Are Annual Franchises Activision's Kryptonite?
In the past, we've wondered if the "annual-ization" of big-name franchises is a good idea. For instance, we question if a developer has ample time to deliver an appropriately new and fresh experience.
And yet, the yearly sequels keep showing up; Call of Duty is obvious but Ubisoft is also going for annual installments of their critically acclaimed and immensely popular Assassin's Creed series. There may be no stopping this machine that craves holiday dollars each and every year.
But you should check out an op-ed by LucasArts creative director Clint Hocking, where he elaborates on why annualizing franchises really can prove damaging in the long run. After finishing the article, we had to look back on the generation, and we remembered some scathing words from EA. Activision has been blamed for milking various titles, and that includes Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk, and Call of Duty. The latter is going strong, of course, but the other two...
We know about the third-person CoD title that's coming and suddenly, we see all those "Hero" spin-offs dancing before our eyes. Over-saturation. It's a term we've heard often enough before. And even though it's almost impossible to imagine the all-powerful, borderline omnipotent Call of Duty series declining significantly, nothing is impossible. Activision seems to know only one form of progression, and that involves jamming its successful products down our throats on a routine basis. It's a standard marketing practice, of course, but might the annual-ization of their cash cows prove destructive in the future?
The creative process requires time and refinement, even if the studio in question is utilizing tried-and-true formulas and existing pieces of technology. And last we checked, gamers do demand quality.. Yes, that includes the CoD crowd, believe it or not.
9/13/2011 9:10:51 PM Ben Dutka