Gears 5 and Borderlands 3 Show a Lack of Ambition From AAA Developers

BY JASON MONROE: I try to be a ‘Week One’ gamer. I wait for the ‘Day One’ furore to die down and the inevitable patches to fix the main issues, read a few reviews then decide whether I’m going to reach for my credit card. Generally, if I don’t pick up a game within the first 7 days, it is highly unlikely that I’ll pick it up at a later date.

I broke that routine this month. I picked up Borderlands 3 and Gears 5 without waiting to see whether they were everything I thought they would be, everything they should have been.

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TheOptimist27d ago

At least someone recoognizes it. I would say 90% of the AAA industry show a lack of ambition. From EA to Ubisoft to Activision.

locomorales27d ago

But a remaster of a short 90s game is the pinacle of ambition. Gamerzz....

Ausbo27d ago

Amen brother. Nintendo seems to get a pass for this stuff

DefaultComment27d ago

Have you ever considered that they just put out good games? Crazy thought am I right? If a game that is from the 90s it's a Remake and it turns good means that it was a good game from the very beginning, are you gonna $h*t on Resident Evil 2 remake as well? Final Fantasy 7 Remake?
The argument from TheOptimist is that if they make shitty games(doesn't matter if it's a new IP or a remake/sequel) they get a s**tty result. If you gonna make things, do them right...otherwise you have no right to complain for s**tty sales.

alexg58727d ago (Edited 27d ago )

A remake and remaster are two different things. IMO remakes are ambitious because your literally taking a game that was made up to 10-20 years ago and rebuilding it from the ground up. Pretty much like a whole new game. Remasters on the other hand is a lazy cash grab. I would even say aside from loot boxes, it's the cancer of the generation

King_Noctis27d ago (Edited 27d ago )

Do we know what a remaster and a remake mean?

Link’s Awakening playtime on average is 11 hours. That is about the same length as your average single player games (heck, it is even longer than games like The Order 1886). Your hate for this game is too much dude.

TheRealTedCruz27d ago (Edited 27d ago )

Your logic then equates remakes of 90's games to current sequels.
I'm sure there's logic there. I'm sure of it.
…. it's there... still looking, but it's there.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 27d ago
TimelessDbz27d ago

Ambition gets your studio shut down lol.

SuperRaccoon27d ago

Bad planning gets your studio shut down.

UhOh27d ago

Yeah and some people think some of these companies are immune to this.

26d ago
Mopedgames27d ago

There no lack of ambition for shoving microtransactions in the games.

THC CELL27d ago

When u see games like god of war this is true

mkis00727d ago

God of war changed the entirety of the series. Which is why it beat even Red dead 2 for goty.

FanboySpotter27d ago

Didn't red dead redemption 2 still get all the awards for best music, best performance(acting), and all that? That goty award was too weird

kernel27d ago

GOTY from who? There is no official GOTY...

mkis00727d ago (Edited 27d ago )

It got Most of the Goty awards by a large number. And if the ones it got were from the biggest stages like BAFTAS, The Game Awards, etc etc.


Profchaos27d ago

Goty awards are a strange thing we receive so many excellent games each year but have to crown just one despite genre so gow and rdr2 are the examples you have but they couldn't be more different if they tried ones a game about a father and son who happen to be gods traveling throughout the realms fighting Norse gods. The others a grounded western at the turn of the century and the end of the age of outlaws.

One features giant boss fights bizzare creatures and the other features cattleman revolvers, horses, fishing and no bosses because that would not suit the story.

Personally I wouldn't pick a game of the year because they were both really well produced fun titles that I personally loved so did millions of others.
Plus every goty award these days carries minimal weight awards that allow votes can get bombed and votes manipulated by a passionate fanbase and the awards that don't allow voting are just the opinions of some editors and staff of a publication.

Nebaku26d ago

Yes, because changing the series from "game filled with popular 2006 gaming tropes" to "game filled with every 2018 AAA gaming cliche" reeks of ambition.

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Imortus_san27d ago

5 times the same boss, and recolored enemies, good innovation.

AspiringProGenji27d ago

''5 times the same boss, and recolored enemies''

That's fair criticisms but everything else was a reinvention of the series, which was as ambitious for SSM as any other innovative game

Zelda BOTW also had the same enemies with different colors, but it reinvented the series as well.

rainslacker27d ago

I guess the same bandits in rdr2, along with 5000 different animals is better? Were there really any special boss types in rdr2? Seems the harder boss story fights were just more intense with more things to use the auto pop up targeting shooting mechanics.

