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Thread: How to Kill a Franchise - Editorial

  1. #1
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff InstaTrent's Avatar
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    How to Kill a Franchise - Editorial

    In a world where brands alone can make a game sell, why do some franchises fall off the map? Hold tight as we examine three once-prominent series that were silenced by one poor release.

    Editorial!
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."

  2. #2
    The Breath of Fire one depresses me, because IMO BoF5: DQ is actually my favorite entry in the series. The first two are painfully boring, the next two are annoyingly traditional. DQ combined roguelikes and some of the ideas behind Demons Souls style gameplay to make something really fun and interesting.

    Xenosaga was something that I never got very far in... I thought it would be great, but it never really pulled me in. SaGa is one of the most uneven series I've ever played, and also one where there's vast disagreements on which one is best. Some people love SaGa Frontier 2, but dislike SF1. I'm the opposite. Unlimited SaGa was one I could never get into. I hear that you have to pick specific characters first to actually be able to play very far, because other characters can be incredibly challenging. I apparently picked a challenging one and never got past the first dungeon.

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    Member flamethrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InstaTrent View Post
    In a world where brands alone can make a game sell, why do some franchises fall off the map? Hold tight as we examine three once-prominent series that were silenced by one poor release.

    Editorial!
    Love the "in a world..." intro!

  4. #4
    A Witness to Destruction Moderator DarkRPGMaster's Avatar
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    What's sad is that BoF5 was a VERY good game, but it probably should have been labeled as a spin-off and not a main series game. Had it been like that, it probably would not have affected the series in such a way. Sometimes it's a safer bet to declare the game a spin-off as to not affect the main series.
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    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazriko View Post
    The Breath of Fire one depresses me, because IMO BoF5: DQ is actually my favorite entry in the series. The first two are painfully boring, the next two are annoyingly traditional. DQ combined roguelikes and some of the ideas behind Demons Souls style gameplay to make something really fun and interesting.
    Yeah Dragon Quarter was my favorite too. I guess at least the series went out with a bang?

    Unlimited Saga certainly hurt the already limited popularity of the series here, but given it was followed by three stellar and well received (in Japan) remakes of popular series titles I find its presence on this list odd. True it hasn't received a "new" release in some time, but the remakes were quite significant, especially SaGa 3 and Romancing SaGa.

  6. #6
    I liked a lot of aspects of Dragon Quarter, it was just very dry. If you go back with a higher rating, many more story cutscenes are unlocked and help flesh out the game. The first techs you get are the best ones, and assigning stats. at level up can seriously mess up the characters. Basically poor design decisions.

    And I say the solution is simple: when you make a widly successful game, make sure the sequel follows the same formula or else you just annoy your fans. There is a difference between improving features within a game and changing them entirely. Say what you want about "change being good" and all that, but people stay within a specific franchise because it's familiar and it gives them what they want. If they want something different, they can play something else. Sometimes radical change works, and I'm sad to say appealing to the CoD crowd seems to work wonders this gen, but more often than not it doesn't work.
    Dark Souls did it right: a rebranding for a mainstream release, but same game. They may change into something unrecognizeable in time, but from one game to the next, it's the same game fans know and love (with some minor changes I wouldn't know about having not played the first).
    Last edited by TG Barighm; 11-28-2012 at 12:34 PM.

  7. #7
    I'll agree with some of the posters here that Breath of Fire V is my favorite in that series. I thought it had the best battle system of the 5 games and personally, i really liked the story.

    Perhaps more unlike many other people, Xenosaga II is my favorite entry of the three. It undeniably has far and away the best battle system of the three. it's not even close, that is unless you like mashing X to use the exact same moves again and again and again infinitely and think that's good. Xenosaga II had a kick *** battle system. I recognise the story did not turn out as its creator intended, but then, i feel people being unhappy with it for that reason is not always the soundest approach. The story is excellent. No issues with the graphics either. ... and as far as sound goes, ... yeah there were a COUPLE bad dungeon tracks, but the cutscenes were all done by a far superior composer who did an excellent job. I also loved the battle theme, so if you've got those two in the bag, that's what counts.

    I haven't played Unlimited yet, but now i'm thinking more that i should... I love the SaGa series, including both Frontier 1 and 2. 1 is still on my top 10 all time jRPGs list ... although it could use an english retranslation as it is one of the worst offenders of all time in that regard...

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    Member Slayer's Avatar
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    I enjoyed 2 of the 3 franchises mentioned in your editorial-BoF and Xenosaga.
    I really wish they would revive these two brands.
    I tried the SaGa games but didn't get very far.
    Last edited by Slayer; 11-28-2012 at 05:07 PM. Reason: loco

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    Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderator ChickenGod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkRPGMaster View Post
    What's sad is that BoF5 was a VERY good game, but it probably should have been labeled as a spin-off and not a main series game. Had it been like that, it probably would not have affected the series in such a way. Sometimes it's a safer bet to declare the game a spin-off as to not affect the main series.
    I agree with you, Dark. Sadly BoF5 was one of the few games I happened to have done no research on, saw it existed in a store one day, and jumped on getting it because I expected more of what the first 4 offered. That was not the case, and I know that all I needed to do was see some of the gameplay features beforehand to know that game was not for me. Similarly, I've always thought the MMOs shouldn't be part of the numbered FF franchise. FF has always been about single player RPGs to me, and had the MMOs been called "Final Fantasy Online", I think people would have a lot less animosity toward the past 4 numbered FFs than they do now.

