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question

As gamers we all have an opinion on the games we play (and indeed opinions of the games that we do not play). in fact, most people will have formed an opinion of games that they have only seen a teaser trailer for and might not be released for months.

“I’m not going to be buy the latest Call of Duty because it is set in WWII.”

But why do we form these opinions of games so early? Why do we take these opinions so seriously? Publishers rightly have the backing of massive marketing and PR divisions. They push huge amounts of money into marketing and, according to Mike Capps back in 2007, speaking as President of Epic Games about the success of the first Gears Of War, it is vital to making a great game realize its potential. “It doesn’t do you any good at all to write the best novel and then put in a closet at home where no one ever sees it. It’s so unfortunate that I can list 20 games that were fantastic games that nobody ever heard of, nobody ever saw.”

It could be that it is these marketing messages vying for our attention, desperately pleading for us to consider them, that leads us by the hand to making quick judgments on games even when we haven’t played them.

But what do we, the gaming community really want? If the marketing departments were to suddenly go holiday together we would be deafened by the silence, forced to consider games on their merits… on how they play. All of a sudden, an incredible thing would happen, we would realize what it is that we really want to be playing.

Something that would be pretty high up on a lot of people’s wish-list would be more interactive environments, where real-world physics were implemented across the board, not just when and where it suits “the gameplay.” Who doesn’t want properly destructible buildings and terrain that is scarred and reshaped by a raging battle?

Not just in some games, but all games. To be able to pick up anything, to use that object both for its intended use and as my imagination sees fit. To interact with the other people in this environment properly and meaningfully.

No consumer industry can live without listening to the customer and obviously the gaming industry falls under the influence of this rule like any other. Indeed we have seen much sort after new features being implemented properly as the technology of gaming has advanced. Just look at the living cities of Grand Theft Auto, the effects of fire in Far Cry 2 and the destruction in Battlefield Bad Company to name a few.

Does the gaming industry give us what they think we want? Do they dictact what we think we want? Or do we not even know what we want?

So… what do we want?

Do we want more people in a multiplayer game at once? Do we want bigger and more outrageous weaponry? Who wants futuristic hyper-speed racing, or do we want ultra realistic simulations of modern day vehicles on meticulously recreated real-life race tracks? How many amongst us want set-piece cinematics in preference to open ended sand box gameplay? Are we crying out for another super hero? Are we bored of the “healthy gaming” phenomena?

Where do we start? Well, one thing that has not really been done, and might prove to be an interesting start point could be building upon the realistic reactions to being shot. Way back in 2000 enemy soldiers in Perfect Dark would limp away trailing blood when shot in the leg, hold their arm when winged and surrender when having their weapon shot out of their grasp and plead not to be killed (sometimes even slowly shuffling away sideways when you’re not looking).

The next simple step would have been to integrate this into enemy soldiers being incapacitated and unable to fight back but not actually be dead. It would be interesting to muddy the waters of the bad guy being either dead, or alive. Might even provide interesting moral questions. Was he even a “bad guy” in the first place?

With new profiles of gamers entering the arena the answer to the question of what we want will prove to be more divers than ever. The over 40′s being brought to the industry by the Nintendo DS will have a wholly unique wish-list when compared to the Wii-fit inspired healthy gamer.

So we are waiting Mr Games Developer, waiting for you to deliver some that we want… even though we might not know what it is right now.

But what, I ask, do we want?

  1. Let’s just put it this way:
    I WILL buy the new Call of Duty because it is NOT set in WWII. Haha man has that setting become over-saturated. I remember playing Medal of Honor on PSX in middle school and feeling like there are too many WWII games out!

    A podcast I was listening to recently had a great point. What about a high intensity Civil War FPS? The rush you get from having to spend 30 seconds to reload would be incredible, as most of the game would be hand-to-hand combat.

  2. Most gamers seem to want the sense of progression (leveling up) of RPG’s without the nerd factor associated with it. Call of Duty 4 was a good example of this. Reaching Prestige Mode was like hitting level 60 in WoW, it was a rite of passage for the hardcore. Then you could go online and show off your badge of honor, making the world jealous.

