Video game timelines are funny things. On one end of the spectrum, you’ve got the annual release titles — the familiars of our hobby, such as Call of Duty, Madden, Assassin’s Creed, Mario and the like — and on the other side of the spectrum you have the folks that release games when they’re good and ready — the Valves and Square Enixes of the world. Today’s post concerns the first group.
With the recent quality dip of franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, the underwhelming “next gen” (but still the same old) gameplay of Call of Duty: Ghosts and the staleness of other titles like Mario or Madden, it seems like there are quite a few annual releases in need of a good old fashioned sabbatical. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike these franchises. Far from it. I just think that perhaps an extended break might give developers a chance to come back to the table with fresh eyes and maybe a few gameplay or art tweaks that might reinvigorate things again.
Take Madden, for instance. I’m a dude that loves watching just about any random NFL game I can find on TV, but you almost couldn’t pay me to play a Madden game. Here’s the game of football — a rough-hitting, edge-of-your-seat, strategy-on-the-fly sport played by athletic gods — and EA manages to make a game that feels boring. Contrast that with something as historic as Mario or Zelda, two imaginative franchises that don’t quite excite the way they used to (unless they go retro or reboot one of the older, better games in some way), and it starts to feel like maybe it’s time for these guys to rest just a little while.
So without further ado, here’s today’s Pixel Count. Get your votes on and tell us what you think in the comments! It doesn’t even have to be a yearly release — just a franchise that you think might benefit with some rethinking.