Skyrim, now with Disco Soundtrack

  • warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/advanced_forum/advanced_forum.module on line 492.
  • warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/advanced_forum/advanced_forum.module on line 492.
  • warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/advanced_forum/advanced_forum.module on line 492.
  • warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/advanced_forum/advanced_forum.module on line 492.
  • warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/advanced_forum/advanced_forum.module on line 492.
  • warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/advanced_forum/advanced_forum.module on line 492.
Matt Barton's picture

Skyrim: Designed by John Romero and John Carmack.Skyrim: Designed by John Romero and John Carmack.Modern CRPGs are console shooters. And that pisses me off. But how did they get this way? Last week I wrote about some features I'd like to see in a classic-style CRPG. I've been thinking more along these lines, thinking carefully about all of my favorite CRPGs and attempting to isolate the elements that so endeared them to me. What I've discovered is that this exercise is futile. You cannot create a good game simply by taking out the best gameplay mechanics from different games--what's more important is how well a designer has been able to build an attractive and coherent homology. I don't much like the term, but I like how Barry Brummett defines "stylistic homology" as "the signifying system that is a style is held together by formal properties such that one could look at a new article of dress, for instance, newly designed, and identify it as Edwardian." I think we could easily do the same for individual games or even whole game franchises, assuming it's well-designed. For instance, World of Warcraft has such a coherent homology that I'm sure most players would be able to look at screenshots of a city they hadn't personally visited--such as the Undercity--and realize it was from WOW and not Guild Wars 2. If you bear with me a moment, you can also see that this concept extends beyond just artwork and into gameplay. Even before you ever played a monk in WOW, for instance, if you're familiar with the other classes then you already have a pretty good idea of how the talents, abilities, and so on will play out. I think it's the sign of a great game when you can introduce something as radical as an entirely new class and not have the rest of the game fall apart.

Unfortunately, the problem is that such coherence comes at a cost. The same factors that allow us to already have a pretty good idea of what the monk will be like are the same factors that lead to boredom and disinterest. And man oh man, am I bored with WOW and Skyrim.

Styles, Edwardian or Victorian or whatever, inevitably change as we become bored with them. A truly clever developer is able to recognize when the reigning style is growing stale, and then swoops in with something fresh (but just as compelling). As merely a critic, it is obvious to me that both Skyrim and Dragon Age II are the discotheques of the 1980s. Pretty soon, anyone who still listens to and dances to this music will feel as ridiculous as they look.

That said, I think it's always a mistake to think something radically new will appear, though that's always how it's presented in the marketing. "Revolutions" in videogames are notoriously anti-historical, refusing to even consider that what they think makes them so novel has been done many times before. I'd go so far as to say that nothing of real consequence has changed about games since the 1980s. It wasn't like kids playing Donkey Kong weren't just as impressed with the graphics or immersed in the gameplay back then as a kid today playing Halo 4 is today. Please don't kid yourself into thinking that the industry has made any "progress," or done anything else but simply go along laterally, temporarily embracing and later abandoning one fashion after another. I'm sure plenty of New Wave fans of the 80s felt that their music was more "advanced" than disco, just as some heavy metal fans of today feel their favorite bands are much "heavier" or more musically sophisticated than Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. In truth, though, there's nothing like that in the music itself, but just in our waning and waxing affiliations with different groups of fans.

If we can expect games, though, to follow a similar style cycle as clothes and music, then I expect what we're seeing now with all of these "old school" Kickstarter projects is the resurgence of 70s culture in the 90s. If my predictions are accurate, at least some of these games will do surprisingly well, and we might enjoy a brief appropriation of these older styles for awhile, though I don't think we'll get a massive shift in mainstream gaming.

