Video Game Trends that are Killing Gaming Originality

In 2013 alone, 525 video games were released across all platforms and this year it’s expected to be even more with the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles. It’s understandable that not all games can be the most interesting or innovative. Similarities are bound to happen. But what happens when originality starts to go completely out of the window and games just become one and the same? Unfortunately this trend is becoming more and more common as the years progress. I’m going to break down how five gaming trends that are completely destroying the beautiful gift of originality.

Say Goodbye to Mutliplayer


This may come as a shock to many and some people are thinking “what are video games without multiplayers?” Simple, they are much more interesting, fun and creative. Developers spend years working on a game, figuring out the characters, hashing out a story-line: sometimes it’s the best storyline you will ever experience. It’s funny, sad, filled with all kinds of emotion, but this is all for naught for the first thing people do is play the multiplayer, completely abandoning all the good stuff.

Games have just been about how good the multiplayer is and this is destroying the uniqueness of a game. After a while I can’t tell a Battlefield from a Call of Duty, everything looks the same; it’s boring. Single-player campaigns are all about the experience. When you sit down you’re immersed in the deep back story of the characters, nothing is rushed (Fallout) allowing yourself to truly enjoy all the details and craftsmanship that went into the game. When you’re sitting there all by your lonesome playing Portal 2 or The Last of Us, not being surrounded by any of your obnoxious friends, sequences are more intense, that zombie is more frightening and you don’t have some crazy weird person screaming in your ear just sucking the joy and life out of everything. So I say do away with multiplayer, and discover the power of connecting with the single-player campaign.

Do We Really Need Another DLC?

A long, long time ago when video games first came out, you brought your game and that was the end. There was no such thing as new content, whatever the developers forgot to add no longer mattered for the game was already released. It was just that simple; gaming was unforgiving.

While DLCs can add more to the game making it more enjoyable and given as a general apology for screwing the game itself, DLCs have become so frequent their magic is completely gone and the light disappears from your eyes when you hear of its release. For example, the average FPS games have an average of five DLCs, each as unoriginal as the last. Do we really need all those maps of twenty different versions of shooting people in different environments?

One of the other major qualms I have with DLC is the pricing. Apparently the gaming industry hasn’t gotten the memo that we’re in a recession and people’s bank accounts are laughing at them. You save up and spend $60 for a game only to turn around to pay an extra $30 for a DLC followed by another and another. By the time you realize it, you’ve spent more money buying extra redundant content then you did for the game. The gaming industry needs to stand by the game and look themselves in the mirror every time they think of a DLC, and simply ask “is it truly worth it?”

Lack of Independence

One of the many reasons why I love Kickstarter and other crowdsourcing sites is that it allows the lesser known developers to get their work out there and into the hands of the public. I often find these games to be far more interesting than the commercialized ones. However, one of the major problems I have with crowdsourcing is that they always seem to ask for help with ideas. This is nice at first, asking which characters we would like to see in the game makes the fans feel inclusive; however, some campaigns are becoming too dependent on the fans for ideas. Constantly asking for input is as if they’ve abandoned what made their vision so unique to begin with and as a result I completely lose interest in the game.

One of the other problems with crowdsourcing is only the people who truly care about the game are going to contribute and as a thank-you donators are given a copy of the game. Once that game releases to the public only the people who care about the game already have a copy of it, meaning the developer technically already knows how much money they’re going to make because they already sold their games to those interested. Now with this knowledge a developer no longer has to make the most unique and creative game because a lot of the time they’re not thinking about the general public, just those who contributed to the campaign.

Seen the Movie? Now play the Game!

Movies and video games have a long history of dancing the forbidden tango. Every time a movie is released here comes its lame video game version trotting along, like an unwanted bastard child. Even movies that don’t make sense being a video game are adapted. Why the hell is there a Mean Girls video game?  The problem with many of these video games is that it’s rushed and it’s trying to match the movie precisely. A lot of the times the movies they’re based on are downright horrible and as a result the game suffers, sometimes even more so.

Video game adaptations are horrendous because they’re adaptations. Take Charlie’s Angels for example, a horrendous movie turned into a horrendous video game. One of the many problems I had with this game was that it was very limiting, from the fight moves down to the dialogue. Why? The developers have to be faithful to the character or if heaven forbid the consumers notice the difference.

