Friday, January 28, 2011

Movement Is The Greatest Obstacle To New Games

Based on this IGN article about a new game from Platinum Games.

It warms my heart to read of a game that doesn’t exactly fit in a genre. It still fits a little but takes a core concept and makes it wilder, better, so much more involving. It’s like human beings are actually thinking. Not “how can we clone this with a minor difference” but “what is worth our time?”. Like when someone took FPS and expanded it with bigger maps, more players, and vehicles. Beautiful. Problem with that is expectations and polishing the gameplay so that it matches the more basic template. CoD versus Battlefield. How can you not rejoice just from the idea of Battlefield. “It’s a great FPS but plus destruction and flying things and awesome”. Course Battlefield doesn’t play as well as CoD in practice. That’s the fall of all these games that branch out; lacks a solid foundation.

Platinum knows how to make fighting games. And moving it online satisfies my two greatest wants / needs with 3rd person action games: I want to play with other people, I want it to be challenging and satisfying. I don’t feel good beating anything in single player games anymore. I play Fable and Mass Effect for story, seeing new things, and just being a part of something nifty. Oddly, I always feel good killing someone in multiplayer, even when they’re stupider than the A.I., though they rarely are.

And that freedom of movement that’s always part of 3rd person action games. About blurring the line between avatar and person. I don’t want a move list in any game. I want a well thought out theme. A developer saying “This game takes place in modern times and you use guns ‘n such to kill other people”. Then I want it to recognize my body for all inputs. No more “this game has blind-fire”. All games do because I can do it.

It seems unrelated, what I just wrote, but 3rd person action games make me think more of this limitation of movement within all games. Right, cause what moves can you do in CoD? Jump, crouch, prone. What moves in NG? Uh… a lot. Dozens that tie into jumping alone. Both Bayonetta and Vanquish seemed more aware of player wants in terms of movement. Vanquish sais it was style but the ability to navigate terrain that effortlessly was pure function. Even the speed was really player desire expressed in gameplay: “I want to be there, now”.

Movement is the big boundary holding back gameplay. Just take the FPS and add full range of movement. Now you have people jumping over cover, getting to places they couldn’t normally, being in different positions they normally couldn’t, combining themselves in novel ways (back to back shooting, lifting up). Then throw in power suits. Now you got people hurling each other across the map, making use of their opponent’s bodies (alive or dead) as cover or projectiles, and otherwise making themselves into something completely unexpected so their opponent doesn’t even think “shoot” before they’re dead because they didn’t understand what was going on.

So expanding the boundaries of games and being more fundamentally satisfying? Big promise. Undoubtedly a game to be excited for.

No comments:

Post a Comment