Since the start of video games as a popular entertainment method, some names are synonymous with the business – Mario, Link, Pac-Man, the list goes on. The video game industry is currently the most popular form of entertainment in the entire world, and, in the past thirty years, has grown to new levels with the inclusion of newer technology. However, while the technology has allowed for more depth and detail within the games, sometimes the substance can be found to be a little lacking. Here is a closer look at five franchises that need to take a step back and think about their next move.
5 – Pro Evolution Soccer
While Pro Evo dominated the football game market in the early to mid-2000s, FIFA took over and quickly found itself way ahead of the competition. Much like EA with any other sport, the competition faded and they established a monopoly within sports video games. It’s for good reason too – everything that EA Sports produces is absolute gold, and because they run at such a high standard, even the smallest of tweaks game to game warrants another £50.
Recently, Pro Evolution has attempted to bring their game back up to what was a market leading standard. While still falling short of FIFA’s quality, PES is a fun football game that can be enjoyed. If they want to topple the giants, though, there is a lot of work still needed to match their competitor.
4 – Assassin’s Creed
Assassin’s Creed was originally released way back in 2007 to fantastic critical reception; however due to that, Ubisoft started milking this cash cow for all it has been worth. The Assassin’s Creed franchise has seen a whopping nine main games come out in the past eight years. Bear in mind, a franchise such as Metroid has only released twelve games over the past three decades, and you’ll see the oversaturation Assassin’s Creed has provided. If you count all the non-main games in the AC franchise, it tallies to an ungodly nineteen titles in a nine-year span.
Ubisoft have announced that for the first time in franchise history, there will not be a main story title for Assassin’s Creed in 2016. However, fans of the series needn’t worry as they can look forward to playing both Chronicles titles this year, as well as Assassin’s Creed Identity on iOS and Android devices, plus a movie starring Michael Fassbender. The big point to remember about that is there is no main title, though.
The latest title – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – played very repetitively. Everything you had to do in each part of London was remarkably similar and didn’t present a massive challenge to the player. Hopefully, despite a jam-packed 2016 for the franchise, the studio will work on improving what was once a much loved game.
3 – Halo
Halo initially started out as a more thought-out series. Each game of the main trilogy had a fantastic backstory to it, and combined with an immensely fun online multiplayer service, the franchise went on to become Xbox’s flagship series.
However, passing on to the present day, Halo has become another over-milked cow, barely able to give anything else. The original trilogy was staggered over the course of six years from 2001-2007, but since 2009, a new game has been released every year, culminating in 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians. Guardians received mostly positive reviews, but reviews were still quite mixed on the single player product that was churned out. The campaign mode didn’t follow much of the lead up that had been seen in trailers, and was generally felt a bit too “safe” for a franchise that once broke the mould.
After such a strong start from the series, it would be a shame to see it limp over the finish line.
2 – Call of Duty
This one has arguably needed a reboot since about 2010. Along with Halo, the multiplayer on COD is flawless, apart from pre-teens telling you they had sexual relations with your mum over the headset.
With a game release every year for the past thirteen years, Activision have successfully built up a Christmas empire, due to the title’s annual November release, but it has also left more hardcore gamers wanting much more from a series that gave so much with the original Modern Warfare game.
The single player storyline follows a very similar arc every year – chaos, chaos, twist, betrayal, end. To play through that once a year means you can basically just revisit last year’s game, and why bother when you have so many amazing more games on the current gen consoles?
1 – Sonic
Ah, Sonic. Where did it all go wrong?
Well, in short, it was after the hedgehog left the safe Sega consoles and had no safety net to fall back on. Since Sega stopped putting forth new consoles, Sonic’s sales and ratings have slowly been dwindling.
Let’s just put the state of Sonic to sales for now. The last Sonic game released was a combination of Sonic Boom: The Rise of Lyric and Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, appearing for the Wii U and 3DS respectively. The sales of those two games combined totalled a whopping… 620,000 copies. To put that into comparison, LEGO Jurassic World has sold over 800,000 copies to date. That is the combined sales for two different Sonic games not even totalling the amount of one LEGO game.
Remember back in 1991, where Sonic was Mario’s main competitor in the Sega vs. Nintendo wars? Sonic is just going to be that old, annoying hedgehog in the retirement home telling that story like the boxers who once fought Muhammad Ali. Yeah, it’s a great achievement, but you still lost.
P.S. Read more about the Mario vs. Sonic wars here!