Articles, Blog

Game Design Rebrands – New Core Mechanics vs. Fan Expectations ~ Design Doc


Today’s episode is sponsored by Privacy.com Privacy.com lets you make online purchases
using virtual credit cards, which helps keep your real identity and bank info safe. Congratulations! You’ve just been put in charge of a long-running
franchise. The series is yours, but it comes tied to
both a blessing and a terrible curse: Expectations. The series has a built-in legion of fans ready
for the next installment, but they also expect things to be a certain way. Fans want someone to push the thing they love
to new heights, but they also expect something familiar. They want to return to a place they have loved
before. A game series comes packaged with lots of
expectations – its characters, settings and themes. Its tone, gameplay, and aesthetics. Even down to the creative staff in charge
of making the game will all mix together to create a game’s brand identity. A new game in a series needs to do two things:
First, it needs to add something unique to make it stand out from the other entries. Unless you’re reviving a long-dormant series,
no one celebrates a rehash. But being too experimental is risky too, because
secondly, the new game needs to fit smoothly into the old brand identity. If a game breaks from its brand identity too
much it can alienate its established audience who expected something more familiar. If you take the risk and find something fantastic
it could breathe new life into a series. If the new path isn’t a hit though, it could
cost you your biggest fans, which might leave you with nothing. It’s a minor miracle that any game pulls off
this balancing act, but not all of them do. Let’s dive into three games that took some
big chances. Two that didn’t hit the mark, and one of
them that worked out great, but all three show how much you have to balance for a new
game to meet fans’ expectations. If you’re making a new game in a franchise,
you have to take stock of what you’re working with. What does the franchise do right? What are returning players expecting when
they come back for a sequel? Let’s take, oh I don’t know… Banjo-Kazooie as an example. Banjo-Kazooie is a titan in the 3D platforming
space. It’s about exploration, collecting items,
unlocking lots of new moves to solve puzzles, colorful worlds, light hearted characters,
and a goofy British sense of humor that breaks the 4th wall. Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie both checked
all those boxes. Then, after a long Microsoft induced hiatus
came Rare’s third main entry into the franchise: Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts. Nuts and Bolts was actually the third attempt
at a 3rd entry for the series. The first was a reimagined remake of the first
game. The structure and levels would be very similar,
but with some remixed elements and new challenges. It was scrapped over worries that it would
look too much like a simple graphical update of the older games. The second attempt was still a platformer,
but you raced against the series’ antagonist Gruntilda to complete challenges and find
collectibles. The complexity of designing Gruntilda’s AI
made the game far too difficult to make, so Rare scrapped that idea too. Instead, Rare started looking at how you moved
in a 3D platformer. Over time that idea developed into the game’s
final design. Players would complete missions by building
and piloting custom vehicles. They took an enormous risk with the core gameplay,
something so fundamental to the first game, and changed it to something so fundamentally
different. It tries to appeal to a new audience that
loves building and creative problem solving, but also tries to keep the old audience who
never signed up for that style. The two target audiences don’t really overlap. They definitely tried to appeal to the old
fans. They filled the game with plays on nostalgia
and series traditions. The cast is mostly unchanged. The goofy self-aware British humor is the
same. The general collect-a-thon progression structure
is fundamentally intact. The game’s marquee level is ‘Banjo Land’
– a literal museum full of loving callbacks and iconic memorabilia from the series’ history. Nuts and Bolts’ design is still very much
influenced by its predecessors. The contradicting goals in which audience
to appeal to seems to weigh down on the writing, too. The game praises the series past with Banjo
Land, but jokes about how archaic the old collect-a-thon formula was. And then it’s still a collect-a-thon. The script is chock full of very self-referential
humor, bordering on navel-gazing. One of the new main characters is a video
game designer called the Lord of Games who claims to have created every video game ever
made. The worlds that Banjo and Kazooie travel in
are essentially test builds of the other games he’s created. It feels like a public rehash of the game’s
rocky development cycle. Keep in mind, Nuts and Bolts isn’t even a
bad game! It’d be so much easier to blame poor sales
if the game didn’t work on its own merits, but it did! The creation tools let you approach missions
creatively, and it’s just as satisfying as the best parts of games like Scribblenauts
and Minecraft. But the game isn’t without its flaws. The ranking system encourages first-order
optimal strategies instead of creative solutions, again kind of like Scribblenauts. The physics engine has some mid-2000s jank. Objects are a bit too light and vehicles can
flip over too easily. Aaand the framerate is hot garbage. Nuts and Bolts is a fun game, while not perfect,
but it can’t shake its own past that its fanbase demanded, but couldn’t live up to. After the release of Nuts and Bolts, the Banjo-Kazooie
franchise entered a deadly whirlpool. The new direction alienated old fans. It didn’t sell all that well and couldn’t
attract many new fans. The hype that you get for free when you revive
any beloved franchise was spent and will be very difficult to kickstart, and with each
passing year the original series design seems more and more dated. The failure of Nuts and Bolts made the idea
of yet another new Banjo-Kazooie game very difficult to sell and unappealing to the publishers
who would fund it. The release of one clunker experimental version
of a game made it that much harder for the series to be revived. Nuts and Bolts isn’t bad at what it does, but it was still a boat anchor on the Banjo-Kazooie franchise because of the game’s mismatch with fan’s expectations. Nuts and Bolts is the story of a series revival
gone wrong, but that’s far from the only way games can disappoint on expectations. I want to talk about something much more unusual. What if your game changed its own genre halfway
through? Double Fine’s Brutal Legend is bizarre. Not terrible, but very bizarre. So looking at this what kind of game do you
think this is? Action game? Beat ‘Em Up? Open World? Well you’re kinda right. Brutal Legend was sold as an action adventure
set in a fantastic open world love letter to Heavy Metal. The first few missions deliver on that promise,
playing like an open world hack and slash with some Zelda like exploration. But in the middle of it all BAM! It turns into a console RTS! According to Tim Schafer, Brutal Legend was
designed as a heavy metal themed RTS first, and its more actiony elements added in as
development progressed. There was very little in the game’s marketing that even hinted
at this. A large reason for the bait and switch was
due to some troubles with Brutal Legend’s various publishers. Brutal Legend was originally published by
Vivendi, before their merger with Activision. Vivendi didn’t even want to mention the
phrase ‘RTS’ in any of the marketing. Instead they used using phrases like ‘action
strategy elements’ Tim Schafer: “When we were with Vivendi, they were like ‘You’re not going to say RTS’. and I was like ‘What if someone says Is It An RTS in an interview?’ and they were like ‘You’re going to say no, it’s not’.” They thought the genre was too niche. After Vivendi merged with Activision, they
