Armchair Empire - Skyrim, now with Disco Soundtrack
Following on from his recent blog post about what he would like to see in cRPGs, Matt Barton rails against the current state of the [major releases of the] genre and discusses the movements of fashions and trends:
Styles, Edwardian or Victorian or whatever, inevitably change as we become bored with them. A truly clever developer is able to recognize when the reigning style is growing stale, and then swoops in with something fresh (but just as compelling). As merely a critic, it is obvious to me that both Skyrim and Dragon Age II are the discotheques of the 1980s. Pretty soon, anyone who still listens to and dances to this music will feel as ridiculous as they look.
That said, I think it's always a mistake to think something radically new will appear, though that's always how it's presented in the marketing. "Revolutions" in videogames are notoriously anti-historical, refusing to even consider that what they think makes them so novel has been done many times before. I'd go so far as to say that nothing of real consequence has changed about games since the 1980s. It wasn't like kids playing Donkey Kong weren't just as impressed with the graphics or immersed in the gameplay back then as a kid today playing Halo 4 is today. Please don't kid yourself into thinking that the industry has made any "progress," or done anything else but simply go along laterally, temporarily embracing and later abandoning one fashion after another. I'm sure plenty of New Wave fans of the 80s felt that their music was more "advanced" than disco, just as some heavy metal fans of today feel their favorite bands are much "heavier" or more musically sophisticated than Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. In truth, though, there's nothing like that in the music itself, but just in our waning and waxing affiliations with different groups of fans.