6 Gaming Trends That Need To Die

There’s a lot of stuff to love about being a gamer in 2015. Advanced graphics, state-of-the-art gameplay, integrated social interaction. But it’s not all sunshine and achievements. These are the six gaming trends that absolutely need to die. Immediately.

6. Feature Stripping

Why, oh why does it seem like the first things to go when developers are attempting to take advantage of next-gen technology are the features of a game? 

My personal example of this comes from the controversial WWE 2K15, a $60 graphically superior grappler that, unfortunately, has less features than the previous six games in the series. While 2K15 does add the very-well-done MyCareer mode, the rest of the game clearly took a major hit for it. Numerous match types were removed, every single Creation mode outside of the standard Create-a-Wrestler/Entrance/Moveset was taken out and the things that were left over were stripped down. 

For example, just last year in WWE 2K14, players had access to custom music for Create-An-Entrance, Create-A-Story mode, Create-A-Finisher mode and a metric ton of customizable options in the base Create-A-Superstar mode. 

While 2K14 had over 70 different hairstyles to choose from, players creating a wrestler in 2K15 are left with 18. Seriously. I had more customization options in SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role in 1999! That is atrocious!

Another great example is The Sims 4. Every gamer I know got supremely hyped for the successor to the excellent Sims 3, especially after EA slowly released those teaser videos showcasing the overhauled Creation and Buy/Build modes. 

Unfortunately, while The Sims 4 looks fantastic and is still a ton of fun to play with, it seems like EA sacrificed features to make it happen. Loading screens, a minimally invasive thing in The Sims 3 are rampant in The Sims 4 and the open-world feel from 3 is gone. On top of this, the features that were removed were completely unreasonable. Don't tell me that burglars, careers and ghosts had that big an effect on your ability to overhaul the gameplay modes.

While it still stands to be seen what EA plans on bringing into The Sims 4 via expansion pack, it’s still disappointing that developers feel the need to trade franchise-defining features for graphical improvements and mechanics overhauling. With the sheer power of the PS4 and Xbox One available to work with, as well as the resiliency and creativity of the PC gaming market, there’s absolutely no excuse for this. Stop being cheap, developers. If you’re seriously going to ask for $60 for a game, you better deliver on that investment (I’m looking at you EA and Activision). 

5. Overuse of Quick Time Events (QTEs)

Seriously. Kill this. Kill it with fire. Is there any reason this needs to be a thing? It’s lazy game programming! Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against QTEs as a rule. There’s something fun and exciting about QTEs when they’re done correctly. Read: Correctly. That means putting them in the game to keep players on edge or help them feel immersed in a critical part of a battle or cutscene. Not just putting them into the game because you’re too lazy to take the time to program something!

One of the absolute best examples I can provide for quick time events goes to the classic Resident Evil 4. In RE:4, you can’t put your controller down for a second because a QTE can happen anywhere and at any time, and mastering these is the difference between living and watching a zombie skip rope with your entrails. Or how about the satisfaction of tearing Helios, God of the Sun's head right off his shoulders by mashing the X button in God of War III? Case in point; QTEs are all about quality over quantity. A few well-placed QTEs can add to the excitement and energy of a game. Or you can flood your game with them and rob players of the experience of actually doing things.

A bad example of QTEs is a game like Ride to Hell: Retribution, where QTEs were a part of awkward cutscenes, driving sequences and melee fights or the colossal epic fail that was Rambo (the glorified rail shooter) where the whole friggin' game was a series of QTEs (including the "stealth" sections). Talk about killing the experience.

Let’s not even dwell on the fact that both of these games did everything in their power to scrape the absolute bottom of the gaming industry toilet bowl. Both games are peppered with random, awkward poorly executed QTEs in inappropriate scenarios, not for immersion or because the QTEs lead to something cool but just because everyone else was doing it, so we should do it too. No sneaking section in a game should be done with QTEs. It's just plain wrong.

To sum it up; quick time events can be cool but you can NOT use them to blatantly cover up your inability to program a compelling cutscene or battle sequence. Stop this. Just stop it

4. The Exploitation of Movie/TV Licenses

Now, it’s no surprise to anyone who plays games that any movie or TV based video game generally sucks. It’s kind of like a gaming industry rule of thumb. But 2014 gave me a little hope. We had Alien: Isolation, South Park: The Stick of Truth and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. All surprisingly good games and all commercial successes. That’s a phenomenal improvement for a genre that’s generally considered the lowest common denominator for the video game industry. 

But those three games are the exception, not the rule. A perfect example of the way movie and TV licensed games typically work? Last year’s train wrecks The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

Both games were lazily programmed, filled with glitches and, as is typical with games based on popular movies or TV shows, were both rushed out to cash in on the popularity factor involved. 

Why is this still acceptable in 2015? Why go the E.T. Atari 2600 route and hurry a game out with inadequate development time just to coattail off the money of the show or movie in question? Better question: why do we, as gamers, still tolerate this?

With a game like Amazing Spider-Man 2, all it would have taken is a few extra months of care and development, and this game would probably have been acceptable. Unfortunately, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct has no such excuse, as the brilliant folks over at Telltale Games proved that it’s perfectly possible to release a well done Walking Dead game. 

Is it that important to cash in on a popular franchise that it necessitates spitting out a semi-functional completely inferior product? The overall concept is still as good as it always was. There will never be a time when folks won't want to dive into their favorite franchises via an awesome video game. The lack of "awesome" in these games is the one thing that keeps it from happening.

Bottom line: Either take your time and make a good game or don’t make it at all.

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Quinn Gammon's picture
Mr. Quinn Gammon is a writer of varying interests, most of which are nerdy. He enjoys comics, movies about comics, TV shows about comics, pro wrestling, shows about pro wrestling, games about pro wrestling, video games in general, Neapolitan ice cream and movies about Neapolitan ice cream (because they DO exist) and is currently plotting to take over the world using a combination of the Thu'um, forbidden Jutsu, and the White Tigerzord from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
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