Topic: Is It Good Or Bad That Some Games Change Genres?

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So everyone always talks about how franchises should go back to their roots and how they've changed their gameplay - for better or for worse - over multiple iterations. For example, Final Fantasy has undergone changes from being a turn-based RPG to a more action RPG the past 20 years, God of War is now becoming an action RPG after being a hack 'n' slash game for a long time and Ghost Recon is now a sandbox game after being strictly a third-person stealth shooter for so long. Do you find games that change genres to be beneficial for the franchise as a whole or would you rather have had them stay the same all this time? Also, just to clarify, I'm talking about the mainline games so I'm not referring to spin-off games in this case.

As a bonus question, I also want to ask what games you guys would like to see change genres or just remain the same from here on out. Is there a franchise that has been releasing the same kind of game over and over and you would like for it to just turn over a new leaf and start fresh from a clean slate? Or do you not want any changes at all to some of the franchises that you like?

Personally, I feel like some games can really benefit from the change of a genre. Take Metroid for example, I've played some of the early 2D ones but the transition to first-person made the games have a completely different atmosphere in a good way. You feel much more isolated when looking through a person's eyes rather than looking over the character in a 2D plane and it helps the games achieve what they want to achieve. But the change of a genre can also turn an amazing franchise into a disappointment, such as how it's been for Resident Evil when they started to focus less on horror and more on action. Capcom obviously changed this in Resident Evil 7, but there's no doubt that the consensus for Resident Evil 6 is that it was a poor Resident Evil game. A franchise like Resident Evil should in my opinion stay true to its survival horror formula and this can be seen by looking at how much people loved the latest one. So from how I see it, there's definitely franchises that do benefit and some that don't at all from a change of genre. I would for example LOVE to see Pokémon go from a traditional turn-based RPG into an MMORPG or at least an action RPG with real-time battles. Pokken is the closest to that concept, but I want to see a massive adventure across a sprawling open world with this gameplay style. That would be so sweet!

Edited on by KratosMD



I think it's a good thing. To follow on from your examples, @ShogunRok and I were dreading the announcement of God of War at E3 last year, because we'd almost predicted exactly what it was going to look like.

When the gameplay came on and it was completely different to what any of us expected, the hype flowed again.

Sometimes a series needs to be re-invented. You can't make the same game over and over.


@get2sammyb That is indeed true but the question is, how can that be achieved for certain franchises? Just a spontaneous example here, Mario games have always been about platforming but you can only make so many games within that genre before they start to become stale. People love the original 2D ones on NES and SNES but a lot of people think the newest 2D ones are not as good because they don't introduce much new in their games. Nintendo has tried to change that with the 3D games, but still they feel like any old platforming game. What can be done in that aspect? Is it possible for Mario to jump (excuse the unintentional pun) to a new genre in that regards?

Banjo-Kazooie tried to go open world with Nuts & Bolts by introducing vehicle creation that would allow you to explore vast worlds but the platforming stopped because of that and people just didn't like that change. With Mario Odyssey on the horizon, will people really like that the worlds are more open to explore or will they just feel empty and soulless and ruin the game altogether? That's the problem I feel like with some genres, how much can they actually do to change the games for the better.



I wouldn't say change genre altogether but I tend to prefer game series that dare to innovate and change. So yes, I think it's a good thing.

We just got a timeless masterpiece with Breath of the Wild because they (finally) dared to change a formula even if it worked super well, Persona 5 on the other hand is extremely good but really just a sequel done well - it's not game changing - though maybe that's an appropriate approach since not so many people played P3 and P4.

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@get2sammyb I see your point. I just can't help but feel like they don't have much to go from from here on out. The 3D ones are considered exceptional (well perhaps with the exception of 3D Land/World) but the latest 2D ones as well as Paper Mario are becoming washed out. I haven't heard anything good about those games for a long time. I just wonder if anything can be made to take Mario games to the next level, so to speak.

@Feena Yes, Breath of the Wild is a great example of how Nintendo went all out to make the franchise a sandbox game instead of a linear adventure/action game or semi open-world games. This series really needed a change I feel like, after how much experimenting they've been doing with past Zelda games such as Skyward Sword and A Link Between Worlds.

Persona I feel like doesn't have to change because the game focuses a lot on the narrative aspect of the game, so the JRPG part of it really is a complement to that aspect in my opinion. Looking at the 2D fighting and rhythm games of the Persona 4 spin-offs, I don't feel like there would be any other genres that would fit this franchise more than JRPG.

Edited on by KratosMD



@KratosMD yeah, I mean - I don't expect it/want it to change genre altogether but I could go for more change the next time around.

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I think it depends on how well the genre swap retains the "essence" of a series. Basically how it keeps the game's identity. The recent God of War is a pretty good example (unless something really radical happens next time we see it): It may not be the same as before, but it still can be seen as a God of War game. Meanwhile, Sonic games have had examples of both good (Colors, Generations) and bad (Chronicles, Shadow, Labyrinth). I believe it's a good thing if a series can still retain what it's about while switching genres.

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I have no issue with games changing genre or as I prefer to call it - evolving.

I haven't looked into the new God of War but if its more of an Action RPG, that is of far more interest to me than the button bushing, combo building Hack n' Slash it was.

Games like Mario evolved from 2D to 3D. In these cases, its more down to the technology and volving the games alongside the capabilities of the hardware. Whether that's the case with games like God of War, I don't know. Its possible that the old gen games where not powerful enough to be 'action RPG's as well as Hack n Slash and still retain the level of visuals and so this is the 'evolution' or whether the developers didn't want to 'cut n paste' the old games.

