Legendary game developer Warren Spector (Deus Ex) says that he isn't interested in AAA gaming, calling it "same old, with prettier pictures".
He isn't wrong...
Isn't he? What does "same old" even mean? Same as what? Games these days tell more immersive stories than ever before, and feature better combat than ever before. What has Spector done for the industry of late?
Best case, an argument could be made for this gen being close to last gen, with games like TLoU. But that all blows the gen before out of the water. So idk what the problem is.
They do? I would certainly say the quality of the stories being told are certainly more palatable, but are honestly nothing Hollywood hasn't already explored. I also think you hit the nail on the head "Tell more...." Games are not books, and they are not films. Games are a unique medium and yet are constantly being held down to a "gameplay, cutscene, gameplay, cutscene" we've had since the 90's with stories being told to us in the film method in the AAA space. Better combat? Interesting you went with combat like that's the only thing games can have. An odd declaration players in games must be shooting something or beating something up. Nothing wrong with those experiences, but games can do so much more than just combat. Even the combat you're speaking of hasn't really evolved passed "move along, kill something, keep going." Favorite of the gen AAA game is open world and combat is simply "choose what you want to do: Action or Stealth?" Just listen to how many open world developers of AAA in a sit down stress "we want to give the player choice," Which is honestly short hand for "We want to make everyone happy and not alienate potential buyers." Finally, asking what the person making the criticism has done lately is rather short sighted and dismissive. He's been developing games as whole, not just video games, longer than many users of this site have been alive. He's worked with big publishers and knows the industry inside and out. We don't get perspectives like these often, and criticisms like his are a healthy thing for the industry as a whole.
A lot of games feel same-y. So many games have bare bones and boring upgrade/skill trees, lack of open-ended design, perfunctory quest rewards, etc. If i had a dollar for every game i spent crouch walking in bushes, throwing objects to distract braindead AI so i can hold a button to take them out of the fight. Also, better combat? Like what? In fighting games combat has been dumbed down to the point of boredom. In hack and slash games, I'd say the complexity of combos and systems peaked at Bayonetta or DMC 4, 7 years ago.
@Yukes, You are dead on the money. Spector is wrong. He is another person hanging on in an industry where he has lost relevancy. You do not see people trying to invent new types of Baseball, Basketball, or Football. No, you see teams trying to perfect those tried and true formulas. Same with gaming. Wild off the wall titles may catch our eye but they cannot hold our attention. It is a title that perfects a game type that actually isn't new which winds up having staying power.
The lack of gameplay evolution. Gameplay in games peaked in the PS2 era which mark the last time of true gameplay evolution.
Exactly what I was thinking. If he is so amazing he should show everyone how its done.
***Games these days tell more immersive stories than ever before*** Being more immersive means being prettier and easier to identify with. You just agreed with the person.
No, he's not wrong. The AAA market is not sustainable which is why we have so many delays in projects and so much content either cut out for DLC or season passes. The AAA market plays it way too safe, you want interesting games check out some indie titles or better yet the vast selection on the PC.
Indie games and Nintendo games are all I've been playing lately.
Yep, the indie scene is where proper games are being made. All of the standout experiences have been indie games. Think of Inside last year... You've still got awesome AAA games, but there's way too much reliance on graphics and open world design. But that's what sells...
Games cost more to produce now, so AAA publishers have gotten bigger and a lot of smaller studios have gone under because they're not able to keep up. AAA publishers play things largely by the books because that's what will sell. With the size of teams there's also a lot less room for an individual to step in and make a difference in a game's development. The indie scene then rose up, focusing on smaller games and allowing for a lot more innovation. However those don't get the budget that those AAA games get. There's a lot of indie games I love, but I also hate that they're smaller in scope and the enjoyment is relatively short lived. What we need is some indie games that get larger in budget in scope, and some AAA publishers to give studios the reigns to try smaller passion projects. Not everything has to be a AAA blockbuster, but also not everything needs to be a 4-10 hour indie game. We've lost the middle ground and that's a big issue.
Oh and what was Epic Mickeys excuse? Had a great licence and messed up...twice
He isn't a has-been ranting for the sake of ranting, though. Spector is largely right in what he's saying... Even Horizon Zero Dawn, which was super awesome, is just a rinse and repeat of everything we've seen before.
They were good games though...his games have been lacklustre I think he's just a little bitter....not completely wrong but if he really thinks that then maybe he should try and do something to go against that instead of being all talk.
I don't remember dealing with mechanical animals and dinos before... Do you mean the gameplay? Yeah Horizon may not have reinvented the wheel, but did it have to? Horizon has identity and sticks heavily to its concept despite borrowing ideas. That is where it success greatly: Identity I believe in these days, Identity is very important since pretty much every idea has been played out already. Blizzard succeds doing this where their games aren't original but improved others' ideas and mechanics I can see a gamer complaining about AAA being the same, but a developer? Why isn't he then making an AAA and show others how it's done?
