The future of adventure games | Posted by jonchappell on Aug 18th 05 05:50 PM
Game genres, much like film genres, go in and out of fashion. Adventure
games were very common in the 1980s with such classics as Monkey
Island, Sam & Max, Discworld and Grim Fandango (a true classic).
However, with the advent of first person shooters, adventure games took
a back seat in the market with the result that there are very few
adventure games being released commercially, causing many people in the
industry to label the genre as dead.
adventure games such as Myst IV have been modestly successful but could
hardly be called blockbusters. The main problem is that adventure games
are not seen by the industry as "mass market" games. It also signifies
changes in Society. The invention of microwaves, broadband internet and
digital TV mean that people do not have to wait for things any more and
they tend to get impatient when something isn't instantly gratifying. I
personally find success more rewarding when you've worked longer and
harder to achieve it.
With the cancellation of LucasArts' new
Sam & Max game and despite the announcement of Broken Sword 4 (I
don't think it will be good enough to revive an entire genre by
itself), I would say that the adventure game by itself is dead. The
future, however, seems to lie in hybrid games - games that combine the
best elements of multiple genres. One such example is Grand Theft Auto:
San Andreas which combines FPS (or third-person shooter if you're being
pedantic) action with driving, flying, property buying and lots of
other small things. San Andreas is a lot more open-ended than the
previous GTA titles and allows you greater freedom to choose what you
want to do. It combines many of the common elements of adventure games
- exploration, puzzle-solving, character interaction and has a strong
focus on storyline. It also combines elements from racing games
(another dying genre) such as car tuning, and elements from RPGs such
as upgradeable statistics.
I feel overall that this hybrid
approach is a lot better than having individual genres, as game
developers can be more creative in the ways that they combine elements.
It also helps the industry by making the games appeal more to mass
markets, and it helps gamers too because it ensures that they get the
"best" features from the genre. This is the future of adventure gaming.