Monday, July 2

What Does Next-Gen Mean to You?

As gamers and designers the "next-generation" of video games is a very important subject. Kind of like the space age back during the cold war era. The next-generation means alot of things to alot of people. Many people see next-gen as one thing while others see it as another entirely. Is next-gen better graphics? more refined gameplay? realistic surround sound? convincing AI? freedom of choice? social interaction? And thats just a few of the things that people define as next-gen. Cliff Bleszinski himself commented on the definition of next-gen in a cool looking note he wrote. You can click on the convienient picture to your left, but I'll quote it just for kicks:
Next-generation games are about doing a better job with what we're given to work with. How can we use the camera to immerse you more in the narrative? Who are you fighting and why should you care? How do we use context sensitivity to allow you to do all sorts of cool moves and, in general, switch between feeling frightened and being a badass?
CliffyB just wants to make cool games. Another way to look at next-gen is to say what it isn't, in other words, all of the bad stuff that the last-gen was. Speaking of Lair (from last nights post), Patrick Joynt at Gamespy said the following on next-gen gameplay:
The best I could hope for was to land on the bridge and set them on fire (after all, they're covered in fur), but that method relies on just hoping that they come close enough to be hit, but also not from a camera angle I can't cover. And is it really next-gen when you can't take out an overgrown bull unless you do it the one way the designers planned on?
Joynt believes that next-gen gameplay is freedom to tackle situations any way the player pleases. I don't really agree, but thats alright. Everyone has a different opinion on the next-generation. I happen to agree with Cliffy. The next-gen is taking advantage of the consoles power and abilities to achieve the best gameplay as possible. If that means realistic graphics to get a point across, then the next-gen consoles can do that. If next-gen means surround sound to immerse players more completely into the experience, then great. If it means allowing players to make their own decisions and discover new paths and suffer new consequences, then next-gen is that too. Basically, next-gen is about making better games than ever before by utilizing these new opportunities.

What is the next-generation to you? And im serious. I really want you to put some thought into this question. Then please come back and let us know what you think. I want to know what some other people think about next-gen, and I'd rather here it from you than anyone else.

CliffyB Note from Joystiq

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