A Games Life Cycle – Keeping Things Fresh
One thing that I always look out with games, is the longevity of its life, will DLC be added later on? Is it just a yearly iteration and another one will be along in 12 month’s time?
The question then begs with the yearly iterations, is it worth getting it year after year? Should games be pushed out every year?
My answer to that currently is no. Publishers and developers shouldn’t peddle a game year after year. One example to take from this is the Call of Duty franchise, for 20 years they have released a new game and for this writer, it’s got to the point where it’s too much. I know that they’ve mentioned that this year’s game is going to be a follow-up to 2019’s Modern Warfare and then 2023’s game has been delayed which will make it the first time in two decades that there has not been any main Call of Duty release.
So, my next question is, if there is going to be a greater gap in between the release of the next game what could be done to keep interest rolling? One game you could look at which has recently released its first wave of DLC is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch. A game that is 5 years old has just had a set of new tracks released for it and over the coming months, there are more set to be released with a total of 48 (!!) new tracks to play. This is the way to reinvigorate a game, yes, OK, it was a steady seller still for the switch and one of the top games that people will probably play, but adding all these new tracks is bound to drum up more sales not just for the game, but potentially for Switch consoles.
This leads me back to Call of Duty. Why is one released every year? Why can’t one game be given a 3–5-year lifespan with new maps added over that time. Have yearly passes which will add in cosmetics, gun prototypes, and more, but also add more depth to the game with new maps. 6-12 new maps every other month being added would add a steady stream of content and keep people coming back for more on a regular basis. To me, doing something like this just makes sense.
Another game that’s a good example of this is Elder Scrolls Online, released in 2014 and has been added massive new areas to the game on a yearly basis. Elsweyr, Summerset, Morrowind, Greymoor just to name a few of the big updates that have come into the game and there is another one launching later in the year. For those of you thinking that I’m mad comparing a massive MMO to Call of Duty, if you think of it this way Call of Duty’s multiplayer and online presence is massive, the number of players it has on a daily basis far surpasses most games.
What is interesting to think about is what other games could benefit from doing something like this, or other games which have been out there for a few years which would benefit from a fresh lease of life.
Most of the games that I could think of are Nintendo based, one being Super Mario Odyssey, adding new areas into it as DLC would spark people to come back and even a bump in sales, especially if it’s given an ‘Ultimate Edition’ refresh and you can buy a physical copy of the game with the DLC included. Animal Crossing has also shown that the DLC model works well with the Happy Homes Paradise.
This was one of the things I loved about Forza Horizon 4, it was released in 2018 and was maintained for nearly 3 years before Forza Horizon 5 was released in November last year. The expansions that were brought into Horizon 4 kept me coming back to the game and any who read my review of the game know just how much I love the series. I will be honest here and hope that Horizon 5 gets the same treatment and isn’t just a stop-gap till the new Motorsport game comes out.
I think everyone was expecting Mario Kart 9 to be announced, so it was probably a bit of a shock when the tracks were announced for Mario Kart 8. This is probably a good tactic from Nintendo, it will give them more time to sort Mario Kart 9 and make it polished, that’s if it’s in development, there has been nothing concrete mentioned, but with this being one of Nintendo’s staple brands, I can’t see them not having the new game in development.
In my opinion, this needs to happen more across gaming, more games need to be given longevity, some games are absolutely brilliant and then they’re tucked away when the next best thing comes along and this just rinses and repeats.
I know above I may have spoken a lot about the Call of Duty franchise, but to me, it is a prime example of where you could have the lifespan of a game extended over 2 to 3 years and add new content to it over that time, but instead, the cash cow needs to be flogged, and in this writer’s opinion, this needs to stop.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it can be done with every game, but there are certain types of games and genres where you think that the longevity of a game’s life should be a lot longer than it is.