I'm starting to think that MMOS and shooters are becoming more like sports than videogames anyway; at this point, the rules and expectations have solidified to the point that talking about them becoming obsolete is like saying basketball or football will be obsolete one day. Of course, there will be changes, but I expect there are plenty of people who'd be happy to continue playing (and more importantly buying) shooters for the rest of their lives. Contrast that, then, with the relatively short-lived phenomenon of fighting arcade games of the 90s, when seemingly every male between the ages of 12 and 24 were obsessed with learning every combo of the thousands of Street Fighter II games on the market. I'd be happily proven wrong on this, but I don't see shooters experiencing the same fate of being doomed to niche gaming and the occasional nostalgia-fueled retro release.

The stylistic homologies I think we're stuck in now, at least regarding CRPGs and MMORPGs, is best shown by looking at Skyrim and Dragon Age II on the CRPG side and Tera and GW2 on the MMORPG. What's happened to CRPGs, at least with major releases, is an increased tendency to make them as much like the reigning genre of shooters as possible, going so far as to use the same engines. To someone like me, playing Skyrim is a lot more like playing Doom than a true CRPG experience such as Ultima VII. This shift towards shooter-ization began very early, of course, with games like Ultima Underworld (1993), Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994), and Might & Magic VI (1998). Now, of course, you can't find a CRPG that doesn't look like it's just a shooter with some grafted on "CRPG elements," and, what's worse, the console-ization of the shooter has homogenized the whole industry into one fast food joint after another. I greet the new Halo or Black Ops game with the same enthusiasm I would greet the Brand New San Diego Bacon Burger with Olives at McDonald's. Sure, it's a "sandwich revolution," yadda yadda, whatever. Yawn.

A lot of these issues are caused by fear. There's a growing fear within the industry, I think, that one day we'll reach a point where's consumers will simply be satisfied with their current consoles and games and stop buying new ones. We've seen this already on the PC with WOW. Instead of striving to make new games and hype them as something extraordinary, Blizzard took a more sensible (if cynical) route and just keeps selling the same game, month after month, to millions of satisfied fans. It seems there's a point where producing new content (what most developers want to do) is replaced by maintaining existing content (what I assume nobody really wants to do). It's like our game designers are these creative types who keep wanting to offer up new versions of basketball and football or new sports altogether, when the public is increasingly demanding that they quit messing with it.

I'm convinced that the only way WOW is going down is if Blizzard decides to do something truly stupid--which they've gotten close to several times before--and alienate their fanbase with radical gameplay changes that piss people off. I think they could keep the same engine for another ten years or more, since by now the fans probably don't even see the graphics (much like basketball players don't spend a lot of time marveling at how shiny the court looks).

Where we DO need to see more innovation, namely the single-player CRPGs, is where we get it the least. Other than the shift to shooter-ization and console-ization, I don't think we've seen anything worth talking about. The current CRPG fan, with his slavish devotion to games like Skyrim and Fallout 3, leave me wondering if any of them have bothered to play any of the classics. I am tired of playing Doom and trying to con myself into thinking it's a role-playing game. It's not. It's Doom. Skyrim is Doom. I don't hate Doom. But I do hate that Skyrim is Doom, and I can't play anything but Doom no matter how much I spend on "new" CRPGs. We're talking here about a genre whose titles are so similar that you have to get into "story" and "characters" and other bullshit that really have no business being in the game at all. At least if you're talking about how the game handles cover and shield recharges (or whatever), you're talking about something that is actually part of the game and not some pretentious "story arc" that would make a fan fic author look like Shakespeare.

Before someone starts accusing me of not appreciating good stories in the few games that have them, such as Planescape: Torment, I do. But that game is one of only a handful I can think of where the way the story unfolds is directly connected to the gameplay, and not merely grafted on. I'm talking, of course, of the death gameplay mechanic in that game and how it needs the story to justify it. That's actually an interesting application for story. A game like Mass Effect 3, though, does the opposite, merely putting us in the movie and letting us move the camera around a bit in between scenes.

