Heroes of Might and Magic Community
visiting hero! Register | Today's Posts | Games | Search! | FAQ/Rules | AvatarList | MemberList | Profile


Age of Heroes Headlines:  
5 Oct 2016: Heroes VII development comes to an end.. - read more
6 Aug 2016: Troubled Heroes VII Expansion Release - read more
26 Apr 2016: Heroes VII XPack - Trial by Fire - Coming out in June! - read more
17 Apr 2016: Global Alternative Creatures MOD for H7 after 1.8 Patch! - read more
7 Mar 2016: Romero launches a Piano Sonata Album Kickstarter! - read more
19 Feb 2016: Heroes 5.5 RC6, Heroes VII patch 1.7 are out! - read more
13 Jan 2016: Horn of the Abyss 1.4 Available for Download! - read more
17 Dec 2015: Heroes 5.5 update, 1.6 out for H7 - read more
23 Nov 2015: H7 1.4 & 1.5 patches Released - read more
31 Oct 2015: First H7 patches are out, End of DoC development - read more
5 Oct 2016: Heroes VII development comes to an end.. - read more
[X] Remove Ads
LOGIN:     Username:     Password:         [ Register ]
HOMM1: info forum | HOMM2: info forum | HOMM3: info mods forum | HOMM4: info CTG forum | HOMM5: info mods forum | MMH6: wiki forum | MMH7: wiki forum
Heroes Community > Heroes 7+ Altar of Wishes > Thread: Game Development and Fan Nostalgia: What makes a good sequel?
Thread: Game Development and Fan Nostalgia: What makes a good sequel? This thread is 3 pages long: 1 2 3 · NEXT»
alcibiades
alcibiades


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
of Gold Dragons
posted August 20, 2010 03:26 PM
Edited by alcibiades at 17:31, 21 Aug 2010.

Game Development and Fan Nostalgia: What makes a good sequel?

Hi, I was thinking a bit about this issue: When you're faced with the challenge of making a sequel to a game (i.e. Heroes 6), what makes in fact a good sequel? On one hand, you need to make a "new" game, and on the other hand you need to satisfy the fans of the old game. Is that an impossible challenge?

I don't play a lot of computer games - in fact, only two game franchises have had a lasting success with me: Heroes and Civilization. The two games seem to tell two very different stories when it comes to new chapters.

Civilization has an upcoming 5th chapter (this september). What amazes me about Civ is not only that it's a great game, but also that it just keeps getting better. In fact, if you compare each version of Civ to the previous, it somehow seems to get better in every single aspect of the game, and at the same time add new parts.

Heroes tells quite another story. The game hit massive succes with Heroes 2, and pretty much perfected the theme with Heroes 3. The things went off track with Heroes 4, which was a complete failure to most of the fanbase. Finally came Heroes 5, which was a modest succes - at least by the time TotE got out, and most of the glaring bugs of the original version had been corrected. Still, a major part of the fanbase (maybe even the majority) still hail Heroes 3 as the best game of the series.

So is it just fan nostalgia, or is there in fact truth behind the words? And what is the reason for the succes of Civilization development compared to Heroes?


I'll venture my guess. I think the key is that Civilization developers were never afraid of having too little change in the game. Between each chapter, very little was actually thrown away - only new things were added, and current aspects were fleshed out to give greater detail and more gameplay. Strange as it may sound, even if every version was in reality the same game as the previous, it never felt boring, because it always got improved, fleshed out and more complicated.

On the other hand, Heroes developers seem to be in an almost turn-over frenzy to never copy the previous versions. Factions get wiped, essential features get ditched, etc. Heroes 4 proved the point, and now fans are upset over news about no city screens, less ressources, old fashioned combat turns and no alternative upgrades in Heroes 6. Heroes 5, in the end, turned out fairly well, mostly because it was an almost complete return to Heroes 3 - even if it was seriously lacking in gameplay, with large maps and long epic scenarios being a no-go simply because of the lousy programming. And why was Heroes 3 such a succes? Because it actually stayed true to the formula of Heroes 2, and just expanded it. Did anybody ever complain about that?

I think Heroes developers should focus more on adding new features rather than re-doing old features that worked perfectly well. Not only is there a chance you end up with a feature that works less good than it did before, it will also upset the fans, who liked the game for what it was. That's not saying you can't change things, but if you want to change things, focus on adding to them, making them bigger, not smaller - a game with less options is rarely a better game.

