When does a cinematic or videogame saga end? The most logical answer would be when the events end or when the story reaches its final chapter by closing, more or less, all the narrative lines. This is true, at least until there is a reboot more or less soft, a spin-off or a sparkling new chapter that brings the whole thing forward; the most mischievous say that this occurs by mere economic return, others because some sagas deserve to be carried forward as fascinating and still capable of entertaining.
I admit, this article stems from the author's passion for two sagas that are experiencing a turbulent period, a cinematographic alias Terminator , a science fiction film born from the mind of James Cameron , and the other videogame: Mass Effect , famous gdr title realized by the Canadians of BioWare.
Let's start with Terminator and its last and sixth chapter, Terminator: Dark Destiny , released just in these weeks. Destino Oscuro is turning out to be a nice flop since, according to some forecasts reported by the magazine Forbes , will end its period in the theater with a loss of approximately 100 millions of dollars for the manufacturer. This result, quite negative, should logically stop the development of a new trilogy that should have started with Destino Oscuro. Faced with this flop of takings and the tepid opinions of critics (well the action sequences, good Schwarzy and Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, badly the rest), many fans of the Terminator series have asked themselves the fateful question: why is this saga still alive? Already with Terminator: Genisys, film of 2015 where she also played Emilia Clarke, we witnessed to an outcry from numerous fans of temporal killer robots – not to mention those who also repudiate Terminator 3: the rebel machines and Terminator: Salvation – exhausted by, they say, senseless need to bring ahead of the series after the first two chapters , true cult of science fiction cinema, which actually gave a closure to the saga (SkyNet destroyed before being born then goodbye judgment day).
Yet, here are the other four films in the saga that have “messed up” everything again, also thanks to the crucial theme of the various Terminators, that is time travel, developing new plots, contradicting what has already been established and disappointing many historical fans. For goodness sake, in my humble opinion both Terminator: Genesys and Dark Destiny are films that entertain and, all in all, I liked both, but I can understand the skepticism of some about the need to produce these chapters. Now Dark Destiny should, in fact, conclude the game force the saga, but who knows maybe it is still too early to externalize an iconic hasta the view!
Turning to the videogame context, the situation of Mass Effect follows in part the one just analyzed in relation to the Terminator. Mass Effect is one of the most popular series in videogame history , the adventures of Commander Shepard and his crew remain etched in the memory of millions of players despite the passing of the years. The trilogy conceived by BioWare can be ideally divided into three parts: a first chapter that explores the characters, the narrative universe and introduces the enemy (the mythical and fearful Raiders), a second chapter that alters the balance of the previous chapter bringing with itself new characters and enriching the lore of the title, a third concluding chapter where we face our nemesis and decide the fate of the galaxy.
In short, a closed chapter, at least theoretically, given that BioWare (or rather EA) has decided to continue the saga with Mass Effect: Andromeda , moving everything into a 'another galaxy, that of Andromeda precisely, making a sort of soft reboot entirely, the same operation that Dark Dest tried to do. What do I mean by soft reboot ? A change of some elements of the story while others remain unchanged, thus allowing the saga in question to restart, while maintaining that reassuring family aspect so dear to the fans. The soft reboot is a very operation risky , there is the danger of getting the “bad copy” effect that goes to kill the sequel, considered simply a pale imitation of its predecessors. Andromeda has suffered this bad copy effect, being harshly criticized by many enthusiasts who were so disappointed as to ask BioWare to stop producing new Mass Effect ( in reality the Canadian house has already confirmed to want to develop new ones), leaving this brand linked only and only to the trilogy, beautiful that ended, of Shepard and Normandy.
Remaining in the field of video games, we can cite an example diametrically opposed to that of BioWare and Mass Effect that is CD Projekt Red with the saga of The Witcher . The Witcher 3 is, without a doubt, one of the best titles of the last few years, a game that in its own way has made the history of this generation. The Witcher 3, as well as Mass Effect 3, was thought to be a final chapter, Geralt of Rivia's adventures end with the Blood and Wine expansion, there will be no other titles dedicated to our beloved witcher. But CD has also made an extra little step, reiterating several times that they do not exclude a possible return to the narrative universe based on the works of Sapkowski, but that is not currently in the pipeline and that, in any case, will not be a new chapter of The Witcher. In short, nothing risky soft reboot , just a hypothetical and all in all still remote title set in the same universe
The time has come to return to the question with which this article was opened: when does a saga end? When the authors, and perhaps even the producers, reach full awareness of the value of their product , this is the most appropriate answer to the light also of the examples shown. In the case of Terminator, after Terminator 2, Cameron was quite uninterested in his creature, leaving it in the hands of others who tried to carry it all through ups and downs. With Dark Destiny, Cameron put his hands back on the Terminator, perhaps also moved by a certain nostalgia, playing with little success the partial reboot card. BioWare, which in the meantime has lost many of its historic members, has had to both try to carry on the Mass Effect saga and try to create something new, aka Anthem, by dividing the available forces and obtaining questionable results with both titles, not managing, in my opinion, to say a sharp no about a new Mass Effect. And the economic factor? The vile money of the equation cannot be excluded , the companies of the entertainment world exist mainly to obtain profits, some do it with a certain caution, risking also some blunder, others tend to squeeze any brand or saga they own the rights to the bone
In all this, another saga is approaching the conclusion, as a rule, namely Star Wars Episode IX is defined as the real end of the saga (of Skywalker), ergo I expect a real ending that won't be further touched up in a few years! We'll see.