The 10 Next-Gen Commandmentson March 8, 2013 by I love Japanese games
This current generation seems to have been around forever – not because it’s been a slightly longer cycle than normal – but because there’s a whole world of crap out there that we still have to put up with. Not only that, but developers and publishers have introduced all kinds of NEW crap that, frankly, I don’t want to put up with any more.
So with that in mind, I’d like to outline just 10 next-gen commandments that outline things I really don’t want to have to see next time the console merry-go-round hits… so, er… lets just get on with it shall we?
1/ THOU SHALT NOT SERVE ME RANDOM BATTLE INTERRUPTIONS
I loved Skies of Arcadia – really I did. But if there’s one thing that game got so wrong was the amount of random encounters. After that game, I swore I would never accept another random encounter / battle interruption ever again. But of course, all though this generation, I’ve been sucking up random encounters like a little bitch.
I don’t think I can take any more. I don’t care how developers dress it up. Screens falling apart like broken glass, faded animation swirly thing, geometric shapes spiraling like some kind of kaleidoscope – I don’t care any more. I really can’t stand it – and there’s no excuse for it. The next time a developer serves me an RPG that interrupts overworld exploration shouting:
FWAAAAAAAAAAASHHH! or DA-DADA-DADA-DAAAA!
Scaring the crap out of me and making me spill cider onto my home furnishings, I will hang up my JRPG gloves for good.
2/ THOU SHALT NOT MAKE US FIGHT IN WAREHOUSES / FACTORIES
You liked Deus Ex: Human Revolution right? Did you like the bit where you were in a warehouse full of identical boxes? Great wasn’t it? That was definitely the best part of the whole game, right?
No, of course it wasn’t.
To think someone spent thousands of pounds of development money filling room after room full of pretty boxes?! If I was the man in charge – and a producer rocked up to me giving it the old:
‘I’m thinking we do something revolutionary, and have a level full of brown boxes… and then later, for the finale? I’m doing something REALLY special – I’m thinking like metal pipes, grey machinery and steel stairways’.
…I would not only just fire him on the spot – but I’d leave the office with a fire-axe, angrily searching for his mother.
3/ CREATE NOT, THOSE STUPID BOSSES
We’ve had a few this generation. That dreadful, dreadful boss in Gears of War who’s attack is just lifting his leg up and down. Rubbish! Don’t get me started on Deus Ex Human Revolution cluster of dreadful encounters. Or Batman Arkham City’s Clayface or (AAAAAARRRRRRGH!) Yakuza 4’s Munakata.
Oh yes, and lest we forget possibly the single worst piece of character design I’ve ever seen in Mass effect 3’s Kai Leng.
We’ve endured – no suffered – much this generation, comrades. Some of which have been almost game-breaking in their utter crapness – and were seemingly only created just to upset us. It’s time we made a stand.
It’s not that al bosses are bad – done right, they can be amazing. But all to often, they end up being entertainment free interruptions of pure frustration. All it take is just one simple question during development. Game Designers -ask yourself ‘Is this boss level a bit shit?’ Take a deep breath, and if the answer is ‘yes’. Remove it!
4/ THOUGH SHALT BANISH THE UNSKIPPABLE CUT-SCENE
Actually – lets just say cut-scenes in general. Did you know that every time someone makes a cut-scene longer that two minutes – Hideo Kojima’s life expectancy increases by 3.46 seconds? After the PSone era the Metal Gear creator was guaranteed to live for over 487 years. Since the PS2 and PS3? The dude is immortal.
Time has no meaning for him now – which is why he is unable to accurately gauge the length of his cut-scenes. But don’t blame him – it’s not his fault. Blame Squre Enix instead. Because… well… for no other reason than it’s fun to do so.
Cut-scenes are a relic of the past – of a time when in game engines weren’t really up to the task of delivering something particularly cinematic. They were at their most useful in the PSone era – refined, though perhaps outstaying their welcome on PS2, and now… well… are they really necessary? Aren’t they just a lazy tool to deliver a story?
These things are particularly odious when they proceed a difficult boss fight and make you re-watch them each time you fail.
Let’s just stop it now please.
5/ THOUGH SHALT NOT MAKE ME BUY DLC THAT’S ALREADY ON THE FUCKING DISK
From Horse Armor to ‘New’ endings that are just as shit as the ‘old ending’, or bonus weapons for buying your game from a specific store – DLC is everywhere you look. What I object to though is paid for game contect that, lets face it – should have just been in the game in the first place, or worse, DLC that’s already on the disk you bought, but you have to pay to unlock it. Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Capcom.
