David Cage: Sequels kill creativity

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”.


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.

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Latest comments (11)

James Prendergast Research Chemist 6 years ago
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.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
James Bond. Skyfall. How it should work.
Star Wars. The Phantom Menace. How to get it utterly and completely wrong.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises6 years ago
I need some Fallout and Mass Effect sequels!!
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Show all comments (11)
Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 6 years ago
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

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Hugo Trepanier Game Designer, Behaviour Interactive6 years ago
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.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 6 years ago
Taste is never a good way to judge creative works.
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Hugo Trepanier Game Designer, Behaviour Interactive6 years ago
@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.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
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.
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Benjamin Seeberger Writer/Translator 6 years ago
If a sequel is "fan service," then sure. If a sequel stands on its own, then no way.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 6 years ago
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.
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gi biz ;, 6 years ago
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.
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