Today I will be discussing a pet peeve of mine for a long time and I will be using Tomb Raider for the context of my discussion in order for me to show one of the big problems in my opinion with Intellectual property games and big names. For this, I will also point towards another big name in the industry as an example of things done right in the context of this issue, while you can keep in mind that they do have quite big problems of their own in regards to their decisions.
What I will be discussing is primarily the issue of getting into a cycle and losing the ability to innovate and in a later discussion call upon the same to address those and give suggestions on how to resolve this in the future.
With this in mind, I would like to say that I am not one of those players that follow the same genre of games all the time. I love playing multiple different genres and never focus on one specific one. Other than the action-adventure genre, I often play MMO RPG, Strategy, Multiplayer Strategy, ARPG, Arcade and Shooter games and with this in mind, I would like to start now with the point of this article.
Overall the basic concept of the pet peeve of mine is the idea behind companies that once they have established a name in an industry with a specific intellectual property, such as for example Tomb Raider, they need to provide this over and over again. They may decide to introduce new mechanics within this genre in order to make it slightly more interesting, however, they seem to ignore the possibility of transferring this intellectual property into different Genre. This is a big issue for me as a player since as mentioned above I do like playing multiple different genres, but due to the above reason, I will never be able to experience the story and heroes I love in a different setting.
Now I will present the company which has attempted exactly that and provided this for me and was extremely successful at that. Blizzard’s Warcraft universe and lore. In 1994 Warcraft 1 was officially released on 23rd of November. It was a strategy game located in the Warcraft universe. While Blizzard went ahead and created Warcraft 2 and Frozen Throne shortly after, they did not limit the Intellectual property purely on the Multiplayer Strategy game genre. Instead, they made the next title is World of Warcraft in 2004, followed by Hearthstone in 2014. While the games themselves are lacking and do have issues on their own, it was a successful attempt by Blizzard to transfer Intellectual property across different genres and most importantly a successful attempt.
If we look at Tomb Raider over the years starting with the first one in 1996 followed by multiple other titles with the Tomb Raider Intellectual properly, however, it never attempted in any of its new titles to go across different Genres. It stayed in the Action Adventure genre and followed a few reboots, reruns, reskinned releases without much basic innovation or experimentation.
Why is that?
Well, the reason for this is simple from a basic Business perspective. It risks vs reward. Often Game Studios are afraid to take any risks, so they go ahead and minimize risk while maximizing profit. This by itself is not a bad thing, since we want Tomb Raider to go forward strong as consumers and want to know more and see more of Lara, however the issue occurs when you realize that due to us, as consumers being demanding and their business model, unless something drastically changes, we will never see Tomb Raider be the headline with the new and inspiring innovation. We will never be able to see what they could have done, what could happen and see the next big innovation in the gaming industry coming from one of our favourite titles. Instead, we will slowly watch as one of our favourite titles slowly goes into nothing, forgotten since if there is one thing we know about how Industries rise and fall, names disappear and things are forgotten, it’s lack of innovation.