Don’t you miss the days of buying a game and being able to enjoy it for months on end? Yes, what I’m talking about is game design. You know, games with replay value like FF1 which, if you do the math (if you’re following HBHT I assume you’re enough of a geek to follow statistical math ^.^), 6x6x6x6=1296 possible party combinations NOT including challenges like a 1 character play-through (I’ve done this, solo red mage. I highly recommend trying a 1 character play-through for the hardcore old-schoolers out there!) or pretty much any Megaman game; 8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1=40320 possible ways to play through the robot master stages before even confronting Dr. Wily. Going a little further, even games like Chrono Trigger with its pile of different endings and a new game+ system and of course fun little challenges like soloing Lavos with Chrono… Yeah…good times.
So, why have companies been putting out such shoddy work as of late? Granted, I don’t expect EVERY game to be a gem(s) like any of those listed above; but, the thought of the money grab does come to mind… A perfect instance that comes to mind is Dragon Age 2. Oh yes, that sequel that disappointed almost everyone. Of course, compared to Dragon Age 1 it simply could not compare. I personally played through DA2 once and DA1 three times with each different character class on each difficulty. Needless to say the story was told fantastically in the first and I still remember it fondly. Not so much in DA2. Now, this isn’t really meant to be a total BioWare bash but I feel (as well as many friends and gaming community members at large) that they have been dropping the ball lately. Mass Effect 3’s ending was underwhelming at best and Star Wars: The Old Republic is on shaky ground for a brand new MMO that, according to developers had a $200M budget.
I sort of wish rather than spending a ton of money advertising, developers would put out good, strong, polished games and then letting their reputation precede them. An instance of this would be Squaresoft (Square-Enix now I think they are called) back in the early-middle Final Fantasy days. (People following my articles have probably picked up on that fact I’m an old-school FF fangirl!) At that time, if SquareSoft released a game, I knew I could buy that game and love it regardless of reviews/hype etc… The same still goes for Blizzard; I played WarCraft 1, 2, 3, World of Warcraft, StarCraft 1 and 2 (a little) as well as Diablos 1 and 2. Will I continue to buy Blizzard games without a second thought? Absolutely.
So, to all the developers out there, please, please put out quality games that I will love and play for countless hours and feel like I got my money’s worth from. Replay value in a game means your customers will replay your brand.