Listen up kiddies, before the times of QTE’s, corrupt gaming empires, and gritty dark games, video games where a medium for all sorts of people to express their art. In a way, it’s the best medium because you can combine every form of it into a video game. Artists, actors, musicians, directors, and coders all had a place and none were more important than others. Back in this nostalgic utopia the games were brighter, more colorful, and full of wonder. Odd creations not found on this earth were displayed with proud creativity of the environment artists. These games became classics because of how imaginative and bright they were. A wonderland if you will.
Crash Bandicoot had a rocky start, the first game was difficult, the controls were loose, the bounces were hardly controllable. But it brought it’s best and managed to charm through the interesting settings, and the new 3-d platforming. But nary was this incarnation complete. No, Naughty Dog had a long way to go to create an epic that would be remembered fondly by older generations. And that’s what I love about this studio, it has a very definite pattern, one I believe serves it well. First, they put out a new, experimental game. At this point they don’t know what they want the full game to be, but damn will they improve upon it. The second game they release will have many new mechanics and will have upgraded the core gameplay. The third game refines all of that and polishes it until it shines. This way, ND can concentrate on characters and story, to wrap up the entire trilogy. Then, an offshoot of the pattern occurs in which before selling the lifeless husk of a license, where ND will create a racing game featuring the characters and setting of the game universe. This has occurred two out of three times, I’m still waiting on The Drake Race (working title).
But most games do not get a second chance. All studios have publishers and all the publishers care about is sales. If a game doesn’t make money, or they don’t think the game will sell well, it’s back to the drawing board. Who knows how many great games we missed out on due to publishers not wanting to take a risk. Thanks to more red tape than the IRS, studios aren’t allowed to collaborate with others when they want to, if the world were perfect, we might see an Insomniac/ Sucker Punch game, or two of your favorite studios. This is why the indie genre is important, but other people have even more ideas that don’t get a chance because it costs so much to make a game now a days.
So by the time Warped came along, we had crystals, gems, relics, power-ups that didn’t unbalance gameplay yet still added something new, characters were set and locked, we knew them, who they were, and that N. Gin’s skin would never rot off. We already foiled Cortex’s crystal scheme once, and the main story had already been finished in the second game. This is where every franchise will go if it continues on long enough, TIME TRAVEL. Of course what is there to do but go back in time and grab the crystals before they were found in the first pla-….huh. >.>
My point is everyone wants realism but get upset when things are boring. I addressed this in my Prototype 2 review. Why give us amazing powers if we can’t use them to their full extent? In a world where we can do anything, why are we limiting ourselves? Devs used to strive to make games fun, but they’re to obsessed with money. So email, write, tweet your favorite studios and tell them what you want, tell them to take risks, because if the next game they release is fun, they will have your full support. Next time you see a colorful, odd game on the shelf, give it a try. And maybe we just might accomplish something together 🙂