Tired of space marines?

Someone's actual brain was used for this logo.
 

*pew*pew*

The magazine stand, was something akin to a strange "hang-out" center for me as a kid. It was during a time period when gaming print was butting heads with the ease of gaming articles and publications on the internet. I've had gaming magazines for years, most came from this one magazine stand that I would loiter by. I would grab a magazine, and then plead with my parents that I wanted one. 
This one caught my eye. Amongst the cornucopia of magazines for specific platforms, was a magazine for PC Gamer. On the cover was Max Payne, fully decked out ready to kick ass. The first Max Payne game was about to be unleashed, and the PC gaming community was getting ready to show off the powers of their super-rigs. Hard-boiled cop ready to go gun's blazing, a homage to John Woo films, a technical wonder ready to make eye's bleed hopefully in a metaphorical context.
What was not to like?!
 
That's a flight of stairs.  If this wasn't Max Payne, it would be an episode of Jack-Ass.
At the same time there was an article that resided in the magazine that made me feel a bit bothered. I'm not sure if the same magazine that displayed Max on the cover, was the same that had this article, but the time period is defiantly a match. 
Counter-Strike was having it's collective impact. Other game's were attempting to rival Counter-Strike's thunder, not much success was happening at the time, but that didn't stop PC Gamer from running an article that during the context of it's time, felt fairly reasonable to ask: 
 
"THE DEATH OF SINGLE-PLAYER."
  
Absolute language like this is great for getting across a message, but is completely unpractical if you take the time to think the statement through. Single-player gaming didn't die ten years ago. (HOLY SHIT, I FEEL OLD) Instead, I am given a reminder that to be weary regarding certain proclamations.
 

History...

...Has this damn annoying unreasonableness to repeat itself on every turn. Trying to find patterns usually only happens until the actual issue has transpired. We can use our past as a guideline to make equally unreasonable claims concerning future events. 
 
It's at this point that my own synapses fire-off uncontrollably, frequently, and without much concern for stopping and bothering to make-out every facet of my immediate reaction and deduction. Who is the instigator to throw the switch? The person to make my own concerns and proclamations bubble-up without any simmering? 
 
David Cage.
 
  PIXELATED VAN DAMME IS UNAFRAID!
You probably know David Cage by his work regarding the SNES movie tie-in, for the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic: Time Cop. You probably couldn't immediately attach that name to Time Cop, because he worked under the pseudonym (This is actually real.) "De Gruttola" for a good majority of his early credited work.
 
You might also know him for being that guy you saw talking to you during the beginning of Indigo Prophecy. Also, he had something to do with Heavy Rain
I think he hand-placed each game into each box or something. Regardless of specifics, his recent proclamations during GDC reverberated with the subtlety of a nuke. While talking to The Guardian he elaborated on the points he shared:
 

 "Developers are fed up – they want to talk about their families, politics, whatever – why not in a game? Why not?! There is no reason."

"...Don't write about being a rookie soldier in WWII, because you don't have a clue what that's like. Talk about yourself, your life, your emotions, the people around you, what you like, what you hate – this is how the industry will make a huge step forwards. I'm fed up with space marines."

 
He went on to praise the storytelling qualities of Heavy Rain. 
Of course, immediate gut-reaction to Cage giving himself loads of praise, while complaining about more "mainstream games" might sound a tad hypocritical. A torrent of
 No! No! Hear me out!
comments and replies to Cage's statements, usually deal with forum users bitching about the multiple plot-holes that Heavy Rain contained. How Cage's games are essentially B-movie versions, of B-movies that don't focus on gun-combat. 
 
While trying to separate speaker to statement might be difficult for a lot of us, the statements he gave still fester in my mind. Sure, Cage might be a bit egotistical, he did decide to have himself rendered in the opening of one of his games, but the statement does not sound fanciful. It's understandable, even easily obtainable. Perhaps he is not the correct arbiter for such a movement, that doesn't make his statement less reasonable. 
 

Space Marine Fatigue

I'm curious to eventually play through Crysis 2, and yet at the same time, I already have a feeling of what to expect.
I see aliens, I see New York, I see a dude in an awesome suit running around and shooting things. Instead of a Sci-Fi blockbuster impression, I'm reminded of films from The Asylum
 
It just...I don't know...Looks tired.
 
 -Insert action movie title here-
I don't think this is an issue between getting fed-up with "Military / Sci-Fi shooters!" I've been a fan of Bungie games since the original Marathon, I just see a serious lack of cosmetic innovation.  

It's a delicate balance, because as some immature turd online would reply that me that "We play games BECAUSE THEY ARE GAMES", and then proceed to inject copious amounts of heroin while running out the door after he hits the post button.
 
...
 
...What I'm trying to say, is that I get the feeling that certain aspects such as narrative, theme and setting, might have a far more important role in the future of our singleplayer experiences, specifically in shooters. That I perceive a day, that similar to what has happened to both the point-and-click adventure game genre and JRPG's, where reviewers begin paying more attention to certain unchanging aspects, in conjunction with the rest of the game.  