Seven Samurai: Now available for Xbox 360.Seven Samurai: Now available for Xbox 360.Here's an idea for those who love stories in games so much. Watch a great movie, like Seven Samurai, with a game controller in your hand. Keep pressing buttons and moving your thumbs about during the movie. I promise you will enjoy the characters and story in this game a lot more than Skyrim.

So, I've bitched enough. But what sort of stylistic homology would I like to see in CRPGs?

First, I want us to take several giant leaps back from shooters and consoles. I do not want to play Doom, and I do not want to play a CRPG with a gamepad. If the gameplay is simplified or action-oriented to the point where it's playable on a gamepad, count me out. If you want to copy another game, I'm fine with that, but make it Wizardry or Rogue or Pool of Radiance. If you want to bastardize another genre's gameplay mechanics, please take from strategy games, not shooters. The intensity should come from the thought I am asked to put into the game, not the rapidity with which I can mash buttons on a controller.

Second, I want a story that either directly ties to the gameplay or stays the hell out of my way. There's a reason why so many RPGs (paper and videogames) have cliched plots like "kill the evil wizard/dragon/witch who's brought on eternal winter to the realm." That's because the story is not important. What is important, by contrast, is how you go about killing that wizard, building up your resources, abilities, and fortunes. Ideally, that evil wizard will begin to arouse some real hatred in us by the time we get to him, at which point bringing him down with a finger of death will be extremely satisfying. You don't arouse hatred in a player's heart by showing cutscenes or dialogues that paint the wizard as a real asshole. You do it by having him affect the gameplay, taking some or all of the player's money, for instance, or something as simple as a slow spell. Imagine a game where periodically the evil wizard forces everyone in the realm (including, of course, the players) to pay a 40% tax on all their property, losing items if they don't have the money. Are you telling me you wouldn't be foaming at the mouth hysterical by the time you finally got to that asshole's inner sanctum?

If you must have characters, they should exist primarily to reinforce the achievements and failures of the player. They should act exasperated if the player sucks, making fun of him or giving advice. Even if the player is good, they should encourage him to do better. I'd love to have a Gordon Ramsey like character in the party (or perhaps as a king) that would constantly berate and make the player feel like a nob whenever they do anything stupid or incompetent. Imagine the satisfaction you'd feel as you gradually began to impress him, until at the end he's offering to make you his executive sorcerer. The key to a character like this, of course, is not giving him static screens or dialog, but tie his responses directly to the gameplay. We get a bit of this in some of the new casual games, though I still think developers are more concerned with stroking egos than setting a high bar and forcing players to rise to it.

I'd like to think that most players feel letdown by a game that does too much ego stroking or hand holding, though. I personally find it embarrassing to play a game where I'm stuck controlling a "bad ass" main character. It's degrading to me; like the designer is saying--"Hey, little wimp, don't you want to fantasize about being He-Man and stomping all those bullies who pick on you? Don't you wish you had abs like that?" I'd rather play as a party that gets its ass kicked until I finally figure out what I'm doing and still barely manage to make it to the end. I don't want you to make me feel like a real man. I want you to let me be one.

Don't think that having me kill a dragon in the opening scene of the game is going to impress me. It does the opposite. It disgusts me that you think you need to pander me, because I'm so insecure and idiotic, that I need to be patted on the head and told how "big of a boy I am!" I'd rather be locked into a 15-minute fight with a rat and barely manage to escape with one party member still conscious. Show me that you respect me as a mature gamer and have set a very high standard for me to reach. Just @$@ give us that chance and to hell with what your marketing people or focus groups or other charlatans that all we want is candy.

Would more people like basketball if you changed the size of the baskets to twelve feet across and put a targeting reticule on the ball? Yet that's precisely what's happened with CRPGs. It disgusts me, and it should disgust you. CRPGs are not the genre of the elite anymore. This is the genre of the spoiled rotten brat.

Comments

Rowdy Rob
Rowdy Rob's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/04/2006
Skyrim might be good for hardcore CRPGs!

