I have been thinking a lot about the future of this industry and the direction itís going right now with all the motion controller stuff that all three console makers are starting to come out with. Now from the way I see things in the gaming industry the objective of most developers is to make the player feel as involved in the experience as possible, almost to the point where you feel you are not playing a game. A lot of developers talk about moral choice and connecting with characters along with feeling all sorts of emotions while progressing through a story. With all these motions controllers soon to be released the aim seems to be a new way to play but also a better way to connect with the game as you do the motions that your character is performing in the game. A lot of these advances are towards realism and making things more realistic. With every new console that is released there is a progression in graphics and processing power, the goal of these new consoles is to bring the gaming experience closer and closer the photo realism. I would imagine the road this industry is taking is to get as close to have a gamer look like they are playing a movie, photo realistic graphics, human like AI, realistic sound and feel to a game and stories that will move players just as much as serious films. This is not the case for such games like mario or zelda as they have a completely different style, but in alot of mainstream titles today, The motion controls that are being released, especially Microsoftís Natal is another attempt to make the player feel like they are in the game by ditching the regular controller. With realism being a big target for developers and console makers I am curious as to whether games will ever be too real.
I think it may be a bad thing for some gamers if the consoles got to the point where it was hard to separate them from reality. Games today resemble their real life counterparts, people look like people now instead of the old days when characters where shaped like squares and triangles and had rigid edges, today its not hard to come across a main character that looks like a realistic human being, with smoother shapes to the character model but still looking kind of cartoonish, it is still extremely easy to define a game character and real person. Now because it is easy to see that Nathan Drake, Soap McTavish and Ezio are not real people, it stops the player from fully connecting with a character that you would in a movie or a TV show. If a main character dies players will be upset because they liked the character and wanted them to succeed but they wonít be in tears for a week as if a family member just passed away. But what if games got to the point when the way they looked, talked and reacted was life like, with entertainment such as movies and TV you are simply just watching a story unfold, it may seem real but their is no physical connection only a possible emotional one. With games on the other hand, and especially some motion controls, the player is carrying out the same motions as the character, if the character on screen is beating someone to death with a weapon, the player is performing the motion, if a character in a game such as modern warfare 2 is killing hundreds in an airport, the player is performing the motion. I found it hard to pull the trigger in the No Russian mission on todayís consoles and if tomorrows gaming platforms are able to produce something that resembles real life in a way that most developers dream of then I know for sure I wouldnít be able to pull the trigger.
Maybe I am just too nice of a guy I guess but with this industries main selling point in around 95% of its games being violence but in different ways, realism could change everything. It could go the good way in which I am hoping for and actually provoke thought and emotion from a player and make morale choices in games seem important and not just "do I want the evil powers or the good powers?Ē. I just see some bad effects of realism, the thing that makes games so much fun for me is the fact they are games at the end of the day. No matter how realistic they may look I can shoot three bullets, reload and not waste an entire clip of ammo, I can move at ridiculous speeds without the getting tired at all, I can completely restore my health by hiding behind a wall for a few seconds and I am able to perform all sorts of actions that I will never be able to do in real life. The complications of realism is that games need aspects that are not realistic to be fun or even playable, but also at the same time its easy to detach yourself from a game. The only genre that I want to be truly realistic is the sports genre as that genre benefits the most as it is a genre of simulators, but as for action, fighting and FPS games I am a little hesitant. I hope and pray that developers find more ways to bring the gamer in to the experience more but not in a way that every year we just see more and more realistic headshots and assassinations.
First of all happy new year to all of you, and one of my new year resolutions was to write more this year so here is my first post in 2010 and this months topic is the perfect place to start as I have never posted a reply to the monthly topics so here goes.
So I guess im suppose to talk about the future of the industry and what I think about it, well im kind of excited and worried at the same time I guess. As far as the games coming out this year and possibly next year I could not be more hyped for titles such as Halo reach, Mass effect 2, Splinter cell conviction and God of war 3. These are only 4 games of the list that exceeds 30 games that im excited about this year. The amount of games this year or even in January alone is nothing short of amazing in my mind. After last year playing games such as Uncharted 2, Call of duty MW2 and Batman Arkham Asylum I have seen some really impressive games starting to be developed on this generations consoles. The quality of games seems to be on the rise as developers are getting more and more use to the creating games the consoles of today.
