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Should classic franchises be allowed to die? [roundtable]
Jeremy Parrish has an interesting blog post at USGamer.net covering a topic I've discussed a few times on this site in the past: Classic video game franchises and the default assumption that they should continue in perpetuity. He makes an argument similar to one I've made. Namely, a series doesn't have to keep going on and on forever. Those that have run their course should be fondly remembered, replayed and recommended to newcomers, sure, but don't need to be kept alive with new installments just for the sake of it.

He mentions the likes of Mega Man, Castlevania, and even Metroid as beloved series that he wouldn't mind being put out to pasture. That doesn't mean that what makes these games great needs to die as well. Games like Mighty No. 9 will continue the spirit of Mega Man, games like Axium Verge will continue the spirit of Metroid. But the characters and worlds of those games don't need to continue.

As you may have guessed, I agree full-heartedly. I want a new Metroid game from Nintendo as much as the next guy, but I want it because I like the way Nintendo makes those kinds of games, not because I need more adventures from Samus in her iconic ship. If Nintendo released something like Shadow Complex would the new style and setting make it less of a game? As Parrish says, it might make it even better because the developers will be free to break the mold of a franchise's staples in a way that they wouldn't feel comfortable in making a new Metroid game.

From Nintendo's perspective, I understand why they are quick to slap one of their IPs onto most of their new games. Brand recognition is important and all things created equal, Mario Paint Attack would likely outperform Splatoon. So I don't think we'll actually see franchises that are still money makers like Mario disappearing anytime soon. But a series like Metroid which was never a blockbuster and has had recent flops? It's a possibility (although I think they probably realize that a new Metroid can rejuvenate their base in a way that makes it worthwhile even if the sales aren't overwhelmingly strong).

I understand it from a fan's perspective, as well, but in the end I think it's coddling. Consumers these days seem to want to be kept in an artificial childhood. They want everything from their formative years to remain forever so that they don't have to deal with the brutal reality that time passes, we get older, things change and people die. This might make people feel more content in a world that forces you to reckon with these realities in plenty of ways outside of media, but I think it ultimately lessens what we can get out of our interaction with art and media. It might seem trivial, but I think forcing gamers to cope with the fact that Samus has blasted Ridley away for the last time would do them some good. At the very least, I think fans need to come to terms with the idea that Nintendo doesn't owe it to them to keep these series running and that they are not entitled to a new Metroid game every generation.

What do you guys think? How would you feel if Nintendo officially signaled the end of some of their long lasting franchises? Should Mario and Zelda games keep coming out long after Miyamoto is dead and gone? Are there any series which you would rather see call it a day than continue on their current trajectory? Bonus Question: Does Seasons 11-30 of the Simpsons diminish what made the first third of the series great?

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Posted: 04/11/15, 05:24:44  - Edited by 
 on: 04/11/15, 05:27:20
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Does Kingdom of the Crystal Skull really tarnish the glory of the original trilogy of Indiana Jones movies? I ask, because I've never seen it. But that just seems like a pretty incredible claim, to me.

Most of the time I feel sequels can't really hurt my memory of the original. I do have to admit Star Wars has been tarnished in my memory, but I think that was a pretty egregious case of this sort of thing. Apart from that, I just pick and choose what I like and and typically ignore the rest. This is all made up baloney, anyway, so what's the harm in more baloney? How can a bad movie ruin a good movie, retroactively?

I'll add that I sympathize with the desire to not see good stuff run and run until the wheels fall off. But the kicker is that very few creators run the wheels off on purpose. And there's always the chance they could make something good. So why arbitrarily say they shouldn't try? In the Metroid example, we could save ourselves from an Other M, but we might just sacrifice a Fusion in the process. Why set up arbitrary rules and do that to ourselves?
Posted: 04/13/15, 05:02:08

It's terrible. I don't think it really tarnishes the original trilogy, but now when I think of Indiana Jones there is always the crappiness of the fourth movie kind of sitting there to perhaps sneak into my thoughts. It's not that big of a deal, but I do think I was justified in not wanting it to be made because there was so little chance of it being good (particularly once Shia Labouef's involvement became clear). Kind of like not wanting an album being released by "The Velvet Underground" after Lou Reed left.

And again, I'm not so much saying that we should be against further Metroid games or discourage Sakamoto from making them (in part because I think a Metroid game could succeed in a way Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was almost certain not to), but more that we should respect Nintendo's decision if they don't want to keep going with the franchise. If they've got a great idea and want to make the game but monetary reasons are stopping it, that's different of course, but if Sakamoto doesn't feel inspired, I think it's a good idea to get used to letting go of beloved things since nothing lasts forever.
Posted: 04/13/15, 05:12:14
I like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Shia LaBeouf. I'm doubly a fool!
Posted: 04/13/15, 05:59:36
I like about 95% of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But man some of it makes me cringe (fridge, 3 waterfalls in a row, swinging through the trees, etc.)