The sad irony is that almost along the entire way, the Heroes developers have failed to look to the fanbase to see what was actually requested. Fan based mods like WoG had a host of features that could easily be adopted in a new chapter (like creature exerience and super special ressources) but never did.


So is fan nostalgia just a proof that oldtimers are whiners that can't be pleased? Sometimes, perhaps, but I also think developers need to realize that when they develop an updated version of an old game, they do just that: The make an old game, not a new one. And this means that the new version should stay true to the old version, and not make it into something it wasn't.

And will that not just be a rip-off by making us buy the same game over again? No, I don't think so. Civilization proves to me that it is perfectly possible to make a game that at one times stays completely true to the previous versions and at the same time adds dozens of new features and expand old ones to make it an all-over improved experience. Heroes 3 did the same game, and was one of the most celebrated TBS-games ever. But subsequent versions of Heroes have failed at this, and with the new focus on merging the series with other game genres, I see the same fate coming for Heroes 6.
____________
What will happen now?

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | PP | Quote Reply | Link
Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted August 20, 2010 03:35 PM
Edited by Salamandre at 15:38, 20 Aug 2010.

Simply because Civilization series were released with easy modding tools, so every aspect in the game could be modified in no time. It took several years to the WoG team to release some very hard to understand modding tools, and by that time the game was already dead, and followed by even more difficult to mod sequels.

If you want a very popular game, give the players the tools to change it in any way they wish, otherwise it will fail in no time.

Firaxis learned from the fan mods and followed what they were trying to do. It even added in expansions fans mods as Kael "Fall of Heaven" and many others. This is a major boosting bonus, to know that if you work hard, the company may distribute your mod.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
CrimsonVenom
CrimsonVenom

Tavern Dweller
posted August 20, 2010 03:37 PM

As I said in another topic earlier today, some hang to things as if they were their own product. I can't understand the reasoning behind this fear for change. I do agree that some basic elements should be kept, but every game should be strikingly different from the previous. If too many elements are kept, and anything hardly changed at all, the series will eventually become repetitive, and finally end out being boring. Just like a story or movie, casting the same concept time and time again will eventually end up a waste everyone will lose interest in.
I see lots of opinions, most of which go about how H6 should be more like H3. Now, I see and agree on how some things were great in H3, but that's no reason to toss aside anything different. Heroes 3 is still there for you to play, if you enjoyed it that much, but things need constant change, in order to improve. Otherwise, it would just mean being stuck in one point forever, a point which, although possibly best yet, isn't flawless, either. Now, some might say making mistakes isn't an improvement, which is true, but mistakes are always made when striving for better, as well. In other words, if you want improvement, you have to risk making mistakes also.
____________

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Geny
Geny


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 20, 2010 03:44 PM

As usual I'm pretty much with alc on this one.
____________
DON'T BE A NOOB, JOIN A.D.V.E.N.T.U.R.E.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
alcibiades
alcibiades


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
of Gold Dragons
posted August 20, 2010 03:45 PM
Edited by alcibiades at 15:48, 20 Aug 2010.

Quote:
I do agree that some basic elements should be kept, but every game should be strikingly different from the previous. If too many elements are kept, and anything hardly changed at all, the series will eventually become repetitive, and finally end out being boring.

See, this is what you always hear, and this is where I'm starting to disagree. If you want an entirely new game, buy a new game. Fair enough.

What strikes me is that a game like Civilization is in fact not strikingly different with each new game, and yet here I am playing it and eagerly anticipating releasy of v. 5 like a child waiting for christmas - and this is 20 years past release of first chapter.

As a huge Heroes 3 (and 2) fan back in the days, I do belive Heroes 4 (certainly) and even 5 had been more succesfull if they had focused on keeping the things that actually worked and adding new features.






@Salamandre: Funny thing is, I never used any of the player mods for Civilization. But it's true, I know the later games also had huge succes because of easy moddability and even including fan-made mods in updates and expansions for the game.
____________
What will happen now?

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | PP | Quote Reply | Link
Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted August 20, 2010 04:01 PM

Of course you used them without knowing you do. The best features from CIV 3 fans mods are in CIV 4, and the best from CIV 4 fans mods will be in CIV5.

