Sunday, 10 May 2009

game worlds

By now everyone's seen the trailer/gameplay footage/bullshit of Beyond Good and Evil 2.

But if you haven't, here it is:

Hopefully the free running won't be the heart of the game, like Assassin's Creed, but will just be a way to flavour a game based around strong characters and story.

What interests me more is the setting. Looks like India to me. This has got me thinking a little.

The setting in Bioshock was ok, but sci fi lab stuff is more or less done to death now. Fallout 3 suffers from the same sort of thing (although the wasteland is one of the best things in games to date). GTA4 is the best example of a big city environment and Prototype, inFamous (are they actually the same game?) and all those other open world city games can just go to hell.

Resident Evil 5 was a great setting for a game. African shanty towns. Have we ever seen that in a game before? Vaguely ignorant racism aside, that was a pretty good call for a game setting right there.

And now some Indian looking city. This looks promising.

But I am so certain it will inspire lots of shit rip offs in subsequent games. Like how Gears of War had a cover system, so suddenly all shooters need cover systems. This exactly sums up why games are shit: because people who make them think that basic, surface stuff is what a game is. The invention of cover systems is not a way to take games forward to the "next level". It's just a step sideways, another tool for telling a story.

Games will improve when they're giving us something dramatically different. By which I mean not just a pronounced change but some actual drama. When the stories are heartfelt, personal and interesting. When the characters and game world are engaging and feel authentic. When you get a more intense connection from games, this is when they'll have improved (in my mind).

This "footage" from Beyond Good and Evil 2 shows it has potential, the basis for something. It remains to be seen whether they make the most, or anything, from it.

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