I am going to start this off very simple, so simple that it should be pretty clear what I am getting at almost immediately. These are the games I have been playing/played in the past year or so:
- Halo 4
- NHL 13
- Mass Effect 3
- Assassin’s Creed III
- FIFA 13
- Battlefield 3
- Left 4 Dead 2
- Rock Band 3
- Borderlands 2
- Gears of War 3
- Torchlight 2
With the exception of maybe The Walking Dead, everything that comes out of AAA gaming seems to be a sequel of some sort. That is not to say that is a bad thing, I love continuing the story of Isaac in Dead Space 3, saving the galaxy in Mass Effect 3, or starting a new adventure with the Chief in Halo 4. The problem is, the majority of releases coming out are sequels not to continue a story, but rather as a safe bet with a few minor tweaks to gameplay (which usually somehow make the game worse).
Obviously it makes sense that developers are cautious with the current economy and the fact they know that X game sells so why not make X2 or X3. However, this narrows consumers’ options for games and in the long run might cause a Final Fantasy effect. I won’t even look at a FF title because I have no idea what the hell happened in 1 through 38…or wherever they are in that series.
I kept hearing initial concerns over the fact that we are getting re-hashed garbage year after year. Which makes sense. Call of Duty,
one of the worst culprit, pushes out the same trash every year to justifiable sales. That will last until the sales don’t justify it though and then those developers will go the way the Guitar Hero people went. I don’t feel bad saying that though because Activision is hurting the game industry with those actions, the same way a CoD is released every year was the same way the SAW movies would come out every year. Even if you had no idea what they were about, you would see a commercial and say, “Oh look…this again.”
Newer games have been hurt by trying to adapt to popular mechanics in that franchise, I love Halo 4, but still long for Halo 2 gameplay and map design, and I love the graphics in Battlefield 3, but miss the realism from Battlefield Bad Company 2. Though those are only two examples, none of that worries me.
All of the concern over the trajectory of new games is understandable but unnecessary. All of this will change with the next-gen.
Think about it – we have been in this generation for seven years, SEVEN YEARS! I was 15 when I got my Xbox 360. That is a long ass time. The Xbox to the Xbox 360 was 4 years, the PS2 to the PS3 was 5. We are going to be nearing eight years at least before we see the PS4 or Xbox 720. Double/nearly double than last cycle. Now why would a developer take a chance on a new game on a system about to be obsolete?
Now to top that, do you remember the nerd wars when the new consoles released? All of the basement dwellers on sites like N4G would rage and tell themselves that the PS3 has this exclusive and the Xbox 360 has that exclusive. Where has that gone? I haven’t seen that recently? That is because that part of the life-cycle is going to be reborn as well.
People can fight over the system specs as much as they want, but unfortunately your average consumer does not care. Who cares if it has 8 GB’s of RAM and the other has 10? Not the majority of people purchasing your system, I’ll tell you that. They care about the most important aspect – games.
Games are what is going to get them biting on your lure. You can sprinkle in the cool entertainment abilities, the online capabilities, and the motion-controlled whatchamacallit, but the games will give you that kick start. Other than Sony starting and maintaining the rare new IPs and exclusives like The Last of Us, everything has still been quiet. Hell, I can’t name Microsoft’s last new exclusive IP?
That will all change with the console reveal. Now I might be becoming too much of an “oracle” but this is how I see it happening for Microsoft at E3:
1. Microsoft reveals their newest console. Giving specs, talking about how it will lead the next-generation of gaming, high-fiving celebrities.
2. Microsoft starts showing videos of people playing on the system and of Kinect 2.0
3. Microsoft starts showing trailers or talking about these launch titles. Halo 5, The Elder Scrolls MMO (right after Oblivion’s launch on the Xbox 360 this happened), Destiny MMO from Bungie (Microsoft retains the rights to it for the first year), and Class4 from Undead Labs (Zombie/Survival MMO this studio is now under Microsoft and making an XBLA game that looks like a preview of what to expect in an MMO world – plus it is getting pretty positive press from the likes of IGN, people will be caught by suprise, and the hype could carry it as a new staple to the Xbox).
4. Microsoft shows off trailers for new IPs/exclusives coming only to your Xbox at some point like they did with Gears of War, Too Human (lol), Mass Effect, et cetera.
All of this sparks the new cycle of great new titles, disappointing new titles, flame wars, and douchebags arguing over the better system so they don’t feel like they wasted their money.