Last year, across all platforms, was a fantastic year. We had Uncharted 3 on the Ps3, Gears of War 3 on the 360, Skyward Sword on Wii, The Old Republic on PC and the 3DS launched. This is awesome in itself but add to it the lengthy list of fantastic first and third party games for the same list of consoles I just mentioned and all in all 2011 was an absolutely jaw dropping year for games with blockbuster after blockbuster being released. Call me mad, and some of you might, but this year seems comparatively dull. The quality as well the quantity of exclusives seems to be diminishing and the multi platform releases are left to carry things through and all of the games are lacking fresh ideas.
Apart from Mass Effect 3, Bioshock: Infinite and, to a lesser extent, the new Tomb Raider and new Hitman games there aren’t a lot of familiar games coming out that are likely to be blockbuster standard and the new games that aren’t familiar, such as Kingdoms of Amalur and Starhawk, whilst promising, don’t seem overly original and I think originality was what this year needed. Last year was the year of the blockbuster, this year needed to be the year of progress and I don’t think it can be. The new franchises seem to be stereotypical and the exclusives just don’t seem particularly inspiring, I know rumours abound that the next generation is on its way and this might mean developers are biding their time for that but I don’t think the next Xbox and Playstation will be out this year, and I’m not even sure we’ll see them until late next year so why not push the current consoles to their limits and give us something truly new?
Great but not innovative.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to a lot of games this year, so much so that I plan on buying a 3DS and a Wii U just to be able to play more of them but after last year I was really hoping for something fresh, new and good and it doesn’t seem to be coming. There is the usual collection of smaller games that are trying to innovate but I want a AAA game to come out and completely blow us all away showing us that games don’t need to be derivative to be good.
Essentially big companies are, understandably, afraid to do new things because they know Call of Duty will sell, they know Mass Effect will sell and they know that if new games borrow ideas from these then they will sell too but one of these companies, just one of them, needs to put its neck out and give us something new and make it great. If this truly is the last year of our generation then it needs to end with a bang and if it isn’t and it’s just another year then things need to be freshened up for the gaming world not to start to seem a bit too dull, a bit too uninspired and, ultimately, a bit too corporate.