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Game Industry Has Lost Its 'Spark'? 180

Gamasutra is running a short interview with game designer Chris Crawford. The discussion in the article centers around Crawford's assertion that the games industry is no longer a creative place. "I haven't even seen any new ideas pop up. The industry is so completely inbred that the people working in it aren't even capable of coming up with new ideas anymore. I was appalled, for example, at the recent GDC. I looked over the games at the Independent Games Festival and they all looked completely derivative to me." I'm not sure I agree. What do you think? Is there anything creative left in the games industry, or are we going to be playing Halo 6 and Final Fantasy XVII ten years from now?
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Game Industry Has Lost Its 'Spark'?

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  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:23PM (#15524826) Homepage
    Y'know, I hear that if you beat it hard enough, it'll actually come back to life!
  • by CashCarSTAR ( 548853 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:29PM (#15524876)
    To one degree or another. We all stand on the backs of giants. The reality is, in all genres, there are these people who think that somehow, someway we can achieve something that is not derivative, however, generally speaking these people tend to have huge massive egos and think that the only person who can achieve this is themselves.

    But when you focus on what games have similar, you tend to completly miss what makes them unique.

    • To some degree this is true, but there is a difference between derivative and innovative. There is a huge lack of innovation in Games, music, and film these days in favor of quick cash-ins. To deny this is lunacy.
  • Its coming closer, I think we'll be hitting a real saturation point soon, perhaps before even the next console generation is up. There may either be a sort of collapse as the market bloat pops or an explosion onto some new world shaking innovation letting the pressure up. The pressure is coming out of the game's direction themselves. The current direction is unsustainable to allow for enough creativity, but if something can change that direction to something of a second golden era in which creativity can fl
    • but if something can change that direction to something of a second golden era in which creativity can flow (part of which would be a drastic reduction is staffing)

      Which is impossible. The fundamental difference between current games and those of the past is that current ones are 3-dimensional, while past ones were 2-dimensional. You can make the graphics for a 2-dimensional game simply by drawing, but a 3-dimensional game requires a 3D modelling program, and they are, to put it frankly, horrible in the

  • Agreed (Score:1, Redundant)

    GS: When you say new ideas don't go anywhere, what kind of new ideas do you mean? Have you seen any that maybe popped up and fell flat?

    CC: I haven't even seen any new ideas pop up. The industry is so completely inbred that the people working in it aren't even capable of coming up with new ideas anymore.
  • by casualsax3 ( 875131 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:30PM (#15524888)
    People love to give Squeenix BS about Final Fantasy 112, but the fact is each game is full of fresh ideas (some good, some bad obviously). FF XII looks to be very different. And if Halo 3 makes as many improvements as 2 did over 1, I'm sure I'll enjoy it. People seem to forget that it doesn't have to be revolutionary and new to be really really good.
    • by klynch ( 980181 )
      Maybe not, but I don't want to pay for the same game twice. I really don't see what was so good about Halo. As far as I can tell the only reason it was successful was because there wasn't another decent shooter on the Xbox at the time. Final Fantasy games, however, are pretty good but I find that's because of the story they tell. They involve you into the story and at some point you find yourself sucked in and making a difference in this game universe.
      • Re Halo - read the 3 novels. Re FF - try playing Skies of Arcadia on the DC or Skies of Arcadia Legends on the GC.
        • I'm not bashing reading here, but why should I read some Halo books? This isn't a literary classic here... it's a shooter.
          • The books were actually awesome, I really enjoyed them. Two of them were written by Eric Nylund, a military science fiction writer. The 4th book is actually scheduled to ship in October I believe.
        • by Pope ( 17780 )
          Why should anyone have to read a book to enjoy an FPS video game? I don't need to have played Super Mario Brothers or Donkey Kong to play Super Mario 64 (OK, other than for 1 mini-game, but it's not a necessity to finish the game), even though they share the same characters.

