream and the traditional titles. I know when I find something I like I get everything associated with it that I can find.

But wouldn't things stagnate quickly? Well, no, and I'll tell you why. All that fans of traditional gameplay ever wanted was for certain things to stay sacred. They were never against innovation or change, they only wanted advancement within the original framework of the franchise. New ideas are welcome, new ways of implementing mechanics too, as opposed to a policy of replacement. JRPGs managed to be fresh for decades by doing the same things in new ways. Fans just never saw the need for certain games to change genres, or they enjoyed the updates but miss things like the more open atmospheres of the original DMC titles.

So what do you think? Is it a good idea for developers to split up franchises for fans who differ, or would that just dilute their quality and over-saturate the market? In an effort to increase member interaction across PSXE's main page and forums I urge you to vote for or against this proposal in a poll I've created in the forums and then comment either here or there. :)


Related Game(s): Resident Evil 6, Dead Space 3, Final Fantasy XIII, Mass Effect, DmC: Devil May Cry

Tags: Resident Evil 6, DmC, Dante, Final Fantasy, JRPG, survival horror

4/25/2013 David Nelson

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (12 posts)

Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 12:12:12 AM

Doesn't sound very realistic. Franchises would end up competing against themselves, which I believe would lead to one version lagging in sales and eventually being discontinued.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 3:30:22 AM

The problem with that is one 'series' will feel authentic and the other will feel more like a spin off. Take Metal Gear Rising for example. Another developer took the series name and did something different with it - But this is by no means how I would want to see the future of the series head towards. While the gameplay was enjoyable the story was completely incoherent. Which was a real same as one of the 3 plots presented actually had some promise (the one about the child soldiers.)

So I don't think spliting up a franchise like so would work. I Don't mean to sound narrow minded but I think a series should stick to what it should aim for. You have a legendary RPG series like Final Fantasy don't try turn it into an action game. You have legendary horror game like Resident Evil DO NOT TURN IT INTO AN ACTION GAME. Spin offs are fine and can allow for experimentation but not as a continuation of the main story.As for Metal Gear Rising, I struggle to except that mess of a story as canon - But it makes up for a mighty fun game to play.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 5:19:33 AM

but if franchises have to be so different then why do they have to be franchises?
why aint MacDonalds creating their own version of fish and chips?
everyone else is doing it!
why isent KFC doing their own version of the grilled chicken burger, hey oporto have made them really popular these days!
im so f*cking sick of developers creating a totally new IP, than slapping a well known franchises name, a name that is the COMPLETE opposite, on it just for the sake of sales!
fine you want to create a new IP, create a new IP!
just dont go slapping the name of a well known franchise on it, because thats when people get pissed because they dont get what their expecting!
when i go to MacDonalds and order a big mac, than come home and find its actually fish and chips, we have a f*cking problem!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 12:58:24 PM

I don't think so. If the franchises are going to be so different, they might as well be new IPs. Final Fantasy XIII and all its sequels is one example that should never have the FF name.

Franchises are popular for a reason. They should stick to their roots, with minor changes. If it's as drastic as FFXIII, then just make a new IP if they're so intent in trying to appeal to a group of gamers.

I mean they should just label it as spin-offs, not exactly a main title. Some examples are FF Dirge of Cerberus and Metal Gear Rising.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 1:37:17 PM

Depending on the developer and the franchise, this is being done already.

However, one part will be mainstream and the other will be considered an offshoot. Typically, the mainstream version will get the lion's share of what limited development resources are available, and the offshoot will get what's left. Typically, this results in the offshoot titles either having smaller budgets, being moved to cheaper/less powerful consoles, or outsourced entirely.

Witness what has happened with Final Fantasy already. We have gotten some new OG style FF games since 2006, but to play them, you have to play on JPN mobile phones, Wii, or PSP (Final Fantasy IV 2) or Ipad/Iphone/Android devices (Final Fantasy Dimensions). That's not counting the various remakes of FFIII and FFIV (or upcoming FFV) either. Classic Turn-based FF games are still being made, but they're not big console productions any more.

