Limbo's lessons for the mainstream

In this commentary piece, GameSpot AU's Laura Parker looks at XBLA indie title Limbo and the need for new experiences in the AAA space.

Limbo is a game that forces players to take risks. Light on context and purpose, it asks players to feel around in the dark for the parameters that will define their experience, encouraging experimentation and the acceptance of frequent failure. Death is Limbo's only tutorial: If you die enough times, eventually you'll discover how to survive. The key is perseverance, innovation, and the willingness to try--time and time again--until you get it right.

The games industry has a lot to learn from Limbo. More and more developers making mainstream, big-budget AAA titles with mass-market appeal are becoming complacent, brushing aside the drive for innovation in favour of big-name sequels and blockbuster titles that guarantee profitability. It’s hard to find a AAA title in the current marketplace that redefines its genre or says something new. Regardless of how the specifics are tweaked to fit certain environments or stories, our expectations of playing a AAA title these days almost always match our experience. While there are some in the industry who believe experimentation should be left up to indie developers, the argument for new gaming experiences in the AAA space is growing stronger every day. The growth and evolution of the medium relies upon developers taking risks and asking themselves if there are still ideas left to explore, questions left to ask, and journeys left to make. Like a player stuck in Limbo, it’s time for the games industry to take a leap of faith.

If you die enough times in Limbo, eventually you'll learn how to survive.

Inside Limbo


The parameters that define Limbo's creation are rare. Playdead--the Danish studio behind Limbo--worked on the project completely solo. There was no outside influence from publishers, no deadlines to meet, no marketing budgets with which to adhere. Arnt Jensen, Playdead's cofounder and Limbo's creator, doesn't like to talk about the game. He wants nothing to taint the game's true vision; nor does he want people to be told what they should think. Instead, Limbo's producer Mads Wibroe is left to field questions about how the studio turned one man’s creative vision into an indie hit.

"I think it’s rare that a game development process starts with as strong a seed as was the case for this game," Wibroe says. "For all of us who stood on the sideline, it was immediately clear that this was amazing material. It is also rare, I think, that a vision is allowed to be so fully developed into a final game without influence. Those two factors are the keys to understanding what shaped Limbo."

It’s not hard to see why AAA developers cannot function the same way: Huge budgets, publisher demands, consumer expectations, and the pressure of meeting very strict deadlines quickly turns game development into an assembly-line business.

"I think we as games developers should just concentrate on the process of creation," Wibroe says. "I mean, I'm convinced that Arnt [Jensen] is not getting up in the morning to create 'art' or 'culture,' but eventually, if it works out, perhaps it’ll turn out we are doing that after all."

The increasing popularity of platforms like Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network means even the smallest development teams can now make and distribute titles on their own. As a result, indie developers are spending less time worrying about who is going to buy their product and more time making the kind of games they themselves would want to play. The difficulty is bringing the same work ethic to the AAA space. While all games begin as an expression of a particular vision, one idea in the hands of four developers produces a very different end result than the same idea in the hands of 400.

Nels Anderson, gameplay programmer at Hothead Games in Vancouver (DeathSpank, Swarm), thinks the mainstream games industry should pay attention to how indie developers handle their IP.

"Indie developers represent a different way of making games. Small teams are able to take risks that large institutions simply cannot. They can actually create a game with a single, coherent message that’s more substantial than 'Chainsawing aliens is awesome!' If you have hundreds of people making a game, it's incredibly difficult to get them all on the same page. Direction often ends up being comparative. It's easier to say 'We're making a shooter like Modern Warfare but set in Vietnam' than focusing people on making a '2D platformer about regret and loss vis-a-vis time manipulation.' [aka Braid.]

"This year's E3 and its burgeoning payload of off-brown shooters requiring you to mow down hordes of vaguely foreign nationals and/or aliens shows there's still no small amount of emphasis on safe, repeatable success," Anderson says. "But between the trees there's a lot of weird, wonderful stuff sprouting, and that's very exciting to see."

Much-loved indie title Braid was the brainchild of just one man--Jonathan Blow.

