Posted by Jack Reneau @JackReneau
Writer, film addict, and world-class sandwich chef. Follow @Errant_Venture
Jack Reneau

When the trailer for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was released last week, it was met with an impressive amount of criticism. Even though the trailer doesn't reveal much about the game besides hinting at some new locations and gameplay, many fans seem to agree that this installment in the long-running series will be "more of the same" and is just "copying the popular elements of other shooters." To be perfectly honest, that's what businesses are supposed to do. These companies exist to make money, not art: if they find a combination of elements that sells copies, why not repeat it until it's been ground into the dirt? However, some developers out there have managed to grow and evolve their ideas, resulting in some of our favorite games. Don't believe me? Let's check some out!

Rocket League

When developer Psyonix launched their action-sports game in July 2015, it exploded in popularity overnight. Rocket League's success can be attributed to the engine's excellent performance and the game's honed physics, which were polished right out of the gate. Most people don't know that this wasn't Psyonix's first try at combining rocket-boosted cars and soccer. In 2008 the games prequel Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars was released for the PS3. Like Rocket League, it revolved around pitting players against each other in online matches, and it also included various minigames for offline play. While the game didn't receive more than average ratings from critics, Psyonix used the experience to craft the sequel that we know and love today.

Street Fighter

The original Street Fighter is regarded as revolutionary in the fighting game world. Capcom's first competitive fighting game launched in 1987, introducing a six button control setup to the genre. While the game wasn't poorly received, even it's utilization of secret techniques weren't enough to entertain for an extended time: even the novelty of its new system wore off quickly. Capcom knew they had gold on their hands, however, and the game's sequel took the franchise to new heights, eventually leading to Street Fighter V's release this year. Now we're tearing it up in our own homes, and there are SO MANY BUTTONS.


Before I get burned alive in the comments, let me say this: yes, the first Uncharted game is the weakest of the series. That doesn't by any means make it a bad game: it pulled in an average rating of 88/100. What happened is developer Naughty Dog took the success of their action-adventure TPS and evolved their formula for treasure hunter Nathan Drakes next adventure. The resulting sequel Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is considered by some to be one of the best games of all time. The third installment of the Playstation exclusive series didn't stand out too much from it's counterparts, but Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has garnered praise from even Xbox executive Phil Spencer, and it's not even out yet.

Mortal Kombat

Street Fighter isn't the only game to have revolutionized the one-on-one fighting genre. Mortal Kombat made its own mark with a five-button control set-up and combo-activated finishing moves. The graphic and violent content landed the first installment in some hot water, bringing fan attention to the series as well as negative criticism from several legal fronts, specifically in Australia. Despite the legal attention and swarms of imitators flooding the market, Warner Bros. (which acquired the rights after original developer Midway Games went bankrupt) managed to improve and grow the series, which has earned respectable reviews all the way through their most recent release, Mortal Kombat XL, in March 2016.

Just Cause

The Just Cause series has come a long way since it's beginning in 2006. Throughout it's three installments, Just Cause has always been about the liberation of fictional nations around a large sandbox world. When developer Avalanche Studios began working on the later games, they decided to work on the character and transportation to see how they could be evolved. What was once a driving-heavy game helmed by a moody rebel became the high-flying adventures of a swashbuckling rebel: Just Cause 3 even removed sprinting to emphasize and encourage the use of the newly added wingsuit. With recent DLC going as far as to add a thruster to said wingsuit, I'm more than excited to see what Avalanche Studios will come up with next.

Do you know of any other franchises that used their starting game as a foundation for improvement? Write about it and let us know!