“How Has Dynasty Warriors Lasted So Long?” – Might We Ask the Same of Any Repetitive Franchise?

Dynasty Warriors could borrow Soul Calibur’s tagline: “A tale of souls and swords, eternally retold…”

The other day when the brand new Assassin’s Creed game was announced – I couldn’t help but wonder… How is it that the Assassin’s Creed series releases 2 to 3 games a year (in addition to releasing portable spin-off titles) and has yet to crash and burn like the Guitar Hero series? I mean, I enjoyed AC II until it decided to glitch half-way through the story, but the introduction scenario of AC III was so dull (for me) that I haven’t managed to play beyond the first three hours or so…

And then I realize that I don’t have much of an argument because I still play Dynasty Warriors… 

For gamers, I think there’s something especially comforting in a series that’s familiar. Often, repetitive (and fan favorite) series are nostalgic. I know, personally, that when I play a ‘new’ Dynasty Warriors game I feel like I’m 15 again – the age when I started my Warriors journey with Dynasty Warriors 3. I’m reminded of the many happy memories I have with my younger brother, playing the game with our favorite characters at 7:30 A.M. before school started – and playing more rounds of free mode and versus mode after the school day ended – to see who could get the most K.O.s.

I suppose the same is true for other fans – not just of Dynasty Warriors – but also Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy, etc. The characters are like old friends; the stories are old memories; and the gameplay is a skill that players have mastered and perfected over time.

 In games studies research, one of the most highly cited concepts regarding video game enjoyment is flow. Sherry (2004) explained that a flow state is achieved in gaming when there is a balance between the difficulty of the given task and the player’s skill. Tasks that are too easy result in boredom and tasks that are too difficult for the player induce anxiety. Fans of a particular series are likely to experience the flow state when they play a new game in the franchise because the gameplay is still familiar enough – but also presented in a different way – to establish a balance between the player’s skill and the difficulty of the given task.

Flow, in addition to nostalgia, may be one way to understand the popularity of repetitive and sequential video games.

But – please – Tecmo-Koei… you do need to revitalize Dynasty Warriors. Flow can only get this series so far.

How Has Dynasty Warriors Lasted So Long? | gamesTM – Official Website.


Sherry, J.L. (2004). Flow and media enjoyment. Communication Theory, 14(4), 328–347. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2004.tb00318.x

2 thoughts on ““How Has Dynasty Warriors Lasted So Long?” – Might We Ask the Same of Any Repetitive Franchise?

  1. I had never heard of the flow state, but it’s a very interesting concept. I feel like that’s what CoD has become to me since Black Ops, and I can tell because of my significant increase in a K/D ratio online (.55 to .98). Even when Ghosts came out and it was practically unplayable, I stuck it out.

    I also didn’t find AC particularly riveting, but I played through III anyway, and that was my last go with it. I am mostly indifferent to the new announcement, but damned if I didn’t pre-order Black Ops III when it was announced haha.

    Now all they need is a new Ratchet and Clank.

    Side note: Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater are all coming back this year, and I am super excited. No shame.

    • Flow is pretty big for people who research games and interactive media in the communications field. It’s also taught in game design classes, too.

      I dunno about everygamer, but when I first read about flow, it was like a light bulb went off – “I’ve felt this before, but I never had a word for it!”

      CoD, or any FPS game for that matter, is an excellent example. I haven’t played CoD since… MW3? But yeah, I know that feel, haha.

      You know, I did see the new GH announcement. I think the live footage looks kinda odd, but who knows… they are definitely funny party games!

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