Undeveloped Videogame Theory of the Month:
Videogame Sequel Theory (VGiST) Phase 1
I’m sure this isn’t the first time I am mentioning this, but it has again been brought to my attention while playing a certain game (Xenosaga Episode II), and I figured I would try and solidify my thoughts into a solid theory.
The basic part of the theory to be discussed today goes like this: There is something going on inside the heads of game developers that makes them try to insert some sort of “badass” elements into sequels, which were not present, or even necessary, in the original.
There are many examples of this (and if you have any, feel free to mention them in the comments section; it will help in further research), but for the purposes of this months article I will just give three.<
Example 1: Prince of Persia. (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I HATE THIS EXAMPLE BUT IT WORKS TOO WELL TO IGNORE.) This is probably one of the best examples of when injecting a game series with the badass gene can go horribly wrong, and it’s definitely something I have mentioned before. The Sands of Time was a pretty entertaining game (even though my copy was a jackass), in part because of the games smarmy, cocky, humorous, whatever hero. The Generic Dual Swords, or whatever the next game was called (My father actually owns this game, so I have seen it and am not just guessing here), had the main character almost completely sucked dry of any charisma by being made into the generic “badass.” And that is hopefully the last time I will ever have to use that example.
Example 2: Kingdom Hearts II. Inserting the badass gene into such a game seems like a good idea, doesn’t it? To put it simply, someone in charge decided that Sora wasn’t enough of a hardcore badass in the first Kingdom Hearts, so he or she or…it decided to trade in Sora’s old, perhaps Disney-inspired outfit for the ever popular, badass black outfit. Fortunately his personality doesn’t change too much, as far as I can remember, but I can’t be sure the outfit change was a good thing.
Another nice thing they did is turn Mickey Mouse into some black-cloaked, super-martial-arts-knowing, Yoda-emulating, badass gene mutant. I guess it’s supposed to be cool when Mickey jumps off some building and fights a bunch of freaks with stylish jumping/slashing moves. Maybe if it hadn’t already been overdone with others.
Example 3: Xenosaga II. I will hold off on mentioning other aspects changed for this installment of the Xenosaga…saga…and just mention one thing. They added one of those badass-move-having samurai guys to this game. I want to say this isn’t the first sequel to stick in some badass with a samurai sword, but I didn’t bother to think up any examples. Maybe next time.
This leaves me with the questions: What’s with the obsession with the generic badass? Who is it that thinks they have to “improve” their sequel by sticking these generic characters in them? Am I the only one who thinks these badass characters are grossly overused? If you have the answer to any of these questions, I’d like to hear about it in the form of a comment in the comment box below. Perhaps next time I will do some real work on the VGiST theory instead of just recycling old examples. Or not.