In the recent years of gaming, we've been seeing a lot of the same thing. Novel ideas are being put aside for tried and true methods that sell units. Of course, this isn't limited to games. It seems as though everything in popular media is either a remake or follows the same skeletal structure of its predecessors. But what makes the gaming industry unique is that they can release a game, wait six months and release the same game with different skins and be heralded as the greatest programmers in the history of game design. I can't really blame the gaming industry for doing this, they've got shareholders to think of, but I'd like to see them give a throwback to some of the hardcore fans.
For better or for worse, the gaming industry has exploded into the realms of popular culture, embedding itself in the hearts and minds of those who have never even held a Nintendo or Famicom controller in their entire lives. Throwing the industry into the limelight has bolstered the industry, but what has it done to game quality? Obviously, video game technology has always tried to stay at the bleeding edge, and as time passes, the visual and audio quality of games will vastly improve. But it seems that the time for being unique and original has long past. There's pressure now, and the companies are hard-pressed to pump out another Halo or Call of Duty : Modern Warfare. Developers don't have room to play with interesting ideas or unique experiences. The modern gamer wants a prim, polished and, most importantly, familiar game play experience. It's sad, really. Each year I see less and less innovation, and more of the same thing. When will people realize that Call of Grenades: Grenade Grenade-fare 2 is the exact same thing as before? When will these idiots realize that Gears of War is utter shit? Probably never, but one can hope. Of course, this lack of originality isn't limited to shooters. Many other genres of the industry have been subject to severe stagnation. Let's take fighting games as an example. You'd think that with all this time to perfect their genre, people would have figured out how to balance a game. Developers aren't even close. In all honesty, it seems like they're further from the dream of creating a balanced game than when they first started. They can add all the moves and costumes they want, it doesn't change the fact that characters are unplayable and mashers beat the crap out of people who actually try to play the game.
But let's not beat a dead horse. How about we look at the action/ adventure genre? This genre is quite a bit more promising. Developers have understood that this genre is the closest to a cinematic experience and have manipulated to be such. These games are getting more suspenseful, frightening, and action-packed. In all honesty, many action/adventure game directors could pump out a summer blockbuster that would put Michael Bay to shame (not that that's really difficult). What about RPGs? I'm a huge lover of this genre, but I'm willing to admit that many RPGs are fading into the background. Ever since the release of the shitstorm known as Final Fantasy 7, people have been ignoring the games that are actually amazing. Of course, the people at Atlus have given me some hope for this genre, and so have the western RPG developers like Bioware and Bethesda.
I know I haven't covered all genres, but I can say similar things about all of them. Gamers today need to actually look at what they're playing and decide whether or not they're satisfied with the same thing every year. Is the industry actually earning your hard earned cash? Or are they exploiting your trust and giving you a steaming pile of shit with a pretty package? Decide for yourselves.