That's the way to promote a game, respect fans ideas and listen to them.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Cepheus
Cepheus


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Far-flung Keeper
posted August 20, 2010 04:08 PM
Edited by Cepheus at 16:13, 20 Aug 2010.

Well beyond what you already mentioned, there's a simple difference between these series in that Civilization has always been the product of Firaxis Games, who've always had enormous creative control over each instalment.

Ubisoft on the other hand tend to pride themselves on high production values, and frankly do often directly meddle with the projects they commission to ensure their vision is respected. They set up an entire MM team for this very purpose. Ironically, that team's poor relationship with Nival - and I don't know or care which side was to blame - cost H5 a lot of potential quality when one camp disagreed with the other over X issue.

Because NWC themselves already set a "bad" example by creating a hugely different game with maximum innovation (and H4 wasn't actually a failure critically nor did it sell badly), it's not possible to stay faithful to all their ideas, and going back to H3's formula would/could/should be construed as a regression. Firaxis can't regress because they're still using the same old Civ1 concepts and just tacking more stuff on every time. I don't think I can blame Black Hole/whoever for trying to reinvent some of the formulae, as long as they don't sacrifice what makes it Heroes. They likely think that it would be principally counterproductive to recreate Heroes III after being so conservative with H5, that there is no point in allowing the franchise to stagnate. Maybe it's also partly a case of "getting with the times" and making a quick and addictive game. H5 was pretty much neither of these things.

Heroes could definitely, definitely benefit from more official, intuitive modding tools though, and a flexible framework for mods. There's absolutely no question of that. Heroes III was very inflexibly coded, but had a huge blessing in the form of the WoG team, who tripled its longevity with all their crazy scripting and commanders and such. In contrast, Heroes V - equally inflexible - had nobody, and is simply festering in obscurity at this point.
____________
"Those who forget their history are inevitably doomed to repeat it." —Proverb, Might and Magic VIII

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
CrimsonVenom
CrimsonVenom

Tavern Dweller
posted August 20, 2010 04:16 PM

Quote:
See, this is what you always hear, and this is where I'm starting to disagree. If you want an entirely new game, buy a new game. Fair enough.


You're getting me wrong. My opinion is in fact, quite the same as yours, though you might tend to misunderstand. You shouldn't read through it in a rush and replay without considering what I meant twice. I'm not hoping for an entirely new game. As I said, I agree that the basic elements should be kept. What I can't agree with is people being pleased with just having an old game of the series re-made and settled at that. Had you not rushed your way through my opinion, you might have noticed that when I say "change", and "different" I mean improvement, not replacement. My point was that every new game of the series should stick with the previous, yet have the potential to spark a major surprise, as well. In short, my opinion is in agreement with yours.

I can't remember last time I needed explain myself this often. I just had like the same discussion with someone else on another topic, moments ago. Hopefully, I was clear enough this time.
____________

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Geny
Geny


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 20, 2010 04:18 PM

That someone was me.
It's just that your choice of words can sometimes give the wrong idea, like: "strikingly different".
____________
DON'T BE A NOOB, JOIN A.D.V.E.N.T.U.R.E.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
CrimsonVenom
CrimsonVenom

Tavern Dweller
posted August 20, 2010 04:22 PM

Quote:
That someone was me.
It's just that your choice of words can sometimes give the wrong idea, like: "strikingly different".


Yes, I thought that was it. I use too many words which people can give various meanings to.
____________

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Salamandre
Salamandre


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Wog refugee
posted August 20, 2010 04:25 PM

Quote:

Heroes could definitely, definitely benefit from more official, intuitive modding tools though, and a flexible framework for mods. There's absolutely no question of that. Heroes III was very inflexibly coded, but had a huge blessing in the form of the WoG team, who tripled its longevity with all their crazy scripting and commanders and such.


Not only Heroes in inflexible coded, but his modding community also is immature and inflexible. They refuse anything that is new, not "fitting" in original atmosphere or changing the mechanics, while such achievements are saluted in CiV modding community. After all, further you go in modding, more you can let away and find the right thing and please everyone.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
War-overlord
War-overlord


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
Presidente of Isla del Tropico
posted August 20, 2010 04:52 PM

Quote:
So is fan nostalgia just a proof that oldtimers are whiners that can't be pleased?


