Gaming has come a long way since the early creation of games like pong, but to be taken seriously as a medium of entertainment and art the industry needs to continue to evolve. Gaming is a creative outlet unlike anything ever before, but for people to realize this, developers need to take steps to help push the entire industry into the future. So, seeing as it’s the start to a brand new year, here are some ways that gaming can (and should) evolve in 2015.
Unique Multiplayer Modes
Ok, so this one is already being done but it’s definitely not near the scale it should be. Games, whether developers like it or not, are becoming more and more dependent on connectivity. That means players expect there to be multiplayer modes to keep them engaged with the game beyond the story mode. Some players don’t even play story modes anymore. With this rising dependency on multiplayer, developers need to strive to create more engaging and new multiplayer modes.
Everyone has played the standard Call of Duty/Battlefield style team deathmatch, domination (point capture) and capture the flag. Running around blindly with a machine gun trying to get as many kills as possible is a mechanic that’s starting to be over done. Developers should strive to create interesting multiplayer modes. For example, Splinter Cell has a multiplayer mode called “Spies vs Mercs” that is basically a cat vs mouse multiplayer match. Players play as either a spy or a mercenary, spies using stealth and mercenaries using heavy weaponry, and there are a multitude of different modes. Of course there’s a deathmatch mode (that happens to be more fun because of the mechanics), but there’s also modes where the spies and mercenaries work together to complete objectives against an enemy team. Another game that has an interesting and refreshing multiplayer mode is The Last of Us. If more games would have modes with new, diverse mechanics, online gaming would become more interesting than the standard deathmatch.
As you can probably tell from above, gaming mechanics are important, but unfortunately they’re becoming stale. Games need to try and provide new mechanics that feel truly like the next generation of gaming. To give credit where credit is due, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has realized this as well, and that’s why it was arguably a bigger success than the previous Call of Duty games. New mechanics are something that some developers are beginning to consider, but there’s still too many games sticking with standard mechanics. New stealth systems, new first person mechanics and other innovative ideas will help make games more fluid, and hopefully feel fresh again.
The Power of Choice
The most powerful aspect of video games is the interaction between the game and the player, but that’s hardly being utilized in the current state of gaming. The power of choice is what makes games different from other entertainment mediums. Without choice, games are essentially really long, interactive movies. While that’s interesting, developers could take games to a whole new level by incorporating choice. Instead of telling me a story like a book or movie, let me define my own story and make my own choices, while also dealing with the consequences for the choices I make. So far no NextGen game has really felt different from the last generation, and choice is what will make gaming feel truly NextGen.
One design that most games have is the inability to kill important NPCs. Obviously, this could mess up the game entirely, but that will help players learn that in video games there really are consequences for their actions. In the end of The Last of Us (*spoilers*) if Naughty Dog would have let players choose what to do with Ellie the game would have been much more impactful. Sure it was a good ending, but I really would have liked the moral dilemma of all of humanity vs the life of a girl. Or in a game like Skyrim, if I choose to kill an important quest NPC then the game should punish me by letting him die and not letting me finish the quest. Choice is what will really define the future of gaming.
These are just a few ideas on how to evolve the gaming industry. Of course there are developers trying to incorporate each of these into games, more developers need to follow. To be taken more seriously, developers need to push the current boundaries of gaming and try to change the industry for the better.