All the while Creative Director Clint Hocking has been beavering away on his 'unannounced project' for LucasArts, he's been blogging every so often over at EDGE. His latest entry sees the outspoken mind behind Far Cry 2 talking annualised sequels and lamenting their proliferation in the industry, saying that such money-spinners are dangerous and can burn out audiences and developers far too easily.
'While it is clear that annualised sequels most definitely reduce the expense of development and amortise the cost of the original game optimally across its sequels, they also have the fastest audience burn-rate, and the highest risk for sudden failure,' said Hocking. 'In other words, you may sell lots of copies of two or three sequels, but you will bore the audience very quickly and will have likely already spent all your money on the fourth sequel before realising the audience is tired of the game and won’t buy it at all.'
Hocking also noted that such procedures can take their toll on development staff as well. 'Similarly, to make a 12-month schedule you need to either risk burning out your team completely while at the same time forcing them to rely on predictable and proven content-driven approaches (leading to content-driven games), or you need to run two teams in staggered development. Staggered development might give two teams a more reasonable two-year development window, but it causes creative conflicts and leads to potential dissonance, divergence and lack of consistency in the products.'
He mentions no names here, but it isn't a huge leap to suggest that he might be pointing the finger at a certain yearly FPS franchise.