Sequels are tricky. You will always have people wanting the same thing but again. On the other hand you have people looking for a shake up. The company doesn’t want to scare off any costumers from the sequel’s sequel when it inevitably drops so they aim for both sides. So obviously things will just slowly creep off center. Mario tows a fine line keeping that in check. Rarely bringing a gimmick back after one or two titles if the newer one has a good bit else going on. Other series though, not so much.
Resident Evil is the perfect example of a game series that needs to just move on. It does not have to keep dragging main characters back or even the Umbrella Corporation. VII_I_AGE seems to be everything from every previous Resident Evil forced into one. Like a kid at a soda fountain just running down the line. RE 1 had a mansion, RE 2 had a police station and seeeeecret lab, RE 3 had the town the dirty downtown and the rest of the lab. A solid slowly building theme that they literally blow the crap up.
So in the side series they set it in England with castles and noble families and bla bla bla Code Veronica. Residence of Evil 4 was set in a full town on a brown island of dirty farmers and I want to say Johnny Depp was there? Anyway RE 5 was co-op shooter in Africa FEMA style camps. Then RE 6 set it in, okay lemme be real I didn’t play 6. I remember a train. That’s as far as I got, but it looked like dumb action schlock when I watched trailers and reviews. The seventh one went into the woods and a creepy hillbilly house so obviously RE 8 will have all of it. A town, a castle, a merchant (from 4), woods, royals, Umbrella Corp, and well just take a look.
The problem here is it’s bloated. Can it work with all that? Sure, why not. I mean it doesn’t have to. It would be better without it. Like how they don’t shove Super Ball in other Mario Games or how Final Fantasy was largely only connected in names and themes not gameplay. You see this often in games just tiny annoyances tacked on longer than they need to. Pokemon started adding a gimmick in each new game. Which would be fine, but they never add on to them. Worse is they never remove them. So what could have been a decent addition Mega Evolution, Primal Reversion, Z Moves, Regional Forms, area specific evolutions, and not to mention different names but identical function Pokéballs just serve to bloat the game mechanics as the monopolize on post game and side quest content. Still desperately trying to stay the same game only leads to self referencial humor at the bad things you left in.
Or you get a painfully dull repaint of the same game over and over again. I do happen to rewatch movies and almost always have a second watch of a great series lined up before it ends. If I have to replay a video game, why not just make it the same again. Mega Man happens to do that rather well. They even remove items and gimmicks from game to game in order to hold on to what makes Mega Man, Mega Man. Unfortunately what makes Mega Man games iconic is an endless amount of weapons grade bullshit.
Not ideal but we know what we signed up for. I bring up Mega Man because despite what it may look like at first glance the series is pretty progressive. Not sequentially but as they came out. Capcom switched from Mega Man to Mega Man X before releasing more classic Mega Man. From Mega Man X to Mega Man Zero they pushed it again. They improved fully on the series not just with what the add, but what they take away. By the time they got to Mega Man ZX Advent there wasn’t even stages anymore. It became an open world seek and find, and I loved it. By letting things go the series was able to accept the changes made with the new gimmicks while feeling the same. Only by forcing the game around the new mechanic they balanced the experience around it. As self defeating as it sounds staying the same is the easiest way make a series change beyond any hope of revival. Same for shows and movies too. Plus let’s not forget comic books.
You keep anything going long enough and it will break down. Adding new grease is the only way to keep the old gears going. If not then you get a 40 year old Bruce with a 30 year old Robin, a 27 year old Robin, a dead and brought back Robin, and you get the point. Think of changes like Robins. Fine in small numbers, or if you crowbar one away from the series. But too many Robins are a sign of bad design. Star Wars also comes to mind. Yoda says Luke is to old to begin the training? So obviously when they show a Jedi temple, it is full of abducted 5 year olds with laser swords. I hate to be all Kylo Ren here but when making something new perhaps you should let the past die.
If what you make happens to be the same as what came before, that’s great. Just don’t hold it over the creative process. That’s it. I had to write this three times because my website done exploded in me twice. Hopefully it stayed confluent. Okay bye.