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Urban-Themed Video Games 'Basically Dead'? 346

simoniker writes "Midway CMO Steve Allison has been talking about why he thinks the urban game genre isn't worth entering, suggesting of the cancelled Snoop Dogg/John Singleton collaboration Fear & Respect, which was in development at Midway: 'We killed Fear and Respect... because we have enough data-points to know the hood thing is basically dead. It would be dead before it came out. And you don't want to come out on a dead vibe.' Do people really not care about GTA-style urban shooters any more?"
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Urban-Themed Video Games 'Basically Dead'?

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  • Meh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @02:29PM (#15707071) Homepage Journal
    Do people really not care about GTA-style urban shooters any more?
    Like most gamers, I care about most styles and genres of games if they're done right. The problem is when a genre or even a particular game (especially something like GTA which nobody had seen before) is popular, everyone wants to cash in with their own "me-too" knockoff. These of course aren't as impressive as the original, the market gets flooded with low-quality xeroxes, and the genre loses momentum. It's happened many times before with countless games. In the 8-bit era everyone wanted to make a Mario-esque platformer or a Zelda-like fantasy game. On PS1 there was the glut of forgettable 3D platformers and vectorized fighters, among others. How many Tetris clones can you name for game boy or cell phone?

    Also, sorry Snoop, but gamers are savvy these days. Not since "Cool Spot" or "Yo, Noid!" for NES has a catchy license ever been enough to sell a game. In fact, it tends to raise a red flag for most gamers nowadays. "Why do they need to CGI-scan Joe Blow Rapper into the game, or have Billy Bob Actor do a voiceover? What crappy gameplay are they trying to distract us from? Is this another "Bruce Willis in Apocalypse?"
  • Re:FP! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @02:37PM (#15707133) Homepage Journal
    I think that there is such a glut of these games on the market and that they have such high replay value that the need has been satisfied.
  • Urban MMORPG (Score:3, Interesting)

    by linvir ( 970218 ) * on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:07PM (#15707416)

    Ignoring the intended meaning of 'urban' as in 'all cities are violent and rap plays in the background 24/7 and people shoot each other', I'd quite like a MMORPG in an urban setting.

    By that I mean modern to futuristic, since technically Ironforge in WoW counts as an urban setting. Basically, I'm sick to death of witches and wizards and magic spells. I'm also discounting the Anarchy Online style of city: a bunch of simple blocks of texture rationalising a collection of shops.

    What I want is a proper interactive city environment. A properly scaled big city would be easily big enough for a MMORPG, and wouldn't require the player to consciously suspend their disbelief because of the distorted geography like all MMORPGs so far. Graphically, you could have more detail up close where it counts, because you wouldn't need to render miles and miles of landscape.

    Example: Midgar [] would make a good environment for a MMORPG
    And no, this [] doesn't count

  • Re:FP! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Desco ( 46185 ) <> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:09PM (#15707428)
    Glut!? Sure, there've been a bunch in very recent history, most of them crap, but here's what I don't get-- every year, there's hundreds of new games based on tolkien-esque fantasy (dragons, elves, drawves, etc) and no one ever complains about that glut.

    I was amazed how many of these games got passed off as a "GTA clone" or a blatant rip-off or bandwagon... I don't see the hundreds of tolkien genre games all being called rip-offs of Rogue or Wizardry. I don't see every new racing game being dismissed as a clone of Pole Position. I don't see every damn FPS in space being subjected to the "Doom-Clone" treatment or WWII ones shot down as copying Wolfenstein. (although in this last case, many do) Why does GTA and the urban/gangster genres consistently get this kind of treatment???
  • by Traiklin ( 901982 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:23PM (#15707546) Homepage
    With games like

    50 cent: Bulletproof
    True Crime: Streets of New York (or as it SHOULD of been called, True Crime: Glitches of new york)
    True Crime: Streets of LA
    Shadow the hedgehog (come on, you can't deny that's what they were going for with this one)

    the only ones that were even remotly worth playing in the "urban genre" were Def Jam: Fight for New York, GTA San Andreas that's all I can think of actually.

    Maybe if they had gotten people who wanted to make a GOOD game instead of making a Cash grab game the genre wouldn't be a sinking ship with endless clones of two games.
  • by thepacketmaster ( 574632 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:39PM (#15707675) Homepage Journal
    <sarcasm>Can I please play a game built on an overused template to make some rapper a bit mo' money?</sarcasm>

    I think for most, playing video games is a brief escape from everyday life. Why both escaping into an environment that's identical to real life? I'd rather be slaying epic dragons or bugs, etc. (Is there such a thing as an epic hoodie?)

