No More Heroes | The State of Gaming in 2018
For many of us, we began gaming back in the early 2000’s when the Xbox and PlayStation era took gaming away from the 8-bit, side scrolling prison that so few games had previously broken out of. Many will remember such 3D classics like Quake and Wolfenstein; games that brought us the modern gameplay we all love and cherish.
Born out of the then ‘Next Gen’ consoles were the Master Chief, Marcus Fenix, Nathan Drake, Kratos, Dante from Devil May Cry and Commander Shepard. Adventures we never thought possible, all of a sudden appeared on our screens in beautiful HD. The characters had facial expressions, well written dialogue and distinct styles.
A masterclass in gaming and story telling lies behind those names. And as we have all spent years waiting and watching these deep narratives unfold through our TV screens, we, the gamers, the developers and even the characters, declined into the veil of years.
It would seem that not even our most beloved characters can escape the cold clutches of time. We now see Kratos passing his knowledge onto his son; Dante, a demi-god, has grown visibly weary from keeping Hell at bay; Nathan Drake retired happily to the coast of some paradise with his wife and daughter, and Shepard remains lost in space – status – K.I.A.
For a lot of us, these franchises kept us up late on school nights, gave us something to talk about with our friends and even taught us to save up our pocket money so we could afford these new age works of art. Hell, for some of us it was our first time breaking the law; as your sweaty palms all but threw the €50 note at Mr Gamestop (Yes, remember when games used to only cost €50?) and ran before they realised you weren’t 18 and that your brother has a beard in his ID while yours is still yet to sprout.
You see, my biggest problem at the moment is, while there are still some sequels lined up, the likes of Devil May Cry 5 and Gears 5, a lot of our characters are dead and for some of us that means the series is dead.
At the tender age of 22 I feel somewhat disenfranchised from the games I grew up with. Remastered versions hardly capture the original feelings and the sequels don’t stack up. So do developers have us, the gamers from the ‘New Generation’ in mind when deciding on upcoming projects or are they trying to capture the imagination of the younger ones?
Or worse, has the appetite for heavily invested series faded away with our generation. If you look at last month’s top selling games it reveals a lot about the imagination of both developers and of today’s gamers.
- FIFA 19
- Marvel’s Spider-Man
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- NBA 2K18
- Valkyria Chronicles 4
- Minecraft: Xbox Edition
Not one new idea or original game on the list. Fifa is still pulling in crowds, mostly down to its Ultimate Team option and the empty Minecraft series is still holding down a top 10 position, it leaves a lot to be desired. Every game on this list is a recreation or a dragged-out sequel. But who is to blame? Are developers just giving the people what they want or are the people just mindlessly buying up these re-hashes without question?
I mean, I used to get so excited for games I’d beg my parents to bring me in for their mid-night launches. Now I hardly stir. Physical copy sales are in decline; split screens all but a novelty of the past; Nazi Zombies isn’t what it used to be and Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2 is gone.
What has this world come to? Where have innovative series like Dead Space gone? Are our brains really so short circuited that we can’t handle a three-part series anymore? Is the dystopian future of gaming already upon us? Where microtransactions and overpriced DLCs are the norm as opposed to deep narratives and thrilling gameplay?
I wonder if kids these days get the same excitement from FIFA 19 as I did after waiting a whole two years to find out what would become of Shepard and his team at the end of Mass Effect 2. Or do they get the same chills I got when Dom finally found his wife, Maria tortured to death in a Locust stronghold during Gears of War 2 as they do when coming across diamond ore in Minecraft? I hope not…
As we sit here looking at next month’s releases; Assassins Creed: Odyssey and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 I already know what to expect from them, and from the next year’s instalment and the next.