          The game is the game, if it can't stand up by itself, then it's not any good.
  • Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    What creative industry ISN'T 95% derivative? Movies, television, books, music, art, you name it. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon when something is successful. Every so often someone comes up with something new, but true innovation is very rare.
    • Moreover, the video game business has been like this literally since day 1. There were dozens and dozens of Pong variants and knockoffs made in the mid-to-late 70s. The same goes for Space Invaders, Pac Man, Street Fighter, and lots of other games that are now considered classic. To say that the industry is worse now, or even different, is kind of ridiculous.
      • The problem isn't that there are dozens of knockoffs. The problem is that, now, knock-offs are the industry. Selling games has become more about finding easy to make a buck (Madden Player Update 2006) than creating new kinds of games. (Recognized exception: The Sims, although it should be noted that even though they took a chance on its creation, they quickly ran it into the ground with expansion packs BEFORE releasing the official sequel. I shudder to think of what they'll do if Spore makes it big.)

        Eve
        • There's enough different from Pac-Man to Ms. Pac-Man

          There are a lot more differences between Madden 2005 and 2006, than Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. Both keep the same core gameplay with AI tweaks and graphics updates. But Madden also included ways for the player to interact.

          Part of this has been the move from algorithmic-generated, dynamic situations to static "content" to be consumed (which gives us the relatively recent notion that a game can be "completed," and is itself a tremendous shame)

          The fas
          • There are a lot more differences between Madden 2005 and 2006, than Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. Both keep the same core gameplay with AI tweaks and graphics updates.

            Not so. For Ms. Pac-Man cannot be beaten with patterns like Pac-Man can, which at high, and even middle, levels of play makes it a fundamentally different game. Meanwhile Madden 2k5 and 2k6 are still, ultimately, football. It is possible that AI tweaks could make it a different game, although I doubt it in this case. Graphic updates, however, c
            • Not so. For Ms. Pac-Man cannot be beaten with patterns like Pac-Man can, which at high, and even middle, levels of play makes it a fundamentally different game.

              Essentially this is an AI tweak to make the game more challenging, same thing they do for every Madden Game.

              Meanwhile Madden 2k5 and 2k6 are still, ultimately, football. It is possible that AI tweaks could make it a different game, although I doubt it in this case.

              Essentially Pac-Man and Ms Pac-Man are maze collection games (just like loadrunn
              • Essentially this is an AI tweak to make the game more challenging, same thing they do for every Madden Game.

                There are two ways I can attack this statement:
                1. Pac-Man and Ms Pac-Man have much less "space" between the player and the design. When it comes down to it Pac-Man and Ms Pac-Man are their AI, so changing it makes a much bigger difference in a game than one based upon what is ultimately a complex real-world analogue. It's not a difference that should sustain more than one sequel, but it is substanti
                • Note, also, that Pac-Man has inspired more varied sequels: Super Pac-Man and Pac 'n Pal are both maze collection games, but they are much more different from Pac-Man than Ms Pac-Man.

                  Which is my point. Pac-Man went through the same evolutionary transition that Madden games have. Taking advantage of better graphics and technology to add little bits to gameplay. None of the sequels in both cases (Pac-Man and Madden) is revolutionary compared to its predecessor, however, comparing titles several years apa
                  • Which is my point. Pac-Man went through the same evolutionary transition that Madden games have. Taking advantage of better graphics and technology to add little bits to gameplay.

                    But no, I don't buy your point here. Super Pac-Man and Pac N Pal do not add little bits, there are major rule changes in these games. And it's also worth noting that Ms. Pac-Man, the first sequel, was the last truly popular Pac-Man game.

                    Getting back to your orignal statements that "knockoffs are the industry" it has been so since
                    • The essential rules of all those games remains:
                      a) navigate a maze to collect all the items
                      b) dodge enemies
                      c) collect powerup to let you destroy enemies

                      Adding keys and such increases the challenge, and requires some new thinking, but doesn't break the core rules
                      Just as Madden remains football, but introduction of features like:
                      analog passing - requires the player not just to identify passing target but also judge timing and distance
                      sprint button, spin, highstep - prevent being tackled with correct timing
                    • The essential rules of all those games remains:
                      a) navigate a maze to collect all the items
                      b) dodge enemies
                      c) collect powerup to let you destroy enemies


                      Objection #1: I suggest that this also describes many first-person shooters. I submit that a description that allows a FPS to be confused with Pac-Man is too simplistic.