dropped the project as publisher in 2008. the publishing rights were picked up by EA
in the winter of that year. EA wasn’t against mentioning the RTS aspect
but it was still very much downplayed in the game’s lead up to release. After the first few missions, Brutal Legend’s
true core gameplay is a fusion of hack and slash action and RTS. Like other RTS games you build different units
and capture towers, which let you gather more resources and build more units. Double Fine let you control a character yourself
during team fights, where the battle played out more like a traditional action game. But these two styles never quite mesh together. You’re vulnerable when you’re on the ground
and die super fast. It’s generally better to stay in the air
and let your units do all the work. It’s a console RTS, and as I mentioned in
the Pikmin segment of the fifth Good Design Bad Design, console RTS’s are
notoriously difficult to control. Brutal Legend is no exception and as a result
your easiest and most effective strategy boils down to ‘gather all your units and charge
headfirst into each major structure until you win’. The merging of the genres don’t add up to
more than the sum of their parts, and each part is lackluster on its own compared to
its RTS and action contemporaries. It left Brutal Legend with a hollow core beneath
a clever and cohesive heavy metal setting and theme. It’s not great gameplay, but the marketing
did the perception of the game no favors. Omitting the RTS half of the game in its marketing
campaign is extremely dangerous for a game’s public perception. the game was being sold to players that were
looking specifically for a combat heavy, action based open world game with heavy metal themes. To switch to an unrelated genre after somehow
delivering on the marketing promise for the first few hours is a blatant bait-and-switch. Brutal Legend suffers most from the identity
crisis between what Double Fine had designed vs what their publishers try to sell. Even if the game wasn’t communicated properly
to its audience, it still could have still won them over with a compelling gameplay core. But, the mish-mash of RTS and action concepts
aren’t good enough to make that come true. Without an audience to cater to, and without
the word-of-mouth buzz that a better playing game might have garnered, Brutal Legend managed
to take an over-the-top premise, all the right cameos, and a good performance by Jack Black
and turn it into a forgettable flop. It’s pretty tough to sell a big change in
a series. Nuts and Bolts tried to wrap their changes
in nostalgia, it didn’t work. Brutal Legend tried to hide theirs. Still didn’t work. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It is possible to turn a series shake-up into
a welcome change of pace. The easiest way is to clearly mark the new
game as a spinoff series, like Luigi’s Mansion, Final Fantasy Tactics, or Persona. It’s the opposite of the hide-and-no-one-will-notice
strategy of Brutal Legend. For fans who are willing to be adventurous,
it’s a clear signal about the change of pace. For fans who aren’t interested, the rebrand
still makes clear that the main series they know and love will be back soon. As a bonus, if the new game gains traction,
it can become a major series all its own. But relying on spinoff series doesn’t do
much for a mainline series that could use a renovation. Before you can remodel, you have to know a
series’ structure inside and out. Why did people fall in love with the series
in the first place? What idea is the series built around? And not just the superficial elements, you
have to dig deep. That’s what Banjo Kazooie messed up – they
stuck the superficial similarities on a completely altered core. Without understanding those fundamentals,
it’s difficult to reconstruct the feeling of a game from scratch. For Mario, its core is not stars or Koji Kondo’s
soundtrack and Bowser kidnapping Peach. It’s platforming and colorful obstacle courses. For Final Fantasy, it’s core is dramatic
storytelling in a strange world with progressive RPG combat mechanics. Resident Evil is tension, horror and scarcity. For Zelda, its fundamental core is about adventure
and exploration. Zelda has kept its series trappings around
for so long it can be tough to separate them from the series’ core. Items like the hookshot and boomerang, the
master sword, dungeons, a linear structure. These are things that aesthetically identify
the game as Zelda but aren’t the core of the series’ gameplay. In fact, you can probably think of a few games
that stray away from this formula. They still feel like Zelda because these elements
aren’t part of the essential core. They’re the paintings on the walls. They’re pretty, they round out the experience,
but they are not the walls themselves. There’s one Zelda game that, from the start,
sets out to strip down and change lots of the series’ trappings in order to emphasize
Zelda’s essential core. Breath of the Wild. When Nintendo released Skyward Sword in 2011,
fan fatigue was setting in. The established Zelda formula was starting
to get a little stale. Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi
said that from the beginning of development, they set out to ‘break the conventions of
the Zelda series.’ They took the linear dungeon-hopping structure
and turned it into a totally free-form one, where you can fight the final boss whenever
you’d like. The world design itself went from a series
of isolated sandboxes to a cohesive and sprawling open world with few limitations. Breakable weapons prevented players from getting
too comfortable with any one weapon set. The classic Zelda dungeon items you’d usually
unlock slowly throughout the game are all now available very early on. Puzzles that have one specific, pre-determined
solution give way to a clockwork world, where systemic gameplay mechanics let you approach
problems from creative angles. You can see the developers building off of
the series’ previous ideas, too. Wind Waker’s Great Sea enticed exploration
with islands in the distance acting as visual breadcrumbs, and Breath of the Wild did way
more of that. A Link Between Worlds had a non-linear dungeon
structure, where you could tackle them in any order, which Breath of the Wild amps up
with its Divine Beasts and shrines scattered throughout the world. But most importantly, Breath of the Wild goes
back to its original, most basic design. A game without many hints, without much direction,
that drops you in a world and expects you to find your own way. Everything is built around discovery of both
the world itself and the mechanics. Even through all of Breath of the Wild’s structural
changes, it still stays true to the foundation, the very core of the Zelda experience: adventure
and exploration. The free-form design is maybe the purest conduit
for player-directed exploration and discovery that the series has ever had. The clockwork world lets your adventure in
Hyrule play out as uniquely your own, guided by your mind and your hand. That’s why Breath of the Wild was so much
more successful as a series reboot. Nuts and Bolts put series trappings on a new,
but shakier foundation. Breath of the Wild brought out its foundation’s
best features. Know what else needs a reboot? Your credit card info if your number gets
stolen. Privacy.com can help keep that from happening
when you shop online. They let you pay and transfer money online
with a virtual credit card number that you can lock to one merchant. If a hacker tried to use that number at another
store, you’d get an instant notification and can cancel the card immediately. And there’s a browser extension that makes
it super easy to use! Head to privacy.com/designdoc and sign up
for an account. As a special offer for Design Doc viewers,
new customers will automatically get $5 to spend on their first purchase, for a limited
time only. Yep, that’s free money! Go to privacy.com/designdoc and sign up now! *chill vibes outro from Breath of the Wild*

