E3: Sequels and remakes must 'innovate'

By Steffan Powell and Jonathan Blake
Newsbeat reporters at E3

image copyright343

The head of the studio behind Halo 5 has told Newsbeat it's important for big game franchises to "innovate".

Speaking at the E3 expo in LA, which in 2015 has been dominated by announcements of sequels and remakes, Josh Holmes of 343 said his new title had plenty to offer.

"With Halo 5: Guardians we're really pushing things," he said.

Among the titles announced at the annual event in Los Angeles are Gears of War 4, Fallout 4 and Forza 6.

Long-running "triple-A" titles often mean big money for developers, but those behind the games deny they're cashing in.

"We're introducing new mechanics, we're introducing new characters," Holmes said.

"New worlds to explore pushing boundaries of our multiplayer experience, so it's important to us to innovate while still maintain the essence of what Halo is."

image copyrightMICROSOFT

A new Tomb Raider game and a remake of the classic role play adventure Final Fantasy VII have also been announced at E3.

Chuck LeShae, creative director of The Coalition, the studio behind Gears of War 4, suggests big titles help push the boundaries in gaming.

image captionChuck LeShae

"Big triple-A products like Gears of War really show off what the system can do, and that's not possible with a smaller team.

"So when you're really doing a triple-A franchise it allows you to really push the limits of a platform in a way you couldn't do otherwise."

Alongside the familiar names though, both Microsoft and Sony devoted significant time to new games at their showpiece press conferences.

Among them, Dreams for the PlayStation 4 was introduced by Media Molecule, the studio behind Little Big Planet and Tearaway.

image copyrightMICROSOFT

And Microsoft showed off ReCore, a brand new world from the maker of Metroid Prime.

"Indie developers are vital for the industry," Ray Davis from Epic Games told Newsbeat.

His company makes the Unreal engine, the technology used by many developers to build new games.

"Because these big games and franchises become so big and have so much momentum it becomes very challenging for teams to branch out and try new things.

"Small teams and indies have the freedom and ambition to go after these new things and new spaces and push the definition of what a game can be," he added.

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A successful franchise is lucrative for studios - Call of Duty has made $10bn (£6.42bn) since it launched in 2003.

Also, healthy sales figures demonstrate there is clearly an appetite from gamers for more of the same.

"It's about making money sadly," said gaming journalist Julia Hardy.

"It's a safe bet making a sequel for a franchise that's been around before.

"Like film and music, so yes you have to be creative, but you have to make money to keep doing what you're doing."

image copyrightMICROSOFT

Among the independent developer community in the UK, there doesn't seem to be much concern about the dominance of sequels.

Chuck LeShae from The Coalition is confident that the balance between new games and long-running titles is about right.

"If you start with large franchises like Halo and Gears of War it doesn't mean there's not other opportunities for you.

"If you love gaming you can find a game to satisfy your needs."

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