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.