31/31 Day 10001: Why Make It? - Will Sora Layton Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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31/31 Day 10001: Why Make It?

When you start to do something, you're planning to succeed, right? If I'm going to write a blog, I do it because I want to, not because I have to (uh, this 31/31 does mean I have to write each day...but I like what I'm writing), but because I want to, and because I'm hoping people like the ideas that come up into my head, as well as it being an expression of me as a person. So, when a video game development studio starts to make a game, wouldn't they want it to be enjoyable, and their best effort? Moreover, wouldn't they wish that they could make a game that could be considered among the ranks of the best?

Why doth you exist, monstrosity? 

I've thought about this idea before, like some of the focuses of my other blogs, and am now deciding to write about it. Let's say you've just sat down with a well-staffed development team, and you're all itching to get to work on a new title, possibly a new IP. The question is, what will your goal be with the title? Will you try to appeal to a certain crowd you feel will appreciate the title? Will you try to break new ground and offer gamers a new experience that will entice them? Or, will you do none of the above, and simply make a title destined to fail?

If it were me, I'd be choosing one of the former options, certainly not the latter. That's a question that I'm posing with this blog, and I'll be exploring certain aspects associated with this question. When a game development studio tackles a new project, why don't they strive for something great, and really try to make, in the words of Aram Jabarri, a "ground-shaking development"? 

Let's look first, though, at licensed games, instead of original IPs. There's a major question that I don't feel enough people ask: why? Why are these games made, when half the time, they're rushing in development, and can be unplayable, as well as performing very poorly in sales. When a new movie is coming out, does that movie NEED a game to come with it? Sure, some of these games are decent, but why are publishers wasting their development team's time and resources into putting out titles that will ultimately most likely only be bought for the pleasure of a few 10 year olds, or maybe people thinking the game will be good because of the name. Take for example, say, the recent James Bond title, 007 Legends. Did Activision and Eurocom think they were making a blockbuster title, or a cash-on that had a quick and rushed development, in order to profit off name alone?

Why? Because they could! It'd make money, right? Right!?

When we think of bad licensed games, we think of those like the infamous E.T. Atari game, and maybe the awful Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Kinect game. In any case, there are hundreds of licensed games that ultimately get made, with some getting unexpected attention, most getting panned universally, and almost all being a waste of talent by the studio, and resources. When Disney Interactive is disappointed with Epic Mickey, why do they decide to continue to put out titles based on their comedic TV shows that ultimately will get little to no recognition, and will probably barely make the budget back. Why couldn't they bring more talent together, and put out maybe 2-3 great titles per year that actually wow us, instead of that game no one plans on buying?

The other side of  this argument is simply games that don't turn out great, such as recent poorly-reviewed Ride to Hell: Retribution and Dark. I understand that development teams have great dreams of making great titles, but when they get to unplayable levels like Dark's vampire vision, I don't understand what the developers are thinking. I don't mean to slander them in anyway, it's entirely possible they were pressed for time or something. But, when they create this product that is going to to be panned, why do they release it like that? Why don't they try and make something that's going to make a profit and be received well?

Of course, there's the fact that we don't know everything about development studio's. Maybe some of these bad games do turn a profit, and actually are justifiable finance wise. However, there is something else that we can almost be assured doesn't meet a profit: titles being dumb downed for handhelds and other systems. I may have loved the Wii the most, but when you made Far Cry Vengeance Ubisoft, was a bad Wii port necessary, considering it has a 40% lower percent rating than the 360 and PS3 versions? Likewise, Activision-was that Modern Warfare game for DS really going to net you a lot of money? Sure, it has the Call of Duty name on it...but is it really getting you far? Even with Kingdom Hearts III-is the One really a platform for JRPGs, and not the Wii U, Square Enix?

So, my main grip really is-why are some of these titles actually worked on by developers? Sure, they may dreams of the game succeeding, with titles like Ride to Hell and such, but, when a developer is making a small licensed game for DS-what's going through their head? They may be considering their job a waste of the potential they have, and a waste of time and capitol for the publisher. However, in all honesty, these things are just opinions/speculation by me. There may be gamers out there who lap up all those licensed titles and love them, and the same with weird ports. These are just my thoughts, so I think I'll close out here.

That's it. That's all.

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