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Forums - Gaming Discussion - We are living in the best era for gaming

IcaroRibeiro said:
Chrkeller said:

Modern games generally have 3 problems

1) too big. Quantity is not better than quality.

2) open world, a design that works for some games, but is being forced in too many games.  When forced the entire game is bland and generic.

3) too much narrative. I don't need constant stop in playing for worthless chatters. Too many developers think they are Shakespeare... they aren't.

Games in the 90s were better.  Focused, sharp, original and actually put gameplay first.  

Interesting, I like 3 points you listed in modern games 

1) Games are now bigger, I feel it's an actual good thing. In the 80s and the 90s I often feel some games were intentionally "cheap" in terms of difficulty, having poor quality of life choices because they needed kids to fail and lose time with activities that would otherwise make the games to end even faster. And if a game is good, I don't want it to end soon. I beat Resident 3 remake, a great game, but was appalled by how short it is, it took me like 6 hours to beat, pretty much a weekend. Of all games that had the same length I would need to play like... 70 games a year. I don't have money, nor interest in playing that much, I prefer to spend some time finding a game I like and then stick with it until I'm satisfied. In this sense, I really understand the appeal of GaS and online-focused games like LOL, Genshin Impact, Final Fantasy XIV, etc. You don't have a developer saying to you and/or forcing you to stop your enjoyment, you can enjoy the game for as long the servers are up and that's wonderful. 

2) I don't feel everything is open world nowadays, this is an overstatement but yes I agree open world is more common now among AAA developers and is this really what are making the games bland and generic? I like when games make me feel free in a sense I can experiment and explore and have a different experience every time I play, sometimes I like it more than focused and clear level design. Of course this is also a grey area, for instance, Mario Odyssey isn't open world, but the level design isn't tight, in a way I can explore the maps in whatever order I feel in the moody, the dozens of hidden stars make my experience playing it an experience of discovery and exploring similar to open-world. My sweet spot is Metroidvanias like Hollow Knight or Ori, those games are technically open world 2D, in HK after I got the Mantis Claw I feel the paths I could choose were drastically increased, I could go almost everywhere granted I couldn't explore 100% of every area until unlocking some abilities. 

3) I like narratives... for me they are immersive. That's what I've always liked in JRPGs, they were full of stories. One thing I liked on gaming is the fact I could feel I'm inserted in the role playing, imagining I'm part of the party. I often keep thinking about the story and characters long after I close the game, that's something that only happens if games have a story. Games that don't have a story are okay too, but I hardly keep as emotionally invested in them as games with a story, the exception being probably simulation games like Animal Crossing, although one can argue simulation is kinda making a story already. The odds of dropping the game with the best gameplayer EVER RELEASED are for me higher than a game I'm emotionally invested in, let's say Xenoblade. Never liked the combat system, but loved the story, so I keep playing until the story was complete. 

Now thinking I bit, it's very easy to understand many of my favorite games released in the last couple of years fall into those categories too:

Zelda? Horizon? Open World 

Sqplatoon, Animal Crossing, Civ 6, Stardew Valley, Paladins? Big games that don't force you to quit until you get burned out 

TLOU 2, Detroit, Persona 5, FF7 remake, Fire Emblem Three Houses? Story heavy 

The exception would be Soulslike games which aren't exactly old either

And Metroidvanias (Hollow Knight, Ori, Metroid Dread), which aren't like an open world, but I like them for about the same reasons I like open world 

I loved Hades and Deadcells, so maybe rogue-like is my next Metroidvania, those would be INDEED an exception (although I've liked Hades story), we shall see :p 

Hades and Souls are great examples (loved them both) of how to do a story correctly.  The player can decide how little or how much to learn about the world.  

I also prefer (just personally preference) how narratives are handled in Wind Waker and Ori.  Wind Waker uses simple animated facial expression to drive emotion.  While Ori uses musical score to perfection to translate emotion.  Both, for me, are better than a bunch of talking.  I don't mind story, I just want to see it driven by more than voice acting.



