I’ve begun a hunt, not a literal hunt, but a theoretical hunt. The closest I went out on an actual hunt was when I was playing Duckhunt, it ended badly. Trust me, that cackling dog is in an 8-bit cemetery after I was through with that game.
Anyway, three major titles were released this year that happened to be prequels. The first one being about a man who’s clearly getting too old for this Greek shit, God of War: Ascension. The second being about a sassy side character who was the star of his own game, Gears of War: Judgement. And finally a comic book game that started from the broodiest of brood roots, Batman: Arkham Origins. Three installments, all of them part of huge series that have had quite a following. Along with the fact that the characters for these games have dazzling good chins, that’s quite a feat I would say.
However before I progress, let me bring up something that I think some would ask. Why are these prequels the ‘final word’ on this generation rather than these individual titles for each of the three main consoles? For example, some would say that The Last of Us was Sony’s ‘swan song’ for the PS3. It was definitely an incredible game that captured the spirit of old-school Playstation titles along with the excitement of what was to come with the PS4. This could also be said for GTA V as well since it was giving one last push with the hardware before the jump to next-gen.
I believe these are fine points, but regardless of the quality and care that’s been put into those titles there was something else even bigger brewing in the industry. A bunch of publishers thought simultaneously, mostly Sony and Microsoft, that they should at least exploit some of their key series just one last time. One last time! It was just a smidgen of a game that took place before the actual games, you know, plus if the campaign’s aren’t lengthy enough lets slap some multiplayer in there! That oughta’ do it!
Unfortunately for them, things didn’t quite workout in their favor. Both games debut with a low 425,000 and 360,000 number of copies sold. Keep in mind, these games were both part of a series that made millions of dollars (with Gears of War 3 selling 3 million its first month, and God of War 3 selling a million within a few days after its release). It’s like that old saying, if your pimp hand ain’t strong then she ain’t gonna rake in that dough. Or maybe it was just something I heard randomly on the streets, damn hot dog carts and their ability for me to overhear unpleasant conversations…during the night…when no one’s around…I don’t even know if that was a hotdog I ate.
So why did Microsoft and Sony not reap the benefits they expected to receive? Well it’s rather simple, because they got greedy and impatient. So basically they acted like…publishers.
It was also too soon if you asked me to release another Gears of War, God of War, and even another Arkham game only for the sole purpose of one thing. We’ve played enough of these franchises in their current stages that it becomes harder to get even more excited for the next installment. Especially when that next installment is coming from a different studio and is not next-gen. That’s what’s killing these software sales, they’re released too early and are in the hands of someone else.
Not that they completely deterred the quality of these games, hell I give props to People Can Fly studios for at least making the necessary changes to make the multiplayer in Judgement entertaining. But it’s sadly only either ‘passable’ or just ‘good’, not ‘great’ or ‘incredibly entertaining’, but just those two categories.
Here’s something I also think that’s important, what were so special about the plotlines for these games that they couldn’t have just been translated to DLC instead? Regardless if whether you’re a fan or not of these games, there weren’t a whole lot of memorable moments in their main story modes. Also I’m gonna go on a slight tangent here, we don’t need to hear more of Kratos back story! I’ve had plenty of games, mostly PSP ports, where they explain everything about this character. Hence why the idea of making a prequel is pointless, and why for the most part these games have added barely any interesting development to their universes.
Oh sure we learn more about the Kilo Squad and the Furies, but they matter little to the overall structure.
Earlier in the year I’ve said my piece on Gears of War: Judgement and God of War: Ascension, although I can hardly remember them now. Will the same be said for Batman: Arkham Origins? I’d say probably yes since not a whole lot of innovation has been seen and not as much trust is placed on this new studio, Warner Bros. Montreal. It’s also following the same pattern as Ascension by adding multiplayer, which I think could be a huge mistake if they invested too much of their resources into that feature. The game is due this Friday, and I’m going to see how it plays out because I’m fair and understanding like that.
However I cannot lie, I foresee a sad possible fate for this game. Remember kids, only Satan prefers prequels. Think about that, because I said it.