                      Objection #2: Both Super Pac-Man and Pac-N-Pal add fundamental elements that challenge each of these three points. In Pac N Pal, another character roams the maze and collects the objects you
                    • I admit, these are interesting features. I think adding these things could indeed renew the game for one, perhaps even two whole sequels. Madden, according to the quick websearch I just performed, has been around since the Apple II. I only even remember it back to the Genesis!

                      This comment leads me to believe that you in fact don't play Madden games. Those are just a handful of features that HAVE been added over the years. The fact that they shove a game out every year doesn't mean the game hasn't change
                    • This comment leads me to believe that you in fact don't play Madden games.

                      I don't play many football games, period. It is true I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of when each Madden introduced each feature (which I do with many other games). There is a kind of chicken-and-egg problem here: if you don't like the games you don't play much of them which makes it hard to argue why you don't play them. But that does not mean the reasons I don't play them are not valid, nor does it mean I'm ignorant of the
    • "What creative industry ISN'T 95% derivative? Movies, television, books, music, art, you name it. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon when something is successful."

      Yes, but that does not make it good or interesting to anyone with even the minimal intelligence needed to notice the verbatim copy.

      E.g., yes, movies do the same, but that's exactly why movies have lost my interest long ago. Every single freakin' genre has been reduced to one standard script, with _maybe_ a couple of standard variants. So if you watch
  • Many, if not most, game players now exclusively play online against other human beings. Other humans provide an originality to each gaming session that tends to be better than that the reactions of a computer.

    So game designers have pretty much given up. Instead of having a game to challenge you, they publish games which allow people to challenge each other.

    They have taken this to the point of laziness though. Game content is suffering in favour of the almighty online.

    It would be nice to see a game that did
  • Perhaps... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GundamFan ( 848341 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:32PM (#15524906)
    Or maybe we are just all complaning about a problem we created.

    We want games released quickly, with simple twist free stories and game play we are comfortable with.

    Look at the outrage over MGS2... people will revolt if you try to inovate so it makes more sense to sell the sequels.
    • Re:Perhaps... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Das Modell ( 969371 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:22PM (#15525457)
      Is it really a problem? The games seem to sell well enough, so clearly there must be a demand. I know I'd rather play the next Half-Life than some goddamn storytronics bullshit that will probably never see the light of day. What kind of "innovation" do people want? Some whacky game where you control a dishwasher and try to rape kittens on Mars?

      If you want to look at this as a problem, then yes, it's clearly the fault of the consumers. People only buy FPS, RTS and MMORPG games, so that's exactly what they're going to get. Developers won't make games that won't sell. I don't know what you mean by the MGS2 outrage, but I can imagine what would have happened if Half-Life 2 would have been radically different from the first game... the fans would have probably been angry. They don't want change, yet at the same time they cry about the lack of innovation.

      Chris Crawford seems like a person who contributes nothing, but complains a lot. He also has some very strange ideas about things:

      Well basically, new ideas don't go anywhere. So the industry is just rehashing the same stuff over and over.

      If new ideas don't go anywhere, what's the point of innovation?

      During the 80s there was a lot of experimentation, a lot of new ideas being tried (many of them really bad) but there was at least experimentation. Now we don't see any experimentation whatsoever.

      Well gee, let's think about this: during the 80s, the industry was pretty much getting started, and many of the genres we have today didn't even exist. Also, the primitive graphics required developers to come up with a solid gameplay idea. Nowadays you can easily get away with recycling an old idea, but repackacking it with good graphics and sound. Of course, it's not like they didn't recycle ideas in the 80s...

      Has anybody noticed that we don't appeal to the general public? Has anybody thought that perhaps it might be a good thing? In fact, the industry has talked about reaching out to a broader audience for decades, but the industry is not willing to do anything about it. As long as you keep recycling the same product you're going to have the same markets.

      Sims? World of Warcraft? Second Life? Sports games? Racing games? I should think that they reach out to the "general public" (what does this even mean, exactly?) well enough.

