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Game Industry Facing Creativity Crisis?

"The video game industry is facing a hardening of the creative arteries as aging gamers' tastes increasingly shift toward sequels and games based on movies, industry participants said this week.

With more and more titles chasing the success of their predecessors and content owners digging deep into their libraries to tap older material for quick fail-proof conversion into games, the industry is faced with a question more serious than rhetorical: What's new?"

Your thoughts?

this is expected of any medium as it gets more and more mainstream, but even so it is a shame to see creativity go down the pan as it were.

But take a look at games released/in development right now and there are rays of light passing through the heavy cloud of sequels and cashins.

Stalker: Shadow of chernobyl
Far Cry.
Evil Genius & blue vault

Eventually Im sure the situation will be like modern cinema, block busters & sequels you go to hollywood, for more in depth & original films you look elsewhere, The gaming industry might take on this guise in some way or another.

Not to say that sequels & licences are bad, its just that typically developers take the easy route with them, ie. copying a film exactly without doing anything new. Hopefully in the future dev houses will take the world of the film/licence and build a completely new story/game around that which can be very compelling and cool if done right. 
Re: Hmm 
Hopefully in the future dev houses will take the world of the film/licence and build a completely new story/game around that which can be very compelling and cool if done right.

See: FAKK2. 
there are many examples out there already, but it can be taken further.

avp / avp2 is also a good example of taking established licences (in this case films & comics) and making some amazing games out of them while at the same time being creative. 
"The Hollywood film industry is facing a hardening of the creative arteries as aging movie goers' tastes increasingly shift toward sequels and films based on books, industry participants said this week.

With more and more titles chasing the success of their predecessors and content owners digging deep into their libraries to tap older material for quick fail-proof conversion into motion pictures, the industry is faced with a question more serious than rhetorical: What's new?"


to summarize. old news. people are constantly up in arms about this. and they're constantly knocking down a door that's been wide open for the last ten-fifteen, maybe twenty, years. I remember playing Platoon on my next door neighboors C64, it was what a gazillion years ago? I've played some fine-as-fuck games since, many of them original ones. and they seem to keep on coming too. you can all bet your saggy asses that fifteen years ago there was a bunch of rotund geek afficionados hogging their poor parents' phone-line with their single-digit baud modems, all but tripping over their own snickers-stained fingers trumphing themselves in spelling the doom for the budding video game culture.

so, boring. seen it. get the fuck off my internet. 

I've always wanted to see FPS' that strayed from human-vs-alien/demon type stuff and we got it - Farcry, and um... other games I've never gotten the chance to play yet. 
great post wrath. =) 
American McGee should be president of the entire time continuum, John Carmack's brain should be implanted into a glass jar and kept alive hooked up to a super computer, and genius game-designer John Romero should make a movie-to-game adaptation of Gigli. Crisis averted. 
I had a film studies prof I hated who once called that whole sequel thing "the industry consuming its own flesh." I can only hope she heard that from someone else to justify my dislike of her. 
look at Raven Software. perfect example. Sure they are really good at making games, but when's the last time they made something original and it didn't bomb? that would be HERETIC ONE.

I actually hate games based on movies, I think it's a stupid idea until they can actually replicate the movie's actual environments. 
A Wrath Says... 
...this is the same old guff that has been going around since the game industry began and will keep going around as long as there are new people being born or people with poor memories getting "shocked" by the same news they read two years ago.

A more accurate article would have read...

"The Journalism industry is facing a hardening of the creative arteries as low quality hacks are forced to recycle old news on a disturbingly regular basis in order to try and fill the huge blank spaces in their publications that could only otherwise be filled by doing some proper hard thinking, hard research and hard work..." 
I thought Hexen was like a billion times better that Heretic, Hexen 2 sucked though. But Raven does hardly ever make anything "original." DarkForces sequels and Quake sequels seems to be it lately. Oh, and that X men game. 
Hexen, Hexen II and Heretic II were all good, but they were *all* based on Heretic. Their new games are based on Soldier of Fortune, Star Wars, Star Trek, Quake, etc. They tried making their own original games in the form of Mageslayer and some other game using the same engine, but they bombed as far as I know. I'm sure they could make an original game that would work if they wanted to, but Activision who own their asses, who probably not let them due to the greater risk.

