Do People Really Want "Original" - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:52 PM
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From an IGN interview with Prince of Persia producer Ben Mattes:

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For years we've all been reading complaints about sequels and companies churning out carbon copies of proven formulas without focusing on innovation or taking risks. Fans, developers and critics alike seemed ravenous for new ideas -- new IPs; major innovations -- advances in this art-tertainment (I'm trying to coin a new term here ) form we all love.

We tried to really embrace this challenge on PoP. We set out to keep a few core fundamentals but to re-imagine everything else, discarding some very well entrenched ideas not only about the brand but also about videogames in general (and we weren't alone. EA took some major risks this year with new IP and innovations - Mirror's Edge and Dead Space, for example).

What surprises me is how little these high level risks seem to be noticed and appreciated as attempts to shake up the industry and push things forward. Perhaps I'm an idealist, but I think perhaps I was expecting a few more virtual pats-on-the-back for our attempts to do something new.
Whether this means we didn't totally succeed in our risk taking or whether our industry in fact has a stronger appetite for the familiar then it wants to admit remains to be seen. Honestly I hope it is the former.
http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/940/...0&RSSid=940408

I for one agree, while each of these games seems to have taken a step in the direction of innovation and originality, and some people recognize it, overall the critics say "nice try, good idea, maybe you will get it right next time," and then the next time "well, it's not original, x did it first."

Each of the games he mentions are in the middle 80s on metacritic...good, but not great. Gears of War 2 got a 93, and while it was good in terms of graphics, better than its predecessor in terms of story, and was an overall epic and fun game to play, it had little in the realm of originality or innovation (not to mention a broken multiplayer, which considering how short the GeOW2 campaign was, a solid multiplayer is a necessity).

So it's tough to say who is right here, each reviewer is their own person. For one, I thought Dead Space and PoP were fantastic (the former for its mood and immersion, the later for its story, graphics, and taking a risk with the change in difficulty). While I thought both could have done things better (the former with boss fights and variety, the latter with varying difficulty levels from newbie to hardcore *something mentioned in the article* and tighter controls), I still think that they deserved above a 90 overall.

However, I'm a bit more mixed on Mirror's Edge. Frankly, I didn't like it and really did feel like it was a "nice idea but you'll get it right next time." I don't want to waste time blasting the game, but suffice to say it wasn't for me.

So does this mean we should penalize the original/innovative games that don't quite pull it off or give them bonus points for taking the risk? Both have their drawbacks. Or, should we just let reviewers of all shapes and sizes say what they think about the games and then let metacritic average them out (which generally leads to a middle 80s score, low sales, and thus no likelihood we see more games utilizing those innovations for the most part).

*I'd also like to throw in Far Cry 2 as one of those middle 80s scores, probably because people have certain expectations about an FPS and that game tried to break the mold with its open-world gameplay, multiple ways to approach each objective, "relatively dynamic" story, and other real-world elements for immersion. It was not quite my cup of tea, but I definitely liked it more than Mirror's Edge and would like to see more FPS's pick up the ideas from Far Cry innovations but put it into a more "epic, cohesive story arc."

Just my own thoughts, what do you think?
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:28 PM
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First I'm not going to give as much a shit if an FPS tries something different because most are just plotless or terrible plot MDK sims. Few try to break that mold imo. It's a shame but most of those devs. are so fucking lazy to try something substantially different. Metroid Prime I'd consider outside of it as it really has a lot of background info and that is a big thing as well as really making sure platforming is included in it as well.
I also think Maken X was a great first person perspective but it was more a fighter then anything, same with Condemned.
Anyway yeah I don't mind these devs. taking a risk but I think they should take advice from Sega's old people like Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the people at Smilebit and the main people behind Nights and the creators of Panzer Dragoon. I mean in my opinion Sega brought it outside of the box more then anyone. Nights is basically the first Disney story equivalent of a video game. I'm referring to old Disney and I mean that as the BIGGEST compliment I can give Sega. It conveyed so much in those cutscenes without needing dialogue.
So consulting Sega and other Japanese devs. in terms of how to present story would be a colossal leap forward or even asking people like Scorsese, Afronovsky, etc. would be giant. I still think consulting these Sega people would be very smart.
Not enough Western companies treat video games as their baby like the Japanese do and we similarly do with movies.
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:34 PM
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I liked both Mirrors Edge and Dead Space,and I hate EA as a developer. I ended up renting both games from gamefly and then turned right around and bought them a few weeks later because I couldn't bare to part with them.It's a shame that ME didn't sell very well,the game wasn't perfect but after I got the hang of it I found my self playing it three times in one week.Now Prince of Persia I thought was way too repetitive to enjoy after the first five hours or so.I commend EA FOR FINALLY MAKING SOMETHING ORIGINAL!!!
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:39 PM
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Indeed... It just seems like people wanting to bitch about something. Okami was pretty original and although it ranks up there as one of the best recieved games on the PS2, it sat on store shelves, selling poorly.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalel1974 View Post
EA FOR FINALLY MAKING SOMETHING ORIGINAL!!!
They did before and it was called Majestic. It failed.
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalel1974 View Post
I liked both Mirrors Edge and Dead Space,and I hate EA as a developer. I ended up renting both games from gamefly and then turned right around and bought them a few weeks later because I couldn't bare to part with them.It's a shame that ME didn't sell very well,the game wasn't perfect but after I got the hang of it I found my self playing it three times in one week.Now Prince of Persia I thought was way too repetitive to enjoy after the first five hours or so.I commend EA FOR FINALLY MAKING SOMETHING ORIGINAL!!!
The Sims, Spore, Skate wern't original?
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:59 PM
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Here is the way I see it:

