Friday, 24 May 2024

Added Thrills: How Focusing on Action Enhances Franchises


Franchises often undergo significant transformations to attract new fans or modernize their gameplay mechanics. While these changes are sometimes criticized as “dumbing down” the formula, I believe that if executed well, they can bring fresh excitement to the series. Simplified combat and controls can allow for a stronger focus on storytelling or create a more intense gaming experience. In this article, we’ll explore how some franchises have successfully embraced action-focused gameplay and improved their overall appeal.

Building Relationships

One franchise that successfully shifted towards action-focused gameplay is Mass Effect. The original game had a heavy emphasis on RPG elements, with talent points allocated to different weapon types and varying levels of upgrade slots. However, in Mass Effect 2, the combat was streamlined, allowing players to focus more on character abilities. This change was executed beautifully, as it enhanced the experience of building relationships with the characters and engaging in loyalty missions. The removal of complex RPG mechanics allowed for a stronger focus on character development and deepened the emotional connection with the series.

A Survival Horror Icon

Resident Evil, a renowned survival horror franchise, experienced a shift towards action in its fourth installment. While some fans were concerned that this move would diminish the horror aspect, I found that Resident Evil 4 struck a good balance. The game still managed to deliver terrifying moments while incorporating action-focused gameplay and controls that appealed to long-time fans. However, subsequent installments, Resident Evil 5 and 6, leaned even further into action, leaving behind the scares and tension of the earlier games. As a fan, I hope to see the franchise return to its roots and reintroduce the elements that made it a survival horror icon.

Elevating Scares

In contrast to the Resident Evil series, Dead Space managed to maintain the intensity of survival horror while embracing action-focused gameplay. The original game’s tight corridors and claustrophobic atmosphere created an intense experience, punctuated by encounters with grotesque necromorphs. The sequel, Dead Space 2, took the scares to even greater heights, making every moment a heart-pounding ordeal. The shift towards action in this franchise maintained the horror elements while enhancing the overall experience.


Q: Are action-focused changes always beneficial for franchises?
A: No, not every franchise benefits from an action-focused approach. It depends on the series and its core elements. Some franchises thrive on the strategic and immersive aspects of RPG mechanics, while others flourish with more intense action gameplay.

Q: Can an action-focused shift enhance storytelling and pacing?
A: Yes, an action-focused approach can open up new opportunities for storytelling and improve pacing. By removing the need for meticulous management of statistics, developers can focus on crafting a compelling narrative that captivates players.


While changes in major franchises are often met with criticism, embracing action-focused gameplay can breathe new life into a series. By refining combat, controls, and pacing, developers can create a more engaging experience that captivates players and enhances the storytelling. As fans, we should remain open to these changes and appreciate the new opportunities they bring. As long as these shifts are executed with care and maintain the essence of the franchise, they can lead to added thrills and renewed excitement for both existing and new fans.