OPINION: Does a Game Series Really Need Yearly Installments?

Friday, February 9th, 2018

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Game Release Frequency | Featured

As fans of any number of video games, most of us want the next title in a series relatively soon after we’ve finished the most recent installment. We can’t wait to play the next entry and delve back into whatever wonderful world the series takes us to. Though is it really necessary that developers give us what we want on a yearly basis? Do we actually expect the next game to be just as fantastic in so little time? The truth is, a lot of video game companies have a number of projects going on at once. Only one or two years apart is a pretty short time period to be putting out the next entry of any one specific series.

Pokémon | Ash & Pikachu

Growing up, I had access to Nintendo’s home consoles, yet I never did have my own Game Boy or any of its variations. I had always wanted to play the Pokémon games, having watched the anime as a kid and collected a small handful of the cards. When I was a little older at 15 or 16, I had a friend at school who would always be playing one of the 4th gen games on their DS during free time, and I couldn’t wait to one day have my own Nintendo handheld and finally get to play the series. About three or four years later when I got my own DS, 4th gen was still the current generation. I received a copy of Platinum with my DS and later on Heart Gold, when it had just recently released around my birthday. That 4th generation of Pokémon lasted from 2007 (in North America), all the way until 2011. This gave you time to really dive into the games, get to enjoy everything new completely. Once Black and White came out though, they reverted back to that short two year time frame, the same as between the first and second generation releases, and it’s continued ever since.

Persona 4 | Kanji

Bringing up Pokémon might seem random, but it’s what got me thinking about why some developers feel the need to put out the next new title in a series so soon. When it comes to Pokémon, I’ve finally gotten burnt out and tired of starting over brand new every other year. Putting out new entries in a series you love, so often, only kills the passion and excitement you have for a series. I for one am now glad we had to wait so long for Breath of the Wild to release. And I enjoyed the time between Persona 4 and Persona 5. Atlus got the extra time they needed to truly make a new incredible Persona. Considering both Persona 5 and Breath of the Wild won awards at The Game Awards this past year, I’d say those few extra years of time spent developing them paid off for both Atlus and Nintendo. It doesn’t always work out that way, yet more time to make one project truly wonderful can only be a good thing.

BOTW | Zelda & Link

We as fans and gamers love getting new games to enjoy and it’s always thrilling to jump back into a beloved series with a brand new title having released. Nevertheless, I think we should step back and enjoy the latest game for longer, and when we’re finished and there’s nothing left we want to accomplish in a game, dive into a different one by another developer. There are always loads of games coming out every year, sometimes too many for our wallets. The game industry rarely has a dull moment, and I find myself no longer loving a game series when a new entry has been shoved down our throats either yearly, or even every other year. As impatient as I am for games sometimes, I do still appreciate when developers take that extra time to make something truly great and prevent us from becoming bored with a franchise. But I’d love to know what you, the reader of this article, think of the release frequency of various video game series. Do you like having a new title as often as they come these days, or would you prefer developers take their time more often?

About Jenae R

Jenae is an RPG enthusiast who enjoys cats, humidity-free warm weather, Dean Koontz books and a select handful of non RPG series and games. Two of her all-time favorite games are the original Shadow Hearts and Final Fantasy IX. She loves to ramble on about her numerous gaming opinions and is fortunate enough to be able to do it here at oprainfall.