I am an indie video game developer designing/arting/programming my own game.
Posted by PsycheMac on Jun 17th, 2012
The two characters in the shots above look eerily similar, as if it's the same character who is time traveling between past and present. This is Lara Croft from the upcoming Tomb Raider and Leah from Diablo 3 side by side. The similarity of these two characters mirrors the similarity of the blandness of the games they come from. I have not played the new Tomb Raider as it is set to release in 2013 but I probably won't anyway. Seeing it played in E3 made me saddened as it became evident games are turning into Hollywood movies.
When they demoed it on the show floor, it seemed every two feet Lara moved there was a cut scene. There was barely any actual playing going on. Games should be games! If you're going to have cut scenes every 10 seconds, make it interactive with the character. Make it matter, make it a game. Tomb Raider did seem to have slight control in some cut sequences but there was no real give and take in it. It was just a straight forward path that anyone could take. A game is meant to immerse the Player because of it's full interactivity, not strictly it's cinematic sense of "realism".
Diablo 3 was a major disappointment. Never have I seen such a dramatic drop in quality from one game to it's sequel. Diablo 2 is one of my favorite games. It had a bleak atmosphere, you could sprint but not too far, Players could choose their character's stats, items made sense for what stats were on them, items had to be identified and portals had to be created with bought tomes, there were charms to get stats from your inventory, inventory space was taken up more by larger items like javelins, etc. It had a feel and it had game mechanics to go along with it! I felt like I was a character and things were going on that were hampering my character and causing me to think of ways to go around them. This all created more immersion and more of a unique atmosphere that can only come from Diablo.
Diablo 3 does not have this. The mechanics I listed out are all gone. Instead we are left with an autopilot farm fest that makes Blizzard money from real money auction houses. The story is sub-par, the character dialog and voice overs are hilariously forced and fake, and a ton of the game mechanics are lost that made Diablo have real weight to it. Diablo 3 almost felt like a movie because of how autopilot and straightforward/boring it was. I'm not calling movies boring but I'm saying that I never felt like I was actually playing a real game.
Don't strip away game mechanics that make a game have a feeling! Put things in the game that bring the Player along through an experience and provides an atmosphere. This will be the movie that Player's will want to play. Movies are great because they make us feel a certain way but games are not movies!! In games you are a character, it's not someone you're watching. They are meant to be fully interactive experiences which make the Player feel what the character that they are playing is feeling.
Both games hugely use scripted events. You're supposed to knockdown meticulously set-up barrels or light oil on the ground on fire to kill enemies. This in and of itself is fine but when coupled with the blandness of these two games, it brings the movie-ness to full effect. What is the Player really deciding? Everything is set up for them, there's no real choice and intelligence required. A game is a series of interesting choices not a series of scripted action shots.
It's eerie how two games with such a lack of soul and true gaming quality have such similar looking main characters in these shots. It's almost a metaphor for themselves and what is going on with the game industry in general. If the game industry wants to stop losing money then MAKE REAL GAMES!