I was looking at the list of games releasing in the coming months recently, when I noticed something: all of these games are sequels. Barely any of them were actually new games, or not based on an already established brand. I mean, you've got Elder Scrolls 5 coming out, Call of Duty 8, the fourth Assassin's Creed game. And not only were most of them sequels, pretty much most of the new IP is action games.
Has the industry lost its imagination? Or are publishers unwilling to take a gamble on anything new and fresh? Now I know games are bloody expensive to make, so you can understand publishers not wanting to throw money at any game that presents itself, but the lack of originality in gaming today is starting to show. Try to think of as many triple A games as you can that came out this year that were new IP and weren't an action game. Hard isn't it?
I guess this is why games like Portal and Shadow of the Colossus are loved by so many. They aren't just another shooter, starring a bald, gruff marine gunning down aliens or Russians in the greyest of grey environments. They challenge you to think and to explore and to become immersed in fantastic worlds. They offer you completely new gameplay experiences that you can't find anywhere else.
I can see the need for sequels and possibly even threequels, and it is always great to go on a new adventure with your favourite characters and play with traditional game mechanics. It's nice to see good games blossom into great games through sequels, but I just think there are too many now. You'll be hard pressed to find a game in the shops without a 2 or 3 in the title these days and you usually have to check out Steam, Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Store under Indie to find any truly original ideas.
I think this is the problem though. games are expensive to make and who's to say if the more creative, unique games will sell, even if they review well? You have developers like Double Fine who worked hard to bring us fantastic games like Psychonauts and Brütal Legend, who are now focusing on developing smaller games for Xbox Live Arcade and PSN after their retail games received poor sales. Since the change, they have released Costume Quest, Stacking and Trenched for digital download, all to favourable reviews.