There used to be a time when yearly releases were a rare occurrence. It was a time when developers actually cared about the games they put their names on. About 15 years ago, yearly releases were very rare in the industry. My first recollection of a yearly release was the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. I enjoyed these yearly releases back then, as they felt perfectly timed. Just when I was almost at 100% in 3, Activision hit us with 4 a year later. These games excited me. With each one being released, there were actual changes to the games: added mechanics, new levels, and better music. Sadly, Activision and Ubisoft corrupted the yearly release idea and have been pawning off unfinished games to the masses.
Call of Duty used to be a great series. So was Assassin’s Creed until the publishers decided to make them yearly releases. Quality began to degrade and soon the public was buying games that were unfinished, had to be patched day one, or were just not fun. I’m glad that it took Infinite Warfare‘s failure to show Activision that we wanted to go back to World War II. Ubisoft left a bad taste in the mouth of gamers with their unfinished Unity and Syndicate. It was wise of Ubisoft to remove Assassin’s Creed from the yearly roster. Doing so gave us a much better title, Origins. Even sports titles are becoming stale. I was allowed to review Madden 2015 for my PS4. To be honest, I don’t need another Madden game until the next generation of consoles. The additions aren’t enough to warrant another $60 just to get the newer players and a few updated mechanics. Updating an older version of the game would endear me to the developers, but I doubt that will ever happen.
My Hopes For Tony Hawk Pro Skater
I used to love my one yearly release. Neversoft was receptive enough to switch up the mechanics and add just enough content to the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series every year back in the early 2000s. The last Tony Hawk game that I really enjoyed was American Wasteland, but by then the series was becoming stale and a bit too much. Project 8 was a huge letdown for me, and I figured I would never ride my virtual skateboard again. Fast-forward 13 years and Activision releases Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5, one of the biggest letdowns and rush jobs in gaming history and enough to make The Birdman himself cut ties with the company. I actually purchased it at launch hoping that Activision and their new developer, Robomodo, would recapture the magic the series had at the turn of the century. Sadly 13 years didn’t make a better sequel, proving that some series need to be put out to pasture instead of rushing out titles just to retain the rights to a game.
Yearly Releases Are Bad
Yearly releases are no longer good for the industry; sometimes it takes years to come up with the proper mechanics and changes to a popular franchise to reinvigorate it. Resident Evil 7 is a prime example of this. Capcom took several years to rework their beloved franchise before making another successful title. No rushing, no yearly releases, just one great shit-your-pants game! Another perfect example of this is Ubisoft Montreal: they were given Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag to develop, and when I speak to other gamers, they say it’s their favorite Assassin’s Creed game next to Origins. Guess who developed Origins? If you guessed Ubisoft Montreal, then you guessed correctly. Taking time and actually putting care into the games being developed gives the gamer a completed title that they’ll often fall in love with. Let’s start taking time with the titles, publishers.
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