Additionally, which I personally find particularly disturbing is the controled lifespan of games. Games made in the 90's had a huge number of levels like Super Mario World on SNES. Legend of Zelda a Link to the Past took me weeks to beat back then. I thought that as time changed, games would get longer and longer. I bought Mortal Kombat 2 on day one for 60 bucks. It is amazing that games are still 60 bucks and fans complain that that is too high. I find the price to be remarkably fair considering inflation. What I dont think is fair is that with all the technology available...why can I beat a game and run out of content in less than a month still. Why not make a huge sprite based game with 100 plus dungeons to explore. Why not make a game that literally takes 2 years to beat. The answer is that game companies design their games to be so short and run out of content so that you will give them another 60 dollars 3 months down the road for the next "Must Have" game. It is disapointing. I wish I had a game other than an MMO that would last like 5 years or even one year. Sadly money drives games so they will continue to be short, and milked for the small amount of content they do contain. I would gladly pay 100 dollars per game if there was enough content in there for a longer game lifespan.
You know - gamers are now living in what can be best described as "The Perfect World". Gamers are getting more bang for their buck - are able to play games on a wide variety of gaming consoles, and even when game series cross platforms, or even cross genres - are getting a cohesive experience. The Perfect World scenario is evidently an important part of today's gaming - but it has its roots as far back as even the earliest MMO's.
The Perfect World Scenario is simple. It's the feedback we give the developers. It's the fan community's united voice. It's the contributions of the wiki community - hungering for the next information to stow away - to compare, contrast and eventually slot in it's place in the game's world and storyline. It's the gamers themselves - helping make their games better.
Developers have never had it easier. Of course - developing large budget titles is getting more and more financially risky. We're seeing amalgamations of once great teams. Australia has been particularly burdened by this - without financial support from the Government, we're seeing developers die - as they live project to project. A single bad game can be enough to kill a studio and hundreds of employees who depend on that studio. It's a mess - but it has also given rise to the great independents.
As little as a decade ago, the "Indie" community was largely ignored. Nintendo, Sega and Sony were all working to keep their loyal fanbases and build respectability for gaming, but the vocal indie community of basement dwelling coders was largely ignored. The Net Yaroze system from Sony was a step in the right direction, but it wasn't until the advent of selling downloadable games cheaply did this community finally find a voice and a platform. And oh boy - did the sales come in!
But it's these large titles - games that can require hundreds of employees and years of development that suggest, no, require, a level of community involvement beyond that of "when's it coming out?". Which is where the game's fiction organiser or "lorekeeper" comes in. It's his/her job to ensure that the games numerous employees keep the games vision the same - even when it diverges from it's original gameplay.
For instance - Assassin's Creed. Here is a title which screams multi-faceted, multi-media approach. So far we've seen 3 console games, each of which were on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, 2 Nintendo DS games (since been ported to iPhone and Android), an upcoming 3DS game, a facebook game, a PSP game, several DLC packs, 2 short films, 2 graphic novels, a novel, a comic book series and an art book. Obviously it's gone far beyond the development studio who first began to produce the games - Assassin's Creed has become such a property, and such a monopoly (the series so far has sold over 20 million games) - that developer Ubisoft is actually illiciting gamer's opinions about where the series should head next.
The power is in our hands! No more do developers turn a blind eye to our ideas - our opinions matter more than ever! Developers and Publishers are listening hard to their fan bases - their communities, their forums and their surveys than ever before. Gaming has become a collaborative effort of hundreds of developers and behind the scenes people - and now gamers are contributing their part. What we say in this game affects the vision for what comes next.
Bioware fans were upset about the absence of Liara from Mass Effect 2. Bioware responded with the best DLC they have ever crafted. Epic fans were vocal about the absence of strong women in Gears of War. Gears of War 3 will see them fighting along side you. Fallout fans were spending hundreds of man-hours creating the most comprehensive database of information online on the series - and Bethesda took full advantage. These are just a few examples of how gamers are helping craft the games they play.
The future is bright for the gamer. They have a direct link to those that craft the games they play, and developers are taking full advantage of gaming console's ability to keep tabs on what gamers are enjoying in their games. More than heat maps, they are able to see just how long we spend checking out certain scenes. This kind of feedback is invaluable. We now have a platform to state what we like and dont like about games, and what we feel could make them better. This kind of power to help weild the games we play is only going to get stronger. The line between gamer and developer is fading - especially when we play games like LittleBigPlanet and The Sims 3.