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Conina said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

The main problem with the indie scene is accessibility.  Most indie games do not have a physical version available.  However, what is worse is that there are really not great ways to find the good indie games.  There are too many, and it can take a while for the cream to rise to the top.  My favorite era for gaming was actually the late 80's (because I live in the US).  Not only was innovation at an all time high in this era, but we had a magazine called Nintendo Power.  This did a pretty good job of steering people toward the great games and away from the turds.  Indie games don't really have an equivalent of Nintendo Power today.  Most reviewers focus on big budget games and Metacritic scores of indie games often don't get enough reviews.  There are indie review sites out there, but I certainly haven't found one that is comprehensive and well organized.  Nintendo Indy Directs aren't really that great either.  When I look back and these Directs and compare them to the Indie games that people really enjoy, there isn't a large overlap.

Nintendo Power also focused on the big titles or preselected smaller titles.

My tip: use the SteamDB-search, even for Xbox-, PlayStation- and Switch-games... since almost all "commercial" indie games are also on Steam.
(itch.io has also a lot of free indie games that aren't on Steam, some of them very nice, but most of them only very short experiences.)

Now over 70,000 Steam games, almost 40,000 DLCs and some other stuff are listed, sorted by SteamDB-rating:

Now let's filter away for the content you are searching for. The most important filters if you are searching for new games are tags, type, SteamDB rating and release year.

But other filters can also help to find the games you want (f.e. if you want/need support of your native language, if you are on a budget or if you want a specific feature like "full controller support" or if you want to exclude VR games):

For example, I'm a huge fan of point&click adventures (my favorite niche genre) and I want a new good one of 2020 or newer.

So I set the type "game" (which excludes DLCs and other additional content like soundtracks), choose the tags "adventure" and "point & click" and the release years "2020", "2021" and "2022", SteamDB rating should be 70 or better:

This gives me 517 results with many games I already have or are alreeady on my wishlist.
To filter out these games, just check the boxes (the number of search results don't get adjusted by that)

Now I have the search results (of games I don't already have or wishlisted) neatly sorted by SteamDB rating. By placing the mouse cursor over the row of a game, an info box opens on the left. Especially the animated GIF is very helpful to check if you like the style of the game:

Of course you can bookmark your search settings for your next search or to send the URL to a friend: https://steamdb.info/instantsearch/?refinementList%5Btags%5D%5B0%5D=Point%20%26%20Click&refinementList%5Btags%5D%5B1%5D=Adventure&refinementList%5BappType%5D%5B0%5D=Game&refinementList%5BreleaseYear%5D%5B0%5D=2022&refinementList%5BreleaseYear%5D%5B1%5D=2021&refinementList%5BreleaseYear%5D%5B2%5D=2020&range%5BuserScore%5D=70%3A

Now you can select the games you are interested in (I prefer the middle mouse button to open them in new browser tabs).

On these pages there are A LOT of additional informations for the selected games, with the button "Store" you get to the Steam Store page and can check individual reeviews of the game:

On the Steam page of the selected game you have several options to filter reeviews for the most helpful one's:

The combination of the SteamDB-search and review filters is a mighty tool to find the games you want, much better for indie gamees than Nintendo Power ever was.

Thanks.  This is an improvement.  On the other hand it's still leaves a lot to be desired for what I want as a console user.  If I could sort out "non-Switch" and "physical copy available" then it would be ideal.  This is better than nothing though.



Well, the games available today + ports does make this heavy stacked 10 / 10. Not sure i.f it can defeat 5th generation? I think that's the best including many RPGs still not ported



Cute and honest Sega Saturn fan, also noone should buy Sega grrrr, Sega for life. The reason I'm chaotic to few 3rd party developers is because I'm protecting Sega and also I lack skill to get really hot girl I really want. also few devs deserve it for making bad game's personal experiences, looking at Ghost Blade HD the shmup or Fighting EX Layer. My standards are too high for genres I play. KOF 13 > Fighting EX layer gameplay.

Conina said:

There are also FAR more people dead than living (over 100 billion people died, only ~8 billion are still living). That doesn't mean that now less people are living on earth than 20 / 50 / 100 / 200 / 500... years ago: https://www.prb.org/articles/how-many-people-have-ever-lived-on-earth/

Also your Wikipedia article seems to be focused on the defunct & bought up publishers. Lots of active publishers aren't listed.