Now when I look back at the past two generations the games always improve as time goes on in the generation. Game developers progress and put out games of a much higher quality towards the end of a generation than they did at the start. This is expected obviously but let me explain why this generation has me a little worried about where the industry is going right now.
If we go back only a few years when the Xbox 360 and playstation 3 were released, the main taglines that the companies were using were such things as HD gaming, more processing power, more cinematic experiences and great online service. These days im hearing "motion controls", "something for everyone", "the whole family can join in" and "new and innovative ways to play". Now im all for innovation but does everyone need to innovate in the same way. This without a doubt has been fuelled by the success of the Nintendo Wii and its appeal to babies and grandparents, but is it really needed from everyone. Rather than offer something different than another company they would rather say " hey we got the same thing but its a little better ", and this is why im slightly worried. Just when developers seem to be getting to grips with the software and hardware that there using; now every company is throwing motion controls at them and saying ďmake it work ". As I said before I have no problem with innovation but at least try and perfect on area before moving onto something else. Everyone still does not have a HD TV an im already hearing things about 3D technology in TVs and gaming.
Im worried about the future of the industry simply because of the speed that a company is willing to change its entire game plan in an instant if someone else makes some money, I understand that this is a business but it is also the business of gaming, and in my opinion Nintendo has this motion stuff already locked down. I donít think there are many people anymore who do not have a Wii these days and are going to switch to a 360 because now they can play Halo with motion controls. Also with this generation I always here talks about how the life cycle is a lot longer now, so instead of a console lasting around 5 years before a new one is released, companies like Sony are looking to make the PS3 a ten year cycle so whatís the rush. We all heard about how the PS3 had all this power that it was not using to its full potential until recently and just when games like Killzone 2 and Uncharted 2 are being produced Sony wants us to play with ice cream cones.
So I ask you all what is wrong with the controllers we have now, the saying ďIf it isnít broke donít fix itĒ applies here I feel. Nintendo won the war of sales so far for being different while Microsoft and Sony competed for the best graphics and online. Now both of these companies are competing for the same thing once again but for some reason keep talking about offering an experience that no one else can offer, Its not really innovative if the other company is doing the same thing in my opinion, and the company that dares to be different is the company that will grab peoples attention. So I guess im worried about the industry because out of the three companies out there that provide me with games its hard to find someone talking about anything else but gimmicks and add ons.
Hey so this is the first time I have wrote anything in a while because of two reasons, first is that I have been kind of busy at university and second is because instead of writing I have been reading. A major trend that I have seen is people asking for games to grow and achieve some higher level that would seriously consider them as art, I guess this whole question of are games art is like the hot topic right now because everybody is talking about it. Some say yes some say no but I say it can be but its not there yet.
The reason we all play games is that we want some kind of entertainment or relief, some even play just for competition alone. Now the reason people watch films, listen to music or go to art galleries is partly for entertainment but also alot of people do these things because they feel that the movie, song or painting speaks to them in some way and so they can uncover hidden messages of some sort. To me art is the lyrics in a song, the brush strokes on a painting and the cinematography in a movie, but I fail to see the art behind slash of a sword or the explosion of a grenade. Donít get me wrong there are some games out there that have very artistic cinematic cut scenes but thatís not the game play at the end of the day thatís not the game thatís just a short movie inside the game. Nobody plays Call of duty because it speaks to their emotions; they play it for its fun game play and the thrill they get from a headshot.
