David Cage: “Sequels Kill Creativity and Innovation”

Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls designer David Cage believes sequels could be leading the gaming industry to a premature death. Speaking to the Official PlayStation Magazine, the Quantic Dream boss said that sequels are the death of innovation, and last year, Cage said that the gaming industry will die if it doesn’t try to be more innovative.

Who is to blame for this? Cage points the finger at the consumer:

“Many people want the same and if that’s what you offer them, they will gladly buy it. The result is very simple. Gamers invest money in publishers having no interest in innovation. [Gamers] encourage [publishers] to keep making the same game every Christmas, and everybody’s happy.”

Cage went on to express that the key is the unexpected. “If you’re interested in innovation and believe that games could be more than shooters, then you realize that sequels kill creativity and innovation,” he said, noting Beyond: Two Souls will be different. “We don’t give people what they expect. We want to give them something they want without knowing they want it.”

Do you agree with Cage? Are we to blame?


via GameSpot

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16 Comments on David Cage: “Sequels Kill Creativity and Innovation”

Aedelric

On January 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm

We play games, we do not make them, so no we are not to blame.

Direct sequels lack innovation and creativity? Guild Wars II was revolutionary! I can list sequel after sequel (e.g. Fallout 3, Deus Ex Human Revolution) that were just as innovative, but we would be here all day.

The thing is with sequels is that they are only as innovative as the company behind it, the developer. You can not blame gamers for loving the original game and wanting more of the same goodness. It would be like eating your favorite meal and told your not allowed any more for as long as you live, of course you will want more!

Gamers do not get to choose what squeals are going to be like, if we did we would never have got Dragon Age II and many other disastrous titles. The only parties to blame for any stagnation is the developer/publisher relationship.

Saying we “invest” in publishers is nonsense, we buy good games, no matter the source, the average gamer does not care less about publishers and and if they do it is often hate.

“David Cage believes sequels could be leading the gaming industry to a premature death” Nonsense, the gaming industry is going constantly from strength to strength. The medium now is more popular than it has ever been, every year brings many more fresh, unique, creative and innovative titles.

Do not blame others David Cage, try looking to yourself for a change.

Tiagonal

On January 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm

I just want to point out again that if Dead Space had got rid of Isaac Clarke and the necromorphs.. a clean sequel would’ve porvided the thrills of unexpected horrors in a vast space with a core gameplay that was awesome thus preventing its upcoming demise.

Brad

On January 13, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I enjoy sequels, when they’re done right. However, I DO feel that the games industry tends to want to crank out a sequel every 1-2 years, and that’s entirely too often. I also feel that gamers are partially to blame, but at the same time, devs seem to not want to take any risks and instead rely on a sure thing, thus more sequels.

The truth is, when a game is good there is the potential for a sequel. If demand for a sequel is high, the sequel probably should be made. That said, 1-2 years really isn’t sufficient time to develop a decent sequel. Instead, I feel that there should be a 3-5 year span between sequels, giving each developer time to work on and experiment with new IPs.

Devs should figure out the balance that is best for their company when it comes to making sequels, but they shouldn’t be turning themselves into mediocre sequel machines.

gasmaskangel

On January 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

I think it’s pretty unlikely that anything short of a complete meltdown of global infrastructure will ever truly kill gaming, and in the event of that we’ll all have larger things to worry about. Quite simply, gaming is on the same path that the film industry walked down decades ago. Gaming is not going to die from an excess of unnecessary sequals. Those on the top may shift position or fall by the way side but new studios will arise and take their place.

Also, there is no law saying that sequals are immune to inovation and the concept itself does not deserve our spite. Look at games like Silent Hill 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, or Borderlands 2, all of which built on the foundation built by their predessors to create some pretty damn good gaming experiences, and all of which exceeded their originals.

What does deserve our spite is unnecessary sequals. The ones made just to cash in on a franchise’s good name *cough every Assassin’s Creed game between 2 and three cough Call of Duty franchise cough Medal of Honor cough cough* and churn out essentially the same game except set in a different location and maybe with a few new toys, and even then the harm done by these cash cows is minimal.

So what i’m saying is that David Cage needs to relax, and to stop making games that only get good five hours in and are less like games then they are movies with quick time events.

TheDog

On January 14, 2013 at 12:39 am

gasmaskangel@ I understand what you’re saying and you are correct. There have been many great sequels. But what I think he is saying is dev start to rely on these instead of brainstorming out another great series to be made. Look at what EA is doing. Nothing new, just sequel after sequel if you even want to call them that. They are basically making the same game with some minor adjustments, then renaming it and selling it for full price. Give a good game one or two (well done) sequels, then move on to something new. That would work well I think.

Axetwin

On January 14, 2013 at 2:07 am

Oh boy do I have a lot to say. This might end up being the Great Wall of Textna. You have been warned.