And I would argue that today's game industry IS more derivative and unoriginal than in the past, simply because now you need a publisher to fund you and you have to convince them that your game will sell beforehand, rather than the days of a bunch of people throwing a game together in under a year. Of course, online development and modding is an exception to this. 
I still can't believe Raven is here in Wisconsin (Madison)... 
I still want Strife II, dammit. 
I Want... 
Diablo III

Stalker-Shadow of Chernobyl looks really interesting. Perhaps it and Far Cry are indicators of a turn towards whole environments as opposed to linear level progression. 
Go Packers! 
Raven is my best hope of getting into the games industry, it's only an hour from here in Milwaukee, I won't have to move too far (as opposed to Moving to Texas for every other game company!) but alas - they rarely hire and they don't have internships! I wanted to visit them on my campus tour of UW Madison but I didn't have time :( 
be nice to work there probably.

I had no idea you were in Milwaukee... I'm in Appleton. 
My Dad 
is an admin for a DoD server, there's a few guys who play there that live in appleton. 
I just got hired at Raven, and am now madly dealing with moving.

I'm pretty pleased about it. :)

It makes me feel funny in my pantal region.


And wrath's post is dead-on. People have been bitching about how "everythings always the same old shit" since the dawn of time. 
Same Shit 
Different Decade 
Gw Pjw 
when i'm done with college and if you still work there put in a good word for me, even though you don't know who i am 
Well, at least someone's gone back and done a proper re-hashing of old gameplay mechanics. This game is fun as hell, even with the trite killing zombies and devils action. It's just the sheer over-the-topness that they recaptured of the older games, like Doom1 :) 
It's all about where you look. And if you're looking for original games or commentary, why in the world would you start at yahoo, or cnn? :p
anyway here's a quick few games that are topical, and diverge a bit from the norm: 
So have any of you know of or played any original games recently? It'd be interesting to see all the examples that demonstrate how wrong the article is. 
you know what? I finally skimmed the article, and have just found out it's not so much about unoriginal games being made, as it is about gamers not wanting them....

oh well, I can't really argue with that... 
should be:

'not so much about unoriginal games being made, as it is about gamers not wanting' original games.... 
Yeah. I've been following the ABA Games guy for a year now. He's awesome. I really think pushing an obscene number of simple objects on screen makes for more attractive games than pushing fewer high-detail objects. 
Marginally Related 
Playing Recent Original Games 
I've tried to think of all the original games I've played recently, and I came up with a big fat zero. Part of it is defining an original game -- as so many people have pointed out "nothing" is original these days; it's all based off of something else. Example: GTA3 is fairly unique as far as games go, but it's the third in a series of games. It follows the footsteps of the previous games, but takes it to the third dimention. How can that be original?

Another reason I haven't really played any original games lately is that I haven't played any new games at all in the past six months. (I'm sure many of you have heard me whining about not having a machine that can play recent stuff.) This leaves me with playing GameCube games, and I've only recently aquired that so I'm still working my way through some older GC games that interest me. Of course, this brings up the logical argument that original games wouldn't necessarily utilize the most recent technology; especially games developed in the independant community.

Or maybe I just haven't played any original games lately because I'm too mainstream. 
I Think Criticizing 
games on the basis of originality is akin to criticizing theatre because the plotting remains essentially the same after 2500 years.

There is creativity involved in visual design but wether you play Quake or Tetris, you are essentially pushing, pulling or popping something to get closer to the end of the game.

Personally I like games like Dues Ex, No One Lives Forever, or Max Payne (recently played Max Payne 2, almost flawless as a game) that focus on story content as the primary means of emmersion, and games that do this either stick to certain formulas or conventions or they come across as unconvincing. 
Has Anyone Mentioned 
that upcoming game where you run a movie-making company? you get to start from the ground up, direct your own movies, import actors/props, customize storyboards, etc. That has to be the most original game i've ever heard of (at least in recent memory.) I mean you're not building an entire empire or building railroads or rollercoasters, so as far as sims go it seems original. 
you don't have to get all postmodern about this. All I'd personally like to know about are games that you yourself felt were different, or unexpected in someway from the games you've played before. 
An Objection... 
I guess this thread is still going. Here's my take: "Sequel" doesn't automatically mean a game isn't innovative any more than "not a sequel" automatically means a game is innovative. The fallacy here is the belief that games are are like movies: that the creative essence of a game is the plotline and characters. The truth is that plot and characters are usually just window dressing, and the meat of a game is the gameplay! So you can drape a tired old plot about a knight rescuing a princess over an innovative set of game systems, and you have actually made progress. 
I cant remember who it was exactly, but it was one of the devs behind GTA3, he said something like this -

"GTA3 is like pacman, you are the yellow guy, you navigate around a maze of roads, the ghosts are the police and the white dots are civilians"

So with this in mind you COULD say that there hasn't been an original FPS since wolfenstein, nor an original RTS since Dune 2. All games these days are based on older games, its just that some games have original ideas thrown into the mix. 
Well, if you strip stories down to their most basic there's but a few basic categories, as far as I can remember. man against man, man against himself, man against nature, man against god...

