Monday, July 4, 2011

Innovation is Where You Find It (Part 1)

Ok, so our editor informed me it's time to stop posting half-assed and do some real work (That's a joke, we don't have an editor. We don't do real work either). With this year's E3 being such a mixed bag (of shit) it's a great time to tackle this topic. Ready for some opinions? OH U KNOW IT!

Everyone seems to be bitching about the lack of innovation in big name titles these days. To me it's only natural. As games become bigger and bigger business, triple-A titles take more and more money to produce. They are too expensive, they can't fail. As with Hollywood blockbusters like Transformers and even Avatar, game publishers need to appeal to the lowest common denominator to ensure that they make tons of money.

Now I can hear you saying "Yeah but movies can be big budget and still turn out great, like Inception!" Well, games can too. And sometimes they do. However games (like movies) are increasingly being subjected to more executive meddling and the "Too many cooks in the kitchen" phenomenon. When you've got multiple writers, entire teams of artists, programmers, motion capture specialists and animators it becomes harder for everything to fit together cohesively. It's much more difficult to make running changes, and requires a very talented group of people to co-ordinate it all.

So with all this time and money involved, it makes sense that the people providing the cash aren't going to want to take any risks. Publishers are starting to figure out (As Hollywood has), anything with an established name attached to it is going to sell better. Even if it has nothing to do with the original (see: Prey 2). In many cases, a developer will take an established formula (Platformer, First-person shooter, etc.), add a new gimmick and call it a day. Maybe they'll get really creative and combine 2 genres (Borderlands, Fallout 3).

So does this mean the end of fresh IPs and true innovation in games? There's a subject worth debating. Which we will....So, uh stay tuned for Part 2 to find out!

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