One word, YES. The whole thing about nostalgia is that it is an idialised idea. That's also why old people tend to say everything was better in the old days. No, it was not. But you enjoyed yourself back then and you're not enjoying yourself now. That's a crying shame, but don't bother other people with it.
Games in a way are better than actual history, because you can get those to work again. If you enjoyed a game in the past, good for you. Go play it again. But don't go playing curmudgeonly gramps when people do something new.

Now on to the actual topic. What makes a good sequel?

Well I agree with most here that a key element of a good sequel is to keep things that worked and change things that didn't.
But more important is to do something new that was in the line that was set earlier.
If you want a sequel to a good story, the story should continue where it left off or even later than that and give a decent summary of what happen in the meantime. Take the "The Dwarves" series by Markus Heitz, the first three books is set in a period of about 10-15 years. The fourth book takes place about 300 years after the third, but it gradually explained why the "Safe Land" was corrupted to it's current state. Heitz just about threw away everything the chars had achieved in the previous stories, killed off all but a handfull of his previous chars. He took just about everything the reader liked in the previous installment away and did the readers dislike him for it. Yes, some clingy ones did, but most loved it because the Hero got to do a new epic quest. And despite the tragic ending, many readers keep begging him for more books of the "Safe land". He's doing prequels now, from the view of the previous bad-guys, which is fascinating anew.
So a sequel should be in spirit of the previous story and it should explain and entertain the listener/reader.

Games are not that much different. A good sequel should take good and improve the bad. But if anything they should not hesitate to do thing that they think is best for the series. Yes, they will offend some clingy fans. But others will love them for it and they will make new fans to fill the old gaps.

But there is a way to placate even the most clingy, complaining, whiny trolls that claim to be fans.
Look at Lucas-Arts recent rereleases of Monkey Island 1 & 2. They have remade the entire games to fit the standards of nowadays. The games are still the exact same as they were, nothing was changed. There is even the option to play it in the original format. But the new version looks better, the music sounds better, the text got voice-acted. They improved the entire game, without cutting anything that made the original what it was.
I'm certain that Ubi could do the same with Heroes 3 and placate a lot of nostalgic fans.

But in the end, I say let the writers do what they think is best. And if you don't like it, that's too bad. If you like, hooray for you. But if you have an opinion, keep it to yourself unless people ask you for it. Most people don't care what you think and you most likely don't care what they think.
(P.S. this is a clear example of asking for my opinion)
____________
Iron from Ice.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Cepheus
Cepheus


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Far-flung Keeper
posted August 20, 2010 05:02 PM

Please, please don't bring Ben Croshaw into this again...
____________
"Those who forget their history are inevitably doomed to repeat it." —Proverb, Might and Magic VIII

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
War-overlord
War-overlord


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
Presidente of Isla del Tropico
posted August 20, 2010 05:07 PM
Edited by War-overlord at 17:08, 20 Aug 2010.

I'm not. I agree with him, but you're the one bringing him up.

I'm bringing Markus Heitz in, but not Ben Crosshaw. The fact that you don't like him, his methods or his opinions were duely noted previously. The fact is that I agree with him most of the time. As do I with TotalBiscuit.
____________
Iron from Ice.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Cepheus
Cepheus


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Far-flung Keeper
posted August 20, 2010 05:16 PM

Indeed. I do not have anything substantial against him, it was just a request in advance in case the "fans are universally {expletive, expletive, expletive, expletive} because Yahtzee said so" argument crops up again.
____________
"Those who forget their history are inevitably doomed to repeat it." —Proverb, Might and Magic VIII

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
War-overlord
War-overlord


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
Presidente of Isla del Tropico
posted August 20, 2010 05:29 PM

I never claimed that it is because he said so. I quote him often, I'll admit to that. But when I do, it is in a I agree with this statement and I could not have put it better myself.
That is also the reason I often quote stand-up comedians.

I do try to include arguments to reinforce the points I try to get across.
____________
Iron from Ice.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
alcibiades
alcibiades


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
of Gold Dragons
posted August 20, 2010 05:48 PM

Quote:
Quote:
So is fan nostalgia just a proof that oldtimers are whiners that can't be pleased?

