Now that I got that out-of-the-way… I can move on to something that’s been bugging me ever since I watched the SONY PS4 carnival of announcements and discussions. Where are the games I’ve asked myself, what impact would all this sharing and social features have on the actual games we’d play on the PS4?
Would our new shiny PS4 inspire game developers to create better immersion in the games they create, or will game developers prefer to rely on social-features instead and deliver games where multiplayer is the norm and even when you’re playing by yourself everyone else on your friends’ list could drop in and kick you in the shins, steal your l00t and run away?
Then, I looked at something amazing that has happened at Irrational Games developers of BioShock Infinite. This studio has been developing their 3rd BioShock game without fussing about next generation or old generation. They just set out to make an inspiring and immersive single-player experience utilizing current-gen consoles (PS3/XB360) and PC’s. Their solution to creating an amazing experience was Making The Player Care!
Irrational decided to make the player care about an NPC in BioShock Infinite, a young woman named Elizabeth, who has familiar characteristics that would immediately speak to us; possibly on subconscious levels. Watching Elizabeth come to life in videos has captured my imagination more than all of those PS4 videos regarding the amazing technology that SONY seems so excited about.
Another title that excites me is Remember Me from French developer, DONTNOD Entertainment. In Remember Me the player spends most of the game platforming and fighting enemies with a unique combat system that allows the player to define attack-chains and pin them to the face buttons of their PS3 or XB360 controller. The game includes cut-scenes that flesh out parts of the story, but these scenes are actually unique interactive puzzles instead of just video sequences the player cannot participate in.
Compared to what Irrational and DONTNOD have done, I find many games lacking and with the advent of this new generation of consoles, I fear more developers will stop trying to make us care about their games and their game-worlds and instead rely on us bringing our friends into the play-session as the means to having a good time.
Clearly there is room for a healthy mixture of social interactions between Players, their friends and NPC’s, but would those new generation boxes encourage this mixture? Hopefully the answer is yes and I’ll be laughing at my silly concerns as soon as I insert my INFAMOUS: Second Son game-disc into my shiny PS4.
What do you guys think?