Chavo Chastises: Franchising and FNAF

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by chavosaur, Aug 6, 2015.

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Are you sick of the same yearly releases?

  1. Yes

    41.7%
  2. No

    11.1%
  3. I don't play every single one

    36.1%
  4. I haven't tried any of the yearly released games

    11.1%
  1. chavosaur
    OP

    chavosaur Austin Trujillo

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    As gamers, we like to dedicate ourselves to our hobby. We are passionate and enthralled by the world of video games. We have so much to play with, so much to see and do, it’s a wonder how some of us can play it all. In fact, not all of us play every game on the market. I mean, who could with the sheer amount of games that exist on the multitude of gaming platforms?

    This is where we begin to see our decisions and taste take us to games we are familiar with, have comfort in, and can love and enjoy countless times over. Some of us turn to Mario for his lovely jumps and spins, while others find satisfaction in blowing up their enemies in a match of Call of Duty.

    So why set this scene for everyone? Why am I telling you a story based on why and how we play games? What exactly is the point?

    Well you see, we face a very strange and heated community in gaming now. A community of gamers that raise their fists into the air and decry the existence of… other games? Maybe we should break this down a bit.

    As of recent times in gaming, we have begun to see a trend of yearly title releases. Big name franchises such as the multiplayer smash hit Call of Duty, the adventurous Assassin’s Creed, and other smaller names. Each game sells by the millions, each year they top the best sellers list, and each year they are attacked and abhorred by gamers for their existence.
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    What is it about these titles that manage to stir this kind of reaction? Surely we as gamers, shouldn’t be so ready and willing to bash on games just for the sake of existing? They’re games aren’t they?

    This is where we begin our breakdown of franchising in the video game world. And I’d like to start, by throwing the book at one of the biggest targets of the internet hate train yet. A franchise that has grown so quickly, released so suddenly, and put a lot of views in game theory’s pocket.


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    Five Nights at Freddy’s.​

    Scott Cawthon’s horror title FNAF, released last year to a wealth of popularity. Whether it was based on Markiplier wetting his pants for everyone to see, the “lore” left throughout the title for players for to find, or the gameplay itself, one thing was for sure. FNAF was a hit.

    Utilizing simple mechanics of camera monitoring, psychological buildup, and some pretty cheap jump-scares, FNAF was a simple and cheap title that plenty of people got their kicks out of.

    So it shouldn’t have come a surprise to many when FNAF2 was released. Albeit it was a relatively quick release, FNAF2 added a little bit of extra content, some more scares and tacked on a little more lore for the fans to go crazy over.

    But FNAF2 also came with a wave of tension for the gaming community. The release window was short, the gameplay was barely changed, and it seemed just a little too soon for a new game to have already been released. After all, the gap was only a 3 month period between games.

    And while the price point was only a cheap $7.99 at launch, it didn’t stop the raising of heads at the rapid release. Needless to say, FNAF2 was still successful and the fandom was happy as well.

    Then, fast forward a couple months and the teaser for FNAF3 came about. I don’t think anyone would have really doubted a trilogy, but this time around, the internet collectively rolled its eyes and let out a sigh. Another one already? So soon?

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    At this point, we can guess where the rest of this is going. Surprise early releases of the 3rd and 4th titles, a happy fandom, and a happy Cawthon. But the gaming community grew more and more frustrated with every subsequent release. Cawthon’s work was thrown into the limelight as an over milked franchise that refused to innovate, banked on cheap horror, and was chasing a spotlight he didn’t know how long would last.

    I found the whole FNAF controversy to be incredibly interesting. On the one hand, we have the developer that could just be pursuing his passion of making horror games, and giving his dedicated fanbase what they want. They’ve all been enthralled with each release, chasing after all the tiny Easter eggs he loves to toss about, and they eat up every release like its scream-inducing candy.

