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Evolution or Revolution: Which Will the Next-Gen Bring?
Game developers are perfecting genres, but with the upcoming next-gen consoles will we just see a evolution or a revolution? The assumption that the set genres are being perfected comes from my recent completion of The Last of Us. That game is absolutely fantastic in so many ways, it’s one of the best survival horror games in years, a fantastic action adventure game with a compelling story that people will be talking about years from now. It has come as an evolution and culmination of Naughty Dog’s work, all the way from their days working on Jak & Daxter up to The Last of Us. These guys know how to do stories and gameplay right, it also helps that there aren’t any loading screens while playing. (Seriously, how do they do it?) Some would argue their games are more like movies, but I think that’s only a testament to how polished their games really are.
This brings up the topic of where games will go. Will we see genres go away as we did for a while with the adventure game? Will we find completely new ways to make games or even play them? This is what I wonder about. I believe we will see a change not too far from now. While games like Call of Duty will likely remain immensely popular with the masses, I’m sure someone out there will decide to not even bother with an FPS, but try something completely new and construct a entirely new genre with that. Whether it will blend seperate ideas from other games or carve it’s own path, that is what we’ll have to find out. There was a sudden wave of RPG elements flowing into FPS games such as Battlefield or Call of Duty, but was this only the beginning? Will we see another movement to mix a genre inside of these games? I hope so, this created a big incentive for people who may have never normally played these games online. I for one keep coming back to Battlefield: Bad Company 2 because of this. The leveling is an addictive feature that bags you a higher number next to your name along with more weapons and equipment. It also helps that the gameplay feels great and the levels are well designed! But there are even games with real-time strategy mixed with FPS. Natural Selection 2 is a great example of this done extremely well and with an obvious amount of passion into the project. One can only imagine what other games that will mix genres and catch the appeal of the mainstream game consumers.
Genres aren’t the only place games can change; if you’ve been paying attention to games coming out for next-gen consoles, you’ll notice there’s a trend with multiplayer… it’s not really it’s own thing anymore. Games are starting to mix singleplayer and multiplayer into one beautiful entity that anyone can jump into. Nobody knows how well this will turn out, but I hope this isn’t a short-time fad. It’s a fascinating idea and for someone who doesn’t play a lot of mutliplayer games, it’s an opportunity to be completely game-changing and extremely inviting to newcomers. We might not have to deal with tacked-on multiplayer so much anymore, which is also a nice thought.
Another thing we’ve been seeing a lot of is that it seems as if developers have more stories to tell; games are becoming less about the gameplay (which is generally still solid) and more about the stories to support said gameplay. As a fan of solid writing in novels, comics, games, and movies, this brings me so much joy. I love experiencing the stories being told to us through the beautiful medium of video games. I’ve read countless Batman comics and the fact that the characters from that universe are being done such justice through video games like Arkham Asylum and Arkham City puts a smile on my face. I’d love get more fantastic superhero games in the next-gen, and with the stronger consoles, that seems like an actual possibility. I hope that I can experience how powerful the Hulk really is like in The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction but improved thanks to new tech, or get a new Spider-Man game with the open-world of the Spider-Man 2 game and a great story to boot.
Games will keep changing from here on out and long into the future, but how much? Will we reach a point where we’ve done all there is to be done with video games? I’m sure we won’t, as long as there are creative people out there doing what they love for people who love what they create.
All of these ideas are just my thoughts on the positives with new tech and a slew of games to follow. My optimism isn’t a blind one, I’m sure there will be more bad games than we can count, but here’s hoping the next-gen and beyond will be fantastic.
What are your thoughts? Favourite moments from this generation, hopes for the next, what you’re worried about, share them down below!