#1 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

Has Game devs changeing a game to appeal to a broader audience ever worked? You'd think they'd stop doing it by now.

#2 Posted by Landon (4130 posts) -

Jak 2?

#3 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

I don't think that really fits

#4 Posted by John1912 (1833 posts) -

Id say it worked for skyrim.

#5 Posted by Lazlow (109 posts) -

I guess it depends if you mean critically or commercially. They probably don't always tend to rate as high as older titles in a series that are 'true to their roots'. But commercially it must be a viable strategy. Didn't resident evil 6 sell some crazy amount? I'm a huge resident evil fan and I still haven't picked that up

#6 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1474 posts) -

Bethesda seems the best at this. From Morrowind through Skyrim, each of their games sold more than the last. However, they are actually good at balancing accessible features and keeping the core concepts intact. They know the difference between streamlining and dumbing down. If you are talking about blatantly terrible changes of direction a la Dragon Age II, I doubt that has ever worked.

#7 Edited by JZ (2125 posts) -

Nah skyrim was a natural evolution. I'm thinking out resident evil and dead space becoming full action games, or every mmo being wow. Then there's dragon age 2 and the like.

#8 Posted by theoracleofgame (96 posts) -

It's hit or miss. Sometimes it works really well (Resident Evil 4/Splinter Cell Conviction IMO) but lately it hasn't worked out.

#9 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

Commercially? Yeah all the fucking time. Quality wise it's almost always a complete shit fest.

#10 Posted by Jackhole (361 posts) -

Resident Evil 4, Skyrim, XCOM Enemy Unknown, and Civilization V

#11 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1474 posts) -

@JZ: It seems like a natural evolution because it was done well. With each game starting with Oblivion and continuing with Fallout 3 and Skyrim, they made it more accessible. Just because they didn't butcher the deeper aspects of those games doesn't mean they weren't adapting it for broader appeal. Like I said, Skyrim is the example of how to do it right, Dragon Age II the example of how to do it wrong, and I honestly love that the financial success mirrored that, gives me hope for a more savvy casual crowd.

#12 Posted by Animasta (14650 posts) -

Persona 3.

#13 Posted by Video_Game_King (36087 posts) -

Well, Fire Emblem, I guess. They won over a lot of new fans when they decided to release it in English.

#14 Posted by Landon (4130 posts) -

@JZ said:

I don't think that really fits

How so? I don't really know anything more broad than GTA clone, especially at the time that game was released.

#15 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

Because it was still a platformer, not like they didn't turn it into a fps

#16 Edited by Zeik (2255 posts) -

Persona. Sure, it's not mainstream mainstream, but P3 was absolutely a push toward appealing to a wider audience and it's the reason the series has become popular.

Or how about Mass Effect? You could argue they went too far, but ME2 is very often regarded as a better game than 1.

#17 Posted by Subjugation (4718 posts) -

@SathingtonWaltz said:

Commercially? Yeah all the fucking time. Quality wise it's almost always a complete shit fest.

Exactly. They are thinking in $$$, not necessarily if the game will be heralded as the best of the generation. As long as it gets people to buy they accomplished their mission.

#18 Edited by BisonHero (6235 posts) -

It worked out for Street Fighter 4. Commercially, it worked out well because your average person only really gave a shit about fighting games during the Street Fighter 2/early Mortal Kombat era, and SF4 brought back all your favourite characters and in some ways plays similarly to SF2. Critically, it worked out because very few game critics are deep enough into the fighting game scene to really give a shit that SF4 is probably a little simpler than SF3, and ultimately the game deserves a good score because it is a very solid (if not particularly original or different) game.

I think streamlining/reimagining works well for a console series that was either always niche or has fallen out of favour (Spyro was effectively dead, DMC was becoming increasingly irrelevant on both a sales and review standpoint, Tomb Raider needed to be either completely rebooted or abandoned permanently). It gets weird when they suddenly streamline a series that was basically doing fine (Dead Space 1 and 2 were doing decent jobs, but I guess why stick to your genre when you could instead be a little closer to Gears of War?).

