A while back I wrote an article called “Are Games Regressing?” It was published again during our Greatest Hits celebration. The original publication of this article can be found HERE.
I have been thinking about this long and hard ever since I wrote the article. I’m not necessarily retracting my statements in that article, because nowadays gaming has become so big that developers almost don’t care it seems. They will rush the product out the door even if it is broken. Haze is one of the most recent titles that comes to mind. It was so hyped up yet in the end it turned out to be another mediocre shooter in an already flooded market of shooters. This brings me to my next point, just because people like shooters does not mean everyone likes shooters. Every time I turn around there seems to be another shooter coming out. The sad part is that most of them flop when taking on juggernauts like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or the Halo series. If you can’t outdo those games or even match them for that matter don’t put the game out. In the end it just becomes shovelware or a quickly discounted game.
But really what happened to companies that decided to take their time on their games, and actually have some form of pride behind the title that they are working on. It seems at times that those days have come and gone. Everything during this day and age seems to be all about money, which is understandable seeing as how it does fuel economies. But still there are a few gems out there that take their time and put out hits still. Some that come to mind are Insomniac, Naughty Dog, Atlus, Level 5, Kojima Productions, Epic Games, and last but not least Team Ico. EA has also been stepping their game up as of late after a while on the “bad list” so to speak. But when it comes down to it what causes developers to become so arrogant and selfish? Well it’s quite simple actually, money. The single most important factor nowadays. It seems that it is all a lot of developers have begun to care about. No longer is any pride taken at times by these companies. Take SquareEnix for example. You guys have no clue how much I miss Squaresoft. Anyone else out there remember the PS1 days where everything they put out was a hit, and it was an actual deserving hit. Fast forward to present day and all we get at times is delays, broken promises, and basically betrayal. Yes I am bringing up the FFXIII on 360. Also don’t call me a fanboy by any means, I own both the PS3 and 360. Personally I didn’t feel betrayed, but I am speaking for Playstation gamers as a whole. A lot of people felt like they had been stabbed in the back by SquareEnix. I know several people that buy Playstation systems for Final Fantasy games alone. So I can defnitely see where they are coming from with that aspect, but I am the type of person where I think the more people get to play it the better as long as sacrifices aren’t made to accomodate a console. But in the end we know some sacrifices were made or will be made for both GTAIV and FFXIII. Rockstar already stated they had problems fitting things onto the 360 version. Here is a quote from Dan Houser to 1up.
One of the problems with the 360, and it affects games like Grand Theft Auto if you think about how much content we put in the actual machine, is the fact that they don’t have a significantly larger storage medium than the previous systems. It’s a slightly bigger DVD disc
When I see things like that it bothers me a lot. For them to hinder the performance on one console to cash in on both consoles I find ridiculous. One could only imagine how GTAIV would’ve been if it would have been a PS3 exclusive, maybe we would actually have something to do after we finished the game rather than play pool and go bowling. I mean it’s supposed to be a sandbox game afterall. Don’t get me wrong, GTAIV was a blast to look at, but playing was a different story all together. When I see more satisfaction in blowing something up in a buggy game like Mercs 2 there is something wrong there.
Microsoft is a main contributor to this problem as well seeing as how they seem to have all of the money in the world. They seem to want to just buy everything in sight with their deep pockets. This is a main contributor in what has begun to slowly kill the gaming industry quality wise in my opinion. They bought rights to downloadable content for GTAIV for 50 million and then proceeded to pay to make Final Fantasy XIII multiplatform. There is no telling how much that second move cost them. Microsoft needs to realize that money doesn’t not bring out the best in companies. Typically it brings out the worst in them, and in people in general. Rather than throwing countless millions into these games they should really fix their hardware, but considering the install base just keeps growing that will not happen. Hopefully by next generation they come out with a better hardware because they do have a good library. If they didn’t I wouldn’t of bought a 360.
This now takes me to the Wii. Nintendo has the biggest market out there and it is a beast in it’s own right, but for crying out loud where are the games? If someone were to look at the wall of Wii games that are available over 80% of them are garbage and fall into the shovelware. No Nintendo is by no means stupid or blind, they just seem to be ignoring their loyal fans. They seem to be focusing on the “casual” market. Which is ok, there is nothing wrong with going that route, but atleast get some games out there that your loyal fans will love. Yes I realize that it is by no means all Nintendo’s fault. These developers see this huge install base and they just figure if they throw something out there someone will pick it up. That’s why it’s called shovelware.
Last but not least is Sony, and don’t even remotely think they are perfect either. Especially after their arrogance they demonstrated to us gamers at launch. They were so cocky that I almost didn’t buy a PS3 at all. Finally they got their act together because they realized if they didn’t they would be screwed. But still with the Microsoft is throwing money out there like it’s nothing and Sony not willing to put anything out there it is causing the Playstation brand to lose some of it’s most valued exclusives. Then they seem to be getting to much into the being perfect route that they delay everything left and right. For example Home. They finally set a date and it was only because XBox’s new interface is launching then too. So Sony wants to go head to head with them. I guarantee if the date was never set Sony wouldn’t be launching Home then. Also why hasn’t Sony stepped up and gotten some RPG’s out on the system or even in development within their own department? The PS2 was an RPG gamer’s haven. Now all we have is Enchanted Arms and Folklore, no Oblivion is not an RPG. Nor is it that good of a game to be honest. But that is for another discussion (no real main character=failure). Here is my final argument with Sony as well. Most Final Fantasy gamers want it, and we all know what I’m going to say here. Sony needs to put up some money to get us a remake for Final Fantasy VII. That would sell a ton of consoles and everyone knows it. But with SquareEnix’s recent track record it might not even turn out to be that good of a game, but it would still sell, that’s a guarantee.
If you have actually read this far I want to thank you. It took me quite a while to write this editorial, and it turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would be. The gaming industry has really gone downhill with it’s shift to the mainstream focus. Rather than in the golden days where gaming was that big and quality was focused on over quantity. The sad part is that it’s probably only going to get worse as time progresses.