    Maybe Xenosaga 2 killed the series, but I'm sure some outstanding factors like people hating XS1's cinematic nature swayed more than a few opinions as well. Quality-wise Xenosaga 3 was a great game too, so even though XS2 screwed up big time, I still look at the series as a whole fondly.
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  10. #10
    FF has always been about single player RPGs to me, and had the MMOs been called "Final Fantasy Online", I think people would have a lot less animosity toward the past 4 numbered FFs than they do now.
    I totally agree, as does nearly everyone else on the internet, but if you really think about it...maybe that's why they chose to make it a numbered title. It's so much easier to dismiss a spin-off than a numbered title, doubly so for its online status. This was before they got comfortable slapping the FF name on every little thing they produced, so I imagine they didn't want those two factors working against what I'm sure was still a very expensive game. So, they made it a numbered title. Now career FF fans feel guilty about missing it. Exploit any hook you can find.

  11. #11
    これはメタです RPGamer Staff Quin's Avatar
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    It's not like the "Online" was missing or anything. Personally, I've always felt that XI at least deserved it's number.

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  12. #12
    I think that developers plain losing interest in series or not finding them profitable anymore accounts for certain franchises falling under the radar more often than poorly-reviewed installments.

  13. #13
    Kirby: El Presidente RPGamer Staff noodle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quin View Post


    It's not like the "Online" was missing or anything. Personally, I've always felt that XI at least deserved it's number.
    FFXI wins the internet. i have that exact box, too. (along with like 29384920342 other boxed expansions.)

  14. #14
    It's not like the "Online" was missing or anything.
    Nor prominent. Missing? No. "Or anything"? Hell ya.

    Anyway, the point was they pushed it as a full numbered title, NOT that the word "online" was missing from the title.

  15. #15
    That Guy You Hate RPGamer Staff omegabyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TG Barighm View Post
    Nor prominent. Missing? No. "Or anything"? Hell ya.

    Anyway, the point was they pushed it as a full numbered title, NOT that the word "online" was missing from the title.
    I have never understood this argument. Why is this important at all? Does it somehow diminish the single-player games that came before, or the ones that came after? What if they'd included other spin-offs in the numbered series, like, say, Final Fantasy Tactics? Would people still be so insanely angry about it?

    If you're not interested in an MMO, then don't play it. It doesn't have any impact on any other games in the series, so why should it bother you?

    There is no rational reason for anyone to be upset about it. At all.
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  16. #16
    Done ignoring me, are ya?

    Why is this important at all?
    It's not, but maybe it mattered to someone like, say, marketing people? Marketing people have weird ideas sometimes. See my other post above the last one.

    Would people still be so insanely angry about it?
    History has shown people will get insanely angry about anything.

    There is no rational reason for anyone to be upset about it. At all.
    Sounds to me like you're the only person upset about anything. The point was brought up by CHICKENGOD. I proposed the idea that the decision to make it a numbered may have been more deliberate. Quin pointed out the word "Online" is in the title and I didn't want the discussion to get hung up on wording because that wasn't really the point, so I noted that. And we may have had a merry little sub-discussion about the marketing of FF11, although I most likely would have bowed out of that because I don't play FF11.

    Granted, I shouldn't have made a correctional note over an argument presented by an entirely different member, but then I didn't expect someone to come in here looking to start a fight over absolutely nothing. ESPECIALLY from someone that hasn't replied to anything I've said in months.

  17. #17
    Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderator ChickenGod's Avatar
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    Sorry TG, you seemed to get nitpicked on for something I started. Though I do agree with everything you've stated thus far.

    Looking at things from another direction, SE is the only dev I can think of that changed a title drastically from RPG or X to an MMO yet still consider it part of the 'core' series. World of Warcraft isn't Warcraft 4, Old Republic Online isn't Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3, Phantasy Star Online and its cohorts aren't Phantasy Star V+, and so on. As I read it, the question I think Trent poses is whether or not consumers want and/or are willing to forgive such a change. Obviously for a healthy franchise like FF, failing an experiment isn't going to kill the series reputation. But for smaller, more niche series like BoF making such a simple mistake could cause more harm than good.

    Like TG said, who knows what makes the haters so upset. Anger isn't always a rational emotion. I simply hypothesized people would be less inclined to hold the poor quality of a spinoff against their beloved franchise than they would if said game was included in the same group as its progenitors.
    Last edited by ChickenGod; 11-29-2012 at 12:59 AM.
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    The Gratitude Pokemon Shaymin's Avatar
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    Or you could turn over your series's art design to a hentai artist who can't draw faces worth a damn, and let your executives make statements about how they hate the fanbase who supported the game and run DMCA takedowns on old game footage on Youtube.

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    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff InstaTrent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    FFXI wins the internet. i have that exact box, too. (along with like 29384920342 other boxed expansions.)
    Noodz is the biggest FF MMO fan I know.
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  20. #20
    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenGod View Post
    Similarly, I've always thought the MMOs shouldn't be part of the numbered FF franchise. FF has always been about single player RPGs to me, and had the MMOs been called "Final Fantasy Online", I think people would have a lot less animosity toward the past 4 numbered FFs than they do now.
    Say what you want about FFXI, but I think the animosity towards newer FFs stands alone. I got over my irrational hatred toward FFXI being a numbered title long ago after actually playing it. Do I wish they'd also crafted a single-player game out of the FFXI universe? Absolutely, because the world, jobs, etc. are fantastic. Grinding and progression were my only real issues with that game once I played it. Also, I LOVED FFXII, so no hate there. No, my annoyance has come from the lack of variety I've gotten. I didn't hate FFXIII, but found its problems hard to ignore. While I enjoyed FFXIII-2 more, I could have totally done without it. FFXIV in its 1.0 state I count as a massive failure that I happily pretend does not exist, because, well, it kinda no longer does. Time will tell if FFXIV is unable to be redeemed.

    So yes, while I once agreed that FFXI being numbered was a problem, I do take issue with it being the reason the series is now disliked.
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