Nintendo is releasing new entries to some of their most beloved game series this year: Paper Mario and Metroid. Usually, fans would rejoice when a company announces new games for long-running series, but this time things went a little bit different, since Paper Mario: Color Splash and Metroid Prime: Federation Force got an overwhelming negative response from fans when the games were announced. This is certainly not contained to Nintendo, because Activision got the same reaction when they revealed the first trailer for the new Call of Duty game: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
Why is it that those newly announced games in series that have such a strong share of dedicated fans elicited such a negative reaction? The answer is simple: because those games have something intrinsically different about them than what made fans fall in love with the series in the first place.
Let’s first take a look at Paper Mario: Color Splash. Because of all the information we got at E3, we can ascertain that Color Splash shares many similarities with Paper Mario: Sticker Star, the least liked entry of the Paper Mario series (but curiously enough, the one that sold the best). This entry lacks a significant story and doesn’t resemble a traditional RPG anymore. The Paper Mario series used to have rich stories, battles that would let the player get stronger by earning experience points, and there was a rich supporting cast of inventive characters. All that was gone in Sticker Star, and although some things seem to have changed with Color Splash (there is supposed to be more of a story this time), fans who loved the series for its RPG elements and its varied cast seem to expect that they’ll be disappointed by the game.
The same goes for Metroid Prime: Federation Force. The Metroid series is known for its dark atmosphere and lonely exploration of dangerous planets, and the games had a very isolated, almost haunted feel to it. But then, many years after Nintendo released the previous entry in the Metroid series, they revealed Federation Force. Gone was the lonely atmosphere, gone was the formula based on exploration, and gone was the main character, Samus Aran. This all has been replaced with a co-op action adventure with an art style that is vastly removed from the original Metroid and Metroid Prime games.
Finally there is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The difference between that game and the earlier entries in the series seem to be far less than in the other two examples, but that just goes to show that it can be quite hard to determine what players actually find of intrinsic importance to a game series. In this case, the problem is the futuristic setting and the fact that the first trailer didn’t appeal to most players. Earlier Call of Duty Games always had a historical or modern setting (even though technology sometimes was already more advanced than is currently available to us), but Infinite Warfare takes the battles up to space, and that rubs a lot of people the wrong way.
Of course, there is also a counterargument to this. If companies didn’t try to push their game series into new directions, the games would probably get stale after a while, and people would get the feeling that they’re just playing the same game over and over again.
Still, I personally think that game series should try to stay true to their original formula, and just expand on it with every new iteration. But since this is a Daily Delib, we are curious about your opinion on this matter. Feel free to discuss this in the comments below!