When is the right time to jump into a series?
The number at the end of a game title might be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be a problem.
In the first three months of this year, a lot of great games in known franchises were released. Back when they were announced, if you were caught up with the past entries in the given series, all left to do was build up hype and wait. Now, if you never played a series and suddenly the fifth installment is coming, what are you supposed to do?!
Whenever you find yourself in a situation like that, a time pressure might come in effect, where you only have a set amount of time to play all games in the series before the new one is released. Sometimes the story is important and if you are up to date with it, you’ll end up enjoying a sequel to it’s full potential.
Playing a game as soon as it comes out has a certain novelty to it. The zeitgeist. Everyone’s talking about it, your favorite streamers and youtubers are playing it, and the internet will soon be filled with spoilers. Recently, game studios have been finding ways enable players to play ‘day 1’ without feeling pressured, and not only that, the connected reality we live in today also allows for a quick and easy catch-up.
The release of Devil May Cry 5 is a great example. Before the game came out, Capcom brought the DMC HD Collection to current generation consoles, making it easier for someone to play the older titles. If time to go back to these games was an issue, the company also made a ‘story so far’ video that players can access from the main menu of DMC5.
When it comes videos as a form to get caught up on a game’s story, the technology available today presents a lot of possibilities. You could watch full playthroughs or even a story summary/retrospective. Platforms like Youtube and Twitch allows players to experience a game without really playing it, and that could be useful when you don’t have enough time or don’t wanna play all games in a series.
Given the major success of this generation of consoles, the Playstation 4 outselling the PS3 lifetime sales in late 2018 and the Nintendo Switch already having 32.27 million units sold, according to Nintendo financial data, developers and publishers realized that new games need to appeal accordingly to the influx of new players.
A good example of the effort put forth by developers to make a franchise accessible is God of War (2018). The game is a new take on the series, that welcome new players and reward those who played the past entries, and by ditching the number in the title they made it welcoming to everyone.
Another example is the Yakuza series. After releasing a brand new game on PS4, Yakuza Zero, Sega started to remake the older titles to also release them in the current generation of consoles, Yakuza Kiwami and Kiwami 2. In between those games, the company released Yakuza 6 The Song of Life, the final chapter in the series, meaning that if someone started playing the games on PS4 they’ll need to either wait for remakes of 3, 4 and 5 or get the dust of the ol’ PS3 to play them. (A remaster of 5 is coming to PS4 this June in Japan)
Now that we’ve seen examples of how games are adapting to a broader audience, we go back to the main question: When should you jump into a series?. The answer is anytime, don’t let yourself be scared by a numbered game… you could be missing out an amazing experience. If you care about story and would like to experience it first hand, remakes and remasters are being released to make your life easier; If you just wanna hear the story, videos and podcasts will definitely get you up to speed.
Players are different from each other, thankfully there are different paths towards enjoying a game.