In video games the idea of creating a sequel means you pretty much kill off the original, right? That is unless you use some methodology which works to bring the characters, design, and world up to speed in a new version of the game which adds in a much-needed boost. Lately, games have relied on DLCs to make these updates, and they tend to do well. Recently, we saw a sequel announcement from the team at Red Hook for Darkest Dungeon 2. Here is why it went well.
Darkest Dungeon had a fantastic run as a solid rogue-like RPG a few years back. We saw the game at PAX East and immediately enjoyed its dark plot, fantastic characters, and design mechanics. This past week, Darkest Dungeon 2 was announced with a new storyline coming for the brand. Since the first game had a strong run of DLCs, the Red Hook folks now saw the time for a sequel and fans responded excitedly for the new content. The best thing about the announcement is that they plan it during a time when the industry needs new games to play.
In years past we have seen other companies attempt to make game sequels with mixed results. Everquest 2 had a great run out of the gate even with Everquest itself maintaining an active player base. However, they took that game head to head against World of Warcraft, despite having a substantial success the sequel could have done much better. This storm of events can happen when you are planning a game release. EQ2 remains a solid title, but never outshined its predecessor.
Destiny fell into a similar trap. The original could have continued with ongoing DLC packs and upgrades for a long time. Now we see the sequel continuing its DLCs, however with the recent changes from Activision and Bungie retaking control, well, hopefully, we see a new Destiny game soon. That is something everyone should study. What do you do with a franchise once you regain control? The designers will have to put some serious thought into a new core product to build out their games.
As sequels do well for certain types of games, are we hitting an era when the DLC will overtake the original, and massive updates will take the place of another version of the game? Look at the pickle Blizzard got themselves into with Diablo: Immortal, as much as I will play a mobile version of Diablo, it is not what the fan base wanted. Now they have to develop quickly to create the next version of the game.
The other side of this argument is how many new game mechanics can you place into a sequel before you take away from the original design? Many people who play a new game style just because it is set in a particular universe, but you have to realize that most players like their games right where they are. Would you play an RPG set in League of Legends?