'Sequels kill creativity' says David Cage

Quantic Dream boss says lack of innovation in games today a result of consumers continuing to support yearly installments.

Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls designer David Cage is no fan of sequels. Speaking to the Official PlayStation Magazine, the Quantic Dream boss said the lack of innovation in the game industry today is a result of gamers getting what they pay for.

“Many people want the same and if that’s what you offer them, they will gladly buy it," Cage said. “The result is very simple. Gamers invest money in publishers having no interest in innovation. [Gamers] encourage [publishers] to keep making the same game every Christmas, and everybody’s happy.”

Cage claimed that gamers must vote with their wallets if they want to break the cycle and help spur publishers to greenlight innovative concepts.

“If you’re interested in innovation and believe that games could be more than shooters, then you realise that sequels kill creativity and innovation,” Cage said, noting Beyond: Two Souls will be different. “We don’t give people what they expect. We want to give them something they want without knowing they want it”.

This is not the first time Cage has made an emphatic claim about a lack of innovation in the industry. Last year, the developer called on the industry to "grow up" and claimed games would die without innovation. Cage has also lamented the ubiquity of first-person shooters that glorify violence, noting he would rather see a shooter in the vein of war movies like Platoon or Apocalypse Now that depicts the difficulty of being at war.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

339 comments
darkcomedian
darkcomedian

1. "noting he would rather see a shooter in the vein of war movies like Platoon orApocalypse Now that depicts the difficulty of being at war." He should Play Spec-Ops.

2. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't those two games very similar gameplay-wise? I appreciate the sentiment, but from what I've heard and read, those games are truly similar.

sonic1564
sonic1564

Says the guy who isn't innovative with his games.

RobDev
RobDev

Mr cage, tell that to Chris Nolan. There are dozens of excellent sequels in the game world. the problem isn't sequels, it's cut and paste franchises.

wescan40
wescan40

I remember the first Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation it had a lot of really good game play elements as well as play mechanics that kept the game fresh, and almost gave gamers an experience that I think was unique to gaming at that time. I know that it would be impossible to include this in every game, however, I think that breaking up the play mechanics in different portions of the game, not just the high tense moments would make even an non-AAA title feel fresh. Also instead of just copying comics, movies and past games if some of the developers would look for more literary  inspiration, such as in fiction, fantasy, sci-fy, and horror books, then some of those adaptations into games would at least allow video game developers to be more creative and at the same time give gamers a new fresh experience.

thedemon44
thedemon44

This is why indy games have become so popular. Small budgets with great innovation, bringing us the games we secretly want, but never imagine until we play.

thetarget
thetarget

Do they just realize this now? Companies are so scared to venture out of their comfort zone and instead keep making sequels.

Boostedtaco
Boostedtaco

A shooter in the veins of Platoon or Acpoloypse Now? Ummm....how bout Spec Ops?!?!?!

SuperMusashiX
SuperMusashiX

At least they don't take a decade to release a new game like you. Sheesh, you may be brillant but you're also slow. If everyone waited on games like there's, we'd see 5 game releases a year.

CountZurich
CountZurich

“We don’t give people what they expect. We want to give them something they want without knowing they want it"

Mark of an innovator, right there

berserker66666
berserker66666

This is the new face of the gaming industry and he's right. Think of Assassin's creed or COD or even NFS. They are becoming a humdrum product. We do need something new and innovative.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

His point is wrong.  What you need is a game industry that doesn't require untold millions of dollars to have specific talented individuals so that a game looks AAA-rated.  You need tools that allow a single person to create moderately good games, which can then be noticed and then hurled to AAA status.  I would still be buying Might and Magic games if they had stayed with the 2.5D game interface and not botched the 3D interface.  I'd still be buying Privateer games if they still made them like the old days.  I'd be buying Ultima XX if Garriott hadn't screwed the entire series (and damn him to hell for that).  Sequels make money, yes, but they also allow for slow creativity through slow incremental change.  You want something totally new, give people the tools to do it without needing a lot of money.  Then you'd have your garage games and ingenuity back.

hellangel_boy
hellangel_boy

He has a point. As someone who buys games and keep them, when I look at my games and see a game with many sequels , the replay value of the first games of that sequel is killed by later games, moreover ,when it's yearly release, especially for a game like COD, the first games are almost useless. all sequels should be like GTA , where every game feels different.

