(I need to stop writing things and then not putting them up)
One complaint that I’ve been hearing a lot from my friends/random internet sites is the complete and utter lack of new IP announced at E3 this year. You know what, that’s a valid criticism, I too would like to see some new IP; after all, if nobody risked releasing new games, we wouldn’t have new games to fall in love with. And then I see the mountain of “Dear company, plz remake X game I loved as a child” posts and comments, and I start to lose my faith in the gaming community.
Portable fanboyism (aka personal preference)
This year (as I bullet pointed), Nintendo came out and said “Here are a bunch of new versions of old games you’ve already played”, only in a much more awkward speech given by a man much more intimidating than me. To the people that wanted those games, this was the greatest announcement ever, spawning tears of joy as the wept in happiness that the 2nd brother was getting his 2nd game in the spotlight. To the people that are done with Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Mario platformers, and Star Fox games, it was another “Nintendo is for kids” moment.
Similarly, the selling point for some of my friends on the PS Vita (whether they want to admit it or not) isn’t necessarily the back touch screen the potential, it was that the PS Vita will be able to play the games they want to play- another Uncharted, Mod-nation, and Little Big Planet, potential future Kingdom Hearts, and the PSP Persona games; all of which are sequels and spinoffs.
Now I’m not saying any of those games are bad, they’re all fun in their own right, but if you’re going to say that the 3DS lineup (price and functionality are a WHOLE different ballgame that deserve their own analysis) is a failure because it doesn’t take any risks with a new IP, then I’m expecting you to say the same thing about the PS Vita. Let’s face it, they both played the fan-card, and it will probably work out well for both of them because...
Everyone Likes their Comfort Zone
Due to a variety of occurrences including a recent global economic downturn, the videogame industry over the last few years was hit with quite a bit of layoffs. Sure, there is always studios closing and personnel getting shuffled around, but it seemed that more and more studios were facing extinction and this made the business side of the industry turn to a very tried and true method of selling a product- Milk it for all it’s worth.
Instead of burning the time and money on trying out new IP, companies decided to play it safe and just keep giving out re-releases, remasters,Turbo HD remixes, and decades later sequels to games that were already proven to sell. And it worked wonderfully, so naturally, they kept doing it, and they’re probably going to keep on doing it because it’s cheap, it’s easy, and we (the customers) still eat it up.
The Little Guys
While the “bigger” industry was busy sticking to their guns, this allowed for a lot of small indie underdogs to really be the place to go for gamers (and companies) to find new IP. Instead of having an internal team do most of the heavy lifting, it’s easier to let an indie team make a game, then buy them/the publishing rights, add some polish and tweaks, and ship it. When I think about some of the newest IP I’ve played, I think of Super Meat Boy, Shank, the Bit.Trip series, and Minecraft. Surprisingly all indie, all certainly fun, and all of them original.
But is this necessarily a good thing? Do we want an industry that is going to shut itself and stick with traditional names while leaving all the creativity and medium progression to the guys without the money to do it? Do we want the true evolution of videogames to come from people who are having to work themselves to the bones on what is nothing more than a CHANCE at success? Are we really happy with games that have nothing to do with the franchise they’re names are attached to succeed (Prey 2 I’m looking at you), or do we want our game companies to take some risks to win us back?
E3 didn’t bring up these questions to the people that matter. E3 told the major companies exactly what they expected, give us Sly Cooper, Halo, and Smash Bros and we’ll run along. We’ll bitch the whole way about not wanting to buy the same game again, but we’ll do it anyway. Now if only I had a job and could afford to buy a 3DS when I picked up Ocarina of Time, I wouldn't have written this.