You can only have so much of a good thing. Too much ice cream gives me a stomachache and brain freeze. Too much TV-binging causes the butt imprint on my couch to embarrass me when guests come over. Too much of a good video game series too often gives me fatigue and disdain for the series when I loved it so much beforehand.
One of the things that completely crippled my enjoyment of franchises like Assassin’s Creed and even Super Mario Bros has been the recent surge of Call of Dutying sequels – pumping them out every year like clockwork with little change. I tend to be the type of gamer that wants to enjoy his games fully before diving into the next game in the series or even another game in general. It just seems like there’s been an increase in the quantity of games, while the quality of the games stays the same or even decreases.
It’s gotten to the point that I can’t even play games like this because I’m so burned out on the series. Assassin’s Creed III is sitting on my shelf collecting dust after I tried to play it, but couldn’t get beyond the prologue/introductory gameplay. After the second game and its two expansions (Brotherhood and Revelations), I just couldn’t handle any more of the series. I have a hard time picking up and playing Mario games anymore when the same general idea is rehashed year-after-year. To me, the entire gaming industry is watered down and diluted by this type of moneymaking strategy. The worst part is that it works and makes sales, so it continues.
The sales of Call of Duty games continue to rise per game per year. Black Ops 2 sold ~2.7 million units, beating its predecessor by five hundred thousand units since it was last accounted for. The fatigue I have felt from the series is obviously shared by very few as those numbers show. Granted, I played the zombies mode of Black Ops 2 and as it was with the original, it’s a blast. Nothing is more fun than slaying hoards of the undead with friends and barely making it to the next round, but the multiplayer and single player in the series has run its course for me. I simply cannot stand them any longer. Two minutes into the campaign of Black Ops 2 had me searching for anything else to play.
This bothers me even more with series that I absolutely love. The LEGO series is one of my favorites, as I’m a huge fan of LEGO itself, but after LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, LEGO Batman II, and now LEGO Lord of the Rings, I find myself becoming worn out of collecting LEGO studs to unlock my favorite minifigure characters. Part of the problem is too much of a good thing. I couldn’t get enough of the LEGO games when I realized how fun they are, but now that great excitement of LEGO’s style is floundering from overabundance.
These series are great and much of the problem lies in releasing them so much. How can I truly appreciate the assassinations and parkour of Assassin’s Creed IV if I just played its predecessor less than a year before? How can I enjoy the high-intensity thrill ride of a Call of Duty story or the multiplayer if I’m still busy playing the one that came out a year ago? It’s too much – too soon. It’s not fun and it’s entirely overwhelming.
All of this is to say that there is too much of the same junk coming out yearly. I don’t want another Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, or New Super Mario Bros. I want fresh ideas that spawned great games like those originally. There is only so much gamers can handle before becoming fatigued, but clearly, the Call of Duty strategy is working and dominating the market. We can only hope the entire industry will shift away from this, so we can enjoy more great, unique titles like Uncharted, Mirror’s Edge, and The Walking Dead, while also continuing to experience some amazing sequels like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Mass Effect 3, and Bioshock: Infinite. The future of the industry will come down to whether we want the same thing over and over or something new and risky.