milking it to death

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When and how should a publisher call it quits on a franchise?

I’m specifically thinking of companies like Ubisoft and their Assassin’s Creed franchise (although whoever chooses this topic doesn’t have to focus on either of these). Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind the AC series. But there has come a point where just about everyone rolls their eyes at a new AC release (even if they end up purchasing it anyway).

Besides the obvious answer (i.e. easy money), why do publishers continue to milk their popular series to death? When should they call it quits, and how? Is there a "right" way to do it? Do they continue to milk these series simply because it is a safe move? If all stories must eventually come to an end, why do some companies stretch out these series until it becomes unbearable?

  • This can also comment on the alternative side of this issue. What about franchises that could have kept going strong and, clearly, have fan support but stopped? I.e. Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, etc. – Jemarc Axinto 7 years ago
  • I do agree franchise fatigue is a concerning issue in the gaming industry, but ultimately the cause of such is none other than money in my opinion. I don't think any gaming company like the idea of ruining their established franchises especially the ones that turn out to be extremely lucrative, but as long as the sales statistics prove profitable on the consumer market, they will just keep pumping out game after game, and as you said, many people end up buying them anyways. As the gaming market grows larger and larger, so is its production cost. It's understandable that many publishers are not willing to risk investing in new IPs, that just mean more money in the pocket. Plus the fact we as consumers are basically condoning their actions by buying their games time after time, so we are partly to blame too. Same exactly situation exist in Hollywood blockbuster movie franchises as well. The upside is the gaining popularity of campaigns like Kickstarters where many indie developers can turn to and addresses ideas directly to consumer demands. In regards to the "franchise milking", there is no signs of stopping and I think it sadly will continue to persist for a long time. – Tofuboy 7 years ago
  • To answer the title question, explicitly excluding monetary considerations, and only addressing artistic merit, the general rule to me would be that it is best for a franchise to stop at one game, as if there is more than one created in a franchise, there is a risk for a creativity drain. – JDJankowski 7 years ago
  • A good angle would be the crossover. At what point does a creative idea with strong fan support become a corporate cash cow? And how many ways can you dress a franchise up before it becomes completely predictable eliciting a yawn response? There is as much to be said for the ending of such a run as there is for the beginning. – Celticmist 7 years ago