Of course I don't want games to switch genre just for the sake of it unless it really makes sense. I wouldn't be 'put off' of CoD - a linear FPS game opted to go more for an open world RPG first person Shooter for its campaign - IF it fitted with the story, setting etc. Games like Uncharted or Gears of War - both Linear third person campaigns could go for a more open world (like Tomb Raider) in their universe and I wouldn't be upset. It could be seen as an evolution.

I am not sure how I feel about 'spin off's' in a different Genre - like Halo Wars is to Halo an RTS spin off of a FPS or games using a 'franchise' name to sell - Halo Wars could be an example of this too - a more 'blatant' use would be a 'warthog' 'Halo' racing game. To a degree Nintendo are masters at this by putting Mario into virtually everything - like Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Mario at the Olympics. You could see these as 'spin offs' too if you are less cynical.

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I think it varies from franchise to franchise. For example with Mario it would have been limiting if they stuk to 2D, Super Mario 64 would never have happened and the 3D platformer genre would have been kicked of a lot more slowly. So in this case changing genre really worked. Similar case with Wolfenstein, and there have been many highly rated games due to ambition such as Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime.

On the other hand, a lot feel that Mirror's Edge going from a linear experience to an open world one was a negative one. We currently have more than enough open world games coming out, and I feel that it was unnecessary making constantly travel through areas you've already been through, and hurts the pacing overall.

As with the new God of War, I'm not optimistic but it's too early to fully judge.

Overall it depends on how suitable each genre is for the franchise, what the strong/weak aspects of the franchise are, demand and saturation of the genres in the gaming scene.



I think when a games changes or evolves into something that fits the game it feels innovative and natural. It is hard to do.

Breath of the Wild is a good example, the move to open world felt like a natural progression (to me at least) and not just, let's make it open world because there are lots of open world games out there.

Resident Evil is a good franchise to look at for the dos and do nots of evolving gameplay. By the time of Resident Evil 4, technology and 3d environments had improved and the franchise had done to death the tank controls. Enter Resident Evil 4 which combined the elements that worked in the original series (the horror, difficulty, survival) with that of a shooter. Some disagree but I think it evolved the series into something new and exciting. Then look at Resi 5 and Resi 6. Five isn't a bad game but what I think they did was focus on what they thought made RE4 work, combat and action. With the relegation of survival horror, they just weren't the same Resi games. Resident Evil 7 has gone first person, a change yes, but is trying to evolve back into the original premise of the game.

I guess what I am saying is that, like anything, innovation is good when it works and poor when it doesn't. To innovate is hard - Nintendo are the masters of it. Games don't have to constantly iterate but if you want to make a franchise release regularly, you need it to keep it fresh. Persona 5 might not have changed the make up from P4 but, it has been many years since the last one. Players don't as much.

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@ThroughTheIris56 Mario jumping from 2D to 3D was a natural evolution. Mario arrived at a time when 3D was not really possible. Of course you had Pseudo 3D but it wasn't ideal for Mario until technology evolved enough to make a true 3D experience. I believe that if games like Mario and Zelda weren't created before we had the N64, chances are they wouldn't have been 2D anyway.

For some people though, evolution isn't necessarily a good thing. They want the game to be how they remember it. Maybe with a visual make-over but it must fit the original concept. Wolfenstein gets away with a greater deviation because the original wasn't that popular - not compared to Doom and we had a number of games released that had 'Story' and evolved from the concept of the original. The last Doom went back to basics - literally but still had some evolution - not just visually but the 'Maps' were more contemporary too.

I think it depends on how successful a game was, when you jumped into a franchise and whether or not it feels like a natural progression. GTA changed genres too but arguably the originals were more 'cult' classics and for many, their first experience was the third person games. I bet very few played the original Fallout games and unless you were on PC, you didn't play the Witcher either. The Witcher 2 was on Xbox 360 so opened up the franchise to more gamers but for many the open world RPG of the Witcher 3 is their first experience. I didn't play the first myself but I can see the evolution from 2 to 3.

The last two Tomb Raiders also changed genre successfully - going for a more RPG element with more open world aspect than a very linear story path. Its possible that God of War could be 'similar' in some ways

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I agree, often game series grow stale, especially if it has multiple sequels and if they come out annually. Persona and Uncharted could keep the gameplay intact for the most part and still feel pretty fresh because a few years pass by between installments.

I think of the Assassin's Creed franchise. I loved those early games, played the heck out of all the Ezio games and AC 3. By the time I got to Black Flag, I was burned out on it, even with the expansion of the naval battles and the new island settings. After I played it for 4 or 5 hours, I grew tired of the game mechanics and the story didn't hold me and so I moved on to other games.
I have never played another AC game since.
We call it "jumping the shark" in the States, not sure if the term (which comes from an episode of Happy Days back in the 80's I think) is used elsewhere. Basically means the point at which a series becomes stale, and in order to rejuvenate the fanbase, they integrate something wacky or new and the series just declines after that. It's like the turning point downward for the series.
Now, Assassin's Creed Origins may change my mind and everything is shaping up to make it look like a real dramatic reinvention of the series. Maybe I'll play it then, we'll see.
But the truly great game developers either innovate before they jump the shark (Mario) or they wrap up a series while it's on top (Uncharted, maybe?)

Edited on by Th3solution

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I think change is good as long as you cater to fans in other ways.

Mario is a great example, I was desperate for a 2d mario game for absolute years until nsmb came out on the ds. I cant even put it into words. Absolutely desperate. Since smw nothing was available for 2d fans for 10 to 15 years!

Final fantasy is another example with turn based fighting. They left a gap and lukily its been filled by persona in my eyes, but what a wait thats been.

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