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

100 thoughts on “Game Design Rebrands – New Core Mechanics vs. Fan Expectations ~ Design Doc

  1. I know this is not a popular opinion but breathe of the wild was a little disappointing to me, I missed dungeons, I missed a story that got me to care, breathe of the wild only had flash back and I feel like I was just doing a check list, 120 shrines, 4 dungeons, I was not really feeling it but it’s starting to grow on me, I’m just hoping breathe of the wild 2 will give me back my forest dungeon, fire, water etc

  2. I'm a bit disappointed that persona 3 features so prominently in this videos visuals, but there's basically no mention of how it rebranded the persona series

  3. Lovely work as always man, (though I feel like the Brutal Legend example kind of stretches the premise), but I really think this topic needs more discussion too.

    I think there's great insight to be had in asking how different sequels and spinoffs fared in changing core mechanics and why. Persona 3 in particular integrating dating-sim mechanics, and did alienate old-school SMT fans. But it's viewed successfully because it drew in more people than it lost. There are less and less of these people now, but there used to be quite the contingent who insisted that Persona was ruining SMT and identified as old school fans.

    You also identify Ace Combat Assault Horizon, which tries to do the same by simplifying its combat and adding a more generic story, and this had a sort of middling effect, alienating fans and attracting more attention than normal, but only marginally, to the point where no one talks about it and Bamco won't even release its soundtrack.

