It's an old, tired argument, but true none-the-less. Original games are becoming harder and harder to produce, market and sell. Visit your local games emporium and you will see row upon row of sequels and re-hashes, and little in the way of fresh, new content.
Now I'm not a bitter and twisted cynic - after all, Half Life 2 and Halo 2 are both superb sequels that deserve to be bought, but where is the creativity? Team 17 head Martyn Brown puts the blame squarely at the doorstep of publishers. In an interview with news website GamesIndustry.biz, Brown blamed commercial pressures for lack of new IP. He said, "I think most major commercial developers will tell you that the opportunities for developing new IP are extremely limited these days. Unfortunately this is down to a number of things: the production values/costs associated with leading formats, publishers who are largely risk-averse; opportunity cost (for both publisher/developer); and the costs involved with launching a new title/brand in the market-place today. All of these issues being substantially more of a barrier than they were five and especially 10-15 years ago."
Of course, the "risk-averse" publishers can quite rightly point to what sells to justify continuing to produce more of the same. Look at, for example, the success of Halo 2, or FIFA or NFS:U2 - the people are clearly happy to buy sequels, so they will continue to be produced.
Despite the trend being likely to continue onto the next batch of consoles, Brown did see some opportunities for original ideas to be implemented on upcoming handhelds (of which the Nintendo DS surely has the best chance of delivering fresh IP). But for the rest of us? Same old, same old..
Click here for the full interview with Martyn Brown.