Where are f.e. King Art, Phoenix Online Publishing, Wadjet Eye Games; Thunderful Publishing, Digerati, Nightdive Studios, TinyBuild, Wired Productions, The Irregular Corporation, Goblinz Publishing, Headup Games, WhisperGames...

https://kingart-games.com/games

http://www.postudios.com/company/projects.php

http://www.wadjeteyegames.com/games/

https://thunderfulgames.com/games/

https://digerati.games/games/

https://www.nightdivestudios.com/games

https://www.tinybuild.com/games

https://wiredproductions.com/games/

https://theirregularcorporation.com/games/

https://store.steampowered.com/publisher/goblinz_publishing

https://headupgames.com/

https://store.steampowered.com/publisher/WhisperGames

There are also wrong infos in that list.

F.e., Soedesco is marked "defunct / no longer active", but they are active: https://www.soedesco.com/news

Bold 1: That's an invalid analogy given the fact that I'm only looking at what has been available over the last 50 years and you are looking at the entire history of mankind. In addition, I'm looking at the number of publishers available in the 90's vs. now not simply stating there are more closed companies than open companies. 

Bold 2: No, it appears that way because of how many defunct publishers there are. You've listed some information that isn't there, that's true. However, there is also information that isn't there regarding defunct or consolidated publishers. For example, 1C Company isn't listed as a subsidiary despite being purchased by Tencent. 

So while the information I provided is not exhaustive, it does provide context to the amount of defunct and subsidized publishers in the gaming industry. If you'd prefer to ignore this, that's fine. However, the point remains that the amount of new publishers have been steadily decreasing from it's boom in the 80's and 90's while publishers are still either being taken over or becoming defunct. 



Mnementh said:

The argument of getting lost in the releases is nothing new really and nothing limited to digital publishing. The more serious part is, that modern AAA games have millions in marketing budget to avoid exactly that fate, but it still happens. Remember Ubisofts Hyperscape? Yeah, that happens even with big budget and big marketing.

My argument is that the great games exist. Maybe you have to look for them and they aren't presented to you, but in comparison with the 90s - back then it was worse because games were so niche and hadn't really any outlet to present themself. You learned of them by friends or if you consumed niche media, like game magazines.

And yeah, the quality games exist as well.

I never said great games didn't exist or that there were no quality games. You said that there is more variety now than there ever was before, and I said that this could be argued. 



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Today shmup new shmups games sucks and todays JRPG can't compete with the likes of Vagrant Story , Kings Field, Shadow Tower, Xenogears, Final Fantasy 8 and 9 and many RPG from Sega Saturn and PS1 still not ported Lunar Silver Star , Panzer Dragoon Saga , Shining the holy ark , Dragon force, Etc I don't wanna reveal other RPG gems I already spilled the beans on Kings field and Shadow Tower.



Cute and honest Sega Saturn fan, also noone should buy Sega grrrr, Sega for life. The reason I'm chaotic to few 3rd party developers is because I'm protecting Sega and also I lack skill to get really hot girl I really want. also few devs deserve it for making bad game's personal experiences, looking at Ghost Blade HD the shmup or Fighting EX Layer. My standards are too high for genres I play. KOF 13 > Fighting EX layer gameplay.

Ryuu96 said:

As others have said already, that list is incomplete, but also, I don't think it's accurate to combine blue and yellow together either. If your argument is that less publishers exist today, a lot of those blue (acquired) publishers still actually exist functionally as publishers and are still actively publishing games.

At the start of the list we have 2K Games listed in blue, they are still an active publisher. Alongside 2K, Take-Two formed another publishing house with Private Division (blue) with the specific purpose of publishing indies, EA has something similar. Then we have Embracer Group, sure, they have acquired a lot but Embracer is mostly a holding company, anything that was a publisher which they acquired is still a publisher, not much has changed.

THQ Nordic, Deep Silver, Saber Interactive, Gearbox Publishing, etc. Those all still exist as publishers and have active publisher projects, though it doesn't look like Saber Interactive is listed, Deep Silver is Blue, as is Gearbox, but THQ Nordic isn't listed in blue despite technically being a subsidiary. Deep Silver and Koch Media are listed separately but Koch Media always used Deep Silver to publish everything and that remains true today.

InXile is listed as a former publisher but I honestly can't remember them ever publishing anything, Modus Games is in blue but it's still listed as a "Indie Publishing Label" Hell even Sega is listed in blue because of the merger with Sammy, Lol. So looking at just the colours is an inaccurate measurement, a lot of the blue are still publishers.