    And yet you can't not change – the recent Paradox game Imperator Rome received tremendous backlash for what was seen as a rehash of mechanics from older games.

    I think there are more videos to be made on this topic investigating where the balance is found between new mechanics and old, and how series evolve without losing their fanbase. Very much hope you'll be talking about that in the future!

  4. I want open world dungeons in Breath of the Wild 2. I want them to make places like Hyrule Castle, give us dungeons that are huge and sprawling like a mini open world.

    Give us special items from these dungeons like before but make it so most of the dungeon can be traversed with what you enter it with and the item allows you to fight the boss and find secrets and attempt the difficult challenges.
    Give us hints of lore in these dungeons with environmental story telling, maybe a room like Willy's room from The Goonies where you have a bunch of dead people around a table with treasure, making you wonder what happened but also give us actual writing in places that give us some more concrete lore.

    That's the marrying of old and new I'd love to see from the next game.

  5. Great idea for a video! Nice work with the Yooka-Kickstart joke insert 😉
    Brutal Legend was unfortunate. The action adventure, with crazy metal themes, a great soundtrack, and Jack Black voicing it should have been an instant classic! The story is solid, and the game is short enough to still give a chance. But it started to drag on at the end playing through the clunky RTS elements.

    Your argument on game cores vs superficial elements is great! And succinctly gets at why I really hate Nuts and Bolts.
    There is a lot of potential to explore this video concept further.
    A series like Diablo could be an interesting case study. It was a very different team that made the 3rd game. And while the game eventually became better than it was at it's release, it still lost a lot of what people loved from the first 2 games

  6. I know you didn't really have time to get into it, but Persona 3 is a really interesting example. Since the og Persona was like you said in the video, a clearly marked sub-series that tried something different, and then when Persona 3 came out it – was itself ALSO tweaked and changed from the earlier Persona games while keeping some of that same core gameplay.

  7. Breath of the wild was a great reboot.. but ultimately, it works only as foundation for what can be a truly great game.
    It lacks too much and it's quite barren of many elements that are necessary for an unforgettable experience.

  8. "No one celebrates a rehash."

    Excuse me? The 2D Mario games have been nothing more than level packs for Super Mario Bros. 3 for over 3 decades now and still outsell almost every other game on name recognition alone. Same with almost every sports series, Omega Force's entire catalogue, and every open world Ubisoft game (which BotW also falls under bizarrely). People don't want change, they want to get the same thing every time. That's the worst thing about gaming honestly. Series become so stale because everyone dreads change until they are absolutely forced into it.

  9. As someone who played Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts but not the other games in the series, I will say that it was a good game, but I can understand why people got pissed off at the games' new mechanics. Especially as I'd been through a similar situation myself with Crash Bandicoot: Twinsanity.

    Also, I wasn't expecting to see Ace Combat: Assault Horizon in the intro montage, so that was a nice surprise. I can understand why it was there, though.

    I am kind of surprised that there was no mention of Command & Conquer: Renegade, though. One of the first instances I can remember of an established franchise going in a completely new direction gameplay-wise, and one of the better received ones at that.

  10. BotW was successful because nintedo fans are blind sheep who will buy any crappy game, like BotW, because nintedo tells them too. Nuts and Bolts failed because the xbox install base has little to no loyalty to microsoft and weren't going to buy a game just because microsoft wanted them too. It has nothing to do with their respective executions.

  11. I still hope we get some good entries to zelda that follow the old formula. BotW makes me glad that they can successfully do something different, though

  12. Of course the example of "straying too far from the brand identity and alienating the fanbase" is DmC: Devil May Cry, because how could it be anything else?

  13. I enjoyed the first few missions of Brutal Legend, but when everything turned into an RTS, not really :(. Is not just the genre switch what bothered me, is that even as an RTS in is not good.
    Maybe a concept like that could have worked better with MOBA mechanics rather than RTS.

  14. This is why kh re:chain of memories works despite turning a hack and slash into an arithmetic card game, but dream drop distance and birth by sleep suck because they take a hack and slash and turn it into a shittier hack and slash

  15. Majora's Mask does have dungeons and a mostly linear structure
    BotW also has the same amount of dungeons, they're just comparatively very bad, as the bulk of the game's content is a sea of repetitive and samey side stuff that also pales in comparison to MM's

  16. In all fairness, almost all Zelda games are reboots of the Zelda franchise (with the exception being direct sequels such as Majora's Mask or A Link Between Worlds.)

  17. Nuts and Bolts is SO goddamn boring, it's missions never seemed to ask anything creative of you so the only encouragement to be so was your own interest in….grid based vehicle customization. Riveting.

