Sequels and the Death of Novelty

Shamus Young

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Sequels and the Death of Novelty

In the opening moments of the first Fallout game, your character is told that they must leave the vault. You have no idea what's outside. And then the sequels came.

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Barbas

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Oct 28, 2013
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Yes, it's gotten a bit stale in my opinion. I'd happily go for them starting off the next one in a part of the US where the previous factions are perceived very differently from the way we're used to. Since the BoS uses airships that have been known to crash, you could have fringe groups of them who operate very differently to the way they were originally intended. A faction of power-armoured zealots who'd rather smash through an obstacle and cauterize the immediate area than employ diplomacy wouldn't come across as the good guys to a great deal of post-apocalyptic communities.

I'd miss the old factions a bit, but it's not like they'd have to struggle that hard to work in even one or two surviving Enclave or BoS veterans somewhere. It's not so far-fetched considering their vertibirds seem to have paper-thin armour. I liked that they did a bit more with the Children of Atom this time around (shame about the Followers of the Apocalypse), but the game's factions were not a strength here. So bare-bones and uncompromising, yeesh.
 

maninahat

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I like the way Xeno Clash manages to expand its lore across the sequel, in a way that doesn't needlessly rehash the first. There are the original cast of characters, but they are mostly support roles in your mission to discover a whole new world, and find out what the hell is going on in this bizarro Dali/Gaudi land of cavemen fist fighters. Playing the first game, you'd have no idea the sequel would follow up with a rainbow bridge to a pixel tower, or an actual explanation as to why you live in a world of pugilist elephants and hermaphrodite stork people.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Another reason why I like New Vegas, because you do not start in a Vault, and while there are a bunch of the same factions, they have actually developed and moved on. Most importantly, you don't have to play as a clueless idiot if you don't want to. And there are new factions like the Kings or hte Legion that are different from what has come before.
 

Amaror

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Soviet Heavy said:
Another reason why I like New Vegas, because you do not start in a Vault, and while there are a bunch of the same factions, they have actually developed and moved on. Most importantly, you don't have to play as a clueless idiot if you don't want to. And there are new factions like the Kings or hte Legion that are different from what has come before.
Yes, this.
They don't have to make a completely new world. Just change the old one enough so that it's interesting. In New Vegas, the Brotherhood was very small and barely there anymore, the mutants were now more intelligent and civilized (At least some of them) and there were plenty of new factions and places to meet.
In F4, it's just same old, same old. Same old Supermutant, same old Brotherhood, same old, evil, sinister Organisation
 

3asytarg3t

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The marketplace is the only thing that could stop this, and from all indications, it's doing the exact opposite.

PC Gaming when it grew up, or I should say turned 5 years old, decided to mimic it's older brother the movie industry.

PC Gaming just needs a better role model, say literature perhaps, or even cinema released in December rather than the comic book pablum spewed out every summer.
 

remnant_phoenix

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Agreed agreed agreed.

Fallout 3 felt amazing and new to me because it was the first one I played. Fallout 4 doesn't seem that interesting to me for the exact reason you mentioned above.

Human Revolution blew my mind, but it's the only Deus Ex game I've played; I agree that the impact would have been lessened if I'd played the others beforehand.

I love the Far Cry approach to sequels and I wish more devs would go that way.

And now, to mention something you didn't already comment on: Bioshock Infinite. It was only connected to the first in the most vague, meta-narrative, quantum mechanics sense, and it was stronger for it.
 

Baresark

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I agree. It feels like developers and publishers are concentrating on the wrong stuff. They have the NEED push more on the gameplay front (not a bad idea) but they get iterative with it. Assassin's Creed had the pesky hook thing to reach slightly higher ledges, for example. But they will just constantly rehash the same stories. I was thinking the same thing when I was fighting that first Deathclaw in fallout 4. Also... rad scorpions? I mean... there aren't any indigenous species of scorpions in the New England. I was like... they didn't even try with this. They put the same enemies in here. Not that I'm not loving the game, it's great despite this little flaw. But why aren't we seeing mutant squirrels? Why did they go with the Scorpions and not something else?

They can rehash good mechanics but they have to find new ways to use them. But constantly using the same story and enemies/NPC's is pretty damn lazy. I was also thinking that what you wrote about the Brotherhood of Steel was spot on. It's less fun since we know the Brotherhoods motives. It definitely has less impact. And them being there makes people respond the same way. Get power armor becomes the number 1 priority, though a lot less so in the FO4 than previous.
 