It doesn't work quite as well with series that used to be PC-only and used to assume the player has a certain amount of patience and ability to comprehend multiple systems, because apparently every developer ever thinks that turning a PC series/genre into a console one for mass market appeal means "just strip everything the fuck out so that a chimp could play it". I really wished Mass Effect 2 had fixed the clunky inventory things and kept the breadth of skills and the Mako of ME1, but instead it just stripped most of the RPG and exploration elements from ME1. It was a leaner game that felt more coherent, but only because they took so much out (and there's no way that multiplayer bullet point on the box of ME3 actually convinced any new people to suddenly buy the game who weren't already into the series). Dragon Age 2 obviously had its problems. Max Payne 3 kinda ruined the slow-mo dive in favour of having a cover system (again, there's no way that multiplayer bullet point on the box actually convinced any new people to suddenly buy the game). Hitman was actually a series that was doing just fine in the transition from PC to consoles, until they went off the deep end with Hitman: Absolution.

I'll agree with others and say that Bethesda is one of the only companies that has any idea how to transition a complicated game series to a more mainstream market while still keeping the ideas of the game pretty much intact. Firaxis is also becoming pretty damn good at this, between Civ 5 and XCOM.

#19 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

Fallout 3, Mass Effect 2 comes to mind.

#20 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1919 posts) -

Pretty sure The Sims made an ass-ton of money.

#21 Posted by Animasta (14650 posts) -

@RollingZeppelin said:

Pretty sure The Sims made an ass-ton of money.

they always made an ass-ton of money and also they haven't really changed?

#22 Posted by musclerider (589 posts) -

3rd Strike to SF4.

#23 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1919 posts) -

@Animasta: Yeah, but it's a game made to appeal to a broad audience, and it definitely worked, just another example for the OP.

#24 Posted by Landon (4130 posts) -

@JZ said:

Because it was still a platformer, not like they didn't turn it into a fps

No, but they did turn it into a third person shooter, and much more of an action game than Jak and Daxter was. I think if you played Jak 1 and expected another game like that and then saw Jak 2 you'd think they were trying to broaden the game.

#25 Posted by DarthOrange (3852 posts) -

@JZ said:

Because it was still a platformer, not like they didn't turn it into a fps

It was primarily a platformer in 1 and in Jak 2 it turned into a third person shooter. I say it counts.

#26 Posted by Turtlebird95 (2313 posts) -

Yes it has, and no they won't stop doing it because that doesn't make sense. Making a game (or any product for that matter) appeal to as many people as possible is the best way to make bank. Business 101.

#27 Posted by RedRavN (397 posts) -

I really liked how deus ex: human revolution was able to make a more appealing game that was fairly easy to come to grips with without really changing the core deus ex experience much. We kind of forget now how much the original deus ex was kind of a convoluted mess of systems and had a steep learning curve. Human revolution kept the complexity but made most of it more approachable. Its true they are not exactly the same game but human revolution is still the closest thing out there to the original game despite it being much more accessible.

I think there is a balance that can be reached. Most importantly, I think a lot of the right way to make changes is to just find better ways of communicating and contextualizing so that people can pick up and play. I dont think mainstream gamers are too dumb to understand complex systems, but if people need to consult outside information to figure them out then you are limiting the appeal of your game through your own design.

#28 Posted by Tesla (1909 posts) -

I think Mass Effect 2 is the best case scenario for this kind of thing.

#29 Posted by Perspicacity1 (61 posts) -

@Animasta said:

Persona 3.

I would say Persona 4 aims even broader and that seems to be successful. Although I haven't played it, all the new cutscenes (like the intro) in P4 Golden seem to aim for an even broader audience than the original.

You could also argue that League of Legends has streamlined a lot when compared to its DOTA roots and that thing is one of the biggest games in the world right now.

#30 Posted by Raven10 (1736 posts) -

Yea, Bethesda games have gotten much simpler over time. Compare Arena and Daggerfall to Morrowind and you'll see a staggering dumbing down of mechanics. Then they go even further with Oblivion and again further with Skyrim. Those games started out as insanely hardcore. Huge randomly generated world (Daggerfall contains most of the continent while each game since just features a single country in the continent), dozens of quests that were poorly tracked in a quest log that barely recorded any info, a map that didn't clearly denote every single place of interest, and tons and tons more. The combat system was based on the Ultima Underworld combat system, meaning there were different attacks depending on how you swung your mouse and how long before you released the button. It was just a super hardcore experience. Even Morrowind all but required you to take physical notes down if you wanted to do everything in the game. I remember my brother scribbling down stuff in a notebook to keep track of it all. Compare that to Skyrim and you can see that they made it almost stupid simple compared to the early games. Sometimes appealing to a wider audience can mean the game is more enjoyable to more people. It doesn't make the game automatically worse. Yea, that happens a lot of the time, but it just depends how convoluted the game started out as.

