Monday, June 11, 2012

Lack of Story Development in Shooters

In the world of FPS games, great multiplayer is a must. If a game doesn't compare to Battlefield or Call of Duty, many will simply ignore it. But with multiplayer being so important, the emphasis on great singleplayer had dropped significantly. To the point where I'd have trouble pointing out a good story in an FPS game. Of course, I only mean in recent games. Consider Half-Life 2, the FPS to rule them all. It's a game released in 2004 that innovated the FPS genre. Now look at Call of Duty or Battlefield, they've sure innovated the multiplayer aspect, but the singleplayer just isn't up to par.

The main character is usually some person who doesn't talk, or if he does talk, he's got about as much to say as a potato. And if he does talk more than a potato, its usually not worth listening to. In my free time, when I'm peeling potatoes, I often think of better stories than what FPS games have in ten minutes. At least, I think I do, I'd just prefer something that I could enjoy. Why not take from good military movies? You can always adapt what works in a few good movies, change it to be unique, and voila. By the way, keyword is unique. Every game should innovate at least one aspect of gaming, whether it be story, gameplay, atmosphere, or anything else. As long as it brings something new to the table of gaming geeks like myself.

I would argue that it would be better to have a convoluted mess of an FPS story than one lacking of any story at all. Because, potentially, the story could be a goldmine of hidden story goodness. I'm going to assume that of the many who purchased Battlefield 3, few played its campaign. I didn't, and I was a fan of the Bad Company storyline. That is an example of a decent FPS story, the Bad Company games. They had mediocre characters that grew on you because they grew on each other. Comedy can really help a game, and I think it works especially well in FPS games. What is the solution, you hopefully ask? Infuse some comedy, love, and scares into the typical explosive FPS game and see what you come up with.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

All Guns Blazing in Watch Dogs

We've all seen the Ubisoft E3 reveal of Watch Dogs, and if you haven't, I don't know what you are doing with your time. Either way, everything about it was magnificent. It was an unheard of game with a completely original game concept. Aiden Pierce, the one they played as in the demo, can theoretically control any electronics in the city? I say theoretically because I know only as much as the demo showed me, which was a small mission out of what I'm sure are a lot. Now, when the gun play came into the spotlight, I thought nothing of it. More guns in a game? I've come to expect it. However, Egoraptor, who makes awesome cartoons, had something a little different to say.

Watch Dogs had me interested until the guns came out. Like, why is it always necessary? There was such a great buildup in hacking devices I thought that if there was combat it'd involve taking advantage of devices, almost in a puzzle solving way like Ghost Trick. Aren't people tired of taking cover and shooting dudes? It blows my mind that this still excites people.

And after much pondering, it hit me, he's right. There was loads more potential for the original game concept to be used instead of the guns. And that's not to say that there aren't a bazillion other ways to complete a mission, just that it's a little sad to see such potential go to waste. Now I was in agreement with Egoraptor until, suddenly, it hit me again. They had to show the gun play.

People have come to expect good gun play in their video games. I mean, if I were to play Watch Dogs, I would find an approach that used the hack tool of Pierce's to it's fullest. But many other people would prefer to go in there all guns blazing. Ubisoft wanted to catch the attention of the hardcore and the mainstream. If they had shown only the hack tool in use, without guns, then the hardcore would have fallen to their knees to pray to the Ubisoft gods. Alright, maybe not, but it would have been pretty impressive. The casuals, however, would have thought the game to complicated for themselves. At least, my theory is that by showing both the expected shooting and the unexpected hacking, Ubisoft have attracted the largest audience possible.

Consider, for a moment, that Ubisoft is a business first. A business would rather make money from a large group of casual individuals than a small group of core individuals. But the casual group are still consumers that are just as important as the hardcore consumers. Without the casuals, how in the world would Ubisoft fund a triple A game like Watch Dogs? That's why we should just accept that we share our beloved games with casual gamers.