Long post alert here, but I want to make two major points here: 1) CRPG’s (even the “old-school” variety) are limiting themselves, and 2) “Dumb” CRPGs like “Skyrim” might be actually be a good thing for hardcore CRPGs in the long term!

CRPGs Are Limiting Themselves

Perhaps the real problem isn’t with the CRPG format itself, it’s with the setting! For all the talk about innovation, play mechanics, and so forth, the CRPGs offered are generally set in ONLY one fantasy world: Dungeons & Dragons.

In the First-person shooter genre, you have many different variations and settings available: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, WWII, modern warfare, cartoon/whimsical, distopian future, and so forth. The variations in settings are pretty much true of every other gaming genre, such as platformers, puzzlers, adventures, RTS’es. Heck, even racing games give you jet-skis, Mario, Sci-fi, or Nascar!

In CRPGs, you get.... D&D. That’s right, more dwarves, elves, faeries, orcs, wizards, fighters, clerics, dragons, and so forth. You’re getting yet another D&D game, so sit down and shut up, because there’s only one setting for CRPG’s. IT’S THE LAW! Okay, I concede that there were a handful of games that dared to use a different setting, but usually it’s the same old D&D fan-fic setting, or it’s D&D with minor variations.

I like the “Star Wars” universe (if not all the movies), but imagine if every CRPG was set in the Star Wars universe? Imagine hundreds of CRPG’s involving more light sabers, more Jedi, more robots, spaceships, strange monsters.... hmm, that’s actually starting to sound pretty good to me, at least more so than the same orcs, dragons, and evil wizards. At least you can let your imagination run wild a little in the SW universe, rather than be locked into the tropes of D&D. But still, if every CRPG was Star Wars, and if people associated CRPG’s ONLY with Star Wars, people would get sick of it, in my opinion. And most of you guys wouldn’t be CRPG enthusiasts right now, I assume.

There have been HUNDREDS of CRPG’s. Think about that! Heck, MATT, even the TITLE to YOUR OWN BOOK, “DUNGEONS & DESKTOPS,“ is a clue to the stagnation of the CRPG genre! It lists page after page of D&D variations, with only an occasional “Buck Rogers” or “Fallout” to break the mold. Now imagine if, instead of D&D, most of them were based in feudal Japan. “Oh no, more Samurai!” That’s how the CRPG genre looks to an “outsider” like me.

If you’re a budding game developer, and you say to me “I’m making a CRPG,” I automatically assume it’s a D&D setting, and I’m almost certainly right. What about people like me with only mild interest in the D&D setting, or those who don’t care for the setting altogether? The only way to attract us is with razzle-dazzle, i.e. Skyrim.

CRPG’s are going to be limited in appeal just because some genres are not going to appeal to certain players, no matter what. Some people are just going to like casual games like “Angry Birds” and that’s it. But CRPG’s are further limiting themselves by offering only ONE setting. Even in the racing genre, someone who isn’t interested in Nascar might find “Mario Kart” appealing. About the only alternative going in CRPG’s right now seems to be the upcoming “Wasteland 2.” How about settings along the lines of “Autoduel,” or “Mech” or “Avatar” or “John Carter” or “Dune” or “Tron” or a variety of other possible, already-established settings? Better yet, come up with something totally new, inviting people in who wouldn’t consider a “swords and sorcery” setting. Broaden the appeal of the genre!

Dumbing Down CRPG’s: A Good Thing?

Skyrim is not designed for the hardcore, apparently, but for the masses. I’m going to argue here that “Skyrim” might actually bode well for the future of hardcore CRPG’ing.

“WHAT?!?!?!” I can hear you CRPG geeks screaming! “How the #&%* can that simpleton game for graphics whores be anything but a portent of doom for our genre?”

