Cloning is Good for You

Cloning is Good for You

Send in the clones ... and the legal teams.

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And don't forget possibly the biggest series of clones: DOOM. A lot of people throw a hissy fit about Doom clones, but without those clones the entire FPS genre wouldn't exist. Some were reskinned, some not so much. Some like Star Wars: Dark Forces felt and played very similar, but changed the underlying game engine in visually minor but significant ways. The original Doom engine did not allow for traversable terrain to overlap each other. Lucas Arts saw that and said, "If we could make tall levels instead of flat levels, it would completely change game play and pacing," and they were right.

"Another might conclude that it's the game Diablo III should have been."
Yup, that's PoE allright. Smashing, and effing FREE!!!!

Got tons of good ideas in there, boosting what Diablo II did to new hights!

And Puzzle Quest; awesomesauce!!!!

"Shariki was the original match-three game" Sega's Columns was released in 1989. That was match-three if memory serves.

OT - good article as always. Looking forward to the next one Shamus

Mr C:
"Shariki was the original match-three game" Sega's Columns was released in 1989. That was match-three if memory serves.

You're right. Ironically, at the time many of us called it a Tetris clone.

In pretty much the first paragraph of addressing the issue, you've found my opinion. Is it a copy or an improvement? There are many kinds of cloning that are despicable - the cloning of Ridiculous Fishing for example by Ninja Fishing, that saw a game with essentially the same gameplay released in an environment with no precedent of that game type released before the original game. On the other hand, Plague Inc expands on Pandemic enough to justify another game, not just a copy.

I'm really glad we can all agree everywhere that it is a noble good to yell to the sky "Fuck that king douchebag!"

Black, white, republican, democrat all agree and hold hands for this.

Shamus Young:
"Clone" is often used as a pejorative: Diablo clone

No, not really. "Diablo clone" has always been simply a description of the genre, not a pejorative at all. ARPG is probably more common these days, but that's actually a much more general genre that includes a lot of other styles of game as well. I suspect it's precisely that lack of any specific term to refer to a Diablo clone that lead to the term not being pejorative, since the other clones you mention already had perfectly serviceable names for their genres already.

Dune invented the Real-Time Strategy genre, but it was Warcraft that turned it into something amazing.

Really no. Firstly, Dune was not an RTS. That would be Dune 2, which had nothing whatsoever to do with the game it was supposedly a sequel to. Secondly, while Warcraft was one of the influential RTS series, crediting it as the only thing responsible for its advancement is just plain nonsense. C&C was at least as important, if not more so. The games really responsible for making the genre what it is were probably Red Alert and Starcraft.

You are correct about the different tiers of 'cloning'. Before the term First person shooter was developed people just used to use the term 'doom clone' or 'Quake Clone'. Kind of recently we've been scrambling to find a universal term to replace "DOTA type game".

Many games wear their credentials on their sleeve. I remember a lot of the interviews with the guys behind "Sir you are being hunted" said they wanted to re-create some of the feelings they had during STALKER and that re-producing some of that was part of their goal. "This was awesome, we're going for that" doesn't create the negative attention sly ripping off does. The games industry has always worked on this principle, many people welcome a game that tires to do what an innovative or unique title did because there isn't much of it around.

The term has been banded about too much in the past but recently the definition has actually been narrowing due in no small part to the free fall "Race to the bottom" in the mobile sector. These games are clones sometimes in a literal sense; Zynga, King.com, EA and countless small unscrupulous developers have been literally stealing game assets and layouts. Sometimes games are re-skins in the sense that they take a familiar mechanic and change it in a purely aesthetic way (see; Candy Crush) but we also have LITERAL re-skins where a games entire code is stolen and sold on with a tweaked color scheme. The sheer scale of the copying is also something new and unwelcome, most of the potential touch games had has been replaced by a void of ideas in a wrongly policed marketplace. What a desolate mess devoid of creative thought.

Scrumpmonkey:
You are correct about the different tiers of 'cloning'. Before the term First person shooter was developed people just used to use the term 'doom clone' or 'Quake Clone'. Kind of recently we've been scrambling to find a universal term to replace "DOTA type game".

Actually, we've had a term for years now: "MOBA"
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

That's actually really interesting. I was in college for game design and one of the common ways we learn how to make a game was take a game that existed before and modify it in some way. Heck, if it wasn't for some of my assignment requirements, I would have heavily modify the way some of the games played so that they wouldn't have some of the issues the original game had that I didn't like. I'm looking at you, Asteroids, and your sliding movements!

Atmos Duality:

Scrumpmonkey:
You are correct about the different tiers of 'cloning'. Before the term First person shooter was developed people just used to use the term 'doom clone' or 'Quake Clone'. Kind of recently we've been scrambling to find a universal term to replace "DOTA type game".

Actually, we've had a term for years now: "MOBA"
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

But since it was coined by Riot, some Dota2 fans throw a hissy fit if you use it

batti:

But since it was coined by Riot, some Dota2 fans throw a hissy fit if you use it

I'm about as old a DOTA fan as you can find, and to that I say: let them throw their fits.
Manchildren will be manchildren.

Yup, I completely agree. Many things are done by "cloning" stuff, Cave Story is a combination of Super Metroid and Megaman and nobody's calling it a "clone" of either of them, also nobody uses the term of "Doom clone" that was so prevalent on the mid 90's, until the term "First Person Shooter" was coined in the late 90's with the releases of Half-Life, Unreal and many other great games.

BUT, I absolutely agree with just how blatant you are with your cloning is what differenciates the good ones from the bad ones.

Captcha: You don't say!. Goddamit captcha, I'm not in a good mood >:(

batti:

Atmos Duality:

Scrumpmonkey:
You are correct about the different tiers of 'cloning'. Before the term First person shooter was developed people just used to use the term 'doom clone' or 'Quake Clone'. Kind of recently we've been scrambling to find a universal term to replace "DOTA type game".

Actually, we've had a term for years now: "MOBA"
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

But since it was coined by Riot, some Dota2 fans throw a hissy fit if you use it

I believe blizzard is calling heroes of the storm a team brawler I guess they just dont want to give any recognition to their biggest competitor

I would argue "good and bad" cloning are separate things, and therefore should have different names. "Clone" and "Derivative?/Lineage?"

Thank you Shamus for an interesting and well written piece.

 

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