  18. Nuts and Bolts mocking the collect-a-thon mechanics as archaic in the first 5 minutes did nothing to help its first impressions. Seemed extremely tone deaf

  19. I know some people say B&K: Nuts and Bolts would be fine if it wasn’t a Banjo game, but I really disagree. Even on its own it’s just not a good game.

  20. I get salty when people say that BOTW is not a Zelda game, because for me… Breath of the Wild is THE ZELDA GAME. It tells you what a Zelda game is, is not about catchy music and item progretion. Its about adventure, mystery, and so much other things that people don't understand because they keep watching the superficial stuff like "classic dungeouns".

  21. I think it is important to mention that even Breath of the Wild with it's success down the line with changing the Zelda formula met with great criticism initially with some of the changes particularly the weapon durability feature. Although this feature was built in and implemented well into the game and worked with the other parts to help produce a great overall experience changing things that fans love is still a fine line to walk. Keep the formula the same and people get bored and complain about lack of innovation and not taking risk but changing the formula even with good intentions and good implementation can still lead to backlash. I think it helps that the overall experience of Breath of the Wild was a great one and the game didn't have any glaring flaws as in the other examples. Anyway good food for thought and thanks for the great video!

  22. It was fascinating to hear him talk about Banjo Kazooie and Brutal Legend, but IMO the video became way too much of a rehash of every other youtuber once he started talking about Breath of the Wild. A different game would have made a more memorable example, there are plenty out there.

  23. Feels kinda like what is happening with the mainline SMT series these days. After having almost complete replaced the old guard, the new people in charge of it kinda don't seem to get what the series is about.

  24. A couple of other less obvious examples (overlooking obvious things like jumping on the 3D / open world bandwagon): Black and White 1 and 2 (A more organic, system driven god game vs a more controlled strategy game), Dead Space (The dreaded shift to setpiece action), Titanfall 1 and 2 (Exclusively online to one of the best single-player shooter experiences of it's generation), Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War (Each installment of the franchise shakes the whole formula up, which is cool… when it works)… I think change like this is healthy for a franchise, but can absolutely be a scary prospect.

  25. I'm surprised you didn't compare Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, seeing how they tackle both relative extremes from the same company.

  26. Part of me was expecting Pokemon or Paper Mario to be mentioned

    I remember when Brutal Legend came out and never heard anything from it since, didn't know about the RTS thing that's weird

  27. The hilarious thing as while I do not like RTS games I did heavily enjoy brutal legends just because of theworld that it put me in and I was just so absorbed into it that I didn't give a damn that I'm horrible at strategy games. Meanwhile you have something like banjo which as someone who played the N64 games through a proxy, IE my best friend's house whenever I got to go over because I was poor, I developed an extreme love for the series and felt really betrayed. Even though I was actually really good at racing games. I never gave nuts and bolts a fair shake. It took watching a let's player play through it to make me realize that it's actually a decent game.

  28. Just saw this in my recommended feed and I'm grinning like an idiot because this is literally my bachelors thesis and we come to very similar conclusions. In my thesis I end up developing a 4 step guide to examining your own game series to find out the public reception to each element within, so that devs can make smart decisions about how to innovate their series further: Satisfy series core (brand core, essentially. I call it series core cause of the focus on product content) and delight with a unique game core (core elements of the individual game) and shell (attractive elements).

  29. Huh. What are people's general impressions of Brutal Legend? Because I recall quite enjoying it. Granted, I was warned beforehand about the genre switch, and the number of RTSes I've played can be counted on one hand (and that's including the flash games), and I enjoyed the driving way more than either the combat or the strategy… but I liked building death blobs well enough, and the only complaint I really had about it was the missing third act. I didn't know it was such a controversial game.

  30. Brutal Legend makes me sad. It's a great love letter to heavy metal. It's fantastic as that. But it's such a confused and unsatisfying game. And even though I don't like the RTS bits at all, the idea of a heavy metal stage show as an army fighting a battle is a really neat concept.

  31. I think there's a few examples where small scale iterative design is a complete failure. Fallout 3 is wildly different game from Fallout and Fallout 2. We can debate whether or not it's a good game another time, but mechanically it has nothing in common with it's predecessors. This alienated old fans, and introduced it to an entirely new and larger set of fans who enjoyed FPS games on consoles. Meanwhile every single game since Fallout 3 has only been iterative. Fallout: New Vegas tried to break free of 3's template, but Obsidian were forced to simply expand the dialogue and skill options present in Fallout 3's mechanics. Fallout 4 was even more streamlined than Fallout 3, and instead put focus towards fluff like base building and continuing after reaching the end of the story. Fallout 76 turned it into an MMO-not-MMO thing where it was online multiplayer, but built like Fallout 4's singleplayer without NPCs.