    But on the other hand, from the outside looking in, we see a franchise that has barely changed since its initial release. We see games that look and play almost identically to the original, with maybe a couple innovations here and there to give the illusion of freshness.

    The parallel can be drawn with the franchises I mentioned earlier as well. Call of Duty especially is lambasted as being the same game outfitted in a new $60 package every year. Slight modifications to mechanics, slight changes to graphics, slight alterations in weapons and maybe one or two new combat choices, and we have ourselves a Call of Duty game.

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    And the community goes bonkers for it. We have the dedicated fans that pick up every release at launch, and we have the polar opposite side that has refused to pick it up since they played the first one on PS2.

    So now we reach the big question. Is it wrong for developers to release less than moderately innovated games, for the sake of having content to sell? Here’s my take on the double-edged sword.

    On the one hand, we can throw out the age old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We see this with a lot of big name franchises. The formula and changes to the Super Mario series are minimal at best, but it works. It continues to offer fun gameplay that people can enjoy, without the risk of creating something people don’t like. On the other hand, we reach fatigue and exasperation quickly. We see the interest rate die down and the success rate begins to falter.

    The other risk is the developers pushing the time limit so hard, they release projects that are nearly unfinished. We all not-so-fondly recall the catastrophe that was Assassins Creed Unity. A game riddled with game breaking glitches, unfinished textures, and numerous other problems.

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    This newer trend of quick and speedy releases has begun to plague the modern generation of games to the point of releasing broken content with a note on it that says, “Will fix when back from lunch, be back in 2 weeks.”

    And it isn’t just the broken development that causes issues. Cawthon’s methodology of rapid releases at the expense of innovation is also beginning to do more harm than good. Taking a look at games offered on Steam, we can see titles that have little to no work put into them, all looking to bank on a simple gimmick as quickly, and ineffectively as possible.

    A good friend pointed out to me, that the standard is being set that speed and repetition is beginning to take over good development and solid gameplay. That isn’t to say that the initial FNAF game was a bad game. And even the subsequent games are not terrible for what they are. They’re games that people enjoy. No game should be attacked for its existence alone. Call of Duty and Assassins Creed are examples of good franchises that had bad apples along the way. It’s the issue of putting a release date, and a price tag over good development that is harming this industry.

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    The industry continues to change on a day by day basis. The blunders of Unity were not forgotten, nor were they ignored by the company that produces it. Ubisoft has promised that Syndicate has been carefully developed over several years and that it promises to be a great and full experience.

    So what can we really hope for? We can hope that people will take a look at these issues and continue to change based on the problems. After 2014’s buggiest gaming holiday of all time, I’d like to think developers have realized they need to begin putting the development over the release window. We’ve started to notice many games getting their release dates pushed back, and as upsetting as that may be, we can at least hope all of that time is being put into extra development and resources.

    And who knows? Maybe even Mr. Cawthon will soon realize if he hopes to stay in the business longer, he’ll have to continue to adapt and take risks if he wants to stick around. The fanbase can only keep the hype going so long after all, and when even Pewdiepie loses his enthusiasm, you know you’re due for some changes.
     
  2. XrosBlader821

    XrosBlader821 Digimon Tamer

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    I find this hate based on sole existence to be stupid anyway.
    As long as the game is good I don't really care about them franchising it. They just have to be careful not to burn out their fans by innovating too little and not to deliver shite like with Unity.
    But it would also be nice if AAA's lost their mindset of "If it can't be made a franchise we wont fund it". Sony atleast seems to undestand it.
     
