Narrative, Racing, and Platforming Games are Dead

Narrative, Racing, and Platforming Games are Dead

While seemingly counter-intuitive, studies show that autonomy is actually enhanced by structure.

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I think The Last of Us being an exclussive has more to do with it not selling as well as other multiplatform games. Odd that this wasn't mentioned in the article, unless I missed it.

Casual Shinji:
I think The Last of Us being an exclussive has more to do with it not selling as well as other multiplatform games. Odd that this wasn't mentioned in the article, unless I missed it.

This could very well be the case, and touches on the flaw here. The article doesn't really suggest how much causality is suggested or claimed between the "openness" of a game and how long it's played or how much money it makes.

That's a pity, because I do agree with the main point stated at the beginning of the article. Too many games I feel are limiting HOW I play the game or what I do within the game world. Again I put it down to narrative. When you design a game to tell a specific story, instead of letting the player make their own, you are limiting it by design. Which doesn't mean that a linear storyline is always a bad thing - two of my favorite games, "Bastion" and "Half Life 2", have very linear storylines. The difference in those games is that the player is constantly in control of how to meet the objectives given, and there are many interesting ways to do so that the games allow and encourage.

I made this point in another thread, so sorry for repeating myself, but again I have to say that it comes down to the fact that gaming is an interactive medium, not a narrative one. By virtue of the fact that the protagonist is always controlled by the player - an autonomous being who the storyteller has no control over - an in-game story has zero control over its "pacing". If the player doesn't want to do something now, they won't do it, story be damned! You can deal with this in two ways:

1) Make the game more narrative (thereby taking more control away from the player), or
2) Set it up in such a way that the player can get a worthwhile experience regardless of what they do.

A lot of games seem to have fallen into category (1) recently. I'd like to see more that try and aim for (2), because (1) seems to be the "easy" route.

With all due respect, these are not fair comparisons to make.

Assassin's Creed has a fan base stretching from 2007. GTA didn't really make waves until GTA III, and that came out in 2001. And like Shinji pointed out, the only reason I haven't played the Last of Us, even though I desperately want to (not wanted, want), is because it's only on the ps3.

A new IP that was sold only on the last place system of that generation? The numbers they pulled in were staggering when you think of everything that goes along with it. It left everyone hungry and desperate for a sequel. A movie's being produced...

To me, this is like comparing Killer Instinct to Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and saying that the fighting game genre is dying because of the sales. I'm never going to touch an Xbox One. I want Killer Instinct with every fiber of my being. But unless it gets ported to PC, that isn't happening. That doesn't mean there isn't a want or a place for these games. Just bad marketing decisions that force people to plop down hundreds of dollars got a system they might not be that interested in just for the chance to drop 60 more on a game.

Platformers are dead...? Please take a bow: Braid, Limbo, Mark of the Ninja, Gunpoint, Rayman Origins, Super Meatboy...
Shall I continue?

Hell, even Yahtzee just made a platformer not long ago. It's called Poacher. I highly suggest you give it a try.

Casual Shinji:
I think The Last of Us being an exclussive has more to do with it not selling as well as other multiplatform games. Odd that this wasn't mentioned in the article, unless I missed it.

Yep, I don't own any recent consoles; if The Last of Us had come out for PC, I probably would've bought it very soon after release.

The Walking Dead and Spec Ops: The Line are two of my favorite games of the past few years, and it's hard to argue that either of them is anything but linear. Yeah, I may have put more time into Just Cause 2, but that game was mindless fun that I bought for only a few dollars. Meanwhile, I pre-ordered Walking Dead Season 2.

Casual Shinji:
I think The Last of Us being an exclussive has more to do with it not selling as well as other multiplatform games. Odd that this wasn't mentioned in the article, unless I missed it.

This was the first thing that popped in my mind as well. However after looking at VGChartz, it appears the 9 million sales mark for GTA V in the first week was ONLY on PS3, with the 360 getting something over 7 million, so GTA V really made over 16 million sales in the first week globally. While the site can't be trusted 100% as digital sales are not factored in, there's little doubt that GTA made more in the first week than The Last of Us has in its lifetime.

ObsidianJones:
With all due respect, these are not fair comparisons to make.

Assassin's Creed has a fan base stretching from 2007. GTA didn't really make waves until GTA III, and that came out in 2001. And like Shinji pointed out, the only reason I haven't played the Last of Us, even though I desperately want to (not wanted, want), is because it's only on the ps3.