Obviously, Resident Evil is another example, with OG style Revelations showing up on the 3DS. Capcom clearly didn't feel comfortable making this on console, so they did it on the "safe" handheld. It sold better than they anticipated (and RE6 didn't sell as much as they hoped), so now they're porting Revelations to consoles.

If Revelations on console sells well, that at least should be a guide to Capcom that there are sufficient numbers of fans of the OG style of RE to warrant making big console efforts from the onset. On the other hand, if RER bombs on consoles, that'll likely confuse them, and they'll probably go back to trying more RE6 stuff and conclude that the OG style only works on the cheaper, safer 3DS. I wish them well.

tldr: Companies have limited resources as is, and can't afford to spend time splintering their franchises into equally important portions. One side is always going to take priority over the other, and if you like the side that gets the shaft, you better be prepared to play on consoles you wouldn't have otherwise.

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Comic Shaman
Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 1:54:51 PM

Best example of a split ever was Devil May Cry.

The original Devil May Cry spun off from the Resident Evil development team. It was meant to be a RE game, but it was too much a departure from the series. So in an act of great wisdom, they made Devil May Cry as its own game and let Resident Evil develop along its own evolutionary course.

It would be nice if that sort of win-win situation happened more often.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 3:06:46 PM

Interesting results, I'll probably go for something more controversial if I do this again though, not much interest in the topic I chose. But hey I did this right after writing a 5 page paper full of nonsense that cooked my brain :)

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Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 6:06:21 PM

I think the concept is a great idea....The only problem is you would get poeple like Wada, Yerli, or Avalanche who would take the statistics from games and draw completely false conclusions. FF XIII would be my example for this. Sure on its own you can consider them good games and they sold fairly well, however I think Wada took it as a sign that no one out there wanted the old style anymore and just figured ok we'll scrap it.

I could also see an issue if they chose to keep the canon running through both, that would result in serious backlash. I know I love MGS but I have no plans on ever play Rising as I don't care for those types of games. Luckily Hideo knew this(being the smart man he is) and said this is not part of the MGS canon.

If they followed that type of development on everything then I would say this is a perfect idea, however we know that publishers and even some devs are just not bright enough to keep them seperated enough.

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Tim Speed24
Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 6:08:35 PM

I would love to see Multiplayer split up from single player and charge half price. I'm mostly talking about COD and Battlefield games here but other genres could apply.

I believe there is alot of people that just play one or the other so split them up.

If you like to do both then your not spending anymore by purchasing both versions. But for people like me that only play games for the single player experience it would sure make buying the games more worth-while.

Last edited by Tim Speed24 on 4/25/2013 6:09:23 PM

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Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 6:39:57 PM

Me too man, me too.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 10:06:15 PM

Ironically, multiplayer fans probably don't think the series needs the campaign anyway. They're probably right, too, because CoD likely wouldn't be where it's at today without the multiplay. I somewhat feel the production of a CoD-style campaign couldn't be sustained by a single-player only marketed campaign. That is without it drastically changing in design. Really, in a way, I think CoD's campaign may be better than it otherwise would be without the popularity of the multiplayer to get it there. Weird, but possibly true.
Anyway, I doubt a 50-50 split in costs would work. I say 85-15 split. Where the multiplayer costs about 45 dollars and the single player just 15. I'd like that, personally.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 4/25/2013 10:06:55 PM

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 2:59:55 PM

I thought it was all about supply and demand, but obviously its about command and conquer...

CoD is an overplayed idea too, the engine is the same from 3 years ago just with new graphics and different guns... I would hope other game makers would just update their games too, instead of trying to reinvent themselves every new version... ex. warhawk... but the CoD programers were smart enough to see they had a good thing and keep it alive for as long as possible... but that life is almost over. i hope.

Last edited by Id00urmomma on 4/28/2013 3:05:30 PM

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