Hmm. Is it really that much worse than Temple of Doom? Lots of cringe-worthy (and straight up racist) stuff in that too.

Of course Raiders of the Lost Ark and Last Crusade are on a whole other level...
Posted: 04/13/15, 06:35:06  - Edited by 
 on: 04/13/15, 06:36:28
I would just like to point out, that the only 'shitting on Metroid' that I can see in this thread is coming from the guy who described Metroid Prime 3 as 'complete garbage'.
Posted: 04/13/15, 11:22:39
I dunno, saying that 1 out of 11 is a terrible game in an otherwise stellar franchise isn't taking as big of a shit as saying that the entire franchise is so creatively bankrupt it should be discontinued.

Even great franchises have their black sheep, Zelda has those weird Panasonic CD-i games and Metroid has Prime 3, that doesn't mean that either IP is beyond hope and should be completely scrapped, in my humble opinion. I want more Zeldas and I want more Metroids. I guess that makes me the bad guy.
Posted: 04/14/15, 01:37:46  - Edited by 
 on: 04/14/15, 01:41:11
deathly_hallows said:
saying that the entire franchise is so creatively bankrupt it should be discontinued.

Either you're a troll or you have serious problems with your brain.
Posted: 04/14/15, 01:44:25
When I was in college I had a class about how to read art criticism, essentially how to parse though rhetorical bullshit and distill the actual meaning of things. That's the way I think, you might not like it, it might not be your style, but I take long-winded rhetorical passages and break them down to their core, say them "bluntly" if you will.

What Parish is saying in this article is that Metroid should be discontinued because (in his opinion) Axiom Verge is better than Other M. Do you have a different take? Do you think he's saying Metroid should continue?

I get his reasoning, he thinks that something like Other M ruins his childhood by compromising the integrity of Super Metroid, and here comes along Axiom Verge which is a more faithful reproduction of what he remembers playing on the SNES, so he wants Metroid to go away and make more room for stuff like Axiom. I just don't think like that, I'm not that nostalgic for the "golden age" of gaming, and I don't think it's one or the other. I'm insanely happy to see stuff like Guacamelee which takes the Metroid formula and runs with it, making something new and amazing, just like I'm happy to see stuff inspired by Mario or Zelda or any of the classic franchises. But I don't think old franchises have to "die" to make room for these cool indie games.

Basically I'm excited about Axiom Verge, I'm glad it was made, if it was a Kickstarter I'd probable have supported it like I supported Might No. 9 and Shovel Knight. But I'd also like to see Metroid 5 announced for the 3DS available this summer. For me the two aren't mutually exclusive.
Posted: 04/14/15, 03:21:23  - Edited by 
 on: 04/14/15, 03:27:54

Dude, it's not cool to say that Jeremy Parrish is a serial rapist. That's uncalled for.
Posted: 04/14/15, 03:27:57
The funny thing is that you're so offended by my opinion.

Either side of this argument should be valid, I bet if Jeremy read this he'd be like "meh, whatever, you're entitled to your opinion I disagree", but you just can't stand the fact that I won't side with the people who want Metroid to end. Why is that?

EDIT: I wil clarify that I don't think his overall concept is wrong. If a long running series has completely run out of ideas and no one is enthusiastic about making it and all the games just repeat themselves with no innovation then yes, they should "be allowed" to die. I'm just stating my opinion that Metroid doesn't fulfill any of that criteria.
Posted: 04/14/15, 03:34:56  - Edited by 
 on: 04/14/15, 03:47:27

I'm offended by the fact that you are unwilling or unable to engage with the actual discussion. No matter how many times I've said I love Metroid and don't want to see the series end so long as there is a desire and passion to create further entries, you have ignored me and made up shit instead that you try to pass off as my opinion.

And seriously, lay off Jeremy Parish. You don't have any evidence that he is secretly funneling cash to ISIS.
Posted: 04/14/15, 03:48:45
Let's walk away from Metroid. There's a much better series to pick on: Sonic the Hedgehog.

Posted: 04/14/15, 04:04:06
Yeah, I think there is a lot of misreading going on.

I definitely think that series that have run out of steam should be allowed to die. Personally, I'm a huge fan of Metroid, always have been. I wasn't into consoles during the N64 era, but Metroid Prime brought me back. Then I bought Echoes on release day.

And then it took me years before I finished Corruption. It just wasn't that good.

So when people are raging about the fact that Retro is working on another DKCR game instead of a Metroid Prime game, I get where they come from, but at the same time, I wonder why they want a Prime 4. The series didn't seem to know where it was headed. Only the first game, IMO, really captured the feel of the Metroid Prime series.

And in a way, I do think the sequels diminished the game's legacy. I mean, Metroid Prime did so many things right, but not everything. The key hunt at the end sticks out like a sore thumb, and we can forgive it because they perhaps they made a mistake and didn't know what they were doing. Except they made two more games with the exact same problem, showing that perhaps the key hunt padding the first Prime was exactly what they wanted. Making me think less of Retro as a developer.

