Why are there no successful long running game series with a developing plot and a fandom filled with…

Why are there no successful long running game series with a developing plot and a fandom filled with theories where it might go

Pretty much every medium that can be used for storytelling has its own flagships where people are dying to see how it ends except vidya

67 thoughts on “Why are there no successful long running game series with a developing plot and a fandom filled with…”

  1. Kingdom Hearts has been this since the first game

    Video Games as a medium are a lot more self contained than tv shows or book series, as sequels are produced without necessarily having the expectation that the player has experienced the previous games

    • I think people were a least expecting to be able to beat back the reapers with a golden ending through all the work you put into it in the past two games. The games do set up this expectation, there’s two key differences in this cycle that are established: 1, their ability to instantly teleport in and cut off the head of organized leadership in the galaxy at the citadel in a surprise attack stops working and everyone knows they’re coming and have time to prepare. And 2, a lot of the narrative focuses on how the sentient species of the current cycle are much more cooperative and diverse this time around instead of there being one dominant species that can be focused on to bring down the rest. Instead the reapers are still essentially unbeatable without a space MacGuffin to do all the work for you and all of that shit you did before was mostly pointless and only contributed to a point total that only very slightly changes the ending

  2. Because it’s actually really fucking hard to write that much material if you seriously including branching paths that just radically differed from each other. Instead of basically writing one story with some changing variables, you’re writing over a dozen you then have to animate/voice/make sense of.

    That’s why decisions in games like TWD/ME aren’t really all that important and the game ends pretty much the same no matter what you do.

  3. I think most modern devs feel that there’s too much risk in banking on a new game being successful enough to guarantee an entire series. So apart from a few plot hooks that may or may not lead to potential sequels, they try to tell fairly conclusive standalone stories.

    It’s painful having old classics that ended on cliffhangers that were never followed up on. Or even worse, they are followed up a decade or so later, and it’s a mess.

  4. This thread is pretty fuckin cynical considering how almost every AAA game is a narrative in a storyline with prequels and sequels

        • I love games with long, branching narratives. There haven’t been many in recent memory. Telltale is dead and there aren’t many other AAA developers who are willing to sink development time into content only a percentage of their players will see.
          Pathfinder has been the most fun narrative adventure I’ve played in recent memory and it’s only like that because mechanics are intertwined with the roleplay.

  5. The Secret World was that. The playerbase used to wait for the next episodic batch of content with bated breath because the narrative was unironically great. It’s dead now, though.

  6. Following the Mass Effect trilogy was probably the most fun I had following the progression of any series before ME3’s ending kind of murdered any chance of a clear path forward.

    I miss that excitement of always feeling like there was another classic Bioware game to look forward to.

    • I always wondered why sequels were considered to be the big comfort zone of so many big companies. I know familiar names are more marketable, but it feels like the longer than any series goes on the harder it is to bring in any new people who feel like they’re too far behind.

      • This is why many video game series, especially the long running ones with tons of entries, have their titles be connected only by sharing game mechanics, and not by sharing story.

      • They simply don’t catch up, you think every person who saw Avengers Endgame saw every MCU movie leading up to it? I personally know a couple people who started watching GoT at S7 and never bothered to see the prior seasons.

  7. The Elder Scrolls is technically this, but it’s not character arc based.

    The most recent example in games for this is Deltarune.

    • Bethesda sees TES story and lore as an excuse for the games, they don’t actually give a shit about it, they aren’t setting up some grand narrative to be revealed and finalized and solved

      The average TES fan probably cares more about its story than anyone actually in charge of it

      • I’m pretty sure Todd is a huge lore nerd, since he used to (and according to hearsay still does) write the stuff with Kuhlman and Kirkbride, back when he wasn’t the PR-monkey for the whole of Zenimax.

          • That same man also (allegedly) wrote the Dark Brotherhood questline in Skyrim. Also, pretty much all fantasy universes are derivative of Tolkien to some degree.

          • >Also, pretty much all fantasy universes are derivative of Tolkien to some degree.
            I’m so sick of this shit. Tolkien "ripped off" folklore and other stories. Ever heard of Der Ring des Nibelungen? It’s a Wagner opera that revolves around a ring with the power to rule everything. Sound familiar? It predates Lord of the Rings by about 100 years. They’re not all ripping off Tolkien. They’re ripping off European folklore. It’s no different from the Japs who also borrow very heavily from Asian folklore for all their shit. But apparently it’s only bad when westerners do it.

          • Nah, they’re definitely ripping off Tolkien specifically. People who rip off Star Wars aren’t ripping off Foundation and Dune, they’re ripping off Star Wars.

          • There’s superficial resemblance to the LOTR films. That’s it. Almost nothing of substance in TES was taken from LOTR. LOTR did not invent elves and dwarves and even if it did the ones in TES are very different to the ones in LOTR.

  8. Plenty of Deltarune speculation. Video game development just isn’t as known for episodic discussion as other mediums because it take several years to go anywhere.

  9. Man, I was excited for Telltale’s take on Game of Thrones. I was hoping they’d do what they did with season one of Walking Dead, using the popularity of the TV show as a springboard, but making something more in-line with the books while focusing on their own original characters.

    But every character just felt like a diet Stark, and it’s clear that time and money was spread super thin the second they decided to have multiple POV characters each with their own setting and story.

  10. >Why are there no successful long running game series with a developing plot and a fandom filled with theories where it might go
    Legend of Heroes?

  11. The Mass Effect series was basically this though. The anticipation and hype for Mass Effect 3 was through the roof because previous fans wanted to see where the story went and how it ended, and that’s why the game was so disappointing.

    The thing is, nothing was able to recapture that magic in an episodic manner as the ME trilogy did, and Telltale/Life is Strange games are fairly niche. Even movie games don’t get the same treatment as big television shows.

          • Well, let’s be fair, in 2015 we all thought Young Griff and the Golden Company were lame as hell. How were we supposed to know it was going to end with Oldtown going up in a Cthulu spawning event?

          • I thought it was heading somewhere decent what with him being the mummers(fake and or Varys) dragon.
            But i was more pissed they removed lady stoneheart and a myriad other small but interesting plot points.
            Once that happened i heavily suspected the show was going to shit. I was right but it still didnt feel good

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