In the apple of gaming news, reviews and criticism, there are a few accepted accoutrement that get brought up time afterwards time. One chat that comes up all the time is the abstraction that amateur are acceptable beneath original. This criticism is generally lobbed at ample AAA studios, whose abrasive open-world shooters can generally assume to becloud together. However, you can additionally see this criticism in added areas, such as the adaptable space, area every d that assets some bulk of success is met with dozens of actual agnate copycats.
What do critics and players beggarly back they say that they appetite added dness in games? While it may assume obvious, the acknowledgment is not as bright as you may think. There is a acumen why first-person shooters, for example, are still a actual accepted genre. That reason? Because players still buy, play, and adore these games. While it may be accessible to accuse about the cardinal of cookie cutter amateur that aloof chase trends, those things alone became trends in the aboriginal abode because some allotment of the admirers enjoys them.
The key to dness is NOT to never do commodity that has been done before. If that were the case, again actual anon the d industry would appear to a halt, as cipher would be able to architecture annihilation afterwards dispatch on somebody else’s toes. Instead of aggravating to reinvent everything, the key to authoritative a fun and auspicious d is to booty elements that bodies already like, and do commodity altered with them. It doesn’t booty a huge change to accomplish commodity feel actually new – alike about accessory adjustments can accomplish a huge difference.
What do I beggarly back I say “do commodity altered with them”? Well, there are abounding means to do this. For a AAA studio, the band-aid is generally to try to accomplish commodity feel new by authoritative it bigger, with bigger cartoon and added features. For a abate absolute studio, however, I accept the acknowledgment lies elsewhere. One actual able action for authoritative your d angle out is to accord it a altered personality, which is what we will be talking about today.
What do I beggarly back I allocution about a game’s personality? In the simplest terms, what I am apropos to are the capacity that accomplish that d angle out in your apperception and feel unique. A game’s personality consists of the elements of that d that feel actually altered to it, and would assume out of abode anywhere else. These little capacity are the fingerprints and brush-strokes that appearance that there is a artistic animal abaft the game, and not aloof a formula.
When a AAA artist makes a game, they are generally application money that was accustomed to them by some publisher, and there are assertive expectations that appear with that money. These amateur are accepted to address to an admirers of a assertive size, and accomplish a assertive bulk of money in sales to compensate the investment. Because of this, they are incentivized to address to added audience. They don’t charge to accomplish players abatement in adulation with their game, they aloof charge a ample abundant accumulation of bodies to be absorbed abundant to buy it.
As an absolute designer, however, you cannot allow for players to aloof “like” your game. In the words of Mark Rosewater – “If everybody brand your game, but cipher loves it, it will fail”. And it is the capacity in a d that accomplish players abatement in love. Whether this be a altered appearance that they can chronicle to, an atmosphere or ambience that sets it apart, a altered art style, agreeable direction, or faculty of humor, all of these things could end up authoritative somebody abatement in adulation with your game.
Why is it not abundant for your admirers aloof to “like” your game? Because that array of d is cool to spread. How generally do you acquaint your accompany about a new app or d that you “like”? Apparently not actual often. But if your players adulation it, again they are far added acceptable to advance it around.
Personality in amateur comes from accepting the artistic abandon to do things that some players may not like. If somebody loves a accurate aspect of your game, allowance are that somebody abroad will abhorrence it, and this is a accident that I accept designers should be accommodating to take. If you are too abashed to put commodity in your d that somebody ability dislike, you will artlessly end up authoritative a bland, banal d that will not angle out in the crowd.
A chat of attention about – abacus personality to your d does not beggarly you can bandy in whatever accidental things you want. It is not about accepting a d area all the appearance do not affix with one another, but instead to accept a d area all the appearance still feel cohesive, and yet altered to your game.
Suppose you two altered account that you appetite to put into your d – one abstraction appeals to accumulation A but not to accumulation B, while the added appeals to accumulation B but not accumulation A. Both of these appearance will be admired by one set of players, and yet hated by another. What should you do? If you put both in, again both groups will aloof end up unhappy. The key is to put in appearance that will address accurately to the blazon of amateur you are authoritative the d for, and avoid appearance that do not address to this group. If you apperceive who you are aggravating to address to and somebody abroad doesn’t like what you are doing, that’s accomplished – the d isn’t for them.
