Talking Point: What Will be the Next Big Craze in the Video Game Industry?

by Gabriel Cavalcanti
Published: Last Updated on

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.

Video game industry

Image provided by Oliver Rebbeck.

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.

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Mike Worby March 25, 2017 - 12:54 am

I truly feel that the off the cuff success of both Horizion and Zelda will be a turning point for how open world games are designed from this point on. As for what’s gonna be the next big thing, it’s hard to predict but whatever it is, I hope it doesn’t take as much time as BotW to complete :p

In all seriousness, there’s bound to be some kind of scaling down on the scope and size of games to a certain extent. I would also expect to see more throwbacks like the upcoming Yooka Laylee and Bloodstained.

Brent Middleton March 25, 2017 - 1:29 am

Huge open world games always feel like they’re worth the money, but they can also be somewhat daunting. For instance, I was really excited to play Xenoblade Chronicles X and even pre-ordered it. But when I started playing, I was just completely overwhelmed by everything I could do. Mind you, I’m the type that spent a half hour on the character customization screen. There was so much to do and see–especially in that game, where the whole draw is exploration–that I always ended up playing Splatoon instead because it was just easier to pick up and play.

Something that I’m hoping will be a trend going forward is the creation of polished short experiences. Games that cost less than half that of a AAA release, but are still quality and provide good value. Snipperclips comes to mind as a $20 game that comes with 60 levels and a couple bonuses. You get in, get out, and have your money’s worth. The same goes for something like Snake Pass, which is also $20 but considerably more complicated and offers 15 large levels with a bunch of collectables in each. Even rogue-like games like Isaac and TumbleSeed that offer insane replay value through randomized runs fit into this category.

It’s nice to have a deep, immersive game or two, but it’s also really nice to be able to buy several quality smaller games for the same price as one massive experience. Indies have obviously been leading the way with this, and I’m looking forward to seeing more in the future!

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