King_Noctis27d ago (Edited 27d ago )


RDR2 is meant to be a realistic western game. You can’t have a boss doing something like wielding a chainsaw and take 1000 bullet shots to go down. That wouldn’t fit the story and setting.

ShinRon27d ago

dont forget the brilliant go here, no wait go here instead story

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AspiringProGenji27d ago

Only if one has as much salt as you.

GoW was very ambitious and succeeded changing its core gameplay and kept its vision despite the many doubting its new direction. That is as ambitious as it gets

AmUnRa26d ago

There a a few people on this site are salty that God of War won GOTY with more awards than RDR2. I wonder why?? O wait, i know why😉

spicelicka27d ago

Actually no.

God of war is not a multiplayer franchise, it could afford to reinvent itself. How many multiplayer games do that?

Gears on the other hand has a huge multiplayer component. You can't just reinvent and expect it do well. The campaign was innovative in the franchise and actually very similar to god of war in it's new approach.

TK-6627d ago

Yeah for anyone wondering why you can't reinvent multiplayer games, look at the reactions to balance changes in LoL. Just a balance patch or character redesign can cause outrage.

Sirk7x27d ago

God of War was an amazing game though. Even if you don't enjoy it, you gotta appreciate the time and effort that went into the production of that game.

AmUnRa26d ago, God of War is the pinnacle of a remake, it is in no way a remaster, no way.

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someone7227d ago

Another clickbait. Gears 5 did quite a few new things across the campaign. Easily the best gears to date.

I dont like borderlands, so cant really say anything about 3.

Ciporta198027d ago

I haven't played gears 5 yet. What does it do that is new that no other game has done before? Would be interesting to find out.

Hungryalpaca27d ago

I keep hearing this but it’s literally the exact same as all the other gears games.

Imalwaysright27d ago (Edited 27d ago )

The nemesis system is pretty much the only original mechanic a AAA game has introduced in this generation.

spicelicka27d ago

How many games do anything that's never been done before?

It does a lot that no other Gears game has done before, which is a franchise innovation. The campaign was never explorable with side missions, RPG mechanics and upgrades were never in Gears before. It's a much longer and more diverse game.

TK-6627d ago (Edited 27d ago )

You're aware that not even GOTY contenders do things that "no other game has done before". Also you know thats not what the OC claimed, right? He said new for the series.

Did The Witcher 3 do anything mind blowing that no other game had done before? No. Dragon Age: inquisition? No. Overwatch? No. BotW? No. God of War? No.

I guess this standard isn't very good when actually apply it, huh....

King_Noctis27d ago

Why should it do anything new that other games haven’t? On that note, has any game recently ever done that?

Ciporta198027d ago

Erm I asked about new things because he clearly says it does quite a few new things in his comment. No need for the whole internet to get so defensive.

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azizlksa27d ago (Edited 27d ago )

Best gears to date ? Is this guy on something or what?
I think metacritic scores really show which are the best gears games, and gears 5 is definitely not one of them.

EmperorDalek27d ago

Metacritic isn't a great metric for the quality of a game. Red Dead Redemption 2 and Zelda Breath of the Wild are the two highest rated games of the generation, yet most people would take issue with that. A lot of PS4 fans swear on their lives that Horizon is far better than both.

Not saying they're wrong or right, just saying review scores aren't a scientific way to judge a game, unless we all agree GTAIV was the best PS3/X360 game.

You also have to consider that the original trilogy were great for their time, but even if the production values were updated, they certainly wouldn't score as high today. There isn't much room for corridor third person shooters anymore, which is why reviewers often said Gears 5 is the best, since it has more open areas.

TK-6627d ago

Using Metacritic unironically? LOL.

I swear the cognitive dissonance in gamers is unparalleled. In one comment section its "Yeah? WELL ACCORDING TO METACRITIC-" and in another its "You trust reviewers? WHATS WRONG WITH YOU?".

azizlksa27d ago (Edited 27d ago )

Story wise, the first three games were a lot better and no one would argue with that. I will not say that gears 5 is the best in the series just because it has open world elements. To be honest you get tired of the ice area pretty quickly and then you get introduced to a similar area which is the desert. In conclusion, the open world element is repeated a lot in this game and side quests offer nothing but more of the same enemies and jack upgrades. Its a good addition but doesnt make it the best in the series.

