“Sequels”: No More Game Preservation

In today’s class we spoke about the evolution of Video Games, especially encompassing the development of streaming through Google’s Stadia or Xbox’s X Cloud, but what about the development of Video Games themselves?

A recent article I read (link below) was discussing Overwatch 2 and highlighted the blurred line between sequels and expansions. Personally, I have always been irritated watching a Video Game release entirely unfinished and unpolished, full of bugs and errors, which is then followed up by an unending torrent of updates being release nearly constantly for months following the game. It’s understandable when a Video Game focuses on its online capabilities and ever-changing mission/loot parameters, but when you have a primarily single-player game – why oh why do we keep updating? It seems that most of the time I purchase a game I can expect massive changes within the upcoming months in order to accommodate some sort of issues in the original. And now we have a new problem: “Sequels” that are just a re-hash of the first one.

Given the trend of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and their monotony of repetitive games, it should be easy enough to change the cover, alter the cosmetics of the map, and add a new campaign and loosely connected story (at least). On the other hand, Overwatch 2 is a “new release” that now has “story missions”, however, the PvP basis of the game is going to be adjusted in tandem with Overwatch 1 players so that there is no divide between the players of each game and eventually the games will apparently be MERGED. That’s right – Overwatch 1 will apparently be fused so that it simply becomes Overwatch 2. So what is the point of a new game? Couldn’t the game just be updated to include story missions?

I doubt this trend will change. We have Path of Exile 2 as well, which is apparently a new campaign based on the original skills and style of the first game – really not much is new. We even have World of Warcraft: Classic, which is a return to the base game without the collection of expansions – while still distinct from WoW, it’s still a return to the beginning. At this point, I fully expect that our favourite franchise games might just get washed out as the same thing with new cosmetics – doubling down on purchasing power for no real developmental changes.