      According to Mobygames, he hasn't done anything related to video games for fourteen years, except that storytronics stuff. Also, "innovation" is a retarded buzz word that doesn't mean anything, just like "next gen."
      • If you want to look at this as a problem, then yes, it's clearly the fault of the consumers. People only buy FPS, RTS and MMORPG games, so that's exactly what they're going to get.

        It is indeed possible to pin blame on consumers, if you take the view that the true worth of a thing is decided retroactively, years later.

        Already pawn shops are littered with outdated sports games, and a used game store I visited just a week ago had two clearance prices: one for old SNES and GENESIS titles, and another, lower one
        • Sims and Second Life are truly unique concepts, and it could be argued that their uniqueness is what makes them popular

          Nope, ever hear Tomogachis (The Sims) or MUDs/MUSHs (Second Life)?
          • Tamagotchis are not the same thing as Sims. MUDs are not the same thing as Second Life. MUSHes are closer, but still different.

            Both of the later games draw from earlier things (as all created things must), but both these things add substantial new elements that makes them greatly different from their predecessors.
            • Both of the later games draw from earlier things (as all created things must), but both these things add substantial new elements that makes them greatly different from their predecessors

              What in the Sims is substantially new in terms of innovation? It is very much like a tomogatchi. You tell your little character what to do to keep them happy and you can buy things for your little character. Adding complexity does not equal innovation.

              As for Second Life there was some innovation in being able to excha
              • Adding complexity does not equal innovation.

                This is not necessarily the case. The Sims is different in these days (not a comprehensive list):
                - It discards the "always on" real-time component of Tamagotchi.
                - Having discarded that, it also doesn't have to be portable, so it can be played on computer.
                - There is a house design component, and figuring out good paths for your Sims to use is a major part of the game.
                - The upgrading of house components and careers.
                - Resource management, in the areas of time and mo
          • I hear that MySpace game is pretty popular...
      • Sad to say, the assumption that "if only genre X is produced, it's because people only buy genre X" was always false. I fell for it before too, but it never was true anyway.

        The thing that matters is _profit_, not number of copies sold. Genre X can be more profitable than Genre Y for a miriad of reasons, even if Genre Y actually sells more copies.

        E.g., read some interviews from Sierra and the like during the late 90's, when FPS and RTS exploded and Adventures nearly went extinct. Surely it was because everyo
      • Re:Perhaps... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @03:44PM (#15526990) Homepage

        "Chris Crawford seems like a person who contributes nothing, but complains a lot."

        He has published over a dozen games and written five books on the subject [wikipedia.org] to say nothing of founding the Computer Game Developers' Conference [wikipedia.org], an event which started in his living room.

        When you have contributed as much nothing as he has, then you can complain all you like.

  • One word: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaggieL ( 10193 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:33PM (#15524908)
    Spore.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Spore.

      Completely unoriginal, its just a ripoff of darwin.
    • I'm looking forward to Spore more than to any recent game, but:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.V.O.:_Search_for_Ed en [wikipedia.org]
      • Re:One word: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by g00dn3ss ( 549008 )
        It depends what kinda new thing you're looking for. If you're going to make comparisons just on theme then you can always find similarities. "Hey look, there's nothing new - they're all just shapes and stuff moving on the screen!"

        If Spore really works as advertised then the reason it will be somewhat different is because everything is procedural. You get to design your own creature and the system makes it walk or swim or whatever based on the mechanics of the body parts. It's not limited to a preset num
    • Re:One word: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by El_Isma ( 979791 )
      And only one game.
    • Re:One word: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by minus_273 ( 174041 )
      Wii
    • You mean the future of gaming is nice demos?
  • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist ( 906833 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:33PM (#15524910)
    His counter-argument about Nintendo not being innovative with the Wii or DS is that the games industry hasn't been innovative for the last 10 years so why would it change now? Er... okay.

    Meanwhile, he wants to sell his books and push his "Storytronics"... geez, the 1970s called and want their cool innovative name back.
  • Is there anything creative left in the games industry, or are we going to be playing Halo 6 and Final Fantasy XVII ten years from now?
    I believe that there is creativity left in the industry.
    I also believe that we'll be playing some version of Halo and Final Fantasy in 10 years.
    I'd be willing to bet on Madden 2016 too.
    Some series will just live forever in some form.
    • I'd be willing to bet on Madden 2016 too.

