Ten Things Video Game Developers Need to Stop Doing
We’ve all sat down to play a game we expected to be good to find a flaw in it. These flaws tend to be repeated over and over again to the point where it makes you question why the hell you are still playing these games. This question is normally quelled by a great game which restores your faith in gaming or you ultimately play fewer games or quit playing video games altogether.
This is my list of the ten things that developers need to stop doing in games. Some of them are game ruiners, others tiring, but all are things the industry should consider moving forward.
1) Stop making characters so weak in cover games that you are constantly stuck behind cover.
Alright we have all played games like Gears of War or Killswitch which came before it and we have come to love or for some gamers hate cover based game play. Yet what ruins these fun experiences is when it becomes so hazardous to pop your head up for longer than five seconds you would have better chances of playing Russian roulette in real life.
This weakens combat and kills the fun when you can’t do anything because you are forced to stay down and wait for your health to regenerate only to pop up maybe and I stress maybe take one or two enemies out before having to repeat.
Now we aren’t asking for easy but rather to actually be able to do something rather than wait for our health to regen again and again instead of actually playing the game.
2) Don’t Make and awesome mechanic and then cripple it.
The developer spends hours developing this awesome end all mechanic that will make the game so great that we will be talking about it for years to come (or so they hope) then they go and do something to the mechanic to lessen its strength.
Anyone can understand that limiting the ability is for the betterment of the balance of the game. Yet sometimes it goes a bit too far and zaps the fun right out of what we are playing and if it is a core mechanic may your deity have mercy on your soul.
3) Stop making games where character is badasses but enemies that have the health of super soldiers…Unless they are super soldiers.
We have all been there. We pick up this sweet looking game and can’t wait to get home; if someone else is driving you are reading the manual for the game on the trip home. You get psyched up because you are about to feel like a bad ass and then every enemy is stronger than you!
Of course we don’t want a Dynasty Warriors scenario where they are all fodder but still we would like the preservation of our top status (minus of course the key figures from the enemies side which are super powerful attesting to their current success) in the game.
A game that comes to mind that embodies this fault is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. You are supposed to be ultimately powerful and yet somehow it doesn’t pan out or feel that way. Instead enemies have high health and even though your powers are super powerful they don’t amount to jack.
4) No More Screw You Endings
Okay I don’t know what has gotten into developers but lately there has been an over abundance of screw you ending games. The basic premise of this is simple. The game ends in some way that feels like a screw you. Your character dies; you don’t achieve anything (Cursed Mountain), or various other implements of screw youness.
Do developers think this is a good way to end games? Does anyone really like these endings? Now of course a tragic ending or a there is more to come ending are okay but screw you endings just take the cake eat it and then rub it in your face that you didn’t get a slice. Leaving you staring at your screen like, no way, there is no way it really just ended that way but you know it did.
5) Enough with the cliff hanger endings
Many gamers want this said so I will say it; enough with the freaking cliff hangers endings. Why does every game and its mom now have to end on a cliff hanger ending. Now of course if there is a sequel it is forgivable since well there is a sequel but there is one situation that all long time gamers can tell you of. The dreaded no sequel.
Ah the memories of games that I still await for a sequel; XIII and PsyOps when will we see the continuation of your story? There is nothing worse than finding out that that cliff hanger will never be concluded. That is the ultimate peril of the cliff hanger ending.
6) Stop Mainstreaming games
Mainstreaming for those that don’t know is when a developer puts a feature into a game just because ever other game has it or to sell more copies. A lot of potentially great games do this and the list could be virtually endless.
While a certain degree of feature sharing should be done it should be done for the sake of the game rather than the sake of your sales figures. Let’s face it; better quality games sell more copies in general than crappy game… Okay maybe in theory.
7) Stop trying to make games more accessible!
Alright games shouldn’t be complicated but come on gamers are your core audience we buy your product, we play your products, we are your target market and not some people who don’t play games.
While over complication ruins games so does making it to watered down for the sake of getting none series fans or non gamers to play your game. Rather it would be a better use of your time and money to make a great game rather than dumb it down. Then the word is spread of how good the game is and people will play it.
Also take a look at why people don’t find the games accessible before you start lopping off features like a monster survivors. That way you get more customers and we get to play an awesome game.
8) Enough with the damage screens that take up the whole window.
Well now instead of the health bar in some games we have the take damage and wait and recover mechanic which has been used to death thanks to numbers 6 and 7. In a lot of these the screen turns red or something gradually fills the screen to indicate that you are damaged and how damaged you are.
The problem arises when whatever the developer has chosen covers the whole screen and you can’t aim for beans. Hitting the broad side of a barn would be difficult and yet these are the most critical do or die moments in a game where you walk on the edge of the reload screen. We need to be able to see to be able to do something, anything other than shoot at random and hope to high heaven that some bullet manages to hit an enemy and kills them.
9) Stop trying to teach us lessons.
I like the games are art argument and arguably they are but some games ruin themselves for the sake of their message (See Grand Theft Auto 4 and Mafia 2). Listen we get it crime is bad, killing is bad, we are not idiots we don’t do that crap in real life so let us have our entertainment without trying to teach us a lesson in morality that we already know.
This of course does not apply to those games that don’t’ ruin themselves trying to teach a lesson to the players.
10) Stop tacking on Multiplayer in every game.
Many of you will disagree with this one but I think it needs to be here. While a great multiplayer adds to a game and enriches the experience the general multiplayer life is about a couple months and then it is forgotten about by everyone except a select few who will play it to death.
Now while a good multiplayer adds to a game a mediocre one takes away from development time that could have been spent on the single player game ironing out bugs, increasing the fun level, and more.
You can tell when a games development time was wasted on multiplayer for the single player feels weaker. In reality tacking on a multiplayer mode does not sell more copies and in the end will only hurt your sales because fewer people will want to play a weaker single player.