This year promises to be a big one for video game sequels. Store shelves should see the newest releases of Grand Theft Auto, Mass Effect, Max Payne and Halo. This is also the year gamers will finally get to play the next offering in the Diablo franchise, Diablo III. The Diablo sequel has been only a rumor since 2001. On May 15, 2012, the rumor will finally become a reality as Diablo III goes from Beta to store shelves in both the United States and Europe. Latin America and Russia will have to wait an additional month before they can play Diablo III. Now that the wait is over, let’s take a closer look at Diablo III and some of the other sequels that kept us waiting.
When Blizzard Entertainment first conceived of the action role-playing game Diablo, it is unlikely they knew the effect it would have on the gaming industry. The release of the very first Diablo was on New Years Eve, 1996. Plans for the sequels began in 2001 with a well-received series of graphic novels from Dark Horse Comics. The comics featured the characters from the first game.
Since the games follow a story line, the end of Diablo and Diablo II left players hanging on a cliff. This made the anticipation palpable during the buildup to Diablo III. Finally true lovers of the Diablo franchise will get their next fix.
Version III is a continuation of the story started in 2008 with Diablo II. Diablo may sound like it should be the hero of the series, but this figure is actually the villain. In fact, Diablo is one of the seven devils that ruled Hell. The goal of the game is to free the town of Tristram from the Evils as a Warrior, Rogue, or Sorcerer. You see some of the same characters from the previous games, but Diablo III brings new faces to the storyboard, as well.
Fable II from Lionhead was another game that kept enthusiasts waiting for the release. Fable is a franchise of action role-playing games published by Microsoft. Each episode occurs in the land of Albion. The gamer controls the protagonist of the story by managing the skill sets of the character. During the game, the player walks through and interacts with other characters in the land.
The first game in the series came out in 2004. In 2006, Microsoft announced the development of the sequel. Gamers were kept hanging on the Fable II hook until it finally came out for Xbox 360 late in 2008. Players finally saw the third installment in 2011.
Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem is probably one of the most effective examples of a game that kept players waiting for the sequel. Duke Nukem is a first-person shooter game for Windows, Mac, Xbox and PlayStation.
The initial plans for sequels to the first Duke Nukem game began in 1997. At that time, gaming platforms were changing and developers got caught up in the storm. The original 1991 game was made in 2D. By the time the sequels were starting to take shape, 3D was the platform of the future. It took eight years to finally get the next version into stores. Changes in the company stalled version III until 2011.
Simpsons Arcade Game
The Simpsons Arcade Game is one in a series of vintage games being brought back to life. It features the characters from the television show in a story driven fantasy. Many of the same voice actors from the TV series created the audio for the game. The first release was in 1991 for arcades, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS.
Both Xbox and PlayStation have newer versions of the old arcade games including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The one hold out in the series was the game featuring the characters from the Simpsons. Gamers finally got relief in February of 2012 as the Simpsons Arcade Game made its way to the shelves.
Story arcs and series releases are the genre for today’s video games. For developers, creating a sequel gives them already existing characters to work with, and it helps feed the frenzy as gamers wait for a new release. Diablo II got rave reviews from critics and players alike. The 10-year buildup of Diablo III almost guarantees sales for Blizzard when the game finally makes it to the stores. There is a lot to be said for creating anticipation.
If you are like me then you have been waiting for many of these games for years! It may sound lame, but many of my friends at cabledeals.org have decided to set up LAN party for the release of Diablo 3, after all it is a pretty big deal. If you would like to get in on this Diablo 3 release hit me up on Twitter. @TimLCooley