    And then there's CastleVania. Which kept the same formula, mechanics, and feel the same for six games, from CastleVania III through Dracula X. Bloodlines started differently, but then in the end fell in line with the others. Then after Symphony Of The Night, the stagnation started again and didn't end until Order Of Ecclesia. And Pokemon. Which was the same stuff with new gimmicks from Diamond and Pearl up until Sun and Moon.

    All of these games failed to push their formulas forward, instead just expanding them out. Some just to cover up stagnation. Some because they honestly couldn't think of a way to improve the mechanics meaningfully. But in the end they didn't challenge themselves and suffered for it.

    On the other hand you have games like Need For Speed. When Blackbox was at the helm there was a revolution that moved Need For Speed away from the exotic love of the late '80s and early '90s to the tuner culture of the late '90s and early 2000s. And they did a damn good job of making it seamless by first introducing special modified versions of the cars in Hot Pursuit II, then moving over to entirely player custom cars for Underground, before moving to free roam for Underground 2. Underground 2 brought in the URL system, where you completed different tasks to unlock a tournament. Most Wanted had the bounty system, where you had to complete open world events to challenge the bosses. Carbon had the team system, where you had to manage your teammates to make racing easier or harder on yourself. And ProStreet used chapters, where you could unlock things linearly, but chose which linear path you completed. It didn't matter what order you did things in, just so long as you completed that path. Aaaaaaaand then EA shot Blackbox multiple times in the stomach and tossed the series around from developer to developer, throwing away all the work of the previous games as Need For Speed developed a new identity with every release. Something that has continued to this very day.

  32. BotW got rid off everything I care about in a Zelda.
    The bosses are disappointing… The temples are 4-5 short, uninspired puzzles put together… The side quests are 90% fetch quests… There are no new item in the entire game… The world feels empty with little diversity in monsters… Every monster can be killed with nothing but your sword… I don't feel excited when I open a chest because I already now there nothing important in it…
    It makes me afraid Zelda has changed forever and I never getting what I loved back.
    From my point of view, BotW is a fun experiment, but a failure as a Zelda.

  33. With Homeworld 3 announced just the other day, and the devs talking about "expanding" the game's scope I really hope they watch this video.

  34. I would not say that BotW changed a lot to Zelda series. Plus it is Zelda series – they would be selling millions regardless. In BotW there is open world and similar stuff, but almost all of that world is just empty, and only puzzless and gameplay are in zones packed with those. So it is almost like old Zelda games, just road between rooms now is bigger.

    Much better example would be God of War. It changed literally everything. Main hero now different with his approach and actions, there is side-kick, there more puzzless in the world, combat much slower, there many rpg elements, upgrade systems, almost no combo-systems, controls and pace absolutely different, and so on. It is almost like games are unrelated – however, it still worked.

  35. 0:47 Which is why Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild were awful games; limited stamina and fragility systems are not bringing the series to "new heights", but rather adding unnecessary, frustrating hindrances that ruin immersion. Same goes for the hundred-odd Sanctuaries, that all share the same tiresome aesthetic regardless of location.

    Also why the Switch Pokémon games are despicable; Let's Go removed several standard mechanics (Abilities, held items, wild Pokémon battles, Effort Values, day/night cycle, VS Seeker, general-purpose Move Tutors) and features (656 of the 807 Pokémon – that is to say, every Pokémon not part of the original 151; the Sevii Islands, introduced in the proper remakes FireRed/LeafGreen), and added some stupid ones (permanent EXP. All effect that guarantees being overpowered; motion controlled Pokémon catching; Candies that are nowhere near as consistent as EVs).
    Sword/Shield still don't return the entire National Dex (809 Pokémon now), nor Mega Evolutions (which made several older, comparatively-weaker, Pokémon relevant and useful again), for no good reason; Let's Go had the incredibly-flimsy excuse of being for 'new fans' or 'GO players' (even though GO had already introduced Hoenn Pokémon by then, meaning Let's Go could've at least had 386 Pokémon), but Sword/Shield don't have any excuse. Instead of this, they've brought in Dynamax (lazy model scaling) and Gigantamax (nowhere near as awesome or useful as Mega Evolution), camping, curry, and one pseudo-open world 'wild area'. Great additions there; really worth giving up the main premise of the series – not.

  36. Isn't it kind of funny that Nuts & Bolts made fun of the old formula, tried something different and failed yet Yooka Laylee tried the old formula and also somewhat failed because it was… all the things that N&B made fun off? lol

  37. Part of why Nuts and Bolts failed is because, even if Banjoland things did appeal to the older audience, the first ten minutes were basically an attack on the original fan base

  38. You haven't heard about doom and dragon quest have you the fans favorite and least favorite thing about those games is that they haven't changed much since the first games and they still sale extremely well you don't always have to change the formula. I honestly don't love breath of the wild like I love every other Zelda game for me they changed what I loved and what they added wasn't on par with what I expected from the trailers. Combat was boring so a lot encounters in late game I just skipped the Divine beasts were supper forgetful campared to past Zelda temples in terms of atmosphere, puzzles, and difficulty. And the story fell short interms of secondary character development and just having a interesting villian. I'm excited for breath of the wild 2 but I want them to mix the two styles

  39. I dunno… I think BotW missed some of the core of a Zelda. That, and the world itself grew stale to explore after the first 4 or so regions…

  40. Banjo-Tooie is to this day my favorite game. Still, I also really love Nuts&Bolts, because it IS a good game. But I absolutely understand that many people consider it to different.
    On the other hand, Mario Party 9 & 10 are both too different and not good. Especially 10. That's just zero strategy, 100% luck.
    …wait, Brütal Legends is an RTS? Da heck.

