So shoot me, I’m not your “typical” gamer.
But I sure am a gamer, through and through - always have been, always will be. And yet, I’m still not typical. Why is this? I don’t own any current generation consoles, I don’t play Massively Multi-Player games, and I’ve never played the Sims. Game developers are rightfully in the business to make money, and I’m pretty sure nobody would blame them for it. Repeated statistics show that the big and consistent dollars come from making games that fit certain criteria. Make a World of Warcraft game and get ten million paying subscribers per month. Make a Sims game and be the highest selling title for six years running, while continually releasing “content” that again sells like hotcakes. Or make a game that can be marketed and sold on the “console” of choice platform because as we all know, that’s where the real gaming is. Sound logical?
Well here’s my problem. I don’t like the idea of a game that requires me to not only buy the game, but to then pay a monthly fee for the pleasure of actually playing the game. I also don’t like the idea of being shoehorned into being a PS3 user, or an XBox or wii user - I’ve been a PC man for years, and I like it that way. It seems that PC developers these days are being forced into multi-platform releases across the board. Gone are the days of consoles being Mario Brothers and Final Fantasy, with PC covering just about all other bases. RPG, Multi player, FPS and RTS… these have been, and still are PC staples. Yet I see that there are fewer and fewer PC exclusive titles being announced. To be honest, it really scares me.
A few years back, I got hooked on the First Person Shooter series, Battlefield. It mimicks many other FPS games, and likewise, many mimick it. The “run and gun” approach to gaming is a guaranteed winner. Those “veterans” like myself that have been playing them for years on end know what to expect, and can jump into just about any FPS game and understand the hows and whys, and essentially kick arse. Newcomers to the genre will instantly see it’s appeal and either go with it, or move onto something more to their tastes. It’s still pretty easy to get into, and generally a whole lot of fun for all skill levels. So here we have an established genre with a broad spectrum playerbase ready and willing to eat up “the next big thing”. So what we see on the horizon, is pretty well all multi-platform releases.
So what’s my gripe? Jack of all trades, master of none. It’s a pretty simple “fact” of life, that you just cannot be all things to all people. There are literally dozens of old sayings and colloquialisms out there covering this rule of thumb - bird in the hand etc etc… And yet nobody seems to be listening. Here’s the thing. Frontlines: Fuel of War promised to be the next big thing. It claimed to be the multi-player FPS game that all others want to be. To take all of the good aspects, and dump the bad. Strong pedegree with the developers gave me hope, but the balloon burst when I heard the dreaded announcement - Multi-Platform release. “It’ll play equally as good on all systems.” What a load of crap! Seriously, look at the simple mechanics of it all; Keyboard and mouse v gamepad. How do we make it so that it works for everyone? Slow it all down, and dumb the whole thing down so everything you’d ever need is at you thumb tips. Reek of compromise? Then take a look at the reality of multi-player games. Xbox360 and PS3’s are currently limited to a MAXIMUM of 16 players on a server at once. Sixteen. PC? Try closer to sixty. So what we get is a “compromise” or bastardised result catering for the lowest common denominator.
This is it - this is where my problem is, and this is going to be the thing that kills the cycle. One of these days someone is going to wake up and realise that PC’s, while diversified beyond measure, are a hell of a lot different to consoles. They’re also a hell of a lot more powerful, coupled with the flexibility to allow for so much more than just the game. Graphics wise, a current gaming PC will out-gun any console, HD or not, without breaking a sweat.
What we need, and I really mean this - is for someone to bite the bullet and fall in love with their project. Crysis - everybody knows it, everybodies seen it. It’s truly spectacular, and it’s a PC exclusive. Sure the gameplay left a lot to be desired, but it went places no console could go, and didn’t mutilate itself for the sole sake of shifting a few more units. This is all too rare, and the industry is worse off for it. What I’m really concerned with here, is that as PC technology streaks away from where the two year old consoles are, we’re going to be hamstrung by this “universal” release method. Again, what we’ll see are new games made to fit the lowest common denominator.
I’m not trying to bash the console world out there, just to say that the PC platform has so much more to offer, has so much more flexibility, that it deserves to be recognised and utilised.
Essentially - I want to see some new games being developed to make the most out of current and future PC technology, rather than last years generic consoles. Embrace the now people!