What I Want Next-Gen

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Posted November 20, 2013 by Peter Bradley in Nerdy Bits

The current gaming generation has given birth to many of my favourite games.  Storytelling and immersion excelled in ways I would never have dreamed possible back on my original Playstation, so it’s time to look ahead and give my hopes and concerns for the impending eighth generation of video game consoles.

 

Single Player Stories.

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One thing I’m a little concerned about is how many games are pushing constant online worlds.  I have no objection to this for certain games (The Division and Destiny look like tonnes of fun,) but even some of the racing games are trying to push this.  Game publishers are big supporters of always online games because it keeps players involved, stops piracy and offers and easy avenue for downloadable content.  I understand all of this and I’m totally down for playing these games, but multiplayer experiences did not make me fall in love with video games; immersive single player stories did.  Multiplayer modes in most games aren’t something I will even try with a few notable exceptions – more often than not I grow worried when a previously single player only game is announced to be receiving a multiplayer mode as it can often mean the developers have to detract attention from the main portion of the game.

Some games from next gen seem to offer proper single player experiences: Killzone Shadowfall is said to have a generous campaign, Infamous Second Son will and The Evil Within is clearly story orientated.  It’s no surprise that I don’t buy Call of Duty every year since anything beyond the multiplayer is generally an afterthought that most fans don’t even touch.  By all means, give the competitive gamers their yearly fixes, but give me my Last of Us and Mass Effect too.

Finished Games

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The ability to patch your game if its buggy is great, but that doesn’t mean you can release a broken product.  Recently Batman Arkham origins has been filled with issues, some of them game breaking.  Short and sweet: don’t do it!

The Return of Survival Horror

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Okay, if you’ve read my Resident Evil retrospective then you might have guessed this was coming.  A genre that flourished on the Playstation and even more so on the Playstation 2 was almost entirely absent this generation.  Closest we got was Dead Space, which was certainly horror, but actually took more inspiration from Resident Evil 4 than it did actual survival horror games.   The two Silent Hill games we got were vastly inferior to their PS2 counterparts.

It has not escaped my attention that there is in fact plenty of horror games coming to the PC (and maybe PS4,) over the next year or so which is fantastic and I can’t wait to play them, but these games are horror games, not survival horror which has a specific meaning.  I’ve recently played some of Outlast which is a scary game, but is rather linear and features no combat. Nothing wrong with that of course, but survival horror is old school Resident Evil, Silent Hill or Fatal Frame…hell, throw in Dino Crisis.  Solving puzzles, learning the area, saving ammo; it’s a style of gameplay that’s sadly not existed for almost a decade and I want it back.

A Return of Good Franchises

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Speaking of comebacks, how about a good new Crash Bandicoot? A Medievil reboot? Spyro the Dragon? Any of the survival horror franchises I mentioned previously?  I’m all for new ideas, but it’s a crying shame that these series either vanished without a trace or declined into mediocrity with poor developers.  They re-launched Tomb Raider this year in what was an excellent game, albeit one that borrowed heavily from Uncharted and Arkham Asylum.  Why not re-imagine some of these games?

Most of us who played these games as kids would love to spend our adult money on new iterations.  The gap in time is what makes the new game all that much sweeter; I may not be a Grand Theft Auto fan, but look at how much everyone got excited for the release of five.  Does anyone really get that excited for the new Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed? One every year is just too much.  Hell, too many frequent sequels is a topic all on its own, but just think how excited you might be if next year’s CoD and AC were replaced with a new AAA Crash Bandicoot and Destruction Derby?  I’m just speaking from my childhood, replace those games with any of your own, trust me…the thought is exciting.

A Game That Nails the DC Universe

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Rocksteady gave us a series that gets Batman right, with a great story that’s amazing to play.  This one is perhaps more personal, but I’d love similar treatment for more DC heroes (I wouldn’t say no to some Marvel either.)  What’s frustrating in this regard is that there’s been some major DC games in the recent years, all of which feature genres of gameplay I don’t enjoy; I don’t like MOBAs, fighters or MMOs, so Infinite Crisis, Injustice and DC Universe Online didn’t appeal to me despite featuring my favourite characters.  Just think what a good dev could do with Green Lantern’s constructs or The Flash’s speed powers; imagine not only combat, but puzzles that required super-speed so you need to complete them in bullet time.  Naturally a great Superman game would be killer, but he’s perhaps the most difficult to crack since his powers are so vast.  Surely a Green Arrow game could work ala Tomb Raider?  Maybe setting it on the island would be too close, but mix said game with Arkham City and you’re maybe onto an easy winner.

New IPs

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As much as I’ve spoken heavily of franchises I’d love to see return, I can’t help but notice how much of the release calendar is made up of sequels.  Destiny, Watchdogs, The Division, The Evil Within, The Witness, Dying Light and Knack are all encouraging examples of developers at least trying to expand the market place, I just hope it continues throughout the generation.

No First Year Drought.

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This is actually looking optimistic.  Normally after the launch of a new console early adopters have to suffer through a massive dry spell of game releases, but the calendar for early 2014 is looking pretty fine.  Watch Dogs, Drive Club, Infamous, Destiny all scheduled before summer.  Okay, okay, Titanfall too… I don’t mean to ignore it, but as someone who’s buying a PS4, I’m only paying attention to that particular release schedule.  The PS3 had a particularly bad first year as did the recent Wii U so here’s to having plenty to play in 2014.

Naughty Dog

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More from them.

 

This holiday season is pretty sparse for current gen systems in terms of exciting titles and this is because most of the publishers A-teams are working on next generation content.  As fun is this past E3 was, I can’t wait to see all the new games revealed next year because if you look back at any system launch, it’s always the second full year where the games hit hard.  Before we get there though, let’s have a fun – and hopefully issue free – launch.

It’s gonna be a long three weeks (in the UK anyway.)


About the Author

Peter Bradley