MidnightMeteor
MidnightMeteor

I think the most original game would only have QTEs... yes, now that is original.

Erebus
Erebus

...and here I only want an Omikron remake/sequel from Quantic.

franzito
franzito

Sequels are for games, books and movies with loose ends. Besides that, it qualifies shameless milking!

AlexFili
AlexFili

I don't think sequels are necessarily bad, but I agree that making it yearly is wrong. I want to enjoy Assassins Creed III and Skyrim for much longer than a year. Also the developers of Guitar Hero were guilty of making too many sequels.

Anti_FoRM_X
Anti_FoRM_X

The sad thing is if they change the gameplay too much in a sequel, 9 out of 10 rabid fans will start to moan: OMG!!! They changed X system. ITS RUINED FOREVER!!!!!!!111!!!!1

shantd
shantd

There's no reason you can't make regular sequels and innovate at the same time.

JulyAeon
JulyAeon

the gaming industry has for quite some time been trying to recoup profits in many easy ways and they also are quite guilty of stifling the independent artistic nature of game developers and their workforce with tick box environments, not a healthy attitude for innovation.  there are a few small independent developers out there that haven't given in to the big financially run firms and their games are usually more interesting. so there is hope.

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

I can understand the frustration of David; however there is a problem here.  The developers make the game not the gamer.  The developers need to take a chance and make games so good that everyone can look past their comfort level.  And instead of trying to please fans by making sequels that are very close to the previous title, simply take a chance and do something different with it gameplay wise.  Developers need to understand that they can't please everyone.  The gaming industry is about risk and reward; therefore take the risk instead of taking the easy way out.  Sometimes risk works; but execution is key to succeed.

Take Ninja Theory for example.  I don't really like Ninja Theory games; but it seems as though the Devil May Cry Reboot could be their best game yet despite the countless negative comments of hardcore fanboys.  And I could see this game as Ninja Theory's best selling Ninja Theory game.  Keeping things too much of the same can get in the way of creativity; but its not all the gamer's fault since developers try to keep fans happy by blocking their own creativity.  I can admit that I questioned Ninja Theory in the beginning; since I am a hardcore fan of Devil May Cry.  But after playing the demo I actually enjoyed it and look forward to playing more due to creative environmental design and interaction,  adding references, keeping most of the basic gameplay in tact, dynamic looking boss battles, and fresh gameplay additions that complement the style of the original Devil May Cry.  I thought Ninja Theory should have handled the negative press more professionally though.  I do respect Ninja Theory for not letting non-openminded fans prevent them from making their own take of Devil May Cry.

And to finish this statement.  If Ninja Theory made a reboot that was far too much of the same, then I wouldn't be interested because it wouldn't be any good.  If the game is going to be more like the previous Devil May Crys; then I would prefer the original creators of Devil May Cry to step up and make a Devil May Cry that would best all of the rest.  And that includes making it 300 times better than Ninja Theory's reboot.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

You know why people buy sequels?  Because they liked the first game, and they want to play another game like it because they know that since they liked the first game, if the second game is similar they're probably going to like it too.


Take a gamble on a new game and you might not like it, and then you've wasted $60

so_hai
so_hai

It's the same as Hollywood - the mainstream dictate that the familiar product becomes more acceptable than the unfamiliar product.

OneSamTwoCups
OneSamTwoCups

I would agree but I love the sequels that don't come out yearly (GTA, Metal Gear Solid, etc.). I do think, however, games like Call of Duty, Need for Speed, etc. are ruining innovation. You can tell when a game has effort put into it and these yearly releases people keep buying are showing slim to none. I am proud to say I have not bought a Call of Duty since 4 and a Tony Hawk game since Underground 2.

