The New Generation Already Has A Trend, And It’s Big
You know generations can often be defined by quirks and trends? I mean spend time listening to any old guy and he’ll definitely tell you about the ‘kids’ of today. It’s not like we don’t do it either though, as we all like to comment on those twelve year old Call of Duty children. But I digress. This isn’t a lifestyle blog – we’re talking gaming, so let me get onto that.
Last generation was the rise (and fall) of the brown and gray military shooters. There were plenty other trends that I won’t discuss since we covered the biggest trendsetters in our “best of the generation” awards last year.
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I’ve noticed that the new generation already seems to have a trend starting up. In before it’s “PS4 is bestest and Xbox One is worstest.”
That’s not exactly what I’m talking about. Rather, I’m referring to the massive attention now put onto one particular genre. Want to guess what it is? Golden cookie for you if you guessed the open world genre.
Yes, suddenly there is a boom of open world games, and I’m sure many gamers haven’t even considered how many exactly. I’m not just talking about new open world games. I’m talking about sequels that have embraced open world as an evolution of their genre.
We’re looking at Metal Gear Solid V, Mirror’s Edge, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, The Division, Mad Max, Watch Dogs, Infamous: Second Son, Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Crew.
That’s a massive eleven titles that will be open world this new generation so far, and we’ve barely even started. There’s even more if you count indie games No Man’s Sky and The Forest for example.
See, this does seem a natural evolution and logical next step because last generation we saw how limited the open world genre was. Games like Assassin’s Creed III and Grand Theft Auto V struggled with their massive worlds and emphasis on great graphics, as frame rate, texture pop-ins and gameplay limitations and barriers were aplenty. The biggest limitation for me in open world has always been crowd reaction and consequence. You know, the true feeling of being in a living and breathing world. Those two words are often thrown around in marketing buzz, but I don’t really believe they’ve truly been achieved. Games like Skyrim do give you glimpses at the possibilities however.
After all, what is the grand appeal of open world at the end of the day if you are not the most important aspect? The entire point is to push at the world and see how it pushes back. You want to be an impact on the game world. You want variation and diversity.
Now with the new technology and new limits, I believe many developers will want to get in on this and either try and evolve their games or do things in the genre that we haven’t quite seen before. Even breaking previous technological limitations would be a great start.
Personally, I would absolutely love to see an open world horror game. Imagine the possibilities here for a moment. The scares could come from anywhere. You would truly be able to be lost and totally vulnerable. I actually shudder in excitement just thinking about what something like that could bring.
I suppose an important next step would be seamless transition. Avoiding as many breaks in gameplay as possible and trying to make the world truly feel as large and alive as possible. But the gameplay and genre possibilities excite me greatly.
Trends can be a good thing when they force a genre to evolve and grow. They can be healthy. At the time of Call of Duty 4 for instance, the modernisation of military shooters was a great trend that saw World War II shooters finally rest. Although funnily enough I’m sure many gamers would love to revisit World War II right now, just for nostalgia and such. But I rest that point.
Open world already seems to be the love child of the new generation right now. But come on, it’s a far better trend than brown and gray at the end of the day.
Which trend would you like to see get established this generation? Or better yet, what kind of possibilities do you see in open world?