Do you think that some CoG authors are relying too much on sequels?


#1

OK, first of all, I understand that most of the authors here are about as broke as I am, so they don’t have the time nor the money to make another tin star, but I still don’t like how most of the recent games that are supposed to have a sequel(s) don’t feel like they’re their own story.
Take “So, you’re possessed” for example. OK, even though it’s kinda short, I thought it was a pretty good game, the characters are likeable, the story is actually pretty interesting and is easily one of the funniest games I’ve played. But because of the cliffhanger and other plot threads being incomplete, I just can’t enjoy it to as much as I will when the rest of the parts get released.
There’s also “Samurai of Hyuga”.
This one is my favorite game from here. The humor is on point, the story is really gripping, the characters are memorable, the lore is really interesting, the writing’s very entertaining, it’s just all around great. But that cliffhanger at the end ruins the feeling of the game being its own story. I mean, I know the story still wouldn’t be over 'cause you haven’t defeated all the demons? (I don’t remember what they were) but aside from that, every other plot thread and character arc gets resolved in this game. OK, the characters can grow more later on, but they all still got enough development (well I guess Toshi could’ve been more fleshed out) and since you know how the story is gonna continue (they’ll beat the rest of the demons… Or whatever they were) it could’ve gotten a decent open ending.
I think a perfect example of something that has various sequels (or it’s going to) but still manages to make each installment feel like its own story are the Kung fu panda movies (I know these aren’t even games but bear with me). Even though they planned to make a franchise since the first movie, they’ve managed to make each of them be unique (as of now) because they don’t relay on future sequels to solve hanging plot threads (like Terminator: Genesys btw…) They finish the character arcs on each movie but still allow for more growth later on. And the respective villains get defeated on each movie. I know you could argue that the second movie ends on a cliff hanger when Po’s dad says “my son is alive” but that pretty much tells you that he knows he’s alive and he’s gonna look for him. Plus, EVERYTHING else gets resolved so I think this is a pretty decent open ending.
This isn’t really something that pisses me off or anything, but I guess I just would like that the games that are supposed to have sequels gave more closure (and as I mentioned with KP even an open ending can work well if done right).
What do you guys think?


A series Vs. One book
#2

Just my personal opinion of course. I get the frustration with cliffhanger, Tin Star was also really great, loved it. But I would prefer cliffhanger over grammar and spelling that makes me cringe. Especially if the intro is great and everything following afterwards makes me regret to have bothered with it in the first place o.o


#3

From my perspective, writing a series/trilogy can make a lot of sense for three reasons especially.

  1. It gives you more of a payoff for all the time spent on universe building and character development. I think about fictional characters closest to my heart, and they are almost all TV characters. Why? Because you get a more intimate look at them as opposed to in movies. Movies just don’t have the time to slowly build characters with a lot of subtle, “down time” moments. I think about Office, Parks and Rec, New Girl, Community, Modern Family, even Big Bang. So if you, as an author, create characters and a universe that you are fond of, why stop at a one-shot story? Let the story breathe instead of cramming it all into 100,000 words.

  2. It can be more economically beneficial for the author. From reading tons of author sites, it seems the lesson to authors is, “branding your story is good, but branding your series is better!” (of course branding YOURSELF is best). Most of the reviews I’ve read re: CCH indicate that they want to buy Part 2. So I have a built in audience for Part 2, and hopefully word of mouth will grow that existing audience. In other words, I’ve already won some people over and I’m not starting from scratch all over again.

  3. Readers like them! Readers like not having to learn a whole new set of characters in every book/game! You can jump right in and continue the adventure. Also, you can be somewhat assured that you’ll enjoy a sequel (certainly not a guarantee!) if you liked the previous book/game.


#4

Besides, ‘sequels’ in some instances are really more serials. I think that’s often true with CoG and Hosted Game series.

And serials are a time-honoured and very successful method of publication. ‘A Study in Scarlet’, the first of the Sherlock Holmes stories, was originally serialized in the Strand Magazine in 1887, for instance. And those were fairly popular.

Comics (or graphic novels) have also been serialized since the 1800s, I think in part so that their creators would have the money to eat while spending the time necessary to continue creating. I suspect it’s also in part, as @HornHeadFan points out, because it gives readers something both excitingly new and familiar-feeling at the same time.