The problem with taking this weird and wonderful stuff and spreading it around is that, as Anderson points out, having a message beyond "Hey, isn’t this fun?" is an uncommon practice in most mainstream titles. Even when a developer tries to do something different, this usually results in a very obvious, disingenuous attempt at diversity. Creating what Anderson calls "bridging" games like Portal--a shooter-like experience that is not traditionally violent and dexterity based--may be one way to break the AAA mold and begin to experiment outside the formula.

"If we keep focusing on doing interesting things that aren't just about 'roided-up bros fist bumping after viscerally wasting some dudes, I think the medium will be just fine."

Indie lessons


While the rigid nature of the AAA development space doesn’t allow developers much room for innovation, this doesn’t mean the yearning for it isn’t there. Indeed, innovation is sought after, desired, and coveted. Who doesn't want to be thought of as original in the games industry? But breaking the mold and making titles worthy of both critical and commercial success without risking financial stability is something very few developers are prepared to do. At least, not yet.

Newly appointed senior level designer at BioWare Montreal and former lead designer at Raven Software, Manveer Heir, believes the drive to create new experiences is very much alive in the AAA space and is leading some developers to look at ways of implementing the ideas coming out of the indie space as a way of bridging the gap.

"I think all developers, no matter what space they work in, think about creativity and doing something new or major," Heir says. "Indie developers are extremely important to the medium because they can try some new, risky, crazy mechanic and not have to worry about what everyone thinks. I think this leads to them inventing, discovering, or showing the world new experiences that can be leveraged. If an indie game pulls off something new and amazing, you can bet that the big boys will ask themselves, 'How can we apply that to a much bigger game?'"

Not worrying what everyone thinks is something most indie developers can afford to do; it’s not a luxury afforded to developers in the AAA space. It’s not unfair to say that the majority of core gamers are initially reluctant to accept change, particularly when it threatens to impose on the established gaming culture and shift it toward something completely different. Social gaming is a good example of this reluctance. While it’s natural to be afraid of the unknown, there are some in the industry who are looking ahead. During his keynote address during this year's Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, Deus Ex and Disney Epic Mickey creator Warren Spector asked all gamers to accept the industry’s shift toward casual and social gaming. Spector told gamers they must be ready to welcome the idea of gaming as a mainstream medium; only with this acceptance can the medium grow and move forward to become "an art form worthy of study."

Epic Mickey creator Warren Spector wants gamers to demand more from mainstream gaming experiences.

Spector finished his address by asking gamers to demand more from gaming experiences; ask for something new, something better, Spector urged. He also asked publishers to be supportive and trust the creativity and experience of developers who want to go down that road.

Spector is right. How else does a medium evolve if not through change? How else does it progress if not through trying new things, challenging the mainstream, and pointing audiences toward a place they never thought to look before?

Perhaps what the gaming industry is most afraid of is failure.

"We have to be willing to fail, over and over," Heir says. "Designing a game is all about failure, and the same goes for new experience design. When a game comes out that speaks to a large group of people in such a profound manner, we cannot help but be amazed. With video games still being so young, we are still discovering so many new, amazing experiences. We have to start thinking outside the normal circumstances a game exists in. I think this is the only way to keep moving the industry forward. We have to keep experimenting, failing, and trying new things. Eventually, someone will come across the next big thing."

The idea that there are other genres or cross-genres to explore in game development is common among developers. The problem is that many don’t believe there is a need to look for new experiences when the ones we have already work just as well. They may not say anything new or force gamers to think about their world in a different way, but they serve the purpose of games as consumer products: They sell. Heir has his own ideas about the kind of games AAA developers could make if they tried.

"Are there new experiences that aren't about survival or saving the world, since that seems to be what the majority of games are about? Are there new and interesting protagonists to be had that aren't just the white, male space marine or the sexy, busty, scantily clad woman? Can we have an old man as a main character or a homosexual woman?"

Most of us are comfortable with experimentation and ideas that sit outside the mainstream when they are presented in a different form--in a book, on television, in a film, and the like. Not only do we accept and engage with being challenged this way, but we also seem to savor the intellectual experience. Games can do things that no other medium can, so it seems obvious that we should be engaging with games on a higher intellectual level than other media. So why isn’t this happening?