A new IP that was sold only on the last place system of that generation? The numbers they pulled in were staggering when you think of everything that goes along with it. It left everyone hungry and desperate for a sequel. A movie's being produced...

To me, this is like comparing Killer Instinct to Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and saying that the fighting game genre is dying because of the sales. I'm never going to touch an Xbox One. I want Killer Instinct with every fiber of my being. But unless it gets ported to PC, that isn't happening. That doesn't mean there isn't a want or a place for these games. Just bad marketing decisions that force people to plop down hundreds of dollars got a system they might not be that interested in just for the chance to drop 60 more on a game.

You make an excellent point regarding the lifespan of the IPs involved. While The Last of Us was a new IP, it was coming from one of Sony's biggest names, Naughty Dog, which definitely helped its marketability. Still, the gameplay is quite different than that in Uncharted (some people find it pretty bad, actually, though I think it worked brilliantly) so the developer's name can only do so much. People have been playing Assassin's Creed, Elder Scrolls, and GTA games for years, and as such they know more or less what to expect from a new entry. No one really knew what to expect from The Last of Us, so some waited for reviews before deciding to buy or not, and depending on what they read, they may have chosen to not get the game.

So really, I don't know if the study's findings can really be trusted. Sure, they make sense, but that does not necessarily mean the conclusions are correct. There are things, like the lifetime of the IP, that do not appear to have been factored in.

They want to get as many hours and days of gameplay out of their $60 as possible, and developers willing to offer them this value are going to earn their dollars.

Bingo! If you charge $60, people are going to want their money's worth. A 40-60 hour AAA platformer would probably wear out its welcome after the 15th hour for a lot of people but an open world sandbox game with a lot of choices and content might last a lot longer. If you made a 8-15 hour platformer and charged $20-30 for it though? It could be pretty damn good.

And for the article, can we put the "such and such is dead" line to rest? Genres don't die. They're not an endangered species or something that can be hunted into extinction. They might drop off in popularity or shift to indie development, like a lot of platformers have, but they don't just die out, even if some should (I'm looking at you rail shooter Rambo).

Ok, I think I've read enough GDC articles to conclude that most of the people talking at GDC are complete hacks who misuse facts and statistics (or just outright lie) to make themselves sound smart.

odolwa99:
Platformers are dead...? Please take a bow: Braid, Limbo, Mark of the Ninja, Gunpoint, Rayman Origins, Super Meatboy...

It seems that 3-Dimensional platformers are all but dead instead. While both of those kinds of platformers are going through a sort-of Renaissance, plain 3D platformers are ridiculously scarce on non-Nintendo systems, and even Nintendo systems' few good (or satisfying) 3D platformers are limited to Mario and Sonic (except for maybe a handful of indie games).

I am inclined to believe this mostly because it matches up with what I experience in my gameing life. I tend to shy away from narrative games because you only get one pay out of a narrative game. You can just watch narrative games and get the same enjoyment. Maybe a little more because you don't have to deal with the insta kill clickers Grr. I can even put down most of my problems and wishes with the last of use as bits that arise from the facts it's primarily focused on telling a story.

Ya that kind of claim reminds me of the claim that survival horror was dead.... i love platform games, and they don't look to be complete failures... Mario titles still sell, there are new platforms coming out (albeit small titles, since noone but Nintendo makes them). I ask, are those games truely a part of a dying genre, or are they the collateral on account of inflated costs, budgets, expectations, and marketing arms. GTA 5 was a monster of a seller, true, but it was also advertised to all hell... infinitely more so then The Last of Us. Its a very binary look at a market, implying that the people who play GTA are playing it instead of other games. The market isn't that static,that simple, that cut and dry. There are a huge number of demographics, and all i see by these statistics are the demographics that are being left behind by corporations that don't care about their entire customer base (instead favoring the largest portion).

Encaen:
snip

I fail to see anything in this article to suggest any genre is dead. Let's assume every claim in the article is entirely accurate and none of the concerns others have mentioned here are valid. That still means millions of people are paying hundreds of millions of dollars in order to play these "dead" genres for millions of hours. "Not the most popular genre" != "dead".

odolwa99:
Platformers are dead...? Please take a bow: Braid, Limbo, Mark of the Ninja, Gunpoint, Rayman Origins, Super Meatboy...
Shall I continue?

And lets not forget Mario.
If that is their idea of dead...

