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10 most cynically milked franchises

If at first you succeed, churn them out until long after everyone is sick of it...

You can't really blame the games industry for wanting to cash in every year with a new version of its latest successful, proven, low-risk franchise, can you?

Of course you can! If you're a gaming purist - sustaining a successful franchise, particularly if the publisher feels it needs to be updated every year, has got to be a cynical exercise in sacrificing quality for profit.

Although there have been rare examples of franchises that haven't become appreciably crappier as they have progressed. But surely the following have been milked to death?

Call of Duty


Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be the ninth iteration of Activision's astonishing cash-cow, and since 2005's Call of Duty 2 (which, fact-fans, went gold before any of Microsoft's in-house games, so was the first ever Xbox 360 game), we've been treated to a new version each year.

To be fair, Activision hit on a novel method of at least ensuring a sensible two-year development cycle, by employing two developers, Infinity Ward and Treyarch. Although the departure of Infinity Ward's founders Vince Zampella and Jason West in 2010 caused a mini-meltdown.

By throwing enormous resources at Call of Duty in recent years, Activision has bucked the franchise trend by keeping quality levels high - but how much longer does it have before fatigue sets in?

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