Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gun Fatigue

Robot Jox is one film that really needs a kinect game adaptation

Indie Guy: Too many shooters this year at E3.
FPS Guy: Well...that's what sells so that's the kind of games that get made.
Indie Guy: Sure, but why does it always have to be guns?
FPS Guy: No guns....? Ah! I got'cha swords, right?
Indie Guy: Nope, no stabbing and hacking dues either.
FPS Guy: you mean sword-guns like Final Fantasy X? 'cause that would be cool.
Indie Guy: Grrrr....

At this point in time a lot of developers are suffering from a serious case of "Me Too" syndrome. So much so all the Call of Duty clones coming out are becoming increasingly indistinguishable from one another. Producers are thinking block bluster formula; grey/brown environments, near future/past setting, lots of guns (knives too), throw in some heavily meta game influenced online multiplayer and Boom Headshot! instant cash cow, right? I'll answer that question later.

You'd think that Kinect at least would bring some much needed variety. Nope even Kinect has shooter support, get ready to hold out a clenched fist and making jazz hands. Sure kid's games are machine-gun-less, unsurprisingly. Teens and up titles though inevitably fall back on shooting and stabbing. Seems like a waste of Kinect potential. You ever seen an obscure sci-fi movie called Robot Jox? Why not go with this kind of concept in a Kinect game? The sluggish gigantic robots would ironically reflect accurately considering lag issues that some times occur with the Kinect camera reading movement. Plus you got lasers, missiles, a variety of hand-to-hand weapons and best of all no guns. Actually, Steel Battalion 2 might be doing something like what I've mentioned, but until more details are released it's any one's guess.

Napoleon once said "Men are lead by trifles" and while pinning medals on his soldiers he mentioned "with such baubles, men are led." Well it's Bobby Kotick in this day and age and instead of conquering counties it's selling games. Call them achievements, trophies, or a high score on a leader board it's the same pieces of brass with a different name. By the way if you have no idea what I'm talking about go read an excellent book called Sneetches on Beaches by Dr. Seus.

Going back to the question I asked in the first paragraph - Yes, the block buster formula makes money...for a few. However the vast majority flop simply because there are way too many military themed shooters. So to all game developers out there please go make something other than a generic FPS. It might sound risky, but trust me the danger is no greater carving your own path than it is being a copy-cat. Or if you have be a follower then walk in the path of true masters like the guys who made Portal or Ken Levine and his excellent Bioshock series.

A least this shooter is trying something new

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