InnerSenses
InnerSenses

“We don’t give people what they expect. We want to give them something they want without knowing they want it”.


Okay I enjoy Quantic Dream's games but come on, will Beyond really be anything wildly different from what their previous games were, ie., quick time event fests? I'm pretty sure that's what we're all expecting whether we want it or we don't.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

It's true. I'm all for that. But I'm still waiting for the conclusion of some games that leave the ending on a cliffhanger. Like Mafia 2 for example. Stop leaving us hanging!

X-RS
X-RS

Yah. pretty much. I mean I'd prefer a game with a great story that concluded which I would play gain cuz its greeat. Not waiting for the story to end in sequels after the prequel.

Hairygrim
Hairygrim

I wouldn't say that yearly sequels in themselves have anything which ruins creativity for the industry as a whole. It's popular franchises (which sequels obviously help create) which ruin creativity as they drive the industry into creating imitations - look at all the GoW-clones out there & the fact that so many FPSs have adopted aspects of CoD. And this is hardly the devs' fault; by & large true 'artists' at least want to create something new & innovative, & not recycle the same tired concepts. As ever, this comes down to publishers & business practices (this is hardly limited to video games either; music, books, films & more suffer by how capitalism requires professional art to be a tool for profit [that sounds like more left-wing a statement than it should do; just stating facts]).

hadlee73
hadlee73

I love David Cage's games, but he hardly innovates. His games are primarily massive quick-time events. JASON!

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

it seems like some of you guys are understanding what he is talking about he means the ones that are MADE EVERY YEAR like the sports games and COD

deathstream
deathstream

How about we stop posting this guy's opinion until he makes a GAME.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

The industry does not support innovation.  As with Games costing upwards to 60 Million to create. Gran Turismo 5 is an example of a game with a huge budget. So Videogames have got to make their money back. The most expensive Xbox 360 game to create is currently Halo 4.

Do any of these hope to break even? That is why Call of Duty Black Ops 3 will eventually be created and sell lots to 12yr-19years The pre-teen and teen market. Whom are hooked on First Person shooters. On-line muliplayer.

It is not like any PSmove or Kinnect games with innovative Motion controls and better graphics than the Nintendo Wii have out sold the Call of Duty's or Yearly Madden etc. The problem with the Videogame industry is that it is now a industry. Money has to be made over innovation. Since innovation just doesn't sell well.

HybridExtreme
HybridExtreme

It's a good thing all developers and designers don't live by Cage's logic! We would have never played great sequels to Halo, Uncharted, Final Fantasy etc. He's a "One and Done" kinda guy isn't he? I can see the point he's trying to make and it is true in some cases, especially sports titles and military shooters. He should have the brass to just come out and say what we all know he's saying. I'll say it right now, Call Of Duty mainly, then games that come out almost annually like Madden, Fifa, Forza etc. They are usually the same game with slight cosmetic changes. 

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@VarietyMage Dear varietymage - I am afraid those days have along gone. Video game business has followed the same pattern as newspapers, magazines, radio, movie, and television. Like all entertainment media it grows exponentially.  Know one is still making 3 page newsprint, black and white silent films, small team television shows for the mass markets anymore. 

I know nostalgia can make things seem greater then they are compared to the complicated new things of today. But the fact is - as each generation adopts entertainment media they want that 'NEW'. And the masses expect it and vote for it with their dollars. 

I personally would love to see some awesome new baldur's gate type games but sadly the rest of the world wants more Skyrim, Bioshock, Dishonored, Diablo 3. And those games just cannot be made by a small group of developers anymore. 

Hrel
Hrel

@VarietyMage Who going to release a tool set like that for free? I mean, there's Microsoft and the SDK for Arcade games; but that's really the only player. No one ever even talks about that; I bet you (or at least most people reading this) didn't even know Microsoft did that. It takes a SHIT TON of money to program a tool set like that now a days; games a WAY more advanced. It's like Unreal licensing their game engines; that makes game development much cheaper, but it still costs more than an individual can manage. Then there's marketing so someone can finally find your game. Minecraft was a flook, and that guy got VERY lucky. While I too would like to see such a toolset released, with a 3D library as well, cause fuck drawing things. I just don't expect that to happen. Not to mention of any game studio ever did that then they'd lose money by not owning the games created using their tool set.

