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October 15, 2019
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Some Things We Want From the New Decade of Gaming

by Dylan Woodbury on 01/05/11 09:35:00 pm   Featured Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
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This article was posted on http://dtwgames.com. Go there now for many great articles on game design, for beginners and veterans alike. This article's location: http://dtwgames.com/design_articles/nextdecadelist.html.

Can you believe in 10 years we have gone from games like The Sims and Deus Ex to games like Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead: Redemption? And while pretty much every site/show/blog is pitching in their two cents of the top 10 games/(game-related-topic)s of the year or next year, I wanted to do something else. Because while every single one of these lists is absolutely perspective-based, I think there are certain things everyone who cares about games as a medium wants to see in the future. So, here are a few things I would like to see tackled in the next ten years (and I believe it can happen).

Explore new characters. I am tired of playing as the tough, smart-aleck, straight, lady-killer, white, adult male. I want to experience some new stories, some new characters with new dilemmas and backgrounds. How about someone who isn’t so tough and confident? Making the main character Black, Latin-American, Chinese, or Indian allows for a different story. I was hoping they would unmask Master Chief as a Japanese man, but that never panned out.

And we need more variety in gender, too. Almost every hero in games is male, and most of the ones who aren’t are hyper-sexualized, rather dull, cliché characters. And using characters of different sexual orientation can be a good way to teach people about the issue and equality. Hopefully someone is listening right now, because it is really sad that this pattern has been going on for as long as it has.

Not be afraid to tackle real-world problems. This is beyond just naming the enemy after a terrorist group. The Twilight Zone episode, “Monsters are Due on Maple Street”, tackled the Red Scare (extreme fear of communism in the US) just years after the period, and I think if a designer has something he/she wants to say about an event or just the times, and it is meaningful in a game format, it should be there. Does that mean we should make a game to cover every major even in recent history like 9/11? No. But if a video game can take something like 9/11 and enlighten the player in some way, it should be done (but maturely). (By the way, I am not supporting a 9/11 game – I don’t think there is any reason to make a game on the topic – nothing much I have to say on the tragedy – kind of black and white)

More artistically mature production choices. Just because a game sold well doesn’t mean it needs a sequel, especially not so soon after the previous game (Call of Duty, I am especially talking to you). A sequel should only be made if the story and/or gameplay can be expanded on, not just to give more of the same old crap, even if it means missing out on a lot of profit. I can think of many of the best books and films that never even got a sequel, and that is a sign of artistic restraint (I would kill whoever announced Citizen Kane 2).

I also want developers to branch out a little more and innovate. All of the low risk/high reward wii games, annual (identical) sports games, guitar hero games, and mindless shooter games are weighing us down, and I am getting sick of seeing them. Do something new, something that will leave a mark on the industry, or do nothing at all. I want to see something new somewhere in any game I play. Is that too much to ask for?

And just a note, we have been making a lot of progress in terms of scheduling releases, but we can still improve. Instead of all the games coming out around the holidays, the games come out at both the beginning and end of the year. It would be nice if good games came out all year round (there is a wide open, uncrowded spot for those three/four months).

Half Life 3.

Haha, just kidding (sort of).

People to focus less on glitter, more on games.

This is especially true since we have no idea what this next decade will bring. With the Wii on its way out, the Move and Kinect just coming onto the scene, and the 3DS ahead of us (and who knows what else), we as an audience need to focus less on the wow factor and more on the fun. Virtual reality doesn’t matter unless it enhances the gaming experience and allows games to tackle new ground with new possibilities. I would honestly not care about any new systems boasting the new technology if I knew the games were going to be all the better for it. So, to developers, make systems that make it easy for designers to make amazing experiences for the player, because that is what grows our industry and pushes games further on their evolutionary path. The future technology is not what excites me, it is the future games and stories they can tell and the way they make us think and act.

Maturity.

If we want to be able to tell stories that cross into our real world, we need to show some maturity. That means not being racist or sexist or demeaning to any group (it is depressing that I have to even mention this), and I am speaking both to developers and to gamers. I’ve started to hate playing online games, where there are always a few mocking others for race and sexual orientation, or have anti-Semitic images and unmentionable body parts for their profile picture. These are the people that give gaming the bad name, which is insane, since I have always thought gamers were supposed to be a little more open and accepting than that (what do I know). But the crazy thing is that video games themselves have been known to have sexist, racist, and other demeaning material (even the big games). I would kinda like to move past that, if you don’t mind.

What do you want to see from games in the next decade? Tell us!

This article was posted on http://dtwgames.com. Go there now for many great articles on game design, for beginners and veterans alike. This article's location: http://dtwgames.com/design_articles/nextdecadelist.html.


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