Lunchtime Discussion: Reinvigoration

This generation has seen a huge number of re-releases and HD updates, something that seemed far rarer than in previous generations. I guess the gaming industry is now sufficiently old that everything old is new again, although the prevalence of comparatively cheap, downloadable titles this time around has certainly helped to fuel this.

What’s a little less common, but still seems to be cropping up more frequently in recent times is the reinvigoration of series. Take the recent news on Tomb Raider, relaunching the series with a drastic re-telling of Ms Croft’s* first adventure. Hopefully the relaunch, going as far as to just calling the title ‘Tomb Raider’, will breathe life into a series that many felt has long been on a downwards slope.

Is starting over really a good solution though? I mean you’re essentially tossing away everything that’s come before, the world you’ve established and any game play mechanics that may have become synonymous with your series. Striking the balance between starting afresh and keeping the core element that defines a series is certainly a difficult, but if you get it right you can create something that feels both familiar and fresh at the same time. That’s something I absolutely love in a game, or in any media really.

The argument can of course be made that if something’s started to fail you could just abandon it completely and move to a brand new IP, that it’s better to start something new than possibly taint something that people have fond memories of. With a series that’s on the ropes there isn’t even much of an argument for a new title being a safer bet than a new IP financially.

The thing is we shouldn’t automatically consign these series to the dustbin of history just because they’ve had a few weak titles. Give it a bit of a break, as they have with Tomb Raider, and come back to things with fresh new ideas. Fans get to see their favourite series revived and those who might not have been fans may well be drawn in by a new take on an old favourite.

So are you happy about old series being given another shot at the title? Or would you rather that developers moved onto fresh IPs when the old work horses begin to tire? Do the Tomb Raider reboot and the SSX rumours have you tittering with excitement, or do you think they’ll be damp squibs?

And yes today’s post was full of clichés. I don’t know why.

Thanks to cc_star for recommending this topic via Twitter.

* I know she was confirmed as a Countess in Tomb Raider: Legend, but that was a retcon and it’s unclear whether or not she’ll have the title in the new game, so I’ll refrain from Lady Croft for now. I know that’s not really relevant at all, but it took a 30 minute debate on Twitter and a lot of research to come to any sort of conclusion.

35 Comments

  1. I think if a franchise needs it, a-la ‘Miss Croft’, then great. If it’s a reboot for the sake of being able to say it’s a reboot then what’s the point?

    • Anyone think the shot of Croft on the TSA home page looks alot like Hillary Swank?

      • LOL S.W.A.N.K got censored!!!!!

      • Yeh, but pretty and without the horse face.

        Lovely censorship of Swank too. Ha!

  2. LADY CROFT ! ;P
    I think debating her title is reason enough for discussion :D

  3. I think it depends on how you consider your re-boot to be and what you want it to do. In the case of Tomb Raider there has been a lot of drama and staleness in the ast 10 years so a reinigoration, to distance itself from that image whilst remaining fidel to the actual basis of the series seems like a good idea. but a reboot just for the sake of a reboot, or running into a brik wall à la Resident Evil is pointless.

  4. I think the Call of Duty series is in need of a reboot. Admitidly, Black Ops has started to pave the way due to the game actually attempting a storyline, implementing BOT support as well as new elements such as wager matches etc, but it would be nice to play the next Call of Duty and it feel like a new game rather than a large expansion pack.

    • beat me to it!

      COD is in need of work! What i would like to see is an Single player only disk, and a multiplayer only disk. This will then hopefully give us a good story and then leave the online stuff to the people who want it.

      • Why split it across disks? What difference what that really make?

    • Wasn’t MW2 basically a reboot though? And I think we’ll see something new from Sledgehammer’s title next year anyway.

      • Sorry mean MW of course, not MW2.

      • True MW was a reboot but for me they did it too early. Cod 1 and 2 were excellent (‘2 still being the best game of the series imo). Ok ‘3 was dull so I suppose I can understand the reboot when they released ‘4, but now it is reaching that point again where it could do with a sprucing (spelling?) up

    • Could Activision further the process of the typical non-numbered sequel stragty or forget Call of Duty and focus on a new IP?

