Now where did I put my stash...
I rarely play singleplayer games, but I still fondly remember playing Call of Duty 4 All Ghillied Up. As I navigated the dark corridors I remember thinking, "I really don't like dogs" as the killer dogs nearly tore me from limb from limb. I like the samurai-like nature of the game and having to navigate past dangerous patrols, through the deep atmosphere. I'm saying that because that year had some of the highest rated games of all time, which is staggering when compared to our landscape of games today which mainly boil down to mediocre QTE loops with games on the side.
When I think about games today, all of my thoughts go back to sheer fun game design, and Call of Duty 4. A game that I fondly recall and enjoy, because it was like the games industry ended on a cliffhanger with that game. I'll now proceed to explain:
Years ago I viewed the gaming future with jokes about how devs would strive for realism to the extent that everything is mediocre, and nothing is distinct. I believe we're here! WooHoo! Congrats on boring up the games industry.
I'm familiar with the 00s games industry, which was informally 'formed' by nerds who, if not sought, then were open to co-operation. It was much less about testing and research (ie safety) and more about ideas, experimentation, and the vehicle that is the game. It's about FUN rather than feel. Working together to free people from being bored. The accomplishment, not about the sheer inevitability of population = audience => game*.
This is potentially the most rewarding time to be a game developer. It isn't, but it POTENTIALLY is. This is THE best way developing anything, without question. Free of 'grind', and a lack of obstacles for the audience, or fun.
It's not about the game itself, but about the commitment to the end result.
When contrasted with the modern precedence - the modern environment following the whims of publishers becomes very apparent. At the moment the shoe is on the other foot. Mediocrity is rife in an overly capitalist environment. As much as however the state of finance in the games industry is just as important*, regardless - if I review a game, I usually hope for a high quality game that isn't a rebrand of an old title. A lot of good titles come out regularly, not great. The difference here is that none are seen through to the final idea, or else the innovation in the games industry would be a lot higher. While it's encouraging the European Union is slowly fixing the games we get. As it stands, none reach even an eighth of the quality of Call of Duty 4, which is why I write about that rather than Shovel Knight.
So thinking back to Call of Duty 4. Call of Duty was the archetype and precedent for all shooting games that followed. Objectives, gameplay, soundtrack and level design all unified into a cohesive, yet diverse work which showed the nuance of both real life as well as the history of FPS games. And it was one of the most balanced games I have played to date. I love and played the hell out of CoD, and it was not generic like many other shooters were. Since then, it's been the staple. Background - Battlefield of today is very Call of Duty esque, and the other shooters like Halo, Destiny and others have emulated that as a formula. I would even say that the majority of shooters are simply 'CoD with a twist'.
I would like to reach the quality of CoD4 (and to a lesser extent, CoD2) regardless of all of these detrimental factors, and precedent. Call of Duty 4 was one of the few games including all modern (post 2010 titles), that had a well adjusted levelling up system. Even that supersedes all battle passes, etc that were derivatives of this particular game. As you can tell, this is more a criticism about the status quo, and a opposition to the 'know it all' adolescent nature of modern dev and critical feedback. It is fair game to be choosy, and unlike the majority of people, I have been keeping my ears open and analysing the opposite views.
I believe that we never grow up, have kept in touch with the old games, and still believe that opinion. It's very relative reactive series of hot takes, or indistinguishable to that.
A game that is too easy by design, and then too difficult is poorly constructed. But to each their own. On that topic, I like Ninja Gaiden because at least it is consistent difficulty wise but eh, then again I'm a fan of checkpoints.
I deeply admire the thought and effort fellow nerds put in while making Call of Duty 4, which created its subsequent legacy. It is a testament to the result of willpower and vision - The example of what you get for giving fans what they want. A lot of my most memorable experiences were thanks to these guys, even the last time I played local games with friends and family.
I'd be curious to see what kind of response this generates. Perhaps some counter movement to the hivemind of capitalism ad nauseum. A bunch of seeweller idiots that when put together play and work hard.
Chat to me on qTox or Guilded
* Regarding wages given to game developers. A country solely made up from gaming companies would largely be authoritarian: reviews that are paid-for, fake-hype and no game demos, and a lack of innovation accessible.