Games like Portal break the AAA mold by exploring new ideas, earning critical acclaim, and selling well.

Tom Armitage, a web designer working for the London-based studio Berg, believes it all comes down to the ability of gamers to read the medium and become "game literate." Using Ian Bogost’s Cow Clicker to demonstrate, Armitage says developers have the ability to place symbolism into the very fabric of their creations.

"Cow Clicker is a Facebook game about repetitive Facebook games," Armitage says. "The symbolism is not just in the name--it’s in the mechanics. More complex gaming experience might not be understood [by gamers] immediately, but that’s not because of stupidity or ignorance or a lack of desire; it’s just down to learning to read a medium."

Take Limbo, for example. According to Armitage, the literate response to the game is about the frequency of death versus the fairness of it. However, not everyone is going to read the game this way. Creating an experience with no higher aim than to entertain does not necessarily render that experience meaningless. It is OK for us to just want to be entertained by a game without seeking a deeper, critical engagement. A game like Gears of War does not contain much more meaning than what can be read on the surface, yet that does not mean we don’t feel something when we play it. However, the fact that Limbo allows for so many different interpretations is what makes it different. It’s only when we start asking ourselves why we’re being entertained that we become aware of a deeper, more profound gaming experience.

"The particular strength of games is in their visceral forms of emotion: not just fun or entertainment, but the more subtle aspects of those; both the fun of exploration, curiosity, the fun of overcoming something difficult, the thrill of competition, the challenge of understanding a system. If you’ve made something good, and you’ve made it well, then it will have meaning. There will be depth and something to explore. You don’t have to set out with that in mind; it’s just a function of successful art. The answer is to just make decent games. It feels a bit adolescent to be proving oneself; why not just let the proof be in the artefacts?"

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62 comments
ssmoogle
ssmoogle

"It’s hard to find a AAA title in the current marketplace that redefines its genre or says something new." Super Mario Galaxy immediately comes to mind. Developers of big budget titles may have to look at indie games to see how games can be fresh and innovative, but they will need titles like SMG to pave the way and prove that such a thing CAN be done with a big budget and the pressure of upholding a well-known franchise.

BSkellington
BSkellington

GREAT ARTICLE!! but a lot of AAA games out there want to be more, but its the time frames and the funding that hold them back the most. look at games like soul reaver (not perfect, everyone mimics some piece of something). the developers would love to have done more with the games, and in there interviews you could see they were thinking "stupid company rushd us, we had no choice but to put it out this way... sigh... at least our vision kind of came to life". now they cant even get the funding to coninue it even though people want more cause it didnt make enough money. look at okami. THAT WAS A ORIGINAL GAME OF WONDER! im sure you could nitpick things, but admit, it was great for originality at its time... then the company went down and they stop'd making copys of it. why? cause "the man" didnt have his big bucks... but then it started making sells after the fact... late boom if you will... AND FROM THE ASHES THE PHEONIX ROSE... on the wii where it could make more money. the companies seem to be the big issue. the deadlines, the sales they have to meet, and the hands creators dreams go through until it becomes a shell of what it was. i still hold accountability to the creators, but only to an extent, its the companies that worry me the most. cause in the end, all they care about is $ and we're just the dopes giving it to em. i kinda get excited a lil when they delay a game... it tells me there getting more time to do the game the right way, instead of selling crap.

supernaught360
supernaught360

shinigami7th Oh... I see. Well, looks like I picked a bad day to quit psilocybe mexicana...

shinigami7th
shinigami7th

@supernaught360 What I wrote on my previous comment is called logical paradox, FYI. Indeed, the very words 'revolutionary', 'innovative', and 'original' strongly imply uniqueness. However, the very concept of 'unique' when repeated enough time, will cease to become 'unique'. Now, applying it to this topic, let's say all games occupy their own niche (hence, unique in their own right). Then, suddenly there is a game that follows another game's concept, hence not creating its own niche. That game, by definition is also 'unique' because it is 'not unique'. And so on...