Retsam19

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Japanese RPGs seem to get this right, far more often than Western RPGs, for some reason. Final Fantasy is the famous example, but see also Dragon Quest, the Tales series. It's something I really like about the Final Fantasy games, despite their various missteps, they've been pretty consistently good about trying new things, and not simply finding one thing that works and milking it forever.
 

Rad Party God

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The Souls series also got this right, aside from Dark Souls and it's sequels (that ironically are about history repeating itself, so it's kind of intentional), every game on the series has similar gameplay mechanics, but entirely different universes.

I'd like to see more of this in other games.
 

Valkrex

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XCOM seems to be doing this right now with XCOM 2 having the player in charge of a resistance movement using Guerrilla tactics rather than a standing military fending off another invasion.
 

Bobic

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remnant_phoenix said:
And now, to mention something you didn't already comment on: Bioshock Infinite. It was only connected to the first in the most vague, meta-narrative, quantum mechanics sense, and it was stronger for it.
And to add to this absolute case in point, Bioshock 2: a game that followed directly from Bioshock 1, included the same familiar elements (Splicers, adam, Big Daddies, Little Sisters etc), and, in the courts of both public and critical opinion, suffered massively for it. Yet the same brand name, with an all new story and setting, was an absolute critical darling. And, from a business perspective (the perspective that is most likely to drive creative decisions in the industry, sadly), the decision to use a new setting also seems to have worked out. Looking at the steam user stats, infinite has almost double the number of owners as Bioshock 2.

http://steamspy.com/search.php?s=bioshock

Pseudo edit: Although, after almost posting, then deciding to check console version sales, it does appear to be more mixed. With Bioshock 2 beating infinite on the 360, and infinite just beating 2 on the PS3. Though, maybe this just says something about the effect of critical success and positive public opinion on sales figures, with pre-orders and early sales being more based in brand recognition (and presuming that most console sales are in that period, as later adopters are more likely to be buying used copies on console) and positive opinion making more of a long term difference (particularly when steam sales enter the equation, people will probably part with a fiver to grab the game to see what all the fuss is about, less so if they doubt they'd enjoy it). That said, this is all conjecture on my part, with any number of other possible explanations behind the numbers (audience preferences differing by platform, incomplete and inaccurate sales data etc.), and more research would be required to say anything worth listening to. Research that I'm not gonna bother with. I don't even know why you're still reading this, I just felt the need to add a disclaimer, after realising my initial claim could be misleading and/or flat-out incorrect.

http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/?name=bioshock
 

sXeth

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Baresark said:
I was thinking the same thing when I was fighting that first Deathclaw in fallout 4. Also... rad scorpions? I mean... there aren't any indigenous species of scorpions in the New England. I was like... they didn't even try with this. They put the same enemies in here. Not that I'm not loving the game, it's great despite this little flaw. But why aren't we seeing mutant squirrels? Why did they go with the Scorpions and not something else?

They can rehash good mechanics but they have to find new ways to use them. But constantly using the same story and enemies/NPC's is pretty damn lazy. I was also thinking that what you wrote about the Brotherhood of Steel was spot on. It's less fun since we know the Brotherhoods motives. It definitely has less impact. And them being there makes people respond the same way. Get power armor becomes the number 1 priority, though a lot less so in the FO4 than previous.
Yeah, the enemies is what really seems to generate the fatigue. BoS wasn't new, but at the same time, they got different (or at least more detailed) presentation then they had as the "Barely there at the end, random allies to give you power armor" in 3, or side-quest fodder in New Vegas (again mostly to give you power armor). The Minutemen, Railroad, and Institute (although sort of Enclavey) were all new ideas, just kind of fell flat.

Enemy wise though
-Radscorpions - Shouldn't really exist in New England.
-Deathclaws - Prettysure also shouldn't be in New England, aren't they a desert lizard evolved?
-Super Mutants - Hypothetically, yeah, could be there. The farther and farther you get out the gate timewise though, the more the Super Mutants numbers should be dwindling, since they're all sterile, and supply of FEV to make new ones is limited at best.

Raiders aren't really going anywhere, but it'd be interesting to see more subgroupings of them. The Forged were interesting for their whole single side-mission, and I'd rather see more stuff like that then the generic merc group (Gunners, in Fallout 4. Black Talon(IIRC?) in 3) spammed to death for higher level human enemies. Even the Triggermen at least had a gimmick.


It'd be kind of interesting if their were Ghouls that embraced their whole immortality thing and rolled with it as a faction. Its again barely flirted with in Fallout 4, as thats where the "mafia" style enemies originate, is pre-war Ghouls who were members. Its never really used much though.


The forced time progression does hurt the series though, as you get farther and farther out, and it makes less and less sense how civilization seems to have gotten frozen, or unlooted ruins still exist.
 

