Originally Posted by number1laing
I know that publishers release a lot of boring and terrible games, but you're not going to see Batman Arkham City, Bayonetta, Forza 4, Skyrim, Dark Souls, etc., on iOS from 3-man shops. Super Mario 3D Land simply embarrasses all those indie platformers. It's not even close. I still value these types of high-quality games, and view these indie efforts as mostly inferior.
Each of those games you name is a sequel (or in Bayonetta's case both an homage to old Sega games and a spiritual successor to DMC). So it's a big stretch to say they're "pushing the medium forward." They're simply iterating on highly conventional, well established formulas.
All the risk and inventiveness has disappeared from big-budget titles. They've gotten too expensive and the chances of making your money back are slim to none. So no one's willing (or able) to "push the medium forward." All the invention and innovation is happening in the so-called "indie" space.
Publisher are too big and suck up too much of a game's production budget. The development itself costs relatively little compared to everything else that now goes into production and marketing. And developers have themselves become incredibly vulnerable in those publisher relationships. They take on all the financial risk. They lose their jobs and their promised bonuses while publishers walk away with a pocketful of cash.
That's no kind of efficiency, and that's certainly not an environment where real creativity can happen. The longer this generation goes on, the more we see how conventional games have become. When we're not blinded by our own susceptibility to constantly improving visuals, we see just how stale big-budget game design has gotten. I enjoy a popcorn flick as much as the next guy. But I don't expect CoD to be life-changing or awe-inspiring or creative. It's just something to do.
The big payoff to having such a long and financially disastrous console generation is that we now have a flourishing development scene working outside of the traditional publisher system.
We're not talking about the 1970's movie industry here. We are mostly talking about people repurposing 16-bit designs with novel graphics and easy difficulties.
I absolutely disagree. This is
gaming's version of '70s era Hollywood. We're emerging from the restrictions and conventions of the old "Classical Hollywood" system and seeing people looking backward for true innovation and invention, just as Spielberg, Scorsese, Coppola, et al. did in the '70s. It's a great time to be a gamer, and I hope the next generation makes that even truer. The '70s independent film movement was all about repurposing old generic conventions. Those 70s' era filmmakers all turned to the '40s era serial films, the '20s era swashbuckling pirate film, the '40s era film noir genre, the '30s/40s era gangster epic, and so on. That's what's happening in independent game development, too.
Just as those 70s era "maverick" filmmakers turned back to a time before the studio system ruined Hollywood, so too are current "maverick" game designers looking back to a time before the bloated publishers "ruined" the gaming industry. Of course, it's worth remembering that those same "maverick" filmmakers led everyone down the path toward stale new conventions and bloated effects budgets. The film industry is due for another rebirth, but that's another story...