This is of importance and interest to one category of people. Not readers, not writers. The only people who care about it this way is academics. So you could say that all games are variations on pong, pac-man or tetris. But how does that take help you forward? An analysis is nothing without a conclusion. Academic analysis of game development has some upsides, and breaking a game design down into functions and input/output can be of immense use to you -- especially early on in the design process. But it can also lead to games that go meh. Black and White is a great example of this. Had they not fumbled something so fundamental as game progression, in a game with only five missions -- no less, maybe people would be more curious about BW2 than HL2.

There's no fail-safe blueprint you can follow when designing games, so the best you can do is to keep your eyes on the prize and ask yourself "Is this fun?" and if it is, weigh the cost for implementing it against you budget and make your call.

The truth is that plot and characters are usually just window dressing, and the meat of a game is the gameplay!
True, and false. There are exceptions. What you're saying here, when I translate it into the dev-speak I raised a warning flag for, is that the short-term goals (solving a puzzle, killing the enemies in the room, overtaking the car in front of you..) should be more important than the long-term goals (finding out what happens to our protagonist, finishing first in the star cup circuit, saving the planet). In principle of course, this makes sense. If the player doesn't feel that her short-term goals makes sense and rewards her she'll never get a chance to beat the long-term goals.

I like to bring up ICO alot, and I'm gooing to again. What keeps you playing that game is not the gameplay per se. The short-term goals (solving puzzles, scaring off enemies and helping Yorda) aren't all that innovative. The puzzles are mor often than not just you moving some crates around, combat is a button-mashing excersise and once you learn what Yorda can- and cannot do it's not that hard to figure out how to progress. Once you'r two or three hours in, you've gotten a taste of most of the things the game will ever throw at you.

But I kept on going anyway, because the long-term goals were interesting enough to outweigh the tedium (albeit very minor, I enjoyed that part too) of the short-term goals. I wanted to see the next part of the castle, I wanted to experience more jaw-dropping visuals and find out what would happen to the dynamic duo, as they were.

In short, ICO is a game that judged on the gameplay alone, should be average at best -- the only innovation (and that's slightly stretching the definition) is you having to help Yorda around. But it isn't -- the gameplay is great because it integrates so seamlessly with everything else.

Video games are not board games, we don't have to use top hats and shoes to represent actors, or an event card as a stand-in for in-game functions. Video games aren't just about gameplay, they're about experiences. We can use up to 60% of the players available senses and a boatload of the player's brain functions, and any good game takes advantage of this as far as the game setting and design document allows it. 
Yes, It's True 
when I bring up ICO, I often goo a little bit. It's just that good. 
okay, good point. But, (on the topic of dev-speak,) a better way to translate what i intended to say is:

The guy who wrote the article is missing the point if he thinks that a movie license or a sequel is unoriginal just becuase it's based on existing IP. A game isn't original just becuase it's based on original IP. Innovation in games happens elsewhere. 

RPG: "Or maybe I just haven't played any original games lately because I'm too mainstream."

I think this is a misconception. IMO right now the ratio of original-games-to-not for mainstream and independant devs are probably pretty close. DDR, Sims, Ribbon, etc have been quite popular over the years, while the indie devs have certainly made huge amounts of clones. It's been said that the publishers stifle creativity, but imo, a lot of the time people don't produce creative stuff regardless of how much freedom they're given.

zwiffle: yeah, a lot of lionhead's games do have the potential to be interesting. we'll have to see how it turns out.

wrath on academia: some good points here, and something I've been very self-concious of whenever I post topics here, since they tend to be more academic-ish then I like. The natural question that comes to my mind though is, where/how do forums like this one fit, in all of this?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but currently most of the posts here seem to be one of 2 things (!damn school!), idle chat or troubleshooting. There's typically not a whole lot of analysis or whatever. So whenever I'm thinking of submitting a topic, I'm always aware of the question: would it be better to try discussing this, or let the maps speak for themselves and have people figure things out on their own? 
Blah Lack Of Originality Or Not Isn't Very Interesting 
What happends way too often though is that games aren't very original AND (here comes the important part..) the production quality isn't good enough. This happends all over again when publishers try to play it safe with proven concepts but then not giving the developers sufficient time/resources so in the end they'll end up focusing all PR talk on the one semi-original idea they've thrown in to make it stand out at least a bit and of course the latest technical achivements be it ragdollphysics, dynamiclights or whatever.

This post was probably very confusing and stupid but so am I... 
Spamming inevitably shit mobile games is a fair indication the games industry might be in some sort of crisis ;) 
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