Be it the dreaded sophomore slump, second year blues or second album syndrome, there are many labels placed on a creative effort that fails to recapture — let alone emulate — the high bar set by its predecessor. Circumventing such a jinx therefore becomes paramount for artists, who would so often vary their approach in order to side-step any potential pitfall.
From remaining true to the original vision and producing a archetypal sequel or, on the other hand, branching off on a new direction entirely. From the consumer’s standpoint, it’s often the latter that sounds much more enticing. Novelty over nostalgia; greener grass and a bold sense of ambition may not always produce the result as intended, but we’ll be damned if it isn’t exciting.
Thanks to the indie renaissance, video game creators are able to experiment in every which way, but how about the follow-up efforts that truly arrived out of left field? The developers that flew in the face of convention and ventured down the road less travelled.
Perhaps one of the most high-profile departures is that of Hello Games. Leaving behind its side-scrolling roots with Joe Danger, the developers are teetering on the edge of a universe that is unprecedented in scope. Its name? No Man’s Sky, and it’s due in 2016.
With that in mind, let’s cast our net in search of those creative departures both past and future, starting with a porting studio that is aiming to break out with a brand new IP. For the sake of this feature, it should be noted that we’re only considering games that are hatched natively within a studio, rather than a port of an existing release.