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Next gen - will it give us something different?


Oh Danny Boy
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I've been wondering when to jump upon the next gen bandwagon. The current crop of launch titles don't look different than what we've already experienced on the current generation of machines, Watch dogs looks like it could provide a new experience; the world seems more varied and the A.I. looks far more complex then what the current gen could produce, well thats what I've gathered from the handful of demo vids I've seen. I'd still like to see both the current and next gen verisons of the game lined up to see what disparity between them there is. But so far its the same old, games we've played to death with shinier graphics.

Each new gen used to excite me due to the extra power of the consoles offering me videogame experiences that wouldn't have been possible previously, whether that be the 16bit consoles suddenly giving us bright and detailed 2D games, 3D worlds finally becoming a reality with the 32/64 bit gen, and then the DC/PS2/GC/XBOX taking 3D gaming to a new level. What is this gen going to do which previous gens couldn't do? more life like worlds? intelligent A.I? destructible scenery? less linear paths in games? Or will devs only be concerned of taking advantage of the graphical capabilities and deliver more the same?

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This question has been asked every single time a new generation was upon us, and eventually it always will offer new stuff. But it might take a while, expect shinier versions of current era games before stuff starts moving. The last gen gave us physics as standard, large streaming gameworlds (there were some examples on PS2 and Xbox but they were rather limited/primitive) on top of the eyecandy like better reflections, shadows, lighting and HD for example.

The main game changers this time will be that both consoles have HDD as standard and a massive amount of RAM to work with. Storage and memory have always been a problem when it comes to consoles (especially when developing cross-platform) so I expect that huge leaps will be made here. Worlds that aren't just bigger and/or more detailed, but which can also be manipulated in more ways and remember their state instead of resetting to default the moment you leave an area/look the other way. This will obviously also have effect on gameplay.

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If you mean gameplay innovation in the big games, then not really, but that shouldn't be surprising because this gen didn't either.

The innovation we had this gen was monetisation and online integration, and that looks to be it for next gen too.

That bloke from the Guardian asked a bunch of big game devs like Mikami at E3 about the sameness of what was shown and if this was it for the industry, if this was all we would ever get, and none of them did the, "it's just the launch, interesting stuff comes later" argument that people use to decieve themselves. They all just said "yeah, pretty much, if you want something new look elsewhere", and I trust that they're correct because they're the ones in the meetings, that see the insides of the industry and how it works.

Most people are actually perfectly happy with this, although they won't admit it, because gaming for them is about being in a comfort zone - they don't want anything outside of the genres they play.

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You need to ask yourself what exactly it is you want.

When you say theres nothing difference, then no theres not. But real differences only come with hardware and you already knew that hadn't changed.

but theres more variety of gaming then ever before. Tablets offer different experiences for example and Occulus will be good.

You'll see all the changes you ask for but probably not in one game.

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Or will devs only be concerned of taking advantage of the graphical capabilities and deliver more the same?

According to Neil Druckmann, who may or may not be in a position to know better, graphics aren't his primary focus with the available power increase:

However, the benefits advancing tech has on storytelling are changing. In terms of trying to render realistic characters, Druckmann said the industry is hitting the point of diminishing returns as the audience won't really care that much about depicting eyelashes and wrinkles better than ever before.

"But if you're trying to tell a more dynamic story or use AI in sophisticated ways--some of the stuff we tried to do with The Last of Us--technology will definitely go a long way," Druckmann said. "We were running out of memory as far as how many animations Ellie can carry, or how much dialog we could stream at one time. And that's where going to the PS4 in the future could really help us in the dynamic area of the game where the story is responding to the player's input on a moment-to-moment basis. Technology still has a long way to go."

Storytelling techniques are also advancing, and Druckmann was particularly taken with what he's seen coming out of independent studios lately. He specifically called out Gone Home and Papers, Please as two games with impressive narrative components, saying he was "blown away" by the kind of stories they told, and the mechanics used to tell them.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-09-13-the-last-of-us-dev-says-aaa-can-learn-from-indies

So hey, fans of immersive stories in games should be sorted by at least one developer who has a few hits under his belt.

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If you mean gameplay innovation in the big games, then not really, but that shouldn't be surprising because this gen didn't either.

The innovation we had this gen was monetisation and online integration, and that looks to be it for next gen too.

It depends how high you're setting the bar, because mechanically, there has been a tremendous amount of progress this gen. Even just comparing GTAIV to V (nevermind San Andreas to V), the refinement in the combat is enormous.

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No it bloody didn't! We're gonna see full fat physics this gen.

They'll still very rarely be used for gameplay.

What makes you say that?

PCs have had the potential to use hardware acceleration for physics for a while, but as games are primarily developed for consoles which can't hack it, the effects could only be used for fluff.

Now we enter an age where there is the power available to do such things better across the board, some of the original PS4 rumours about the GPU indicated the extra power available over the X1 would be hived off for none-GFX tasks, GPGPU is the most interesting potential area for new stuff to be implemented.

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If you mean gameplay innovation in the big games, then not really, but that shouldn't be surprising because this gen didn't either.

