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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.

Recent 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.

 
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