November. Bloody November. Every year we greet this month with both excitement and fear as each Friday gets bombarded with so many new releases that our wallets simply can’t keep up. It’s largely due to the number of sequels and annual franchises that resurface this time of year to capitalise on the festive season.
We’ve selected the following offenders not because we’ve stopped loving them, quite the opposite. We’re worried their once impeccable standards are lowering, their fun qualities are wearing thin and their regularity is making
them less important than they should be.
1: ASSASSIN’S CREED
Remember when Assassin’s Creed was the glistening white dove of the new and original IP? Those days are long gone and the release of Revelations, the third instalment in three years, is starting to show signs that the series is starting to suffer from fatigue. Ubisoft’s hundred-strong development teams are hard at work on the next chapter in Desmond’s story slated for a 2012 release but this story has already started to fall a little from grace.
2: CALL OF DUTY
Activision’s cash cow is an easy target when it comes to overdoing it but it’s not hard to see why when you look at the numbers. Its success demands multiple dev teams crunching to meet its punctual November release and million dollar events to show off the latest map packs. Call of Duty isn’t going anywhere but history has shown that Activision doesn’t know when to say no. Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk can attest to that.
Arguably, we’ve not had enough Layton. The 3Ds debut ‘Mask of Miracle’ has been doing the rounds in Japan for nine months now and, assuming the trend of holiday releases continues, it’ll be another 12 before we get our mitts on the professor’s newest tale. But are we that eager? Layton’s become Nintendo’s go-to franchises, a safe series that keeps the Nintendo DS afloat over the Christmas period. After so many towns filled with residents riddled with conundrums, being a gentleman is starting to lose its charm.
4: JUST DANCE
There are 10 dancing games out this Christmas. 10! And you can blame the majority of them on the success of Just Dance, Ubisoft’s party-friendly series that exploded on the Wii and has only gotten bigger since making the move to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. But just like Rock Band and Guitar Hero before it, what goes up must come tumbling down and this year’s abundance of dancing games suggests the fad might have peaked already.
Halo is one of Microsoft’s biggest franchises and don’t we know it. Though not strictly an annual series, in the past three years we’ve had at least one new entry a year from the series from parables like O.D.S.T. and this year’s remake of Combat Evolved. Bungie waved goodbye to the series well over a year ago but with 343 Industries picking up the pace for an all-new trilogy starting with Halo 4 next year, the return of Master Chief is looking less exciting than it should.
That’s our five. If you can think of other franchises that are overdoing it with the yearly releases, let us know in the comments.
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