This story comes from two different directions, not too different, but there is no real link between the two (it will make sense, I promise). I (and millions with me) saw the Sony Showcase 2023. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. I do not think that this is on Sony, it is on me and to illustrate that, I will have to make a few sidesteps. In the first, you all know how I loathe Microsoft, they did this themselves (and their customer care with them) but we need to acknowledge and accept that Sony is now better because of Microsoft not in spite off. Sony grew to new heights as they were at each others throats. As they were battling for supremacy the gamers in both camps got a much better console and we all rejoiced. The issue (as I personally see it) is that the same needs to happen to games, driving games and gaming to new heights. This is one and for me the most important reason to hope that Starfield, a Microsoft exclusive will become a 90%+ game. It will up the ante for Sony (and optionally Amazon Luna too). The show started with Fairgame$ a multi gamer experience which (even if it was not) smelled a lot like Ubisoft, all smooth, all overwhelming, but the real deal? We will have to wait and see. Helldivers 2 was very Starship Troopers, Phantom Blade 0 looked like an upgraded Sekiro and Towers of Aghasba had a Zelda feel to it. The games were nice, they were very turbo. They had their good moments too, or at least moments I lived for and I am not stating that all games need to be set to me, but when you saw that Telescope looking like the telescope from Alien (more futuristic), what did you think? Then we get some foam game that was clearly based upon Nintendo Splatoon, a turbo edition. This happens and I am happy for the PS5 people who get to have a go at this game, but all this is iteration and gaming, real good gaming gets offered innovation, we need that to evolve gaming and that is one of the reasons why I hope that Starfield is the game every gamers waits for. I had my moments, I loved Spiderman 2, I saw the new parts and they looked good, they really do, but is it innovation? I feel uncertain, there were more games. I can’t wait to get my hands on Alan Wake 2, it seems to be a winner, but seems is the operative word, it is gameplay we need and we saw little of that (apart from Spiderman 2). Yet the story behind this is that we need actual innovation in gaming on every console and this time around Microsoft seemingly gets to have first dibs on that, but we will know for sure in September.
This links to the second part of it. I am replaying AC Origins and now I got to the curse of the pharaoh which is graphically a new height. Yet here my mind wandered, I had played it before and I cherished it. I took a sidestep to Valerian and Laureline (in Dutch: Ravian), I grew up with that comic as well with the Trigan Empire and things started to blend, started to mingle. So what if this game is not an assassins game and you cannot climb, hide or anything. Almost like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, but now with a much larger stealth part, no killing. The idea floated in my mind when I saw the Star Trek Voyager episode Displaced in season 3. So what happens when we get to the two worlds Aaru and Aten. So when we get there we know nothing, we get to live lives, we get to walk around and we get to missions, but not in the usual ways. We need to be part of, or hear conversations to open this story and both worlds will have a dozen story lines. No Sekmet scorpions or Cobra’s. You think it is boring, but this is not a game for everyone, it is one where the story is everything and Ubisoft has shown that it can create good stories.
This interacts when we doe in one world, we wake up in the other and vice vera, so you need to die at times (it is a hassle, but so is life). As such we get to learn that this is a prison and we need to learn why we are prisoners (a little The Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley where we get to see versions of stagnation and conformity) and for this the ancient civilisations were great. Life was simple and the mind is much easier observed and classified when it does the simple things. Yet how to set this in gaming? Ubisoft had its device, but what happens when the world is the device? What happens when the wold is not part of the mind, but the mind has to adhere to that world? No matter how complex we are, the mind controls is and as such we are shown new iterations and that could lead to innovations. But in this the story is everything.
We can speculate and ejaculate all over innovation, yet unless we are holding it in our hands (sorry, no pun intended) we have no idea what innovation looks like, the mind will not fill in the blanks, our wills do and that is why Google and Amazon missed out (at least twice already) So how do we get about to find the next innovator in gaming? Well we can dump all the BI people stating they have no clue and rely on the artsy people to dream the new game. Perhaps one with tech savvy skills, because art only gets us so far, tech does the rest, not Business Intelligence.
This is my view and there will be people telling me I am wrong here. I will let you decide. For now, I want the new iteration of System Shock. Mainly because how the initial game made me feel, just like Mass Effect 1 ten years later. I miss that feeling to some degree, which I personally believe is the reason that some remaster are great reminders.
Enjoy the day.