I could go on but I'd be looking over that list all day, Lol, it looks outdated overall and even the stuff it has is misleading, alongside missing some things such as Curve Digital, Versus Evil, Playtonic Friends, Dangen, Annapurna, etc. Some new ones missing too like New Tales, a new publisher created in 2022, Tencent created a new publishing label in 2021 called Level Infinite, Koch Media created a new publishing division called Prime Matter, etc.

A publisher becoming a subsidiary of another publisher effectively makes it in control of one party. Since my argument is about risk and control from the perspective of publishers, it's fine to combine both. Subsidiary organizations aren't as diverse as separate organizations on average. 

But the list is clearly not exhaustive, but I have no way to actually do the leg work to provide an exhaustive list and I used what is the easiest method to provide context to my point. While there are publishers not on there that have formed, there are also those that are not on there that also have been defunct, and those who have consolidated that they haven't noted have consolidated. Therefore, it's unlikely to significantly change the context itself.



Chrkeller said:

Hades and Souls are great examples (loved them both) of how to do a story correctly.  The player can decide how little or how much to learn about the world.  

I also prefer (just personally preference) how narratives are handled in Wind Waker and Ori.  Wind Waker uses simple animated facial expression to drive emotion.  While Ori uses musical score to perfection to translate emotion.  Both, for me, are better than a bunch of talking.  I don't mind story, I just want to see it driven by more than voice acting.

And that's totally fine, for you. But complaining that the industry shouldn't be trying to make narrative driven games with voice acting because you don't like them, is selfish. It's not like there aren't any games telling stories in different ways, you just listed a few recent examples of games that did.

I mean, I'm with you on this too. I love Wind Waker and Hades. Both Ori games are among my all-time favorites and they both made me cry. But at the same time, I'm extremely grateful that there is a Guardians of the Galaxy game that has a great story, and it being told in a "movie-like" way is what works best for the IP.

I think the more ways in which games can tell stories, the better. Back in the 90's there were games similar in gameplay to the likes of Hades or Ori, but no way they'd have good stories. The games that had good stories were usually JRPGs or point-and-clicks, so gameplay and story were pretty much mutually exclusive. Nowadays games can tell good stories in many different ways and styles and in any genre, if you ask me we're much better off now.




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Doctor_MG said:
Ryuu96 said:

As others have said already, that list is incomplete, but also, I don't think it's accurate to combine blue and yellow together either. If your argument is that less publishers exist today, a lot of those blue (acquired) publishers still actually exist functionally as publishers and are still actively publishing games.

At the start of the list we have 2K Games listed in blue, they are still an active publisher. Alongside 2K, Take-Two formed another publishing house with Private Division (blue) with the specific purpose of publishing indies, EA has something similar. Then we have Embracer Group, sure, they have acquired a lot but Embracer is mostly a holding company, anything that was a publisher which they acquired is still a publisher, not much has changed.

THQ Nordic, Deep Silver, Saber Interactive, Gearbox Publishing, etc. Those all still exist as publishers and have active publisher projects, though it doesn't look like Saber Interactive is listed, Deep Silver is Blue, as is Gearbox, but THQ Nordic isn't listed in blue despite technically being a subsidiary. Deep Silver and Koch Media are listed separately but Koch Media always used Deep Silver to publish everything and that remains true today.

InXile is listed as a former publisher but I honestly can't remember them ever publishing anything, Modus Games is in blue but it's still listed as a "Indie Publishing Label" Hell even Sega is listed in blue because of the merger with Sammy, Lol. So looking at just the colours is an inaccurate measurement, a lot of the blue are still publishers.

I could go on but I'd be looking over that list all day, Lol, it looks outdated overall and even the stuff it has is misleading, alongside missing some things such as Curve Digital, Versus Evil, Playtonic Friends, Dangen, Annapurna, etc. Some new ones missing too like New Tales, a new publisher created in 2022, Tencent created a new publishing label in 2021 called Level Infinite, Koch Media created a new publishing division called Prime Matter, etc.

A publisher becoming a subsidiary of another publisher effectively makes it in control of one party. Since my argument is about risk and control from the perspective of publishers, it's fine to combine both. Subsidiary organizations aren't as diverse as separate organizations on average. 