Another reason why adaptations don’t work is because it’s filled with unnecessary and disjointed storyline used as filler just so that the game reaches the average 5-10 hours of gameplay. Instead of getting a game that allows the gamer to go beyond the movie’s plot and learning more about the movie’s protagonist, we get extra characters, and random storylines. Sadly this often isn’t the case and those precious hours are wasted and we get games like Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game.

Infestation Running Amok

You’ve waited an entire year for the game, you’ve watched every trailer, seen every gameplay video, read every blog and news you could get your hands on. Then that day finally arrives, you get your copy, you insert the disk and it happens…bugs; tons and tons of bugs. Sound familiar? For those who had the misfortune of purchasing Batman: Akrham Origins you know exactly what I’m talking about. What’s extremely frustrating about this trend is that it’s mainly avoidable.

A game takes years to develop, through many trials and errors the product that we hand over our $60 is supposed to be the developers’ best work, yet what usually happens is that along with the game we get the first day patch, which is never a good sign. Yes bugs happen and modern technology isn’t perfect; sometimes a patch is needed. The first day patch, is mainly released because glitches and bugs can’t be fixed until the game is released, especially concerning games with multiplayers that run on numerous servers internationally. However, there isn’t a need for consumers being flooded with numerous patches. Do they not believe in their original product? Are they anticipating more things to come? Instead of being bombarded with patches how about developers take time release a bug-free product the first time around. Just imagine a world where you can actually play Batman: Akrham Origins.  Is that too much to ask?

Just a couple of days ago I reported that WB Games is full aware of all the glitches gamers were experiencing with Origins, but they decided that it would be best to not only ignore the pleas of the fans who want a playable game, but that they would rather spend their time and money working on another DLC for the game that people can hardly play.

The team is currently working hard on the upcoming story DLC and there currently are no plans for releasing another patch to address the issues that have been reported on the forums. If we do move forward with creating a new patch, it will try to address the progression blocking bugs for players, not the minor glitches that do not prevent one from continuing to play. “The issues that are not progression blockers will unfortunately no longer be addressed. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused for some of you, and want to thank you for having been patient.

Why would WB make this kind of decision? Simple, it’s all about the profit. Once you’ve brought your copy of Origins or Aliens: Colonial Marines (another game riddled with bugs) that’s it, the company can’t make any more money off you. Fixing bugs may be the moral thing to do, but to them it’s just not profitable. In fact, in some cases creating patches costs them money. According to Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, the cost of getting a patch up on an Xbox 360 and/or PS3 is $40,000.

While Microsoft has eliminated fees for Xbox 360 games once the story broke, other console companies haven’t. Yes it’s ridiculous for a patch to cost this much, but it still isn’t an excuse, since developers like RocksStar and others can easily afford it, but to them its not cost effective. This is why I beg developers to release games without all these bugs. If a game takes longer to be released, that’s fine. I would rather wait several months more for a game where I can get past the Main Menu screen than play an infected game that made its release date. In the end it saves both the company money and the consumer a headache. Additionally, gamers are more likely to continue buying from that developer.

While these are just several trends that are stinky up this beloved industry there are sadly many more out there that needs to be stopped. Gaming is a form escapism, and I don’t know about you, but escaping to the land of the boring and unoriginal is not what I call having a good time.

Join the Discussion

  • Bankai

    I agree with everything (to an extent) but the multiplayer thing. Yes some people just skip over the campaign and dive right into multiplayer, but that doesn’t mean that those of us who enjoy both should be punished. If developers feel like adding multiplayer or co-op will effect the quality of the campaign, then I’ll just reluctantly have to accept that.

    Gaming is supposed to be a social hobby, so that’s why you get people who dislike the lack of multiplayer in certain games. And lack of multiplayer doesn’t make games “much more interesting, fun and creative,” just like multiplayer doesn’t make a game worse. If you don’t want people sucking the joy out of a game then mute them or stay away from the multiplayer, but sayng “do away with multiplayer, and discover the power of connecting with the single-player campaign” is a terrible way of thinking and would destroy one of the pillars of gaming if it ever came to pass.