I wouldn't want a new Metroid that looks just like "more Metroid Prime" to be trotted out at E3. I mean, I'd probably play it still, but I'd be disappointed if it doesn't look like either they found a new exciting idea for the Metroid franchise, or went back to examine what makes the series great, and really focused on that. If they do, great! But if they don't, then I don't see the point. I'll play through it as mechanically and as dispassionately as they seemingly made it.

Stepping away from Metroid for a moment, if we're going to talk about classic franchises that should be allowed to die, I can't think of many better examples than Sonic. It's gone through the hands of several developers, and they've all struggled to capture even a fraction of what made the original games appealing back in the day. Sometimes they manage to capture some of it, but they'd lose it in the next game.

And we've got to entertain the idea that perhaps these developers aren't incompetent. It's not lack of talent or resources that's prevented from making a great Sonic game: perhaps the original games, and the character, were very much a product of their time. Something that was special back then and only back then. Times have changed, people have changed, and the same character in a different era simply cannot recreate what it did back in the day. Maybe a different character could. But not Sonic.
Posted: 04/14/15, 04:07:07  - Edited by 
 on: 04/14/15, 04:08:50
Am I the only one that loved Metroid Prime 3 here!?
Posted: 04/14/15, 04:09:44
It's possible that I'm projecting. That the Prime series didn't run out of Steam: I did. But that 3 wasn't followed up by a 4 tells me it probably wasn't me.

It was a good game. But it wasn't Metroid Prime good, IMO.
Posted: 04/14/15, 04:21:45  - Edited by 
 on: 04/14/15, 04:22:12
@TriforceBun No. I adore Metroid Prime 3 and think these guys are just haters.

@Guillaume I can almost sign on with your take on Sonic except... I really do think SEGA just bungled the shit out of it more than anything else. When I play Generations, I feel like I'm playing something with some kinship with the 2D games that I loved. If that had been a jumping off point for a new series, maybe we'd have gotten somewhere.

That said, I don't have infinite patience and if SEGA officially retired the series, I wouldn't be heartbroken. Sonic is like an old rock band that's continued past its prime. Yeah, they still might drop a good album here and there, but they'll never be relevant to the broader culture again. Does that mean they should stop playing? I can see both sides of that argument.
Posted: 04/14/15, 04:38:14  - Edited by 
 on: 04/14/15, 04:38:55

Love is a strong word, but I liked MP3 a lot. I remember enjoying it more than Echos certainly. I do think it showed that it was an early Wii game though. I think a new game in the Prime style from Retro could certainly breathe new life into the series in a way that MP3 really didn't. I hope it's not called Prime 4 though.
Posted: 04/14/15, 04:41:38
I don't know if I want another Metroid Prime or not... I mean, I'll play it if that is what Retro is working on and hopefully love it, but the sequels weren't nearly as good as the first game, and I'd honestly rather see what else Retro is capable of other than another Prime or DKC.

I agree that if they do make another first person Metroid, it shouldn't just be "Prime 4," and they should try some new ideas that make it a bit different than that series.
Posted: 04/14/15, 05:45:14
I think most of us are in the same boat about Metroid Prime. It made a great trilogy (heck, one of the best gaming trilogies ever, easily), but it does feel like they did all they wanted to do with it.

I'd be really excited if Retro was working on Metroid, but some sort of new take on it. Maybe they could pull off a 3rd-person Metroid at long last, or maybe even a sidescroller (which would be gorgeous) based on their past experience with DK and Prime.

Either way, we're long overdue for a new one. It's hard to believe that Other M was almost 5 (!!) years ago.
Posted: 04/14/15, 06:19:57

I kind of like the music analogy for a few reason (even though, shouldn't the musician be analogous with a developer, not a series?). But it works because, hey, as much as I still like Beck today, I liked him better back then. And I wouldn't stop him from making music, and I'll always enjoy it to various degrees, but I'm never getting Odelay! or Sea Change from him again. Even if he tries hard to produce a Sea Change 2, and even wins a Grammy for it, it's never going to be another Sea Change for me.

The analogy works because in Jeremy Parish's blog, I think he approaches it with the mindset of a fan, anyway. He never says the Metroid series should stop. He just says it might be stale, and we might need some other games to fill the Metroid-shaped hole in our hearts. We could keep asking Nintendo for new games in the series and hope that one of them re-captures the highs of the series, but there are good chances than even if they could do that, we wouldn't be satisfied. We wouldn't get the feeling that we got from playing Super Metroid, or Metroid Prime.

But hey, few series can boast having more than one entry worthy of being in all "best game of all time" discussions. It's not impossible, but it is unlikely that lightning will strike thrice.
Posted: 04/14/15, 07:55:20
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