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How Soon Is Too Soon For A Game Sequel?

You’ve found a new game you love, you’re ready to continue adventuring in the world it has created for you, but what is the optimal amount of time between the first and second game?  When is too soon?  When is too long?  At what point do you just stop caring?

Video game publisher Valve received a lot of heat earlier this year when it announced it would release Left 4 Dead 2 exactly one year to the day after the original Left 4 Dead.  This even resulted in a boycott by the community around the company saying they would not buy the sequel, but that didn’t end until shortly before the game came out.  It did, however, raise the all important question of how soon is too soon to release a sequel?  With the addition of downloadable content (DLC) to games, the old life expectancy of a game has been greatly extended as new content can be added at any time.

left 4 dead 2While one year was definitely too short of a window for the comfort of most people, two years appears to be becoming the standard for most series.

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series

11/5/07

11/10/09

?

Gears of War

11/21/06

11/7/08

?

Halo

11/15/01

11/9/04

9/25/07

Yes, there are exceptions, but I think the Halo series could have done anything it wanted and people wouldn’t have cared.

Then there is the exact opposite of releasing them too quickly … Duke Nukem Forever, anyone?  Even though it was announced in 1997, fans continued to hold out hope for the game to be released through May of this year when the developer, 3D Realms, shut down.  Even through twelve years of development, somehow some fans actually continued to hold out hope for the eventual release of the game, almost making you wonder if there really is a limit to how long a fan will wait for a sequel to a game franchise they love.

So, you have an obvious example of too short of a release cycle in the Left 4 Dead series, but then you have an example where people will hold on seemingly forever if it means they are going to get another installment.  Is this definitive proof that you can go too short, but never go too long?  Doubtful, but I think it does show that gamers have definite opinions on the subject.  What are your thoughts on the matter?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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