    Imagine a game like Pokémon without the ability to battle, there’d be almost no reason to buy the games if people couldn’t put their Pokémon to the test against strong opponents. The ability to put ourselves to the test; that’s why multiplayer is important and why gaming wouldn’t be the same without it.

    • Koroma

      The problem is alot of developers don’t have the option to NOT add multiplayer, and you have to make cuts somewhere.

    • Georges

      Some games are better off with no multiplayer and some games are enhanced with a good multiplayer. No need to generalize

  • Justin

    It seems like a lot of your problems with modern gaming can be solved with one simple solution: Don’t buy games at launch.

    Wondering if a game will launch with terrible tacked-on multiplayer? Horrible glitches? Day One DLC? Don’t pre-order it, don’t buy it on launch. Wait. Have some patience. What benefit does paying $60 at launch really get you for a game? In a relatively short period of time games drop in price dramatically, so really dealing with most of your problems with this generation of games can be solved simply by having the patience not to throw money at every release.

    As for movie games, that’s a mixed bag. Some have been good, some have been bad. Go with the rule above, wait for information and don’t buy at launch. (Kind of irked you used images from the Ghostbusters game for this, that game was amazing and flew under the radar sadly)

  • christopher witherspoon

    I agree with most except for the multiplayer most people buy video games in this generation because we wish to play with our friends an experience it with them were tired of playing it by our self imagine playing the last of us with a co-op option so you could play the story line with a friend it would have been so much more fun I understand some games being single player but we are moving forward…espically in the rpg an adventure games we need more co-op options or mmorpgs for the consoles dc universe is great ff14 is great wkc 1-2 I found to be great(closed now) so if anything work more on multiplayer people are tired of playing by themselves

    • James Cluckey

      Co-op and multiplayer are different. Multiplayer is usually a battle. And in most cases it sucks terribly. A game like Assassins Creed does not need a multiplayer. Co-op is a different way to a single player experience. We do need more co-op but we also need a lot less multiplayer.

      • christopher witherspoon

        we need them both without multiplayer there wouldn’t be any competition at all an as gamers in general we always strive to find out whose better if you have nothing but co-op its not going to show whose better an whose not its just going to show people working together to get something done an don’t get me wrong that’s fun for awhile but you used assassin creed as an example the reason assassin creed needs multiplayer is because we want to find out who is the better assassin yes having co-op an completeing the story line would be great but eventually it would end then what just give up an find another game to play no that’s the multiplayer you go online an now that you have completed the deep storyline you find out just who is the top assassin an how your stealth ranks up against others I feel like all games should have a co-op an a multiplayer because as gamers its what we need

        • James Cluckey

          No one wants a boring multiplayer. Assassins Creed has a terrible multiplayer. No one cares about who is the best. Except for maybe 1 percent of the people who play the game. But the 99 percent that don’t play it would most likely have better people playing. Multiplayer is a joke in most games and needs to be gotten rid of. Most people agree with this. More games need co-op. Most people agree with this. I rather have a great single player in most games with no multiplayer. Than a watered down single player with a crappy multiplayer. Thats not to say all games need to get rid of it. Fighting, shooting, and racing games need multiplayer. stealth games, sandbox games don’t. Unless they have a great vision for it. I haven’t played GTA 5 but everyone says it has a great multiplayer. Same with TLOU. But most games fail miserable with putting in terrible multiplayer and they sacrafice single player to do so.

          • christopher witherspoon

            true no one wants a boring multiplayer but I haven’t played all multiplayer games so I can speak for them all I have experienced some bad multiplayers that I wish never existed but I also have experienced some great ones assassin creed was not a terrible multiplayer people dislike it because u cant just run around an be goofy an stupid an except to win so people complain about it I personally enjoy playing the role of an assassin an if you game purely for the single player that’s fine don’t play the multiplayer portion of the game that’s the easiest way by removing multiplayer overall from games would do nothing more then hurt gaming people like multiplayer because its something fun to do after you have played through story mode because outside of a great rpg which there aren’t many of now a days your not playing that story line more then once the last of us has multiplayer an was great assassin creed is great there stealth sandbox ok I can understand no multiplayer for that. GTA 5 multiplayer WAS fun before u had a bunch of people hacking an glitching the game out an pretty much sucked the fun right out of it for a lot of people