Well, let’s look at the trends of other gaming genres. Let’s start with scrolling shoot-em-ups, often referred to as SHMUPs. Remember Galaga or Xevious? Well, those were games that were quite approachable and generally playable for the masses. As the SHMUP got off the ground floor, the games gradually became more complex, with more bullets, more variations, more power-ups, and so forth. Now, SHMUPs have left the simple stuff behind, and people who stayed with the genre are now enjoying “bullet hell” shooters. Hardcore SHMUPs are the rule, not the exception now. I enjoyed Xevious, but I can’t even play the modern shooters anymore because they’re so hardcore!

The same thing happened with driving games. We had “Pole Position” and “Outrun.” There were some hardcore driving sims available back in the day, like “Nascar Racing” and “Indianapolis 500” and such, but most of the mainstream games were simple. Now, even the “simple” driving games are comparatively hardcore, with “Forza” and “Gran Turismo” seeming to leave the casual player behind. But, they’re mainstream!

Most of the mainstream sports games seem to have gone from “casual” to “Dwarf Fortress-like” complexity. The EA Madden Football games look impenetrable to me. The players who grew up on the simpler football games wanted more detail, more options, and more immersion. They got it, and now I’m a blubbering idiot, out in the cold, playing “Techmo Bowl!”

Okay, one last example: the dreaded First Person Shooter! Yes, the genre is the same old run-and-gun, except... it isn’t. Enemies are smarter, they’ve added more variations (driving, flying, physics, etc.), and if you don’t believe that FPS’s have gone hardcore, see how long you last in a modern multi-player squad-based fragfest! Wolfenstein 3D has been left far behind!

What does this all have to do with CRPG’s? Well, consider this: for most of the current gaming population, games like WoW and Skyrim are their “ground floor,” there first dip into the CRPG pool! CRPG’s haven’t really been mainstream until recently, and the mainstream has discovered that they like it! Now, as they decide that they like the genre, are they going to want the same game over and over, only more and more simplified? That seems to defy the trend I’ve shown above with other genres.

There’s really nowhere for developers to go but to make the current “ground floor” games deeper and more complex. People who were introduced to CRPG’s by Skyrim will want more realism, more complex battle situations, and generally more “hardcore” stuff. Ten years from now, “Skyrim” might seem as simplistic to the mainstream CRPG’ers as “Pole Position” does to modern driving game enthusiasts! Simple games like “Skyrim” won’t be cool anymore; all the “cool” kids will want to prove they’re “pros” by playing a REAL CRPG.

And you guys are going to be old fogies longing for the simpler days of “Skyrim.” :-)

Major rant mode off... Hope there’s some food for thought here.

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
Cliches are Necessary

Henry Jenkins talks a bit about this in Convergence Culture:
124. "This reliance on stock characters is especially important in the case of games, where players frequently skip through the instruction books and past early cut scenes, allowing little time for exposition before grabbing the controller and trying to navigate the world."

I think Jenkins is absolutely right about this. A game is already dividing up a player's attention in many ways, and most of us are impatient to get the gameplay started. There's no time to learn a whole new universe, so the designer just sticks in some elves, dwarves, goblins, etc., and you know what to expect. On the other hand, if they have their own monsters and creatures, you have to start from scratch, and usually just muddle through with little connection to anything beyond the immediate gameplay: "Oh, it's one of those turfflebawg things...whatever, hack, slash." Compare that to killing a vampire, let's say, and you bring a lot more to the table--"Oh, it's a vampire, so I can't get bitten and need to come at him with holy water."

The HUGE problem with games is that they just don't foster the kind of encyclopedic knowledge of other types of media, such as movies (Star Wars) or books (Tolkien). AD&D is such a go-to source because there is a huge supply of books, materials, artwork, and so on, that you can explore in a tabletop setting or just by browsing the books for pleasure.

I think this is the reason why the less conventions settings such as Planescape and Dark Sun never really caught on with most fans; they required that you learn too much about an unfamiliar setting. If you're playing a Forgotten Realms, game, though, everything pretty much fits into what you already expect after years of fantasy movies and books. Most of us don't mind the cliches because they allow us to get into the game faster. And I'd argue you can be just as creative within those cliches. I can tell an infinite number of stories without going outside of The Forgotten Realms universe, for instance. Why re-invent the wheel?

