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Is this generation of consoles going to be remembered for it's lack of originality?

This is a discussion on Is this generation of consoles going to be remembered for it's lack of originality? within the General PS3 Discussion forum, part of the Everything PlayStation; We're nearing the end of what many people had predetermined was going to be "The Greatest Year of Gaming." With ...

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    Is this generation of consoles going to be remembered for it's lack of originality?

    We're nearing the end of what many people had predetermined was going to be "The Greatest Year of Gaming." With very few major titles due for release before year's end, and the vast majority of the sales, outstanding reviews and accolades seeming to go to the sequels that offer characters, stories, and game play that the gaming community are already familiar with. But my sentiment is, how could this be such a great year, when the vast majority of the experiences that have been deemed great, are severely lacking in terms of originality, innovation, and delivering the next cast of characters that become the Nathan Drake's, Cole McGrath's, and Sackboy's of the coming years.

    Sony out of the big three is the least guilty party, for bringing us early on games like Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, LittleBigPlanet, and InFamous to name just a few of the amazing new worlds for us to delve into. Originally, it felt like in the early years of the system as if we were going to be showered with a plethora of new intellectual properties that would just get better. Sadly, it seemed that once they found a hit, their next desire was to follow what the rest of the industry does and have their amazing first-party developers continue to hammer out sequels as opposed to continue to work on more titles that brought us interesting scenarios that took us to new worlds, and exposed us to amazinglt fresh memorable experiences. This is the first year that Sony didn't offer us something totally original like Heavy Rain, or MAG and instead decided that we'd much prefer the second and third installments to the original IP's that brought many of us to the system.

    I won't get into Microsoft and Nintendo, who's only original introductions to this generation are the Gears of War trilogy, Alan Wake, and endless series of games that involve an ugly little stick figure called a "Mii." But they are more guilty than any other party in not exactly pushing the boundaries of imagination by bringing something that is entirely new to the table. I can't remember the last time Nintendo even made something that was new ( it probably Animal Crossing or Pikmin, but I am not sure)

    Third-party developers try, but it seems that even for them that originality is being pressed by the wayside for playing it safe and releasing something that comes in with pre-built recognition and a sequel whenever possible. It seems that it's rare that a third party developer makes any sort of waves with a new IP, Assassin's Creed was unique at it's release, but has lead into the same yearly sequel cycle that drives me nuts as the lack of development time leads to very slight tweaks, and games that feel more like expansions or add-on content than sequels. A development group like Ninja Theory makes critically well-received titles like Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West that come up short on the marketplace and are forced by the lack of sales, but necessity to keep their jobs to work on a rehash that is "safer" instead of continually pushing the envelope.

    I look at this year, that was supposed to be so much, and I feel honestly as if it fell short in delivering anything of truly lasting substance. I enjoy my sequels as much as the next person, but I don't exactly felt there was enough new experiences to immerse myself the way that a balance of new and original would have sucked me in. There were a few gems that made their way this year to me, from the retro detective game L.A. Noire, to the twisted mind trip that was Catherine that delivered a simple premise, that was thoroughly delivered into one of the more difficult games of all-time, laced with a unique, but relatable story that was driven by moral choices, and lastly the amazingly underrated Suda51/Shinji Mikami profanity laden gore-fest of Shadow's of the Damned which showed that you could have a hispanic main character who doesn't have to be tied to drug lords to be relevant.

    Next year appears even worse, with the only really original titles that isn't a sequel or rehash being Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the strange Japanese mythology based Asura's Wrath and the extremely mysterious The Last Guardian title from Team Ico. The rest of the titles are either long awaited sequels or rehashes of past titles that have a built in brand names that capitalize off that unusually marketable thing called nostalgia.

    What I am getting at, is when we look back on the PlayStation 3, X-Box 360, and Wii, some three, five, or ten years down the line, are we going to remember this generation for the titles that lacked in delivering anything of lasting substance, (especially in it's later cycle for the PlayStation 3 specifically) or will it be remember as early on offering a bit of new, but eventually falling into the safety net of delivering sequels than taking chances.

    I am fearful for what the trends seem to point to for the next series of consoles, in which the days in which you would argue among your friends over who should be that system's defining mascot for that generation, is nearing a point in which sequels force the original titles to the point of near-extinction, as the gamers tell the developers that we prefer to spend our dollars on what we know and expect, than have them take the risk of delivering something new that puts us in the next Rapture or USG Ishimura.

