Abyssal Pixels: Dying Genres – Whose Fault Is That?
Game genres have been consistently evolving throughout the years. In the early days, space combat games were dominating, then it was platformers, then with the rise of Doom and Wolfenstein, FPS games dominated the market, then RTS games made an appearance. Because of this consistent evolution, gaming now has a massive repertoire of genres that you can enjoy. But then you get those genres that seem to be dying out. Survival horror, rhythm games, platformers to an extent and so on. What, or who, causes that to happen?
In the case of rhythm games, there is a clear reason for why it is now a dying genre. And that’s the greed that Activision had with the Guitar Hero franchise. Rhythm games were widely popular just a few years ago, but because Activision released so many Guitar Hero games sometimes releasing 3 titles in a year, people got sick of it. The interest dwindled and then rhythm games just sort of died. There are some rhythm games still being released, but it has never gotten the same level of attention as Guitar Hero did.
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Let’s take a moment to consider what happened. A corporate entity decided that it was going to milk a franchise and then boom a whole genre got defaced and is irrelevant now. That’s the sort of power that massive game companies have over the industry. They determine the trajectory that we are heading in with regards to gaming’s future. If they make one screw up or develop a trend, that’s where we are headed whether we like it or not. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to place my trust in some faceless terror that just sees me as a number on a financial report.
Look at what happened to survival horror. Dead Space was one of the most promising survival horror games to come out back when it was an IP, but then EA just decided that they have to “appeal to a wider audience” and that made the franchise lose all merit. They didn’t want to stick with survival horror because “the market does not like that genre”. Who told them that? As far as I know, the gaming community loved survival horror and if they stuck with the genre, the franchise would be as or even more popular than it currently is.
Same thing with Resident Evil. Capcom just decided one day that people probably don’t like horror anymore and took the games into a much more action orientated direction. For what purpose? Fuck if I know. Maybe to generate more revenue from casuals, but honestly what casual would play a game called “Resident Evil 6”? It honestly baffles me how companies can just make decisions that make no sense and destroy the credibility of an entire genre and then the indie scene has to repair it. I wonder how Outlast sold so many copies when the survival horror genre is clearly dead.
The whole gaming metagame gets decided by higher ups that don’t really care what they are doing to the overall industry. Microtransactions are a new thing that came in because some jackass decided that full release games should also charge money for in-game currency because mobile games get so much revenue from that. Now it is an overused and widely loathed practice. A bunch of suits decided horror was dead and now we have significantly less AAA horror games. It’s insane.
There’s no solution other than hoping that a bunch of soulless businessmen get their shit together and stop making ill-guided decisions that destroy beloved genres. But you know what they say about hoping.