In these economic times, originality is often considered a luxury, one that a company can usually ill-afford. Think about it: what are some of the most popular games to come out in the last year or so? You’ve got Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (or is it 4? They all look the same to me), Battlefield 3, Diablo III, Mass Effect 3… They were all sequels to games established years ago, and while Mass Effect might be a little bit of an outlier (released in 2007), the fact is it’s become a cash cow for BioWare and EA. Anymore, it’s almost as if originality is dead.
That’s why it’s always thrilling to hear about a brand new game performing above expectations. According to PR chief of Bethesda Pete Hines, “I can tell you that Dishonored is far exceeding our sales expectations, which is especially cool considering it’s new IP facing a host of well-established franchises this quarter. We did terrific numbers again this past weekend, both in stores and on Steam, where Dishonored was listed as the #1 selling title over the holiday weekend. And Dishonored has really sold well overseas. So, we’re very pleased and appreciate all the fans that have supported Dishonored and Arkane. We clearly have a new franchise.”
I’m all for the birth of new franchises. After all, it can inject what might be perceived as a stale market some much needed blood and originality, and really get people excited about games again. On the flip side, you might start seeing a ton of Dishonored clones being thrown about by companies that can’t be bothered with coming up with anything on their own, but hey, that’s the beauty of the market: if a game is truly horrible, then it’ll fade into obscurity, where it belongs.