Does the video game industry suck as much as Hollywood?

It’s one thing for Hollywood to lack ingenuity these days, but why is it spilling over into the game industry? Don’t get me wrong: we’re all drinking the kool-aid and enjoying ourselves, but have we all become so complacent that we’ll give in to whatever is thrown at us? Nothing seems to garner a groundbreaking adjective before or after its title anymore.

EA’s Spore is basically a rehash of The Sims (I enjoy the game and highly recommend it for hours of somewhat mindless fun) and all shooter games, be it first or third person, are all the same. Don’t even get me started on sports titles. Every damn game is a remake of something else or mash-up. Nothing is new and yet we spent roughly $18 billion dollars last year on video games. The industry clearly isn’t hurting and we will have spent over $20 billion when this year is over.

So, I wonder if the sequels that are flooding the market now are that good or do we just not care for fresh content anymore. Every time someone mentions Gears of War 2, I can’t help but drool like a toddler and look at the hype surrounding Halo 3: Recon (Halo 3 made loads of dough if I recall correctly) or even Fallout 3 or Resistance 2 and everyone seems to be giddy over Fable II (I never played the first one and don’t see the appeal of this one). Do these titles offer something new? Kind of. Are the stories that good? Apparently.

A lot of the devs and creators of these sequels are looking to pull in gamers that never played the originals, which is probably a good thing. In Bethesda’s case it’s been a long time in between titles and they’ll easily snag some gamers like me based on demos and trailers.

Cliffy B wants casual gamers to get sucked into the new Gears, but he just hates the Wii.

“We want casual gamers to play the game and be sucked into the universe and finish the game,” said Cliff Bleszinski, lead games designer, Epic Games. “We want them to potentially finish with a friend and become a fan of the characters and the setting.”

And Molyneux wants you to do whatever the hell you feel like doing in Fable II.

“We’ve designed this game to allow the player to do whatever they wish, including getting married and having kids, playing mini-games and creating a custom character that will evolve as you play,” said Molyneux.

Insomniac’s CEO basically says the sequels are what the originals should have been.

“The end result is usually a game that’s bigger, more polished and has more innovative features than the original game.”

Then there are games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band that certainly don’t need to release a second or even third version. Let us download a huge update and charge us $20. Why waste all that money on packaging and fuel when you know we’re going to buy it anyway? Update the peripherals all you want. And what about franchises like Call of Duty or all those damned Tom Clancy games? How many times can you kill Hitler or a rogue faction of terrorists before it gets boring? Again, I won’t lie when I say I play all of them and enjoy them.

So what’s the deal? Are we just suckers and don’t care about ingenuity or are the creators and devs just that lame? What is it about sequels that have us hooked? Enough ranting from me, it’s cutting into my GoW2 drooling time.

Videogame makers banking on big hits with sequels [Reuters]