Hot on the heels of the previous article by IGN regarding the evolution of the Final Fantasy series, they've written a much more expanded idea on the Castlevania series. It's extremely comprehensive... in fact, it's too comprehensive, and got me thinking: Which series has had the most sequels? Castlevania? Mega Man? Final Fantasy? King of Fighters?
More importantly, how much is too much? I think everyone would agree that Mega Man deserves to be fed into the wood chipper (a search for "Mega Man" on MobyGames turns up 80 games!), but what about the rest? How much before a series starts to get diluted instead of strengthened?
Search for "Sonic" = 70 games. Search for "Mario" = 95 games
(I guess Mario and Sonic don't count as they're simply mascots and not part of any series' of games, but still...).
Most of those search results are different ports of the same thing and obscure, semi-legal spinoffs no-one cares about, but I agree with your over-all point. From my perspective it depends on whether the series still actually has life in it. If a developer reaches the stage of "It's the same game as last time, but hey! Check out the two new moves!" they're over the limit. Core did it with only three installments of Tomb Raider, so it's not something that's dependant on length.
My first Mega Man game was Mega Man 2 on the NES. It was absolutely fantastic. Then I played the original Mega Man which I found to be tougher but no less fun. Then Mega Man 3 came out and I dutifully played and won it while feeling that the formula was beginning to wear a bit thin. Then Mega Man 4 came out and I decided this series needs to come to an end. There was no innovation, just the same old formula.
Then again, Mega Man X on the SNES (with a spot-on port to DOS) breathed some much-needed life into the series simply by virtue of the system's expanded A/V capabilities.
But, hey, as long as gamers keep laying out the cash, guess what's going to happen?
I don't know any other series with so many "numbered" installments as Final Fantasy. It has reached number 12. Does anyone know a series with higher numbers?
Yes I do :) The "Nancy Drew" detective adventures are at number 15!
The strange thing about the FF series is that even though the games are numbered, they have very little in common.
The common points are mostly in gameplay systems, style, story-telling technique, minor recurrent characters (Cid), flora and fauna (monsters, chocobos, etc.), and so on. The music is also one of the things that held the series together, from 1 to 10. A fan could easily recognize a FF game just by its music.
But yes, the setting and the main characters are different each time. Except in FFX-2, which I refuse to accept as a canonical entry.
YID YANG Wrote:
You should also be complaining about Final Fantasy Adventure, Final Fantasy Legends (yes yes, I know both of those aren't *really* final fantasy games, blame Square not me), Final Fantasy Mystic Quest and Final Fantasy Tactics... oh how quickly we forget. Throw in some Chocobo Dungeon and Dirge of Cerebus for good measure. Definitely not canonical.
Those are of course not canonical, but FFX-2 tried to be, so to say, more canonical than the others, being a direct sequel to FFX. I don't accept it not because of its concept, but because of the game itself. It doesn't have the soul of the series any more, all it has are half-naked girls and gameplay system taken dirently from FF5, only not as good. If at least the girls were interesting...
YID YANG Wrote:
Referring to a previous thread: You are not making a very strong case for the heterosexuality of the Final Fantasies there man :) No more girls! FF fans want only pretty metrosexual boys in their games!!!
Pokemon deserves to be put to rest. Oddly, unlike series such as Mario, where Mario shows up everywhere, most Pokeman games are almost identical to the original.
Hmm, I don't know what's worse though, an endless series or endless clones.
FF for example, I can see the numbers reaching up to 12 because each game is a quality production that appeals to most fans of the genre (even though I'm in no way a fan myself). I believe that the FF releases are warranted.
But then consider King of Fighters. Yeah there are way too many of them, but look at the other SNK games that play in an almost identical fashion but wear a different name.
I guess the biggest problem I have with a series is that at best they often do not provide for fresh gaming concepts, rather they build on existing principles. At worst they just use a name to strip mine and cash in on a previous release.
And yes, MegaMan should be fed to the wood chipper, and the mulch should be buried with ET carts out in the desert.
D Michael Wrote:
Not much different for games not in a series really; almost all games out there (recent to semi-recent at least) are just building on/changing what's already been done.
While some games may improve upon what has been done by contributing to a genre, that's a bit different than a game that is just a rehash of a previous episode.
Is Company of Heroes like a series because the playstyle is similar to the original World of Warcraft, or is Call of Duty 2 a lot like Call of Duty?
There's a big difference between placing unique games within a genre, and having a series rehashed or downgraded just so it can cash in on the name.
I'm kinda surprised the Mario series didn't make it into that list. Nor did Street Fighter. Nor did Sonic the Hedgehog. And I'm most surprised by the lack of mention for one of the most prolific series of all time: Zelda.