Does sequel potential impact purchase decisions?

So Alpha Protocol came out a few weeks back. Reviews have been moderate, but I’ve heard more than one person say that in spite of some jankiness, they were still having fun with the game.

I was on the fence about getting it, figuring I would eventually but waiting on a good sale (after all, I’m neck deep in Steam games after the big 4th of July sale they had). Then, earlier this week, Sega announced that because sales of Alpha Protocol weren’t very good, they wouldn’t be creating any kind of a sequel for it. It was to be a 1 game intellectual property (IP).

I was surprised to find that this announcement dampened my interest in the existing game. I’m really not sure why; I haven’t taken the time to dig through my own psyche to figure it out. I mean, as far as I know Alpha Protocol stands along as a cohesive whole; no sequel is needed to complete the narrative or anything.

For the purposes of this post, why I feel the way I do isn’t really relevant. What’s interesting to me is just the fact that I felt that way: that by announcing there would be no sequel, Sega cost themselves a sale (or at least, delayed it…now I’ll wait for it to be a $5-$10 game on Steam before trying it).

And I was wondering if this is just another case where I’m way out on the lunatic fringe, or if anyone else felt this same way. So here’s today’s question:

Do you think that knowing a company has given up on a new IP would adversely impact your decision to buy the game that debuted the IP?

5 thoughts on “Does sequel potential impact purchase decisions?

  1. I don’t think you’re on the lunatic fringe.

    Due to the huge amount of sequels spawned by every successful movie or game, we’ve become conditioned to believe that If it’s worth investing time into, it must be worthy of a sequel. The announcement of no sequel seems like giving up, that they know it’s not “worthy”.

    The sad thing is that just because it has ten sequels doesn’t mean it’s good. On the flip side, could an incredibly awesome game intended to be a standalone, ever not have a sequel that would most likely tarnish the first?

  2. Not really. I always wait for sales.

    Now, if the game were *made* to be a chapter that required a sequel, and then I found that they quit on it… say, like Advent Rising… yeah, I’ll probably not bother with it.

    If it’s a good cohesive game on its own with a story that wraps sufficiently, sequel potential is irrelevant to me.

    That said, I don’t think it’s lunacy to care as you do. I don’t think that way, but it’s not unreasonable.

  3. I can often be the same way, Tesh’s example of Advent Rising being a prime example of a title I was looking forward to but now will never bother with.

    That could work against me, however. I pre-ordered The Saboteur because the pre-launch info looked intriguing and because I have a soft spot for Pandemic. When it was announced that EA was shutting down Pandemic I almost canceled my order. I had my mouse on the button. Not because it wouldn’t get a sequel – who cares? – but because it meant no support in the form of bug-fixes, title updates, or even potential DLC. I chose to keep my order because of the aforementioned soft spot for Pandemic and The Saboteur ended up being the first game I’ve ever gotten all 1000 achievement points for, I had such a blast with it.

    I also pre-ordered Alpha Protocol because of the pre-launch info. It actually is a good RPG I suspect too many people are trying to play it as a straight shooter. Oh, it has issues, but what Obsidian game doesn’t? In this case I do wish I’d waited for a sale but absolutely something worth experiencing regardless.

    Note that in both cases it was the pre-launch “journalism” that affected my decision to pre-order? For the corporate shills, mission accomplished-the publisher got my $60. But look at the latest victim, Crackdown 2. Every single pre-launch interview mentioned how it was set in the same city but a few years later so it would be both familiar yet different. The “journalists” ate this up, it would be a great thing, etc. Now the game ships and every review says the opposite, that it’s too similar and a new city would have been better. I say shape up the “journalism” and get them asking relevant questions pre-launch.

  4. I was just thinking about this very thing, or the opposite of this very thing actually. I was thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if a game design team that put together the most Awesome Game Ever were allowed to go on to develop a second, completely different, most Awesome Game Ever without it having to be a sequel of the first one. That said really talented team were recognized for their sheer creative genius by NOT forcing them to do a part 2, then part 3, then part 4 etc., but rather were allowed to let that success go and focus on a completely new and different game idea with their genius. How much further down the innovation tracks would we be?

  5. Yeah, that would be great, Gwyn. I guess the economics just don’t support it? The publisher needs to recoup the costs of building all the tools and engine parts and is leery of handing all that off to an untried developer.

    The weird thing in the case of Alpha Protocol … I wasn’t even considering whether there’d be a sequel or not. If Sega hadn’t said anything I never would’ve even factored it in. But as soon as they said there wouldn’t be one I thought… “Huh, if they don’t have faith in this IP, why should I?”

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