Some video game franchises churn out new titles every year to keep the public interested in their projects and hit the yearly targets. While this may seem like an effective strategy to ramp up sales, game developers also need to understand that quality matters.
Certain video game series seem to have an expansive universe, but it is the same story that is over-extended and repeated in a different open world. Beyond the storyline, video game franchises must introduce new gameplay elements in their latest installments to avoid becoming repetitive.
Sometimes, video game franchises go stale, which is when pausing might help them more than ramping up new releases yearly.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author’s opinions.
Five video game franchises that need to be put to rest temporarily
Admittedly, FIFA games have become terrible in recent years. Gone are the days when the series used to produce gold every year.
EA used to develop additional gameplay features and engaging Manager Mode elements in every new edition that made everybody love the franchise. Sadly, FIFA has turned into just a colossal roster update.
Yet, franchise lovers worldwide are guilty of buying the same repackaging filled with glitches and bugs every year. Flying goalkeepers, players that can turn their heads 360 degrees like owls, ghost goals — the list of bugs and glitches keeps getting crazier with each new edition.
FIFA is a sports franchise that seriously needs to take a break. However, it’s not their fault for failing to live up to their golden standards. There is not enough competition to wake FIFA up from its slumber.
Obviously, this isn’t going to happen. FIFA has million-dollar contracts with all major leagues and brands, as well as registered FIFA nations. As long as the money flows, the developers wouldn’t even bat an eyelid.
2) Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog, the famous Japanese 3D adventure video game franchise that everybody adored during the late 1990s and early 2000s, released so many games that no one knows which direction the franchise is heading nowadays.
Every year, it’s just the same old dull Sonic adventure. Although game developers SEGA introduced tons of cool ways Sonic can maneuver around puzzles, most titles, such as Sonic Adventure and Sonic Boom, derail into several glitches.
The Sonic adventure series is yet to launch a critically acclaimed title since its 3D adventure days. It deserves a very long break, as the franchise seems to have lost any sort of coherent identity.
3) Call of Duty
Call of Duty is yet another role-playing first-person shooter video game franchise that can’t stop dishing out games every year. There is just no stopping developers Activision at the moment. Expect the franchise to keep coming up with new titles every year for a long time.
There is doubt that Call of Duty has been one of the most consistent video game franchises producing hits. It has continued to make minor tweaks to the gameplay mechanics in every single edition.
In each title, they have nailed the storyline and the character backstories. However, everything has a limit.
The COD everybody fell in love with from the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s has overcooked past and possible war scenarios. It’s high time the franchise does something completely out of the box, or it’s heading in the direction of FIFA.
Halo is a first-person shooter video game franchise that has spawned many novels, toys, and television series. Gamers fell in love with the Halo series because of the brilliant futuristic narrative the Halo titles provided and the cyborg soldier Master Chief they got to control.
It’s another video game franchise that did too much of the same stuff in its sequels and ended up being too repetitive in its overarching narrative.
In a last-ditch attempt, the series released a compilation of its six previous titles into one, the Halo Master Chief Collection, in 2014, which failed to grab eyeballs. However, that didn’t stop the developers from releasing five more titles between 2015 and 2021.
Although the latest installment, Halo Infinite, is widely considered the best entry in the Halo series, this particular video game franchise should consider taking an extended vacation before coming back even stronger with a fresh new narrative.
5) Far Cry
The Far Cry series has produced some of the most complete open-world action-adventure shooters. However, it is also the perfect example of how things can turn wrong when standards are raised too high.
Far Cary is probably Ubisoft’s only open-world series where the game developers have stuck to the same old formula that has worked well in the past. However, it’s now coming to a point where it feels repetitive and boring.
The last installment, Far Cry 6, is not a bad game in any regard, but it is the same old open-world shooter in terms of gameplay mechanics, only in a different open-world setup. Far Cry is definitely a video game franchise in desperate need of re-imagination.
Five video game franchises that have retained their Creativity
After dissecting some of the most popular video game franchises of all time, it’s time to look at some series with a unique positive vibe.