I have heard alot of people talk about why they think games need to changed and be less shoot this or stab that, and to be honest I agree. I donít think that every game should be violent and I donít see why some form of combat is the main game play feature in about 99% of games out there. Itís not the same for music or film and we gamers want to be considered and be taken just as seriously as music and film lovers. I mean the different genres in music and film are things like horror, romance comedy and rap, rock and pop, but the genres for gaming are first person shooter, third person shooter and beat em up. So I understand everyoneís point about how we need more games like flower or braid, but this is not going to happen overnight just because everyone is blogging about it. The best way to speak is with your money so I donít understand of all these people who ask so much of the game developers and they are the same people queuing for hours to buy Gears of war.
So final point to make I guess and that is, games are influenced by all types of art but in all honesty I donít know of any games that speak to gamerís souls. I think we maybe ask a little too much of these developers to complain that the game sucks because they cant make you cry or send you through every other emotion in your brain just by you pushing buttons, im not a developer but I think its pretty hard to do. So just enjoy games for what they are because I think we are pretty lucky to have a hobby that provides us with so much and has about 15-20 great games a year, because I wish I could say the same thing for the film or the music industry. [b]
In this wonderful industry there are alot of words or phrases that are thrown around to define certain gamers or certain games, such words as N00B, Graphics Whore and the most commonly used Hardcore. This is a word that i personally hate because it is used so much and now anyone who has played Call of duty or Halo online for 20 minutes begins to call themselves a "Hardcore Gamer". So what is hardcore? how to you define which gamer is hardcore and which gamer is not?, how long do you have to play before you are hardcore? how many games do you have to play to be hardcore?. This has lead to people who play anything without a gun in the game to be called casual gamer and they are looked down on because they supposedly dont have the skill or balls to play a "hardcore" game like COD or GTA.
There are alot of gamers around these days that are very scared at the thought of Sony and Microsoft following the footsteps of Nintendo in trying to capture this wider audience by making games more family friendly and forgetting all about the "hardcore". First things first i want to say anyone who thinks that games like Halo, Killzone or GTA may be put to the side to make a Microsoft workout plan or a Sony fairground games obviously knows nothing at all about the gaming industry and how that these games make that wonderful thing that people love called money. BUT a growth in casual games is not a bad thing at all, its actually good in my opinion.
The reason i say this is because when i think back to my childhood when i was playing "casual" games like mario and sonic i enjoyed these games for one reason and one reason only and that was simply that they are great games. We are still in a very early place in this industry and games like these ( the good ones i mean ) are so critical to this industry, dont get me wrong i love Gears of war as much as the next guy but imagine the next generation of gamers grow up on games like these and look at marcus pheonix or kratos as we looked at mario, link and sonic when we were younger.
Imagine if whenever you have a kid you show them the Terminator before you show them the Lion King or Toy Story, now although i am 19 years of age i can still appreciate the fact that Toy Story was and still is a great film no matter how family friendly it is. So if you show a kid the Terminator and there amazed at watching violence for the first time they wont see whats actually good about the film they will just be blinded by the gunfire and car chases. This is the same with games, i believe the reason alot of people who play COD or Killzone before playing games like mario are the same people that only buy Guitar Hero, GTA and FIFA ( or Madden for my american friends ). These people miss all the basic but great gameplay that this industry was built on in the first place, so why are people so scared of the word casual as if in 10 years you wont be able to go online an blow someones head off. In my opinion if you love games and love the industry you will be behind companies making ( GOOD ) casual games, these kind of games are what will bring more people into gaming, these kind of games will show people why we love games so much and most importantly these kind of games will show those idiots out there who want to ban damn near all games that games are not all about killing something.
Let me take you back to the good old days of the Sega mega drive ( or genesis ) and the SNES, the days when each console had its own mascot and they were constantly compared with each other when people would wonder who would win out the the blue hedgehog Sonic and the italian plumber Mario. I myself was a sonic kid, the Sega mega drive was the first console i bought and i had all the sonic games, i watched the sonic tv show and my first bike was a blue one with sonic all over it. I had no interest for that italian guy and his mustache i was all about speed and followed sonic in everything that sega could sell to me.
