It seems that the entertainment industry has fallen into a rut over the past decade or so.
Whether it is gaming or movies – when something finds success the typical response isn’t “What will they do next?”… it is “When is the sequel coming out?!”
A recent article that features an interview with DICE suggests that the next movement is going away from Modern Conflicts and towards ‘Near Future’. This brings a few things to mind and really presses for an honest answer that will only be given in sales numbers.
What Is So Different Between Current Day and Near Future?
If you have paid any attention to the ‘new’ direction for Call of Duty Black Ops 2 you will see that it is now based in the Near Future. The worst part about this concept is that it involves very little true innovation other than simply stating that it is based in a time period that has more flying robots and drones, etc. Modern Warfare 3 already saw places like New York City in ruins, now we get to go into new ‘future’ places and see them destroyed by war?… Yeah, really refreshing.
Does Time Period Need To Be Stated?
Outside of historical reference, does it really matter ‘when’ a game is taking place? If you have read any sort of fiction you will notice what happens in books that directly refer to technology or entertainment of the time. It ages the story and often makes it difficult for future generations to relate to the ‘power’ of whatever is being referenced. Try reading Jurassic Park or American Psycho without laughing about their references to CD-ROMs and Walkmans, or better yet – Huey Lewis and the News.
It isn’t as if time period should be cut out completely, but it should be merely hinted at in the presentation. Bioshock did a great job of this when you see the character flying in an airplane that allowed smoking (even if it did make direct reference to the year “1960 – Mid-Atlantic”). There is even the amazing presentation of NBA 2K12 that allows you to play with retro teams with a TV presentation style of the time period.
Where Is The F**CKING ORIGINAL STORY?!
There is something to be said for what Activision is doing with Call of Duty and that something is called ‘milking a concept until the game dies’. Look at what they did with Guitar Hero and you will see what will eventually happen to Call of Duty.
If you take a look at the direction of Microsoft, they aren’t too dissimilar when it comes to milking games and game series such as Gears of War and Halo. Speaking of which, new rumours have started creeping up about Halo 2 Anniversary Edition. Not that anyone should be surprised… it is just upsetting for gamers that want to play something new… something fresh.
What type of time period or setting do you want to have a shooter game based in? Leave comments below!