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?