1) Total War
Developed by the British team Creative Assembly, Total War is a series of strategy games that take players across different historical timeframes. The franchise revolutionized how strategy titles are played through its dynamic turn-based campaign maps filled with court intrigue and tightly knit diplomacy on the one hand.
On the other hand, users get to control some of history’s most iconic generals, such as Caesar, Alexander, and Atilla, and lead their armies in colossal battles involving thousands of troops.
Since its first installment, Total War: Shogun, in 2000, the franchise has released 14 more independent titles representing different historical eras. What makes this strategy game franchise special is that it has managed to retain its unique battle mechanics. Also, with each subsequent edition, it has been able to refine the games to make them look as historically accurate as possible.
In 2016, the Total War series went one step further and introduced its unique colossal battlefield and siege gameplay into the fantasy world of Total War: Warhammer. This allowed gamers to not only control large scale armies but also heroes, monsters, and beasts with supernatural abilities in massive pitched battles.
Doom is an archetypal first-person shooter series that inspired an entire generation of such games, numbering in the hundreds.
There are too many design concepts that were inspired by the Doom series of the 90s in later games. The use of 3D graphics at a time when games were still made on 2D platforms was a game-changing moment in video game history.
Doom (1993) was the first shooter title to introduce sharp corners and constrictive corridors that opened up into open arenas and secret rooms full of treasure and death.
Nearly three decades have gone by, and the series continues to inspire modern first-person shooters even today. Its latest and fifth installment of the Doom Eternal series is a joy to play without the hassle of crafting the perfect weapon, XP progression, and no unnecessary weapon upgrades.
In Doom Eternal, the franchise has kept its simplistic arcade-style first-person shooter features with detailed-to-perfect graphics and a captivating storyline that features the entire Doom universe.
Developed by 2K Games, Bioshock is a futuristic first-person shooter video game franchise well known for its captivating storylines and artistically designed open-world environments. Their plots are thought-provoking and deal with deep philosophies that ponder the implications of quantum mechanics.
Bioshock (2007) and Bioshock 2 (2010) took place in an underwater city. Critics especially loved the overall game graphics and the environment from the first two series installments.
However, the video game franchise surprised everyone with an airborne city called Columbia in the third installment released in 2013. With rumors of Bioshock 4 under development, it would be interesting to see what open-world environment the Bioshock franchise comes up with this time.
4) Forza Horizon
Forza Horizon is a series of open-world racing simulation games that can put Ubisoft’s open worlds to shame. From racing challenges, sponsored events, PR stunts, and rumors about retro cars, the open world of each and every title is dotted with such events.
Forza Horizon games are just a goldmine for car enthusiasts as they enable users to tune and modify their cars endlessly. The franchise also offers an extensive repository of cars ranging from industrial-age classics to modern tuners and supercars.
On top of that, the racing franchise has never ceased to amaze gamers through its beautifully decorated open worlds.
The franchise nailed the driving physics in Forza Horizon 4 (2018). Players can feel the weight of the car models shifting in different ways when they take a sharp turn.
The racing video game franchise has made each subsequent open world much richer and more aesthetically pleasing than the previous editions.
5) World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft is arguably one of the most story-rich fantasy universes. Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, it’s a role-playing open-world that follows the MMORPG combat style.
World of Warcraft lets players create their own avatars and set forth on voyages filled with mystery, magical abilities, monster-smashing quests, and discoveries.
Since its launch in 2004, the video game franchise has launched eight expansion packs. The beauty of the Warcraft series is that none of the DLCs feel repetitive or stale.
The World of Warcraft franchise is the master of crafting a never-ending and story-rich fantasy world full of lore, legends, and heroes.
The MMORPG series’ latest edition, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, brings back legendary heroes from previous editions, such as Thrall (Orc) and Jaina Proudmoore (Human). The game also opens up a never-before-seen part of the World of Warcraft Universe.
It is not the first time the developers have introduced new regions beyond Azeroth. However, Shadowlands offers an entirely different scale of creation in terms of size. This might be the beginning of a new chapter in World of Warcraft’s universe.