Are we out of game ideas?

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Time after time the same ideas appear in every form of "game" imaginable...
This can partly be blamed on companies playing it safe so they break even, but then i thought about it.
Then i realised that most game scenarios and ideas have appeared in some form, in some game somewhere.
Even indie games are resorting to re-using ideas in a different scenario.
Has the time finally come? Are we doomed to re-releases for the rest of gaming history?

Rest of history? No.

For the foreseeable future? Most likely.
As long as the economy stays like it's been, safe and sure bets will be the meat and potatoes of our gaming diet.

To make a game that's completely original in almost every aspect nowadays would seem like a monumental task, however I still believe that the driving concept behind a game can still be original - if developers tried hard enough to think one up rather than release another 'Army of War: Bulletfighter'.

image

Well, people say where out of movie ideas but that kinda proves were not. The problem in the entertainment business, especially in video games, is that it is nearly impossible to get someone to take a risk on your idea.

Why would they want to invest money in risky new concept, when they can just recycle old content knowing gamers will buy it.

Ya'll need to quit paying attention to just the AAA market and get into some indie titles if you think creativity is dead. This shit is thoroughly awesome!

Play Bioshock Infinite, you'll be slightly better inclined to AAA companies then.

It is true in some way... Completely new ideas are hard to find. But first I don't think that is so bad, we build uppon good things and make them better (even though some parts in games haven't evolved to much in the last years). Second I think we will get past this. It's hard as a developer to get the ideas, other games gave you, out of your head and build something up from scratch. And even then you would possibly be running into similiar concepts, simply because they are good.

Just watch the market (not only AAA) and at some time something that can be considered "fresh" will come up. Possibly it will copy some things from other games, but reinventing something that is not broken isn't always a good idea.

shadowsandwich:
Time after time the same ideas appear in every form of "game" imaginable...
This can partly be blamed on companies playing it safe so they break even, but then i thought about it.
Then i realised that most game scenarios and ideas have appeared in some form, in some game somewhere.
Even indie games are resorting to re-using ideas in a different scenario.
Has the time finally come? Are we doomed to re-releases for the rest of gaming history?

You really need to relook at the way you play video games. Each game is like a book or a movie, an idea or concept or story that a person or team creates that they want us the individual to experience and hopefully be entertained. While certainly engaging in new mechanics can be quite enjoyable there is now finally a foundation on developing a video game to which used to be a wild west that programmers really didn't know what to have the player do.

ResonanceSD:
Play Bioshock Infinite, you'll be slightly better inclined to AAA companies then.

And then after the honeymoon period you will realize that the game is only above average at best and people are so personally invested in the marketing they don't realize that the core function of the game is very much bland and boring.

I'd like to think there're infinite games ideas that no one has explored. Like playing as a surviving mother in time of war. Would make some interesting story and gameplay, scavenging for food, stealth, put up traps to protect the children. Perhaps a bit like I am alive, but well-executed.
Playing as an Geisha assassin.
We need more games set in Egypt too. Action games, fighting pharaoh, slavers and the Gods...

Although they do say "Good artists copy but great artists steal". You can take an idea and improve it, make it fresh again.

Tenmar:

ResonanceSD:
Play Bioshock Infinite, you'll be slightly better inclined to AAA companies then.

And then after the honeymoon period you will realize that the game is only above average at best and people are so personally invested in the marketing they don't realize that the core function of the game is very much bland and boring.

Yeah, interesting story can go fuck itself really, it doesn't matter that we can re purpose old mechanics to give a great experience, THROW THE PEASANTS SOMETHING SHINY TO TALK ABOUT.

If a commonly used idea is writen really well no one is going to notice the repetition of the games style or story. unfortunatly because stuff is getting rushed out the writting suffers and the writers start using the same crap to pump out a game on time.

Tenmar:

ResonanceSD:
Play Bioshock Infinite, you'll be slightly better inclined to AAA companies then.

And then after the honeymoon period you will realize that the game is only above average at best and people are so personally invested in the marketing they don't realize that the core function of the game is very much bland and boring.

And then you'll realize that you're being very arrogant in assuming that the only way someone could like something that you do not is through self delusion.

ResonanceSD:

Tenmar:

ResonanceSD:
Play Bioshock Infinite, you'll be slightly better inclined to AAA companies then.

And then after the honeymoon period you will realize that the game is only above average at best and people are so personally invested in the marketing they don't realize that the core function of the game is very much bland and boring.

Yeah, interesting story can go fuck itself really, it doesn't matter that we can re purpose old mechanics to give a great experience, THROW THE PEASANTS SOMETHING SHINY TO TALK ABOUT.

Except even the old mechanics were watered down even more than from Bioshock 1 and 2 making the meat of the game which is the FPS part really boring.

