Pioneers of Genre?

It’s a bit early to tell but if Resident Evil is about to change how devs start to look at horror games again, and Zelda BotW does the same for open world. What genre you would you like to see take a brave new direction or go back to basics next? What kind of franchise or developer would you like to see this change come from?

E3 is just around the corner… hopefully 2017 Q1 won’t just be a flash in the pan; it feels like change is in the air.

I think it’s a bit hard to tell which genres are in need of innovation until that innovation comes along, but the possibility of alternatives to standard branching-dialogue systems in games is definitely gonna be something to watch out for as natural language processing tech evolves in the coming decade or two.

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I feel like Playdead is poised to make something really special after Limbo and Inside. They’ve been the champion of moody puzzle platformers to me, so whether or not they manage to breathe new life into the genre that they know well or try something completely different, I think they’re really a studio to watch.

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I don’t know if this is exactly on topic of the thread, but I’m really hoping that a lot of devs have looked at the Witcher 3 sidequests and main story. I know from some other threads that the Waypoint forums seem down on the game, but for me, I was in a constant state of amazement as every quest I took enriched the world and made me think about my place in it, as well as offering surprising twists that no one had to take the time to write but did. After years of playing games with simple side quests where you fetch items or go kill something (especially in RPGs) and thinking “well, this is just how it has to be, no one has the time to write these” someone did it much better and now my standards are pretty high.

NieR: Automata also has some KILLER side quests, most of which are just as good as main game story. The first NieR had some great ones too, so it’s probably a continuation of that rather than Witcher 3 inspiration.

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The mechanics of stealth games these days are generally dominated by line-of-sight. Things like sound and light do come into play, but they’re usually binary–you either are or are not making noise/in the light, and this is usually indicated by something on the player-character’s outfit which is one or off. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and feel that it was a very good step back in the right direction for the franchise, and I absolutely adore Dishonored for both it’s stealth and combat. But I long for something more along the lines of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory or the Thief trilogy. Nothing screams stealth to me more than the animation of Sam Fisher absolutely tip-toeing past enemies to make no sound, in SC: CT, and you get a similar feeling from the head-bob effect in the old Thiefs.

Unfortunately I just don’t know that these games are marketable to a wider, ~mainstream~ audience. Hitman gave us a really great and unique approach to stealth that probably satisfies wannabe ghosts (though you aren’t technically ghosting when you steal someone’s uniform) like me and is more accessible, and it’s a shame that Season 2 is now in serious jeopardy.

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I was always surprised more games hadn’t copied the Hitman series regarding using disguises. It always felt way more “realistic” as a series because of one having to blend in in densely populated areas.

It seems like a given for making a game more intense in general when there’s certain behaviors the player has to imitate depending on what they’re wearing, where they are, etc.

There’s a very very very old stealth game, an arcade game from Sega called 005. In it you play an agent with a sleeping gas gun that travels through warehouses avoiding guards and collecting important stuff before escaping the area via helicopter. Slealth games haven’t changed much overall since.

I like Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes’ stealth more than Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain’s. The guard behavior is better implemented, and on top of that you can’t Fulton people away. Only two or three areas in Phantom Pain actually approach the complexity of Groun Zeroes’ camp, and you can’t just NOT Fulton people away because you’re required to build/obtain certain quantities of folks for the game to be able to progress. But it’s interesting to see how a game with the same controls/engine/everything can play very differently just based on that. And it does make me question if the stealth genre would even be fun if it got more complex than some of the top games we have now.

To me the real way to improve it would be to look to Hitman/Deus Ex 1 and factor social interaction into the game’s missions more. One of my favorite levels in the Hitman series is when you go to the Petronas Towers in Malaysia. I liked that you could just walk up to the front desks and ask for directions, it wasn’t super helpful for completing the mission but such a cool thing to include.

Where to place and how information is distributed throughout the game world adds so much to a stealth game for me, because you can only tweak how line of sight and lighting and sound works in the game so much.

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Ugh, the emphasis on the fulton in TPP was a real bummer for me. I want to avoid confrontation and leaving a footprint as much as possible when I play stealth games, but with that thing the best strategy was to steal every person, crate, mortar and vehicle you could see. And you’re right about the camps too. TPP’s stealth was mechanically sound but became dull when I had to visit the same locations multiple times for side missions and even the repeat main missions. I would figure out the best approach and entry point to the camp/base the first time, and then rinse and repeat. I have serious mixed-feelings about that game simply because I refused to play it like it was Mercenaries.