The Hype Machine: Where Bigger and Better Means More of the Same - Bradamantium Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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The Hype Machine: Where Bigger and Better Means More of the Same

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               With E3 2013 on it’s way out the door, there’s promises of many new games on the horizon to accompany a new console generation with unprecedented power. Many of these games promise worlds above and beyond what we’ve seen using the exponentially greater memory of the Xbox One and Playstation 4. Many of them will likely deliver nothing greater than slightly prettier versions of their predecessors.

 

                It’s a problem the industry continually faces, a problem that’s best summed up in one word as "hype." No one wants to take their new hundred million dollar product and pitch it to gamers as “like the old entries in this series, but with some incremental changes.” For obvious reasons. Development costs soar as audiences waver, making virtually any game outside of Call of Duty or a safe sports title a market uncertainty. But at the same time, as developers try to fire up gamers and draw in new customers, there’s something of a lie to a lot of what’s said in the AAA games sphere.

 

"Tom Culancy can feel the impending changes to the industry! Can you?!"

                Look no further than Chris Hecker’s brilliant “rant” at GDC. He uses the hyperbole of developers against them, pointing out that what they’re saying and what they’re showing are two different things. A dev took the stage at Sony’s PS4 reveal to talk  a couple minutes of truly chilling concepts about surveillance and freedom, only to use it as a launch point for Infamous: Second Son, which has yet to show it will engage with these ideas as anything more than plot threads. Industry personnel take to Jimmy Fallon’s talk show and tell him about the “supercharged” Playstation 4 and falter when he asks if this could be used to make bigger worlds. My favorite example is Bungie’s Destiny. By all Bungie accounts, it’s something we’ve never seen before. By the gameplay displayed thus far, it’s another game spent behind a gun.

 

The future of gaming? Or enough lens flare to pull JJ Abrams into directing the movie adaptation?

            

    I don’t doubt that these games and the new consoles they call home will deliver excellent experiences.  I do doubt, however, that they’ll change the way we play games. These will be fantastic games that give their players hours upon hours of fun in tightly composed gameplay environments. But what will change aside from some lighting, maybe some polygon counts? What will all this new power go to do? How will the dog in Call of Duty: Ghosts really change the series? What promises does a “supercharged” Playstation 4 hold?

 

I'm sorry if this image made you cry. Blame Infinity Ward for braving new emotional territory.

                The way we play games isn’t contingent on the power under the hood. It’s about innovation, emotion, and player experience. A single room in a game even on the level of Colonial Marines has more polygons than all of Ocarina of Time, but that doesn’t matter when it comes down to which game made for a better experience. And that’s what we need going forward. Not promises more empty than full about stronger consoles giving us more detailed worlds, not footage of taking some stairs with a rifle jutting out into the screen, not motion captured dogs; true innovation.

 

                This new generation heralds another stretch of years that will give up more games than any of us could possibly imagine, and I’m sure many of them will be wonderfully unique. In the meantime, though, I wish developers would be a little more up front about what they’re bringing to the future and leave the revolution, the game changers, the hype to games that really will change something.

 

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