Also I find it pretty interesting that I do not feel the same way about the Deus Ex series, what interests me with your first example is how two different people can have two different views about the exact same thing. I loved Deus Ex too, but the context is different for me. I discovered the game long after it was released, and bought it here, alongside its sequel, which I knew was not as appreciated as was the original. When I first played Invisible War, I expected a game so horrible that I liked it, not seeing its flaws as being as unforgivable as I had been led to believe they were. To me, it was not a perfect game in the slightest, but I appreciated it anyway.
However, I do not like the ones that came after. In my opinion, they feel and look so different than the two developed by Ion Storm, that I cannot even connect them to the title "Deus Ex". To me, it is like if they happened to have a similar title, but were unrelated to that series. Even taken as independent games, I do not like them. I find them too easy and predictable, even on the highest difficulty.
About your second example, I obviously cannot relate. I am a man, so I do not ride horses, I eat them. Furthermore, I need women to be at least busty and mostly naked to be able to appreciate a game. As for men, it is common knowledge that they have to look like walking fridges with beards to be respectable.
Sorry for all of this. That is what I call "humor", and the sad part is that I find myself funny. Just know I was not serious.
The thing is, I agree with you on this matter, though. Not the horseback riding part, although I do like horses, but about the mostly naked women and the solid-block-of-ore-like men. With the exception of humorous games, I need at least a slight degree of realism to be able to immerse myself in a story. If I'm facing something in a game that makes me stop believing in the overall consistency of the world it is set in, I find it hard to play it to the end.
I think I have nothing more to add to this topic now, not without derailing too much anyway. Furthermore, it would be a shame, as your conclusion, which I highlighted above, was really good.
Yeah, I realized that you were joking :) I have grown used to pretty much being confronted in most games by impossibly beautiful women. It was just at the time I was looking for horses to ride and I thought that was so funny. It helped that I bought the game and actually liked it, though it could have been better.
Anyway, I just wanted to say, I might have liked Invisible war more, without the stupid universal ammo. That is the huge failing to me. The other two entries, I do like, but as said, they aren't really deus ex games, just games with the same premise.
But yeah, sort of derailing the convo :)
Basically, each game (bringing it back to the original) can only target those users who like that particular type of game. Whether it means they have good story lines, or a good game play, or a particular style of gameplay, or whatever. The 'forumula of success' is actually 'know what your buyers want'. Anything more specific can really only pertain to individual games.
Except that we see cases where a later game in a series has elements that are targeted at players who *don't* like that particular type of game.
* Final Fantasy 7 is filled with flashy cutscenes, and more importantly, action minigames. We also see FF15 going full action, and 11 and 14 aren't even in the same genre as the rest of the numbered games (to the point where I consider those games to be a spin-off sub-series rather than part of the main series). We even see this as far back as FF6, which abandoned the job system that made FF5 so great.
* We also see the later Ultima games (starting with 7) getting more action-y, when previous games of the series were at least mostly turn-based (aside from the odd element in 1-4 that violates this).
* Then, in the Mario series, we see some different titles with the Mario title, like Yoshi's Island (which, while a 2D platformer, doesn't play like a Mario game), Super Mario 64 (which, even if you ignore the change to 3D, doesn't play anything like earlier Mario titles; there's a health meter, for one thing, and no fire flowers or similar (the time-limited power-ups don't count)), and of course there's Super Mario RPG and its spin-offs (and don't forget what, to my understanding, Paper Mario has morphed into).
* SaGa series also had a big change; the Romancing SaGa games are nothing like the early games in the series, particularly with the lack of science fiction elements and the lack of races that play differently.
* They even tried to do that with Dragon Quest. Ignoring DQ10 (which is Japan only and is also in the same situation as FF11 and FF14), they were going to make Dragon Quest 9 into an action game, and only changed their mind because of massive fan outcry.
Edit: Thought of another big one: The Fallout series. To my understanding, Fallout 3 is *drastically* different from prior entries in the series, to the point where it likely isn't even in the same genre anymore.
There is one thing that you sort of forgot: When they change the game drastically, such as the fallout series, (going with that, as I haven't played any of the others) they lose people as well.
The people who loved the original fallout series, because of the game play, hated fallout three. I tried fallout 1, and while I don't mind the game play, the interface was so clunky, I don't think I ever managed to fire a shot at a rat, at least deliberately (think I did once accidentally and still don't know how), but I love Fallout 3 and the later ones.
There is also that people do have varied tastes. People who loved the isometric gameplay of the originals but hate first person RPGs, probably didn't play beyond fallout 3. Those who love the first person (or close third person) RPG but hate isometric top down views (my brother...) love fallout 3+ but has no desire to play fallout 1 and 2. I personally like both styles of gameplay, so tried both series, but as said, due to how clunky the interface on fallout 1 was, I stuck with the later entries.
There is, however, another element: name recognition. Which again has pros and cons. For some, they will always buy a fallout game, because they love the franchise. For others, they love the franchise, but will get so disgusted by what a developer does to the franchise, they will 'rage quit' and not buy another title.
Each game/publisher is still targeting specific users, but they are trying to 'expand their userbase' while relying on that franchise recognition to 'carry' them. Sometimes it works. But, sometimes it doesn't.
I think this can be somewhat better seen in movies, where they will make a popular book a movie, hoping to pull in the people who loved that book, as well as getting people who have never read the book involved. Sometimes the movie does so poorly, usually because they upset the fanbase of the book so much they refuse to see it, that they can't do the sequels. Sometimes the people who never read the book outnumber those who are upset, and the movie series takes off.
(oh, I also realized that you haven't played the fallout series? IF not, yes, fallout 1 and 2 were isometric top down games, more like baldur's gate. Fallout 3, new vegas and 4 are more like Morrowind and Skyrim, where you are following a single character and 'looking over their shoulder')
Edit: Basically I am saying that things are much more nuanced than 'game has good story! buy!' or can easily be brought down to 'basics' make the statements Vogel did.
There is also the idea that the majority of games you mentioned have big enough companies behind them that they can afford to 'experiement' with future entries to those franchises, because they are likely still making money off of older entries.