Results 1 to 20 of 90
24-02-2012, 05:05 AM #1
Stagnation or lack of imagination and a skewed mentality in the gaming industry
I do not really know how to properly name the thread here because I believe that this subject encompasses a lot in the gaming industry. So I do apologize if anybody is confused here.
Today a lot of games are recycled. I don't really mean in the sense of a single gameplay mechanic but in a sense that there is a certain pattern. 5-7 hour single player campaign, shoehorned multiplayer, short and rushed development times, mediocre gameplay, shoddy ports, day1 DLC, needless DRM and so forth. You can argue that there are good, properly made games released but it's too few in my opinion to matter in the grand scheme of the game industry. In other words a lot of games lack soul. Games made with the ambition and heart will live on, either they fail or succeed. They will always be remembered because the developers tried to do something significant and something that matters.
You see a few developers try and advance some major aspect of their games either developing for a single platform first and then try to branch out on other gaming platforms (CD Projekt RED, Remedy Entertainment, From Software) or try and make a unique and interesting gameplay mechanic (Frictional Games, Quantic Dream, Remedy Entertainment, Team Bondi). But most just try to cash in and people will buy those mediocre products.
I think the problem lies with the heads of the gaming industry and old and the new customer generation. Former's standards have lowered and latter doesn't have any standards whatsoever, at least that theory makes sense to me. The thing with the gaming industry is that they don't realize that they do not sell products that are 10-20 dollars a piece when actually the product costs 3-4 times as much. The thing with the movie industry is that you can make a technically bad movie but it will sell if it has lets say good action scenes or CGI because a movie ticket costs around 4-5 dollars. So the customer doesn't really lose that much and is more lenient considering the film sold to him/her. Main problem here is that the major publishers of the gaming industry seem to apply the same logic to games when it doesn't apply considering the cost of an average game. It's very much a luxury and a sensible customer might shun the company, have distrust towards them whenever their latest model fails on being a genuinely good and instead just pirating it to try it out and not buying it. On the other side of that coin are the newcomers to gaming, doesn't matter if console or pc but they will probably buy anything because they don't have a relevant point of reference considering the quality. I know this sounds really elitist but I do believe it to be the truth. I apologize if I have insulted anybody with that but that's my opinion on the matter.
So in the end you have a big supply of clients who will fund your average products and on a business aspect that's good. But on the creative aspect that's bad. You have a lot of game series that are massively simplified and made shorter for the sake of so to speak awesomeness and streamlining (Splinter Cell: Conviction, Rainbow Six: Vegas 1/2, Battlefield 3, Fable 3). Even the smallest hint of complexity and challenge is more or less lost in games. Most recent game on PC that tries to be interesting and imaginative is Alan Wake and that is technically a 2 year old game. Remedy brought that thing to PC with porting it right and pricing it only 20 euros. In 2 days they made a profit on it. I mean the math is not hard on that one, imagination + solid gameplay + right pricing = profit. Appealing to everyone is the grave the industry is digging for itself.
I love all forms of entertainment, films and video games especially. What happened to the the developers to go to the way of greediness? What happened with the rights of a regular customer? What happened with the imagination and soul of the games we play? It saddens me to see less and less of imagination used in game development for the sake of appealing to everyone. I hope I didn't forget anything.
24-02-2012, 08:16 AM #2
Developing AAA games is expensive and high-risk buisness.
24-02-2012, 08:46 AM #3
Which, of course, leads to a massive crash and burn when people catch on, but people seem happy enough to buy the same game over and over again as long as it has a new name plastered onto it, so whatever.
24-02-2012, 08:55 AM #4
24-02-2012, 09:00 AM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
24-02-2012, 10:09 AM #6
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
- London, England
I think that indie games have to be innovative and different simply to get noticed. Gaming isn't stagnating as such, more like AAA gaming. Indie gaming is flourishing and more interesting.
I think what the OP is describing happens in all industries. In movies, the mainstream is Transformers and rom-coms. In books, thrillers and romance. On TV, reality shows. In music, X-Factor and pop-R'N'B. It's the way all entertainment goes eventually- the mainstream becomes repetition and inoffensiveness. The interesting stuff is always beyond that.
24-02-2012, 10:23 AM #7
Indie game fails, at large it doesn't make a difference.
AAA title fails, studios close. That's where part of the difference lies.
Indie gaming does produce an occasionally innovative title, but I think people are guilty of cherry-picking and overstating how innovative the indie scene really is. For every Minecraft there's a bunch of sub-par platformers or pointless "art" games. For every Xenonauts there's a legion of App Store titles doing nothing interesting. Not every indie game is gold but you wouldn't know it by the way some people act towards the indie sector. A lot of indie games wouldn't make it in the mainstream sector, because they're just not particularly interesting or entertaining. Minecraft and Bastion struck it big and are the exception to the rule.
The AAA sector does lack innovation in some ways but I think the AAA titles inherently attract much, much more criticism because they come from a larger studio, so any flaws are picked to pieces. They're a bigger target. As for the elitist streak - it is elitist. In some cases you're right, older games did tend to experiment more, but the market was smaller and it wasn't mainstream. But if everyone was like that, we'd all be like Wizardry, and I'm sure we don't want to end up like that. A lot of the things that old games did "better" is seen through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia. People hold up a Doom map as an example of non-linear level design, but seem to conveniently forget that most of that consisted of switch or key hunting along with a lot of backtracking, plus there was no story driving the game to bother to speak of (without any story, it'd still be the same game). That's not to say that the scripted sequences found in something like MW3 are always superior, but the older ages of gaming aren't the special, golden years where it was full of innovation and nothing was crap.
