In Defense of the Lone Game

I recently finished playing Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, a video game developed by Ninja Theory. The game was a fantastic experience. I am extremely glad I have played it, and I think everyone else should give it a try as well. Yet, despite all this, I hope there is never a direct sequel.

The story in Enslaved leads up to a climatic conclusion, where the storyline resolves in a drastic action. This action is morally ambiguous. The actions are left up to the player to decide whether the final actions were the correct decision for the characters to make.

A sequel would demand an endorsement or condemnation of the ending actions. In order to continue the story with these characters, the authors must address the events to at least some degree. The final resolution will no longer be something for the player to ponder; it will be set in stone by the opening setup of the sequel.

Any sequel should be set with side characters, a different part of the world, or a drastically different time period. Ninja Theory seems to realize this as well. The one DLC released follows the side character Pigsy and is set before the events of the main game. This allows them to offer meaningful additional elements without taking away from the original experience.

This kind of restraint is rare in an industry where sequels are the dominate force in the industry. The most common “game of the year” from both 2009 and 2010 were sequels (Uncharted 2 and Mass Effect 2). The best selling game in both years were part of a long running franchise (Call of Duty). A lone game, that is complete in and of itself, is a rare treat. Here is hoping for more of them to come.

-That is all.

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