      Will the public remember John Madden in 2016? Are you sure they won't change the name of that series? I'm sure there will be football, but "madden", not so sure.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:38PM (#15524963)
    One and the most obvious is that new ideas are an inherent risk. With old, tried ideas, you almost can't go wrong. Sure, creating a game with the game flow of Command and Conquer is hardly anything new. Build factories, build little toy soldiers, trash them, the last one to have soldiers wins. Tried, worked.

    When you try to go for something new, you first of all have way higher development costs. And you also have the risk that what looked good on paper really stinks in bits and bytes.

    Then, we have the problem the movie industry is facing as well: We think in genres. So when you now create a game, your player will try to find a genre to fit it into. We all have our habits and our "pet genres", some love business sims, some like shooters. Should you now create a game that is some sort of mix of genres, something that goes down the middle of two things (i.e. "something new"), you will probably get the response that it isn't what the player wanted, because it has those elements of games he does not enjoy.

    So yes, we're kinda stuck with the "same old". And, let's be honest here, who could hold it against the game companies that they don't want to take a risk if it isn't needed? If the risk-less sequel of some game sells just as good as a risky new idea would, why bother going for the higher risk?
    • Personally I find that:

      1. genres aren't _that_ limitting

      E.g., "Europa 1400 -- The Guild" is technically a "business sim", but that didn't really prevent it from mixing inter-personal relationships, a bit of politics, a bit of history lesson, even a bit of RTS, etc, into the mix.

      E.g., between Europa Universalis and Hearts Of Iron 2, Paradox's games have technically been strategy in real time, but they're not even vaguely similar to C&C or Warcraft.

      2. it's not like people outright refuse new genres. Quite
  • I think there's a lot of creativity left. I just think the big issue is that no one's taken the chance to prove one of those innovative ideas can make money. With the cost of creating a game these days, everyone wants to make something proven, and just try to give it a different twist with better graphics.
  • This guy is a kook. From TFA

    GS: On that note, can you explain the concept of Storytronics? If there is such a way to give a brief description.

    CC: It's interactive storytelling.

    Okay, Either I saw this in the movie, Big [imdb.com], or we've been trying for this all along. Anyone who's played an "Open Ended" game such as Chrono Triger [wikipedia.org] knows what mutiple endings try for. Blood Omen:Legacy of Kain [wikipedia.org] had an open ending where you could be good or bad guy.

    This guy is huge pessimist (admits it in the article). He just seems

    • I probably didn't read enough of TFA (mainly because I think this guy's a loon) but from what I did read it looks like his "Storytronics" is a bad attempt at making LARPs (Live Action Role Playing) or your typical paper and pencil DnD session work on computer. That's great and all, but from my experience that does't work very well unless it's a decent group of friends.
    • I think he's trying for ... well, what Elder Scrolls has been doing since Daggerfall. Morrowind and Oblivion have exactly what he's promoting here, at least as well as can be done considering the amount of developer time and the level of technology for the game.
  • by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:47PM (#15525071)
    Katamari Damacy, Uplink, Darwinia, Spore looks interesting. . .

    I think that there might be a bit of "time compression" going on in this article. Original games were few and far between 10-20 years ago, too. I certainly remember back in the 8 and 16-bit era when it seemed like every single game put out by anybody for any system ever was a side scroller.

    Besides, video gaming's youth is gone. I don't see why it's such a big deal that so many games resemble other games nowadays - it was easy to try new ideas in 1985 when not so many ideas had been tried. I'd like to see the people who whine about lack of originality try to spend some time coming up with a new idea that's good. Maybe folks could try harder, but (1)I seriously doubt that nobody is trying (2)trying to sell a formula that's known to sell is part of business, and it's not going to change. You might as well shake your fist at the sky for raining, it'd be just as useful.