supernaught360
supernaught360

@shinigami7th Your quote: "Revolutionary, innovative, original.... These words only have meaning because they are 'unique'. Now, if we have a world where all games are revolutionary, innovative, and original in its own right, they won't be anything special, right?" Ummm... wrong? The traits of the words revolutionary, innovative, and unique are self evident: if every game were so, each would occupy a different niche', because by virtue of the words you chose, they'd be disparate from one another.

supernaught360
supernaught360

Okay, okay: Gamespot gave Limbo a score of 9, and here's quote from this article: "Death is Limbo's only tutorial: If you die enough times, eventually you'll discover how to survive. The key is perseverance, innovation, and the willingness to try--time and time again--until you get it right." People: remember this, and hold Gamespot's feet to the fire next time they give a low review score because of "cheapness" or "cheap deaths" in games that force you to "try--time and time again--until you get it right." Limbo was cheap, boring, and anti-hardcore - sexy! But c'mon, there's 20 year old Mario games you could make into silhouettes, eliminate the music and add a grain filter.

eyerok
eyerok

The real problem is that gamers aren't ready to play games that truly break the mold, no matter how much they tell themselves otherwise. They need more Assasins creed, more CoD, more MGS, Gta etc etc. Mainstream gaming is the norm now, and a lot of my casual gamer friends want to play those titles I mentioned. Games play gamers now, when it should be the other way round. True innovative titles are mostly a niche now. People who think that hardcore gaming isn't dead are just kidding themselves.

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Wish Limbo was on PC. Is it wrong to want an Xbox 360 purely for the Arcade?

kingrutoz
kingrutoz

eff that i love mainstream games the multiplayer that comes with em is epic

CruelLegacey
CruelLegacey

I think the constant refferal to AAA games being predictable, rigid, and un-original is off base. Blockbuster sequels to top franchises are often the best games. I appreciate a bold new idea as much as anyone, but when a developer gets a chance to take a bold new idea, then itterate on it towards the goal of perfecting its exicution, you get some truly amazing resilts. Assassins Creed 1 was original, but flawed. AC2 took all that creativity and originality, and nailed the exicution. Same with Mass Effect 2. Same with Halo Reach. There is also something truly amazing about the scope and scale of some AAA games. When you play a game like Assassins Creed 2, you are experiencing the combined efforts of almost 400 people over 2.5 years of development... it is the kind of experience indie developers simply can't match. However, I would also like to go on record saying that Limbo is one of my flat-out favorite games of all time. I'd put it up there with Ocerina of Time, Goldeneye, Halo Reach, Mass Effect 2, Assasins Creed 2, etc. The reason it is so good is not because of any specific groundbreaking innovation, but because it keeps it's asperations clear and simple, and devlivers the experience flawlessly. THIS is the advantage of smaller, indie-developed games; The ability to keep the scope and scale narrow, and deliver a refined and creative experience.

TechnologoDoom
TechnologoDoom

@shinigami7th you make a well-reasoned point, but while I agree with your argument, I think you're missing a key fact from your point: the point isn't simply to innovate for innovation's sake, which as you rightly point out is fool's gold. Rather, AAA games need to do more to break out of their molds, reduce the number of cookie-cutter games. Perfection of a genre or style is a worthy pursuit, but it leaves very little room for new ideas and performances. Sadly, the poor sales of unique AAA titles will probably push bid devs to do less innovation, but don't we need more still? While I agree with your reasoning, I think we're a far cry from being too innovative yet...

shinigami7th
shinigami7th

Revolutionary, innovative, original.... These words only have meaning because they are 'unique'. Now, if we have a world where all games are revolutionary, innovative, and original in its own right, they won't be anything special, right? There are tons of unorthodox games around, you just have to hit the nearest flash game sites, and 99% of the time, you would find some brilliantly-designed, innovative games. But, truthfully, those game wouldn't sell well as most of them have a mechanic that is too unique to be scaled up to wider audiences. Additionally, I don't see anything wrong with sticking with the popular genres or mechanics. Reusing old formula doesn't always guarantee success (just see the countless mediocre FPS titles). I believe more in taking whatever things available and push them to its ultimate perfection (see CoD series for FPSes, or Super Meat Boy in the platforming department). In fact, you can take this 'Limbo lesson' from another perspective. Limbo taught us to do just this: try and try again to perfect your solution to the same problem. You don't have to do very innovative way to clear the level; the goal is obvious from the start of the game, and players more or less know how to get to the goal: it is the matter of timing and observation. Hence, my point is, innovation and revolutionary designs are good, but it is not everything. Sometimes, staying put and specializing and then perfecting what you already have is also worthy of pursuit. You don't have to break the mold every time; otherwise you would run out of mold to break.