1. EA and Ubisoft needed to mix it up because they were getting crucified by core gamers for releasing the same games over and over again. So they came out with PoP/Far Cry 2 (Ubisoft), and Dead Space/Mirror's Edge (EA). Thank god both of these companies listened to the gaming community. Even if all of these titles are declared failures and do not receive follow ups, I'm thankful to have these games because they are great. And I've yet to see anyone say that EA/UBI should not have made these games. Even those gamers I know who didn't like these titles were still happy they got made. See Yahtzee's comments at the end of the Mirror's Edge review.


2. These titles were given a decent advertising budget, but nothing special. The publishers figured the core gamers would eat it up given that we've been bitching about EA doing so many sports titles, and Ubisoft doing nothing but Clancy games. The problem is, very little effort was spent marketing these games to JP6 - and by that I mean running tons of TV ads on Comedy Central, Spike, and Adult Swim. I've seen commercials for Mirror's Edge and Prince of Persia a couple of times. I think I saw a single commercial for Far Cry 2 during debut week...once. I've never seen a TV ad for Dead Space. Given the limited exposure these games received, was it expected they would each go on to be blockbusters?


3. Critics scored these games well, but not AAA. What does that mean? In a word: Nothing. People are reading to much into the scores and not enough into the comments reviewers made. I think overall the metacritic scores for these games are pretty fair. I think all four of these titles were, to varying degrees, "Good Games" (though I haven't properly played Mirror's Edge yet). I also think it's foolish of people to expect that these games would drop to universal high scores. While these are new IPs and they do bring something fresh to the table, none of these games are totally original or innovative. I don't mean to sound harsh or mean, but each of these titles has a firm grounding in some other genre that we've all seen before. Given that people in general are usually more judgmental of new products rather than old hats, I think these games did very well.


4. Gamers bought these titles, but not in the numbers the publishers were hoping for. While these games have not become blockbusters, letís keep things in perspective here: very few new IPs sell a million or more copies in the first 90 days. Usually those that do are huge first or second party titles with tons of marketing and hype (read: Gears of War). So the fate of these new IPs could have been much, much worse. The fact that they sold as well as they did during this busy holiday season, which isn't over yet, is a really good sign. Maybe EA and Ubisoft don't think so, but we all know they've had some unrealistic projections in the past.


So to sum up, these games were great but not ground breaking. If EA and Ubisoft thought they would be instant million sellers, they were foolish. If they decide to make a long term investment in these IPs and push forward, the next entries in each respective series will likely do much better and be greeted warmly. Lastly, let's return to the sales discussion in February. I think a good number of people put these titles on hold in favor of better known titles like Fallout 3, Gears 2 and others.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:04 PM
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Gamers and comic nerds have a very similar problem, they constantly demand new and original stuff, then bitch and moan when something is changed or someone tries something different.

Case in point (games)- Mirrors Edge. Gamers complain about all FPS' being basically the same. Mirrors Edge comes out and sales are super low and reviews are so so.

Case in point (Comics)- Hawkeye. Hawkeye had his own comic for about 12 issues, which was selling horribly. Marvel canceled the title, then a few months later Hawkeye is killed off. Suddenly the internet is filled with peeps whose favorite character is Hawkeye. Sure, they didn't buy his book, but they love him so much they feel that it is a personal slight from Marvel that the character is killed off.

Comic nerds are worse than gamers, but they also have a 40 year head start on bitching and moaning
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Old 12-23-2008, 02:10 AM
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Original games sell for shit.

Games are like a lot of other industry things, if you want big sales you go with the lowest common denominator. There are people who say that they want original and unique things but more often then not it's just a generic catch all complaint. Gamers, and people in general don't look for unique experiences, we look for things that we can relate to and understand.
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:20 AM
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Weasl with Sega I would say most of the time it's because they couldn't market for shit, at least in the U.S.
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