      Once upon a time there was Four Tony Hawks Pro Skaters, Two Thugs then the next games got themselves different sub titles which was the path of ruin. Now we see the Guitar Hero follow the lost skater with poor sales and lack of quality.

      Now Call of Duty is a bit similar… the forth CoD gets a sequel and thus a different sub title than numbered.. its gonna happen.

      Either a serious reboot or focus on a new IP..

  5. I think that if it’s a good game it doesn’t matter whether it’s a prequel, sequel, reboot or whatever!

    Also think you need to omit the word ‘than’ in the first sentence.

  6. I think its good when we get to go back to what was good about a title with a fresh outlook.

    I mean look at DMC3, arguably the best in the series, although I loved 1. I have never really been excited or interested in Tomb Raider, the first couple were ok, but, this has me coloured ‘interested’ as it looks really good….

  7. Sonic has had more reboots than I’ve had hot dinners, it does seem a little ironic that they’ve finally settled on a winning formula by pretty much making the original game again though.

    • Correction, Sonic has had more reboots than a Windows Vista pc ;) *Boom-tiss*

  8. i usually expect the worse from an old series being rehashed, so if it turns out to be any good that can only be a bonus!

  9. I’ve just finished the latest Lara Croft game (Guardian of Light) and it was enormously enjoyable. Only ten green queens on the PS Store and co-op play was great fun. For me, Uncharted bitch-slapped the whole leaping around from ledge to ledge game type which Lara suffered with the most (even though the essence of the game differed from Uncharted). However, Eidos/Core/Crystal Dynamics (?) have learned from this situation and spun off the smaller PS title I mentioned and are looking to create a stronger identity within the Tomb Raider world. The character is strong enough already but the game itself was feeling a little lost.

    I suppose there’s also the clarification between rehashing and reinvigorating. The former really had better have a good reason to happen (eg. a game that we sorely miss and hasn’t been equalled on the current gen. Additionally, community feedback is strong enough to invest in such a thing). My finest example would be Ico and SOTC with a HD make-over. However, reinvigorating the likes of SSX is a great way to test the waters out for extending the franchise further than just one outing (on this generation). Can I assume SSX on the PS3 will be a PSN title? On par with the likes of Wipeout. That lovely feeling of a full-blown title but at a sensible price. Hell, if they choose great characters, new mountains/routes could be DLC’d to hell and back. I’d be up for that, definitely.

    Lara Croft? Lady Croft? Who cares. She’s “that lass with the tits that look like a dead heat in a Zeppelin race”.

  10. Prince of Persia (the cell shaded bilge) was a reboot of sorts that was completely unwarranted in my opinion. It made a series of games that was already fairly easy difficulty-wise far too easy with little to no challenge.

    Thankfully Ubisolf saw sense and reverted back to their old ways with the Forgotten Sands which I thoroughly enjoyed (not a world beating game but very entertaining and surely to a degree that is all that’s sometimes needed). Can’t wait to get the original trilogy on PS3 HD as may well be my Christmas game. Always thought Warrior Within and Two Thrones were unjustly hated in some circles.

    • Why does a game have to be challenging to be fun can’t you just ride the story and look at the scenery?

      • The challenge the most basic point of any game. Be it chess, football or Prince of Persia. If its too easy, then its way too boring.

      • Whilst I do agree with your point philbert I found the PoP reboot to be too easy and personally didn’t think the story and look of the game in that case was enouhg to carry it through. Yes it looked pretty but not enough to carry an 8 hour game. Flower for instance on the PS3 has a very limited gameplay style and mechanic and looks very pretty but thatgamecompany most likely made it’s length short on purpose as they knew it could not carry a full length game. We’re all entitled to our opinion though of course. Did you prefer the PoP reboot or the others in the series by the way?

      • I saw the “reboot” as a completely different game experience and concept and I actually preferred it, maybe I’m just shit at games and a bit lazy!

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