Are Shooter Games Starting To Lose Their Appeal?

You can only re-hash the same thing so many times before it is no longer desired.  This goes for movies (see – Saw, Rocky, Rambo, Star Wars (the new crappy ones) as much as it goes for music and video games.  In gaming we are starting to experience something that isn’t too dissimilar.  Every November we expect a new Call of Duty game.  While COD is the most common direction people look when it comes to games being the same every year, it is also a trend that is getting (or has gotten) old very fast.

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I am almost to my second prestige in Black Ops 2.  While this isn’t shocking to the many people that have already reached the 5th or 10th prestige it is something relatively new to me.  I didn’t prestige in Modern Warfare 3 and I thought I would give it a chance in Black Ops 2.  The problem with this is the fact that I am playing games and leveling up in their second and third iterations.  There have been some changes along the way, but the one thing that remains a constant is the move towards an almost exclusively multiplayer focused game that revolves around leveling, leaderboards and people trying to make it big on YouTube.

While there are other games that are being milked as a franchise (Assassin’s Creed, Metal Gear, Angry Birds and let’s not forget sports games and their wonderful annual roster updates) – it seems that shooters are still the cash-cow that get most of the development attention.  There have been some reports/rumors that Call of Duty is starting to see a slight decline in sales.  Does this really surprise you?  Madden and NCAA have also both started to see a decline in sales over the last few years.  While there have been some fluctuations to these numbers in some cases, it should tell the gaming industry from production company to developer that gamers want new games with new ideas.

If you want to look for hope in gaming, take a look at what some of the indie game developers are putting out.  Support their cause, but please… demand creativity instead of sequels.  That is so… Michael Bay.

Assassin-Nation: Assassin’s Creed 3 Is Less Than Twenty-Four Hours Away!

Sharpen your blades and work on your parkour.  Assassin’s Creed 3 is coming out at midnight tonight and it looks like it could be the best one yet.  This is the first time I have pre-ordered one of the AC games over the course of its existence, but it recently grabbed my attention with the inclusion of a barter economy and the idea of defending trade routes among other things that may seem small but will hopefully make the game a more enthralling experience overall.

This game is looking more and more like Red Dead Redemption in many ways as well.  The concept of hunting different animals and building your own homestead is something that is quite common in many Rockstar games and AC3 looks to have caught on to that fact.

Have you pre-ordered Assassin’s Creed 3?  If not – you still have some time!

Assassins Creed Lawsuit – Can You Own An Idea?

Can you own the rights to a fictional concept?

Assassins Creed 3 is under threat of having its release date pushed back because it is accused of using the ideas from a 2003 novel titled Link by John L. Beiswenger.  The brief summary of Beiswenger v. Ubisoft can be found here.

Upon reviewing the plaintiff’s personal/professional website it is evident that he wishes to consider himself an inventor and writer.  He has many patents on existing objects today.  However, this case is going to hinge on the argument of whether or not you can own the rights to a theoretical idea that you haven’t created in the sense of material existence.  One way in which this might go in the direction of the plaintiff is if they take the route of comparing his alleged concept to that of a mathematical equation.

The question that should be asked by Ubisoft is whether or not references between stories require a reference, credit or even permission.  That is assuming that the idea can be proven to be the same as the alleged theoretical machine.  In this case it will depend largely on whether or not there were exact ‘parts’ of the machine being referenced or certain abilities such as time travel through the consciousness of ancestors.  Even in the case of the latter being the crux of the argument, who’s to say that it hasn’t been referenced before the aforementioned novel Link?

Here is a quick example –

If I write a story about time traveling back to 1960 by using a Flux Capacitor in my Corolla I would probably be in violation because it is so similar to the story in Back to the Future.

However, if I write a story about time traveling with a device called the Conundrum Annihilator that allows me to go to 1960 in my Corolla it is more of a concept than some sort of intellectual theft.

There is a difference between referencing time travel and using the ‘flux capacitor’ in order to travel through time.

Or, if you prefer an example of how the interaction might happen between the theorist and the creator you might want to watch the movie Twister and look at the interaction between Bill Paxton’s character Bill and Cary Elwes character Jonas when Bill sees his idea brought to life by his rival.

Bill: You son-of-a-bitch! What, did you think I wasn’t going to find out?
Jonas: Somebody get this loser off of me? [Bill’s team comes to pull Bill off of Jonas] What the hell is the matter with you?
Bill: [Tries to push at Jonas again] You stole my design, you son of a bitch!
Jonas: What the hell are you talking about?
Bill: DORTHY. You took her, you damn THIEF!
Jonas: [Realizes what Bill is talking about and smiles] Oh, I get it. You’re trying to take credit for my designs, ain’t you?
Bill: Liar. She’s our idea and you know it!
Jonas: Unrealized idea. Unrealized.
Bill: That thing ain’t worth shit! [Tries to attack Jonas again, Jo helps stop it]
Jo: Hey! Hey, guys! Get a grip on yourselves. We both know they’ll never get that thing up in the air.
Jonas: Now let me enlighten you people. This baby has satellite comlink. We’ve got an onboard pulse stopper, and we’ve got NEXRAD real-time. Today, we’re going to make history. So stick around, ’cause the days of sniffing the dirt are over.

Other good reading on this topic:

The Escapist