      Of course, an article that says, "Gee, it's really hard to come up with novel games" probably wouldn't sell as well as yet another jaded guy bitching about how things were better in the past. (How original.)
  • I think there's a lot of creativity left. I just think that no one has taken one of those creative ideas and proven it can make money. With the cost of creating some of today's games, the people that put up the money want to bet on something tried and true, with just a new twist and better graphics. The other issue is that as soon as someone does something completely new, everyone piles on the bandwagon. In two years there's 10 games like the first, it's now considered a genre, and we're back to complainin
  • Hilarity Ensues (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slashrogue ( 775436 )
    Seriously Chris Crawford cracks me up. "I've been working on this for 14 years and NO ONE has ever done anything like it!" Apparently the man doesn't know what a MUD is (a real MUD, not one that is all about kill-loot-sell-repeat), and he's never heard of White Wolf either. Seriously, like... wtf. The guy goes ON and ON about rehashing old ideas and recylcing things... people improving but not actually innovating. Look in the mirror, man.
  • I think what we're seeing in the gaming industry runs parallel to what we're seeing in the movie industry. As both games and movies are becoming more and more expensive to produce, the risk of failure increases. Games are generally still priced the same as they were 10 years ago, yet the costs to produce them have increased dramatically. Publishers are less willing to take risks and thus resort to releasing games that are derivative of or sequels to past successes. As long as customers are willing to fo
  • It seems to me like games are getting lamer all the time, but then I have to realize that now I'm 42 and playing games just doesn't have the draw it used to. Not that I don't play, but I am open to the concept that my memory of games then is better than my reality of games now.

    Of course, it's possible that Games just peaked with Outhouse and have gone downhill ever since.
  • He's a troll and he has an agenda; he wants to sell you on "interactive storytelling".

    And, if Slashdot is anything like GDC06, he'll get his wish and there will be a hundred "No it isn't" posts... *sigh*

  • by DeeDob ( 966086 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:13PM (#15525370)
    Almost on a daily basis someone in a forum will say that games are stagnant and lack innovation.

    To that i say bull...

    Games don't lack innovation, people fail to even try the most innovative games or to even find the innovation in a game.

    People always seem to think that "innovation" should equal "revolution" in gaming. People are just waiting for the "next" big thing that is just isn't coming anytime soon:
    - Text-based games to static-graphic games.
    - Static-graphic games to dynamic 2D graphics with sound.
    - Dynamic 2D graphic with sound games to polygonal "3D" games.
    - Polygonal "3D" games to ???
    It's the ??? that people confuse with innovation.

    True "Innovation" comes in small doses...
    A game like Halo: yes, it's YET another FPS. It introduced a couple of concepts that made for overall good gameplay.
    A game like the Original Doom: very similar to other games that came before, it introduced better level designs and a perspective of height.
    The game Life Line: Used almost exclusively vocal commands to control a character in a survival horror game. Innovative... even if it failed to work properly.
    The game Indigo Prophecy: Multiple endings to every scene. Player action impact on overall story. It was done before, but this game took it to an entire new level. It was a main aspect of the game rather than a simple afterthought.

    Other developpers take these small innovations and include them in their games... Over the course of years, this is the innovation that amount to something.
    Comparing Top Spin 2 to the old Tennis game on the NES, i can't help but think that it's not only graphics that have changed. The gameplay has too.
  • As someone from within the industry, I have to shed a tear and agree. The fact is that staple products are being bought up so much that creativity really isn't pushed that much. I mean, how many people out there are guilty of supporting EA's Madden series for the last 5+ years? TONS! But I say it's only "kinda" true because there -are- games that are breaking the mold and doing damn well. Look at Katamari Damacy. I know that it's really the Japanese fanboys/girls in America that love it, but there is
  • by danaris ( 525051 ) <danaris&mac,com> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:15PM (#15525382) Homepage

    Or, more to the point, played more than one? There are certain elements that bind them together, sure (chocobos, basic battle concepts, some guy named Cid who likes technology/airships), but each numbered Final Fantasy game is completely different from the preceding ones--new characters, new stories, whole new world, largely different magic/skill/whatever systems (FF X-2 and the FF VII Compilation aren't really "numbered FF games").