I love games with a LOT of story telling and character progression. Graphics isn't the only aspect of a game. Great voice actors aren't usually cheap. People loves big games and if they're not completely generated by an algorithm, it takes a very large team to do it. Sound effects in games like Gran Turismo and Forza actually needs a lot of different recordings to ensure accuracy and even then, people critics the final product! Motion caps needs to be taken into consideration also to eliminate those old horrible animations. Indie games are amazing at what they do, but I wouldn't abandon AAA titles because they're "same old with prettier pictures". But, I can understand that some of the AA titles can be considered mere copies of prior titles.
I hate this outlook. What was rinse and repeat about hzd? Secondly every game is going to use elements from other games. Even minecraft did. Think of a fans with 100% new experience..... now create that game because you're about to be a millionaire. I personally just want to play good games. A game is the sum of its parts. Hopefully all its parts work together and create a fun game.
wether or not his games are good, and wether or mot he can change that has no impact on his point. (spoilers: no one game dev can chhange the publishing and development practices of an entire industry so long as said industry remains profitable they have no reason to listen).
His point wasn't that games aren't good, it's that there's not enough innovation in AAA games. As for Epic Mickey: Yeah they weren't the best, but there was a lot of things he wanted to do that were shot down. He was originally going to have it so you could be an evil Mickey, of sorts. he also wanted to make it so that the third game in the trilogy was part musical. Both of those were shot down though. At least he was trying for something new. As for what he's actually saying here: Look at series like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry . . . A lot of AAA series just release the same stuff every year or every other year. Those are the games that top the sales charts every year and for the most part they ARE the same thing each year with minimal improvements and a new coat of paint.
Sadly you are correct. I still do not understand how call of duty and battlefield outsold Titanfall 2 a fps game that allow the gamer to use robots like Gundam, with no microtransanctions, free DLC, and an actual single player campaign.
Battlefield One is the only one of those series that I bought new recently. I had gotten Battlefield 3 for free at some point and Battlefield 4 for like $5. I never really played either because I was getting tired of the modern setting and I prefer Bad Company 2 anyways. I'd have bought Titanfall 2 brand new if a WW1 Battlefield wasn't releasing the same month. No idea what EA was thinking there. They would have better off holding it for Spring, if nothing else.
I can think of a ton of AAA games that are still breaking new ground. Persona 5 and Breath of the Wild to name two from this year alone...
I love persona 5 but what ground did it break? It was pretty much a Persona game which we been playing for 20 years. Yeah the dungeons are different than before but nothing groundbreaking.
Typical dismissive crap designed to make him look smart and above it all while not actually offering any real, substantial criticism or alternatives.
Have you read any of his articles or listened to any of his podcasts? He makes very pointed criticisms.
he's right ya know...same rehashed ideas in 1080p and now 4k.
Huge oversimplification. Silly thing to say. Nearly every creative work is at least somewhat influenced, even if only a small amount, by works that came before it. It doesn't mean everything is the same. That's like saying all movies are the same because they use the three-act structure. Games tell unique stories, and give new experiences. That doesn't mean that it's completely different than everything done before it, but it doesn't have to be. There's only so many times you can reinvent the wheel before you should focus a bit on refining it. Artists thinking they're "above the medium" is certainly not a new phenomenon, and usually speaks more about the individual than it does the medium.
That's what people want.
If he were anymore edgy, he'd fall off.
Not as edgy as Kratos.
Kratos is fiction.
And he's still talking the same old bullshit as always. He runs his mouth way too much about AAA. The gaming community has expanded beyond the type of audience that likes the shit he produced years ago. So instead of being happy that gaming has grown over the last 15 to 20 years. He bitches about what other developers create and hates watching it become more popular then anything he ever did.
Okay I went and watched the actual interview rather than this "post about a post". He even admits what he says is reductionist, but he does firmly believe the atmosphere of AAA gaming on the development side stifles creativity--which I agree with.
Preach it. Can't stand the gaming industry currently. And it starts with the devs, writers, and "journalist". It's the same shit with a different coat of paint, it's the same hyped smoke and mirrors bullshit. And yet I still buy it.
I think he's wrong. I'd take the "same old" over the the popular cinematic crap today that tries to be everything but a game. Dead space 1 is better than the last of us. It's scientific fact.
No, but it's not though.
Every once in awhile science is challenged and then science is changed accordingly. I don't think this is one of those times.
Both DS1 *and* TLOU fit under the umbrella of “same old.” .. neither brought much new to the table other than polish, they’re both huuuugely derivative. Still two of my favourite games, but wha? They’re not competing with each other, fitting diffferent niches.