This seems to be particularly true in anything resembling the adventure genre. It’s why characters like Holmes, Tarzan, Tintin, and Batman are so instantly popular and are still loved in all sorts of countries, whereas one-off characters like Cyrus Harding or Alan Breck Stewart are much less known. (Of course, there are always exceptions - Long John Silver or Scarlett O’Hara, for instance, but still. They’re not generally the multi-million dollar franchises, or the ones with endless merchandise and spin-offs, and so forth.)


#5

I do agree with you, but as long as it’s implied or stated ahead of time that the game will have sequels there’s no problem. Even then, an impressive enough writer can both close out the plot of that arc while continuing the story.

My favorite example is Sabres of Infinity, where you wonder how the war will end but still get closure for many characters.

Another, more recent example is Community College Hero, where the major problems and antagonists are now more in the open, but the situation doesn’t feel extreme or any more intense.

In both games I want to see a sequel, but it isn’t like some other games where I feel disappointed that they ended on such a note.


#6

@Fiogan @HornHeadFan @Amalia_Schroter
I get that, actually, some of my favorite stories (both from inside and outside of this site) have sequels and prequels. So it’s not dividing the games in different parts that I dislike (hell, I think I prefer that since it serves to expand more its universe and its story) is making them feel like you won’t enjoy them to the fullest if you don’t play their sequels, what I don’t like. And I think that what annoys me the most is, well, the wait.
I mean if you played, say, the heroes rise trilogy then you’re set because they’ve all been released. But right now I’m waiting for SoH 2, CCH 2, Pendragon rising 2 (I HOPE there’ll be sequel) SYP 2 etc… And if they left me with more closure it would make the wait more bearable. But I guess CCH actually left me more with kind of a sense of closure (although I don’t think that I’ve seen everything that there is to see on this game) and pendragon rising would be perfect if it wasn’t for the epilogue.


#7

I go about that this way:
I will play them once and not touch them again until the sequel is released and when they are, replay them completly. Reason? I will not be able to remember everything and I can promise to you that if something that seemed like an important plot point, is ignored, I will get really disappointed :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

@Lotus I totally forgot about SoI! :smiley: I actually felt pretty good when I finished it. It has a pretty well done open ending. My only complaint is that the fate of a certain character just hangs in the air and I don’t think that I remember the game explaining that they only got captured not killed, as I always thought 'till I read the character’s explanations of the sequel’s demo.
But aside from that I thought it was a pretty satisfying ending.
@Amalia_Schroter Well I don’t have that kind of willpower XD I’ve played SoH like 5 times since it got released, and that only helps to remind me how incomplete the game feels after the ending… But I still can’t help playing it XD.


#9

I actually end up whining when there is a work in progress and I go into it knowing that I might long for a lot more at the end of the WIP and actually end longing for a lot more(happened just now :frowning: )


#10

Its a matter of patience, waiting is the worst part. There’s nothing wrong with them and its fun to play through the next installment and I’ve no problem with an open end as long as the promise left with that dangling thread is fullfilled.

Although on the flip side of things with these loose threads and expectations, in particular with games I find myself dreaming of ‘how great they will be’ the anticipation and expectation of something can often damage the reality of something.

The comedian Lewis Black has a great bit on anticipation, and it captures what I want to say very well. In the moments of anticipation we as people dream up our own little version of what we’re waiting for and its perfect. BUT when the moment comes it becomes reality and we all know reality kinda sucks in comparison, so it ‘colors’ our perception as ‘awe this wasn’t all that good’ which isn’t always true sometimes sequels are really good but we’ve got this expectation that dulls the shinyness.

So in all this expectation and anticipation on these sequels we get a little jaded, the old trope being “Nothing’s as good as the original” (raise a hand if you’ve heard that one). You can see how that makes us feel about seeing these loose plot threads. I’ve cursed out a few games for doing that to me… I’m looking at you Dragon AGE!!!

So take sequels and the prospect of them with ‘a grain of salt’ and try not to let your own ‘dream sequels’ outshine what really comes out. Appreciate the work and the ability to lose yourself again in a good story, to go all hippy-dippy ‘live in the now man you’ll be happier’


#11

Can’t say i HATE open endings but they can still be fairly irritating, especially cliffhangers. I believe that to tell a good story there also needs to be a good ending (Or atleast a satisfying one). Ending a story with a huge cliffhanger where barely anything is resolved and open is just lazy. A sequel to a game/book (whatever you call it) doesn’t need to build upon the same story as the first one. Just like in movies, if the first movie is about a hero overcoming his fear about spiders or something the sequel doesn’t also need to be about the hero overcoming his fear of spiders (silly comparison, i know).

