For many, many years, sports games have been king of the annual release. It was something you came to expect. Another year, another Madden game. But somewhere along the way, things changed up a bit. No longer were sports games the only games that would have a new release each and every year like clockwork.
You'll find that the following series are usually released by one of two companies: Activision or Ubisoft. There are no EA sports games listed here as I don't have all day to type up every Madden, Fifa, NBA Live, NHL, etc. series that comes out every year. I've also no doubt missed a few games here and there, but you get the idea.
So let's begin!
01) Assassin's Creed (2007)
02) Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles (2008)
03) Assassin's Creed 2 (2009)
04) Assassin's Creed 2: Discovery (2009)
05) Assassin's Creed Bloodlines (2009)
06) Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (2010)
07) Assassin's Creed Revelations (2011)
08) Assassin's Creed 3 (2012)
09) Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation (2012)
10) Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag (2013)
11) Assassin's Creed Rogue (2014)
12) Assassin's Creed Unity (2014)
13) Assassin's Creed Syndicate (2015)
14) Assassin's Creed Chronicles (2016)
15) Assassin's Creed Origins (2017)
Assassin's Creed has released at least one game every year for 10 years. People seem to enjoy the series quite a bit, but it's never grabbed me. Syndicate in 2015 was the first game in the series that I thought looked even remotely interesting. Personal opinions aside, the series apparently does quite well and is a cash cow for Ubisoft.
01) Call of Duty: Finest Hour (2004)
02) Call of Duty 2 (2005)
03) Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (2005)
04) Call of Duty 3 (2006)
05) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
06) Call of Duty: Roads to Victory (2007)
07) Call of Duty: World at War (2008)
08) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
09) Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)
10) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011)
11) Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2012)
12) Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (2012)
13) Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013)
14) Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014)
15) Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (2015)
16) Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016)
17) Call of Duty: WWII (2017)
Not many people really cared about this series until 2007 when Modern Warfare came out. Before that, the series just kind of existed and games like Unreal, Quake, and Halo were the top of the first person shooter chain. Modern Warfare really kick started the series and made it the popularity bonanza it is today. The Battlefield series is also reaching the point of over saturation, but it doesn't release games like clockwork in the same way the Call of Duty series does.
Fun fact: I've never played a single Call of Duty game. Ever.
The Guitar Hero Series
01) Guitar Hero (2005)
02) Guitar Hero 2 (2006)
03) Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s (2007)
04) Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock (2007)
05) Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (2008)
06) Guitar Hero World Tour (2008)
07) Guitar Hero: On Tour (2008)
08) Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades (2008)
09) Guitar Hero: Metallica (2009)
10) Guitar Hero 5 (2009)
11) Guitar Hero Smash Hits (2009)
12) Guitar Hero: Van Halen (2009)
13) Guitar Hero: On Tour Modern Hits (2009)
14) Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (2010)
15) Guitar Hero Live (2015)
...And don't forget Band Hero (2009), DJ Hero (2009), and DJ Hero 2 (2010)! Guitar Hero is like the comedian who becomes famous for a joke and then tells it for their entire career until people become sick of it and they fade away into obscurity. It popularized the plastic instrument rhythm genre, flooded the market with product, and then crept off into the night with sacks of cash when the world had finally had enough.
Activision tried to bring the series back in 2015 after a five year gap with no releases. It didn't reignite interest in the series like Activision had hoped, though.
The Just Dance Series
01) Just Dance (2009)
02) Just Dance 2 (2010)
03) Just Dance Kids (2010)
04) Just Dance 3 (2011)
05) Just Dance Kids 2 (2011)
06) Just Dance: Summer Party (2011)
07) Just Dance 4 (2012)
08) Just Dance: Greatest Hits (2012)
09) Just Dance: Disney Party (2012)
10) Just Dance 2014 (2013)
11) Just Dance Kids 2014 (2013)
12) Just Dance 2015 (2014)
13) Just Dance 2016 (2015)
14) Just Dance 2017 (2016)
15) Just Dance 2018 (2017)
Just Dance is a series that originated on the Wii and then later appeared on Microsoft and Sony consoles. They are very similar to each other, but that didn't stop the series from becoming wildly popular. More than Guitar Hero and Rock Band, the Just Dance series screams casual gaming. Maybe because it was birthed on the Wii, a console whose library is probably over 90% shovelware.
Apparently Michael Jackson: The Experience (2010), The Black Eyed Peas Experience (2011), and The Hip Hop Dance Experience (2012) are also part of the Just Dance series. As is Dance on Broadway (2010), The Smurfs Dance Party (2011), and ABBA: You Can Dance (2011). Thanks, Ubisoft.
The Lego (Blank) Series
01) Lego Star Wars: The Video Game (2005)
02) Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy (2006)
03) Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007)
04) Lego Batman (2008)
05) Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (2008)
06) Lego Indiana Jones: The Adventure Continues (2009)
07) Lego Rock Band (2009)
08) Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (2010)
09) Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (2011)
10) Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (2011)
11) Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars (2011)
12) Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (2012)
13) Lego The Lord of the Rings (2012)
14) Lego Marvel Super Heroes (2013)
15) Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins (2013)
16) Lego Legends of Chima: Laval's Journey (2013)
17) Lego The Hobbit (2014)
18) The Lego Movie Video Game (2014)
19) Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (2014)
20) Lego Ninjago: Nindroids (2014)
21) Lego Dimensions (2015)
22) Lego Jurassic World (2015)
23) Lego Marvel's Avengers (2015)
24) Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin (2015)
25) Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2016)
26) Lego Worlds (2017)
27) Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 (2017)
Lego games are good. The problem with Lego games, however, is that if you've played one, you know exactly what to expect from all the others. For this list, I went back to the first game in the most prevalent Lego play style and did not include games such as Lego Battles. The games listed here all play the same way. So pick a few from your favorite properties and you'll be set.
I really enjoyed the original Lego Batman. It's the only one I've managed to make it through 100%. Something about that one was fantastic.
The Tony Hawk Series
01) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (1999)
02) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (2000)
03) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (2001)
04) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (2002)
05) Tony Hawk Underground (2003)
06) Tony Hawk Underground 2 (2004)
07) Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (2005)
08) Tony Hawk's American Sk8land (2005)
09) Tony Hawk's Project 8 (2006)
10) Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (2006)
11) Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (2007)
12) Tony Hawk's Motion (2008)
13) Tony Hawk Ride (2009)
14) Tony Hawk: Shred (2010)
15) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (2015)
Tony Hawk games were, for over a decade, a yearly release. The runaway success of the series was enough to get Activision to start cranking out as many of them as they could. Eventually, like some other series of games in this feature by the same publisher, the market became saturated with them and interest began to rapidly decline. The Wii game Tony Hawk Ride was the beginning of the end for the series, spitting out one more game before going on a five year long hiatus.
Like Guitar Hero Live, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 failed to jazz anyone up about the series again.
And there you go, folks. Six game series that went on and on and on until they either burned themselves out or they're still yearly pumping out new releases. I'm not saying these series are bad, but some of them have definitely overstayed their welcome. I could probably do a follow-up to this at some point with some other series (Far Cry) but seeing as I sat on this one for almost two years who knows!