Take a gamer, a "creator", an actor, a procrastinator and throw it all together and you'd pretty much get me. I got into gaming by the Nintendo 64. Some of my favorites are L.A Noire, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Red Steel 2, Team Fortress 2, Gmod and plenty others.
If there's one thing you need to have in the buisness in order to become successful is credability. You do good things and have a good attitude, you can usually end up in a good place. With a series, you need to know exactly what your audience wants. And by doing that, you need to leave a good impression on your audience. But even if you do leave a good impression on your audience, you have to make sure that people will be able to enjoy the next part of the series or the series as a whole. But if you don't, you'll be singing these blues. Today, I'm here to see what could cause a series to lose it's appeal from newcomers and/or veterans.
Changing Major Things In A Series:
A series is like a tower of Jenga blocks. You have to be very careful with it or else everything will end up in shambles. Usually, companies know what to do so that their product doesn't end up collapsing onto themselves. That's because they do small precise moves. But when it comes to something major in a series, changing how everything works out usually ends up in disaster. I mean, there's a lot of flame wars that have brewed up in the past. And there's possible three reasons as to why that is.
Now, what do I mean by attitude? Well...I'm talking about the whole feel of a series. You know, if it's for kids or for adults. If it's a comedy or a tradegy. If it's symbolic or just there for the sake of being there. When you grab your series and decide to work around certain guidelines, it makes it quite difficult for you to switch to a different sort of feel. What do I mean? Well, suppose we got something over the top goofy. It's beyond non-sensical. It basically has no point whatsoever and follows a simple formula. Now we take this series and give it a dose of extreme character development, complex plot elements and explanation.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "This actually would be a more suitable change for a series." But let's examine this further. Say that this series simplicity allows for people to enjoy it. That it's over the top madness allowed for wonderful moments. By switching it all over and causing the structure of a series to be altered, there is a chance that it will weaken the series as a whole. But what series could we name that has switched the attitude, causing for shark-jumping to occur. Well, there's a lot to name, but I seem to be concerned with the Sonic comic book series for some reason.
From extensive research and TV Troping, I've realized that the Sonic comic
book series has been deemed questionable. I mean, the original product of the Archie corporation is Archie, a comic book based on a guy that loves two girls...but would never end up in a threesome with them. Simply put, it's old-fashioned morals in a new world. Now this company is quite benign and the Sonic comic book series are usually forgotten of. Why? Well, around Issue 50, I believe, there had been a sudden spike of absurdity. How so? Well...they just found a way to turn "hedgehog vs mad scientist going after magic jewels" into "spiky mammal who works among a rebellious organization engaging in heated battle against a completely maniacal robot-creator along with other villainous character going after mind-boggling historical artifacts that can affect the world." Simply put, it overcomplicated everything.
The fact of the matter is, the game's didn't have that much backstory. They simply had the basics of a hero/villain dilema. I mean, even when the previous issues were releases, they still stayed somewhat true to the series's feel. They just added a few more members. But slowly, it became more clustered. By making it more clustered, the comics were just left as a subject of debate amongst the hardcore of the hardcore Sonic fans and were ignored by the other Sonic fans. It just wasn't how they invisioned the series.
The cast of series is vital for making your series enjoyable to the consumer. Without characters that you can cling to, your series will slowly lose it's appeal. But how does the cast of a series actually affect it in a negative way? Well, there's adding a character, killing a character off and altering a character. Adding a character isn't a bad idea. But you can guarantee chaos through flame wars (or large rating drops), this character that you are adding must be used in order to gain a new demographic or if this character is before or after the permanent death of a character. Killing a character overall is a very risky procedure. Especially if you decide to shoot in the dark and kill someone that actually made your series redeemable. Finally, if you alter a main character in a manner most unfitting...I can't really say that you're safe.
But if you would like me to develop even further on these two (since the third one is more related to my first point) ideas, then I shall. Adding a character usually means that the other characters must interact with this particular character. And sometimes, the way that they interact trigger a domino effect. That emotion translates into a plot point or a conflict. Perhaps it would be better if I gave you an example. Have you seen The Fairly Odd Parents at some point? Well, if you have, you might have either seen a rerun of an old episode or a rerun of a recent episode. The way you can tell if it's old or new is the addition of Poof. Poof was a character that was added to series for a reason that I don't of. Anyways, by adding Poof into the show, there was more focus in raising Poof. Basically, he would serve as a nuisance that would distract viewers from the main focus. If this still isn't getting to you, then just look at the Raving Rabbids series as a whole. Once you do, maybe you'll understand how the predicament arises. But if not, then I can't spoon feed you anymore. Moving on....
Killing off a character is nothing out of the ordinary. In cartoons, death can occur...and at times it's just random bystanders, one-time filler characters or just an reoccuring joke. But then there's the issue of permanently killing off a character that was a large part of the series. Now, would it be safe to say that no show could pull this move off right? Not really. But the thing is that if a new character is replacing the old one, it must find a way to connect to the series as a whole but at the same time avoiding being the same character with a different design. Therefore, by replacing the character, you face the problem of trying to complete a puzzle with a different shaped piece. But then you may ask yourself what would happen if a major character dies and they don't get replaced. Well...truth be told, that rarely occurs. And if it did, the series would need solid characters that could fill that hole in without having to replace it. And chances are that it won't happen.