Ofcourse there will always be a necessity for money so if the first game/book ends on a cliffhanger there will most likely be an amount of people that would buy the sequel just to resolve the cliffhanger. BUT that’s no excuse for anyone to cut a story short just to get more money out of the sequel. I’d say it’s more “satisfying” for both the reader and the writer if you make a story that is concluded rather than open ended since a sequel doesn’t need to tackle the same story.


#12

I honestly don’t mind sequels. Many of my favorite books are a part of a trilogy. What I don’t really care for is a fragment of a story.

The first book needs a climax and a resolution. A few loose ends are okay to set up the sequel, but the central conflict has to be resolved. An example on my mind these days is Star Wars. Whatever sub-plots there are the central conflict of that story is the rebels trying to destroy the death star, and in the end. . KABOOM! They did exactly that.

Some of the series starters get this right Heroes Rise comes to mind. Others like the first Versus and Lost Heir are long on set up short on resolution. When an author does that it’s less like writing a story and a sequel, and more like writing one story, and selling it in pieces.

***Oh and I noticed the author of “Community College Hero” commenting earlier on this topic. First I loved your story. Second, and more on-topic, I thought you did a great job making the first volume feel complete. I look forward to the sequels.


#13

@valterw
I agree, but I think that as long as the only thing that the games share (aside from the characters obviously) is the main plot, there’s no problem. Like in CCH, there’s gonna be 3 games and they share the main plot, which is beating the villains (I know it isn’t that simple but that’s the main thing) but every other side plot gets resolved on the first part, so even if there are two sequels coming it still feels like its own game. Or like SoH, seriously that game would’ve been a perfect standalone story (even thogh there are going to be sequels) but the cliffhanger ending sorta ruins it.

@Snoe
Yeah the hype can ruin a game (or anything, really) but I guess what annoys the most is not just the wait, but also that what if (for whatever reason), the author can’t continue with the story anymore?
If it’s something that you really didn’t care much about, then of course it doesn’t matter to you, but if it’s a game (or whatever) that you really cared for, then having an open ending with all the side stories and character arcs resolved, would make the fact that it’s probably never gonna get finished more bearable.


#14

I agree with you completely. I think a game should be able to stand on its own as much as possible, having a satisfying ending but leaving some room for anticipation about the possibilities of a well-crafted universe. Kind of like Back to the Future or Toy Story, lol.


#15

Yes. ( Not the Infinity series though… )


#16

Then The Empire Strikes Back came out, and everyone was angry.


#17

Haha, if I jump in, will I be considered a biased source? I hope not! :sweat_smile:

So, @HornHeadFan made great points that I agree with and I will just add my own two cents, for what they are worth. I won’t speak for other authors, but I do want to illuminate some personal reasons why this works that might apply to others. We broke SYP into multiple parts, not for money and certainly not to aggravate any fans, but because…

  1. We have other full-time jobs. We love writing, but it is something we have to find time for crammed in along all our lovely, adult responsibilities that, sadly, have first priority. So, breaking them down into individual games gives us a closer goal line to set so that we at least have something out there.

  2. We wanted to see if the very concept had any traction at all. While Tony and I have both had some prior amateur success in local writing contests, for example, neither of us had ever published anything professionally and we weren’t 100% that readers would be as fond of the story and characters as we were. I guess SYP was proving to ourselves that not only could we do it, but it was worth it and people would want more. If everyone had hated it, well…at least we hadn’t spent all that time (see #1 above) on one giant, epic novel.

  3. Our ideas have changed with time and rewrites. I’m glad SYP has a natural segue point where we could stop, take a breather, and consider all our options for the next part, because I think with some of the feedback we received and having that whole experience under our belt, we will be able to make the sequel even better (more refined coding, implementing greater branching choices, etc.).

In light of all these and the fact that I myself am I HUGE fan of series and also chafe at the thought of waiting for new volumes, we DO post short stories and new artwork for FREE through our FB fan page (forgive my shameless plug? lol) to help tide people over and expand on the SYP universe in ways that we find don’t quite fit the CoG format. We will continue to do so periodically until we have finalized the sequel.

Hope I haven’t overstepped my bounds, here, but hopefully that helps. :wink: Thank you!


Sequels and Series