Most gamers will agree- the biggest leap forward in video games was the jump from 2D to 3D graphics. We need another jump. While it’s easy to expect the big three to put a console out with new features every so often, developers should not rely on them to pave the way.
When Bioware released Mass Effect, I had a hard time justifying the purchase. A 3rd person, action/adventure, sci-fi game where Humanity must save the galaxy- haven’t heard that before. It wasn’t until Mass Effect 2 released to a ton of praise that I bought the first, played it and then got the second.
I ended up loving its in-depth, decision-oriented storytelling and out-of-the-box characters. It was a great game! What especially interested me, though, was that Mass Effect 2 would analyze your save data from the first game (provided you kept your save) and the game would change depending on what happened in your save.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Whoa! Whoa.
How the crap is that supposed to work? [SPOILER ALERT] I killed off an entire race, sent a couple of major characters to their certain doom and… died at the end!
Bioware made it happen though. My character and every decision I made carried over to ME2 and my game was very different from my friends’. When you think of the possibilities this yields for games- the experience you could get from a series is exponential. It may not be a “huge” jump but this is the kind of thinking that can seriously raise the quality and experience of games.
Innovating is a very difficult thing. It involves predicting the future- giving people what they don’t know they want. How do you do that? I think it starts by eliminating words like “can’t,” “impossible,” and phrases like “won’t work,” “too difficult” and “not enough time.”
Valve developed Steam, what is now the most powerful digital distribution and social media platform for PC Gaming. Blizzard developed its Battle.net infrastructure. The amount of supplemental services and support Bungie has cultivated for its community is just incredible. None of these started out at high caliber but the original thought is what made them.
Better games and better experiences can be made and developers can and should continue to practice this forward thinking in game development.