In short, if you DID want to create a totally original or off-the-wall setting for a CRPG, you'd need to do a lot more work than just making the game itself. You'd also need books, comics, a film, etc. Only then could players arrive at a game with enough knowledge to appreciate the setting and not just think--oh, that's a weird little creature. Who cares?

n/a
Anonymous (not verified)
Matt you are right to

Matt you are right to recognize Doom in the equation. The first-person shooter market deteriorated, creating a planet of zombies who love to eat more shots. The vast majority of games in first person have become "stupid marines against demons". The RPG, CRPG or anything with a gun in front of the camera follows the flow, the modern audience need more explosions, and companys need money or got bankrupt.
]
I think you are obsessed with Skyrim, as my young brother with Diablo 3. He hates the attention to the AH and the poor history after years in dev, but as i say to him, you are the minority on this huge market.

For me the RPG,CRPG.. they are dead a long time. [

Anonymous (not verified)
It's interesting you put John

It's interesting you put John Carmack and John Romero in the picture .. because in the end, both failed to maintain the style that they themselves created. Doom is you inside an dungeon, killing monsters, but without a chest with the loot after the Cyberdemon, done. Put a better history and people call "amazing rpg".

Dead gods my friend, even using new kick temples, they follow dead gods.

clok1966
Offline
Joined: 01/21/2009
maybe
Anonymous wrote:

Dead gods my friend, even using new kick temples, they follow dead gods.

best line in the thread.. its been in movies, songs, and even just good old common knowledge.. you cant relive the past, its gone. wanting that feeling I had when i played Ultima I on a XT pc.. I'm lucky.. I have felt it again many times.. Its not as often as when everything was NEW.. i felt it when i played my first Bards tale, Wizardry, Might & Magic, Dungen Keeper, EOB, Black Crypt.. it was a never ending "OH, AH" from about 82ish till mid 90's.. there was something NEW all the time, or some large leap in some part of the the game.. Animated picture mobs!!!! WOW!, auto map, no more graph paper! Actual animated and moving mobs in a 3d world...!!! 3-D models. (stonekeep!).. evertying for awhile was new..

Nowadays I still get feeling from Skyrim, X-com, heck even Torchlight II (not a new feeling, but a "this is just dang fun feeling" but alot of games i enjoy i just play.. not because its awesome, its just good. its not like it was. and I never expect to to be again.

Skyrim seems to be a sore point for Matt, no problems with that ( i have plenty of game i feel the same about).. I don't need the game saying "do this" every turn.. I love the ability to find a crack in wall cave with some vampires that have NOTHING to do with the main quest.. it feels much more real to me.. everything in the skyrim world doesn't revolve around the main quest, monsters and people just live.. no grand goal.. they just are.. much like life.. Of course this is fantasy so maybe that does seem Dull. I like that each little town has some BS quest to save sheep, or find out why a ghost haunts them. I like finding a prison that was has a mini story about flooding, guards leaving posts and letting prisoners die.. but the prisoners get out, only to die anyway in the flood.. I love the small bandit forts, not working for some ultimate bad guy.. just out to make a buck off everybody who passes. And when I decide to kill um ALL! the guards move back into the fort. I like that the lore is fleshed out, but not absolute, i can make up my own mind how some of it works and be right, or wrong.

of course I wont deny there is much wrong with it... while I love the open ended part.. it does (even for me) feel really OPEN sometimes.. like I forget I'm on a main quest ( is that bad? I'm not sure, if it makes me forget and im having fun I think not) the melee combat is bad.. functional but bad.

Of course that is WHY i love it, others dislike (Matt and many others) for other reasons.