This particular argument can't be applied to anything else except games. So techinally, I'm creating 2.5 arguments to back up my view as to why a series could lose it's creditability. But since this is Screwattack, I might as well be talking about this. Like the other two choices in this list, gameplay gets familiar in a series once you establish it. If your games are platformer, they follow the platformer mechanics. The only thing that changes with gameplay is the controls. And in order to make people come back to your series, you need to add things that they like, remove things they hate and test out new things to see if it works or not. But if there's one thing you usually don't want to do, is change it too much, or else you'll create a black sheep of the series. Case in point, Super Paper Mario.
Super Paper Mario is considered by many, the black sheep of the series. Not many fans of the series enjoyed this game. Why? Well, it decided to ditch the RPG element that the series was fond of and instead gave it a more platform like engine. Instead of having to do turn based battles, you did it in real time. And there was more puzzle involved in the game (though mostly all the puzzles's solutions were "DERP FLIP FROM 2D to 2.5/3D"). Since the vast majority of gamers were more familiar to the stragetizing, grinding and side-mission aspect of the games, it was reasonable to see why Super Paper Mario was left out. Now, the thing about this change (as well as the others) is that flame wars often erupt because of this. And they simply become a matter of "you can't be in the middle of this argument" because of the canon-wise vs single-wise debate.
The Canon-Wise and Single-Wise debate is one that causes fans to go overboard when discussing a black sheep game. Some fans will take the series as a whole and analyze it with relevance. And since usually black sheep games aren't canon, gameplay-wise, these fans go crazy. Others would rather discredit the series as a whole and simply look at the game by itself. By doing so, they take into account everything and see if the game itself holds up well. And if it does, they usually side with the other side. Put them both together to talk about the game and prepare to clean up a bloody mess afterwards.
Finding the needle in the haystack:
This problem is one that can be viewed in two ways. The first way is that if you want to truly enjoy the series, you have to be really invested in the series. Basically, if you're a casual fan of this series, you're not going to comprehend why this series is good. Or maybe you find the series to be good, but you don't see why it should be glorified at a level such as the one the fans do. The second way is that the series only gets good at a certain point (or it only was good at a certain point). So if you're at the era where is was good, you have to make the most out of it. And if you weren't in that era, then that means that you're going to have a little trouble enjoying the series as others do. These two share the same sentiment, since you really have to dig around in order to see what's so wonderful about the series.
The first way that we look at this argument is more prone to overusing the term "overrated" since the scenario that the fans create allows for others to see the weaknesses of this magnum opus. For you see, the fans start enjoying the series too much. They absorb the series and try to make it their life. By letting the series possess them, they're doomed to become the marketing puppet of the creator. Since they're being controlled by this series and are fooled to believe that this series is the best thing to happen to mankind, their extremist fanaticism causes them to alter opinions into fact. By blinding the consumer from what's proven and what's up to them to decide, they'll glorify the series as a tribute to the beauty they have been given. But when someone isn't hypnotized by the siren's song and comes by fans that are too gullible to know fact from opinion, they tend to disagree with the fans (whether it is because the series isn't that good or the series isn't good, period), which as we all know, means trouble.
The second way that we look at this argument is more prone to misunderstanding and bad timing. If there's something that we can sometimes say about a series, is that it has eras. For example, in cartoons, they're might be different animators. Like in the Looney Tunes, there was Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and some random person for cartoons made on the site. The problem here is if there's an era that's a fan-favorite, if you're at the wrong era, you might not understand what's so special about the series. You'll just shrug your shoulders and ignore the series. Hell, if you are in a different era, you might think that this era is much better than the fan-favorite, which in turn, makes you a public enemy of the fans of the series.
Perhaps the most common and the most barbaric reason of them all, prejudgemental paralysis means that you've been frozen by something that you've seen from a preview for a new addition for a series and immediately, without second thought, you're in total opposition of the new addition. Now, why could this be a turnoff to a series as a whole? Well, there's the issue of others thinking that the series isn't good at all. That it's basically a "Oh come on!" moment. Then there's the issue of making a total fool out of other fans of the series.
How can a person predict that this new addition for the series would cause the whole series to be ruined, simply by a screenshot? There is none. Unless you work in the project, in which case, you shouldn't be giving the people spoilers until the project is done. So, to assume that this next part of the series is going to be awful makes you into a complete imbecil. And if you convince others that, then you're making them into imbecils. And if you take your assumption further and try to stop the new project, you're pratically doing a kamikaze on your own fanbase. In other words, prejudment to the extreme will ruin the fanbase as a whole. And if you ruin the fanbase, you ruin the opportunity to get others involved in the fanbase. There really isn't anymore to add to this.
With a series, you need to make sure that your audience can continue enjoying what they've been clinging onto while making newcomers seem interested into taking a peek at your series. But sometimes you may not know what's best. And when that happens, you just have to hope that it wasn't a huge mess up that you'll have a difficult time cleaning up. But hey it's not always your fault. Sometimes, your fans will create too much fighting over something that's simply opinion-based. Just know that your series is delicate and you have to make sure that you do what's right so that your audience does right. That way, your appeal and creditability stay strong.