As for the story, sure it is a good narrative. But even then there are major flaws with Elizabeth in terms of her mechanics and how non interactive you actually are with her with the exception of the cut scenes. However you slough through some extremely average to bad game mechanics just to get to the few moments of character interaction to which a lot of people were already emotionally invested thanks to the marketing campaign and how much of a crush people had with Elizabeth.

Honestly the ending was really just overwhelming the player sensationally. While nice that it was a semi-negative ending was simple something a lot of people now are basically not used to seeing and outside the comfort zone because nobody writes like that anymore or makes movies with bad endings. Everyone is too used to assuming there is going to be some happy ending now to the point where people will get outraged when anything bad happens. So I do give credit where credit is due.

Zhukov:

Tenmar:

ResonanceSD:
Play Bioshock Infinite, you'll be slightly better inclined to AAA companies then.

And then after the honeymoon period you will realize that the game is only above average at best and people are so personally invested in the marketing they don't realize that the core function of the game is very much bland and boring.

And then you'll realize that you're being very arrogant in assuming that the only way someone could like something that you do not is through self delusion.

Quickly throw me some arrogance Elizabeth! I'm out!

If you don't get that joke I feel sorry for ya.

The video game industry is in a creative destruction phase and money is scared so they (those with money to burn) will look for a sure return.

Doubt it, there are probably still some really good ideas out there. Some of us just aren't creative enough to see them.

It's not just the gaming industry, it's Hollywood and the music industry as well. Basically entertainment in general. Because of the economy big companies won't take risks and keep putting out the same safe bet products they figure people would spend money on anyway. But I'm certain there's still lots of creative ideas and talent out there. They just need to be given a chance.

The economy demands that safe ideas be propagated until the consumer population truly gets tired of the product. And that's not happening anytime soon.

On the other hand, the re visitation of ideas is a good idea. Games like the Far Cry, Bioshock and Assassins Creed series, which have a basic concept which is explored from different angles/locations/head shots in each game.

Far Cry: Survival.
Assassins Creed: History.
Bioshock: Steampunk + Extreme ideologies

As someone who is going to school for game design and spends time in the labs talking to other people. The amount of potential for new game ideas is there. Some even get thrown in our projects when we make stuff for class. As it's been said previously though, companies don't like taking lots of risks. The ideas and potential for great new creations are there new worlds, monsters, stories and what have you exist you just have to give it time.

I suggest looking to the Indie scene you may feel a little better about the future of gaming there. Its why crowdfunding games have also become such a huge thing. You will be more likely to find things there that take risks because that is what you have to do to get noticed. Take a chance on a few game ideas and if it sells congrats.

shadowsandwich:
Time after time the same ideas appear in every form of "game" imaginable...
This can partly be blamed on companies playing it safe so they break even, but then i thought about it.
Then i realised that most game scenarios and ideas have appeared in some form, in some game somewhere.
Even indie games are resorting to re-using ideas in a different scenario.
Has the time finally come? Are we doomed to re-releases for the rest of gaming history?

they didn't run out of ideas, they just got lazy as fuck. lazy and slightly greedy.

If you're desperate for some silly, wacky, and beautifully crappy original ideas, I'd recommend checking out www.freeindiegam.es every couple of days. There's always interesting stuff on there.

piinyouri:
Rest of history? No.

For the foreseeable future? Most likely.
As long as the economy stays like it's been, safe and sure bets will be the meat and potatoes of our gaming diet.

This is pretty much it.
There's most definitely tons of really cool concepts a lot of devs want to get going, they just feel, probably rightfully so, that if those concepts were made into fully fledged games they'd be too alien for audiences to handle and crash massively.

Define "game ideas".

In terms of genre, it's hard to come up with something entirely new.
In terms of putting a narrative or gameplay-twist on an old one, there's indie games.

As for Triple A Games, publishers won't put money in them, and rightfully so, since fresh Triple A Game Ideas will be bitched to death 2 of 3 times by so called "gamers" as they usually cannot deliver on the polish and refined quality of games that have a number behind them.

I keep a link to Three Hundred Game Mechanics for occaisions such as this. Have a look see and maybe inspiration will be sparked.

I guess I've never seen a game where you own a chemical plant and have vats of chemicals that can be mixed, heated, and transferred according to a series of instructions that you yourself program. I'm thinking something a little like SpaceChem, but more expansive and following real-world chemistry and thermodynamics.

Or a game where you play as a recurring Sauron-esque villain who is perennially defeated by the forces of Good, but can squirrel away resources and lay long-terms schemes to manipulate the world to his advantage even during the ages when he has been sealed away.

I think were out of people who are willing to fund original ideas more than anything.

Nope. I have at least two game ideas going around in my head at the moment that I am fairly certain haven't been done before, in any form. This says to me that we have not, in fact, run out of ideas. If a schlubby, overweight 20-year old college student can have interesting ideas, so can people who actually make games on a consistent basis.

Could also be that you are mistaking devs reusing ideas that work or taking inspiration from other works for "running out of ideas" or "ripping stuff off". People seem to make that mistake often, I find.