Where to start? Ok, well, I agree and disagree with Cage. We as gamers dont know what we want, and thats the sad hard truth. Lets take a quick look at Diablo 3, the reason that game was designed the way it was is because for the previous 9 years, the biggest complaints about Diablo 2 was as follows: all stat builds were the same at high level, all skill builds were the same at high level because far too many skills were designed never to be used thus meaning too many useless skills, being forced to drop too many skill points into said useless skills in order get the useful ones. For 9 years these were the complaints, 9 years, *cue Ed Rooney impression* nine years. Diablo 3 came out and the players were all like “where are the stat points, where are the skill points?? Now all build are the same”. Everytime I see someone I see someone complain that there is no high level build customization in Diablo 3, I want to reply with Haaaaave you met Diablo 2?

Now lets jump to Borderlands. Gearbox took everything that was loved and awesome about Borderlands, pumped it full of cocaine, steroids, blackjack and hookers and called it Borderlands 2. The number one complaint about Borderlands 2? “It feels like Im playing Borderlands 1.5″ *cue spittake* “Borderlands 2 might as well have been DLC for Borderlands 1 because there is virtually nothing new added to the game, it feels like Borderlands 1 all over again. Its not innovative enough to be called a proper sequel”. To which my reply was (and I quote); Are you f*cking kidding me?!

Oh I know, lets take a look at Torchlight 2. When this game was released, players around the world could be heard shouting from the rafter “THIS IS WHAT DIABLO 3 SHOULD HAVE BEEN!!” Btw, Id like to point out that Torchlight 2, is not just a Diablo clone, it is more of a Diablo 2 clone. Here’s the kicker, everyday I see people talk about how they liked TL2 at first, but after a month it got really old because……*cue drumroll* it was more of the same of not only TL1 but of Diablo 2. *flailing arms dance* WHAT?!?!

…….son of a b*itch, lets go to the phones.

@Aedalric – Youre on the air, and Im going to go ahead and disagree with part of what youre saying. In order for GW2 to be called “revolutionary” other games need to take notice and try to fight against it. Yes it was very innovative, but I wouldnt call it revolutionary. As for its innovation, I think Anet had a lot of good ideas……on paper. I think in functionality, a lot of the innovation came up short. Which leads to the big problem of innovation, if its not done well, then youre game will suffer that much more for it. Look at Too Human, they had a lot of good ideas, unfortunately none of them were implemented very well and as a result the game flopped so badly, we’ll never see the next two games were there originally planned. Which I think is a real shame. Im getting off track.

You mentioned Fallout 3, you do you have idea how much of a fluke, the success of this game was? To give you an idea, look at the XCOM reboot, oh wait, thats right, its been shelved. Why? Because fans of the RTS genre (lead by Spoony) killed the reboot because they rose up and in a singular voice shouted “WE DO NOT WANT THIS!”. So yes, we as a gaming community CAN decide what sequels/reboots we want. However do we have publishers like Ubisoft and EA, but we also have websites like IGN and Gamespot telling us what we should be liking. Instead of fighting back and saying “well we dont, so too f*cking bad for you” simply adopt the ok face, then bend over and take it.

Its not lack of innovation that will kill this industry, its gamer apathy. Those of us that go “theres nothing we can do, so why fight it?” that will kill the industry.

“Saying we “invest” in publishers is nonsense, we buy good games, no matter the source”

Do we? When a publisher comes in and starts making unnecessary changes to an already established franchise, do we not flock to the stores (because websites tell us to) and buy the game en masse? If that doesnt say “we support you” then I dont know what does. Which leads me to my next question, what makes a “good” game? The review scores? Please, its a proven fact that reviewers on other websites are “encouraged through physical or monetary gain” to overlook glaring issues and give a game a better score than it deserves. Sales numbers? Is that what makes it a good game? Well an argument, Ive even seen you use Aedelric is just because a game sells well doesnt make it good? So how do you figure that we as gamers buy good games?

The problem with innovation is there needs to be some form of balance. Especially when you involve sequels. Change too much and you have a game like Guild Wars 2, all of the features that made the original are practically gone with no rhyme or reason, just gone. Change too little and you have Call of Duty, a franchinse which leaves one to ask “why arent these games just DLC for COD4?” and the response is “oh of course, because players wont pay 60=200 bucks for DLC, but will do so for a physical copy of a nearly identical game”. Leave the big innovative changes for new IPs. When a player buys a sequel, they expect some semblance of familiarity, take that away from them and you’ll leave them feeling jaded.

Kudos to anyone who actually read all of this. I did want you it would be a long one.

Neil Squibb

On January 14, 2013 at 5:11 am

Heavy Rain was the antithesis of innovation. It’s a histrionic mish-mash of disconnected quick-time events held together with a clichéd, uninspired story with dozens of plotholes and ‘choices’ that mean absolutely nothing other than the most superficial distinctions. What really angers me is when reviewers criticise other games like BLOPS2 for “only” making choices that affect the rest of the scene and the ending, using Heavy Rain as an example of the opposite, when the ONLY thing that changes in Heavy Rain based on your decisions is the end of the scene and sometimes the first lines of dialogue in the next, and the ending you receive. It’s one of the most artificial illusions of choice I’ve ever seen in a videogame and, much like the ending to Mass Effect 3, it uses contrived melodramatic devices in an attempt to make you feel bad about noticing its flaws.

