It's an exciting week for the video game industry. Developers will descend on the Game Developers Conference to discuss product work and their ideas for the future of gaming.
GDC is much different from that other big game conference, E3. Instead of showing off the latest and greatest in hardware and software like they do at E3, developers at GDC are there to discuss the creation of games. Instead of flashy shows like you find at E3, GDC focuses on what really matters: the future of game development.
I thought I'd share my games wish list for developers as they prepare to discuss the future. I love gaming and look forward to immersing myself in yet another world that's nothing like the drab, dangerous, tedious real world we live in. But there are some glaring issues I see with gaming that developers can address immediately.
1. Enough with the first-person shooters. I hate to sound "old school," but I'm done with first-person shooters. They're everywhere. And the worst part is, many are built off the Unreal Engine, so the differences in game play aren't nearly as great as they could be. I realize that first-person shooters are typically cash cows for developers and they're relatively easy to develop once the first version is complete, but they're the most obvious example of derivative game play we have today. The first-person shooter was great when Goldeneye was released, but now it's becoming an annoyance.
2. We need more Wii support. As much as Microsoft and Sony don't like to hear it, Nintendo is the leader in the video game space. But the strange thing is, some third-party developers are ignoring it. That's something that I don't quite understand and hope will be addressed soon. More people own a Wii than any other console in today's market. It's a great place for developers to turn a quick profit, especially since development for the Wii console is much less expensive than development on the PS3 or Xbox 360. But more than anything else, additional Wii development could spur a shift in developer focus. Which brings me to my next point...
3. Give us more innovation. I'm tired of first-person shooters, sports games, derivative adventure titles, and MMORPGs. I need innovation from developers. And that's where the Wii can come in. The Wii encourages developers to experiment with new forms in games. Bring us more titles like Wii Fit, Wii Sports, or even Spore. Those are the experiments that captivate us.
4. Bring back old favorites. As I sit here, considering all the different things I'd like to see from developers, one keeps popping back into my mind: bring back some of my old favorites, like Shenmue, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and others. No, it's not good enough to have them available on my Wii for download. I want updated versions of the classics, or new entries into stories that have yet to be finished. It makes sense on many levels: the excitement surrounding Punch Out is palpable and a variety of other past favorites that have been remade or found their way back to gaming have been celebrated by millions. We love the classics and would like to see them updated on our new consoles.
5. Please remember: design doesn't matter if the game play is awful. One of my biggest complaints about games today is that there's too much emphasis placed on the design and not enough on the way the game plays out or on its story. What good is a beautiful video game if it's unbearable to play? In some cases (I'm looking at you, Madden), the titles are overabundant in their beauty, but severely lacking in playability. If the Wii or countless titles from years past on consoles that are long gone have taught us anything, it's that game play trumps beauty every time.
That's my wish list. Tell us about yours in the comments below.