  • It's not the genre (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nijika ( 525558 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:47PM (#15707754) Homepage Journal
    It's not the genre that's dead, if it can even be classified as a genre, it's the lame knock-offs that are very dead dead dead. Thus far, frankly, every time I've heard a game industry insider declare a genre "dead" it's because they can't figure out how to release a game that isn't completely ripped off from a more popular version. True Crime: New York City was a great example of this. A wonderfully rendered New York, like, stellar. But... bad cars, a fake CJ is the protagonist, "big star" voice acting that is uninspired, and some of the degrading hoops you have to jump through to get through the story give me a headache just thinking about them. Contrast this with San Andreas, which is BIG, but by no means an amazing rendering of any city (although it's still very cool). The storyline is all over the place, but that adds to the charm. The voice acting is really fun, even CJ is a blast to listen to, the missions are batass crazy and the replay value is endless. By all technical merits, True Crime New York City is the better game, but it's really not at all, because the "play" part of the game isn't all there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:57PM (#15707842)
    Sometimes it takes corporations a while to see when a trend is dying. Thank god these guys get it.

    Pants down to your knees haven't been in style for years now. Posing as a gang-banger is no longer hip. Acting Ghetto is wayyyy old. Rap and Hip-Hop are tired and dusty trends that have "jumped the shark".

    The whole Urban/Ghetto/Gangsta/Rap/Hip-Hop wannabee thing has become a punch line. A joke. Not to mention only fat chicks like those kinds of dudes now ;-)

    Back to shooting monsters with a heavy metal sound track! ;-)
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:18PM (#15708015)
    I work in games and he is absolutely correct. The "ghetto hood" thing is up. Its done, its over.

    Thats not to say that rap isnt done, but the old NWA gansta shit we grew up with... is.

    Its become a farce. Its now a cartoon of what was always stupid and ridiculous no matter how cool we thought it was to rebel along side with it.

    GTA games are exhausting. Thats not to say that a new GTA wont be a big hit because GTA is far more than just "ghetto hood style" Its only recently they've taken it deeper into that bullshit genre and have cartooned it in many respects.

    GTA San Andreas, was of no interest to me, and as my friends play it... we mock it. "We got Respect!" Yeah... great... now what.

    GTA San Andreas has some great environment modelling and the idea of a virtual city and free reign will never get old as long as your ability to "live" in that city becomes more real. In other words, the goal is a virtual city without much scripted behavior. More of a do as you please, close to life experience as possible... Thats the goal of the GTA virtual city phenomenon.

    The ghetto aspects of it is a farce. Its a marketing tool. The run around and kill things wont get old... well it does, but it has to be changed and given new life through new game play ideas within the virtual city.

    The ghetto games are pathetic. Infact i was working on a game concept for a major hip hop persona. The game to this date has not gone through. They were just interested in the marketing aspects... not the game. They didnt care much about the game as long as they could use their hip hop image to sell it.... as if thats all it took to make a game popular.

    The ghetto hood thing is dead. We're adults now and the kids are different. Sure theres still good hip hop music, and the teens enjoy it, but its not the same as it was. The whole gangsta thing is a joke now and i'm thankful for that. There are much better things in life to promote... even if i was a fan of much of a lot of the music.... It's nice to see people growing up, including myself.

    There are better things out there.

    That does not mean for a second that the genre wont still be around in some small form. Did mafia films die out completely? No. But the mass marketing appeal, the sure hit, the bullshit used by marketers... can no longer work using the ghetto slant... Because its become a joke.

    And on a side note.. Hayao Miyazaki rules.
  • by Tired_Blood ( 582679 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:31PM (#15708128)
    Who'd have thought 'puppies' was a genre that would effectively carry a market launch of a handheld?

    Not suprising when you look at the appeal of puppies. Go to any mall that has a pet store and note the demographic that pause to look at the puppies in the front display - the only people who don't stop are the ones that weren't going to notice the store anyway (mostly focused on getting to their destination). The puppies don't even have to do anything! Other stores can only hope for a small fraction of that type of attention.

    Many people may hate dogs, but everyone loves puppies.

    Never underestimate the power of cuteness.
    (The most obvious commercial example. [])
  • by Tavor ( 845700 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:22PM (#15708547)
    GTA never had celeb endorsement, it was just a good game. Fun, with lots of humor, and a not-so-subtle parody of the world we live in. Fear and Respect, for all apperences, has endorsement from two people the average person could care less about. Snoop Dog (aka P. Diddy) is a laughingstock when he's not making halfway decent music. GTA was never about the "hood vibe" and it likely never will be. You don't go around as a black youth by default, you don't go around tagging, you don't sit on a stretcorner singing in monotone. You don't even threaten to "bust a cap". Besides, what has Midway been behind in the past 10 years that was a thundering success?
  • I agree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:27PM (#15708574)
    I am sadly selling my old copy of System Shock 2 as I don't really have a PC to play it on anymore, but I would love to play through the same SS2 again with just updated graphics and perhaps a little new content...

    I'm surprized we don't see more re-skinning of older games like that. There have to be a lot of gamers now that have never seen System Shock (one or two) and would love it.

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