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Horror sequel problem (Forums : Cosmos : Horror sequel problem) Locked
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May 28 2013, 4:23pm Anchor

Generally speaking, there are 2 ways to do horror game sequels.

First is the Silent Hill path, where you keep having the same game repeat itself over and over with minor variation. This is good for the die hard fans who want that, but some will get bored of doing the same thing over and over until the series dies in obscurity. The games will lose alot of their scare factor as the unknown becomes more explained, and players become used to the horrors. Look at the various not scary pyramid head knock offs for proof of that.

The second way I call the Resident Evil (or Dead Space) path, where you re-invent the game and improve the mechanics. The result is that each game feels fresh, but you lose alot of what made the originals so special, scary and unique. Resident Evil 4 is a great game no doubt, but it's far from the horror origins, and more like an action adventure.

I propose a third way, but it's a path I'm not sure about and what your opinion on. The anthology.

I love the old Twilight Zones. While some are hit and miss, you had consistent tones and themes, but with a different story and characters each time. No need to make your characters super human ninjas, no need for geometry head number 58. You can have your action adventure one game, and your clostrophobic horror the next without upsetting either group of fans.

But the problem comes in the form of why there aren't many games that do that. Bioshock and Final Fantasy are the only ones off the top of my head I can think of. Maybe Mario and Zelda, but those basicly repeat the same story over and over, and is largely the point.

I can easily picture a situation where someone buys the first game and gets a horror game about a town of crazy people with minimal action, then feels ripped off when they buy the sequel, and it's a zombie FPS.

I can understand why someone would be angry over that, but at the same time, I think if a series can get a reputation for being something different each time, there is alot of potential there. But that begs the question of why is it one series to begin with, instead of each being it's own title.

Jun 7 2013, 5:34am Anchor

From a purely gameplay stance, I would agree with you. However, I think you are underestimating story. Silent Hill fans keep coming back to Silent Hill because of the original stories. From a writing perspective, Resident Evil and Dead Space are the series repeating themselves over and over again.

Jun 25 2013, 11:38pm Anchor

Bioshock and Final Fantasy have the glue of gameplay holding them together. They all play essentially the same and that's what keeps them in the franchise.

I honestly think the changes in RE and Dead Space are based on the belief that survival horror doesn't work so well on a AAA scale. Look at both of those games. One day, they will take enough cover based shooter mechanics from Gears of War and the like to merge seamlessly into the AAA shooter blob. It's happening pretty fast as is.

Fans generally want the same thing when they purchase a franchise, with just enough to keep it fresh. It mitigates the risk: to a certain extent, you know what you're getting when you buy a Mario, Final Fantasy, or Halo game. Break that, and you lose the value of franchises to both sides. Developers can't count on a steady revenue stream, and gamers risk being caught off guard when a developer makes Dead Space into an Angry Birds clone where you sever limbs instead of break blocks.

Jun 27 2013, 9:24pm Anchor

I agree with everything but your opinion of Silent Hill. Up until the room in my opinion they were fantastic horror games and had perfected their unique atmosphere. I was not a die hard Silent Hill fan when I first started playing it in fact the first one I played was the 3rd one. I am a massive fan now and I am certain Silent Hill has lost a lot of its fan base. Yes they were at times slow, the controls could be clunky and the story-lines were a little ridiculous at times but I think they nailed the core of survival horror like no other game. If they improved on their faults without getting rid of what made them great they could still be great survival horrors.There are so many ways it could have been improved without changing it so drastically. Just imagine a modern horror game with Silent Hill's atmosphere it would be so good.
The series has died because it changed too much not because it stayed the same and therefore it lost its appeal to the core audience who loved it. Even the films are better than the newer games which is saying something.

Jun 28 2013, 4:07am Anchor

Silent Hill downpour was brilliant. Side quests that were individual stories, a more open town - the only thing holding it back was terrible monster design. Even Daniel Licht did a great job with the music. I also thought that Shattered Memories on the wii was an interesting change - you can't fight, only run. And the way the monsters changed with you was great. If you haven't played them because you were put off by Homecoming and the psp games - give them a try.

Jun 28 2013, 5:54am Anchor
GreatExarch wrote:Bioshock and Final Fantasy have the glue of gameplay holding them together.

Not since FF started moving away from turn based gameplay. It's awful now.

SabreXT wrote:Maybe Mario and Zelda, but those basicly repeat the same story over and over, and is largely the point.

I don't think the Mario and Zelda games are well known for their story..

SabreXT wrote:
I can easily picture a situation where someone buys the first game and gets a horror game about a town of crazy people with minimal action, then feels ripped off when they buy the sequel, and it's a zombie FPS.I can understand why someone would be angry over that, but at the same time, I think if a series can get a reputation for being something different each time, there is alot of potential there. But that begs the question of why is it one series to begin with, instead of each being it's own title.

There are many reasons - the main ones being lazy developers, greedy corporate heads, clueless decisions being made by producers and dev directors, churning out the same game over and over milking it until it dies a horrible death without any thought towards the fans or people purchasing the game. Yeah there could be some opinionated games industry experience creeping in here...

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