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On the Record


(Header image taken from promotional images for the film Rec)

NOTE: Most of this blog is speculative and I do not have confirmation from developers in most of these cases as to the motivations behind design decisions. Also of note for the most part I saw it a fruitless effort to try and contact them as it's rare I do get a reply from large developers, if ever as I am not major press as such.

Right now that's out the way so I can hopefully avoid the slew of "FAKE NEWS" comments. Time to get onto the idea of the piece.

 A simple idea about the evolution of technology and public availability of such impacting games. In this case a few features made easily available for free to the public. Video game capture software. In the past generation I didn't possess anything beyond what I had on my laptop to capture footage and a mobile phone. With the inclusion of easy wants to take video and screenshots of console games the question is, has this changed games themselves to accommodate. It my belief (though again not confirmed by developers) that such technology has changed games design. Not all game design though, but some.

Since before the days of the Xbox One and the PS4 there have been a number of Call of Duty Montage videos online, many from console. However it was Overwatch that seemingly first pushed the idea of highlighting a specific play and on top of that records personal highlights for players in each match (assuming they did something the game deems highlight worthy). Add to this the newly added feature of being able to set the game to record highlight personally and you can almost see a pattern of almost catering to the idea of making montages and clip reels of the game to show off on youtube.

(Image from the Overwatch Wiki)

Another aspect I've noticed becoming more prominent are seemingly shorter matches in games. Not hugely shorter but short enough to fit within the 15 minute video recording window PS4 and Xbox One both have. Gone are the days of far longer matches and I've noticed games like Overwatch introducing overtime mode that can cause the game to not run on and the like of Rainbow Six Siege having bombs detonate or enemy locations revealed in some cases; in Evolve the monster had to either kill all the hunters or destroy the power relay in the allotted time. I'm also pretty sure that Killing Floor 2's 4 wave option also fits normally inside that 15 minute time slot that present console video recording allows.

 There's also been a seeming rise in games that allow for shorter runs either going for high scores or slowly making progress like say Race the Sun or Corridor Z you could also throw a number of roguelikes and rougelites in there too. It is entirely possible part of the rise of these genres has been more to do with providing a quick run of a game that fits in with peoples busy lives too but it could also hint at some changes in design.

 I'd also argue going forward unless developers block the ability to record in key scenes we'll see a lot less games based round "The Mystery Box" story principal which has been getting very commonly used in indie walking simulator games. When people can simple record the game and show there is no twist and reveal for example what was actually going on in Gone Home then part of the draw of the game is killed off.

On the other side the "lol So random look what stupid thing I did" genre of youtube video and the fact consoles have this built in share function are allowing a number of other games to essentially get a load of free marketing courtesy of its players and Youtube. This lets them attract not only those people who like the so random nature but also other players seeking their potential fortune in being the next creator of lol so random videos.

Add to this a number of developers working to add photo modes or other such extra features to encourage people to use screenshot functionality and funnily enough, the easiest way to get a copy of the picture to keep is to upload it to social media and then just download it from there. Thus more free marketing for the game.

I've even played some games where it's almost like there's a section or loading screen every about 15 minutes. You know to make it easier for people to record footage and have a point where they can save the video without fear of missing too much (not that it matters as seemingly the shadow recording thing starts up again right after you save anyway).

One final thing is because of the internet and in built sharing either by design or not it's allowing developers to not have to explain everything. Developers don't have to explain mechanics or techniques in the game fully because once people know how it happens by seeing someone else do it in a video. This can be something like the dash cancelling in Smash Brothers or one I myself ended up passing on from Drawn to Death about the perfect timing to get the full possible damage from one of the games weapons.

So if you think in built capture systems have changed games or not I'd argue that even if they're not already influencing games they very much will start to do so more in the future because it's free advertising. Well except for Capcom who've blocked pretty much all of the story from the MVC Infinite demo from being recordable because apparently they're worried someone will spoil the freely available demo? Capcom likely won't be the only ones to do stupid stuff like this but I'd expect to see far more games actively courting video recording in the future and I don't just mean so called Pewdie Bait (Jumpscare games).

 So what do you think?

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About Dwavenhobbleone of us since 8:33 AM on 06.19.2012

A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )
Xbox LIVE:hobblejp
Steam ID:dwavenhobble


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