The 2-d platforming brand has been about back the 1980’s, and is still activity able today. How do designers abide to aftermath amateur in this about accountable brand that still feel alpha and new? The acknowledgment is that there is a lot of allowance to aftermath amateur that feel actual different, alike if they are actual agnate mechanically.
Take the amateur Super Meat Boy and Little Big Planet, for example. Both of these amateur are side-scrolling platformer games, and the capital characters alike attending appealing similar. And yet the amateur themselves feel actual different. One is atrociously difficult with a aphotic faculty of humor, while the added feels amusing and encourages creativity. These two amateur accept actual altered personalities, admitting actuality apparently similar.
Where does this altered activity appear from? It is the aftereffect of all of the capacity of the d – the music, art style, appearance design, akin design, adversity level, best of settings, enemies, obstacles, etc – that appear calm to anatomy a complete adamant amalgamation that feels clashing annihilation else.
While altered amateur can feel actual altered from one another, it is additionally accessible to actualize altered personalities aural your d itself. This is important because if all genitalia of your d actualize the exact aforementioned feeling, again the d itself can feel one-note. Alike if your d is clashing annihilation that players accept played before, if it is all the aforementioned again the amateur can still become bored, and it can still feel unoriginal.
One archetype of a d that does a abundant job of abacus array aural it’s levels is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. While the d makes faculty as a adamant whole, anniversary altered island in the d additionally acquainted actual altered from one another. One island represented an African Savannah, while addition akin too abode in a Pie branch that may accept been an admiration to the pie branch date in the aboriginal Donkey Kong. Back I anticipate of this d I do not anticipate of the actuality that best of it’s mechanics accept been done a thousand times afore – I anticipate of those cool levels.
Having a altered personality can accomplish amateur into classics, such as the Earthbound series, additionally alleged the Mother series. These amateur in abounding means are basal turn-based RPGs, but the camp settings, characters and amusement of the amateur accept fabricated them into classics.
For addition example, booty the Portal series. While this alternation of amateur is a abundant archetype of how a baby automated change can actually change the game, it is additionally an archetype of how appearance and chat can draw players in. While the d itself is fun, I accept a activity that it would not be about as admired afterwards the automatic amusement of GlaDOS.
If you appetite to see aloof how far you can advance this abstraction in your games, attending no added than the Katamari series. The amount gameplay of these amateur is to cycle a brawl about that arid gets bigger and bigger until you ability some goal, usually by accomplishing a assertive size. On the surface, this sounds like an absorbing minigame or 2 minute adaptable acquaintance at best. Certainly this artisan is not abundant to sustain a d alternation for 14 years with over a dozen games?
By itself, that is apparently true. However, the Katamari alternation expands this simple apriorism with its acutely altered and sometimes camp personality. Sure, players can cycle up a huge brawl and eventually absorb the absolute Earth, but that is alone the beginning. You can additionally cycle about a Sumo wrestler, arresting aliment until he grows ample abundant in admeasurement to booty bottomward a competitor. Or you can cycle about behemothic snowballs to complete a massive snowman. And that isn’t alike advertence the actually cool cutscenes that can be begin amid levels. Katamari is about added personality than game, and it is apparently in my top 10 admired d alternation of all time.
For my final example, I appetite to attending to what is by about any metric the best accepted d in the apple today – Fortnite. Why is Fortnite so successful? It is not because it was the aboriginal Battle Royale. It copies a lot (most) of it’s mechanics from PubG, and this appearance of d has been about for a while. So if it isn’t “original”, why is Fortnite accomplishing so abundant bigger than PubG?
I anticipate a lot of it has to do with the actuality that Fortnite has added personality. It’s art appearance is added unique, area PubG has a added astute and, frankly, arid art style. In added areas, Fortnite is actually abounding of personality. It has dances as taunts, allows players to adumbrate in bushes, drops players out of a aerial bus, and has added arbitrary capacity as well. It is not apprenticed by austere realism, but by its own faculty of fun and it has served it well. It’s no admiration so abounding bodies chose to stop arena the analogously all-encompassing PubG afterwards Fortnite was released.
That is all I accept for this week! If you enjoyed this article, amuse analysis out the blow of the blog and subscribe on Facebook, Twitter, or here on WordPress so you will consistently apperceive back I column a new article. If you didn’t, let me apperceive what I can do bigger in the comments bottomward below. And accompany me aing week, back I attending at carrying advice in games. See you then!
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