History has shown a saturation point exists for all genres. Fighting games were in a creative rut since the late 90's. Rhythm action games are now seeing that even their quality titles are missing with an audience that fervently supported them during the genre's initial boom.
"Yes, I Miss Fester's Quest Too"
I'd like to say that a multitude of sequels and creatively bankrupt concepts within a franchise will inevitably turn off any group of fanboys, then again -- the reason I started writing this article was a result of me misreading hype surrounding one of the most popular space-marine shooter sequels.
What makes the shooter genre impervious to the woes that affected the side-scrolling beat'em up or the FPS's oft confused cousin -- the shmup [side-scrolling shooters]? Obviously these genre's didn't die. As a credit to the growth of the gaming industry its improbable to think any game genre will completely die-off.
Heck, people are still making new text adventure games. But first-person and third-person shooters are arguably the least creative gaming genre. Space marine, rogue bad ass and of course war hero are the staple devices used in the vat of uninspired thin plot lines currently being churned out to the public.
I guess an argument could be made that the quality of an FPS or TPS [sorry couldn't resist] relies heavily on the superficial graphical fidelity and technological feature list which improves with the evolution of gaming tech. We are a ways away from the first Quake aren't we?
I Held Out Hope That R-Type Final Would Sell Well Enough On The PS2 That The Shmup Genre Would Re-visit Biohazard Battle. My Cries Were Not Heard.
Maybe if there were a suitable 16-bit franchise competitor those Mega Man X games wouldn't have been so repetitive. Capcom would also see their Street Fighter fan base shrink due to too many iterations, weird additions and being one of the representatives of a genre running on fumes and waning reception to the world of 3D fighting. Sounds a lot like the sport and music genres of last year [minus the 3D fighting part]. Again, I see no issue with developers going back to the drawing board. I'd just like to see it more.
It's odd to think that the many formulas won't be changing any time soon. Can you see the day when a Halo or a Call of Duty struggles to break a million copies sold? Do we want to see that? As much as games are a medium of creativity and storytelling, gaming in this generation has made it crystal clear that this is very much a business. Big budget games need to perform well for studios and thus less risk is taken. We can only hope that the rising tide of dollar bills lifts most of the creativity boats. However, this current trend of low risk explains why most sequels feel more like "patch updates" or "1.5s" and less like a new adventure with your favorite hero.