Planescape: Torment - Retrospective @ Play.tm
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January 18th, 2009, 00:50
I think the last years have been under the sign of the rising 3D graphics engines. PsT came out nearly at the peak of 2D gaming. After year 2000, games had to advance primary in a technical way. It was a new technology, a new way of thinking, it needs a completely different game philosophy than in the old days. It always needs some time to recognize the weakness and the strengths of a new technology. E.g the telephone has been seen in the first days as a method to transmit orchestra music over a long distance. They didn't see the real point in that technology. The same for the internet. In the beginning, they thought of it as an exchange for scientific essays. Even the first homepages mainly consisted of business descriptions like a commercial flyer. Compare the old days to Web 2.0 nowadays, it's totally different how we use it.
3D engines had and still have a big influence on PC gaming. But it needed some time to get it under control. For me 3D technology now seems to have evolved long enough to create a similar game experience than PsT. For me the so called NextGen games are an indicator for the next step. It's not all about graphics anymore. It's still important, but they don't rush for it any longer. Creating a believeable world and filling it with a motivating gameplay. Take a look at Bioshock, GTA IV or Assassin's Creed. Even if not perfect, they are way better than many of the games between 2000 and 2005/6.
It's simple a question of time, when we will see another milestone like PsT.
Personally I think Max Payne was such a Milestone in terms of storytelling. And Deus Ex in terms of level design and nonlinearity combined with a motivating story and a simple, but also demanding gameplay
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