Innovation or Diversion?

Video Games at their roots were the masters at gameplay innovation and fresh experiences for audiences. Long gone are the days were Mario, Sonic, and Crash Bandicoot ruled the gaming realm. With modern video game consoles as well as PC’s producing stunningly realistic graphics, the priorities of game developers have changed drastically. Rather than seek to create new experiences, many developers merely create a carbon copy of the most successful titles in the industry, hoping to create some buzz and steal some of their audience. This is a problem that is seen most commonly in the genre of first person shooter games; however it is indeed an industry wide problem. Modern games look amazing in HD on a HDTV, but it makes me wonder sometimes, are we being distracted?

When you see a commercial or online trailer for a video game your first thought is “Wow, look at how realistic that looks”. That wow factor alone these days gets many to open their wallets. Because of that, the people who make the games focus on that aspect. As I’ve said in previous posts, that’s not a bad thing. Its 2011, therefore video games should look beautiful and realistic. However gameplay should be just as much if not more the focus. Innovating gameplay for a new original property or a follow-up sequel is difficult. You have to create functions that are not too difficult to use, essential to the core games experience, and most importantly that are fun for the players.

Innovation in the gameplay department is a very complex process. The term “gameplay” far reaches into so many aspects of a game. Physics, glitches, features, online features, etc. all fall under the umbrella of gameplay. Features also differ based on genre. For example, sports games like Madden NFL Football aim for playability as close to real sports as possible. Shooters vary based on game type. There are many shooters that are visual recreations of past U.S Military conflicts such as, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, etc. These games focus on realistic gunplay, teamwork, and to create a true to life war experience for the player. Other shooters toss out reality and focus on creating expansive fictional stories with otherworldly creatures, weapons and powers. These include games like Bioshock, Gears of War, Halo, and Killzone.

I focused on these two in particular genres because they are indeed the two in the most need of innovation and a spark. The video game industry is in dire need of a new original IP’s (Intellectual properties). Although games like Killzone, Call of Duty, Halo and Gears sell very well, the market continues to grow. With the expansion more and more will be demanded of developer’s. The modern entitled gamer’s hunger for a compelling, versatile, fresh, experience is never satisfied. The industry has finite resources to deliver. However, they have the best minds in the world developing their products. Therefore, they must be prepared to deliver the best experience possible on every release. Multiplayer and DLC are almost a prerequisite nowadays. So in layman’s terms if you want our hard-earned 60$ you better stand and deliver the absolute best quality games to our TV and computer screens.