Wikipedia:WikiProject Video games/Newsletter/20230225/Feature

Survey: What are the requirements for series and franchise articles? edit

Conducted and written by Panini!

Hello! I'm Panini. Today, I bring you another issue of Wikiproject Video Game Surveys, where I conduct a poll to determine consensus on burning unanswered questions, to help avoid future debates. The question is as follows:

What would you consider the requirements for making an article about video game series? What about franchise articles?

I've received 15 answers from top editors in the Wikiproject. Here's what they concluded:

At its most simple terms, most video game series articles are created due to the consideration that three distinct videos games count as a "series".[1] The majority of the Wikiproject follows this rule when it comes to declaring a set of video games a "series", as one game is considered a one-off title, and two is merely a one-off title with a sequel. This rule, however, is shunned when it comes to creating an article about the series on Wikipedia; if this were the only rule warranting a series article, most users believe this would merely be a copy-paste scenario about the game's individual content.[2] The project believes there needs to be more.

Series articles edit

To create a series article, there need to be situations where the series is discussed as a whole not only a collection of each game individually.[3] In a more general standard, if the article has the possibility of including information beyond the other games in the series, a series article would be of use. This includes the following:

  • A broad scope: The series article should not hone in on individual games, and should speak in broad terms, more specifically what the games have in common. They should describe general gameplay and recurring elements that span across them.[4]
  • Development: As in, the article gives information on how the series came to be, why it continued, and where it plans on going is vital information that individual titles can't necessarily describe on their own.[5]
  • Reception/Legacy: There should be content that describes the series' real-world impact. What do critics think of the series as a whole? How did it help the company that made it? Did it go off to be larger than video games itself with other forms of media and content?[6]

Franchise articles edit

Franchise articles in comparison should only be considered if there's is a large and notable amount of non-video game media that have grown far outside the barriers of the original series of games.[7] Most users agree that a series and franchise are not too distinct from each and should not have separate articles; instead, a series article will contain everything its franchise article would, with the addition of other media. If there's minimal outside content, such as expanding only to merchandise, this can be covered in the series article. In cases like these, the video game series and franchise should be treated as the same thing.[8]

User responses and references edit

You can view each user's full response in the table below.

