I recently watched the latest episode of Game Theory and it got me thinking hard enough to write another piece here on TAY. The episode covered innovation in the game industry, specifically whether or not gamers actually want innovation.
You can watch it here if you like, but the basic argument in the video is that we gamers don't really want innovation. Host MatPat backs up his claims with sales figures of various games, showing that cookie cutter sequels sell way better than games that try to do something different.
Why is this? MatPat basically boils it down to the fact that making a sequel similar to previous installments or incorporating ideas from other successful games is less risky than trying something new and therefore means more money for developers and publishers. But I think there's more to it than that.
This episode shows that the less innovative games are selling more than their more risky counterparts but it doesn't explain why they are selling more. Are we gamers afraid of change? Do we just want to keep replaying the experiences we already know we enjoy?
Other factors may be at work here. Games like Call of Duty appeal to a wide range of players, many of whom we gamers look down upon as the "Bro Gamers" and the casuals. Other companies want to cash in on that huge market. This explains why games abandon their roots to include generic FPS elements but not why the cookie cutter sequels do better than the more innovative ones. As I stated before I think it could be because we want games that closely capture the experience we expect from a given franchise.