  41. I'd love to see you talk about a similar idea, but of two opposing examples in the same series, a game that long time fans didn't want at all but executives thought would appeal to newcomers and it turned out terrible, and a game that everyone wanted since forever but since it was an older formula, higher ups kept saying no until it eventually got made and released and everyone loved it. The most obvious example would be Sonic BOOM: Rise of Lyric VS Sonic Mania, but that's just my ideal.

  42. When you talked about Brutal Legend I was reminded of another game that was misled by marketing – STRAFE (not to be confused with Strife: Quest for the Sigil). All the promotional material showed the game as an oldschool FPS from the 90s, but when it released a lot of people weren't happy that the game was basically a roguelite FPS.

  43. I would say that botw absolutely has a somewhat different core. Dungeons, and progression by item collection are fundamentally different in botw. Thing is it has features that "rhyme" with those fundementals. It's like a cousin to the other games rather than a sibling, in a similar manor to 4 swords or triforce heros.

  44. I have never played any Banjo game, but it intrigues me … so, I would definitely check out a Crash-style remake for it.

  45. While I like the vid and think the message is good. I don't think Brutal Legend fits your narrative. While it is a difference in expectations vs delivery, most of what you were talking about was having a series and making the next game in it different. There are a ton of other examples you could have used. So why did you use Brutal Legend that is a stand-alone game?

  46. I'd say with Breath of the Wild that… I don't think that it was a perfect transition, since… I always felt from my experience of the "Core" of Zelda was the Dungeons and Puzzle Solving (Since I started with Wind Waker and Skyward Sword). So… it was good, but felt kinda empty to me personally.

  47. Nuts and bolts featured the facade of its predecessors, while breath of the wild featured its core mechanics and really showed how a zelda game is defined

  48. Vivendi: RTS is too niche a genre, we shouldn't mention that our game is in it.

    Also Vivendi: merges with the publisher of the 3 best RTS games in history: Starcraft, Warcraft, and Rome: Total War. If Activision had never made Call of Duty they would still mostly be known for RTS games.

  49. Everyone praises Breath of the Wild for completely doing away with anything resembling linearity, but this philosophy was taken too far. In exchange for complete exploratory freedom, Zelda sacrificed its narrative, sense of progression, and most of its charming personality. The Divine Beasts and shrines are a pathetic substitute for previous entries' spectacular dungeon design.

    A Link Between Worlds did a much better job of injecting satisfying non-linearity. This is in no small part thanks to the game still having top-notch puzzles that required the player to unlock more gear that is needed to progress through the dungeons.

    People compare Breath of the Wild to the first Legend of Zelda, a poorly aged game that I'd wager most Zelda fans haven't even played thanks to its difficulty and dated gameplay. I'm sick of the unconditional praise that Breath of the Wild receives, when it is far from a masterpiece. It's not even the best Zelda game, let alone the best game of all time.

  50. if fan expectations were always the rule, we would never have gotten gems like Wind waker, BOTW, and RE4. sometimes fans just need to step back and shut it, no one contradicts themselves more than the fans.

    people tell me i need to play FF7 and i just say no way. then FF7 remake shows up, with action combat and i'm all excited. then the fans get pissy saying modern FF7 is not FF enough because turn base combat. if FF7 remake comes out with turn based combat i'm not touching it. turn based combat is a old trick for game developers to neatly simulate battles, using weak old technology. acceptable during the 90s and early 2000s but horrible in the modern context with modern hardware. that taking turns combat was a means to show combat like it happens in the real world, fast, exciting, dangerous. to miss the original intentions, and get fixated on copying the traditional way it was done out of context is just silly.

    RE4 broke away from the fixed cameras of the old game, that was used to give the player a sense of awkwardness, and helplessness in that situation. pissy fans rage about RE4's changing the formula, once again, to miss the original intentions, and get fixated on copying the traditional way it was done outside of context is just silly. if you gave me a modern RE game with the fixed cameras i would not touch it, we are not in the 90s anymore. we have better tech now, to use to simulate helplessness and anxiety without needing to take away a good third person view.

    it was fan expectations that squeezed nintendo to exhaust themselves trying to copy the success of OoT which was largely thanks to AlttP. squeezed them to make a game with a lost confused direction like SS. for the old fans, it's simple, don't shittalk until you try it, we got so many great results from trying the new things.

