Monday, September 1, 2014
Mixing it up – Changing aspects

Mixing it up – Changing aspects

Shooting, Racing, Fighting and levelling up. These are all aspects in genres we are familiar with and for a long time now that has been the case. Sure, there are more aspects out there but they are still within the same bounds. Regardless of whether you are in a third or first person perspective Gears of War would still be a shooter.

So what is your point? I hear you ask.

My point is, is this enough? What is the industry doing to mix things up and are there enough people moving away from the pre-determined formulas? This article will hope to answer that very question.

So first and foremost the shooter genre is completely over saturated. Developers have tried adding all sorts from time manipulation to racing elements, some have success and others haven’t. But who is really changing up the shooter genre in an attempt to reignite the waning flame. My personal belief is that Gearbox is. Borderlands has a unique visual style, a fresh attitude and some great features. The whole game is bonkers and doesn’t aim to ‘clone’ or adhere to any of the shooting ‘rules’. The first game threw caution to the wind and its popularity took Gearbox completely by surprise. Other games are now beginning to emerge that also breaks the established order. So there may be hope for the shooter genre yet.

But shooting isn’t the only thing we do in games, some of us race too. Racing has only ever really existed of two types. Arcade, or Simulation. If you are one you are automatically tossed aside by the other. But that’s neither here nor there. What we want to look at is, who is changing the equation?

So arcade racing is the one where you are in usually obscure vehicles collecting power-ups and doing crazy stunts to best your opponents. Simulation is the game type where you haven’t got a chance of being competitive unless you happen to spend every waking moment in your rather expensive racing setup. Now there are a few games to bridge the gap but these are mostly games that lack any sort of personality or interesting features. Now to the people changing up the formula, Codemasters. Codemasters have done something with the Dirt series that other racing games must look at and cry themselves to sleep at the thought of. Dirt is rally racing title that not only breaches the gap between arcade and simulation but adds great features like precision driving events and other motorsport phenomenon. The greatest thing is that the Mario Kart pro and the Forza veteran can both meet up and be locked in a heated battle for the top podium place.

The last form I want to look at is the RPG side of gaming. I feel these days the RPG has 3 forms, Japanese-RPG’s, Western RPG’s and RPG ‘elements’. Well the latter of those three simply means character progression and the odd unlock so we can pretty much toss that to the fire. But there doesn’t in all seriousness seem to be anyone doing and RPG in a unique way. Most if not all use a standard levelling system, a good few of them are based in the kind of world filled with elves and goblins and those who aren’t following those patterns are usually the J-RPG’s which although more interesting than hearing the tale of good triumphing over evil in a fantasy setting for the hundredth time still adhere to the same rules as each other. Now unfortunately I don’t really feel anyone has done an RPG in a new way for a while. So by all means let me know if they exist in the comments below!


Overall I guess I wrote this feeling like there is very little change happening right now within the industry and I’d love to hear your views on it as well. The answer for me is although some are trying to change things they simply are part of a minority. I could be missing some great titles here that may change this feeling so feel free to shout them at me as loud as you like. And is there a type of game or a genre you feel is getting far too stale and needs to have an injection of fresh ideas to bring it back to life? Let me know as usual down below.

About Stephen Chapman

A British games enthusiast and avid writer. Likes to write reviews and cool features and discuss games. He can be followed on Twitter through @SuperMassive20
  •!/Beta_Beast Martin Zamora

    I agree with you on there being little change in the industry, specifically shooters, at the moment, I personally think it’s due to industries not wanting to take any risks with games that go out of the predetermined (military shooter) formula that seems to dominate the market. In other words, I think most developers are asking themselves why reinvent the wheel at the risk of a flop? Most of the games who exit this paradigm seem to meet limited-to-no success (RAGE, Bulletstorm, Resistance 3), while a select few of them meet grand success (like Borderlands). This argument could probably extend to other genres. Shooters and MMO games need an injection in my opinion.

    I hope that with the new generation of consoles incoming, developers will be willing to take risks again.

    As for a great title that seems to be trying to change things in MMOs, check out Survarium by Vostok Games.

  • Wolf1888

    Wow man I really love your articles!
    They’re not news, they’re paths of reflexion, and I love that.
    I totally agree with what you say, and I can’t wait for your next article, they are a pleasure to read, honestly.

  • Stephen Chapman

    Wow! Thank you so much for the kind words, I’ll keep this kind of article up if this is what the people want. Thank you again for your comments they are always much appreciated.

  • Ernice Gilbert

    Nice read! Love the diversity these types of pieces bring to the site. Keep it up.

  • Ernice Gilbert

    On topic, I do think we need some diversity, but I believe the lack of diversity is caused by gamers to a degree. I say this because shooters sell the most. In fact it seems as if nothing will sell if it’s not done in the first-person… Games are very expensive to develop and publishers are very careful when putting say, $20 million behind a game….

    But do with need to change things up a bit? Definitely so.

  • nick

    im not sure which is more to blame.
    the market interest changing.
    or publishers willingness to take risks.
    id say its more of the former than the latter.
    it just seems that there was a HELL of allot more people wanting horror games, i mean when was the last time you heard someone say x ps1 game was too scary?
    people have just become wimps!
    and the decline of the HARDCORE games too!
    games that were seriously difficult like the early ninja gaiden games, RE, all your survival horror, MGS, all your stealth games.
    i think its because the general gamer has become allot more what i like to call michael bay syndrome!
    they have to have big flashy graphics and massive explosions to keep their attention span for more than 3 seconds!
    its defiantly a little of both, publishers willingness to say ok this is a new genre, we dont know how it will sell, but lets do it anyway full steam ahead!
    they seem to be more like ok thats a little too uncertain, lets wait till we have a few other titles to gauge response on.
    but when it comes down to it publishers willing to take risks is irrelevant!
    because if we had a wide range of gamers covering all genres not just your mindless shooters than publishers would not be a issue!
    there only a issue when a genre is not selling well, so fix that, bring in some fans and some cash, than boom problem solved!
    so at the end of the day the sad inconvenient truth we have no one but ourselves to blame for the recent saturation of the mindless shooter!

  • benzo

    A change is needed in the industry and in gamers. Gamers get caught up in a “fad” every generation and publishers line up to copy it, or at least attempt. That why we have so many FPS and not enough ARPGs or hybrid games like Deus Ex and Borderlands. When publishers/developers do take risks,they often times fail because games are unwilling to put their support around an unknown developer or a new IP. The trend last gen,in my opinion,was rhythm games like Guitar Hero. Now we have the freaking FPS/CoD thing. While I do play FPS, I will also throw my $$$ in to support a new IP like Amalur…sorry I keep bringing that up but still pissed about how things went down. Next gen I want to see more RPGs and less FPS.

  • nick

    thats the most frustrating part about it though, the industry has pretty much been balanced!
    sure there were more popular genres, but no genre had the stranglehold shooters do this gen!
    think about it, ps2 we had heaps of horror games, heaps of shooters, heaps of racers, heaps of action games, heaps of RPGs, heaps of adventure games, heaps of puzzle games, heaps of stratergy games, heaps of stealth games, ect, ect.
    ps1 was probably the most cluttered with so many platformers, but that was because of the systems limitations it was REALLY hard to do things like shooters or games like spyro/ digemon.
    this gen really is the only gen where 1 genre saturates it as much as it does!
    and only gen really where genres have gone completely extinct!