ARPS unofficial motto - And then we leave. No heroic stands.
I do agree that independent developers are flourishing now and they bring out good games for what most of them are but not with the budget the publisher backed developers have. So the result is that a bulk of them are very small and in some aspects simplistic games, focusing on a certain part of the gameplay or having stylistic, simple graphics because of budget constraints. Of course there are larger games from indie developers but not enough to make some difference.
I didn't say that it's innovative. I picked Alan Wake because it's a game that is imaginative and interesting in it's gameplay (use of lighting, how you defeat enemies), storytelling (episodic, giving out plot points beforehand) and setting (Stephen King-esque idyllic small town, layout of levels, giving sense of travel by showing the player landmarks and giving the idea of rough distance traveled). Also it's a game that does not try to appeal to everyone and because of that some people will not like it for one reason or another, but that reason is usually a matter of taste not because the game actually has some badly designed parts in it or massive amount of bugs. The thing with it making a profit, I meant that they made enough money by porting it to PC for it to be worth doing so.
Sure you're right on the X3 series example and your argument does hold water but you can't deny that taking out gameplay elements (light/sound meter in SC3, commander/6 man squads in BF2, partially or non-regenerating health for instance) and replacing them with very simple versions of them or just removing them outright (SC: Conviction's retard stealth meter, kill only mode gameplay) doesn't in most cases make the sequel better. Also can you bring any other examples than just X3?
I don't believe that for a game to be good it has to be innovative and I don't understand why this word is brought into this topic. Also with the nostalgia glasses argument, have you noticed that gaming as a medium has got massively bigger than it was some 10 years ago and that it has attracted a very large number of new gamers who maybe perhaps just do not have the experience with older games and never will have because of the massive technological advancement games have had over the years? I personally do not think that these new gamers are stupid, I think major publishers think they're stupid and so they'll try go out for maximum profit. Although it has been proven time and time again that if a developer makes a game that has good gameplay, is kind of niche and has very nice visual value then it will sell. It won't sell in obscene numbers because it's not everybody's cup of tea but it will sell with the added bonus of a new loyal fanbase.
But you and I both know that should a big company ever take notice, it just buys the indie, strips it of all its IPs, and sacks the rest.
Personally, I wish there were five more CDProjekts and five more Obsidians and five more Biowares pre-EA buyout, but I'm happy that they yet exist as is.
I've found it to be an issue with both big studios and indies alike. Big studios tend to be more and more risk averse now what with the huge budgets they have, and because they're these big companies they become bigger targets for getting called out on this stuff. I also think that indie studios can be plenty guilty of stagnation as well despite some groups being inclined to look at anything put out by the indie scene as the second coming. A good example is how often I found myself saying, "Oh look, another tower defense game!" when looking at recent indie releases.
There are fun, interesting games coming out, but I think cynicism has being soaring to new heights with a lot of people. Moreover, I don't think it's necessary to reinvent the wheel for the sake of doing so in the search for fun. I thoroughly enjoyed Kingdom of Amalur, and that is a huge mass of pre-existing gameplay mechanics. Same for Orcs Must Die, Bulletstorm, DoDonPachi, and countless others. They may not be at the forefront of innovation, but the games are a lot of fun.
... I take the lives of a few to protect the lives of many. I commit acts of war to preserve the greater peace. I take no joy in killing, but make no mistake; I'll do what needs to be done. Because it's my job. It's my duty. My name is Sam Fisher, and I am a Splinter Cell.
It's actually pretty amazing how often I see people say how X new game is a refreshing change of pace from the 'current stagnant market', when actually that statement is so frequent that it shows all the time new games and concepts are popping up. In fact now more than ever people are able to bring their own creations to the table AND get them delivered by other means than bringing a disc round to a friends house, using more advanced tools than ever. I'm not sure I see how older games back then were any more diverse than they are now.
Doom is similar to Wolfenstein, Duke Nukem similar to that or Baldurs Gate is similiar to the other Infinity engine RPGs. Success sells and right now the FPS is the most dominant form of genre because that is what is successful right now. The gaming industry is probably the most progressive one out there, where every day someone can download free tools to improve it or change it up. Look at Overgrowth for example, it's just one guy (I think) but he's got some really interesting ideas going on and is able to share them and create them easily thanks to the internet. It's not so easy for a filmmaker or writer to do such a thing as it is for game makers.
I mean really, apart from those who are all doom and gloom and *do* prefer older games - not I'm not saying rose tinted glasses, because I accept that those games were brilliant - it's pretty easy to see that gamings cup runneth over with new and interesting concepts and ideas.
The removal of most of the inventory in ME2 was overall a positive thing. Does anybody really miss having 25 Lancer I assault rifles? Once you got the Specter weapons everything else was obsolete and pointless, and cash was practically useless given how much stuff you found. That said it did go a bit too far, but it was for the most part a good move. The BF2 Commander mode as I remember it was mostly a hated position rife with abuse, and BF3's removal hasn't really lost anything for the most part. Civ4's massive streamlining was largely hailed as a positive thing, making the numbers and actions a lot easier to understand (unless you love memorising combat statistics I guess). I can't comment on SC: Conviction because I never played it. What other games do you think were negatively impacted by streamlining?
On the topic of regenerating health: medkits in the middle of nowhere don't make much sense, so I can see how regenerating "health" (maybe they should stop calling it health and something like panic or fatigue) goes partway to solving that issue, but I think it needs to be modified so that health regenerates to a point but also has a depletion limit such that you'd need a medkit or something to replenish it. I know you're not making the "unrealistic" argument about regenerating health, but regenerating health is just as bad as magic medkits that go out of their way to help you.
Along with graphics and sound, it's the one place where clear objective progress has been made over the years.
The games industry has become like every other industry. It used to be a niche market with individuals/small groups free to mostly do what they wanted. Now it's a big business.
It's the same as movies, books, comics, houses, smartphones, etc... 90% of stuff isn't very innovative or new, but just continues existing trends or builds on what has come before. Not everything can be innovative after all.
I think now that gaming has gone mainstream it is aiming for different things, and a different audience. More close to hollywood movies where marketing, presentation and accessibility are king.
But even back in the day we had 90% clones and iterative improvements rather than hundreds of genuinely innovative products - and that's good, as it allowed things to develop and improve. That was more like the UK movie industry - a little more indie and low budget than hollywood, but 90% gangster movies and romantic comedies.
The SNES was great, but it was 90% platformers. Early games were all adventure game clones, then we had all RTS clones, then we had all FPS clones, then it was all everquest clones, and now we're at all CoD clones.
It's great that the indie market has opened up now with the web and steam, but even indies can't be innovative all the time. there aren't enough new ideas. Sometimes it's enough to just try and do something really well.
There's plenty of innovation. The problem is, games which innovate tend to sink, because it usually takes two or three iterations of an idea before it starts "working". It's rare for a game to be both innovative and good; usually the good game is the one which takes some of the ideas of the innovative games and blends them together in a way which works.