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  3. LittleFlame

    LittleFlame Thinks he's better than all of you

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    People want the game and the devolpers give it to them
    not worth whining about because you don't like it
     
  4. vayanui8

    vayanui8 GBAtemp Maniac

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    I don't personally like fnaf, but I don't think its the games themselves that are the big problem. Its the fanbase and Cawthon's inability to stick to a release date. The fanbase as a whole is one of the worst around, bringing it everywhere and creating furry porn. Another large fraction of the fanbase are autistic 12 year olds who force it down everyone's throats. While this may not be all of the fans, its enough that it really starts to piss people off. Cawthon's release schedule also gives it a bad wrap. Whether the games come out unpolished or not, the releases coming months ahead of schedule certainly gives off the illusion they are. I would much rather see Cawthon take the extra time he seems to have between releases and add additional content to his games. He could charge more for it but at least then it wouldn't look so much like a blatant franchise milking. As for the yearly releases I think people exaggerate the issue from time to time. The only time I have an issue is when the games are unpolished, which is a serious issue with the assassins creed games. I think 2 years is a much healthier release schedule but once a year can be fine. IMHO games shouldn't drastically change their mechanics between releases, that's for new franchises. The fundamentals should remain the same with each release with new features and options.
     
  5. XrosBlader821

    XrosBlader821 Digimon Tamer

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    I doubt Assasins Creed games are being developed in 1 year cycles. I mean we basically knew where AC Syndicate would take place a few weeks after the Unity release date and these leaked screenshots looked polished.
    It's probably a similar scenario like with CoD where there are different teams working on difirent CoD games that release one after another. CoD games actually have a 3 Year dev. cycle now because of it. I wouldn't be surprised if Ubisoft does the same with at least 2 dev teams for AC.
     
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  6. TecXero

    TecXero Technovert

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    I'm not into FNAF. The novelty of the first one was interesting but the sequels never really caught my attention. That said, from what I have seen of them, it did seem like he changed up the gameplay to a surprising degree, for the short period of time.

    As for annual franchises, there isn't a single one I like, but I don't really find them offensive. I simply don't care. I don't really interact with people that consistently enjoy CoD or AC (I don't avoid them, just they aren't really in my circle of friends), so they don't annoy me with them. As long as there are games that I enjoy that are being made (which are covered nicely by Indies and AA), I'm happy.
     
  7. vayanui8

    vayanui8 GBAtemp Maniac

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    They may have longer development time but with AC getting multiple releases last year they clearly didn't divide the work load properly. When they have multiple dev teams it seems that some of them don't care nearly as much about the product, hence the issues with Unity
     
  8. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Honk!

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    I have more problems with people who bitch about the yearly releases than I do with the releases themselves.

    I don't care if Caww o' Doody or Butterfold or Fifty Nights At Ur Mums House or whatever gets released at a sort of frequent pace, as long as they're well made (and, for the most part, they are with a few exceptions like AC:U and such) and it keeps the fans happy, I don't care. The day developers start shitting the same game out every month is the day I'll be worried. Until then, meh.

    As for FNAF, the games are whatever. Personally, I don't see any appeal in them beyond the first game, but I can sort of understand why people enjoy them, especially when you read up on the "lore" and backstory of the games (or, at least, people's interpretations of the lore). While I'd rather the developer didn't go and release 4 games in the span of a single year, they're at least produced with a touch of "care" and "love" and all that junk.
     
  9. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

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    I have a tendency to feel a little disdain for the game franchises that are released yearly, but I think the biggest part of that is jealousy. I don't like shooters (unless they're RPG hybrids) and I'm not a fan of whatever Assassin's Creed is, so I look at those several games and think to myself "Why can't there be a yearly release of Dragon Quest?" If there were yearly releases of game franchises, series, and/or genres that I like, I imagine I'd have a much different viewpoint.
     
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  10. FrozenIndignation

    FrozenIndignation Tyrant R. of ye olde Prinny Squad

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    Snubbing games seems somewhat elitist, albeit, I say that with a caveat of ignoring most ubisoft and activision releases.

    In terms of FNAF, however, I loathingly contest:
    To say little of aesthetics (animatronics have minor changes through the games, and environments differ) in terms of gameplay, however, this is somewhat incorrect.

