Seeing the extended trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes last month, and the reactions of those in attendance (I believe this was unveiled at PAX, I assume it was a closed-door showing, media only), got me thinking.
Thinking about our expectations for games, particularly those coming from AAA studios, as they have considerable influence with the money, marketing, and tech at their disposal, to shape guiding trends and perceptions of our medium of those not considered "gamers". Leigh Alexander's excellent article on the state of game journalism: http://www.edge-online.com/features/videogame-journalisms-decline/ got me started down this path of thinking, and the Ground Zeroes trailer (and the reactions of those in attendance) was to me a clear example of the wrongs expressed in her article.
First off, I'm a fan of the MGS series, however I view it (and enjoy it) from a very specfic lens, as a series that sticks to its tropes, and is quite happy to be "video-gamey." However it's fair to expect more from the series, and games as a whole at this point in time - we (journalists, fellow developers, gamers) need to expect and demand more from our leading lights. What did we see gameplay-wise in this trailer? Snake can drive vehicles now (even in reverse, hilarity ensues!). Snake can call in a helicopter, and you can choose the music it plays when it flies in.
This isn't good enough. This is the big unveiling? The trailer was a 10 minute cinematic, engine showcase, followed by a few minutes of tired mechanics and gimmicks that add nothing to the genre or medium.
You know what would have been cool? If those in attendance had booed when the English language interpretor/MC asked the crowd what they thought. Or if there had been stone cold silence instead of laughter and applause when Snake backed the jeep up, or when it was revealed the player can choose the music of their helicopter. Tell Konami and Hideo Kojima this isn't good enough, it's not what we want. Use your money, talent, and tech to advance the medium.
I understand whoever were in attendance would feel pressured to "tow the line" and not risk offending Konami, Kojima etc. I also know very well that a product doesn't need to always reinvent the wheel. But we are many iterations into the MGS series, and choosing to show these gameplay elements in the unveiling doesn't inspire confidence in ground-breaking, meaningful features to come.
Ultimately, the blame lies with us, the developers that play it safe, and the complicit journalists that encourage it.
If this is the best that big-name, high-profile studios and franchises like Konami and MGS can muster because we ask no more of them, our medium is doomed to always be regarded as a childish waste of time by the masses.