America’s fascination: a few questions

WEEP
Generic space marine with a gun!

That? That is what megaman X was going to look like in its latest remake.

And here’s how far they developed this thing before it got cancelled:

Does everybody want megaman to look like this? Is american fascination with guns and space marines so universal that it must permeate everything under the sun? Are First Person Shooters the only genre that sells well these days? Is the dudebro community the optimal target audience? Must every unique characteristic of popular franchises be homogenized  in order to sell better? Should min-maxing sales projections be the goal? Should artistic integrity be sacrificed at the altar of the sales department?

Does copying the best-selling games actually increase sales? If everything looks the same, doesn’t the market saturate? If all the industry targets the same audience, what happens to the rest of us? If the same franchises release the same games every year and they always succeed, what makes the rest of the industry think that their games can steal the success of these already established franchises?

Giants like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft will never be dethroned by copycats, they’ll die as soon as the audience gets tired of them. And you know what? When that happens, people will move on to other games that offer an entirely different experience. Other kings will be crowned and the industry will proceed to copy the new kings in a futile attempt to steal their lightning.

Of course, this phenomenon is not unique to games. There are mountains of books that copy Twilight and 50 shades of gray. There are tons of movies that copy Transformers. I’m even willing to bet that there are broadway shows that do this exact same thing.

It’s a strategy that works, at least in the short-term and anybody who is quick enough to get on the market before it saturates is going to cash in on it. The problem arises when the same trend has been going on for more than a decade, as it happens to be the case with videogames. I haven’t seen such a cancerous spread of a single trend over such a large range of products anywhere else.

I could venture a guess, but I’d be lying if I said I know why this is happening . It may be the large budgets, the aversion to risk or executives being idiots. I don’t know. All I know is that companies are overestimating budgets and sales while at the same time dooming their games to mediocrity by homogenization. As a result, game development studios are being run into the ground, people are getting fired and customers are not getting the games they want.

I don’t know what you think, but if you ask me, I’d say something’s wrong. Very wrong in fact.

On the other hand, this is why indies are thriving. After all, they target audiences not being served by the rest of the industry and that is a very good recipe for success.

I guess it’s true what they say: Every crisis creates opportunities.

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Image taken from here.

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