One word, YES. The whole thing about nostalgia is that it is an idialised idea. That's also why old people tend to say everything was better in the old days. No, it was not. But you enjoyed yourself back then and you're not enjoying yourself now. That's a crying shame, but don't bother other people with it.
Games in a way are better than actual history, because you can get those to work again. If you enjoyed a game in the past, good for you. Go play it again. But don't go playing curmudgeonly gramps when people do something new.

What is your oppinion then, would it have been possible to make a (say) Heroes 4, that would both have satisfied the fangroup (as a large) and also have been innovative? Or did it have to be either/or?
____________
What will happen now?

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | PP | Quote Reply | Link
War-overlord
War-overlord


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
Presidente of Isla del Tropico
posted August 20, 2010 05:58 PM

Quote:
What is your oppinion then, would it have been possible to make a (say) Heroes 4, that would both have satisfied the fangroup (as a large) and also have been innovative? Or did it have to be either/or?



Yes, that would have been possible. It would never have satisfied the entire fanbase, but it would have been possible to have please the majority.
I'm not sure how though. I don't know what the major problems are, and what their cause is. I also don't know the reasoning behind the developers of Heroes IV. I know it was rushed, but that is all I know. Also it has been a long time since I played VI. But I remember that I greatly enjoyed the story of the campaign in the original.

Note one thing. It is never possible to please everyone. There will always be people who dislike things. One must aim to please but realise that there will always be impleasable people out there.
____________
Iron from Ice.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
alcibiades
alcibiades


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
of Gold Dragons
posted August 20, 2010 06:06 PM

Quote:
Note one thing. It is never possible to please everyone. There will always be people who dislike things. One must aim to please but realise that there will always be impleasable people out there.


Yes, I agree at that, it's never possible to satisfy everybody - case of point, there are still pepole who think Heroes 2 is better than Heroes 3. There are just not a lot of them.

About what went wrong with Heroes 4 ... I guess there are different camps. For me, lack of upgrades and incomprehensibly combat fields deffinitely killed the game for me. Butt-ugly town screens certainly didn't help on my general liking either. And the game was horribly balanced.

I think Heroes 5 (TotE, that is) would have been an almost perfect upgrade of Heroes 3 had it not been lagging so much on large maps and had some features to favor large map plays (like "real" Town Portal). It's a bit ironical that one of the major fails of H5 was on the technical performance.
____________
What will happen now?

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | PP | Quote Reply | Link
Dexter
Dexter


Known Hero
posted August 20, 2010 09:57 PM

Love the thread Alcibiades. That indeed is a troublesome point.

Of course it might seem that if you want to make a good sequel, than the best way is to take what was good in the previous games and get rid of the bad. Seems obvious doesn't it? Sadly it is not true. Because to start with you have to decide what was good and what wasn't.

Of course most people would simply say, that it's about what the majority of fans consider to be good or bad. But what is a majority of fans? Who is allowed to present his opinion and influence the game to such an extent? What about new fans, who have no idea about the past games? Can they decide? The truth is that everyone has their own vision of a game's future. Everybody wants it to fulfill their own desires.

Thus somebody has to decide. Somebody has to come in and say what direction the game is going to proceed. The publisher has to create a product that will best suit the tastes of the already established community, as well as attract new players into it. The producers' vision becomes the vision of the developer. First it was Fabrice, who knew pretty well what he wants in Heroes V, now it's Erwan who sets the scene for Heroes VI. They make tough decisions, but I do think they're doing their best. They leave behind things they think they can improve (or which they think have been broken earlier), keeping those that are considered to be crucial.

But no matter how hard they try, some people will never be happy. Whatever you come up with they'll consider it to be a bad decision. What those people forget is that nobody forces them to buy the game. Nobody takes the previous versions away from them. There have been five installments of the game already, so there are a lot to pick from.

But it you really do want to change something, than be constructive. Why is it that you consider something to be a bad idea? Why is your idea better? The fact that something works isn't the key to success. A candle works perfectly. Indeed it does, but you do use a light bulb don't you?

Whether you like it or not the game is going to evolve. If the majority of people thinks that it's going in the wrong way, than most probably they're going to turn back. But if they don't try to put forward some new ideas and concepts, than sooner or later, the title is going to fade away.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Jump To: « Prev Thread . . . Next Thread » This thread is 3 pages long: 1 2 3 · NEXT»
Post New Poll    Post New Topic    Post New Reply

Page compiled in 0.0720 seconds