ZippyLemon
ZippyLemon

Warren Spector is legendary within the industry. It makes me sad that he supports the shift towards casual games. Casual games are fun in short bursts, but when I have time on my hands I want to completely and utterly lose myself in a fantastically complex fantastical world. Surely there will still be room for that in the future?

gideonkain
gideonkain

I didn't quite feel right reading this article, the author is imploring big name studios to basically "write the great american novel, for Pete's sake" just cause ...well, they should do that instead of making what they have been. As if the developers are purposely only putting 1 teaspoon of genius in their games instead of just putting in a full cup per game. "Just be innovative, original and revolutionary" she almost cajoles. "--Just like Limbo, Braid and Portal...but completely new." o..k..

Taegre
Taegre

I never realized until now how much Limbo has in common with the first Oddworld. And that's worth noting since Oddworld was a hit in the 90's for being weird, unique, and clever. Those are the qualities that seem to scare away mainstream gaming audiences today. There's a lot of people suggesting that creative titles need more funding but I think the goal should be to lower the costs of making games across the board, including AAA titles, and with them the prices. Even if it sets back graphics five years, the cheaper prices and much more balanced quality of games on the market means mainstream gamers will be more willing to try different titles. Just look at the variety of movies that succeeded back when Hollywood budgets were in the ten-thousands compared to the dynasty of multimillion-dollar blockbusters today.

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

Last time we got a super unique high budget game, it was Brutal Legend, and people butchered it with bad comments. It's one of my favorite games ever, but the Brutal Legend episode forced Double Fine into the downloadable game territory, since big companies don't want to invest millions in something that isn't mainstream. And I didn't like Limbo that much. Played it one afternoon, deleted it from my harddrive the week after. It looked awesome on previews, but the game wasn't interesting for me in the end. Definitely worth a look, thought.

James00715
James00715

I think the industry needs to come up with a "creative fund". Basically, some money gets stashed away for developers to take chances with AAA games. Maybe the fund can only support one game every 5 years, but at least the industry will be fostering some sort of creative AAA games. Now I don't think this will happen because the big game studios make too much easy money on sequels, but maybe some neutral foundation could be created for this purpose.

palmakoy
palmakoy

AAA games=popular high budget games e.x. halo,cod,AC,gears of war etc indie games=opposite of AAA games

palmakoy
palmakoy

game developers don t expirement with AAA titles due to fear of screwing up a good game formula.

Lisandro_v22
Lisandro_v22

Strange it didn't mention Demon's Souls. It was Limbo AAA, little plot, dark atmosphere and death the only tutorial

lanasrj
lanasrj

Great entry! I often don't play a lot of AAA titles because I feel like I've already played them. For instance, The Force Unleashed 2 was a total letdown. It was everything I thought it would be, but not what I wanted it to be. I hate that developers have traded urgency and quick-time events for the more organic tension of even action games and shooters. COD:Black Ops is a perfect example. The game is technically brilliant, but its only urgency comes from its constant "surprises". You always have a new objective, you always exit the room in some new way, it always seems like you are killed but you're really a few button presses from a cut scene. I remember being much more tense playing the campaign on Goldeneye 64, which even seemed to offer on occasion a variety of paths for me to create a variety of experiences. Where is that today?

Moloch121
Moloch121

@Dualmask Sadly that isn't true. Infamous is a great game didn't that barely sell 1 million copies? (not sarcasm) Alan Wake didn't go too well either? The Witcher a PC exclusive and a truly great game I think sold less then 2 million (not sure currently) doesn't matter if a game is AAA anymore it seems. Crap like Modern Warefare and Black Ops is what sells. Bioware (yes im a Bioware fanboy) are one of the few developers who I feel aren't concerned with the competition they take their time releasing information on their games or even showing it but still they have always made excellent titles. IE Mass Effect 2 is one of the best scifi rpgs ever. The Old Republic looks like it will amazing. Limbo is a great game and I really enjoy it. One of my fav indie games of they year is Recettear you won't see that on an Xbox anytime soon. But games like that are something that should be on console also at least to support their indie developers.

