I don’t know if you can tell from my blog but I love video games. However, much like many of my allegiances, I do not hold an unwavering loyalty to the format and so enjoy a few of the things I believe the video game industry needs to stop doing.
1. Stop making single platform exclusives: The critically acclaimed (for some reason) horror game Until Dawn and the chilling indie adventure game Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture are two games that I hold some interest in playing. However, I have had to make do with watching playthroughs on Youtube because both are exlcusive releases for the Playstation 4. While not a fan personally, a number of my friends have expressed their ire at the fact that Halo 5 will be an Xbox One exclusive release. When you make a game exclusive to a particular platform, you are exlcuding a portion of gamers, potenially turning them against your platform. Now, a platform exclusive may be due to a number of reasons but I’ll tell you this now, there isn’t a demographic who will buy your console for a single game.
2. Make your horror scary again: Wow, this may be a thinly veiled critique of Until Dawn. An trend I seen begin to rise is the overuse of jump scares in horror titles. In the aforementioned Until Dawn, I have seen nearly three hours of footage and every scare has been some form of jump scare. To improve this, look back at the popular horror films and games of the last few years- in my opinion, the games that have been scariest for me are the ones that aren’t horror games and instead incorporate horror elements (oh, and Alien: Isolation). Sure, a lot of our popular media likes to fall back on the tried and tested method of jump-scare horror but the more well-received works of the last few years, such as It Follows and The Babadook from last year, have used tense, slow-burn horror combined with jump-scares to create the atmosphere I want from a horror game. To finish this point, I’m just going to leave a picture from Bioshock: Infinite and anyone who has completed the game will know the exact moment I mean.
3. Make your licensed music mean something: Grand Theft Auto became famous for licenses over a hundred songs to fill the airwaves of its fictional radio stations. However, most people will switch this off because every radio station plays the same forty songs with the same host. No, the truly special moments come with a piece of licensed music added to emphasize a particular moment in the game, such as a barbershop quarter singing The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” near the start of Bioshock: Infinite or escaping an alien spaceship to Haddaway’s “What is Love?” in Saints Row IV. Don’t relegate a licensed piece of music to background radio filler. (For more examples of great uses of licensed music, check out Outsidexbox’s video on the topic).
What do you think video games need to do more of in the future? What do you think video games need to do less of?