22 Mar 2004, 05:03

How not to make a sequel

One of my favorite games of all time is the orginal Deus Ex. It was a conspiracy theory riddled masterpiece that blended RPG and first person shooter elements plus stealth action in an utterly addictive way that I’d never seen before. Its sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, has been out for a while now but due to hearing some negative reviews and also having completely no time to devote to it, I hadn’t gotten around to trying it until I rented the Xbox version this weekend. After playing it, I’d like to offer some tips to anyone that’s looking to make a bad sequel to a game. The basic idea is this: take all the best things about the original game, and “fix” them in the sequel. For example, if the original had unconfined environments that made you feel like they were part of a living and breathing world, replace that in the sequel with spaces that feel completely contrived for the purpose of shuffling you back and forth through the game world. If the original had a great experience and skill system for building and customizing your character, remove that completely in the sequel. If the original had a unique and creative system for “hacking” in-game computer systems that required some strategy and skill from your character, replace that with a system that involves hitting a button and watching a progress bar move. In short, don’t add anything new and interesting to the game and dumb down what make the original a classic. The thing is, Deus Ex: Invisible War is really not a bad game at all on its own merits. But, as a sequel to the original it fails in pretty much every aspect.

[Listening to: Pretty Girls Make Graves – This Is Our Emergency]