#31 Posted by Landon (4130 posts) -

@Perspicacity1: How does a harmonica intro aim for a broader audience?

#32 Posted by YOU_DIED (702 posts) -

@ll_Exile_ll said:

Bethesda seems the best at this. From Morrowind through Skyrim, each of their games sold more than the last. However, they are actually good at balancing accessible features and keeping the core concepts intact. They know the difference between streamlining and dumbing down. If you are talking about blatantly terrible changes of direction a la Dragon Age II, I doubt that has ever worked.

This is just my opinion, but I don't think there was much to dumb down apart from story concepts. For example, the combat has been awful and repetitive since the beginning of the series. Their games have always sold well though, because most people like the idea of a fully open world game set in a fantasy universe.

#33 Posted by Renahzor (991 posts) -

Just examples from this thread, and the some. Sf4, Forza Horizon, Fallout 3, Skyrim, WoW with every iteration, XCOM, etc etc. They'll keep doing it because keeping a game niche doesn't make enough money in most cases.

#34 Posted by Icicle7x3 (1174 posts) -

Metroid Prime

#35 Posted by Zeik (2255 posts) -

@Perspicacity1 said:

@Animasta said:

Persona 3.

I would say Persona 4 aims even broader and that seems to be successful. Although I haven't played it, all the new cutscenes (like the intro) in P4 Golden seem to aim for an even broader audience than the original.

The changes in P4/Golden seem more about refining the mechanics than broadening the audience. (Although some of the online features in Golden could fall in that category.) P3 is definitely the game that made drastic steps to broaden it's appeal. You could easily consider P1/P2 and P3/P4 two entirely different series.

#36 Posted by johncallahan (545 posts) -

Yeah, there's a lot, a lot that have already also been mentioned. RE4, Skyrim, Mass Effect 2, Fire Emblem, DmC (though I imagine a lot of people will disagree with me on this one), X-COM, SFIV, I'd toss Forza: Horizon in there. It certainly doesn't always work, nothing works every single time, but there are quite a few games that benefit from it.

#37 Edited by Perspicacity1 (61 posts) -

@Landon: It's even more upbeat and colorful than anything else Shin Megami Tensei. I might wrong, but something about anime characters dancing around to playful music certainly seems like it would appeal to a larger audience than silhouettes and typography. Then again this all based on my assumption that this stuff appeals to the broader anime fans at all.

@Zeik: That's why I said it was more the cut scenes (ski/beach trip, hot springs) that were about broadening the audience. Especially since those are the things that are easiest things to advertise to people who aren't already fans of the series. They definitely made P3 a game a lot more people could play but I think they're using P4's story and characters to further achieve that mass appeal. I guess it's more that P3 was successfully made with a broader audience in mind and P4 is just further iteration on that idea. Sort of like with Elder Scrolls.

#38 Posted by Gerhabio (1977 posts) -

ME2, Persona 4... No, wait P3 had already become more accessible than its predecessors, right? Fallout 3 is more appealing than 2, I'd say. Some might argue Dead Space 2 is superior to the first one (it's not).

#39 Posted by Butano (1728 posts) -

Absolutely. Mass Effect 2 is probably the most well known. The Clancy games in general have progressively gotten more streamlined across each franchise. XCOM and Civ 5 are also recent examples this. It happens all the time.

#40 Posted by FunkasaurasRex (847 posts) -

Isn't game development constantly evolving to make games more approachable over time whilst, ideally, continuing to deliver deep and rewarding experiences for enthusiasts? I understand people being frustrated when quality is compromised to maximize profit (some of what I've seen/heard of Dead Space 3 irks me quite a bit), but by and large I'm glad to see games becoming more accessible for a wider audience.

#41 Posted by Landon (4130 posts) -

@Perspicacity1: I don't know dude, I'd say most of the music from regular Persona 4 is already pretty upbeat, and I'd say if you had enough interest to look at gameplay videos of Persona 4 you'd see how colorful the game already is. I think your grasping at straws here.

