Games are becoming every game

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anyone else feeling this? new games are becoming every game. this kind of write-up for a new game probably seems familiar:

Following a showing at an Annapurna Interactive showcase (Neon White’s publisher) last month, we know now that Neon White is a first-person shooter. And a role-playing game. And a platformer with a bunch of parkour elements. And a sandbox built for speedrunning feats. And a visual novel, kind of. It’s a little bit of a dating sim, too. Oh, and it’s got some deck-building bona fides, what with the card-collecting mechanic (which we’ll get to in a sec).

it's kind of like how so many games include fishing as a side-activity.

i notice this a lot with early-access games as well - i'm not sure if the developers intend this or if the groupthink of gamers pushes them in this direction, but so many of them are filled with the same kinds of new "features" that are actually just the same features that are in a million other games now. "due to massive fan request, we've added a "boss attack mode!", etc.

as usual, i'm not sure what i'm getting at. it makes sense for games, in general, to iterate on other games. when one game adds a display feature to bend your screen a little bit to create a CRT/tv effect, i can see why another new indie developer would want to add that on to their own work.

but it all seems to be circling in on itself. like, i haven't played Among Us, and i've barely played Fortnite, but i see that fortnite is getting a mode that is basically Among Us. and if they haven't done that yet, they will. and of course, after fortnite/PUBG, every new game started getting a battle royale mode, whether it made sense for the game or not.

are we heading toward #onegame

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 17 August 2021 15:09 (one month ago) link

here's the hare-brained part of the theory, inevitably - i feel this with early-access games a lot. "listening to the fanbase" seems like a recipe for creating something that is acceptable to all, and very predictable as a result. predictably "pretty good". because if you ask people what they want, they'll reach in the dark recesses of their mind and say "boss attack mode!" even though everyone knows that boss attack mode fucking sucks man

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 17 August 2021 15:11 (one month ago) link

Well, I'm no expert in this, but it seems to me that the free games, like Fortnite and Among Us or whatever else people play for free, are more, well, free to do on the fly updates and riff on trends. Kind of like the way South Park can turn around a topical episode really fast. But a lot of the big AAA games are kind of locked into a plot or a particular model, so maybe are automatically more cautious or conservative with gameplay, which means ... more familiar/similar play? But I'm wrapping up RDR2 right now, and whatever I think of the gameplay per se, I find that stuff the least consequential element of the game. It's the plot/writing/acting that makes me want to keep playing, not the perfunctory controls. (I guess there's an argument to be made that many of the *plots* are the same, but that's no different than with other works of fiction dealing in tried and true tropes.)

Yet however much the gameplay might be similar, the differences are still there but perhaps more subtle within whatever base model the developers are riffing on, whether indie or big studio. Hence rogue-likes all operate the same or at least in a similar way, but a game like Hades comes along (your fave, iirc; I have it but still haven't played!) makes tweaks that improves the formula. Or I think of a Metroidvania/platformer hybrid like the first Ori, which is a great game, then along comes Hollow Knight, which is an even greater game, and then the Ori sequel, which more or less borrows some of the better ideas from Hollow Knight, adds them to the first Ori, and gets an even better Ori 2. Or all the games the fall under the broad "Soulslike" header (like Hollow Knight!)despite being more or less nothing like Dark Souls. Everyone's often using a very similar bag of tricks, but developers are still sometimes creative enough to add some more tools to the box. Like your battle royale example. The idea of a battle royale concept isn't particularly novel, but the way it clicked in Fortnite/PUBG/whatever was ground zero codified it into a new sub-genre of shooter. Right? So it's less to me constriction - #onegame - and more to my mind expansion, like the Big Bang.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 17 August 2021 16:37 (one month ago) link

There have always been so many games that are either simply creatively devoid or also prioritizing commercial success as their primary goal. Similar to the "music was better in my day" sort of effect, we're going to forget about the sea of mediocrity from the past and just remember the highlights, while also seeing the entire current landscape, and unfairly compare the two (then vs. now). I also perhaps unfairly suspect gamers are the MOST likely media-specific subculture to fetishize nostalgia, so you also see lots of games prioritizing that aspect over all else, at the detriment or despite poor gameplay and/or unoriginal ideas. I don't even touch early access stuff, I'm extremely late to check out anything in the gaming universe but given my above points it's good to wait a little to see what rises to the top. And by then you get the "definitive edition + all DLC" version.

Evan, Tuesday, 17 August 2021 16:38 (one month ago) link

i'm definitely skeptical of all these indie games that seem to be starting from 'lets combine popular game mechanic A and popular game mechanic B' and working backwards from there, sometimes it's a natural fit but fps + deckbuilder sounds a lot like peanut butter and mayo to me, you'd be fighting against nature to make it work. i think the best games have a more holistic approach to design than that, but in the indie space game mechanics have become selling points / genre signifiers rather than tools in a toolbox as they should be.

ciderpress, Tuesday, 17 August 2021 17:31 (one month ago) link

Death Stranding: metroidvania edition

ncxkd, Tuesday, 17 August 2021 19:38 (one month ago) link

Yeah I hate how everything has to be a Strand-type game now

change display name (Jordan), Tuesday, 17 August 2021 19:44 (one month ago) link

The idea of including a fishing mechanic in a game is quickly losing it's appeal for me - mainly because nobody knows how to implement it whatsoever. I'm not sure it even can be implemented.

Diggin Holes (Ste), Thursday, 19 August 2021 00:10 (one month ago) link

(add your own emphasis on 'can' there guys)

Diggin Holes (Ste), Thursday, 19 August 2021 00:12 (one month ago) link

fishing minigame in JRPGs is tradition, it's not supposed to be fleshed out, just supposed to be there

other types of games should lose it

ciderpress, Thursday, 19 August 2021 01:02 (one month ago) link

oh fucking lol

Skyrim Anniversary Edition announced, launching November 11

You can upgrade the Special Edition to the Anniversary Edition

Free next-gen upgrade coming soon

Fishing gets added to Skyrim as well pic.twitter.com/DLVQ40yKeF

— Nibel (@Nibellion) August 19, 2021

Diggin Holes (Ste), Thursday, 19 August 2021 21:48 (one month ago) link

honestly it least it makes sense in Skyrim! i'm kind of surprised it wasn't already in the game, seems like a thing a tough guy killing things in the wild would do

professional anti- (Karl Malone), Thursday, 19 August 2021 21:51 (one month ago) link

I hate fishing minigames, I'm always so bad at them. I got passable at it in Stardew Valley but even then mostly avoided it.

emil.y, Thursday, 19 August 2021 21:55 (one month ago) link

(re skyrim) yeah, its an rpg after all, I just thought it was funny timing

xp Actually Stardew fishing was one attempt I did enjoy

Diggin Holes (Ste), Thursday, 19 August 2021 21:56 (one month ago) link

oh definitely hilarious for skyrim, especially after all these years! why now lol?

i have to admit, i like fishing minigames, because they're usually based on either timing or reaction speed, and i am one of those weirdos who will spend 15 minutes playing a free online "how quickly can you react" test, determined to beat my high (low) score

professional anti- (Karl Malone), Thursday, 19 August 2021 22:00 (one month ago) link


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