We are becoming a society of gamers living in a Perfect World - a world of gaming that encourages us to help developers make their games the best they can be. It's an exciting time indeed.
A perfect world would be better. Today a few games are great with most being sub-par. 4 hour games like Kane and Lynch 2 should not exist. Companies should not charge extra for special suits, maps or offer exclusive fatalities depending on which store you purchase the game from like the new Mortal Kombat proposes...they should be unlocked with secret codes in all copies of the game for free.
O.o In what way is our world perfect? We're being pushed aside in some ways for casual gaming still. I mean I'm giving Kinect allowance to tween for more advanced gaming but even so. Perfect? Far from it. Things are better but games that both provide adequate challenge and last long are few and far between.
as the gaming industry makes more money it is only natural for them to develop a better gaming experience for their market (the people who buy games) so they can continue to make money. Just based on what games you purchase you tell them what you like and with avenues such as game forums and twitter, feedback is expanding whether or not they pay attention to them. But in the end they pay attention to what makes them money aka what sells and they will repeat what sells endlessly until it stops making money then they will hop on the next bandwagon of profitable ideas. market economy.
While I agree with the parts about the indie games finally having a voice. I can't say I agree with a lot of this. I don't feel we as gamers are getting more "bang for our buck". If anything games are getting shorter and shorter, and we're being bled dry with DLC content. A lot of which should of been in the game to begin with. Also it seems these days too many developers are releasing unfinished and/or buggy games. Having a "release it now, patch it later" mentality, Final Fantasy XIV and Fallout: New Vegas anyone? Or worse yet they don't support the game on the level it needs. Modern Warfare 2 fell into this pit. As far as gamers having a voice in how a games development goes. This is only a half truth. Just because a developer has a feedback forum doesn't mean they are listening. Also gamers are notorious for not knowing what they want and for having ungodly expectations. I'm sure some fantastic games would of been ruined had the dev's listened to public feedback. A friend of mine once said "Their are two sure fire ways to make sure your game fails. The first is not giving the fans what they want. The second is giving the fans what they want."
Well for a real game you need balance. You need feedback from the players of course, but what the developers do with it is up to them. If you just do everything the players want, you get a broken game. The players don't know the full effect of how something influences the gameplay/story/etc. You will get people deciding about things they don't understand. For a great game you need a couple of developers/artists with a vision that gives direction.
@maverick_76: I logged in just to give you thumbs up. Spot on. Also, I thoroughly disagree with the blog poster, although the overall quality of games have gone up, the greed(!) of companies have gone up more so. Short games, buggy overpriced sequels and expensive (and short) DLC. And personally, I don't feel there's much special coming out in the near future. Everything is just a sequel of something. And as you said, as making games becomes more financially risky, it becomes harder and less attractive for devs to make games that are truly unique.
I agree that more than ever I feel developers are wanting our input on games. This is good of course, but I sometimes fear that what could happen is we get stuck playing the same games over and over again. In essence, the best games of our generation were ones that no one else thought of or were too complicated to implement with our current technology. Simple things though made these possible and made us love something that we didn't even know we wanted.
People don't know what they want. Like in that interview with the Super Meat Boy developers, if they would have listened to their test audience, the game would have sucked. The developers are the developers because they 'should' be better at making games than us (unfortunately not always the case). If a developer listens and does exactly what the people say, you usually end up with a generic game that everybody kinda likes but nobody loves, which is the majority of games out today. The best games are original and not necessarily the most popular. Fan feedback is alright in some respect, but the perfect world would be really good developers making games for the love of gaming, not money, and not to be popular among non-gamers or new gamers or bad gamers.
This is probably the best example of a free market economy. Product, feedback, product change. Good job world.
While devs listening to the fans is sure nice, one thing I hate to see coming is the fans having too much of a say in the development of a game. Many features and the like exist solely because "the fans told us to put it in". Devs take the suggestions of the fan community and take them as orders, either due to pressure from a publisher to please the fans or due to insecurity with how the game is. Yes, I think it's nice that the line between developer and player is fading, but a total disappearance would be disastrous. There needs to be balance between ignorance and taking everything as an order.
