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Establishing A Beachhead In A Crowded Genre 42

simoniker writes "How do you make a game that will stand apart from countless similar titles? Harmonix designer Chris Canfield (Guitar Hero II) thinks he knows, and is talking about it in a new editorial, 'Establishing A Beachhead In A Crowded Genre'. He comments that one of the key things you can do is to 'Gut key elements of the design': "Examples of this in your genre might include: sniper rifles in an FPS, powerslides in a racing game, minigames in a Wii title, healing crates, bosses, rocket jumps, or any other big or small element. Of course, the really good features shouldn't be the only ones on the chopping block. Not only will this free up time in the schedule that would otherwise be occupied by been-done features, but it creates space for genuinely new solutions and makes producers very, very happy.""
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Establishing A Beachhead In A Crowded Genre

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  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by paleo2002 ( 1079697 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:15PM (#19398265)
    I think they mean that be eliminating features that everyone does, it forces you to fill that void with something new or different. Take Prey for example. Rather than having the player go into stealth or limited invisibility, they created "spirit walking". This had some novel applications in puzzles where you could essentially be in two places at the same time. Or, how about the upcoming Portal: the FPS with no guns?
  • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @02:00PM (#19400343)
    Actually no not really, Castle Wolfenstein 3d although later than Ultima Underworld (and technically subpar compared to it) was unique
    so was Ultima 7, Myst also was unique, The Sims didnt have a prequel up until the mid eighties when the little computer people project was the first of its kind.
    Zelda had no real predecessor except maybe for Temple of Asphai (but both titles were in development parallely)
    Mule, Seven Cities of Gold, Simcity (the original), Pirates, etc...
    the list of innovative highly successful games is very long, the main problem is, the chances
    are way higher nowadays if you do something innovative, that it already is covered, than they used to be 15 years ago.

  • No Sniper Rifles (Score:4, Interesting)

    by quanticle ( 843097 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @03:19PM (#19401649) Homepage

    Examples of this in your genre might include: sniper rifles in an FPS, powerslides in a racing game, minigames in a Wii title, healing crates, bosses, rocket jumps, or any other big or small element.

    I believe Unreal Tournament 2003 tried out the "no sniper rifles" concept. Result: the game flopped like a dying carp, and sniper rifles were reintroduced in UT2004.
  • Re:No Sniper Rifles (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:37PM (#19403823)
    My problem with sniper rifles in some games isn't the presence, but how they're implemented. Snipers should have a longer stabilization period. If you can run and hop around then square up on a hip shot in a split second, that makes the sniper unrealistic. In BF2, the engineers get crummy points for doing their job while medics rack up points like a pinball machine. Games just never seem to balance out all the classes well (not saying it's easy to do either).
  • Re:I got one! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UnlimitedAccess ( 1020921 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:49PM (#19405573)
    I think the focus should be on better quality games with less player time. I think 5 - 8 hours is an acceptable amount of single player content, granted with that I would also expect a price reduction. I don't finish 90% of the games I buy anyway, not from lack of skill, but because they are low quality with repetitive set pieces and are drawn out to meet some self imposed demand that games requires 20+ hours of content. Multi-player of course is a different beast altogether, but with a full time job, family, a social life - games with more than 10 hours of content just aren't that feasible for me like they were when I was a kid or at University. I'm sure I'm not alone, and we are a whole market yet to be exploited. Honestly, I suspect if you make games 5 hours long, cost half the price and focus on quality not quantity with a diversity of topics (ie not *all* War, Sci Fi and Fantasy related) - the largest (as yet) unexploited market will emerge. I'm sure this market might not include many people here, but there is no reason why we cant have different products to accommodate different markets.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.