Dear Developers-Linear Video Games ARE Still Fun

Aside from all the negative attention EA is receiving for their whole Star Wars Battlefront 2 mess, they have also recently been accused of shutting down Visceral Games and moving their Star Wars project to another company because of the linearity of the game. Whether this is true, I seriously doubt it, but they have been recently saying, among other developers, that one, people don’t like linear games as much, and two, consumers want to spend a very, very long time on each game.

I assure you, that I, and many people I know still love linear games. They are just as good as non-linear games, if not better. Admittedly, the world does seem to be so obsessed with “open world” styled games, but I personally don’t understand why. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like them, but to have every game be like that is just ridiculous.

There is something to be said for games that just have you follow a path or two and not have to worry about where to go next or getting lost and all the joys that come with massive games.

To say you don’t like linear games is like saying you don’t like platformers, which is entirely possible if you were born in the last 15 years or so and are one of those people who think because the game doesn’t look and play realistically, it is crap. But should developers really be catering to that audience? Definitely not. They have no idea what a game can be or should be, they are just a bunch of dumb kids and should not be considered gamers.

gow gpThe God of War games are linear and they are some of the best games on their respective consoles. But I bet the new one coming out is going to be open world…oh boy! But this is excusable since it is a reboot, but imagine if God of War 3 was suddenly open world? It would be stupid. Those games are just intense action and it is fun. Many linear games are just as fun. Open world games are much slower moving and you spend an awful lot of time just walking around and looking for stuff. That is why many of them are over 100 hours long.

You could have just as much content in a game with a more condensed world and beat it in 30 hours. So is really adding extra walking time that much better?

Final Fantasy 13 is a game that gets much hate, and I’m pretty sure it is because of the Thundara_FFXIIIlinearity of the game. Big deal. It’s still fun. Just because there is no overworld to explore while constantly getting attacked by enemies trying to find the next town or a cave to explore to look for an item doesn’t make it a bad game. The true core is still there, and that is simply being an RPG set in a fantasy world.

And believe it or not, games don’t need DLC. Put extra effort in development and just pull the plug when it is released. Games typically are better when there is no DLC coming out 3 weeks after the game is released. Some DLC is nice, but most of it is just overpriced garbage that we don’t need. If companies actually did it right and didn’t just use it as a way to make some extra cash, then it would be actually pretty cool. But we live in a greedy, crappy world, so that will never happen.

And a lot of games now focus so much on online play, and how much they can cram into that, leaving single player modes very empty feeling. During the PS2/Xbox/GameCube era, I feel like games had much more girth to them. You got to unlock all sorts of stuff, play through a lengthy campaign that wasn’t obnoxiously long and have a great time doing it.

Now it feels like you get a slimmed down game so the devs can put more effort into the multiplayer, then instead of unlocking things, you have to purchase it later so you can pay the devs to continue to support the online aspects of the game.

Trouble with that is the majority of the gaming world still prefers playing by themselves. People suck. We have to spend all day with people. When we play games, we want to be left alone in a fake world void of other humans.

And really, if you have ever played multiplayer games with people, then you know they are a gathering of the biggest idiots on the planet. 10 year olds fighting with 30 year olds, people swearing in place of using actually grammar… it’s a mess. The gaming community certainly is one of the darker stains on the world, that is for sure. So why continue to go a route that supports such vulgar crap? Give us some solid stuff to play by ourselves. We are the majority of the market after all!

And this, ironically, brings me to the next thing developers have been saying. They claim people want to spend hundreds of hours on a single game. Gone are the days where people play a game and then move on.

This is not the case, I assure. I have a back log of over 300 games, so trust me, I don’t want to spend more than a reasonable amount of time on a game. And I assume that goes for anyone but those “gamers” who do nothing but play online Call of Duty and other online shooters. But I am not saying spending a long time on a game is a bad thing either…for it is not.

But this subject amuses me. Didn’t I just say that I wish they gave us longer single player experiences? Yes, well more valuable experiences, not necessarily longer anyhow.

But anyway, these devs are trying to keep us playing games by constantly coming out with new DLC to play. Trouble is, it’s not free and 99% of it isn’t worth buying. And again, this is really only appealing to people who play nothing but the online aspects.

cod2Speaking of Call of Duty, those games were phenomenal back in the day, when they were nothing but a single player campaign and maybe local multiplayer or whatever. The newer games are still fun, but they don’t come close to what they used to be, because all the effort goes into the online multiplayer.

So why do your original, loyal fans get shafted in favor of these people who like to do nothing but spend countless hours playing against each other? Why can’t they instead make exclusive online shooters, which fortunately seems to be a growing phenomenon, so they don’t in fact screw us single players over.

Another thing devs seem to be so worried about is replay value. How is this an issue if you are not letting us ever stop playing the game!?!?!? So they keep on adding more stuff that we can use on another playthrough and this and that, which is nice, but again, it costs a whole lot more money to do this, especially considering all of this DLC would have been included in the game 12 years ago! This is a big reason linear games are so seemingly unpopular. It is the same thing each play through…

And bottom line is, you really don’t need all this extra fluff in a game to make someone replay it. It could be the most linear game ever, but if the gameplay is fun, I am going to replay it for the sake of just having fun. I don’t need to play it for 200 hours, with new stuff added every 20 of those hours. If the gameplay isn’t all that great, it is going to be a dull, miserable 200 hours. I would much rather play a 5 hour game that is a whole lot of fun 10 times over. And big deal if I don’t replay it immediately. If it is 5 or 10 years down the line, then that means the devs did something right.

Trouble is, they won’t make extra money on it in the months following the games release, which is the whole issue here, so to their company, they did not do something right.

I’m all about trying something new, but don’t let the things from the past that actually worked be forgotten.

 

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