It's tough to keep a video game franchise creative. The more years that pass, and the more gaming trends change, the bigger the chances things get of becoming stale.
The usual response to this is a franchise reinvention, a new creative direction that shakes things up and gets people interested again. It's tough to pull off, but when it's done right, you can take a series to the next level or, if times are desperate, save one from the brink of destruction.
The great thing about video games is that they are malleable. Rather than doing the same thing over and over, they're able to shift gears and subvert expectations - just think of the constant, amazing reinventions the Resident Evil series has undergone, or the recent shift in direction for God of War.
This change is something to be celebrated in the video game space, and franchises shouldn't feel constrained by their own tropes and conventions.
That said, sometimes a recalibration of a beloved series is done for all the wrong reasons, where their unique identity is swapped out for something far more generic, far safer, and far more boring than what made them beloved to begin with.
8. Assassin's Creed
The original Assassin's Creed games felt like a breath of fresh air for the gaming industry, tightly focused on social stealth, parkour and an interesting Assassin vs Templar story with a sci-fi twist.
However, after years of annualised release that became increasingly buggy and stale, fresh ideas were needed. Rather than figure out how to take the core components of the series and provide a new spin on them though, Ubisoft looked to other games for inspiration.
From Assassin's Creed: Origins onwards, the franchise turned into a bloated action-RPG that included every sandbox trope under the sun. Incorporating elements from The Witcher 3 in particular, modern Assassin's Creed is trying to be the "everygame", with a loot system that wouldn't feel out of place in Destiny, combat based around abilities and cooldowns, and a massive open world that's no longer built around parkour.
That't not to say the games haven't been enjoyable of course, but when there's barely a focus on the Assassins and their stories in a game called Assassin's Creed, why give it this title at all?
Though the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Mirage is largely dropping this new approach and going back to basics, this will be short-lived as Ubisoft have already announced plans for a live-service future for the franchise.