May 25, 2017 Last Updated 3:32 PM, May 24, 2017

Overhyped Sequels: Or, Be Careful What You Wish For

Published in Editorial
Read 369 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Tagged under

We all know Valve is trolling us about Half-Life 3 by now, and the common argument tells us that if they ever did release it, after all this time, it’d never live up to the hype. It’s just bad for business. But would we really want it, at this point, anyway?

On the other hand, there’s WarCraft 4. Blizzard hasn’t really been trolling us on this one the way Valve has – a sequel to this franchise is expected as though it were part of some natural progression. Again, this comes down to a business decision. Blizzard wants to dominate e-sports, but right now StarCraft 2 is filling the RTS slot in this regard, while WarCraft will be juiced for its MMO potential as long as they can get away with cranking out new expansions using the same engine. But the frustrating thing is, WarCraft 4 would undoubtedly live up to its name and please fans.

Don’t get me wrong, there basically isn’t a bigger Half-Life fanboy than me.

I still remember the unprecedented excitement I felt at a young age when my friend and I played the opening level of the original Half-Life and jumped in fright as an alien suddenly warped into view with an impressive display of green lightning bolts. I immediately started saving up $300 to buy my first video card (the now-ancient Voodoo3) in order to pack my harddrive to the brim with Half-Life and begin my epic journey. It was, and still is, essentially, the original sci-fi thriller.

I even go back from time to time and replay the original, plus all of its expansions, then greedily marathon through the sequel and all of its episodes. Half-Life 2 was just as groundbreaking as the first with its now-legendary gravity gun and experimental physics. The world was polished and beautiful, and though many say it took so long to make that it was basically outdated by release time, I still stand by it.

But here’s the thing: Half-Life was groundbreaking because of its mystery. Would you really want to get the whole story on G-Man and have Gordon Freeman’s tale come to an end? I, personally, would rather let my imagination run wild and get my fix by playing awesome fan-made mods like Nova Prospekt and They Hunger. This is almost certainly why the Half-Life 2 episode expansions contained little in the way of plot revelations, and for good reason.

WarCraft 4 is a different story

Blizzard takes its time with franchise sequels and seldom, if ever, disappoints. I am showing my age when I say that, in my glory days of gaming, I would lug the terrible Sam’s Club-bought rig — which I got second-hand from my parents — to LAN parties, set up a tangled web of CAT-5 cables, and play eight-hour games of Age of Empires II (— and own, I might add). WarCraft 3 was a revolutionary addition as soon as someone got their hands on a copy and brought it along to one of these nerd-fests, and to this day I still watch pros play it on YouTube.

Blizzard has a talent for taking quintessential ideas from our culture and boiling them down into beautiful models, chunky rounded edges, and vibrant colors, all for our entertainment. They take successful themes, cut out the fluff, and make them better. Then, they make a sequel, and it blows us away all over again.

StarCraft 2 was something nobody thought would ever come out, then it did. It destroyed the hype by being more than we imagined. With each expansion, the story got better, the races got more fun to play, and the eye candy increased. The same would undoubtedly happen with WarCraft 4, but it just isn’t a priority for Blizzard.

In the end, companies will do what they can to make money, and we, as fans, don’t have a lot of control over that. We can only hope and wish, but be careful what you wish for – in an alternate universe, Half-Life 3 has likely been relegated to the vast ranks of disappointing sequels, even though WarCraft 4 is probably killing it.

Nicholas Barkdull

Nic is a freelance writer, doctoral student, and devout PC gamer. He says he's not a hipster but still insists that the best games are either decades old or made by one guy in a basement. This includes things like Undertale or any Final Fantasy that was released on Super Nintendo. He is also an RTS fanatic.

Related items

  • PREY - AAA Anonymous Epi. 15

    With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers Arkane's anticipated 2017 release: PREY.

  • Visualnoveler Announces Destiny Chronicles

    Visualnoveler announces its next Fantasy Action JRPG game, Destiny Chronicles, an action role-playing game that follows Celeste, a young squire, as she journeys across a mysterious land filled with ancient ruins and dangerous monsters to reclaim a powerful stolen artifact and prove herself worthy of knighthood.

  • Playcrafting Spring Expo 2017

    “Jus’ watch me, you joyk,” New York might say. While the city doesn’t attract big name game studios yet, it has a growing and energetic indie game scene. The members of this scene are gaming devotees looking for communal support and wishing for New York to support small entrepreneurship and can-do attitudes. Programs to help start-ups exist, like NYU-Poly, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, and NYC Seed. However, the landscape lacks initiatives which support video game developers, specifically.

  • Battle of Bucharest: Mount and Blade’s First eSports Event Announced

    The live finals will match up the best European Mount & Blade players in Bucharest on May 20 to compete for a prize pool of $10,000. The event is organized by the Lithuanian Esports Federation with the support of TaleWorlds Entertainment and hosted at the PGL Studio in Bucharest, Romania.

  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 Game Master Mode Unveiled

    Larian Studios has today unveiled details on Game Master Mode in the upcoming RPG Divinity: Original Sin 2. This mode will let fans of tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder create their own pen and paper campaigns from top to bottom, using Divinity’s unique combat system to bring battles to life.

  • Mirage: Arcane Warfare Beta Gets 9 New Maps and Character Customization

    Torn Banner Studios, creators of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, have launched a refresh of the currently-running closed beta for their upcoming magic ‘n melee multiplayer combat game Mirage: Arcane Warfare. Live on Steam now, this update includes a series of gameplay tweaks and improvements implemented by the team based on feedback from current beta testers.

  • Jujubee Announces More Content to Realpolitiks

    The newly-developed content update will be available from May 5th via online stores, including Steam, to coincide with the release of the retail version in Central Europe. The update is free to all legal owners of the game.

  • The Bittersweet Rebuild

    Why am I like this? Why did I let a few frame drops in Overwatch annoy me to the point of spending hundreds of dollars on new PC components that will just inevitably annoy me in the exact same way a few years from now?

More in this category: The Bittersweet Rebuild »

Latest Shows

PREY - AAA Anony…

With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers Arkane's anticipated 2017 release: PREY.

Mass Effect: And…

With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers what is to many the most anticipated PC release of the year: Mass ...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

Nex Machina

Nex Machina is an intense arcade style twin-stick shooter from Housemarque. Taking hints from both R...

Danganronpa Anot…

Komaru Naegi has been imprisoned inside a mysterious apartment for over a year. Her rescue is derail...

Final Fantasy XI…

Dive into the next chapter of the critically acclaimed game FINAL FANTASY XIV Online with its epic n...

DIRT 4

DiRT 4 is all about embracing fear. It’s about the thrill, exhilaration and adrenaline that is absol...

Farming Simulato…

The price point of the Farming Simulator: Big Bud DLC is pretty high for the content that it includes. While the models are fantastic and a cut above mods of the same machines in e...

Forts Review

Forts is an exceptional example of how a release can properly integrate many mechanics, from multiple genres, and get it right. The fast-paced challenge of managing multiple tasks ...

OVIVO Review

Ovivo is a beautiful piece that melds art, exploration, and mystery in a unique platform–adventure title. The levels are engaging, the gameplay intuitive. Unfortunately, the lack o...

Empathy: Path of…

Empathy: Path of Whispers is an atmospheric and story-driven adventure game where you explore a seemingly abandoned world through the emotions and memories of the people who once i...