Great video video games repeat themselves | Culture | EUROtoday

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Millions of avid gamers love the Naughty Dog firm. Works like Uncharted and above all, The Last of Us They are among the many finest in historical past, due to the worth of blending leisure with demanding and uncomfortable plots. But, on the identical time, there are hordes of customers who criticize the corporate. Most of them exactly due to their daring, with dangerous narratives or transgender or LGTBIQ+ characters. Although currently he has additionally been accused of simply the other: excessive conservatism, a minimum of economically.

Every time a brand new console has appeared available on the market, Naughty Dog has tweaked to this and its flagship title has been relocated to shops: a lot in order that there are actually extra remasterings (three) than authentic video games (two). First, The Last of Us confirmed the world what video video games had been able to. But then he summarized nice paradoxes that plague the sector: originality or extra of the identical; prioritize expertise or expertise; the thirst for cash or artwork. Of Final Fantasy VII a Resident Evil, sequels, remakes or restorations dominate releases and gross sales. To the enjoyment of followers or nostalgists. Others, nevertheless, worry that artistic danger is dropping the sport, a minimum of in blockbusters. Meanwhile, the impartial sector brims with innovation, but in addition precariousness. Artwork, video games, merchandise? Also on this The Last of Us suggests the best way: the perfect debates appear advanced.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Image from 'Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth'.

“There are many repetitions, too many. It is evident that it has an economic interest,” begins Sofía Francisco, creator of a number of books on the sector (the newest, The Berserk phenomenon, in Paper Heroes). Almost all the nice titles of the final a long time have already returned, roughly made up: Silent Hill, Prince of Persia, Metal Gear Solid, Dead Space, Zelda, Mass Effect o Crash Bandicoot. “The number of users, their average playing time and their spending have all decreased since 2021. At the same time, the most popular works, which can remain popular for a decade, unlike a book or a movie, have become larger. and faces. All of this has made it difficult for many titles and developers to increase their audience,” says Matthew Ball, a famend analyst on this business.

In actuality, persevering with or versioning the previous is as outdated as tradition itself, so Hallelujah a Shakespeare, de A star has been born a The value of energy. Almost all of Hollywood's greatest international blockbusters come from well-known franchises. And tv is heading in direction of the period of “safe ideas,” in keeping with an article printed in Vulture final yr. The online game could also be simply one other instance. “There are formulas that tend to be repeated, especially in large productions: mechanics that seem to be copied from one game to another, sagas that are exploited for decades. It is a way of reducing risk that, on the other hand, is not exclusive to this industry,” argues Luis Oliván, head of the Spanish firm Fictiorama, creator of authentic works resembling The Fabolous Fear Machine o Do Not Feed The Monkeys, in addition to the sequel to the latter. However, the pattern does comprise totally different components within the online game, even distinctive ones.

A moment from the video game 'Do Not Feed the Monkeys', by the Spanish studio Fictiorama.
A second from the online game 'Do Not Feed the Monkeys', by the Spanish studio Fictiorama.

“The new versions here serve to preserve the original work,” highlights Francisco. Because an outdated music or film is sort of all the time nonetheless obtainable similar to its remakes current. Recovering an journey conceived for a console that has already disappeared, then again, presents a path of obstacles. However, on the identical time, in video video games the brand new tends to bury the outdated greater than in different areas. “Sometimes, Nintendo leaves the remake and removes the original from its digital store,” Francisco exemplifies. A phenomenon that the journal additionally lamented Wiredin June of final yr: who’s going to journey to an archaic universe after they can go to its model new photorealistic model?

That report added a mirrored image: “We do not believe that literature will be perfected over time like science. Nor have advances in visual effects improved the films. Artistic quality does not have to be linked to technology. Still, in video games we tend to associate new with better.” Sometimes the equation is actual: the second installments of Red Dead Redemption, Alan Wake or his personal The Last of Us They arrived a few years after the unique, with scripts as strong or extra, and concepts as daring as a musical in the midst of a scary nightmare.

An image of 'Alan Wake 2', by Remedy.
An picture of 'Alan Wake 2', by Remedy.