@dragonslayer22 Well, if someone bashes something popular that doesn't mean they're doing so to be unique... I find Black Ops ridiculously overrated, there are several faults with the game and after about 10 hours of play I'm completely bored with it. It's just called opinion. The community on that game is surprisingly negative. Most games I've played (and by most I mean nearly all...) have had someone complaining over the mic about how the game sucks, and then there will be people agreeing with him! I don't quite understand it myself... as if it completely sucks why play it?
I kind of agree, but there's a point where fan feedback should be ignored. Don't get me wrong, a developer listening to their fans is often a good thing but there's a lot of times when it should be left to the developers and their vision. Fan feedback has caused a stir in several areas: art, movies, music. A lot of it is for the worst too. When you're practically yelled at by your fans to change something you'll end up making some uninspired piece of garbage. If fans demand things to change immediately and don't allow growth than they may end up missing on something special. Of course, most fans will yell "zomg! Moar gunz1" and the like. Take Killzone 3 for example, bouncing back and forth to how the controls should be handled as the community appears half and half on the idea. Studios that listen and take the ideas into consideration, like Bungie, are excellent. Some ideas make it, some don't. There are some ideas that should just be completely ignored though and it falls on the responsibility of the developer first and foremost.
We get more bang for the buck ??? Sorry but no. Few games have a single player campaign longer than 7hours. Many of them doesn't have anything to unlock... only achievements and trophies ... Download and patches are a big rippoff, we get unfinished game that they try to fix and on top of that they sell parts of it like a week after the game is lunched.
Megaman Legends Three development team has fans working on boss fights and other sectors of the game. This is icing on the cake for them considering they have been waiting for the game for about ten years now.
@Blazember And regarding getting ideas into games, try and get yourself onto a closed beta, and join the "community" forums for that closed beta. If you present your ideas well, and alot of others in the community like your idea, then the devs DO actually take a look at your idea and will potentially implement it. Like how democracy works i guess....(or atleast how its suposed to work! :P )
@Blazember Games are cheaper now then they were in the mid 90s. Back then DonkeyKongCountry on Snes, would have set you back $80...... All AAA titles were $80 for a while.....
I agree that a developer should accept feedback and listen to their community, but I would like to point out the design philosophy of Team Meat (Super Meat Boy). They simply wanted to create the game that they believed was the best, and they even ignored community input to focus on what they believed the game should be. I know this sounds terrible, but games wouldn't be as good if every single gamer got the way they like thing into every game. For example, I'm sure there is a significant number of gamers that say Demon's Souls is too hard, when it is that specific quality that makes others love the game.
inaka_rob is a sad, frustrated individual. I have yet to play Black Ops, but all of my friends who have, and are putting dozens of hours in, love it. People hate on the popular stuff just because it makes them feel unique, I guess.
something he forgot to add is that many developers usually make and flunk sequels because they are just to lazy and want to squeeze every last drop of money they can from the title but are just to blind to see that it is an opportunity to improve on all the games mistakes maybe sometime some developers will notice that (and i am not saying all developers do)
there have been a lot of great releases this year but a lot of average ones to. the more games released the more they start to run out of originality and the less likely it is going to be a good game. but luckily this hasn't happened yet and i am a video game addict i hope you are one to
As if to prove your point, they were about to shut down Halo Wars' stat-tracking. According to a GiantBomb article, they're no longer doing so due to the fan backlash. http://www.giantbomb.com/news/halo-wars-stat-tracking-isnt-going-away-after-all/2773/
I totally agree with the content of your article. Another team that's been doing this wonderfully is Harmonix, who have a subforum for "Your Ultimate Setlist" on rockband.com, where you can create a thread to get support going for your favorite songs to appear in the game. This subforum flourishes most when a new title is being released (say, when Rock Band 3's full setlist hadn't been announced yet), but they've also done a great job of taking community ideas and putting them up as DLC. So even when they choose "Free Bird" as the on disc Lynyrd Skynyrd track over "Sweet Home Alabama," you can't give up hope because of their excellent DLC. Team Meat is also doing a REALLY impressive job with taking feedback from their players. It's really amazing that a team of two guys is doing so well at providing a dialogue with their fans, and I can't wait to see what the level editor ends up providing. P.S. For everyone whining about Black Ops, not only did Treyarch do an amazing job of responding to fan feedback and repair most of the game-breaking stuff in late November, the game is CERTAINLY not bad at all. Even if you prefer MW2, you need to stop looking at the game in the shadow of its predecessor. It's still really, really fun, and although after four years in a row of CoD I'm kind of done until they make something new happen with the franchise, I am playing this multiplayer for longer than I think I did with any other CoD.