Good job loads of little games were able to harness the advent of digital distribution on consoles to make their interesting ideas a reality and bring them to the masses, isn't it. Otherwise they'd have been ghettoised on PC and the last-gen would have been much less interesting for the settee crew. I have no idea what next gen brings that couldn't already be done on current gen, but at least indies will sit shoulder-to-shoulder with "big" games on the digital storefronts, with no division between them and more of the Steam style "grey area' pricing rather than everything being under <£12 or £40. I'm splurging for pretty graphics and that unbeatable new console smell, I'll still look to the little games for interesting ideas.

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You could say there were innovations in the big games too this gen. They got far more accessible for example, they were far more forgiving, added loads of cinematic cutscenes/ QTE stuff. In the PS2 era it was quite common to have games which would only let you save at key points rather than having checkpoints all over the place. Or games that would just let you start all over if you forgot to save manually. These days it's quite rare to lose more than 2 minutes of progress at any moment.

Whether you like that is another questions of course.

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You could say there were innovations in the big games too this gen. They got far more accessible for example, they were far more forgiving, added loads of cinematic cutscenes/ QTE stuff. In the PS2 era it was quite common to have games which would only let you save at key points rather than having checkpoints all over the place. Or games that would just let you start all over if you forgot to save manually. These days it's quite rare to lose more than 2 minutes of progress at any moment.

Whether you like that is another questions of course.

It depends how high you're setting the bar, because mechanically, there has been a tremendous amount of progress this gen. Even just comparing GTAIV to V (nevermind San Andreas to V), the refinement in the combat is enormous.

Sorry, these are all iterations, I don't think that was what the thread was about.

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Sorry, these are all iterations, I don't think that was what the thread was about.

It was more: what progress has there been other than shinier graphics, so yes it's all relevant. Certainly more relevant than "monetisation" to the advancement of the art-form.

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The idea of "generations" throws this off a bit. If you're a PC owner you have a straight line right through the last 20 years of gaming rather than large incremental leaps in technology. Discard the idea of generations and simply ask yourself why anyone would spend millions on an untested idea, something so "out there" that you couldn't even describe it as being a vague iteration of anything that went before. These types of leaps seldom happen in any technology industry OR art medium, and when they do they are heralded as works of visionary genius. It's silly to expect games to be any different. New ideas are very unlikely to be reliant on spec bumps. Either they're linked to new technology (Motion control, VR, Biometrics, Online connectivity to give a few examples) or they can be achieved on whatever the current tech is because the developer has a passion to create. The core mechanic of Portal works as a 2D flash game, for example.

It's plain to see that the next-gen is extremely similar to the last, and essentially a shrinking and mainstreaming of midrange current PC. It's not going to suddenly enable new experiences because this power has already been available to developers for years. I do think games are more diverse now than ever, however homogenized the biggest blockbusters have become. The PC especially is a hotbed of creativity, and this will hopefully be easier to spread to console.

I also think it's wrong to suggest people don't want new experiences. Look at Minecraft and Day-Z, both extremely popular games, both played by millions despite being broken and half finished, because they offered something new.

I actually wonder if this gen will get off to a bit of a false start, and won't really take off until we see a new round of VR and/or biometric peripherals arrive.

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Naughty Dog’s creative director and writer Neil Druckmann is of the opinion that triple-A developers can learn a thing or two from indies, especially in the way in which characters are portrayed in games.

“With big AAA titles, it’s sometimes hard to make these gigantic shifts as far as what a game is or what kind of story it could tell,” Druckmann said. “As more and more examples come to light, I think more people are pursuing better narratives, and I hope criticism of games and game narratives is becoming more sophisticated. I think before you would have had a hard time talking about tropes and how women are represented in games, or how characters of color are represented in games.

“But now I’m kind of excited by the discussion and the kind of criticism games are getting. I think that change is going to happen much more rapidly going forward, and people who don’t engage in that discussion, who don’t try to appeal to audiences that are coming on, are going to be left behind.

“I feel like AAA games… we’re on this cusp of at the very least seeing strong, non-sexualized female protagonists starring in games. You’re going to see a lot more of those, and a lot more that are commercially successful.”

Druckmann feels that in many cases, triple-A developers feel they need to play it safe due to there being “so many parts of a giant corporation” working on releasing a game; therefore, companies become risk adverse.

“But once you have enough evidence to say ‘Hey look, this is actually not a risk, this can succeed commercially,’ then creativity can flourish and new avenues can be pushed,” he said.

From GI

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If you mean gameplay innovation in the big games, then not really, but that shouldn't be surprising because this gen didn't either.

The innovation we had this gen was monetisation and online integration, and that looks to be it for next gen too.

That bloke from the Guardian asked a bunch of big game devs like Mikami at E3 about the sameness of what was shown and if this was it for the industry, if this was all we would ever get, and none of them did the, "it's just the launch, interesting stuff comes later" argument that people use to decieve themselves. They all just said "yeah, pretty much, if you want something new look elsewhere", and I trust that they're correct because they're the ones in the meetings, that see the insides of the industry and how it works.

That article is amazing

The most frightening and legitimate criticism that one can make against the video game medium is not to do with the disproportionate number of games that focus on shooting, or their moral ambiguity. It is, rather, that video games lead humans away from true progress through the illusion of accomplishment

:lol: What

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