Cliff Bleszinski: games have become more linear and easier
Have you recently gone back and played classic re-releases such as the first Megaman and wondered why it is so dang hard? Well, you're not alone... It is quite evident that more and more games are being released today whose difficulty pale in comparison to the classic games of old. In light of the gaming industry's continuous expansion, especially within the past decade, developers of hardcore titles have had to make the choice to tend to new and emerging markets. It feels like in this current console generation that weve taken a lot of steps to grow the audience and what I thinks happened is that the games have become more linear and easier, so it feels like a lot of quick-time-events, said Bleszinski in a quote from X360A. Bleszinski, who works with Epic on the popular third-person-shooter series Gears of War is not alone in this opinion. In fact, a number of developers have taken this stance toward game development as a way to achieve higher sales. The truth of the matter is that individuals who are new to the gaming market would rather play these easier titles than experience a repeated virtual death in notably more difficult titles such as From Softwares Demon Souls or Konamis classic Contra series. These titles emphasize punishment for mistakes more so than titles like Braid and Fez whose simple game mechanics have surely contributed to their overall market success. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for titles such as these to become overwhelmingly popular. For example, Finnish developer Rovio Mobiles Angry Birds has taken the world by storm credited for its simple game mechanics and emphasis on fun. The new market that has been cultivated is not interested in being punished but rather on just experiencing enjoyment in minute bursts of escapism. Who composes these markets you may ask? Well, for one, these are people you know; individuals who may not have played a large multitude of games in their childhood and who may even be considered casual in their gaming nature. Emerging markets are composed of consumers who enjoy sitting down, enjoying fifteen minutes of gameplay on their smart phone while waiting in line at the movies, and then going on with their daily life. This is evident in the ever-increasing emphasis that game developers have placed on accessibility which has made hit franchises such as Call of Duty and Halo such successes. It would be wrong to write an article pertaining to the increasing degree of ease present in video games without stating that not all games released today are easy in any respect. There are difficult games and difficult levels present in most games but the fact still remains that there has been a drastic change within the last few console generations to develop titles not only for fans but for potential fans as well. Game developers and the larger corporations that may or may not influence their game development have tapped into a market that contains individuals who are not all looking for a challenge when they turn on their Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or Wii but, rather, an escape. Isnt that what games should be all about? A medium of expression through art: yes; but, in addition, a form of escape to fantastic worlds and realities where, in most cases, you dont have any significant consequences for failure as we do in the real world. Islands and beaches that, for the time being, individuals can only dream of in anticipation of one day having the opportunity to experience. Is this not what games are supposed to be? It would be safe to assume that game developers and publishers feel the same way. For the games that they create would not have the market penetration that they have achieved. It is also likely to assume that as we move forward, game development will adapt to the whims of an ever-growing audience; however, in addition, it should be stressed that the hardcore gamers who contributed to series such as Epics Gears of War becoming the success they are today not be left for dead in the wake of a casual crowd - whose love for escapism is shared by a large community of hardened gaming veterans.
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