Thank you for writing this.I can't help but be bothered by the fact of recent games I bought that were unfinished/buggy.Yes the patches started coming to fix these games but they still seemed unfinished on launch day.Or buying a game for $60. and a week later DLC for $10.This doesn't seem perfect but we do seem to have more choices and I guess you can't please everyone.
i hope all videogames developers hear me on this. make all cutscenes skippable! all of them! please dont force me to watch a 40 second cutscene everytime a boss kills me and i have to try again! i dont care if i have no previous save data and you THINK this is my first time playing this game, let me skip this 4 minute cut scene! i know lots of games rely on story and cinematics to get their point accross but don't force feed it to me! please please please, make a skip button for all your cutscenes, give me the choice to watch or not and stop wasting my time. fellow gamers if you agree with me then please voice your opinion as well
Tien, It's really refreshing to hear such a positive opinion on the state of gaming. I, for what it counts, agree with your opinion. It should also be mentioned that many games, Bethesda games being a prime example, create open-sourced games, which allow me, a gamer who doesn't create games, to get mods of my choice to help make a game closer to a perfect experience. It really is something wonderful that I wouldn't have thought possible in the 90's when I was playing SNES.
The high cost of development is defo keeping game prices high. I also think that even taking into account feedback the developers have to be careful. One mans meat is another mans poison after all!
@Sagacious_Tien its really funny you said Black Ops is getting good reviews, because the people who are actully playing it are tearing it to pieces. A HUGE chunk of the community doesn't like it. Its not a terrible game. it is additive that is why I play. but have since stopped. EVERY kill feels lucky, and every death feels cheap. Modern warfare 1 or 2 didnt feel that way. I got hooked on unlocking guns and parts and so forth. there is some fun to be had. but over all I cant stand the game. Never ever in my life have I ever felt an online game so cheap. If you kill me in battle field, halo, modern warfare, killzone, whatever. I get angry, but ususlly it was unlucky on my part, something could have gone differntly, etc. Black ops. every single death feels like I was robbed. um. yeah. and the 2nd part of your comment you just re-stated what I said.
I see where you are coming from but brother this does not make it a Perfect World. You've brought up some interesting facts though so it was a nice read but i am sorry even this "Perfect World" has not done Anything revolutionary as far as the quality of the games being produced lately is concerned. Either that or I am missing out on something really Awesome...
@fritter7 Exactly my point. The most expensive game ever - with a huge partnership between EA, Bioware and Lucasarts - and they would be foolish not to guage the publics opinion. Of course - the core game framework is there, but there is definitely a level of contribution that the dedicated gaming community gives freely which is invaluable to the developers. @inaka_rob I don't think I see your point completely. Spending over 40 hours in a game you dont enjoy just sounds to me like bashing for the sake of it. I haven't played Black Ops myself, but reviews state that it is a great game. If it isn't for you - than why spend almost 2 full days of your life devoted to it? I wouldnt state that this is the formula for all developers - many are happy to do their own thing and not listen to the public. This is at the detriment to their own product. Developers like Bungie really listen to the public, really listen to their fanbase - and the result is they make consistently fantastic games.
@Sethbeastalan I concede your point. The "indie" revolution has been in full swing for several years now actually. @LordSadic You're being very cynical. I can remember a time when I purchased SNES games for twice the amount that current games are and finished them in a few hours. Let us not forget that there was no online then - no demos, no freeware, no browser games, no facebook games and certainly no DLC. Gaming has been growing up - budgets have been going up, but games are still very affordable. The addition of things like GOTY and Prestige Editions are just lumping optional extras. You don't have to buy games Day 1 every time, and even if you do, shopping around can still get you cheaper than RRP. @subyman Pretty much true. I recently picked up the Prince of Persia Trilogy for a low price, there are bundle deals for RPGs, racers - and heaps more. Steam has always been an excellent avenue for saving money, and other online portals are certainly offering great value. Bargains can be found - even on recently released titles, if you check around. I'm a full time student, and I find gaming to be a good and affordable hobby. Certainly more affordable than scuba diving, my other main hobby.
