Editorial: The Dangers of Progress
With a standing based in the more hardcore end of the gaming pool, many games in today's market are seemingly catering to the wants of the consumer. When gaming was new, everything was progress, and the consumer was allowed to be immersed in new ideas and mediums that had never been seen before. However, with the high demand and list of content that has been established within the gaming industry, the standards that once cradled gaming have almost gone the way of the dodo. Fifteen years have passed since games like Final Fantasy VII were popular and have been replaced with the likes of Call of Duty. The commonwealth of the gaming industry, much like most of the natural world, is caught in a losing battle between genuity and cost efficiency, and the expectations of consumers don't make anything in this feud any more positive. In other words, the main issue is how the gaming industry has been affected by consumer standards, financial limitations, and the resulting inabilities to remain genuine to the heart and soul of gaming. The cost of currency is constantly dropping, and those with it require reasons to spend it; which is valid reasoning. However, when a game like Uncharted comes in and gives a spark of the old age, the times could take away that which Naughty Dog originally intended.
Profit is a fickle thing, changing the priorities of those who want it. However, this is, more than likely, a bad start to an article about Naughty Dog, since they have now created the standard for third-person shooters. In two games, the Uncharted series went from being compared to being the comparison; though, that may not be right either. Their output is amazing, and they give assistance to other developers to make better games, but no one yet has tried to make a game similar to Uncharted, because it's so phenomenal.
On the other hand, the gameplay of Uncharted, however dynamic it may be, has been adopting generic mechanics from lesser shooters. Uncharted 2 is the focal point of the career of Naughty Dog, which granted the gaming community a robust, Hollywood style action adventure far more immersive than any Blockbuster movie could portray--even in 3D. Now, Uncharted 3 is striving to better it, but the going will be tough, especially with their particular choices in character flow, aesthetically speaking. Demo trailers from Gamescom applaudingly demonstrated Drake ascending buildings, flailing off of airborne planes, and leaping onto his enemy in a glorious fashion that may even make Ezio (of Assassin’s Creed fame) envious. Outside of the voice acting, however, my praise ends here.
What follows may feel hypercritical, but the Snowball Effect is very prominent in gaming, especially with sequels. Character movement is no longer dynamic. The stiffening of gameplay is the only downfall to Uncharted 3, which I experienced during the highly successful beta. Instead of having movement that retained relevance to the environment, it has now become static and pinned at the shoulders. Not only does it look unnatural to have the gravitationally affected pivotal point at the shoulders, but it also takes away from the surrealism that kept Uncharted 2 gripping throughout.
This new mechanic scheme allows for more of a shooter experience at the hip and allows for a more naturally flowing experience when using sprint. However, so many animations from Uncharted 2 that wonderfully allowed for dynamic motion alongside a fast command of gameplay functions such as aiming and barrel rolling could be compromised by a lacklustre attempt at creating improper mechanics in a third-person experience. Allow me to empathize: changing the gameplay to allow more of an appreciation to the highly dynamic environment is not a negative connotation, but Naughty Dog is cutting back on their established functionality to create something almost Hollywood, and I hope against hope that, with that in mind, they don't water it down in a similar sense.
The only advantage to such a mechanical change would be to coax more users to play Uncharted 3, even though Uncharted 2 had a very dedicated and vast game following. Though the language seeping through the online experience of Uncharted 2 was far from clean, worsening the waters by attempting to appeal to the shooter community will bring in a far worse and far less dedicated community. However, making money is the name of the game in today's market, and bringing in more users is what makes a developer more successful. With the comparatively increased following between Uncharted 1 and 2, the full influence that the name "Uncharted" has globally will bring in far more sales than attempting to compete with the larger shooter games like Call of Duty.
The market is being filled with a majority of games that follow each others’ standards and do not allow this entertainment medium to expand anywhere nearly as quickly as it had in previous generations. Surely, the economy has had an effect on all aspects of entertainment, "forcing" those responsible to make the entertainment to appeal to what they know will make money. However, the best of intentions can destroy the strong walls that have supported the self-sustained gaming industry, and the loss of ingenuity has been affected by the standards of the consumers, leaving developers high and dry to make what "has" to be made in order to gross a profit. Running a business is based on money making, but making money isn't as simple as copying and pasting. I highly doubt that Angry Birds would have been anywhere nearly as good if they had reserved any intentions similar to Assassin's Creed.
Article by Timothy Nunes