What constitutes a good game in the current era of video gaming?
If we look at the history of video games, there have been an insurmountable number of video games created. From the Magnavox Odyssey to the WiiU, the industry has grown and developed.
And while there have been countless mediocre or somewhat decent games, there have been a large number of directorial and creative masterpieces designed and created by video game companies. To name a classic we're all familiar with; Metal Gear, on the MSX2 (NES for the North American version)
This game was revolutionary for its time: the goal of the game can be boiled down to "hide and seek", with the player character hiding from the guards seeking him. This game is the first mainstream stealth game released on consoles, and it garnered a lot of popularity. A game encouraging players to find ingenious methods to avoid detection and avoid enemies, rather than just taking them down or going in guns blazing. This title spawned a pandemic.
The entire MGS series defines the stealth genre. The games limit the weapons the player starts with, often beginning with zero weaponry. The player is unarmed, in an unfamiliar environment and pretty much told "Hey, go here and do this. That's your mission." Passing through undetected is paramount, because you won't last in an confrontation with the enemy; you've got no weapons!
As you progress further, perhaps you'll receive a pistol to defend yourself. But it has no silencer; meaning that every time you fire it, a guard within earshot will hear it.
The ideas were amazing. Instead of simply killing the enemies, you were given options to distract them and sneak past and basically feel like a ninja, passing undetected wherever you went.
So, with amazing storylines and plot twists alongside boss battles of epic proportions, the MGS series was a massive success on many different consoles over the years. So these games are considered incredible. Masterpieces. Must plays. Absolutely fantastic games, and everytime a new title is announced, the fanbase goes wild. Because it's another detailed and emotive story. Another opportunity to revisit the good ol' days of MGS1. And with each new release, new ways to play.
So why, you ask, have I stated in the title the "Sorry state of gaming in the current era"?
Because the industry has developed to a high point, a pinnacle of entertainment and success. Where does it go from there?
With the incredible amount of money that can be earned developing video games in the industry, companies have begun to figure out that they can find a formula to making a game, which might be slightly entertaining and capture the interest of some. They can then hype it, incite excitement, and then release a comparitively lackluster title when contrasted to the awesome stuff they made us think we would do. These games SELL.
Let me take the most awful offender in this case for an example: CALL OF DUTY.
Don't get me wrong. I don't hate Call of Duty. In some cases, they have made some pretty good games in the FPS genre. However, developing an FPS game can only go so far before new material is impossible to find. How many different ways can you make a game where you shoot people? After some time, it's going to get stale.
Naughty Dog is good at realising this. When they developed Crash Bandicoot, everyone was like "HEY! Check out this game with the orange bandicoot dude! It's cool!" The Crash series was an awesome series, and I'm sure many of us here have fond memories of playing it in our childhoods. But Naughty Dog knew it couldn't go on forever. All good things must come to an end. If we never finished anything, we would never start anything new. So they moved on, but let some new developer pick up the trail. And the series became stale, as jumping around and platforming and setting off TNT and nitro crates got old after a while. I hate to say it, but I hate the recent Crash Bandicoot games. The last one I remember enjoying was Twinsanity, and hats off to Traveller's Tales for making the series somewhat decent after Naughty Dog left, but it was bound to fail sooner or later.
Still on the topic of Naughty Dog, they made the amazing Jak and Daxter: A Precursor's Legacy. When I first played a PS2, it was a rented one along with MGS1 and this game. And boy, was this game awesome. Once I actually had my own PS2, this game was a must have. And I played it like crazy. And it spawned two awesome sequels. But again, Naughty Dog knew not to redo the same thing over and over. Jak X: Combat Racing was their last hurrah in the series, which was a somewhat decent racing game.
And they moved on. Uncharted was a great series, but as far as I can tell right now, they've moved on. The recent release The Last Of Us is AMAZING. Currently playing it, one of the greatest games I've ever played.
The rare developers like Kojima Productions and Naughty Dog can still deliver masterpieces.
But the industry is failing in my opinion. With new Gears of War games and God of War games announced, and even one of my beloved franchises Assassin's Creed falling to this new formulaic, release-as-many-titles-as-possible mentality, gamers are left wanting more. Creative thought, directorial skill and longer development times in order to create the most entertaining, bug-free game possible.
Think of it this way: Metal Gear for the MSX2, released in 1987. Kojima took the next three years to develop his next title, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, for the MSX2 (which makes a release of 1990). With the transition into 3D, he really took his time to perfect his next masterpiece: Metal Gear Solid on the PS1 (released 8 years later, in 1998)
Then Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2, 2001), Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2 again, 2004) and so on. You get the idea. These games we play are high quality entertainment, thrills, storytelling and just awesome fun. Because he took TIME to make a great game, not a decent one that can be sold quickly to make money.
He respects the fans. He even stated with MGSV that he wanted to ensure the themes got across as to maintain creative directing rather than omit them to ensure sales. He wants to deliver to the fans.
And that's what it lacking with the video game industry. When big companies like EA rushed the development of Mass Effect 3, or Microsoft considered DRM policies in order to ensure their console was distributed by GameStop, their thoughts were squarely on the money. The money drives them.
Not the intent to entertain and create a perfect experience for their fans. And that is what is wrong with the video game industry these days.
- A tired Mr. Bunnsy, at 4:05AM. Goodnight all.