Yeah. but the more people buy a game, the more varied responses they are going to get. They listen sometimes. A company like Bunji listens to their fans very closely. what about the games under the activation umbrella. If they listen to the fans would they keep putting out all these subpar games. tony hawk. Black ops is terrible. it is just a mish mash of all the cod games, and not even done that well. I have put 40 hours into that game. all of them annoyed.
Great article, I think this interaction needs to happen more often. One recent example is that a lot of fans were upset about Bioware's naming of one of their classes in SWTOR (Jedi Wizard). Just a few weeks ago, Bioware not only said they were willing to change the name, but they also let the community vote between some of the more popular names on the forums. The class is now officially called 'Jedi Sage'.
I know I've been getting a ton of gaming for the dollar. You just have to look for deals and not buy on launch day. Reach, NFS Hot Pursuit, Fable III, etc for 35 dollars on amazon during thanksgiving. Steam has their blow out sale for PC gamers during Thanksgiving, Summer, and there will be one during Christmas. It is the first time in quite awhile that I have more games than I can play and I certainly didn't spend much to put myself in this situation :)
More bang for their buck? Not sure about that. As far as i know we are getting unfinished products and then they want to sell the rest to us for 10 f**ing bucks. Eventually, this trend it's just going to keep growing and growing on the greedy eyes of the corporates. Why? because there are people supporting their BS, thats why. In the near future the content of a game that would be 100% 10 years ago is now more like 50%. If this is the Perfect World" we are talking about, then sorry but I don't wanna be part of it. *Rant* As for the point of your post, I dont think its a viable solution for the developers. I can think of one recent example, im of course talking about Vanquish, a game that delivered the good stuff the fans asked for, the team focused solely on the gameplay sacrificing other vital components of the game, it has been doing wonders for them hasn't? They don't need to listen to few fanbase to succeed thats not where the money is at it, and definitely not how big games are played.
I think this is less a 'perfect world' and more of an indy revolution. There are way to many parts of the industry that are in disarray for this to be considered perfect. There's also the fact that video games aren't a completely respected artistic medium yet. Add to that the economic downturn, and you have a giant mess on your hands. I will concede, however, that the individual has a lot more power, which is why I'd rather call this an indy revolution. But there is still too many people who just go for graphics, or would buy the next CoD blindly. The industry has grown up, and now we as consumers have to do the same.
@xXdraky I wouldnt state that the scenario I suggested be the be all and end all to game making. If that was the case - we'd all be making our own games. We can definitely influence games for the better, I already gave examples of how. And like I said - we can only help the developers make their games the best they can be. It is still up to them to create the frame to start the ball rolling. @Foolz3h Great comment. If you wanted to play your ideas - but couldn't make a game, than being vocal on the official forums is the best way. @Blazember There are possibly hundreds of examples of when individuals ask a developer - they make a difference. A single person who played the game possibly cant do it - but then I'm reminded of a certain mission in World of Warcraft. What I tried to relate in the article is that gamers (that's more than one) - help craft the games they play by being active about what it is they like and dislike. @x-TwilighT-x True. But there are a great deal out there who do. Think of Valve, Bioware, Bungie, Blizzard... @profstrange This isn't a scenario - this is the reality of today. If you're vocal about a game - developers listen. Of course, you can't make everyone happy all the time - but by listening in - you can make the majority of decisions that work for the greatest percentage of gamers. If you listen to gamers - and implement ideas that will work, and will keep them happy - than you're doing the best thing by your game.
Yes, it is a good idea but, everyone have a different idea of what create a perfect game. It is nearly impossible for the developers to make everyone happy without angering the rest of other people.
I don't know about you but games on release are way too expensive and remain that way for far too long. We're talking $60-$70 for 1 new game. Also, many gamer's opinions are still, and will be unheard of. Since when was the last time an individual got what they wished for a videogame perfectly, just by asking the developer?
I'm not sure it's so perfect tbh. If I wanted to play my ideas then I would make games rather than play them, but to each their own. Besides my ideas would not be considered giving that they're too awesome. :P
All games need feedback, even the best ones. It helps developers in so many ways, especially when in the production of sequals and even DLC. However, feedback cannot breach the originality of the game, but merely influence it for the better. There are unlimited possibilities on fixing known issues, but when it comes down to actually changing gameplay features, I would say it's still difficult. But in the end, the developers choose, and what we say and do can only change so much.