I can think of dozens of sequels that absolutely wipe the flaw with Heavy Rain when it comes to innovation.

Neil Squibb

On January 14, 2013 at 5:13 am

*Obviously I meant “wipe the floor,” not “flaw.” Although I actually think “wipe the flaw” is quite apropos.

Goner

On January 14, 2013 at 7:35 am

Snif, snif..hmmmm. I like the smell of the burning keyboard in the morning.
The future of video game is maybe in the same way than the Grim dawn project.
So fan paid for what they want , developers stop to complain about piracy,
and everyone is happy.
Have a nice days every one.

SXO

On January 15, 2013 at 6:54 am

@Axetwin I loved your post, and it highlights a big part of the issue, gamer apathy. But there’s another part of the problem, apologists. There are gamers who will be quick to dissent, but then their cries of “Foul” are buried under calls of “entitlement” and “whining.” It’s become taboo to complain about anything anymore. Somehow the wool has been pulled over the majority’s eyes and they believe complaining is a result of gamer’s never being satisfied, when in fact it’s a result of games falling short of where they should be.

There’s also another way to look at this, and that’s that numbers don’t mean everything. Publishers and developers are ALLOWING statistics to dictate everything. Everything from the types of games they develop to the length of said games is being based on metrics, some of which they’ve never been able to collect in the past.

HellBlazer

On January 15, 2013 at 7:05 am

SXO – stop crying you whiny entitled baby, real fans accept everything they’re given by developers because they’re doing them a grate service, real fans can ignore problems and those who notice them are s with no life, just like all of Gamefront which is so dump that I have to let everyone know how dump it iz.

Brad

On January 15, 2013 at 8:20 am

Yet another example of how culture has ceased to be moderate and has jumped to either extreme, with neither side giving ground or even recognizing that they help contribute to the problem.

@Hellblazer: The “entitled” you seem to browbeat so readily are your fellow gamers. They spent $50-70 on a new game, just like you did. Apparently, you seem to miss the point. When people make such a purchase, they want quality. Most people don’t have that much money to just throw around on a whim. They’ve had to save up to make the purchase. And when they make that purchase, and it’s of poor quality (in many cases, not even fit to end up in the bargain bin), they tend to be pissed off.

Kazoo

On January 15, 2013 at 8:47 am

I agree that lack of innovation will stifle the industry, but I don’t agree with Cage’s explanation of why consumers are to blame.

Consumers don’t want more of the same. Not at all. What they want is a game as good as the first one. Not the SAME as the first one.

Developers have problems with that. “More of the same” can be “as good as the first one” provided that they correctly identify exactly made the first one as good as it was. It’s when they misunderstand that sequels start falling down. (Hello, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!”)

Consumers do, however, attack like rabid dogs when a sequel isn’t up to the expectation. Attempting to innovate and blowing it in the eyes of the consumer can seriously hurt a company. While all the yelling and screaming does contain a lot of thoughtful commentary by intelligent players that are honestly attempting to help the developer fix or understand the problem, I don’t think management is able to understand it well enough to take it into account. Or, they hear only what they want to hear and make changes that will help in other things, such as dumbing down Mass Effect RPG elements to increase player base. People complained the inventory system was too unwieldy. (Not that they didn’t like it, but that it was a pain to use.) EA read that as “too complex.. we can get more players if we just drop it.”

So, at the end, the easiest thing is to make the sequel the same except for small attempts to innovate here and there and hope it works out and that, if it doesn’t, they aren’t hurt too badly when they try next time.

If you wanna increase innovation, developers should stick to developing games they want to play themselves.

CatmanStu

On January 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Something I would like to add to the already well elaborated arguments is that games are going through the same thing that comics did in the nineties.

A medium that was considered for geeks, nerds, and children for a long time, is now considered trendy and cool enough for the majority of low attention span, quick to adopt-quick to abandon, mainstream entertainment junkies to be involved in; the same people who would have belittled the dedicated gamer fifteen years ago; and companies like Microsoft, EA, and Activision are seeing these sales figures as realistic numbers rather than the artificially inflated stats that they are.

What I am saying, is that “we” are not to blame; the mass consumer market is and we can do nothing to change that. If every discerning gamer; the ones who research their purchases and demand quality; refused to buy the next CoD, it would hardly make a dent in the overall sales.

David Cage is, and has always been, an egotistical auteur who is completely out of touch with the industry and it’s consumers; this comment is just the latest evidence of that.

I.P. Hugandkiss

On January 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

CatmanStu – too right. It happens to everything, something earns a genuine dedicated fanbase but is snubbed by much of the mainstream until some social group decides it’s ‘trendy’ because it’s anti-conformist, and as a result more and more ‘casual’ people take up the hobby without ever understanding what made it interesting to begin with and demand that it’s toned down to accommodate them, which obviously the fat cats are more than happy to do as it means more revenue and less competition.

Also, Hellblazer = buckwheat.

Goner

On January 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm

@ Catmansu Totally agree, and usually sequels = just more and more of the same stuff to collect , to craft, more empty side quest so and so.
I use to says” moneys ruins every things.”