The trilogy wasn’t great just at that time. If you remastered gears 3 with 60fps and enhanced visuals, it’ll be better than gears 5 in every aspect. Better multiplayer, better story, better boss fights, better horde, better maps, better progression system, better gore. The gore in gears 1,2,3 is way better than a current gen gears game, which blows my mind. Also, uncharted released in 2007 i think, and they didnt change a lot leading up to uncharted 4 but it still scored above 90 on metacritic because the game basically kept a lot of what made the game great in the first place and improved on them. Gears is whole different game now to be honest. Its not that gritty dark and gory gears of war, almost looks like a horror game, i remember being afraid of playing some areas of gears 1 campaign alone. Now gears is trying to appeal to different audience. Its too colorful, the gore is toned down, we got emotes, blood sprays, lancer is op, mace, huge hit boxes, half of the banners are gay flags, and a lancer that fires missiles. Its trying to appeal to cod and fortnite players and gays and women and everyone except the GEARS FANS, which is why gears is not that big nowadays

I belive metacritic is pretty accurate with scores except for RDR2 and MGSV which got high scores just because one game is made by kojima and the other one is made by rockstar.

EmperorDalek27d ago

So games you think got unfair scores are wrong, but ones you agree with are right? I happen to think Red Dead 2 deserved those scores, but collectively most people don't. So maybe scores aren't 100% reliable... and they certainly aren't scientific.

Gears 5 was called the best one by many reviewers, the lower scores are due to the higher standards of today's games. I agree that every entry got the scores they deserved (apart from 4), but the scores aren't too directly comparable due to the different times.

The first God of War scored about the same as the new one, but that wouldn't be the case if they both released today, for example.

Too many different reviewers reviewing different games, even from the same websites. Different genres have different standards, two years can be a big difference too. Too many variables for metacritic scores to be 100% reliable.

Gunstar7526d ago

I thought or was the best Gears game so far. The gunplay was pretty perfect and I enjoyed a break from the action sailing the skiff across snow and desert. But that's just my opinion. I love gears.

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King_Noctis27d ago

Gears 5 have the largest and longest campaign to date for a Gears game. So you’re right, it seem strange to put in it this article for anything else rather than a clickbait.

gamer780427d ago

Agreed gears 5 is fantastic and did innovate while giving fans what they want. Also a graphical showcase, author needs to spend a day at coalition and see the work that goes into it.

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Swiftfox27d ago

I don't think the devs themselves lack ambition. It's just the AAA environment makes it impossible. The AAA industry isn't about creativity, it's about meeting market expectation, and squeezing every dollar they can out of someone to make shareholders happy. I could be the most ambitious dev on earth at Epic right now, itching to create the ultimate Gears of War with insane set pieces, a powerful story, brilliant characters, and gaming innovations that will change the industry--but all that dies with forced overtime for other projects, lack of job security, and big exec telling me "just do the same thing, make it cheap, and make it lacking so we can sell stuff". It's hard to argue with that exec, too, because both Gears 5 and BL 3 reviewed well and are being lapped up by the masses.

amazinglover27d ago

Also not every game needs to be ambitious would be nice if we got more ambitious game in between their regular games. Borderlands scratched that borderlands itch and was exactly what it needed to be. Gears 5 was a major step up from 4 but the open world was lackluster while the game play was good and the regular straight forward levels where a major improvement from 4 it might have been a better game if they went with a more traditional gears game.

Look at breath of the wild people where calling it an ambitions game yet everything it did has been done before by many other games it was just a more solid implementation of those mechanics. I don't need ambitions games I just need well made fun games with no micro transactions.

TheOptimist27d ago

"Not every game needs to be ambitious"

There is literally no ambitious AAA game rn. Dying Light 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 come to mind, but even Dying Light isn't very high budgeted.

rainslacker27d ago

Its not that investors are against innovation. Just more they're afraid of the unknown. Especially true in series with proven track records, as changing things up means potentially losing sales.

If you really look deep, you'll see that investors and devs havent been against change right out, just that the changes they support dont always make sense. This is mostly manifesting itself in trying to add inclusive elements to their games. Outside of where its done with agenda driven motivations, the changes are there to try and drive more sales. That's the kind of change investors want and support. It doesn't usually have that end result, but that's another matter.

When it comes to game design, the changes they often want are based on what else may be popular. Historically, we can say adding open world to every game. Adding RPGs elements to a game that doesn't benefit from it. Or things along that nature.

What investors are against is taking risks with the unknown. New IPs, or drastic changes to a formula are really hard to make happen.

That won't change next gen, but I dont believe that the generalization made for these kinds of debates are representative of the whole. Just that innovation isnt recognized for what it is, and that some people dont give credit where its due, or try to hard to talk down anything that may be different, or like something else