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Innovator To Imitator

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When a trend-setter borrows from the competition.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
TheFarmboy on Dec 25th 2018 at 6:41:49 AM
Last Edited By:
TheFarmboy on Feb 14th 2019 at 7:00:11 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Often being the trend-setter gives you credit for giving birth to a sub-genre of movies, shows or games. And eventually everyone wants a piece of that pie. So much they would incorporate what works and try to have their own twist to varying degrees of success. Sometimes birthing healthy competition between the innovator and many of its imitations.

The worst fate an innovator can suffer from with many derivatives is that it will be forgotten about or face severe scrutiny when being compared to its successors that did something better. What would the creators do? Why borrow some unique elements and infuse it in their own series of course. This can lead to people calling out the creator for blatantly copying someones success, especially if executed poorly.

Clearly it's a Sub-Trope of Follow the Leader. Contrast it with Derivative Differentiation, where the competition put's their own spin on things to make it stand out.


Examples

Films - Animation

  • Chicken Little, often seen as the nadir of Disney animation, was made at a time when DreamWorks Animation was threatening to overtake them as a leader in the animated film market, and the film contains elements meant to appeal to a post-Shrek audience; a Fractured Fairy Tale plot, cynical humor, and a soundtrack mainly comprised of existing pop songs.

Video Games

  • When the Medal of Honor series started the World War II First Person Shooter trend, several people that worked on it went on to create it's biggest rival, Call of Duty. When Infinity Ward released Modern Warfare that shifted the setting to the modern day, EA has rebooted Medal of Honor to have it and its sequel Warfighter, set during The War on Terror.
  • The first two Driver games allowed players to ride around a third dimensional city, and was praised by critics at the time. When Rockstar unveiled the third installment of the Grand Theft Auto series with critical acclaim, Atari retaliated with the infamous Driv3r, which since brought the series down a downward spiral.
  • This is how Rock Band came to be. When the Guitar Hero series was bought by Activision, original developer Harmonix created the Rock Band series to compete with the third Guitar Hero game. The game introduced singing and drumming to compliment the guitar and bass for full band play, which in turn Guitar Hero added in World Tour.
  • Super Mario Kart and its sequel were innovators in the kart-racing genre of games, and sister game Diddy Kong Racing did a lot to push the genre as well. However, along came Crash Team Racing from competitor series Crash Bandicoot which introduced mechanics like jumping off the top of a hill for a distance and speed boost, as well as drift-boosting, which were all very quickly implemented in future Mario Kart titles immediately.
  • Robert Garcia of Art of Fighting was made as an Alternate Company Equivalent to Ken of Street Fighter. Robert's own rising popularity later leads to Ken being given some of Robert's own traits (starting from Street Fighter Alpha): being a rich heir of a wealthy businessman who sent him to a martial arts teacher to temper himself, and having some focus on kicking attacks.
  • The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer was the first console to get the 64-bits as well the first one that used CD instead cartridges for its games. But the high price and the few library of games made the console was quickly surpassed by the competition as Nintendo 64 (in the 64-bits department), PlayStation and Sega Saturn (in the CD department), all of them cheaper than 3DO, ending with the company discontinuing the console and only developing games for those consoles after that until they've folded in 2003.

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons was renowned for helping set up adult animation as a prominent genre, with several other mature sitcom cartoons such as South Park and Family Guy spawning from its success. As these far more vulgar cartoons started to surpass The Simpsons in popularity however, the show started to try keep up with their edgier, more off the wall brand of comedy, slowly discarding its more subtle and earnest form of storytelling that made the earlier seasons iconic.

Real Life

  • Raymond Damadian created the first full-body magnetic-image resonance machine, the Indomitable. His machine failed to sell and was quickly rendered obsolete by Peter Mansfield and Paul Lauterber's refinements of his research, and thus Damadian's company quickly adopted Mansfield and Lauterber's methods for their machines.

(This is a WIP, some advice is encouraged.)

Indices: Follow the Leader Show Business

Feedback: 13 replies

Dec 25th 2018 at 8:26:22 AM

The laconic is not really indicative. That may be just me, but "leader" and "follower" sound like descriptions of people, not works. And following and imitation are different.

Dec 25th 2018 at 8:34:33 AM

Altered the laconic, hopefully it's a bit better.

Dec 25th 2018 at 8:55:51 AM

  • Chicken Little, often seen as the nadir of Disney animation, was made at a time when Dream Works Animation was threatening to overtake them as a leader in the animated film market, and the film contains elements meant to appeal to a post-Shrek audience; a Fractured Fairy Tale plot, cynical humor, and a soundtrack mainly comprised of existing pop songs.

Dec 25th 2018 at 11:00:11 AM

  • Bambi was arguably the Trope Codifier for "circle of life" pieces in Western Animation, with several later key animated films such The Land Before Time and The Lion King confessed to using it as inspiration. Its midquel Bambi II made decades after, takes a lot more cues from the latter films' including The Lion King's more dialogue heavy character arc format, and a scene utilising Bambi's lost mother appearing in spirit that is incredibly reminiscent of The Land Before Time. It might help that Bambi II was actually made by a few key members of The Lion King's creative team.
  • The Simpsons was renowned for helping set up adult animation as a prominent genre, with several other mature sitcom cartoons such as South Park and Family Guy spawning from its success. As these far more vulgar cartoons started to surpass The Simpsons in popularity however, the show started to try keep up with their edgier, more off the wall brand of comedy, slowly discarding it's more subtle and earnest form of storytelling that made the earlier seasons iconic.

Dec 25th 2018 at 1:48:39 PM

Medicine

  • Raymond Damadian created the first full-body magnetic-image resonance machine, the Indomitable. His machine failed to sell and was quickly rendered obsolete by Peter Mansfield and Paul Lauterber's refinements of his research, and thus Damadian's company quickly adopted Mansfield and Lauterber's methods for their machines.

Dec 25th 2018 at 2:11:10 PM

^ That could be put in Real Life section.

Dec 26th 2018 at 5:29:39 AM

  • Capitalized the title so the proposal can be launched properly.
  • Corrected spelling (it's -> its).
  • Blue Linked TV Tropes page names.
  • Examples section
    • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.

Dec 26th 2018 at 12:20:55 PM

Video Games

  • Super Mario Kart and its sequel were innovators in the kart-racing genre of games, and sister game Diddy Kong Racing did a lot to push the genre as well. However, along came Crash Team Racing from competitor series Crash Bandicoot which introduced mechanics like jumping off the top of a hill for a distance and speed boost, as well as drift-boosting, which were all very quickly implemented in future Mario Kart titles immediately.

Jan 7th 2019 at 8:28:02 AM

Jan 11th 2019 at 6:27:46 AM

Video Games:

  • A console example: Three DO was the first console to get the 64-bits as well the first one that used CD instead cartridges for its games. But the high price and the few library of games made the console was quickly surpased by the competition as Nintendo 64 (in the 64-bits department), Play Station and Sega Saturn (in the CD department), all of them cheaper than 3DO, ending with the company discontinuing the console and only developing games for those consoles after that.

Jan 18th 2019 at 7:24:54 PM

Trying to decide if this should be a YMMV or a Trivia trope. Probably leaning on the former.

Jan 18th 2019 at 9:41:12 PM

^ no, this is a proper trope. It's not subjective, and it's not about something "outside of the work".

Feb 14th 2019 at 7:00:11 PM

Bumping this. It could use some more examples before launching.

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