I disagree. I think TLOU was the beginning of a new era for Sony first party studios, its current cycle of cinematic storytelling is very different for them. I think that was/is new to gaming. It's not "pure cutscene" but it might as well be with how limited your actions are. That's a new way to tell stories and Sony ran with it. I agree that the storytelling is a different niche, its obviously popular and makes them a lot of money. Scientifically though, can you objectively say that TLOU is the better game out of the two? Gameplay wise they are very similar, close enough to compare and contrast. We can all agree TLOU story would make a better movie, no question. But game? DS1 was new. Some of the only decent "shoulder cam" games at the time were gears and resident evil 4 (I would throw in re5). The dismemberment set it apart from the crowd, the location and subtle atmospheric storytelling with the cult and such. It's a masterpiece in game design.
I would argue that Uncharted was more the start of their new cinematic focus.
@opinionated Resident Evil 4... IIIIIINNN SPAAAAAACE.
I'd like to see him make a new game studio and then he can bring out new games, with new ideas too.
I'm not interested in AAA gaming either. Bring a downgraded port of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to the Nintendo Switch and we are all good.
I totally agree with him, Yes the games are still fun, but we are playing the same things over and over except now in 1080P (soon 4K). Just watch all the COD games and clones. How many Assassin's Creed clones do we need where stealth is an important aspect of the game? A common saying on theses forums: Halo, Gears, Forza, Halo Gears Forza. Last gen we discovered Farcry, this gen we're playing Farcy gears solid5, The Legend of Farcy breath of the same and Zero Farcy Dawn. Heck here's what's coming from Sony: Uncharted 4 DLC, Uncharted of Us (the serious version) Uncharted Gone the zombie version and Gods of Uncharted. On the plus side, VR might be able to change that and help bring some new ideas like Resident Evil 7
You guys might consider some of what Spector says is right. Games have barely began to explore non-combat AI, and we have never moved beyond "menu dialogue" for character interactions. His arguments are on-point.
I couldn't disagree more there's a reason I hardly play older games any more even on the last gen. There's small things that haven't aged well besides graphics that include gameplay, mechanics etc. Newer games always improve over he older ones that's why I always get the latest consoles and games.
Depends on what someone likes... Me racing games ... They get so much better every gen ....
I completely agree. I have to say if not for Nintendo and Indie developers as they are the only ones taking any risks in gaming these days.
This guys gone senile, he comes out of his hole every year around this time and makes the same completely irrelevant blanket statement. Has really become a big wank now, just like Peter Molyneux, all talk and nothing to show for it decades after initial success,
Yeah totally.... Imo..... Nothing in modern western AAA gaming comes close to Deus Ex/System Shock games.
He's right. Thank god there is Nintendo!
They're not doing anything different.
If are talking about modern gaming as a whole, we've had some pretty amazing games in the this and the last generation. Last of Us, BOTW, Portal 2, MK8, Smash Wii U, Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, Uncharted, Tomb Raider reboot, RDR, Bayonetta, HZD, Nier, Vanquish, Dishonored, Dead Space, Alien Isolation, Bioshock games, Mass Effect 1 and 2, RE7, P5, Titanfall 2 to name a few, But anyway all this guy does is complain these days.
To progress you must create.
He's right!! That's why it's great the indies give other games room to be appreciated.
He right in a lot of ways, one of the things I see that could improve is the physics and interaction in games. The problem is costs and technology, I believe that they are holding us back. Developers have to decide the time vs cost=profits and if they can make more money with a fresh coat of paint then so be it. Even though their are a lot of Indies with great ideas, the costs prohibit many and the tech can hold them back.
Don't get me wrong I love the AAA stuff, but it pisses me off when games like LITTLE NIGHTMARES, RIME hardly get any recognition, two beautiful games trying to offer something a little different.
Yes and no. AAA games to this day still rely heavily on what sells, and if a studio takes a risk, it puts potential dollars on the line that it could easily reap just by doing what it usually does. On the other hand, there are plenty of AAA titles that do go above and beyond, and I don't think Naughty Dog for example, has ever fallen into the trap I've outlined above. AAA refers to titles that have large budgets and are produced by big name studios, but each studio has its own identity, and own way of doing things, so to lump them all into one category based on their size is over-generalizing. Studios that turn out IPs every year are more likely to produce more samey titles every time, because they have less development time and therefore less time to spend on coming up with new and creative ideas...so it's easier to just build on what's already there. I still see flashes of brilliance in CoD games, but their core is the same. Studios that consistently turn out creative new IPs and inventive sequels tend to take longer to develop their games, but that means more waiting, so each approach has its pros and cons. I'm over-generalizing here myself, as there are annual releases that feel quite polished such as the better Assassin's Creed games, then there are some like Mass Effect Andromeda that were in development for ages, and still came out feeling rushed. But, there are exceptions to every rule.
N4G is a community of gamers posting and discussing the latest game news. It’s part of NewsBoiler, a network of social news sites covering today’s pop culture.