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David Cage: Sequels kill creativity

David Cage: Sequels kill creativity

Fri 11 Jan 2013 8:36am GMT / 3:36am EST / 12:36am PST
Development

But Quantic Dream head says gamers are the ones demanding them

In a recent interview Quantic Dream boss David Cage has suggested that sequels damage innovation in games development, but that the audience are the ones demanding them.

"If you're interested in innovation and believe that games could be more than shooters, then you realise that sequels kill creativity and innovation," he told Official PlayStation Magazine UK.

"We don't give people what they expect. We want to give them something they want without knowing they want it”.

1

David Cage

In fact, he argued, gamers are the ones responsible for a release schedule pack full of shoot-a-likes, sequels, and more sequels.

“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”.

Cage is currently promoting Quantic Dream's latest title. Beyond: Two Souls. The game stars Ellen Page as a troubled girl accompanied by an invisible force called Idan.

12 Comments

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

542 528 1.0
I don't think this is always the case. Some (large) franchises certainly show the trend Cage speaks of. A lack of innovation, many similarities. But at the same time sequels often offer the chance to innovate and drive forward an idea that was not possible to explore in the original (i.e. due to time or money constraints or technology reasons).

I would argue that Bioshock:Infinite is a sequel (of sorts) but i have high hopes that it will innovate, particularly in the story telling side of things.

Then there are sequels which are part of a larger series. Mass Effect and Gears of War come to mind - clearly trilogies from the outset. Not that much innovation gameplay wise (though there was some), but could any of us image that ME2 and 3 simply would not exist? To me that's like Lucas not doing Star Wars 5 and 6 after doing number 4. (i personally would have had no problem with 1 to 3 not existing hehe).

So i guess my view is that sequels can be great things, can give space for innovation and allow developers and creative people to tackle a bigger story, and not constrain it to one game. Also, innovation for the sake of innovation is not always a good idea either.

Posted:A year ago

#1

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

730 410 0.6
I agree with Andreas.

The psychology of the consumer is: "If I like this, I want more". Not, "If I like this, I want a sequel". This is the misconception within the industry. Just because sequels sell well doesn't mean that people don't like innovation or different characters and stories - their feedback is just a reaction to what they just consumed.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
James Bond. Skyfall. How it should work.
Star Wars. The Phantom Menace. How to get it utterly and completely wrong.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Craig Page
Programmer

380 216 0.6
I need some Fallout and Mass Effect sequels!!

Posted:A year ago

#4

Tim Carter
Designer - Writer - Producer

533 219 0.4
Of course it is true that if you see something good you want more.

However, what people don't understand is that just wanting more of something doesn't guarantee that that more will come.

Creating something is a risk and a gamble. Intending it to work doesn't mean it will work.

What's more, gamers confuse the THINGS with the magic. They see the steak sizzling and they like the sizzle - but they think that what they like is the steak. So they ask for more of the steak, not realizing it's the SIZZLE that attracts them, not the steak. And just slapping on more of the same steak does not guarantee that you'll get the sizzle the second time around.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 11th January 2013 6:17pm

Posted:A year ago

#5

Hugo Trepanier
Senior UI Designer

152 127 0.8
Many sequels are actually much better than their original title. Assassin's Creed comes to mind: the first one was good enough for me but some of its sequels were far superior and more diverse. Also I've never bought a Far Cry game until the 3rd one came along because it was more suited to my tastes than previous iterations.

I think the real problem is when publishers overdose on a series. Annual franchises can be too much of a good thing and this will inevitably lead to genre fatigue. Just like any good TV series, they need to be able to tell when they've done enough and exit at their peak instead of diluting the franchise until it becomes something everyone wants to avoid.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Tim Carter
Designer - Writer - Producer

533 219 0.4
Taste is never a good way to judge creative works.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Hugo Trepanier
Senior UI Designer

152 127 0.8
@Tim, Yeah taste was probably a poor choice of word in that context, but I nevertheless feel that FC3 is a superior product compared to its first two installments, pretty much in terms of everything (scope, story/setting, characters, production values, gameplay, etc). Those are the reasons that made me purchase the game because they are some of the things I look for in a game, and my point is that sometimes (often?) it takes more than one iteration on a product to get them just right.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,992 900 0.5
Proper planning works in the case of sequels, I'd say. If a dev team creates a world big and interesting enough and chooses to tell ONE particular tale in part of it, you can indeed make "sequels" that keep even the most jaded gamer interested. Bethesda does this to some extent in their Elder Scrolls games that while not "perfect" always involve showing the player new and interesting things.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Benjamin Seeberger
Writer/Translator

27 14 0.5
If a sequel is "fan service," then sure. If a sequel stands on its own, then no way.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Kingman Cheng
Illustrator and Animator

929 150 0.2
Sequels aren't an excuse to be 'uncreative'.
Sure it's always fresh on square one but it's not always the case it's up to your grand design as a whole that can keep something going. Sometimes a franchise just needs a break and a reboot but again that's a coin toss. There's no definitive right or wrong way to make a sequel but to say sequels definitely kill creativity, no.

Posted:A year ago

#11

gi biz
;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
The thing is that what he says highly depends on the public type: Final Fantasy players will play the game, digest any spin-off they toss at them, do cosplay, buy gadgets, open fan-sites, post drawings on deviant art and so on. They crave for more, so much that we still see Final Fantasy VII things going on. But these gamers are also unlikely to hop onto a variety of games.
On the other hand you have gamers not getting so attached to one single title - maybe they just pick up one, play through it thoroughly and forget about it (I believe these players are the same returning their games to the second hand market). They know a little bit about games (ie: they read reviews), and if they see the sequel of something they liked they'll try it, but they won't disdain something new. I think this is the typical Humble Bundle customer.
Last you have the casual gamer, who probably doesn't even know what the hell he's playing. Sometimes they have a favourite title (ie: Just Dance) and buy sequels in no particular order just to get more variated content.

That said, there are different "sequels" for different players. I doubt that any Just Dance clone can be called innovative, while many Final Fantasy titles can be called so. You guys pointed out a lot of other examples, in the end it comes down to who you are talking to and about what.

Posted:A year ago

#12

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