    With clamoring for more sequels, more collections, and more announcements and rumors from developers of sequels that are, or might be in the works, I am beginning to feel that fewer and fewer people feel like I do, that there should be a healthy balance of completely new, and the slightly tweaked, and oftentimes improved upon package that is presented as new, is in danger of being lost in the years to come. For now, I hope that I am wrong, and that this trend isn't what it appears, and that the next new thing that is truly new is out there waiting for us in plain sight, and not something that only pops up once or twice a year if you dig really hard for it - but I am not overly optimistic.
    Last edited by Rubicant81; 11-10-2011 at 11:04 PM.

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    never thought of it like that. except COD, BF and WWE SvR, i agree
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    I like this generation of consoles, but no doubt I still prefer the previous generations, back when games didn't get boring so fast or when games were complete, no bullshit with excluding pieces of a game on purpose for overpriced DLC. Lack of originality, however, I wouldn't remember this generation for it, but I would remember it for having so much bang at first impressions and a lack of interest towards the end of each game.


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    I think this generation of gaming is going to be remember for when online multiplayer got really popular with the masses. Though online gaming has actually been around for a long time anyone remember the XBAND that was around in the 16 bit era(SNES, Genesis) but it's really this generation that has got online multiplayer poplular so that's what this generation is going to be remember down the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by omnislash View Post
    I think this generation of gaming is going to be remember for when online multiplayer got really popular with the masses. Though online gaming has actually been around for a long time anyone remember the XBAND that was around in the 16 bit era(SNES, Genesis) but it's really this generation that has got online multiplayer poplular so that's what this generation is going to be remember down the road.
    I have to agree with omnislash, this generation greatly expanded online play. Now you see wonderful SP games adding a multiplayer feature. For example, Assassin's Creed was SP only for 1 and 2, but in brotherhood they added it. Therefore this gen will probably be known as the Online-revolution gen or something along those lines.

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    I should state, I was more asking the question in terms of this generation of consoles being lacking in terms of originality, mainly due to it's trends at the end. I am fully aware that there are many factors which are going to be attributed to this generation from, digital distribution to the institution of an achievement system. I am not asking what the main thing that this generation of consoles will be remembered for, I am more asking whether the originality that is dying out within it's own lifespan is going to be another one of the factors that we remember down the road.

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    I see your point, but I can also see why it is this way. Games are expensive. For a PS3 game I'd have to lay down around €60,- at it's release. Though I must say, lately it's been closer to €55 or €50 even. I can imagine a lot of people rather spending that money on something they already know. To be sure they get their money's worth, so to speak. Good reviews nowadays are also not reason enough to buy a game. Take Heavy Rain for instance. It's a great game, I'm sure everyone who's played it will agree that it's one of if not the most enticing games out there, but people didn't really know about this game. Out of all my friends, only one of them has it. And I didn't even know him that well back when it came out. It got great reviews, but it just doesn't help.

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    The Greatest Year of Gaming happened back in the SNES/Genesis era. This generation had great games but were not very original.

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    for the majority, yes! but i also got more into gaming when the ps3 came out.

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    I think that what has happened is that, back then there was more room for crazy ideas, but you have to understand.
    Everybody reaches a point where they question themselves on what could be done, to stand out. Its very complicated question, and a complicated objective.

    There really isn't much more that can be made up, that doesn't already in one way or another exist. Its a tough job.

    Also, I don't think Sony is responsible for having Naughty Dog and media molecule pushing out sequels, as much as the developers themselves WANT to continue what they have started. They hit a great stride with Uncharted, and Little Big Planet, and instead of losing the magic for the sake of something new, they want to continue to build on what they have just accomplished, until they feel like it is time for something new. Just like Insomniac have done. They finished Resistance, and now they feel ready and comfortable to begin a new project.

    Aside all of that though, I mean, Games are like movies and music.... you have to kind of understand that there is only so much you can come up with.... you have to save things for later on as well. I think this has been another great generation for games.

    honestly, 2 developers I won't remember at all this generation are Square Enix and Konami. They haven't delivered much in terms of a actual good game. Konami, pretty much just MGS4 & the HD collection.