In normal, it could be that the playability and graphics, extra linked to technical advances, do respect the passage of time. The second installment of Horizon It supplied a bigger world, extra alive and absorbing than its predecessor. And the menace that devastated A Plague Tale: Innocence It turns into extra overwhelming in its sequel, Requiem. Creative and narrative expertise, nevertheless, will not be judged solely in pixels or prospects with the controller in your palms. The sagas Fifa o Call of Duty They have dominated the market based mostly on small annual tweaks. Which may situation the exterior viewers's view of the online game. And there are remasters that merely depart the whole lot intact, apart from the aesthetics. The so-called “Complete Edition” of The Witcher 3 It was nothing greater than an “update,” as he wrote Financial Times. And Francisco stresses that GTA: Trilogy It accrued extra failures than new options.

Even so, Matthew Gallant, director of the remastering of The Last of Us Parte 2, He acknowledged that he didn’t perceive a few of the “consternation” in regards to the challenge. An evaluation of the specialised surroundings IGN affords some reply: “Ultimately, it's money for new graphics. It's hard not to imagine how interesting these games would have been if new, modern ideas had been properly applied.” Or if, instead of focusing on them, developers allocated time and resources to generate unpublished intellectual properties. Although the ideal reflection does not include the most earthly of keys: money. “Criticizing this conservatism is easy from a distance but, from a purely commercial point of view, it makes perfect sense, especially when we talk about products that can cost hundreds of millions of euros and that, to be profitable, have to sell. many units,” says Oliván.

An image of 'Horizon.  Forbidden West', by Guerrilla Games.
An image of 'Horizon. Forbidden West', by Guerrilla Games.

“Since the PlayStation 2, in the first decade of this century, each generation of consoles had less revenue, while graphical and world improvements became less and less revolutionary. Add to that the explosion of indie and mobile games, and major studios turned toward remakes, reboots and consequences to reduce the risk of a failed launch,” contextualizes Logan Brown, professor at Indiana University, in the United States, and author of research on the matter. The thousands of recent layoffs at some of the sector's main developers darken the economic outlook. And the sources consulted draw similarities with cinema: skyrocketing budgets, also in advertising, and growing competition (audiovisual platforms, social networks, independent video games) have pushed the industry to “corner” itself, according to Brown: “As “They cannot compete in innovation, they do it in labels with recognizable names.”

“Between the nineties and the two thousand, the largest film studios also invested heavily in style productions. indie, dramas or medium-budget romantic comedies, but now they focus on blockbusters. “It's close to what happens in video games,” adds Ball. And he maintains that, with so many similarities, many “also expect a similar outcome: that the public begins to ask for different experiences.”

Image from 'Chants of Sennaar', by Julien Moya and Thomas Panuel.
Image from 'Chants of Sennaar', by Julien Moya and Thomas Panuel.

The truth is that there already are. Already in 2016, creator Fumito Ueda encouraged his colleagues to find their own path, instead of being inspired “by cinema or other media.” “You won't have fun with video games if you work in a large studio,” said Dave Oshry, head of Dusk. And authors like Karla Zimonja, Lucas Pope and Sam Barlow have been exploring the limits for years with works like Gone Home, Return of Quiet Work o Her Story. Ball adds recent titles such as Cocoon, Dave the Diver o Chants of Sennaar and Francisco mentions Balatro. All, yes, independent productions. With more risks, but less funds, more instability. “The two main challenges of the games indie They are access to financing and visibility: more and more quality works are published, but that makes it more difficult to stand out. Precisely creative risk can become a key element,” defends Oliván. Although Brown also highlights that the fight to be seen is pushing some independent companies to revise their formulas towards easier and more in-demand recipes.

There, large and small industries come into contact. And, at the same time, the sources highlight remakes achieved and cared for, as Resident Evil II, Yakuza Kiwami or the peculiar The Making of Karateka. “I question the idea that remakes y reboots involve less creativity. Even just porting a video game to another medium requires an enormous number of creative decisions that the public and the press may never see,” Brown emphasizes. Maybe the recent Final Fantasy VII Rebirth be the best example: it recovers an old game, but modifies its plot, its gameplay and several internal dynamics. Thus, among so many labels, they have not managed to stick any: not even remake in reboot neither remastering nor sequel. Or maybe all of this at the same time. In its own way, it is also a novelty.

Image from 'Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth'.
Image from 'Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth'.

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