But the list is clearly not exhaustive, but I have no way to actually do the leg work to provide an exhaustive list and I used what is the easiest method to provide context to my point. While there are publishers not on there that have formed, there are also those that are not on there that also have been defunct, and those who have consolidated that they haven't noted have consolidated. Therefore, it's unlikely to significantly change the context itself.

I think it depends on a number of factors.

  • The type of company acquiring them.
  • Why they're acquiring them.
  • How they're integrated.

I'll go back to the Embracer Group example, Embracer Group isn't nothing but a holding company, it isn't a publisher, they aren't involved in the day to day, they stay out of their acquired companies business, so while yes, they've acquired a few publishers (all listed in blue) those publishers have barely changed at all, they're still the exact same publishers they were pre-acquisition so I don't think it's fair to exclude them because at the end of the day, they're still publisher operations, with their own specific policies and contracts, THQ Nordic does not operate the same way as Deep Silver or Gearbox or Sabre Interactive, vice versa and they're all under Embracer Group.

Of course it would be different if one publisher acquired another publisher and either absorbed it fully or merged with it to go from two publishers into one but that hasn't really happened much lately. There's also Microsoft's limited integration approach, Bethesda isn't fully absorbed into Microsoft nor Xbox and as such Bethesda employees have different contracts, employee benefits, etc. It also applies to how they run differently, Bethesda Softworks (their publishing operation) still exists, there have been zero layoffs there, if Bethesda wanted to make Rage 3 with Avalanche for example, then they can do that still. If you look at Starfield's publisher, it isn't Xbox, it's Bethesda Softworks - This is just an example of how someone can acquire someone and not much change from before.

As I pointed out, even Sega was listed in blue on that list which means we wouldn't be counting them either, simply because they're merged with Sammy, that doesn't make any sense. If we were to use that list we would have to look at every single blue individually and look at the multiple factors, those that I listed in the bullet points above but if we did that we'd be here all day, Lol. So using a inaccurate list doesn't really help either side make their point, I think it would be interesting to do a list of the active publishers but that would take forever, I definitely wouldn't volunteer to do a list of publishers of all time because half of them I've never heard of, Lol.

But I do feel, without any hard evidence to back it up myself, that it is easier today to be published than ever before, there are dozens of major publishers, dozens of mid-sized publishers and even new publishers still being created today and the major publishers are even making new publishing divisions alongside their already existing publishing divisions, some of these major companies traditionally tried to keep most of their development in-house but are now being more open to 3rd party development.

EA and Take-Two are two examples of major publishers investing more into smaller indie developers lately. You could say that at the end of the day, lets use an example, Private Division is still Take-Two but then why would they not just publish through 2K Games? That's because Private Division is focused on smaller projects while 2K Games is focused on the bigger stuff and as a result, Private Division has a different set of terms and agreements in their contracts than 2K Games has, which means they appeal to a different range of developers.

Last edited by Ryuu96 - on 11 July 2022

mZuzek said:
Chrkeller said:

Hades and Souls are great examples (loved them both) of how to do a story correctly.  The player can decide how little or how much to learn about the world.  

I also prefer (just personally preference) how narratives are handled in Wind Waker and Ori.  Wind Waker uses simple animated facial expression to drive emotion.  While Ori uses musical score to perfection to translate emotion.  Both, for me, are better than a bunch of talking.  I don't mind story, I just want to see it driven by more than voice acting.

And that's totally fine, for you. But complaining that the industry shouldn't be trying to make narrative driven games with voice acting because you don't like them, is selfish. It's not like there aren't any games telling stories in different ways, you just listed a few recent examples of games that did.

I mean, I'm with you on this too. I love Wind Waker and Hades. Both Ori games are among my all-time favorites and they both made me cry. But at the same time, I'm extremely grateful that there is a Guardians of the Galaxy game that has a great story, and it being told in a "movie-like" way is what works best for the IP.

I think the more ways in which games can tell stories, the better. Back in the 90's there were games similar in gameplay to the likes of Hades or Ori, but no way they'd have good stories. The games that had good stories were usually JRPGs or point-and-clicks, so gameplay and story were pretty much mutually exclusive. Nowadays games can tell good stories in many different ways and styles and in any genre, if you ask me we're much better off now.

When did I complain?  I simply stated my opinion.