  • jakdripr

    Yea I don’t really agree with your multiplayer point. Making such a gross generalization is kinda silly, sure some games suffer from tacked on multiplayers but for others the multiplayer stretches out the games replayability significantly. I mean sure, games like skyrim don’t need multiplayer, but COD 4 did. Same with little big planet and a bunch of other games I’m not even going to bother mentioning. Hating on multiplayer because FPS developers are all following the same formula is beyond silly. What about the fighting games, RTS’s, MOBA’s, and even some TPS’s that aren’t following the trend?

    DLC on the other hand, I don’t think it’s inherently bad, it’s just the execution that is beyond terrible. I mean I’d love if atlus announced DLC for dragons crown, the game was a lot of fun and I’ve sunk TONS of hours in but I’ve kinda run out of things to do and would love for some DLC.

    Finally, I’m surprised you didn’t mention probably the biggest problem in annual releases. I think that above anything else is killing originality, it’s impossible to create an original sequel in such a small time frame.

  • Anders

    Video Game Trends that are Killing Gaming Originality… People buying Call of Duty every year instead of demanding something new.

    • James Cluckey

      Yes but Call of Duty is filled with casual gamers that wouldn’t even own a system if it wasn’t for that one game. So I don’t mind it because it draws more money to gaming that wouldn’t otherwise be here. Just don’t buy it every year. I will not buy treyarchs Cod anymore after that terrible pile of shlt they released in BO2

      • blessedswine

        i like CoD but i dont buy it every year every other is more like what i do. the multiplayer can be fun when with friends but honestly i do like storyline games more, just got finished playing through a for a second time all 3 uncharteds, and just finally decided to play infamous 1 and im starting 2 now. Storylines is where gaming is the kids dont realize that and they are the ones that jump to MP and never touch the single player content, they are the ones that are going to play Titanfall the most, Casuals and kids in the end.

  • Deku-Johnny

    The whole thing with glitches and bugs confuses me. Back in the days of the 6th gen and before yes there were bugs and glitches but never anything game breaking, it’s as though devs have decided that because they can just patch them later they might as well not bother finishing the game properly.

  • DemonFenton

    Well here’s my thoughts on the matter with these trends.

    I am going to be honest about MP, most of it is tacked on. Yeah there are some good MP but the majority of it is tacked on to try to capture that COD fanbase. So what they do is allocate resources thus some of the single player parts suffer. Yeah less MP is good while certain games or even certain genres should have MP.

    There was an time before DLC something called Expansion Packs. The Expansion Packs did more than add content, it sometimes added new abilities or even updated the graphics or parts of the game. DLC to me now is getting shorter and I feel to this day Expansion Packs of the past brought more content worth the time and dollars verses paying 15 dollars for an 30 min DLC pack. So yeah Expansion Packs should make an comeback and it should an example of having hours of play verses DLC which is minutes of play.

    As far as movie/television licenses take it from me. Go look back at LJN abuse of this and look at em now. I view majority of the licenses in this matter.

    As for Indie stuff well I hope to see more. If the Triple AAA starts to become so bad you’ll see a nice boost in Indie gaming.

    As for bugs and such I’m starting to wait out certain games from certain companies to hear the woes. For instance Battlefield 4 and Batman Akrham Origins. They going ahead with the DLC and not fixing the problem. Why should I give my money to those fools where I can spend my money on someone who actually will spend the time to patch the game instead of churning out DLC after DLC while ignoring the problems.

    Well those are my thoughts on all these trends. My best answer is vote with your wallet.

  • HeczTehFinezt

    DLC: I cant express how much I agree with you on that part. I have online buddies, well 2, who buy CoD yearly and buy their season pass and never stop and wonder that the maps they’re getting arent any different, just the enviornment and more complaints. I’ll be honest, my first season pass that I ever bought was for The Last of Us. I have GOW: Ascension season pass but it came with the collectors edition. I dont mind wasting $20 for a season but if its $50, Im gamesharing with someone for the maps.