So lets return to the present day where all companies have lost there balls and not one of these companies will take a direct jab at each other. I really wish that microsoft, sony and nintendo would be a little more agressive with each other, now although im not a fanboy of any one console it would certainly make good entertainment, after all this is a console "war" so why is no one treating it that way. If you asked someone from microsoft on camera today why they think there better than the rest they would probably just divert from the question and say something vague like " Microsoft brings this experience and sony and nintendo brings thier experience to the the table " and all the other companies would answer the same. If you asked this question back in the day to someone like sega they would reply with the famous line " Genesis does what Nintendont ", so what happend? since when did all the companies start being all nice about each other and respectable, THIS IS BUSINESS PEOPLE! if you dont make people believe that your the best, then people dont purchase your product and then you dont have a business. Now im not giving out advice to the companies abou how to sell a product because as we all know i think Nintendo pretty much wipes thier ass with money these days, but wheres the fire, wheres the competitive spirit, where are the MASCOTS.
Now i know what your all thinking and its probably something like Nintendo still has mario and microsoft has Master Chief and sony Kratos, but its just not the same as the Sonic vs Mario days. I wanna see kids in the street in todays world shouting " what are talking about? Link would absolutely destroy Kratos! ". But nobody cares anymore about being the best out there take Nintendo for instance, although they are known as the casaul console that makes sure that your mother and grandma get thier regular workout instead of being known as the console that brings the best gaming experience to the world THEY DONT CARE and why because they are making more money than anyone else right now. This is all well and good from a business point of view but its like they dont even care about being the best console out their. If you was to ask Reggie Fils-Aimť why should you buy a Wii instead of the other consoles then .... well he probably wouldnt be able to answer because he would be buried in his money. My point is when the console that would be considered in third place by most people does not care they are in third place then this is not a war this is not a competition, and i believe without competition theres is less progression. I dont wanna see sony and microsoft fighting for GTA and Metal gear i wanna see both companies saying " LOOK LOOK! we have this game, they dont have this game". So this is my cry, my shout, my prayer that all these giant companies that our draining our wallets grow some balls and for once say " SUCK IT! " to each other and stop all of this nice stuff.
CHARACTERS I WOULD LIKE TO SEE FIGHT
(Ratchet and clank) Ratchet VS Sonic (Sonic the hedgehog)
(God of war) Kratos VS Link (The legend of Zelda)
(Halo) Master Chief VS Samus (Metroid)
(Metal Gear Solid) Snake VS Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell)
(Resistance) Nathan Hale VS Marcus Phoenix (Gears of war)
(Mario Galaxy) Mario VS Sackboy (Little Big Planet)
(Infamous) Cole MacGrath VS That guy from Crackdown (Crackdown)
The Nintendo Mii's VS The Microsoft Avatars (G.R.A.W.) Ghost Recon team VS Rainbow Six team (Rainbow Six Vegas)
(Heavenly Sword) Nariko VS Dante (Devil May Cry)
(Metal Gear) NEW Raiden Vs Nero (Devil May Cry)
Well it seems that E3 has returned to its former glory after 2 disapointing E3 conventions in 07 and 08. E3 2009 was one of the greatest E3 conventions ever in my opinion, and the reason for all of this was the booth babes and the games were ok i guess aswel. Ok all joking out of the way as far as i am conerned the amount of games shown at E3 that i thought were pre order worthy makes me think one thing, an that is that i need to get second job to pay for all this stuff. So heres my rundown of all the biggest things in E3 2009 for me. First thing i would like to say is that nobody won E3 its not a competition an if there was a winner it would be us the gamers because we have all these companies trying to impress with all thier products to the point of handing of our wallets to the companies and saying " I believe this is yours now " So yay we won. Now there are almost too many games to mention at this years E3 but im just going to go through a few.
METAL GEAR Two metal gear games... TWO! ( read my profile and you will understand the excitement ) this for me is nothing short of a miracle as a major metal gear fan from back in that day BUT and there is always a but especially when talking about a kojima game, i almost wish the games were the other way round ( console wise ) the reason for this is that metal gear solid 3 was 10/10 for me but metal gear 2 was more 8.5/10 and playing as raiden although does get me hyped as he has recently bin to school of BADASS and now looks slightly more male, Big boss is just Big boss and thers not much else to say, he is the original. So id hope you understand why i would rather have the spin off on the psp and the " true sequel " according to kojima on the 360 and PS3.