So is it a bad RPG? here is where it gets sticky.. is what Matt considers a Great RPG, or what I consider a great RPG the correct one.. are we both wrong.. are we both right (this is the one I like). I love Fallout (3) and Skyrim ( all elder scrolls games) and luckily so do many other so there will be more.. now does that mean they are they best.. no.. it means I like them and so do some more people. BUT i also loved Grimrock, Arverum.. one a update of old school, the other OLDSCHOOL to the core.. Maybe there is where I have problems as being objective.. I really would say RPG's are my first and most loved game style.. so I devour and enjoy them warts and all. RTS would be my second.. and I will play any.. and enjoy almost all.. FPS are my third.. i tend to be more picky on those.. and while they are the prevalent game type now its easy to be far more picky.. 10 AA games come out in a month you can almost bet 7-9 are FPS.. when I get 2 RPGs a month (if im lucky) i love um.. when i get 10 FPS a month.. i pick and chose to my liking.

I guess im just trying to say just like MUSIC, how many of listen to the stuff we loved as a teen, and hear the "new" stuff and think they dont make good music anymore? its the same for games..They make good music.. people are buying it, nobody forces anybody to buy stuff they dont want.. (well except "call me maybe") We are all starting to sound like our parents.. "why in my day!" things evolve and change. Heck even the rolling Stones don't sing the same songs they did 40 years ago, they changed .. but held onto their own sound.. the games are doing the same.. changing but holding the core that made them RPG's...

Anonymous (not verified)
And sorry my english, its not

And sorry my english, its not my native language, and I dedicate very little to it.

The game industry follows the current culture, referring to the taste of today's youth, eletrênicos games are only part of the total lack of interest in literature, good music and so on.

Anonymous (not verified)
- electronic games again,

- electronic games

again, sorry my fast and weak english.

peace.

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
The first criticism I make

The first criticism I make about any game is whether the developers have bitten off more than they can chew. It's better to do less really well than try to be "revolutionary" and end up with half-assed game full of bugs and loose threads. This is one area where Japanese developers almost always triumph over everyone else; they know how important it is to pay attention to detail. That's why you can still play a game like Chrono Trigger today and it feels extremely playable, whereas something like Icewind Dale ages like meat. I think too many Western developers build for the moment rather than think about people playing their game a decade or two later. I don't know any personally, but from what I've gathered, the Japanese developers are a lot less flexible about what they'll let through the gate.

I remember Romero telling me that when they made Doom, they were obsessed with Super Mario Bros. and wanted to make something just as solid and meticulously crafted. I think they lost that attitude immediately afterward, becoming content with "good enough" and not pushing themselves hard enough.

As for Skyrim, I'd have been happier if they'd scaled it down by 50% and used the extra time to really polish the gameplay. It doesn't make sense in any game to try to put in so many features and then not do their due diligence with the polishing. It's like going to a restaurant where the menu has a thousand options but the chef can't properly cook a steak.

n/a
Anonymous (not verified)
I agree with you in a lot of

I agree with you in a lot of things.

Some things i see today, young people in my country, with a loud sound in the car, wearing the same crazy cloths of some "star".. I do not imagine a company needs refined ideas to pay the bills for several developers, knowing that most of the public likes to shoot a lot or see a bar full of hookers in some forest, and all this promoted as "experience."

The Bethesda does not offer a menu, this is usually a place with some refinement, she opted for a restaurant food by the pound, look at the food and pay by weight. Sad? a bit, but works very well with the current audience, who spends hours shouting bad words against people in the microphone, because some player shot him.

This is not 100% the profile of each developer or player, but i believe is a huge part.. and is very sad the lack of challenge for some developers in the triple lame industry.

Anonymous (not verified)
Classic Old Skool RPG with Incline

Hello,

If you want a classic in the making I don't know of anything that even comes close to this:
http://www.indiegogo.com/grimoireforever

Crazy or not, the guy can make 'em like they should be made.

It just has to get released now.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.