Highly disappointed of the level of GDC talks this year. Most of them seems like generalizations and simplifications made to self-validate the point the speaker is trying to make, no matter how backwards it might be.

If I base my points in data behind systematic error and cognitive bias, I can reach any conclusion at all...

This is ridiculous. The title comes across as clicking bait, it's simply wrong.

You can't compare The Last of Us, a new IP that was a console exclusive, to massive franchises that have a loyal install fanbase stretching back, in some cases, over a decade, and are released on all consoles and computers. Besides, 6 million compies sold is not "dead." That's quite successful.

Telltale has since released The Walking Dead seasons 1 & 2, The Wolf Among Us, and are in line to produce Game of Thrones and Borderlands. These games are entirely driven by narrative, and the company is only just beginning to hit its stride. We've also seen Spec Ops released recently. Are these earning COD levels of money? Of course not, and they were never meant to. They have tighter, smaller budgets, and they're enjoying smaller, but still successful, levels of income. To say that narrative games are dead is completely absurd, since this would suggest that nobody is making them, when the truth is that there are more of them than ever, and they're of a frankly higher quality, even is some of them are niche. Let the COD players have their shooters, they don't really bother me. In the meantime I have so many narrative games to play through that I can't even find the time to actually play any of them.

odolwa99:
Platformers are dead...? Please take a bow: Braid, Limbo, Mark of the Ninja, Gunpoint, Rayman Origins, Super Meatboy...
Shall I continue?

Hell, even Yahtzee just made a platformer not long ago. It's called Poacher. I highly suggest you give it a try.

And that list is without mentioning things that Nintendo has been releasing lately. Probably other companies as well that I'm less familiar with.

And the title is pretty awful considering that none of the genres it mentions could actually be argued to be dead by any individual with sufficient knowledge of the industry and game releases of the last 5-10 years.

But GTA V is a narrative game... Unless you ignore the main story. I don't consider racing games to be dead either, only good racing games^^.

But obviously they mean "dead" as in Punk is "dead", which means that the genre still exists but it is far from being popular and therefore we don't see many AAA platform and racing games like we used to in the ps2 days. But i'm not sure i see the same happening with narrative driven games, isn't most succesful AAA games trying to be a hollywood blockbuster, how is that even close to being "dead"? Hmm, this study seems to be calling for more open world games, hopefully the executives aren't listening.

Scy Anide:

And for the article, can we put the "such and such is dead" line to rest? Genres don't die. They're not an endangered species or something that can be hunted into extinction. They might drop off in popularity or shift to indie development, like a lot of platformers have, but they don't just die out, even if some should (I'm looking at you rail shooter Rambo).

Oh yes... That's what immediately went through my mind as I saw the title... How long ago was the space sim declared dead? And what is happening now? Over-dramatisation much?

Platforming is one of the most prolific genres there is when it comes to number of games made, because any little indie studio can make a platformer. They even outnumber RPG maker games.

Narrative games are big sellers, often the most critically acclaimed and loved by many.

Racing's pretty niche, but the big ones tend to sell pretty well anyway, I mean the latest Gran Turismo and Forza installments had horrible monetization which put a lot of people off, but Forza 5 has still sold over a million copies, and it's an XBone exclusive.

They've got it backwards for me. What I'm most excited for are narrative games, the next uncharted, tombraider, last guardian. I preorder those games, burn through them quick and stick the on my shelf.

Just because I play the game longer doesn't matter to me. I pumped hundreds of hours into skyrim and did buy an expansion pack. But I've played warframe for a hundred hours or more and only paid $20 into it. And I'll never pay any more.

I'd dearly love skyrim 2. But I'm not buying EOS, no way am I paying subscription and micro transactions on a full price game I don't care if I played it 4 hrs a day for the next year.

I pay for games going by how appealing they are to me. A game with a great story and great characters appeals to me tons. But this pick your own adventure crap, no, the story is almost always a negative for me. I've pumped hundreds of hours into skyrim buy never did the main civil war story line. mass effect and dragon age I've stopped playing because I hate the story and characters. And as great as it looks I may well skip witcher 3 for the same reason. The problem with the whole choose your story is that the choices suck. There is almost never the option for what I would do. So for me choose your own adventure games are tons of dialog to slog through and half or more of the game I'll never see because I'm sure not grinding through the whole game again to see the paths I liked even less than what I chose the first time through.

Frankly the one of the only things I hate more than player choice in games is motion control.

 

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