I have to say, I disagree with you on this one. Sony is in my opinion the least innovative they have been since entering console gaming. Just let me add: I don't think games like TLOU2 or Ghost of Tsushima are bad games, on the contrary. But they are games based on safe formulas.
I also have to say, that Game of the Year awards are a bad indicator. That is because reviewers these days tend to prefer one pattern of game: games like movies with elaborate plots, awesome visuals and safe well-known gameplay finely polished. These games are fine - but if they always end up with the GOTY, it gets a bit predictable. For four years the game awards were won by the winner of the action adventure category, and all fit more or less the description I gave above: BOTW, God of War, Sekiro and TLOU2. Again, all are fine games, but where is the innovation, if it is always an action adventure, always with the same basic patterns of focus on plot and probably dark themes.
One of the most innovative, risky and creative games of all time has to be Katamari Damacy. But I don't see todays reviewers showering it with GOTYs. More innovative or creative games of the last years are games like Minecraft, Undertale, Return of the Obra Dinn, Persona 5, Dragon Quest Builders, Untitled Goose Game, Among Us, Outer Wilds, Octopath Traveler. These games tried new things - in gameplay, plots, visual style. The likes of TLOU2 and God of War are great games, but not exactly innvoative, brave or creative, as they follow a formula that jibes well with reviewers.
This post is inspired by the recent article posted on VGC's main page concerning PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan's philosophy on nurturing creative talent, which (I'm glad!) met with wide discussion and broad approval. In the referenced interview with Stephen Totilo, Ryan said that...
"In terms of areas we have improved, I'd call out the delivery schedule for PlayStation Studios games. Nurturing creative talent is not as simple as throwing money at it. You also must give them the freedom to be creative, to take risks and come up with new ideas. Just look at Ghost of Tsushima from Sucker Punch. This was not the game we thought they were going to make, but we are not overly rigid or corporate with our talent. We want them to use our hardware as their creative palette."
And this is a joke of Ryan. Sony was in the past way more willing to support creativity. Gravity Rush, Loco Roco, Parappa the Rapper and the absolutely lovely Patapon. There are these games today? Sony just isn't willing to risk anything anymore. It's the next Naughty Dog game and Santa Monica game, which looks gorgeous, no question, but is playing the same formula.
And because you mentioned Nintendo is about the fanservice. Actually Nintendo is doing all of this risky and creative stuff still today. Games like Arms, 1-2-Switch, Labo, Game Builder Garage or Ring Fit Adventure are showing off, that devs at Nintendo indeed have a lot of creative freedom to come up with new ways to play. A lot of it is hated by 'classic hardcore' gamers, because it is different, weird, quirky. But different, weird, quirky are exactly properties of creativity. And sometimes that ends becoming a Splatoon.
But hardcore gamers usually love the more safe games they are used to, like TLOU2 and God of War. And reviewers are in the end hardcore gamers that play for a long time. But the reality of gaming these days is, that we have more and more gamers that don't fit that classic hardcore gamer box. They don't care if you now murder another human being with more realistic blood spatter, they want a fun exercise experience like Ring Fit Adventure, or feel their creativity with Minecraft or lie to their friends in Among Us.
So, all your rant is telling me is that you are finally a hardcore gamers that looks down on all these new gamers that have fun with games taht you see as inferior. Welcome! I am a hardcore gamer for quite some time now and I know the feeling. But I also learned, that it is quite wrong. If people have fun, let them. And letting it go to see the inferiority in some games, I found stuff I loved as well and wouldn't have touched because of my core gamer instincts.
EDIT: Oh, by the way, Death Stranding has indeed some interesting ideas, probably the reason it is hated a lot.Last edited by Mnementh - on 26 June 2021