HALO another franchise with two games and another of my favourite franchise's so again another miracle in my eyes. I have also seen the hype for Halo ODST has dropped more than a 90 year old womans chest, which after the recent demo showing is understandable but i think Halo ODST is suffering from sameegnineitis, although i love the Halo 3 engine apparently the rest of the gaming community i have spoke to does not, so my prayers go out to Halo ODST even though bungie always tend to deliver, but i cant help but feel that this is being released waaaay too late for what the game is aiming to be. As for Halo Reach i am excited to the point of wetting myself, simply because i have just finished reading the first halo novel which takes place on the planet reach, only thing i have to say is a new engine is a MUST otherwise the series is not advancing and without progression in this industry it will surely ruin the series.
MODERN WARFARE 2 already pre ordered NEXT!.
UNCHARTED 2 the first uncharted was a great game and now uncharted 2 seems to have been taking steroids and working out at the gym until sonys showing of the game where it proudly just stood there and flexed its biceps and took my girlfriend. This is one game that i can truly call next generation, everything about the game that i have seen just shouts " WHO WANTS SOME! " while all other games just stare at the ground and hope that it doesnt get picked on. My only problem with the previous uncharted was i thought the shooting in the game was not that brilliant but everything else work great so hopefully they have worked on that.
GOD OF WAR 3 now as far Kratos being the number one guy i wouldnt want to get into a fight with ( other then Chuck Norris of course ) he is now one of my favourite characters of all time, any character that rips someones head off with there bare hands is just so badass that they need a label on the game cover stating " WARNING the main character in this game may cause you to constantly scream HOLY SH*T and claim him as your lord and saviour ". The previous God of War games were excactly what all games should take after and that is EPIC, obviously i dont wanna see Mario decorating a room with bowsers blood but i hope you understand what i mean when i say that alot of games could take a page from God of War's book.
MARIO GALAXY 2 so i was not expecting this game at all because i assumed it was Links turn to hold down the fort over at nintendo this year, but i am still very glad to see a sequel to one of the best games of recent times my only problem is that nintendo said themselves that this is kind of Mario Galaxy 1.5 so there is a sligh possibility that it may not be as groundbreaking as the last more any progression is better than no progression i guess.
METROID: OTHER M did you say team ninja? really? so does that mean that samus is going to being running around in a bikini with an all new engine that makes her breast's wobble like jelly on a bouncy castle in a earthquake... erm....AWESOME, all joking aside very happy to see Metroid changing direction abit and trying something new, not alot of games of its status dare to completely change the way its played and i admire there efforts to try and bring something new to the fans even if it completely fails, but i highly doubt it will being its one of nintendo's home grown.
ALL THAT MOTION STUFF at E3 2009 both microsoft and sony decided to unveil there new motion controls, what do i think about this... whats wrong with a controller?. But in all honesty i am interested in where both companies are going with this as they are both showing a bit of Mii 2 syndrome, aslong as they dont fully turn into nintendo and use these controls in some serious games and not start releasing Halo fitness and God of war Olympics im all for it. This is obviously where the industry is going right now and i can only hope its the right direction, and to a certain degree i kind of wonder i we ready for all of this motion type stuff ( buts thats for another blog i guess ).
OTHER TITLES THAT WILL BE RAPING MY WALLET THIS YEAR - Wolfenstien
- Batman arkham asylum
- Dark Void
- Splinter Cell: Conviction ( one of the best games at E3 without doubt )
- Dead Rising 2 ( although a kind of no show )
- Fifa 10 ( Liverpool F.C. for life :-D )
- Alpha protocol
- Bioshock 2
- Tekken 6
- Assassins creed 2 ( Just dont flop this time ok )
- Left 4 Dead 2
- Forza Motorsport 3
and many more..
hope you enjoyed my first real post and thanks for reading