I hate them.
There’s a sort of cognitive dissonance that we all undergo when experiencing a prequel. It’s just that we have either been trained to ignore the contradictory ideas that our mind informs us about or just conclude that the discrepancies ultimately don’t matter.
It’s really amazing.
This happens tenfold when we experience prequels in gaming.
Take Street Fighter Alpha, for example, it happens several years before the original yet everyone is more powerful. The obvious reason for this was to create a new gameplay experience but it created a precedent that all its predecessors are forced to follow.
What’s a Shinkuu Hadouken?
Nitpicking you say?
Let’s think of a title that had a more disastrous effect after the injection of a prequel.
Devil May Cry.
I am still among the people that believe that the whole reason that Capcom greenlit a reboot of their franchise was because they realized that the sequence of the first 4 games made it impossible to continue a storyline within that same universe. The prequel Devil May Cry 3 was the catalyst that began the destruction and 4 was the nail in the coffin.
From a gameplay perspective, the Dante in Devil May Cry 3 far outclassed his 2 and 1 versions despite them being several decades older. How is this possible?
No one knows. But one thing that was clear by the time Devil May Cry 4 was about to release was that this iteration of Dante had to follow the model of the Dante from 3 and not that of 1 and 2.
The result? A character who had a moveset that was way too large to remember and required button combinations so long and nuanced with timing that I found YouTubers writing essays and articles on the most effective (and impressive) ways to make use of him.
In literature, prequels are often ill-advised because they generally create a haven for plot holes. The reason for this is obvious; writers are over-zealous and forget the minute details that were present in the original storyline. When a prequel, which is essentially a story about things that happened before the original, is missing these minute details it makes it impossible for events that happened in the original to have happened at all.
Just look at the disaster known as Star Wars.
In gaming, prequels risk the danger of not only lacking sense in respect to storytelling but also in respect to gameplay as a whole, which is what I was trying to address with the aforementioned Capcom titles.
A prequel to the God of War series has rather recently been announced; as a gamer/writer who sweats the small stuff I can always find things to worry about.
Take Kratos for example, we have already seen him in his prime and we already know the ending to his story. Apparently, the story in God of War: Ascension will take place six months after he murks his family and makes the deal with Ares. From a combat perspective we already know the upper limits of Kratos’ ability, so the development team only has one choice and that is to change up the combat system, similar to what Capcom did in Devil May Cry. (And how is the appearance of a cyclopic Titan even possible?)
Anyway, this change can be either good or bad depending on how it is implemented but I am apprehensive as always; when a game that is known for combat changes its combat mechanics I become worried (don’t get me started on the trends of conformity known as multiplayer).
Whether this game winds up upper or lower spectrum is anyone’s guess. I just hate how the idea of prequels as a way to revitalize a series has taken hold within the entertainment world like some sort of infection when a good ol’ sequel is just as effective; only it does not pose the risk of undermining the series’ gameplay and story.
That is all.