    Just because they all bear the same name doesn't mean there's more than that linking them. Some people think that's a bad thing; personally, I like every FF game I've played, the similarities and the differences.

    Dan Aris

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:22PM (#15525478) Journal
    Is it daily now that we get a story about how
    - the games industry is dying
    - there's no creativity in games any more
    - nobody's buying games
    - nobody likes games

    ?Huh?

    Yet WoW has passed 6 million users, an utterly-unheard-of number in the MMOG world. The computer/electronic games industry (which didn't EXIST prior to what, 1975?) is now bigger than Hollywood. More people than ever play games, to the point that we're generationally reaching the point where the 'mainstream' of society are electronic gamers.

    If this is failure, what's success?

    Like any industry, in it's fledgling decade there was a great deal of innovation (much of it sucked), success (and failure), and a non-zero-sum universe of customers. There used to be companies like Studebaker, Packard, Nash, and Hudson, too. Like every industry, there are periods of innovation and expansion, and periods of consolidation and centralization. It's the capitalist equivalent of breathing.

    If we're exhaling now (and I'm not convinced we are), relax. The industry will inhale soon enough.
    • > Yet WoW has passed 6 million users,
      > If this is failure, what's success?

      1. There is more then one definition of success. Success = Popular, is only one definition.
      2. Popularity != Quality.
      TV (Reality Shows), Fast-Food (McDonalds), etc, all prove that.

      WoW isn't a great game -- it is "good enough" and better then most other MMORPGs. Is is fun game? Yes. While it's yet-another-mmorpg that streamlines most of the annoying problems others still have, it still lacks "rich game design."
      i.e.
      Character t
    • Yet WoW has passed 6 million users

      Considering that WoW has only sold 6.5 million copies, I have a hard time believing that number.

      If you want to put that in perspective, Super Mario Brothers 1 has sold over 40 million copies.
  • I'm definitely interested to see what people come up with for the Wiiiiiii. I'm willing to bet Crawford doesn't own a DS, since there are great games like Kirby's Canvas Curse that are completely unique thanks to the touch screen. The Wii should really open things up as well, so that'll be fun to see what designers come up with.

    Much as I respect Crawford in some ways (I own his books) I have to think he's a bit insulated. There certainly is progress, it's just slow and bursty as usual. Back in the 80s it wa
  • Adventure gaming? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheBrakShow ( 858570 )
    I think one of the most revealing examples of this loss of spark was LucasArt's cancellation of Sam and Max II. Yes, granted Sam and Max II is a sequel, but at least it would have been a departure from the FPS, MMORPG, RTS, and driving games that seem to be dominating the gaming market today. Adventure is an incredibly versatile genre, yet seems to be underappreciated by today's developers. I believe adventure games will ultimately save the gaming industry when everything else has become hackneyed and sta
  • by ryane67 ( 768994 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:51PM (#15525827)
    I wouldnt be stuck playing Starcraft ;)
  • That picture of Chris Crawford on the article was just so melodramatic. It reminded me of something [kungfo0.org]. I just... I just couldn't help myself [imageshack.us].
    • GS: Do you feel that's a trend toward actual committed development of the technology or people just paying lip service?

      CC: No, this is still academic research, and I think it is quite revealing that much of this research has led to a dead end. That is, you track some of these academic projects, and they start off with grand and glorious goals and then three or four years later, the project is dead. And they publish a couple of papers, but they didn't get anything to work. That's largely because people ha

  • This just sounds absurd to me. Of course, if you're looking at what's going on in the Sony and Microsoft camps, the magic has died. There's prettier pictures to look at...and this IS magical for a while...but they're beating a dead horse.

    Nintendo, on the other hand, is just pumping me full of adrenaline these days. Pick up a DS. Geez, so many new concepts and ideas are going on. So many brilliant games. Trauma Center, Pheonix Wright: Ace Attourney, Lost in Blue, Brain Age...a lot of traditional type g
  • It becomes more and more difficult to take into consideration anything Chris Crawford says. He is the gaming industry's grumpy old man. Everything he says basically ammounts to, "These damn kids these days!" While even the boy who cried wolf was eventually right, no one paid attention to him because he cried wolf so many times.
    Whenever I see a statement from him I know it will be about how bad he thinks gaming is today. Just once I would love to see a statement from Crawford that was positive. His const
  • Bound to happen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Programmer_In_Traini ( 566499 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @02:56PM (#15526547)
    You know, it was bound to happen.