MidnightMeteor
MidnightMeteor

@franzito  Oh right, I totally forgot there was only one Mega Man game ever made. Damn you really know a lot don't you?

hellangel_boy
hellangel_boy

@AlexFili  You are right , many companies say that they honor their fan by making a sequel, but they don't honor anyone when they make a yearly release, on the contrary , I think they insult their fans like that, because they cut the service for their old games, making the fans who couldn't buy the newer games insulted.

hellangel_boy
hellangel_boy

@Jedilink109 You could, but he feels that his games aren't given the credit they deserve ,while other games with much less effort put in them like COD, make huge profits. 

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

@shadowhunter0  

Thats true.  However, it goes much deeper than that.  There are plenty of other games that follow and followed the same fate as those.  As far as I am concerned this is a problem that will reck havoc on the gaming industry later on.  You see more shooters than anything nowadays.  And to make matters worse sequels for most games during this generation seldom meets the expectations of developers and gamers.  I want to see more variety like back during the PS2/Xbox era.    

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@deathstream he already has he made Heavy Rain which IS A GAME and anther one before that and now he is making Beyond which is ALSO A GAME

AU_gundam
AU_gundam

@Megavideogamer Innovation doesn't sell well is kind of an incorrect and correct statement at the same time. The current climate may not reward innovation much, but that could also be coupled with the rather shaky/shitty/uncertain economic climate in general.

x_hunter00
x_hunter00

@HybridExtreme I was with you right up until the cliched Call of Duty bashing. There are more than just "slight cosmetic changes" to the the yearly Call Of Duty games.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

I disagree.  Given a sufficiently advanced toolkit, anyone could write good games.  Not AAA games, but good games nonetheless.  "New" doesn't necessarily mean pretty, especially when gameplay sucks (I'm looking at you, D3...beautiful, but unbalanced, poor loot drops and poor difficulty ramping...sucks).  I'd buy a good game, but I won't buy a pretty game with crappy gameplay (I'm looking at you, cloud-based SimCity 5).

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

This stupid forum program sucks.  Text limitation is TOO SMALL.

Part 1/2:

Microsoft would be the logical choice, since they have the development staff and the funds to do so, plus they would have their logo slapped on every game developed.  Hell, they could take a licensing fee on income over $xxx.xx.  They have the brainpower to take the mathematical and programming grunt work out of making games, and allow people to focus on the concept and execution.  We are still operating in the stone age if we have to do vector transformations manually and worry about how to open windows in a given OS.  We need an intuitive interface, and neither matrix math nor DirectX are intuitive in the slightest.

OneSamTwoCups
OneSamTwoCups

@x_hunter00 @HybridExtreme New guns, new story, and a new design to a very overused multiplayer schematic. That's about all Call of Duty offers every year. The graphics don't even change. I see no update from Modern Warfare 2 to 3. Same sh*t; different year.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Part 2/2:

Obfuscate that crap, and make it to where people can create what they want, to the level of detail they want.  Provide some primitives so that you don't have to be an artist to make graphics.  Provide some sound effects so you don't have to be Ben Burtt and re-invent the TIE Fighter noise (much less have to buy an expensive sound creation system).  Create some prototype interfaces that people will be familiar with (tile graphics for old-style RPGs, vehicles, FPS framework, RTS framework, etc).  Let the need for great graphics drop and let the ideas shine through.  Personally, I'd rather play another tile graphics game like the early Ultimas than Final Fantasy 13 (which IMO sucked so much ass I won't buy another FF without a full demo).  Make it simple to make games, and people will make new IP in droves.  KISS, and they will flock to your door.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Unity has two tiers, free and like $1500.00, and the advanced stuff is in the $1500.00 package.  However, you still have to do the math grunt work (I read the synopsis in a recent PC Gamer issue).