Thursday, 18 April 2013

It's Not All Bad

Karmic readjustment

Okay. Time to slam on the brakes. I think that I've been far too negative lately, even if said negativity has been somewhat justified in the face of rampant idiocy and problematic trends. That being said, I think it's time to look at some things that aren't fulfilling my daily quotient for rage-a-hol consumption. I think that to start with it might be time to look at a company that, although not doing a perfect job, is still doing something right these days: Bethesda.

Again, this isn't to say that Bethesda has been perfect. After all, they did try the whole "horse armor that does nothing" in Oblivion thing, even though they wised up after that. Still, to see and hear of a company that is still believing in the power of a good single-player, focused experience these days? It does my heart a world of good.

"Single-player games aren't going anywhere. Bethesda Softworks has been making single-player games for all of our 25+ years in the industry. We're still here, we're still making them, and people are still buying them. Dishonored was single-player and people really loved it, and it sold well. Skyrim was a complete success. A single-player RPG. There's practically a cottage industry dedicated to talking about how that isn't possible or why that won't succeed. Console fans won't get a game like that. Has to have multiplayer of some kind. PC gaming is dead. It's gotta be a shooter. RPGs are a niche. Etc.

"People like fun games. They have games they like to play by themselves, they have games they like to play with others. Every game doesn't have to be all things to all people. And so the Skyrims and Fallout 3s and Bioshock Infinites and Walking Deads of the world aren't going anywhere. Just stop already."

That's Pete Hines talking, he's the Vice President of the company. Right now, he might as well also be my hero.

Right now I'm playing through Telltale's The Walking Dead season one, and let me tell you, it's a damn good story, compelling, and with characters that I actually give a shit about, even in the relatively little time that I've come to know them in. It's a game that forces you to make and stick by choices, and that's the joy of it.

Far too often I see stuff like multiplayer shoehorned in because we're told "that's just what sells". Well, I'm starting to fear that even the well of the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises won't last forever; and once they're dry, what then for the companies that have come to rely on them?

We don't need bigger games, we need better games. The two might sometimes go hand in hand, but they aren't necessarily conducive to each other. I'm glad that there are people out there that still understand that. I think that they might be some of the last rays of hope the industry has left.

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