Do developers spend enough time prototyping new design ideas? I’m not a developer, so I’m probably not the best placed person to answer that question, but Renaud Charpentier, lead designer on Total War Battles: Shogun believes that major studios don’t do enough experimentation in the early stages of development, which results in video games that function well, but don’t inspire.
“When you look at the market, probably 20 to 30 per cent of the games are confident, and maybe 60 to 70 per cent are not good enough,” he told Edge.
“Usually, they run. Most of them don’t crash – most are competent technically. Most of them look okay or even good, but they play like shit.”
Not enough time, claims Charpentier, is being spent in the early stage of design, precisely hammering out what is fun about the game.
“Their biggest risk is not on the tech, not on the art, it’s on the design,” he said. “You have to front-load that: it has to drive many of the other decisions.
“We can’t keep releasing games that anyone can tell are not interesting to play after 30 minutes when 20 or 30 people spent two years working on them. It doesn’t make any sense.”
It’s hard to make generalisations, especially as someone writing from a non-development perspective, but I would agree that a majority of the games I play nowadays feel familiar. As through the core is borrowed, but the rest is built from scratch.
That’s just my view. It’s wrong to separate the different aspects of game creation, I’ve always found it better to enjoy video games as a complete whole thing, but primarily I play for the core fun of the mechanics. That’s what generally compels me — and I find that lacking in many modern games.