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This is something that I have been thinking of for a while. I look at video game series like Resident Evil and Dead Space and notice that people seem to be angry at the fact that those game have lost their roots. Is a video game series forever locked to certain genres?
What's the root in a series varies depending on who you ask. However, the more consistent a series is, the more consistent answers you will get if you ask different people. Whatever certain games in a series have in common will be what makes that series in the minds of it's fans.

Series don't need to be locked into a genre, but if you want to cross genres, it may help to label a game as a spin off. For example, "Suikoden Tactics" is a label that both tells the potential buyers that it's a Suikoden game, but also that it will derivate from the formula a lot.

In the end, it's the IP owner's call how to handle it. However, the fans are also free to express their opinion of the IP owner's decision.
"Breath of Fire, Dragon Quarter" is a great stand-alone game, but fans of the series tender to dislike how far it deviated from the previous titles. So I agree with Crystalgate. Sometimes distinct games don't belong under the same series title.

Self-proclaimed Puzzle Snob
Personally I don't mind what series a game belongs to, as long as it's a good game.
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