    The more money is involved, the less creative it gets. Because creativity is a risk and risk scares investors away.

    So, a lot of people tap their games's ideas from the little pond of type of games that are successful like RPG, Shooters and GTA style.

    As soon as games starts fading out (if they ever do) then we will see creativity because developpers will fight themselves to obtain funding from the rarer investors.
  • I disagree sir (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LD gspot ( 973960 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @03:22PM (#15526826)
    His arguements may sway me more if he would answer when asked for examples. MMO's were never done before at one point, the Half-life series seems to be revolutionizing cinematic games, The Total War series created a battle simulator unmatched by anything before or after, Nintendo's standard controller for the Wii wireless and motion sensored, the DS is using a touch screen to enhance game experience, Will Wright is blowing us all away with Spore; Will someone please tell me this guy's definition of innovation? It doesn't happen overnight, it requires work and time, especially when dealing with a time and money consuming, volatile industry such as video game development. As far as I see, the game industry is moving forward all the time. This guy hasn't told me anyhting except that it's not. I can train a parrot to say 'it's not.' Why is it not? Name a game. Name an idea that is absolute shit, name an idea that should have work done on it but people are too scared. Give me examples, thoughts, reasons, but don't sit there and tell me I should listen to you because you spent 4 more years of your time on school than I did. Wait there's more: Donkey Konga, Guitar Hero, Mario 64 changed platformers forever, Zelda games havent been the same since Zelda 64, the Natrual Selection Mod for Half-life-I didn't see any RTS/FPS games before that, nor any that feature 2 different races since. I could go on and on and on about innovation in games. I want to know why these aren't innovations?
  • High budget (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MisterTea ( 901022 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @03:42PM (#15526980)
    The reason why the games industry isn't as creative is because there's too much at stake. Think back to all of the games for the early ATARIs and Commodores which really sucked. All the tons of games which were totally worthless and not even remotely entertaining. For every great creative masterpiece there were tens, even hundreds of games which were just a waste of time. Game companies now aren't willing to bomb ten times to get one great game because a single game can cost in the millions of dollars.
    • Re:High budget (Score:2, Interesting)

      yep high costs are a barrier to innovative games. But there is hope, maybe someday some easy game creator kit will be developed which is only as complex as photoshop and still allow one to create innovative games easily.
      • I've often wished for such a thing myself, but I just can't think of a way it could be done. As far as I can imagine the developers of the app would have to anticipate whatever type of original game you could want to make.

        The other barrier to creating games these days is the complexity and time needed. Even a modest 2D game can require people with different skills- artists, programmers, musicians etc. Back in the Spectrum/C64 days when sprites were crude mosaics it was much easier. These days to be a one ma
  • I just need funding and creative freedom from the people that supply the funding.
  • Even if your completely against the premise of the Wii and/or the DS, you can't simply ignore them completely and then say there's no innovation in gaming. That's about as innovative as you can get, and there's also stuff like Spore as well to remember...

    I do agree however the industry has become rather derivative. Seriously, THREE Final Fantasy XIII's? Ok, that series may be ready to die now (especially since Final Fantasy 8 was the last truly good one). Halo is great, but it's one of a bazillion FPS's (I
  • I'm worried the movie industry might be losing its "spark". Most of the movies are derivative and pigeon-holed into cookie-cutter genres such as comedy, action, horror, and romance. Sure, there are a few interesting indie or sleeper hits, but they don't get enough attention for my tastes. Yes, within moments the movie industry will be no more.
  • I'm astounded the game industry has gotten as far as it has, in light of the fact that you can't develop any games for them unless you are an authorized developer [gamedev.net].

    Before you can develop games for consoles you need to apply to the particular console company to become an approved developer. The exact process varies but it generally means proving that you are an experienced game developer with a financially stable company. The console companies won't approve hobby/inexperienced teams to work on their consoles.

Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?

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