Boss Rush Banter: What Game Series Needs To Go Back To Its Roots?

When I play Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, I begin longing for the old days of the series. I’m talking about a short, streamlined story and plot, a shorter run time (20 hours or so) and a map not cluttered with side quests, collectables, and treasures that mean nothing. For example, according to howlongtobeat.com, the first Assassin’s Creeds total run time is 20 hours, including main story and side quests. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the other hand, comes in at a whopping 93 hours. That doesn’t even include all of the story DLC!

It becomes aggravating to know that, being the type of person I am that likes to play a wide variety of games, I’ll never feel like I can finish it. I miss what Assassin’s Creed used to be in terms of a more streamlined adventure, not the open world madness it has become. If the rumors are true, hopefully the next mainline entry may take the series back to its roots. It led me down a path to wonder if I’m that old, bitter guy that “longs for the old days” or do I wish game franchises just stuck to what they were good at?

The Resident Evil franchise is another series that has changed throughout the years, shifting from a lonely, dark and suspenseful atmosphere to a more action-oriented series. We saw a return to its roots with Resident Evil 7, albeit in first-person mode, and also with the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, but it goes to show that Capcom hasn’t forgotten where it came from, and where it all started with the series, even though they’ve made some hiccups along the way.

Even though it was in first person, Resident Evil 7 saw a return to what made the series great. Source: usgamer..com

Long time fans of the Final Fantasy series know this all too well. The series was well known for its open expansive environments, grinding and exploration. However with some of its most recent titles (the XIII series to name a few), it has lost its way. Final Fantasy XV was an attempt at a return to form, featuring a large open world that players were free to explore and battle enemies at their heart’s content, but some lauded the game’s lack of depth. Of course it is also worth mentioning the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and it’s upcoming sequel Rebirth. The first title, Remake, was a more linear campaign style game compared to its original creation, however there is hope for Rebirth as our heroes exit the city and enter into the vast world of Gaia.

As video game franchises age, it’s important to be able to “keep up with the Joneses” and stay relevant. It is no surprise to anyone how quickly trends can come and go, and if you blink you can miss it. The Ghost Recon franchise started out as a strictly linear single player campaign and then turned into a massive open world sandbox action title with Wildlands and Breakpoint. With the announcement of Ghost Recon Frontline, which was marketed to be a battle-royale-style game, sooner saw its cancelation when the trend came and went like the night. Changing with the times can be a curse if you’re not careful. I long for this series to return to its roots as well. Ghost Recon Future Soldier was the last game in the series with a linear campaign, but it was so well done that it stands up even ten years after its release.

The list of video game franchises who’ve tried to change and evolve with little to no success is too long to get through in one article, and it begs the question if any of these really needed to change in the first place? There is such a difference between “changing” and “evolving”, and in this day in age in video games if you’re not evolving you’re being left in the dust. The Super Mario franchise hasn’t seen many departures in its formula, but still remains as relevant and impactful in the industry as its first title. The formula remains the same, just expanding to larger worlds and with improved graphics. One can draw direct comparisons from Super Mario 64 to Super Mario Odyssey easily, two games that are over 30 years apart from each other.

Does Super Mario 64 still hold up? Source: gamesradar.com

Video games as a medium are in a fortunate scenario where we can talk about “classics” and the “good old days”, and multiple generations are enjoying games both past and present. It’s great to hear different generations’ takes and experiences on long-running franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Assassin’s Creed, and even Call of Duty, and what they enjoy most about them. Many of these franchises can be ripe for a return to its core roots, like the Assassin’s Creed series, a showcase of returning to what made them great in the first place like the Resident Evil series, or even a franchise that tried but missed the mark with many like Final Fantasy XV. There is room for evolution and change to coexist, however one of the more dangerous path to travel on is to jump on a “trend,” which can make a series rise to the top, or crumble and fall. Being part of the older generations of video games, I remember fondly the series’ I grew up with, and often times miss those old days, but then again I have to understand that with every passing generation comes different interests and attention spans that need to be fulfilled. I am, however, thankful for developers like Dotmeu bringing us TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, and Streets of Rage 4 to showcase you can evolve without losing your identity.

What are some gaming franchises you wish would go back to its roots? Sound off in the comments, or head over to our Discord network, the link to the discord is here, or use the QR code at the bottom of the page!

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