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Matt Barton on the state of today's CRPGs

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Matt Barton on the state of today's CRPGs

Editorial - posted by Zed on Sat 3 November 2012, 20:55:06

Tags: Matt Barton

Matt "Matt Chat" Barton (also known as J_C) has written a lengthy blog post on the state of CRPGs today -- and he's not happy.

Modern CRPGs are console shooters. And that pisses me off.​

Preaching to the choir here, Matt.

The stylistic homologies I think we're stuck in now, at least regarding CRPGs and MMORPGs, is best shown by looking at Skyrim and Dragon Age II on the CRPG side and Tera and GW2 on the MMORPG. What's happened to CRPGs, at least with major releases, is an increased tendency to make them as much like the reigning genre of shooters as possible, going so far as to use the same engines. To someone like me, playing Skyrim is a lot more like playing Doom than a true CRPG experience such as Ultima VII. This shift towards shooter-ization began very early, of course, with games like Ultima Underworld (1993), Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994), and Might & Magic VI (1998). Now, of course, you can't find a CRPG that doesn't look like it's just a shooter with some grafted on "CRPG elements," and, what's worse, the console-ization of the shooter has homogenized the whole industry into one fast food joint after another. I greet the new Halo or Black Ops game with the same enthusiasm I would greet the Brand New San Diego Bacon Burger with Olives at McDonald's. Sure, it's a "sandwich revolution," yadda yadda, whatever. Yawn.

A lot of these issues are caused by fear. There's a growing fear within the industry, I think, that one day we'll reach a point where's consumers will simply be satisfied with their current consoles and games and stop buying new ones. We've seen this already on the PC with WOW. Instead of striving to make new games and hype them as something extraordinary, Blizzard took a more sensible (if cynical) route and just keeps selling the same game, month after month, to millions of satisfied fans. It seems there's a point where producing new content (what most developers want to do) is replaced by maintaining existing content (what I assume nobody really wants to do). It's like our game designers are these creative types who keep wanting to offer up new versions of basketball and football or new sports altogether, when the public is increasingly demanding that they quit messing with it. ​

The post is quite long so I won't quote all of it. Go here to read it all.

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