Articles & Editorials: Too Much Faith In The Genre

  • Date: 12/07/2000 | Author: Lord-D

A Study of the Future of Traditional Real-Time Strategy.

Recently, Blizzard Entertainment scaled back it’s plans for the eagerly awaited Warcraft III, and have announced that instead of the Radical departure from the genre that their was their original plan, the potentially ground breaking ‘RPS’ (Thats ‘Role-Playing-Strategy’ for those not in the now, a cross between RPG and RTS) may become yet another traditional RTS. While I expect that WC3 will be of the Highest Calibre in terms of entertainment, it will be another un-identifiable face in the crowd, and is an example of a disturbing trend in the industry: Fear of Risk.

As our modern video games become more and more complicated they also have the side effect of becoming more and more expensive to develop. What this means is smaller indie studios are dying out as a class altogether, as the cost of all the CGI/Ploygon Count/Hyper Marketing now required to please gamers can cripple and destroy a studio if it is not successful. There is simply no longer any room for fledgling developers to learn the ropes of the business and pay their dues until finally becoming hyper-successful. It has to happen NOW, if they can succeed. As a result, there are fewer indie studios, and that means fewer young indie programmers with new and fresh ideas. It’s like the music scene (Check out THIS article of mine) it’s all BackStreet Boys and Britney Spears bullshit thats selling now.

The wonderful atmosphere the spectacular success of Nirvana’s Nevermind created, the atmosphere were major labels would take risks with edgy bands like Rage Against The Machine, and Nine Inch Nails, is gone. Now a new good band is a very rare thing indeed (Check the list of contenders in the alternative corner: Slipknot, Korn, Limp Bizkit, all horribly shit poser bands with less talent than one of Trent Reznor’s, or Kurt Cobain’s farts) and it’s clear to see labels aren’t taking many risks either. It takes a major band, like the formation of Maynard James Keenan’s new band A Perfect Circle to generate any true Alt-Excitement. But I digress.

As a result the ones with all the power in the current video game environment is major corporate publishers like EA (Whose purchase of Westwood disgusted me) who simply push out another EA sports ‘sequel’ (To all the Dumbasses who have actually bought each successive FIFA installment for the last 4 years, Congratulations! You have Four Copies of the SAME GAME!) or such like and watch as countless mindless zombie clones pile out in their millions to buy them. Eidos hit on a winning formula with the Tomb Raider formula and milked it to death. To everyone who bought all Four Tomb Raiders I have one message. You Are an IDIOT! Now not only have you contributed to the death of Video Gamedom as we know it by encouraging Eidos’s blatant and cynical ‘marketing’ campaign (Repackage the same game every year and sell it again, which Einstein thought up that?) but you’ve also bought Four Copies of the Same Game. Hey just like the FIFA idiots! Maybe you guys should go out sometime! I bet the bars could make a fortune by selling you the same drink, four times over!

So, as we can see, the current state of shitty games is due to the two things in life I despise most. Major Corporate control and stifling of innovation with ‘bottom line’ mentality, and gross human stupidity. Both Blizzard and Westwood have failed to remember that the Real-Time-Strategy game was an innovative risk at the time, and both companies blatant whoring of this my most favorite of genres is in threat of ruining it. The Homeworld’s of this day and age are few and far between enough that they have little to worry about. I’d like to say that if they continue to stand still they’ll fail, but it’s not true. As long as they have somewhat fancy graphics, a few CGI scenes, the humanities endless cess-pit of cretinism will always provide them with a wide ‘Target Market.’ RTS games and the industry at whole need a Nirvana, and a Nevermind. Fast.

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