[Column] The state of gaming

Recently, Ubisoft announced they were going to take some time off from making the Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry game series in order to “polish and innovate.” While this is a noble idea, I feel that it is something that is directly tied to how the industry is as a whole. Now this is my opinion, and I know that some people may agree or disagree with my overall assessment.

I feel the industry that I love to take part in is stagnating. While we are seeing a lot of games coming out, there seems to be very little that is truly new and innovative. Take Ubisoft as an example. While I personally love the Assassin’s Creed titles, there hasn’t been much new or different. Add on top of that we get annual releases of them and it is very easy to get burnt out and suffer from franchise fatigue. A lot of products feel like they are rushed out to make the annual release marker (all of us still feel the pain of released Unity) rather than a very polished product. I played through Far Cry: Primal and was ultimately disappointed. I did practically the exact same things I had in 3 and 4, only in a slightly different setting. There was nothing new about it and honestly, the game wore on me and finishing was a true chore.

Before it looks like I am only picking on Ubisoft, the Call of Duty games are just as guilty about over saturating the market. While these games are extremely popular and actually have two development teams working on them, everybody knows that a new one is coming out each November. Each one has an over-the-top campaign that is largely forgettable and the multiplayer is the true focus. I haven’t purchased a new CoD game since Advanced Warfare, and even then it was only because a friend of mine had just gotten an Xbox One and it was the only game he had.

Speaking of a rushed out product, look at No Man’s Sky. I never played it myself; I don’t have a Playstation 4 and my laptop wouldn’t be able to handle it. However, developer Hello Games has been under investigation for false advertising because the game was released with so many of the features that were promised being straight up absent. Because of how poor the game performed, including a plethora of refunds, I doubt the company is ever going to make another game because it was straight up rushed out.

However, developers aren’t the only ones guilty: we as a gaming community are too. I am guilty of being pissed off about a game being delayed, particularly when it is one that I have pre-ordered and I’ve been waiting on it for almost a year. However, I realized that if a game is delayed by a month and comes out as an overall better product, I will never complain. Take a look at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Not only did it win Game of the Year (and is hands down one of the best games I have every played), it was an extremely engaging experience that was well polished. The developer, CD Projekt Red, took their time and put their entire teams’ soul into it. Because of how good the game is (and the fact they offered free post-release downloadable content for everybody, regardless of what edition the player had) I will be first in line for just about any game they make.

The future of gaming has me a little worried. However, not everything is all doom and gloom; there are definitely exciting projects under development. The month of October has me wishing I would be able to get all of the games coming out, from Dishonored 2 to Gears of War 4. However, I really just want to see more fully finished products that are fun and engaging to play, rather than just more of the same. Originality is hard, I get that. However, take an idea and make it yours. I will fully put my faith in developers; just slow down and take the time to give me something worth my time and money.

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