[quote]You have a lot of game series that are massively simplified and made shorter for the sake of so to speakawesomeness and streamlining[/quote]
"Streamlining" done correctly is a good thing. X3's interface for example hasn't changed much since the very first X game. It's a mess of submenus and places where a mouse-driven interface is expected yet doesn't function as you'd think. It needs to be overhauled desperately. Streamlining that interface is a good thing. Pointless complexity for the same of calling your game complex does not automatically make a good game. Minecraft isn't complex in its essential gameplay elements. It's incredibly simple. Bastion is simple. Terraria is simple. In fact the majority of indie games are very simple in their gameplay mechanics and execution. I don't buy into the "streamlining" argument for most games, because often people seem to just want complexity for the sake of it.
Not every game needs to operate like KA-50, because gaming would be incredibly boring. Fact is we've been bitching about the same goddamn problems for ages now, yes even back in the 90s. We just hear about it more these days thanks to the Internet.
24-02-2012, 11:38 AM #8
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
So this is a thread of innovation in AAA titles, not in indie or middle tier games (games from Paradox, Stardock, etc)?
And Alan Wake is an example of an innovative AAA title?
Btw - the profit for Alan Wake is only profit on the costs for the conversion. The game was in development for ages, and those costs were not recouped in two days.
24-02-2012, 12:12 PM #9
Gaming is just bigger now then in the past. Big companies from the 80s and 90s are now colossal companies (or they just ate the competition) while middle sized A or AA companies are about the size of larger companies in the past. Sure the stuff the AAA guys are lacking innovation but that’s the same for most media that eventually becomes a large social norm.
As for people just blindly lacking innovation? That’s always existed. Take the hundreds upon hundreds of PS1 games released and, off the top of your head, pick 10 titles you found to be bland and ultimately lacking in innovation. They were always there; people just tend to forget the utterly average.
24-02-2012, 12:34 PM #10
The year 14,000,000,000 BC - the super symmetry breaks down, the big bang occurs and the particles that would later become video games emerge from the quark-gluon plasma, thereby marking the decline of video games."Reason is the madness of the strongest"
24-02-2012, 12:42 PM #11
But also I think the analysis of gamers standards having declined over the years is false. Games that sold well have never been all that complex, we may harp on about the days of Baldur's Gate and Deus Ex, but frankly back then games that sold through the roof were things like Tomb Raider sequels. The console market back then was still pretty dominant, I work for PlayStation and frankly nobody here has heard of Baldur's Gate or Fallout 1/2 or Thief, they grew up on the actual mass market of gaming which was PlayStation.
So the games we cherish were only ever really mid level sellers back in the day as they could only appeal to a smaller market base. With games costing a lot more, relatively, to produce the only way to justify that cost is to cut back complexity or to make your complexity far more accessible to a wider audience. Or you could cut back on graphics or voice actors.... imagine how that would go down.
24-02-2012, 02:01 PM #12
I honestly think that games are better now than they ever where, and they're getting better. Never had such a wide and diverse range of different quality games as we do today.
It's human nature to think that "things where better X years ago"; it's nostalgia, melancholia. It's natural, but it doesn't make it true. That new Woody Allen movie, "Midnight in Paris", makes a great point of this.
24-02-2012, 02:20 PM #13
My free online multiplayer PC ONLY 'world cup singles/singles/worldy/cuppy/wembley' game can be found here:
- Join Date
- Feb 2012
Please try it out!
24-02-2012, 02:38 PM #14
There are plenty of excellent, imaginative, tight and well designed games just now. They just aren't necessarily coming from the biggest names is all. It also depends where you look; some of the best recent games have been on the Iphone and have not been hurt by the format at all. I love my PC but I think that because they are capable of so much many games are guilty of over reach and trying to fulfill the platform's potential simultaneously, whereas some of the best art is made because it has to work within it's limitations. That said there have many games from big budget industries within the last five years which have been very good games as well, and there have been lots of indie or cheaper games which have been rubbish.
It's best to play a game and react to it rather than go down the tribal route which is increasingly the case in pop culture, where people identify problems with an industry or genre and then try and work out how/whether it escapes or conforms to those confines.
24-02-2012, 03:52 PM #15
24-02-2012, 04:35 PM #16
Gaming is still trying to find its identity. It became popular so suddenly, so the bigwigs are emulating the movie industry because they don't know what else to do.
24-02-2012, 04:53 PM #17
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
I've read somewhere of a theory used in movie marketing - "quartering" the audience per sex and age. So you get males under 25, males over 25, females under 25 and females over 25. Obviously it's not 25% each - the first segment, males under 25, make by far the largest potential audience while females over 25 make the smallest, so the average AAA producer focuses on what he thinks will have the least risk of bombing - titles marketed at the largest potential audience. This is not a 100% blockbuster guarantee, obviously.
Seems to me game industry is somewhat on the same boat, even if much less that the movie industry - probably that's what caused the ME3 writer drama recently, gaming has been dominated by younger males for decades, and in relatively recent times expanded to include both girls and older men.
24-02-2012, 05:00 PM #18
I think the same is happening with games right now and all the "genres" we have. Which doesn't mean it's done evolving, color and talkies are probably just around the corner.
24-02-2012, 06:47 PM #19
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
*raises "Theodore Sturgeons laws"*
24-02-2012, 06:50 PM #20
- Join Date
- Jun 2011