If you are graphics geek and love to see those so called next-gen effects, then recently released games like Crysis, UT3 and to some extent Bioshock will give you lot to cheer about. Crysis for one has shown that modern top line cards can push extraordinary amounts of detail. However, raw figures show that Crysis and UT3 sales have been anything but extraordinary. They have in fact fallen flat! Interesting figures there, and to some extent I am a bit surprised by what the figures show. As the articles point out both games were pretty hyped out before the release and they should have made flat out more sales than what the did. True Crysis has some crazy hardware requirements, but still the game can be played with older and less powerful graphics cards, so can UT3. Maybe not with all the graphics effects and resolution maxed out, but they can be played nevertheless. Besides both games have *huge* fan bases so the figures are very surprising indeed.
Well I can’t speak for everyone but, my personal take on the whole thing is the fact that vanilla FPS genre is kinda getting old. After so many games that churn out the same mundane gameplay, it has pretty much lost it’s charm. True the graphics have improved but not the gameplay in general. Games like Bioshock stand apart from the crowd because they give that little bit more to the overall game and it is exactly why they sell more. I can tell you from my experience over that years of playing games is the fact that (, and I have pretty much repeated this a lot of times on this blog,) FPS games are getting kinda boring. As a gamer I want more interesting stuff in there. That is exactly the reason I spent nearly 6 months playing Oblivion. The game gave me so much more to do than just run kill, run kill, collect ammo, run kill, collect health, run kill …..
I myself haven’t played UT3 and for that matter only watch someone else play Crysis, but from what I have heard people say about the games makes me wonder if they are nothing more than tech demos. Maybe we should look at it from a different perspective; it’s a fact Epic markets it’s engines via the UTx games, and I think to some extent Crytek does that too. So maybe that is exactly why those game are here for, to show off what their respective engines can achieve. The graphic brilliance achieved by both games/engines is amazing, there is little doubt to that, and the hardware requirements for the games is equally demanding. But that is for now. The same hardware will become mainstream in another 6 to 8 months and the same engines can be used/licensed to make other games. I therefore wouldn’t count them as outright failures.
Different people have different tastes and different points of view, so naturally have different tastes for game genres. However the feeling I get is, in general, game genres are beginning to overlap. This I think that is because of necessity. Game designers that strive to make their games “immersive” have started incorporating ideas and methods from other game genres to make gameplay more interesting and challenging. However having an equally good engine is a must. Case and point to Oblivion. The game looks great because it uses Gamebryo, which is another good engine. I am pretty sure we will see more and better games using both the engines in the future.