There are plenty of good games out there, of course. But as you all know once a developer strikes gold with a game or style or something, they're like a child clinging on to their mothers legs. They don't want to change or branch out. I won't name specific companies. (I would name Koei but DW:Strikeforce is a decent step in the right direction.)
It is indeed understandable sometimes. They said it themselves. Heres a quote by Yasuhiro Wada from Dale Norths article:
“Strong IP, series or popular characters are the main focus today. They are seen as secured elements in a very risky environment. Publishers and developers have used this for years, leaving little place for originality and new contents."
But there will come a time where that child will have to part with mom and go to school. In the developers case try something new. Some companies are clever but also considerate.
Valve has an active modding community. Largely due to support of the mods by actually having a program which helps users create their own mods. The modder get a choice, single-player or multiplayer. Many of the mods are multiplayer. But occasionally you can find great SP mods.
Here is a list of my favorite Half-Life 2 mods. (In no particular order):
Zombie Panic! Source - Find @ the Steam store
Dear Esther - TheChineseRoom Smashball - Steam Store
Dystopia - Steam Store
eXterminate - Moddb The Island - See Moddb
Be sure to check them all out. Well...imagine Zombie Panic as HL2's free version of L4D.
Korsakovia, a mod still in development for Half-Life 2. You, the character, awake in a hospital. You have some serious mental issues. Reality becomes mixed with the imaginary.Creepy but well done level design adds to the thrill of the mod. And as you can see from this promo, there really is some creepy stuff going on. (Invisible entities attacking you says enough.) 'nuff said on that.
Expect the mod to be release sometime this August. I will actually wait for this mod to be released. This and Black Mesa. Expect updates and current news on it on Moddb. Check out this promo link.
The makers of this also created Dear Esther which is what I call an interactive narrative. No action, no ai. Just a really abstract mystery story. Each time you play, you learn more and more. It is really innovative and game creators should take note and implement this idea. The mod is an experiment and explores the potential of first person games.
Korsakovia seems to want to immerse the player in a way they never have before. The creators evoke natural curiosity and wonder out of the player in Dear Esther and Korsakavia will more than likely amplify that feeling several times over while also adding a bit a fear to the mix. It is in fact listed under horror on Moddb anyways.
I would really love to see commercial games try what can be experienced in Dear Esther. Or even the pure multiplayer fun from Smashball/Dystopia. But the immersion, suspense, atmosphere, and mystery of Dear Esther would be awesome to be seen done by commercial game developers.
The experiment done by Thechineseroom proved FPS players want more than gore. The Half-Life 2 series was great and unique, but think if these ideas were added to the mix.
I've went on long enough. What do you think? What are some things you wish to see done well in a commercial game?
And most importantly what are your favorite mods that do something different? Know other games with an active modding community with lots of creative ideas?