This archived article was written by: David Rawle
It is the middle of November and gamers know what that means; it’s video-game-release month. It’s the time of year when gamers die to get their hands on all the new games, whether it is the new Call of Duty, Bethesda’s newest game or anything else.
There is no shortage of games to play when it comes to this time of year. Sadly there is something changing; we see a common similarity among the new games. They are all similar. Right now, the video-game industry is at a point where it is adapt or die, especially with first-person shooters (FPS). This has been both a blessing and a plague.
One of the benefits we get from this is, everyone is competing to make a better game. Companies are trying to get the newest most high-end graphics and also attempting to make the game play as smooth as possible. Even if someone is a casual gamer, they can essentially pick up one of these games and know the basics and play it.
The ability to easily understand newer games is becoming more and more common, especially when the games are from the same publisher. For example, if you played either Fallout 3 or New Vegas you can jump between the two along with their newest release: Fallout 4, with no trouble transitioning between them.
Activision’s Call of Duty games, you can jump between the games and have the exact same control scheme. The transition of gaming controls leads to a high level of accessibility between games, once you get the hang of them you never have to learn again. Another advantage to this is you can skip most tutorials and jump straight into game play.
This has also been the biggest plague on gaming since the controversy of Mortal Combat coming out of nowhere and being the soul reason for the ESRB rating system we know today. Adaptation has led to the destruction of innovation. When it comes to FPS games, they are all becoming the same game, just redesigned and taking place further and further into the future as if looking back is no longer an option.
Two of the biggest releases of the October-November rush were Halo 5: Guardians and Call of Duty Black Ops III. A year ago the game Titanfall came out introducing the new gyro-movement mechanics where you can run on walls and dash in any direction due to the new suit. Within the same year, Call of Duty released Advanced Warfare with the same gyro-mechanics, but claiming the abilities are caused by EXO suits. Following that release was Black Ops III with essentially the same mechanics, but with the cause being biomechanically enhanced super soldiers.
Now I give them some leeway due to it being designed by the same company and designers wanting to make sure that their games feel the same across the board. With the release of Halo 5, we see a complete re-mastering of how they play the game; being an essential rip of the same mechanics and control scheme, ultimately changing the way the game is played. We see a few glimpses of it in Halo 4 with the addition of a custom-class system, perks and a slight change of controls. Halo 5 threw any chance of true innovation out the window, taking Call of Duty’s game and trying to get away with it by saying that it’s a new innovation to the Halo series.
The balance between innovation and keeping the feel of the old game is key to the survival of any series. What innovation is becoming is changing into waiting until one company comes out with something cool then everyone jump on the bandwagon. Instead of how it used to be where it was, “How can we do something cooler and better than they did?”
The gaming industry is growing too fast for companies to keep up, so they grasp at whatever they can, this will eventually lead to the crash of the industry. If the gaming industry is going to survive, it is going to need to go back to the old, true meaning of innovation and attempting to master that delicate balance once again.