#42 Posted by GreggD (4480 posts) -

@Raven10 said:

Yea, Bethesda games have gotten much simpler over time. Compare Arena and Daggerfall to Morrowind and you'll see a staggering dumbing down of mechanics. Then they go even further with Oblivion and again further with Skyrim. Those games started out as insanely hardcore. Huge randomly generated world (Daggerfall contains most of the continent while each game since just features a single country in the continent), dozens of quests that were poorly tracked in a quest log that barely recorded any info, a map that didn't clearly denote every single place of interest, and tons and tons more. The combat system was based on the Ultima Underworld combat system, meaning there were different attacks depending on how you swung your mouse and how long before you released the button. It was just a super hardcore experience. Even Morrowind all but required you to take physical notes down if you wanted to do everything in the game. I remember my brother scribbling down stuff in a notebook to keep track of it all. Compare that to Skyrim and you can see that they made it almost stupid simple compared to the early games. Sometimes appealing to a wider audience can mean the game is more enjoyable to more people. It doesn't make the game automatically worse. Yea, that happens a lot of the time, but it just depends how convoluted the game started out as.

Yes, but most of the content in Daggerfall was easy to produce, because it was all so similar. I'm of the mind that DF was probably the worst in all of the games, save for Arena. It had terrible combat, a steep learning curve with unforgiving difficulty, and the world was incredibly boring to look at. A lot of this had to do with the era the game was developed in, and a lack of tools and standardized control schemes (hence the atrocious combat) or hardware generous enough to keep your system from catching on fire attempting to play the game. Just because a game has made it easier to approach, and not a chore to play, does not equal dumbing down. There's a reason why Oblivion was THE game to buy at the 360's launch, and frankly, I think it's justified in that title.

#43 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

Skyrim is, in my opinion, more interesting than Oblivion. The battle between Skyrim and Fallout 3 is tougher. (I haven't played enough Morrowind to compare them to that.)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is better than the old games.

I think Mass Effects 2 and 3 are significantly better than that first game.

I like the new DMC more than those old games, though I respect the general consensus agreeing that Devil May Cry 3 is probably better than the new game.

The humor in Saints Row The Third is more accessible than those first two games, and it's a better game as a result.

Most people generally agree Dead Space 2 is better than Dead Space. Still not sure where I stand on that, but that's due to level design and narrative rather than accessibility.

I can play Civilization IV, Civilization Revolution, and Civilization V. I'm more invested when playing the latter two.

Super Street Fighter IV is a more accessible and, also, better game than Street Fighter III: Third Strike. That's due to accessibility and balance issues.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 is more accessible due to its rollercoaster creator mode that allows you to build and test designs for rides without having to spend any resources. This is one of a handful of things that make it far, far better than the first game.

I can continue if you like, but I think I've made my point clear.

Also, does "adding a traditional narrative" count as increasing audience appeal and accessibility? 'cause, like, the difference in size of potential audience between Final Fantasy I-III and Final Fantasy IV is massive.

#44 Posted by Kreindis (8 posts) -

@Renahzor said:

Just examples from this thread, and the some. Sf4, Forza Horizon, Fallout 3, Skyrim, WoW with every iteration, XCOM, etc etc. They'll keep doing it because keeping a game niche doesn't make enough money in most cases.

I agree with Renazhor.

Appealing to a broader audience isn't a bad thing either, it does bring down or even straight out remove more of the things that niche audiences enjoy in favor of what the vaster audience likes but the quality of the content that they have added or kept from their past roots has always improved or at the least, remained the same.

Examples are the combat in ME 2, The Elder Scrolls, and XCOM. While improving the combat of these 3 games, they all lost things that past "fans" of the series liked such as the number of units you used in XCOM or the combat directly in The Elder Scrolls (While I personally prefer the more actiony combat, I can somewhat see why others like the more "dice-rolly" combat of Morrowind).

On the other hand, there have been games that didn't work so well with a push for more of a mass appeal such as Resident Evil but that's hardly the majority.

And yes, we'll probably keep seeing developers keep doing it because it makes the most money.

#45 Posted by Danteveli (1164 posts) -

All the time and its not really a bad thing (except for the fans). Lately it was done to Devil May Cry and dead Space. Results are pretty good.