Even for the biggest studios, it’s an incredibly tall order to create a new and innovative IP that really takes off. Perhaps it’s even more difficult for AAA studios. For all their cachet and acclaim, the spotlight of the global industry is upon them, and there’s an awful lot of money on the line.
Smaller indie developers have a little more leeway to try something new, but the uphill battle to get projects the attention and sales they deserve is an entirely different headache.
Regardless of the scale of the team involved in creating a successful title, though, the issue of managing the follow-up is a universal one. Fans want more of the same, but not too much of the same. They want a budding series to evolve and grow, but not to change too much. In some blessed cases, a sequel arrives that gets the balance just right, but expectations are outrageously high and disappointment is, sadly, all too common.
Whether because they took off in a strange new direction, lacked that star quality that came before or were just mediocre, here are some of the most disappointing sequels in gaming.
10. Dead Space 3
Resident Evil 4, as previously mentioned, blended survival horror and third-person action about as effectively as possible. 2008’s Dead Space was another title that seemed to nail this.
Isaac Clarke is no formidable soldier, but an engineer who fights the horrific hordes on the Ishimura with (primarily) just salvaged mining tools. Battles are frantic, gross and gory, but (and this is paramount) they take a bit of a back seat to the palpable atmosphere the game generates throughout.
While Dead Space 2 largely followed this same template, 2013’s Dead Space 3 was perhaps a step too far. Mechanically, the reverse was true: The player’s journey across Tau Voltanis emphasized customizing weapons to give them a range of ridiculous attributes, and populated the world with vast swathes of enemies to try out your creations on.
For long-term fans, perhaps, something was a little lost in translation as a result. The trademark psychological horror was largely forgotten among all the shooting. Couple this with the fact that this would prove to be the last entry in the series (after the closing of Visceral Games), and fans are still hoping that Dead Space gets the swansong it deserves.