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    First of all let me say this is one of the better threads I've seen on here for awhile. Secondly, I have to agree with you. Just look at all the HD collections we have so far and the others that are on the way. Its not hard to see that developers are trying to cash in on the quick buck and release older titles. Either that, or make a sequel/prequel.

    Take the God of War 4 rumor for example. I'm more than satisfied with the time I invested into that series and feel it ended on a good note. It doesn't need another game and frankly, I don't know where they can take the series next to make it feel original instead of being repetitive. Which was my biggest complaint when playing God of War III.

    I really wish developers would concentrate on original characters and stories. This is a reason why lately, I've been playing so many PSN games as I'm getting sick of everything else.
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    i dnt really care either way, i love playstion and will be with her till she dies

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    I get your point but wasn't this already happening with consoles before the PS3, XBOX 360 and Wii?
    I mean, before those consoles you'd already get endless new mario, or final fantasy games(sure you still get those ofcourse) to give some examples.
    I have to say that it's weird that ''the greatest year of gaming'' would be one existing of a lot of sequels, but since a lot of people liked the previous games it's natural that the sequels are highly anticipated.
    So I don't think we'll go to an era that consists of endless repetitive sequels since innovation will always be needed but sure, as long as the developers can make money with a couple of them they'll exist.
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    This generation is still awesome it will marks this decade

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    Though I like the games you mentioned (Uncharted and Assassin's Creed), I would like to see more games that are unique.

    The problem is a lot of gamers today don't want new stuff. They want the tried and tested, like COD. Developers cater to them because games cost a lot more to make then they did 10 years ago and companies are trying to minimize their losses.

    Team Bondi created L.A. Noire, a great game, but it wasn't that popular and they had to close shop. Being innovative is a big risk in the gaming industry, but I'm glad there are still developers willing to take it.

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    I don't mind many sequels, but not over 5. I need a new game like Ratchet and Clank/Jak and Daxter/Sly Cooper, I have mostly old franchises now-a-days

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    This year may have not been the greatest for new IPs in general, but aren't you making a staunch over-reaction when you say that this entire generation has lacked originality?

    Nothing personal but I feel this statement is not only short-sighted, but either ignorant or overly critical (take your pick).

    Atleast by the information I've been able to compile this sentiment makes no sense:

    1) You are making the assumption that new IPs are required for originality or creativity. This is a faulty pretext in its own right, as any rational developer will tell you often times its the sequels where the new gameplay ideas are actually introduced because its easier to get a customer reaction on an established franchise than it is to get it on a new IP. Now not every sequel has this (look at anything Activision produces), but by that same token look at something like Portal 2.

    Also, sequels (atleast good ones) require a different type of creativity because your goal is to create a new experience in a pre-established universe. Much in the same principle that Empire Strikes Back wouldn't have been nearly as good a movie without Star Wars, a good sequel can really add alot of depth to a character if done well. Thats something that really has only started this generation as more and more games have deeper and deeper character development and plots.

    2) Sales wise this generation has been the best for new IPs, with (according to vgcharts) IPs introduced this generation composing 12 of the top 25 in overall IP sales (adjusted for length of time).

    3) By sheer numbers I think you are also being ignorant, now unfortunately I don't have the numbers for small titles in the NES days, but while this generation hasn't had the same number of new IPs as the previous generation, its also not that far off from the PS2/Xbox/GC's numbers, and even then I'd argue some of the new IPs this generation have been more innovative than previously. Titles like LBP would have never worked last generation...

    I feel like when I hear this bullshit, it always happens around the release of the years CoD (I was making a similar post to this one last year after Black Ops came out in response to an almost identical thread made by BuchNasty)... And its always the same over-reactionary assessment as someone looks back on the year with the CoD bullshit being the freshest taste in their mouth.

    This year wasn't phenomenal for new IPs, but it wasn't bad either as this year saw the release of Catherine, Bulletstorm, Human Revolution (which I'd argue is effectively a new IP), Brink, Limbo, and LA Noire. Plus you have dozens of indie studios releasing titles that are gaining steam like never before... Would Minecraft have ever worked previous to this?

    All of the above was ignoring PSN/XBLA titles too, which further push the numbers in this generation's favor.