    The first time I felt the urge to do this was in Amplitude on the PS2, when I finally got the halo for beating the game on expert. It took me a month to beat Komputer Kontroller… I’m definitely going to rub it in the world’s face!

    Unfortunately, most casual gamers who “want” a new game seem to be affected more by the hype than the actual game.

  3. I think gamers typically know what we want. The problem, I think, is that developers don’t know what we want, and games tend to be marketed toward what the developers think we want, regardless of how well the game fits in with our perceived belief.

    Bethesda, for example, thinks that gamers would prefer that they spend gross amounts of money hiring big-name voice actors instead of say, writers, or more than five or six other voice actors.

    Stardock thinks gamers don’t like playing complete games.

    Bioware thinks gamers want choices, but are frightened by the idea of consequences.

    CD Projekt think gamers want awesome games and… well, they deliver.

    Blizzard thinks gamers want more of the same. And, well, from anywhere else that would be BS, but for Blizzard is mostly holds true.

    If we were to eliminate so-called gaming “journalism” from the equation–and select our games without any hype to guide us? Well, I imagine it’d be similar to how I chose games when I was a kid. I had a PC gamer subscription. I bought games that had awesome demos (Shogun: Total War), games that sounded really cool (Age of Empires II), and games in franchises I loved (Trekkie, here).

    I also bought games based on box-art. Yeah, sometimes that works out incredibly well–Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, for example–sometimes, it does not.

    In my defense, Daikatana was on clearance for only $0.99 USD.

    The problem with modern games is that most are big-budget blockbuster affairs, meant to pander to the largest demographic. Far more money and work is spent on marketing and “spin” than on actually creating a genuinely enthralling experience.

    Rather that more interactivity, I long for a return to games that can suck me in the same way the old Infinity Engine titles did–or Freespace. I can’t come up with a single quote from this generation (unless it’s as an example of terrible writing *cough*MGS4*cough*) but I will never forget:

    “I’m dancing with an annihilator down here!”

    +10 points to anyone who know the name of the game.

  4. Mech Warrior 3?

    My friend had the full-on double stick, extended keyboard layout, with a VR helmet and rumble vest. He was the biggest nerd I’ve ever met, or seen, in my entire life. Oh, Mech Warrior with that set up was completely awesome. This was like 3-4 years before Steel Battalion was thought up.

  5. avatar Fabrizio

    Actually PS3 is delivering not 1, but 2 (possibly 3) non-linear games this year, that mteplcoely blow anything the 360 can do out of the water. They’re nice little games I like to call Twisted Metal and Starhawk, and you know as well as I do if the 360 ever attempted to even come close to either, it would melt down instantly. Go ahead and play the Xbot card and say the games suck or that Crysis 2 looks better because IGN said so(even though IGN clearly said UC3 looks best), or that the games just suck (yet you’ve obviously never played them). What do you by what the Xbox can do ? The best looking game to date in the 360 s library is Gears of War 3, and that no more non-linear than Uncharted 3, yet Uncharted 3 blows it out of the water in every respect. I played through Gears 3 almost twice now on the same TV and the same HDMI cable I play UC3 with, and the game looks horrendous by comparison. Muddy textures, ugly character models, bland color scheme, and the list goes on. Hell, even the multiplayer maps in Gears 3 are smaller than the UC3 maps yet they still somehow lack the beautiful textures as well as the verticality element. In a way, Uncharted 3 is actually more open world than Gears 3, yet it looks much better. Gears 3 can’t even do the 30,000 polygon characters. lolIn the end, Starhawk and Twisted Metal destroy your precious 360, and the 3rd possibity I mentioned is Last of Us, but we obviously don’t know enough about it to really say. That’s just scratching the surface of the games coming out in 2012 on PS3. Dust 514 and God of War 4 are also other games that will mop the floor with the 360. Your precious is far from the dominant force you believe it to be. And now onto the last ditch Xbot argument: SAAAAAAAAALLLEEEEEZZZZZZ!!!!! lolVN:R_U [1.9.12_1141](from 7 votes)

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