4. Finite Ammo
If you told a game designer that they could only allocate a total of 100,000 bullets to all the armed forces in a game, which could never be magically replenished under any conditions, and if you told them each entity could only carry a realistic amount at any given moment, how do you think it would change the way that game was designed? The idea here is to design around self-imposed limitations, instead of becoming lazy with the excessive wastefulness of the digital realm. This is a next-gen idea because keeping track of many things accurately is harder than simply generating things that disappear and are forgotten, but also because it pushes game design forward. Enemies would no longer be able to use the "stand and shoot endlessly in the general direction of the player" strategy, which designers seem to think is still acceptable even in big budget "next-gen" games of today. It's not. With finite ammo, suddenly every shot would become valuable, including those of your generic soldier units, whether friend or foe. And while it's true that armies tend to have huge caches of ammunition (with warehouses and crates full of the stuff) they are still finite, and lots of logistical work goes into transporting it to where it's needed, when it's needed. With an idea like this, capturing and protecting supplies would become a natural priority in your mission, and so would hoarding and protecting your own stash. Things like that. Realism isn't the best reason, of course. A better reason is that game designers don't realize the importance of tension and anticipation in a conflict. Fear of being shot is more intense than actually being shot at. All you need to do is watch a battle in Killzone: Shadowfall to see how boring next-gen combat is when everybody is spraying death at each other constantly. You acclimate to it, and it starts to become background noise. As a game designer, shouldn't that be embarrassing? The next generation of games could fix this, and they should. Enemies would have to be scripted to have a Plan B in case they run out of ammo, or rather, they'd have to have a smarter Plan A to begin with. Ambushes, traps, and creativity might become better solutions than blasting a waist-high piece of cover indefinitely. The Last of Us did a wonderful job demonstrating how precious weapons feel when you're scavenging for ammo, but it also made two glaring errors: 1) people react to bullets like they were mosquito bites, and 2) against all logic, every enemy has unlimited ammo right until the moment you search their dead bodies, at which point their guns are usually empty. It gave us a taste of a world where ammunition mattered, but then copped out.