    This year was not bad for innovative/creative titles though... And this generation has (I'd argue) been among the most innovative since the very early stages of gaming because the capability of games is leaping forward so much.

    Lastly, don't start jumping to conclusions about next year in gaming. Most sites have maybe 1/4th the release list and tend to only have the big name titles because they are the ones that are being pre-ordered.
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    Now to sit there and call me ignorant when I proposing a question that is asked about the legacy of this generation years down the line, is a bit harsh. You also complete ignore the fact that I am saying that it's mainly a lack in new characters, environments and experiences - not gameplay or presentation which I feel are the best, for the most part, than they have ever been in their representation this year.

    If you want to assume that this is due to Call of Duty, as opposed to the fact that is coming out because the end of the gaming year is upon us, and I took the time to reflect that this year - more than any other in my memory of gaming - offered me less "unique" experiences than any year that I can recall. I am not bashing any game in particular for making sequels, sequels as a whole are one of the better things for the industry because they are more likely to guarantee jobs for the people who work behind the scenes so that there are more titles in general out there.

    I am not doubting that - particularly in Sony's case - that new IPs are what worked in many ways. My question is whether or not the best of approach is to continue to expand on those IP's or whether a healthier balance (not saying 50/50 or anything close, just more new IP's than the scarce amount that this year offered) would have been a more enriching experience than what this year had to offer. I understand that with added generation of consoles there is a more robust library of titles that were new IPs during the time, and due to success of previous generations of consoles experiencing success and the continuation of more and more titles that the amount of sequels will expand with each generation exponentially.

    I purposely left something like Minecraft out of the discussion because, for the time being, it is a PC title - and although the PC is the primary front of indy games and innovation - I believe I made it clear with the title that I wanted to discuss this generation of consoles. You could press upon the issue that on PSN/XBLA is where the majority of the innovation is, and I don't doubt it, but even then the amount of new content that was released this year was less than before, and didn't really offer anything of buzz worthy discussion - to me - I could be wrong, and missed out on something, but as a regular buyer of DLC, I didn't catch too much this year that caught my eye as innovative, immersive, and fresh.

    I never once in this title stated that the future was set in stone, or that anything I stated about the future was fact, just that the trends of the coming year more closely resemble those of this year, as opposed to the previous years in which I would say a much smaller representation of new IPs and sequels or rehashes that are offering more innovation that familiarity are being represented.

    If you want to make an assumption that me asking a question - not making a statement - and wondering if there are other's out there who feel similar thoughts, or feel that things are fine the way they are makes me "ignorant and overly-critical", so be it, but it was more presented in the form of wanting to ask a question to the community on what they feel is the state of things, in the perspective of recent memory, the foreseeable future, and in relation to the years that came before it.

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    I think that this gen of gaming has been mainly centred around online, and connectivity. The amount of games now that also incorporate social media is increasing too.

    Being a mainly online gen for games, it is also the biggest gen for indie game makers getting many new and original ideas onto thing live PSN/XBLA, as well as the App store and Android store.

    Just another thing I want to add is that this gen has also delivered some rather iconic characters, that will be looked back to, just like Mario and Sonic.

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    This is how the industry has always been.

    After Pong came out there were a lot of Pong clones. After Pac-man, Galaga, Space Invaders, and the like came out they had their clones too. Sonic was Sega's response to Mario. Then there were the sports games, racing games, the mascot craze of the 90s, and so on and so forth.

    Unoriginality is a stable in the industry, it gives us reference for when something actually unique is brought to the table.

    As for this generation? It's definitely going to be remembered for three things: the popularity of online, the entry of the casual market, and the indie revolution.

    Online is self-explanatory, and it will be impossible to turn back this craze. The casual market, while loathed by some gamers, helped keep some companies from dying during the recession, and even possibly made some people into real potential gamers who now buy the more complex "hardcore" games.
    But definitely the most important factor of the generation was the indie revolution. It goes hand and hand with the online functionality of consoles, but now anyone with base programming and art skills can make quite a profit on a 5 dollar game, and they can only expand their business from there. PSN/XBLA gives a safe diving board for new talent to enter into the industry, without having to pay a publisher to get their games on shelves. The sheer variety of indie games, from Amnesia to Flower, is further proof that unoriginality is not a factor, but the excess of the imagination on a budget.

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