"What are the requirements for series and franchise articles?" — Responses
  • AlexandraIDV: I would mainly consider: does the series meet the GNG as a series (as opposed to only individual games doing so), and is this the best way of presenting the information to our readers? A series might have a lot of coverage in reliable sources, but if it only consists of two games, a series article would likely largely duplicate those games' articles, and it might be better to just cover it within those individual articles. Another scenario, which goes against the classic "at least three games" guideline, would be something like the two-game series Digital Devil Saga: that one is still fine, because the series page is in place of articles for the individual games, and was determined to be the best way of presenting that information.
  • (Oinkers42): For series articles, three games, or two games with other media or major crossover appearances works. For an example Bayonetta, although having only two games released, has both appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series and Bayonetta: Bloody Fate. As for franchises, the franchise must have a major multi-media presence, such as Pokémon or Final Fantasy, with a separate game series article.
  • Axem Titanium: I don't treat "series" and "franchise" articles differently from each other. Primarily I look for coverage of the series as a series rather than a collection of individual titles. Development info is a must and influence/legacy goes a long way to convincing me a series page is warranted. I don't have a particular minimum cutoff for number of entries but it's certainly greater than two.
  • Blue Pumpkin Pie: Three titles are enough to identify a series but to verify if it's notable on its own without synthesizing information of the separate entries, it needs to be Reception and/or Development that addresses the series as a whole.
For development, there needs to be an ongoing story or development. Reboots or revivals of the series are also valid development information if they are bringing new titles (remakes and collections IMHO are their own individual titles if they have their own article, but if there is a remastered that doesn't have its own article, then it's not relevant). Even canceled or future releases would be enough.
For Reception, is just reviewing the series or verified sales of the series overall. For example, Lumines has a development between titles and some reception that covers the series as a whole as well such as sales of the series. Supplemental media such as TV series and comics also help justify an article if they don't fit in any specific entry as well. if credible sources are anticipating a revival or wishing for it to be continued or remastered, that could be something worth mentioning.
Once the necessary parts to verify it's been covered as a proper series, I believe the development and reception of the individual games can be summarized in the article as well.Blue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 20:20, 28 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • czar: in my opinion, summary style is the most forgotten organizing principle of Wikipedia. Most "series" or franchise articles are really just a list of items in the series, which is a matter of list notability criteria. For an article, there are obviously sources for each item in the series, so what justifies a separate article? Everyone else is going to say the GNG, that there are significant coverage in multiple reliable, independent sources (?) that discuss the series as a whole or being more than a sum of its parts. My stance is that all of that stuff fits within the Legacy section of the first item in the series, if the rest of the series was borne of the original entry. Then we're back to summary style: That content only warrants a summary style split into its own article when there is an overabundance of qualified coverage that would threaten the proportion of the main article's coverage, i.e., wouldn't want the Legacy section to dwarf the Development section if it's not the most important intrinsic aspect of the article topic. The "three entries in a series" rule is completely arbitrary and not backed by formal consensus, whereas summary style and due weight are foundational to WP.
  • Dissident93: Are you asking if I view a series and franchise as two separate entities? If so, then I highly disagree with such a thing unless warranted by page size concerns. Otherwise my views on creating video game series articles aligns with the WP:VG policy on it, which is one should only be considered after three or more notable games for a series have been made.
  • KieferSkunk: For a game series article, there should be at least three games that are strongly related to one another. In most cases, these are because the games are set in the same universe, have the same characters, relate to the same intellectual property, and/or are part of the same overall storyline. A popular example is the Paper Mario series - the games all center around Mario, and specifically the papercraft version of Mario and the worlds he interacts in, although each game tells its own unique and independent story. Since there are so many factors in common between them (the papercraft style, gameplay mechanics, similarity in writing, etc.), it is proper to refer to them as a series.
A series article should serve two purposes:
  1. Talk about how the series as a whole came about - what prompted it in the first place? For example, Paper Mario was developed in response to Square taking the Final Fantasy franchise to Sony. And
  2. Talk about what the games within the series have in common. This is a good place to describe common controls, common design elements (e.g. Mario's cutout design), etc..
In some cases, a series article can alleviate some of the burden of repeating the same common details in multiple game articles. I recall at one point that we did this with the Puzzle League series (including Tetris Attack), since at the time there were eight games in the series that all played identically. Having a series article can allow you to go into detail about the common rules, and then describe them more briefly in each individual article.
The main difference between a series and a franchise, as I understand it, is that a franchise includes more than just games. I referred to Paper Mario earlier. That's a series of games that resides within the Mario franchise, one of the best known in the world. The franchise spans many game series, but also includes Nintendo's main identity, a definite and recurring cast of characters, its marketing campaigns, a large part of its history, and many other factors that are not strictly video-game related. More to the point, it encompasses the Mario intellectual property in its entirety. Similarly, Final Fantasy is both a series AND a franchise - the games comprise the series, but there are many other things related to the I.P. that Square is very proud of and guards jealously.
