Rock Paper Shotgun has posted a rather extensive interview where Arthur Bruno talks about the casualization of traditional games, building a new fictional world, and, some of the things that he would like to have done differently in Titan Quest, among other topics.
We’ve come a long way from my childhood, where failure in most games caused you to start completely over from the beginning, to a point where it is impossible to fail in many games and in some you can just pull out your credit card when you decide it is time to win.
So yeah, what are we doing that is unique? Moving backwards some might say…
Well, I’d rather say Crate is moving forward and Blizzard is moving backward…
Awesome article, loved the part about the exploitation of game systems…never thought of it that way but it was a very good way to describe it. The two new screenshots are amazing too, the colors and contrast simply rock!
In one of the new screenshots (the darker one) I can see an optical anomaly, probably a portal in the lower left with possibly something humanoid coming out of it. These silhouettes (3) seem to spit something fiery towards the player. Also there are some two burning particle effects coming from the far left. Maybe there are similar humanoid monsters spitting from there too (if this is so, they seem to have long spitting range, which makes guns very appropriate as a weapon in such places). The big monster in the center is … obscured by too much light : ))))))) There seem to be bones scattered on the ground, probably a sign of some atrocities that happened there in the past.
Edit: I just realized; the fiery particle effects on the left in the darker shot come from the smaller monsters in the greener shot (also on the left). At least the effect looks the same. Are they some demonic shaman … imps? So two monster types that spit fire.
Great interview. A lot said in it really struck a chord with me, in particular the fact that many hardcore players, myself included, are growing more and more displeased with the casualization, streamlining, consolization, whatever you want to call it (I call it dumbing down and hand holding) of their once beloved games, and this creates an opportunity for someone to reverse the trend and release the truly hardcore game that so many of us want. Now some may say that it limits the audience to a niche, and that may be true, but I feel like that niche is growing, and growing rapidly.
The current casual boom is caused by the fact that the player base is growing so rapidly. Not so long ago, computer games where the hobbies of the stereotypical white, male - aged somewhere inbetween 12 to 25 years.
That has changed completely. Gaming now reaches all genders, races, age and social groups. That means we have a whole lot of new players. Many, many, many people who did not play before.
I believe it is viable to assume, that a part of those newcomers, will start graving for deeper, more complex stuff, once they are satiated with shallow, easy fun.
That does not mean the casual market will decline or disappear - but it means, that the market will have to diversify.
The industry still is in that old mindset, of producing “the game for everyone”… but that’s not possible anymore. I mean, look at movies… action blockbusters, love comedies, historical documentations, gun porn army propaganda movies, psycho-thrillers, art-films, animated films, childrens movies, melodramas, … -> there’s so many different target audiences.
Games will have to start focusing on more specialized target audiences too. Right now, publishers still believe in that “one game fits all” scheme, which is ultimately bound to fail sooner or later. It just can’t hold up.
It is exciting to see that GD is getting more and more attention from media and all. Some of it probably the backlash on disappointment of certain game. Hearing it on the mailbox video of totalbiscuit sure carved a light smile on my face. Surely GD have been mentioned more frequent here and there. Hope GD will hit the headline when the alpha hit (headline on alpha?!). Oh the hype of it!
About the “you can’t please everyone” philosophy, I think one way to look at it is that for the past decade or so the core audience has always been the “not everyone”, and with games like GD it’s nice to finally be on the other end of that argument.
These were some of my favorite comments. I agree so fully with them, and they do a great job of summing up my frustration with many of today’s games.
I love systems that are asymmetrical and chaotic, where the player can’t easily see the tell-tale structure and patterns of deliberate, organized human design. The real world isn’t always perfectly planned or sensible and I don’t think game worlds should be either, otherwise you see the hand of the developers everywhere you look and it erodes the magic of feeling like you are in a living and unpredictable world. Exploration of game systems is all about the discovery of what is possible. When there is too clear a structure and pattern to the design, not only does it feel artificial but the player is much more quickly able to assess the limits of the system.
To court the casual audience, developers are simplifying game systems and minimizing the potential for inexperienced players to make bad choices. They’re reducing the amount of time it takes to finish games, adding a constant stream of visible rewards for increasingly simplified achievements, and allowing players to pay for success when the effort of achieving it through the game proves too challenging or time consuming.
All I can say is keep it up!
Give me a difficult game I need to commit to. -One that isn’t holding my hand all the way through and leaving me a ‘trail of bread crumbs’ to follow.
Give me a game that scares me, frustrates me, and ultimately gives me the fantastic satisfaction of winning because it was hard and I had to invest some time and effort to finish it!