    First game focused on following a set pattern, camera was an idea that was poorly executed as it was effectively useless beyond dealing with foxy (the tenacity of which was RNG based), but ultimately, surviving a night had a perverse drawback of being somewhat luck reliant end game.
    Second game added variety by adding more animatronics and that promoted a little more vigilance, and camera was still poorly executed (no puppet man, thas illegal) surviving a night became slightly less luck based and instead relied on reactions.
    Third game changed gameplay from reacting to things in front of you, to managing the cameras (FINALLY HAD A NON SHALLOW PURPOSE) and made survival require strategy.
    Fourth game (IHY btw) made gameplay focus on sound (unlike the other 3 games where you could lower/turn off sound to decrease the now tired jump scares, debatably needed for the third game) and also made the game less about reaction and forced a certain level of attention.

    Essentially, I could summarize main gameplay focus as:
    1: Learn the pattern
    2: React
    3: Strategize
    4: Stay calm and listen
    While I could certainly see the argument that it's the same old thing retooled, same characters, same screams, same basic premise of "you're in a room, do stuff to not die", the means of achieving that goal has changed between games. I might even concur that the difference between 1 and 2 was not all too drastic.

    Although this does bring up an curious question, however: What makes a game the same rehash and what is the standard for what's considered innovation?
    I should think that the flipside of being an indie developer, Cawthon has played around with the mechanics to a notable degree between the games.
    To propose another question however: would FNAF be as well known if the spacing of the game releases was greater (with potentially greater polish), or would it simply slip into being a cult classic? Actually, at this point, is there any indie game series that's anywhere near as prolific?

    To conclude this clunky wall of text: The time frame itself is pointless without the relativity behind it, example: look at telltale games, a new episode releases periodically several times in a year.
    Those do not innovate between eps.
    But we play the next episode because we thirst to know what happens next, or because we have an appetite for such and such gameplay.
    Conversely, take to the likes of "Duke Nukem Forever", a game stuck in development hell eventually released with no innovation to speak of.
     
  11. Bimmel

    Bimmel ~ Game Soundtrack Collector ~

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    Dragon Quest? You mean the franchise with over 10 titles? At least there are games.

    I could understand franchises that have 1 or 2 games.
     
  12. XrosBlader821

    XrosBlader821 Digimon Tamer

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    Well, the last mainline DQ game we got was 5 years ago. Square doesn't bother to localize the 3DS remakes.
     
  13. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

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    Fine, Xenosaga, whatever. Sure, Dragon Quest has tons of games under its franchise's belt, but like Xros said, we haven't received a DQ game in the west in a while.
     
  14. anhminh

    anhminh Pirate since 2010

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    I don't think the sequel is the problem. After all FNAF is indie game, it's cheap and easy to make so compare to those triple A series, the time for each of its sequel is justified.

    Indie developer do this all the time, it not the first time you see another Angry Bird game, or an other Cut the Rope. They do nothing except add more level and sell them like new game.

    But FNAF is different, it's different because it actually good, and they start compare it with big name franchise. And when other who doesn't play the game look at it, they will ask how the game making that fast can be good while those triple A game take much more time is terrible. Then they blaming developer because he make a bad example, they affair that in a near future, Pokemon game will release monthly, and Call of Duty will make a new game every week. But they don't realize those triple A game take much more time to make, so even though they make it yearly, they are still milking it the same rate FNAF does.
     
  15. LittleFlame

    LittleFlame Thinks he's better than all of you

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    Isn't Angry birds a really big title nowadays?
    also Fnaf isn't really that different to angry birds with its constant sequels
    oh and btw
    that's pure opinion
     
  16. loco365

    loco365 GBAtemp Guru

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    I'm so glad we think alike. It almost feels the same way for me with Halo as well, where it's just slight changes and they call it a new game. You could also argue it for Pokémon, but it's geared generally towards a younger audience anyway so the formula has to be kept simple, whereas Assassin's Creed and Halo and CoD are geared towards more mature people, who don't necessarily want a rinse-and-repeat type game.
     
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