  51. I wonder how much of the success, and lack thereof, are from the things you mention, and how much is just "is the game good"?
    Can you think of any games which were good games if look at on their own merits, but were hampered by being a departure on a beloved franchise?
    Because it is possible the take away shouldn't be "remember what made your original game good" and instead is "don't make a bad sequel".

  52. It feels like Nuts and Bolts could have been its on game, but instead chose to tac on Bango-Kazzoi as a sales tactic…

  53. Dungeons in the Zelda series were a very big deal. It added a new layer of exploration, worldbuilding, and progression. Completing dungeons, especially big ones, felt rewarding.

    While dungeons suffered from issues (mostly linearity and being to easy), they were not necessarly incompatible with BotW mechanics. Dungeons with the BotW formula would've been great, and would have make the game feel like a "real zelda game", a feel some fans of the series lacked.

    BotW still great game tho.

  54. Well one things for sure, banjo and kazooie in smash might be they're one chance to be revived once again now that everyone is reminded of them and lately games from the past have been returning (ctrnf, spyro reignited, medieval, e.t.c.) rareware has one chance to possibly bring them back and tbey can not fail again or they'll be gone for good.

  55. Yeah. I hate that Mojang forces so many spin-offs. Minecraft: Story Mode, Minecraft Earth, Minecraft Dungeons. They are all different genres. The only thing they share is artstyle.

    And when sandbox fans see that dungeon crawler fans get the stuff that sandbox fans have been begging for years (more weapons, more bosses, more monsters, more blocks, better animations). Then sandbox fans for sure will get mad.

  56. So many people liked Breath of the Wild. I didn't like it. Never been a fan of open world games. I have played countless open world games and I know what they have to offer. What I liked about Zelda was a heavy story driven game with puzzles and the mystery. Like Majora's Mask.

  57. Knowing how much people tend to not like change makes one very happy those people get ignored…

    Listening to those types of fans just seems soooo stifling.

    Never have fans. (Lesson Learned)

  58. 10:22 this is the exact oposite of what Nintendo did with Federation Force, they made statements like "This is a real Metroid game" "the franchise needs to change in order to have a future" "we got nothing like the games they wanted right now, lets be happy for what we have". Even if the game had been good (worst metacritic score in the entire franchise) with marketing like that there was no chance of success.

  59. How much do people in the comments dislike Super Paper Mario?

    I tried picking it up again recently after playing TTYD. SUCH a slow start, and I was reminded exactly why I didn't like the new direction immediately

  60. That's essentially my issue with Zelda now. Fans seems to believe the traditional formula A Link to the Past started is what a Zelda is, but supposedly adventure and exploration is. BotW attempted to explore its roots once again but didn't do a great job… Wondering around and finding stuff is all well and good but what's even the point without context behind the discovery or even stuff to find in the first place. BotW had very little substance in this regard. There should have been much more content, or at least a much smaller world with far fewer shrines. Why do you there's no adventurers these days? Because there's nothing left to explore. Games are no different. Once a world has been thoroughly explored, it gets boring very quickly. My solution, make it more interesting. No climbing without a proper item, an optional hunger mechanic, weapon upgrades and repairs, more in depth cooking, alchemy, and field crafting for basic solutions, outfit customization, functional accessories with slots of their own, etc

  61. You can either:
    Make a good rebranding, that changes things up yet keeps the things people loved from the older games
    Make a bad rebranding, that doesn’t know what it wants to be
    Or just put out the same game over and over with a new coat of paint, maybe with a new gimmick or something

  62. Why is Brutal Legend in this video if it isn't a reboot? Wasn't that the whole thesis of the video? I mean, sure, it was poorly branded, arguably rebranded, but does it really match the rest of the video's script?

  63. Maybe you should try to explain how to make sequels to square enix.
    like, how chrono cross sucks and all fans are still waiting for a chrono trigger true sequel.

  64. i think this is the first time i've ever heard someone say that nuts & bolts wasn't hot garbage. no one ever really talks about it (i've never played it personally, either), but the few who did essentially claimed it was hot garbage or mostly talked about the glitches and not the actual game. so it's nice to see someone give a different perspective on the game.

  65. In my opinion… The RTS in Brutal Legend really weakened the game. Like everytime i think of the game its everything but the rts just turned me away. Bring back brutal legend and make it a full rts or action combat. Not both if its not well thought out.

  66. Good writing, interesting topic. I don't think Brutal Legend belongs here though, because you start the video off talking about sequels, and Brutal Legend isn't a sequel. I get that it ties into the whole "brand identity" thing, but the focus is ostensibly on sequels so it feels weird to just have a different focus halfway through. Ironically like what Brutal Legend did?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *