Boss Rush Banter: At What Point Should a Video Game Franchise Stop Making Sequels?

Completely original games in the world of gaming are hard to come buy these days, and the ones that sell well quickly become an entire franchise, filled with sequels and spin-offs. Soon, it starts feeling like we’re always sitting around, wondering about when the next installment will be announced. Yes, it feels like we’ve been waiting for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for forever, but since Breath of the Wild’s release, we’ve gotten Link’s Awakening, Skyward Sword HD, and an amazing spin-off in the form of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Even franchises with less entries, like Splatoon or Pikmin, are still getting sequels every few years like Splatoon 3 or the recently announced Pikmin 4. But is there a point franchises should stop making sequels?

Pikmin 4

One of my favorite video game series is Banjo-Kazooie. The bear and bird were iconic to me as a child, and Banjo-Tooie was the first Christmas gifts I ever remember receiving. I’ve sunk hours into these games, both as a child and as an adult. I even got Grunty’s Revenge, the GameBoy Advance game that may or may not be canon. I was completely on board with the rumored Banjo-Threeie, and thought of any and all possibilities a future game could hold. But when Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts came out, I felt betrayed. The sequel felt so different, both aesthetically and structurally, that I never even got more than 5 hours into it. It seems Rare may have counted their losses and abandoned the Banjo-Kazooie property all together. But the original games keep my love for the games alive. While I know we’re very unlikely to get a new Banjo sequel, knowing that these games won’t be any less tarnished by bad sequels keeps my heart warm at night.

On the other side, we can have franchises like Mother that present amazing games like Earthbound or Mother 3, then drop off the radar, never to release another game yet leaving behind a legacy beloved by fans for years to come. While many fans would lose their minds at the announcement of a Mother 4, what would those fans do if the game didn’t live up to their expectations? Is it better for a franchise to quit while they’re ahead?

No franchise, in my opinion, has suffered from too many sequels like Sonic the Hedgehog. The original SEGA games are classic or a reason. They’re fun, fast, and simple. He runs fast, collects rings, and fights robots. Even after switching to 3D, games like Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 were well received for sticking with that classic formula while adding in just enough to enhance the gameplay with level formats. But since then, it seems like Sega has no idea what to do with Sonic. The stories of these games bounce all over the place from title to title, and the gameplay has changed up ever so slightly with each game that many of them feel disconnected entirely. I’m interested in Sonic Frontiers if only to see the impact it has on the Sonic franchise, which if you ask me, should have ended years ago.

Sonic Frontiers

But, I think we’re all starting to understand that nothing really ends. Ports, remakes, and remasters will always bring these games back, and players will always find ways to enjoy their favorite games, despite what the future holds. What a lot of this discussion boils down to is whether or not you’re content replaying the same great games over and over, or if you want to roll the dice and hope the next sequel doesn’t serve as the beginning of the rest of the franchise’s downfall.

What do you think? Should franchises quit while they’re ahead, or keep throwing new ideas at the wall until something sticks? Let us know in a comment, or join the discussion over of the Boss Rush Discord.

Featured Image: Sega.com

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