Talking Point is a weekly series that posits a question concerning the gaming industry. We encourage readers, as well as our writers, to offer their thoughts on the topic. Hence the name: Talking Point. Feel free to join in below.
Trends come and go, be they clothing, music, books, films, or even video games. The video game industry, like any other, tends to shift the focus of its products to meet the demand of consumers, which often results in a saturated market. Not long ago first person shooters were all the rage. Then came God of War (2005) and all its clones. In recent years we had interactive adventure games (with Telltale Games leading the front), retro-looking indie games, and open world titles filling the shelves of retailers or cluttering Steam’s storefront.
The open world craze is still fresh. Triple-A publishers seem to favor this gameplay approach in order to meet the demand for a title that justifies its premium price tag. While most of these games present stellar graphics and smooth mechanics, the public has started to notice they follow safe patterns to guarantee over 30 or 50 hours of content. Such patterns include a massive open world in the likes of Grand Theft Auto or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a multitude of repetitive optional objectives that hardly add to the game’s story, and contained exploration—meaning there’s little to no incentive to stray too far from the main course.
As much as I enjoy the freedom provided by open worlds, I have to agree with anyone who says there’s just too many of them out there. It seems like every other big release is an open world game and at this point, we already know what to expect from those. The formula is stale and the public is starting to ask for something else, preferably linear. At this rate, it’s difficult not to wonder what the next big thing will be, yet just as difficult to accurately pin it down.
Considering the cries of hardcore gamers and critics, could we start seeing more linear games such as Resident Evil 7? Or perhaps a bigger focus on branching storylines, an approach the industry has been leaning towards for some time now? Can virtual reality finally take off or will we see platformers making a huge splash once again? eSports (be it MOBAs or team-based shooters) became a powerful genre over the past few years, so could it dominate the industry in the near future? Have your say and let us know what you think.