Film critics have decried the disease of sequel-itis since the Hollywood blockbuster era began more than 30 years ago. They bemoan the lack of originality, the reliance on popular themes and characters, and the sheeplike masses who flock to repeated installments of their favorite franchises. Video games have been onboard with the idea of sequels almost from the very start (remember Ms. Pac-Man?), but the idea of creating cash-generating franchises has taken on new importance in an increasingly hit-driven environment.
So, it's only natural for some industry watchers to bemoan the likes of Mass Effect 2, Halo 3, BioShock 2, Assassin's Creed 2, and others. But, judging from recent experience, the real problem is not that these games share too much with movie sequels, it's that they're not enough alike.
Having played nearly every notable recent and upcoming video game sequel, it's clear that the hubris of game developers and publishers is having a potentially audience-sapping effect--their unquestioned assumption is that you not only played the original game a new sequel is based on, but also finished it, and can clearly remember every plot twist up to two years later. This blindness to anything but the uber-fan audience is a disservice to the very mainstream game buyers who keep the entire industry afloat. … Read more