Redlin5_v1legacy

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Aug 5, 2009
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I wonder if Bethesda employees will ever read this article? I always thought the strength of Fallout was the opportunity to open the vault at any time, anywhere. Yeah, you'll see your Nuka Cola and the pre-war staples but the post-war communities, clans, raiders, mutants? Pick a part of the USA or Canada that never saw the spread of those things.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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May 15, 2010
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I would love an alternate scenario, like a Fallout that happens to be in a different universe (not STALKER either). Maybe change up the entire setting, different reasons for the mass near-extinction of humans. Maybe the "Fallout" was an asteroid crashing to Earth... or an alien invasion. Post-apocalypse doesn't have to mean post-nuclear war. Hell it could even be something as simple as a failed experiment that caused humanity to flee to the old defunct bunkers from the pre-cold war era and hope that they're still functional. Some died and some lived, and some were changed by the failed experiment. Those on the surface who "survived" may also be changed... subtly or physically as did the entirety of the world's flora and fauna.
Instead of exiting to a Wasteland scenario, maybe exit into a world 100+ years post humanity. Overgrowth, animals have "taken over" even have some accelerated evolution. Societies of sentient pre-technology creatures, not necessarily instantly hostile... curious and cautious yes.
I would get behind that completely.
 

Space Jawa

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I don't know enough about Fallout lore to know if it's even a feasible idea, but what if they did a Fallout game that examined the remains of the other half of the coin - as in a Fallout game set in Asia or China or what have you?
 

Redvenge

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I have to strongly disagree with you on this, Shamus.

If you want to play a new IP, then go for it. I am not against new games. The problem with your article is that when you start removing elements of a setting, what is left? Radscorpions, Death Claws, Super Mutants, Ghouls, the Brotherhood of Steel, each of these elements have been developed over the course of several games. They are part of the lore, part of the setting of the Fallout universe.

What do you remove? What do you leave in? At the end of the day, you either end up with "Post Apocalyptic Game with Fallout title" or you arbitrarily remove elements based on personal taste. How does that expand or improve future games?

Fallout 4 keeps what is familiar (radscorpions, super mutants, etc) and EXPANDS the universe. The synths are given lore and history and even a faction. I think even you would admit that THIS faction of the Brotherhood of Steel has it's own identity, separate from the BoS factions introduced in other games.

I understand that you want the wonder of exploring a brand new IP. You are not going to get that in a sequel.
 

Ryallen

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Feb 25, 2014
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I feel that, while I agree immensely with a lot of the points here, the problem is that the writers shot themselves in the foot by introducing these factions or characters that have such a huge impact on the world around them that if they weren't present, it would alienate the fans that they had up to that point. I mean, the Brotherhood of Steel is one of the biggest and most ambitious factions in the Wasteland. They are basically what remains of the US military attempting to reestablish control over the entire country. Not one tiny bit of it. The ENTIRE country. And it's not like some small treehouse of 5 or 6 people with power armor. It's an entire branch of the military with the Old World Tech to back that up. They can go literally wherever they want within a few days. They have air transportation, something that no other force in the Fallout universe possesses. Anything less than moving the game outside of the US would be forced to have the BoS ingame, else they risk breaking their own lore. The reason why the NCR and the Legion aren't mentioned in Fallout 4 is because they have to walk everywhere. The Brotherhood doesn't.

Deus Ex suffers from the exact same problem, except that it's an even worse and farther stretching concept. The Illuminati are bigger than just a fuckton of people with helicopters in a world where walking to the other side of town without being mauled to death is an accomplishment. These people pull the strings of every political power in the world, twisting them to their own ends. They are funded and kept alive by their own actions, actions that like 3 or 4 outside of the organization know of. In this world, nothing short of a straight up apocalypse and rebuilding of society up to that point will be enough to remove them as a presence in the series. Asking to remove them is like asking Mario to remove the concept of the monarchy from the series canon. It's just not going to be done.
 

Lightspeaker

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Interestingly this has, for many, many years, been one of the strongest points of the Final Fantasy series.

Sure there's still some shared elements. Chocobos and magic and moogles and stuff like that. Plus someone called "Cid". But the story and world tends to change rather dramatically between games. None of them are connected in any meaningful way, there's always new and fresh stuff to be seen. Or at least that was the case until they started getting really, REALLY into the whole spin-off thing.

Sadly they've really gone completely off the rails now as far as "maintaining the gameplay elements but changing the world, setting and story" goes. Its been godawful since (and including) Final Fantasy 12 because they've got this absolutely fetishistic obsession with screwing with the traditional turn based formula that fans liked.