A good franchise article covers not only the various series of games within the IP, but also talks in more depth about the relationship between the I.P. and its creators and owners. It is more likely to be a history article than necessarily a descriptive one - for example, in an article about the Mario franchise, I'd expect to see only a few details about Mario's typical controls in games, since that's more appropriate for either the series articles or in individual game articles. I'd turn to the franchise article to learn more about who designed Mario, why and how he became important as Nintendo's primary identity, how he became so popular and recognizable, etc..
There's never any single cut-and-dry rule for writing any of these kinds of articles, of course, but in general I find that series and franchise articles tend to follow somewhat of a common template, since their purposes are usually pretty clear and they convey the same spectrum of information.
  • Roberth Martinez (KGRAMR): What i would consider the requirements of making a video game series article? Hmmm... i would say only one and that would be your knowledge and/or interest you have in a particular series. If you're doing it without any passion or knowledge for that particular series then don't try doing it. For franchise articles, try to throw everything at a wall and see what sticks. I would also apply the same logic i described earlier as well...
  • PresN: I think the requirements for making a video game series/franchise article are that there are sources talking about the series as a whole, rather than individual elements of it, or a lot of sources talking about how the games give context to each other. Sometimes we sling around ideas like "at least 3 games", but for a lot of series articles that just means that we end up with text copied from 3 articles and glued together, instead of an article that adds something on its own not found in the games' articles. It seems like often editors try to create series articles as a way to add "legitimacy" to the series, but don't actually have anything to say about the series as a series.
  • ProtoDrake: I think there are six ingredients that come together to make a VG series/franchise article. #1 is that it's acknowledged as a series at all, as some series such as many projects from Goichi Suda aren't part of the same series even if they have narrative and/or thematic connections to other titles. #2 is sources talking about the series as a whole, i.e. commentary on its history or references to it when talking about individual entries. #3 is a question related to subseries, since there can be series within series, such as Persona being a spin-off from Megami Tensei or Drakengard spawning Nier and its successors; is it possible to talk about a series on its own if it's spun-off from something else, or are they to intertwined to be separated? #4 is relevance and enough interest in the series as a whole to merit the article, and that doesn't mean niche series can't have them; as examples, Zero Escape is a series with wide-ranging commentary about it and so it merits a series, while Bayonetta has commentary generally limited to the titles. #5 is that for a series it must have at least three games counting spin-offs, while franchises must have an appreciable amount of additional media and merchandise attached to them. #6 is a little odd, since you have to consider whether a series is better represented by either a series article, individual game articles, or both; Crystal Defenders is a series but doesn't have enough commentary to merit individual game articles, while Nier exists within the Drakengard multiverse and the two are often mentioned together when talking about the series as a whole. (There, that's the whole answer.)
  • Rhain: This is an interesting question, but one that I may not be fully qualified to answer; the only video game series/franchise article I've ever thoroughly worked on is Ni no Kuni, though I intend to work on plenty of others in due course. I'm sure many others have mentioned this already, but it's a general heuristic that a series needs three games before an article should be considered—though it's important to note that this isn't a rule. Three games in a series does not warrant an article; several reliable sources need to demonstrate the importance of the series, not just some of the games. The rules of WP:SPLIT are pretty relevant here. The same can be said for franchise articles too, with the same rules applying to different mediums.
  •  Salvidrim! : Series article needs SIGCOV in RS'es that is about the series (and not about the individual games), and at least 4 games or 3 games and a spinoff/other media. A franchise article is the same thing but when the topics includes non-video game media. (This is a pretty abritrary line I'm drawing of course).
  • Sergecross73: So, in my opinion, it requires at least 3 titles (if it's only 2, most info can just be place in either game article) and have some reliably sourced commentary that applies to the games collectively.
  • TarkusAB: In cases where a series has three or more major entries, I think a series article is permissible (but not required) for navigation and general overview. In cases where there are only two entries, series articles should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. For example, there are two The Last of Us games and I do not think we need a series article today. The games have largely been discussed independently of each other, and there are almost no other creative works in the series. Compare this to StarCraft which, while also only having two major entries, has several articles on expansions, a major esports scene, as well as non-gaming media. This makes the argument for a series article much stronger. As for franchise articles, well, they are just series articles but you can call it a franchise if there is an abundance of notable non-gaming content. A good example would be Resident Evil with its line of films, books, and comics. The game series and franchise can be maintained within the same article. There is no need to separate the two unless we're talking about something massive (e.g. Star Wars vs. Star Wars video games).
  • Thibbs: For both series and franchises, I think (1) the historical origins and (2) the size of the media should be given primary significance in determining the orientation of the article. If the article is primarily about video games then per WP:DUE the main portion of the body of the article should highlight the video games. Likewise if the the article is primarily about films then media like video games, books, music, etc. should represent a lesser portion of the article.
In terms of the structure, the best would be to treat the article as a modified list article. The article should begin with a lede that focuses on the main series but also references all related media to show the scope of its penetration into culture. A brief portion of background for main characters and antagonists should come second, and then the main series should be given its own section to list all members of the list chronologically and to focus on plot. Side-branches of the main series should be covered next, and then perhaps cameos. Other media in the series should then be given proportional coverage as due per the sources.