Moloch121
Moloch121

@MJ12-Conspiracy Well that's a good point. First yes Activison can shove off. I also agree that companies especially EA should really stop selling DLC that is short. But you can't compare ME2 to Fallout 3. Fallout 3 is an open world so the new areas they added for Point Lookout and etc could be dead. (I never could get into FO3 so i have yet to try the DLC) Mass Effect 2 DLC soo takes more then hour but I also agree it feels short at times. I think Borderlands really serves as a great example at how I wish DLC could be made and sold. $10 is great for all the content we would get including a new area, quests, level increase and it was fun. I'm not against DLC I just wish more developers would produce better dlc. Bioware really does a bad job with Dragon Age DLC yet a great job with Mass Effect 2. Lair of the Shadow Broker just feels so much better then Witch Hunt.

8smokes
8smokes

I agree with the claim that in order for video games to be recognized a sa form of art, the medium has to readily change.

Dualmask
Dualmask

@tamsler Your definition of "AAA" games is close, but not quite correct. They don't always end up being "very good selling" (and "good sales" are subjective anyway), and I think this article is trying to help "AAA" game developers comprehend why that may be. I think "AAA" refers to the size of the budget and the size of the developer/publisher, how they promote and market their titles, things like that. That's why there's a distinction between "AAA" games which are usually hyped and made into "franchises", and indie games, which are made by small studios or individuals with smaller budgets, but seemingly more "heart".

Vekit
Vekit

Well,Its in the eye of beholder, beauty or ugly, creative or uncreative, isn't it? But human always wants to justify what their view should be standard for the others ,

Dualmask
Dualmask

This article hits so many strong points. Imagine if game developers great and small didn't concern themselves with holiday sales or beating competitors or pushing the hardware to the limits, and just focus on making the games as entertaining and engaging as possible. Those other things that lead to huge sales will come when creative freedom is explored in games. They don't have to put profit on the top of the priority list because with creative freedom, quality and innovation will come (if the skill and talent is there) and the profits will follow. It's not about being indie or AAA, but about focusing on the right priorities when creating products meant to entertain. People need entertainment, and if the developer does their job right, people will buy.

magicalclick
magicalclick

nah, this is just saying, high risk of innovation for the developer who has nothing to lose. It happens to everywhere. The people who are more willing to relocate for better job positions because they have less to lose. The more you can lose, the less likely you will try something. It is called legacy or aging. It happens to government, city development, business, career building, relationship building, and more.

magicalclick
magicalclick

nah, this is just saying, high risk of innovation for the developer who has nothing to lose. It happens to everywhere. The people who are more willing to relocate for better job positions because they have less to lose. The more you can lose, the less likely you will try something. It is called legacy or aging. It happens to government, city development, business, career building, relationship building, and more.

magicalclick
magicalclick

nah, this is just saying, high risk of innovation for the developer who has nothing to lose. It happens to everywhere. The people who are more willing to relocate for better job positions because they have less to lose. The more you can lose, the less likely you will try something. It is called legacy or aging. It happens to government, city development, business, career building, relationship building, and more.

tamsler
tamsler

Indie = Independent Game Developer, so no publisher in its back pushing for release dates AAA = Very Good Selling Mainstream Game like Call of Duty series Though I rarely play AAA games anymore as they are all the same in the end. I love what Indie developers do and Limbo is an outstanding example for it.

guertt
guertt

oh my god, I did not know Limbo was a indie game at first. I love that game even taugh I never finished it yet. I should give another try.

Zenstrive
Zenstrive

game companies need to be taken apart. They have grown too fat and inert.