    Movies turn into VG: I cant stand these movies that turn into video games. I see a movie to either enjoy or hate it. I dont want it to become a vg later on. Im a trophy hunter but if theres one thing that I’ll never hunt trophies from, that would be video game adaptions.

    Glitches/Bugs: I have no problem with glitches because some are funny, awesome or bad. I read an article about what WB was going to do with BAO, they said that there wont be any patches, just DLC. I just shook my head. BF4, I heard that they went through so many patches but nothing is solving the problem. I dont want another franchise to get CoDified like AC. They can take all the time in the world to make their game perfect. What happened to buying a game and taking it home, ready to play, no patches required. Thats one thing I do hate about today’s gaming industry. Also the people who tell others, “Just wait, they’ll patch. Give them time”, bow down to your masters, gtfo. Complaining to the developer isn’t a bad thing, dont be so submissive. Oh, nice way of using AVGN’s picture. He would definitely get so angry if he reviewed games with bugs and glitches :)

    Nice article, you definitely have some good valid points. I only went with 3 things that do bother me. MP, I dont mind it but I wish it wasnt in every game. Im more of the traditional old school gamer who enjoys every bit of sp. As for kickstarters, I would only donate and if the developer asks us like which idea is good, Im not participating, like you said, I wont enjoy the game when its released.

  • eugene whocares

    Good article, voicing the same things that I often note myself. But I think it’s missing a very important piece… Over the past 20 years the game industry grew from gamers making games for gamers into a multibillion dollar industry where the decisions are made by the paper-pushers instead of the people who are intimately involved with development. The paper-pusher’s main objective is clear, to make money, making good games is not on their agenda, it’s just a very rare side-effect, icing.

  • eugene whocares

    It looks like a lot of commenters here didn’t understand the point about multiplayer. The point is that recently multiplayer is being shoehorned into everything, almost every game that comes out is multiplayer in one way or another, it’s a rarity to find a game that is a pure single-player experience. The problem with that is that a lot of games are not suitable for multiplayer, a lot of the time people playing these games don’t want multiplayer and the servers are empty starting with day one (STALKER).
    But adding multiplayer into a game (regardless of whether it’s needed or not) takes up a huge amount of funds and time, both of these could be much better spent improving the single-player portion.
    I guess it links in to my previous comment… the paper-pushers are looking at the popularity of social networking and they want to ride the wave while it’s going, they’re not thinking about improving the player’s experience, they’re thinking that multiplayer is a necessity.
    Or perhaps it’s just another way to force DRM onto the community, kind of like SimCity did.

    The solution to all these complaints is simple, give the developers (meaning the people who actually create the game hands on) the controls, let them decide how games are to be made and what the focus should be. Essentially this is exactly what’s happening with all the crowdsourced and indie games… they may not have the funds/expertise to create a stunning photorealistic piece of crap but they often end up with systems that keep pushing gaming into the future instead of getting stuck on a single working concept and milking it till it’s dry.

    • christopher witherspoon

      i understand some games don’t really need multiplayer but the basis behind multiplayer is that its competitive or gives you the option to play with all your friends by removing multiplayer your pretty much saying I need to go over my friends house to play call of duty battlefield assassin creed ff14 street fighter naruto marvel vs Capcom(random examples) just have fun an crazy experiences with them no multiplayer should be in a lot of games but not all

  • dman

    I completely agree about most movie games, but you picture the Ghostbusters game, which is the only exception to that rule. It’s actually really fun, was written by Dan Akroyd, and wasnt released until it was finished. It’s a wonderful first person experience that really brings you into the world of Ghostbusters. It mostly failed because it was dragged down by virtually every other movie game ever made. Now, it languishes in a dearth of shovelware because people like you dont give it a chance and insist that its’ just another movie game’. Passionate people worked to keep this one alive as it tranferred across failing studios, and they made sure not to release it until it was right. Please do a little research before dismissing real, creative games. By slamming on Ghostbusters, you become what you despise.

  • Terramax

    I think ‘open world gaming’ and ‘arbitrarily long gameplay’ are more detrimental to the lack of originality and creativity than the above mentioned. It seems every other game has to be open world (costing a fortune, with little creativity in level design), and forced filler to meet a minimum 40+ hour of gameplay, or whatever criteria gaming standards apparently demand these days.