I suppose some of what I'm saying here generally would equate series and franchises, but I think that for smaller articles they can be treated similarly. For very large franchises, series may be separated from the franchise article in the interest of both comprehensiveness and readability, but the differences between articles on series vs articles on franchises may be trivial for smaller franchised series.
  1. ^ Rhain:"...it's a general heuristic that a series needs three games before an article should be considered..."
    KieferSkunk: "For a game series article, there should be at least three games that are strongly related to one another."
    TarkusAB: "In cases where a series has three or more major entries, I think a series article is permissible (but not required) for navigation and general overview."
    Dissident93: "...one should only be considered after three or more notable games for a series have been made."
    Blue Pumpkin Pie: "Three titles are enough to identify a series..."
    Sergecross73: "So, in my opinion, it requires at least 3 titles (if it's only 2, most info can just be placed in either game article)..."
  2. ^ PresN: "Sometimes we sling around ideas like "at least 3 games", but for a lot of series articles that just means that we end up with text copied from 3 articles and glued together, instead of an article that adds something on its own not found in the games' articles."
    Rhain: "Three games in a series does not warrant an article; several reliable sources need to demonstrate the importance of the series, not just some of the games."
    Czar: "The "three entries in a series" rule is completely arbitrary and not backed by formal consensus, whereas summary style and due weight are foundational to WP."
    AlexandraIDV: "A series might have a lot of coverage in reliable sources, but if it only consists of two games, a series article would likely largely duplicate those games' articles, and it might be better to just cover it within those individual articles."
  3. ^ Alexandra IDV: "...does the series meet the GNG as a series (as opposed to only individual games doing so), and is this the best way of presenting the information to our readers?"
    PresN: "I think the requirements for making a video game series/franchise article are that there are sources talking about the series as a whole, rather than individual elements of it, or a lot of sources talking about how the games give context to each other."
    ProtoDrake: "...sources talking about the series as a whole, i.e. commentary on its history or references to it when talking about individual entries."
    Salvidrim!: "Series article needs SIGCOV in RS'es that is about the series (and not about the individual games)..."
  4. ^ KieferSkunk: "Talk about what the games within the series have in common. This is a good place to describe common controls, common design element, etc."
    Salvidrim!: "Series article needs SIGCOV in RS'es that is about the series (and not about the individual games)..."
    Thibbs: "The article should begin with a lede that focuses on the main series but also references all related media to show the scope of its penetration into culture. A brief portion of background for main characters and antagonists should come second, and then the main series should be given its own section to list all members of the list chronologically and to focus on plot."
    Sergecross73: "...have some reliably sourced commentary that applies to the games collectively."
  5. ^ Blue Pumpkin Pie: "For development, there needs to be an ongoing story or development. Reboots or revivals of the series are also valid development information if they are bringing new titles (remakes and collections IMHO are their own individual titles if they have their own article, but if there is a remastered that doesn't have its own article, then it's not relevant). Even canceled or future releases would be enough."
    Czar: "That content only warrants a summary style split into its own article when there is an overabundance of qualified coverage that would threaten the proportion of the main article's coverage, i.e., wouldn't want the Legacy section to dwarf the Development section if it's not the most important intrinsic aspect of the article topic."
    Axem Titanium: "Development info is a must and influence/legacy goes a long way to convincing me a series page is warranted."
    KieferSkunk: "It is more likely to be a history article than necessarily a descriptive one - for example, in an article about the Mario franchise, I'd expect to see only a few details about Mario's typical controls in games, since that's more appropriate for either the series articles or in individual game articles. I'd turn to the franchise article to learn more about who designed Mario, why and how he became important as Nintendo's primary identity, how he became so popular and recognizable, etc.."
  6. ^ Blue Pumpkin Pie: "For Reception, is just reviewing the series or verified sales of the series overall. For example, Lumines has a development between titles and some reception that covers the series as a whole as well such as sales of the series. Supplemental media such as TV series and comics also help justify an article if they don't fit in any specific entry as well. if credible sources are anticipating a revival or wishing for it to be continued or remastered, that could be something worth mentioning."
    Axem Titanium: "Development info is a must and influence/legacy goes a long way to convincing me a series page is warranted."
    Thibbs: "The article should begin with a lede that focuses on the main series but also references all related media to show the scope of its penetration into culture."
  7. ^ Sergecross73: "A franchise article is the same thing but when the topics include non-video game media."
    ProtoDrake: "...franchises must have an appreciable amount of additional media and merchandise attached to them."
    Dissident93: "Are you asking if I view a series and franchise as two separate entities? If so, then I highly disagree with such a thing unless warranted by page size concerns."
    (Oinkers42): "As for franchises, the franchise must have a major multi-media presence, such as Pokémon or Final Fantasy, with a separate game series article."
  8. ^ TarkusAB: "The game series and franchise can be maintained within the same article. There is no need to separate the two unless we're talking about something massive (e.g. Star Wars vs. Star Wars video games).
    Thibbs: "For very large franchises, series may be separated from the franchise article in the interest of both comprehensiveness and readability, but the differences between articles on series vs articles on franchises may be trivial for smaller franchised series."
    KieferSkunk: "I find that series and franchise articles tend to follow somewhat of a common template, since their purposes are usually pretty clear and they convey the same spectrum of information."
    Axem Titanium: "I don't treat "series" and "franchise" articles differently from each other."