I like to call this Bullshit DLC – and there’s really a very easy way around this problem. Either a) Just stop doing it you greedy twats. Or b) learn to hide it better so we don’t feel like idiots for falling for your money grabbing nonsense at every turn.
6/ THOUGH SHALT NOT WORSHIP FALSE CURRENCY POINTS
When I go to like,Vietnam or somewhere, I’m more than happy to sign up for the fact that my ‘X’ amount of Pounds or Dollars equates to 1324.65 Dong – or whatever. I’m down with that. In fact, it’s all part of the experience – getting ripped off for taxi fares in the confusion and spending more money on alcohol and
cocaine and fine dining than you really should have. I don’t expect my console to play the same stupid game with me though. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable request.
Steam, PSN – I salute you – you have the common sense to be transparent. Microsoft and Nintendo? You make me buy points that, on exchanging money – I completely lose all concept of their value, spending them on crap I don’t even want because it’s not real money anymore. It’s not my own lack of discipline that’s made me poor – it’s your stupid currency.
7/ THOUGH SHALT NOT MAKE GRITTY, MISERABLE REBOOTS
Anyone played the new Tomb Raider? I appreciate it’s a decent game, but man is it relentless in its misery. It’s a foot-long depression sandwich with an extra big dollop of misery sauce. It also epitomises something that’s been consistent throughout this generation – the concept of ‘Reboots’.
‘Reboot’ basically means one of two things – a series that’s been allowed to slide into shitness and the Publisher has finally got around to doing something about it. Or a perfectly serviceable series that the Publisher, for whatever reason, decided needs to be grubbied up a bit. Made a bit darker. A bit more street. A bit more gritty.
There are too many reboots this gen to mention, but some standout ones for me are the Sonic reboot – where Sega decided to make him half Warewolf just to show fans how much they hate them. And everyone’s favourite, Devil May Cry which… actually, I didn’t have a problem with. But I’m still cross at Capcom for making a game that brought out the worst of the internet for a whole year.
8/ THOU SHALT NOT CALL OF DUTY
This doesn’t require any explanation. I have, however, added some ‘science’ that I think you may find useful.
9/ THOUGH SHALT NOT MAKE ME WAIT AN ETERNITY FOR A SAVE POINT
I will not bend my lifestyle around intermittent save points any more. PS4‘s turn your console off to insta-save- is a really, really big plus for me. I hate having to play for a further 20 minutes just to save my game at some pre-ordained moment. And I won’t ‘just leave my console on’ because I’m borderline OCD.
A couple of stand out offenders for me are Resident Evil 6 and Nier – particularly as in both these games I ended up having to turn my machine off and replay sections all over again for a variety of reasons.
I have a life outside videogames – and sometimes life demands that I stop playing video games and leave the house (perish the thought!) I also like to snatch a quick half hour of gaming here and there – but all too often, I find myself NOT playing something, simply because the window of time required for that game is so inflexible.
Less of that please.
10/ THOU SHALT NOT MILK YOUR IP
I’m not so naive as to not understand the motivation behind this. Publishers and developers like money – and the customer who enjoys a certain game, likes to play more of that via another in the series. That’s fine – there’s nothing wrong with that as such – but in the interest of being a hopeless idealist, I’d like to suggest perhaps a self-imposed limit?
The majority of consumers are mindless fools – you keep feeding, they keep eating. If we just TRIED to diversify once in a while – perhaps limited sequels to once every three years rather than than grinding away on the annual Christmas sequel treadmill – then gamer’s tastes might be forced to broaden a little.
To suggest that, because there’s no Assassin’s Creed one year, gamer’s simply won’t buy anything else is absurd. Certain games are kind of exempt from this – sports updates for example – but when it comes to a Publisher’s most valuable titles, some restraint might be advisable.
For all I deride Call of Duty, there was a time when I REALLY liked it. With the exception of the horrible World at War – right up to Modern Warfare was very enjoyable, but subsequent releases wore a bit thin. By the time I got To MW2, I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I hate to see a good series sour like this.
If your IP is that valuable – surely, it wouldn’t hurt you to just, you know, take your time with it.
ILJG runs the I Love Japanese Games Facebook Page.
His views are not those held by Rice Digital or it’s partners.