I have been thinking a lot about the future of this industry and the direction it’s 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 Microsoft’s 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 won’t 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 today’s 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 wouldn’t 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?”. 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.