Philbrush
Philbrush

AAA games used to be like the indie games are now, they were a lot more difficult, death was as simple as getting hit once, and once you run out of lives, that's it, start from the beginning, cause there was no saves...if a mainstream game did that these days, everyone would rage quit!

shansss123
shansss123

i loved Braid totally awesome game

demomhunter
demomhunter

I think that AAA games should stay pretty much that same and make games difficultiy settings so all gamers can injoy it and make games that you don't die in. and let the indie games be new and whatever the developers want and make difficult games that i'll never play cause they will be to difficult for me :)

Riceball_1
Riceball_1

@tobbe4321 I'm an economist; and SoulDigger is right its a political ideology not necesserally a monetary system. That's by the by... What you are implying is that money (ie profit) has ruined the gaming industry. That is far from the truth, it has enabled the rapid development of the industry and encouraged innovation in the pursuit of profit (just like any other industry). An unfortunate consequence is that as technology advances and becomes more expensive, agglomeration occurs and companies such as EA and Activision become industry heavyweights. As I said before, there is still most certainly a place for these large companies. Advances such as "market places" for games provide a new avenue for smaller companies to develop and profit from their wares; they can, and probably do, make as many horrible games as the larger companies, they just don't make it to the consumer. The game industry is becoming a very interesting, complex and evolving beast thats for certain!

DSfanatic5
DSfanatic5

The Last Guardian for PS3 will be a perfect example of how artistic vision and risk, can lead to something amazing that isn't an indie release. I would like to see more unique games, and they exist, or are coming out, but in very small quantities. Gamers know where to go for these experiences, but the masses have the money to make them more commonplace.

SoulDigger
SoulDigger

@tobbe4321 communism is NOT a monetary system Its political theory based heavily on economics and class antagonism.

itsTolkien_time
itsTolkien_time

I'm all for some doses of innovation and artistic value, but, you know, I'm still just a little uncomfortable with games becoming "an art form worthy of study". I mean, their IS a reason games pushed reading novels out of my "biggest hobby" position after I got into high school. It's soothing, in a way, to come home to something as utterly pointless as an old platformer and just play it.

Yams1980
Yams1980

(insert meaningless comment here)

tobbe4321
tobbe4321

@riceball_1 time to wake up kiddo and fyi "Communism" is a monetary system aswel

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

@Moloch121 I agree, I was just saying that all publishers not just EA need to think harder about how they release games, I'm all for the special offers when a game comes out but I kinda resent it when say Bioware releases their mission packs for Mass Effect 2 and all of them can be completed in just a few minutes, together the complete sum of DLC that came out for ME2 would roughly take about an hour to complete. What I want and expect is something a little more comprehensive like what Bethesda did for Fallout 3 and will most likely do for New Vegas. Those DLC added new content across the board not just a new area or missions everything including new characters and weapons. Honestly Activision can shove off as far as I'm concerned, I will however still buy from EA, I just wish they would encourage better DLC is all......

brazzer12
brazzer12

probably the best article ive ever read on this site. wow! just amazing!

tobbe4321
tobbe4321

Money corrupts and ruins everything it touches and it is deep rooted in the Gaming "industry" now Where a game like Divinity 2 gets 6.5 and Dragon Age gets 9.5 one thing is certain Gamespot is eighter bought or easily swayed by ingame music

calvinsora
calvinsora

A great read, Laura, and an interesting one. I do share a relatively different viewpoint on this, however, as compared to most people. Innovation in and of itself only dictates that something is new; not that it's good, not that it works, not that it's relevant, just that it's new. And though something new can lend a fresh feeling when playing a game, it isn't what defines a good game. Limbo isn't necessarily good because it's innovative, but rather because it executes its idea to perfection. I know that "good games need innovation" is not the article's point, but many seem to stick to the ideal that what the gaming industry needs is new stuff, when what it really needs is a better implementation of what already exists. I know no better example of this than Super Mario Galaxy 2. I thought the first entry was good, but uninspiring in many places. SMG2 simply improved and polished what was already put in place making for something truly special. No bells and whistles, just cIass. That's generally my point. When we've gone so far in the industry, we have no real need for true innovation. It's nice, and I love Braid, Portal and many such inventive titles. But it's not what I feel is anything that will be needed in the future.