*Looks at whatever Suda 51 is up to these days*

no....no, we really aren't.

shadowsandwich:
Time after time the same ideas appear in every form of "game" imaginable...
This can partly be blamed on companies playing it safe so they break even, but then i thought about it.
Then i realised that most game scenarios and ideas have appeared in some form, in some game somewhere.
Even indie games are resorting to re-using ideas in a different scenario.
Has the time finally come? Are we doomed to re-releases for the rest of gaming history?

Looks like someone has never heard of the indie-scene...

Realizing the world is ultimately just a rehash is just part of a developmental phase he is going through. Don't blame him for being ignorant, he'll get over it once he develops an additional layer of thought in the subject matter.

Gaming has never been as diverse and accessible.

Frankly, after so much Innovation is being poorly used and implemented, see motion controls where we have quite a lot of Games that would be better if controlled with a "traditional" Joypad, that i have to groan at every new Invention. I think if i'm going to place a bet that the PS4's Controllers new features will be used in ways where they distract from the gameplay.

Regarding innovation in the actual games: It can be found on the sidelines of the big budget titles. "Skyrim" doesn't bring that much new stuff to the table. Openworld sandbox in which you fight dragons with magic.
But i have fought many "big" enemies over the years and appreciate the compromise Bethesda had to find: Dragons would fly around a bit because they don't appreciate you giving them a really close shave with your battle axe. But they do eventually land to take a bit of the tasty you sandwich. Not too much flying around because you're bored dodging dragonfire and throwing your possibly useless range attacks at the lizard but the fights have at least some flying around just so you wont wonder why these dragons even have wings.

Very nice dragon AI.

Innovation in the entire game right down to its premise can be found in the indie market. I'd recommend flashgame sites but you might die of old age before you sorted through a million tower defense games; some of which have innovative new features at least.

But innovation in games isn't dead.

Not even close. Seriously, anyone who thinks this is even remotely true really needs to step back from the AAA Scene for a moment.

In terms of sheer game mechanics, we're limited in what we can sell to an audience in terms of "new" experiences, because if it's new then audiences won't know if it's good or bad and if they like it, and thus will shy on the side of caution. It's why new I.P.s sell worse than sequels - not because they're bad, but because, frankly, no one knows if it's any good the first time around. No one knew what a survival horror game was when they first came out, but once you pull it off, you've got an entire genre to yourself.

This fact really limits us creatively because we have to begin game pitches with "It's like Halo but..." or "It's like GTA but..." in order to get funding for a prototype that we can then use to demonstrate the game, and then get green lit for full development.
That is, unless the Publisher asks for a vertical slice - which a lot still do - in which case the game has to be stripped back to be simple enough from a design point of view that building out an entire level with every game mechanic complete is relatively cheap, otherwise it won't get funding at all.

If you're skipping the Publisher model entirely, than your ideas boil down to what you can afford to do. You might personally have the greatest open world game that will ever be made fully designed in your head - but you don't have the US$60,000,000.00 needed to make it. So, retro games, small mobile titles, or niche genres with simplistic assets are the best you can cough out.

As computing power becomes a non-issue - and we're pretty close to that point, actually - game development itself will open up to the masses. That's where you're going to see the magic happen. A million people will a million new ideas dropping the next Minecraft onto the internet every six months.
Then... the industry will loop around again. We'll grow tired of the never ending cascade of small indie titles that will flood and drown the gaming population. You'll be so tired of yet ANOTHER new genre mash up, that we'll long for a really, really, really well made, high quality and expensive game experience. And we'll slowly move back to the AAA model again, only with the new developers that are getting on their feet today.

No, we haven't even seen the best ideas, let alone ALL of the ideas. Not even close.

And that is why games that do innovate for innovation's sake deserve to be cut a little bit of slack.

And why Jim is wrong in this video:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7005-Innovation-Gamings-Snake-Oil

But it's not as dire as you paint it, OP. From where I'm sitting, there's still plenty of interesting titles around.

I think the problem is also that people already in the industry are scared to try new things, whereas the best new and innovative ideas are coming from people outside the established industry. On the one hand, we see plenty of great and unique ideas in the indie circuit because of that, but on the other there are plenty of people like myself who have good, interesting and new ideas, who can't find anyone to fund or work with on projects purely because of not having the contacts or whatever in the industry. Then it becomes a vicious cycle of trying to get collaborators and funding only to find ideas stifled or downplayed by an industry that's scared of the status quo. In my case, it's down to not having programming experience and nobody with programming experience being willing to help (on that note, if anyone with artistic or programming experience wants to help me with my game then get in touch for details :P).

I would love to see more unique game ideas, particularly when it comes to telling well-written stories in a new way. However, while the industry is the way it is I can't see it happening outside of indie titles, which unfortunately tend to have a habit of drowning in a sea of other indie games unless they're really really good...

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