Perhaps you can state that it's already happening, but I get the feeling that the days of a gaming publication praising the "narrative" quality of the likes of Modern Warfare 2 before the hype has dissipated and reality has sunk in, becoming a thing of the past. I don't think we are exactly there yet though. Crysis 2 is getting pretty good reviews, but none of the complaints in these reviews regarding the game's generic plot and setting seem to be reflective in the game's score. For those of us who don't play multiplayer every day, who are primarily play through a single-player campaign a few times, is there anything worthwhile there?
 
Or perhaps not. 
Reading Cage's comments reminded me of that PC Gamer article. What if he's wrong? What if ten years from now, we will be playing Modern Warfare 6, and it takes place on Mars against Killzone's generic Space Nazi's? Is that a good thing?  

 It's noticeable.
For all the possibilities and limitless potential that I perceive gaming going, there's a part of me that completely understands the idea of getting "Fed-Up with Space Marines". There's a part of me that want's more variety over the basic face-value of "shooting all the bad dudes cause they're bad." At the same time there's the somber reality concerning gaming budgets and lack of risk. As the people who make games get older, and the people who play games get older, can it be sage to say that in-itself will have an impact over how publishers do business?
 
 
 
I don't have a definitive answer. 
I'm not here to state that we need to immediately change now, or that our lack of having games without bald space marines is GOING TO KILL SINGLE-PLAYER GAMING!!!, or that David Cage is a genius who's shit can be used as a vaccine for cancer.

I will say, that I'm concerned if nothing happens, that is something I think we can all agree on. 
I also personally feel that there is a large overarching cycle, regarding our acceptance of certain gaming conventions and how they dissipate as we, and the industry get older. 

Also, that the guy who ran the magazine stand when I was a kid was a dick, because he would get pissed about how I would just stand around and read the magazines.
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6 Comments
Posted by vidiot
Someone's actual brain was used for this logo.
 

*pew*pew*

The magazine stand, was something akin to a strange "hang-out" center for me as a kid. It was during a time period when gaming print was butting heads with the ease of gaming articles and publications on the internet. I've had gaming magazines for years, most came from this one magazine stand that I would loiter by. I would grab a magazine, and then plead with my parents that I wanted one. 
This one caught my eye. Amongst the cornucopia of magazines for specific platforms, was a magazine for PC Gamer. On the cover was Max Payne, fully decked out ready to kick ass. The first Max Payne game was about to be unleashed, and the PC gaming community was getting ready to show off the powers of their super-rigs. Hard-boiled cop ready to go gun's blazing, a homage to John Woo films, a technical wonder ready to make eye's bleed hopefully in a metaphorical context.
What was not to like?!
 
That's a flight of stairs.  If this wasn't Max Payne, it would be an episode of Jack-Ass.
At the same time there was an article that resided in the magazine that made me feel a bit bothered. I'm not sure if the same magazine that displayed Max on the cover, was the same that had this article, but the time period is defiantly a match. 
Counter-Strike was having it's collective impact. Other game's were attempting to rival Counter-Strike's thunder, not much success was happening at the time, but that didn't stop PC Gamer from running an article that during the context of it's time, felt fairly reasonable to ask: 
 
"THE DEATH OF SINGLE-PLAYER."
  
Absolute language like this is great for getting across a message, but is completely unpractical if you take the time to think the statement through. Single-player gaming didn't die ten years ago. (HOLY SHIT, I FEEL OLD) Instead, I am given a reminder that to be weary regarding certain proclamations.
 

History...

...Has this damn annoying unreasonableness to repeat itself on every turn. Trying to find patterns usually only happens until the actual issue has transpired. We can use our past as a guideline to make equally unreasonable claims concerning future events. 
 
It's at this point that my own synapses fire-off uncontrollably, frequently, and without much concern for stopping and bothering to make-out every facet of my immediate reaction and deduction. Who is the instigator to throw the switch? The person to make my own concerns and proclamations bubble-up without any simmering? 
 
David Cage.
 
  PIXELATED VAN DAMME IS UNAFRAID!
You probably know David Cage by his work regarding the SNES movie tie-in, for the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic: Time Cop. You probably couldn't immediately attach that name to Time Cop, because he worked under the pseudonym (This is actually real.) "De Gruttola" for a good majority of his early credited work.
 
You might also know him for being that guy you saw talking to you during the beginning of Indigo Prophecy. Also, he had something to do with Heavy Rain
I think he hand-placed each game into each box or something. Regardless of specifics, his recent proclamations during GDC reverberated with the subtlety of a nuke. While talking to The Guardian he elaborated on the points he shared:
 

 "Developers are fed up – they want to talk about their families, politics, whatever – why not in a game? Why not?! There is no reason."

"...Don't write about being a rookie soldier in WWII, because you don't have a clue what that's like. Talk about yourself, your life, your emotions, the people around you, what you like, what you hate – this is how the industry will make a huge step forwards. I'm fed up with space marines."

 
He went on to praise the storytelling qualities of Heavy Rain. 
Of course, immediate gut-reaction to Cage giving himself loads of praise, while complaining about more "mainstream games" might sound a tad hypocritical. A torrent of
 No! No! Hear me out!
comments and replies to Cage's statements, usually deal with forum users bitching about the multiple plot-holes that Heavy Rain contained. How Cage's games are essentially B-movie versions, of B-movies that don't focus on gun-combat. 
 
While trying to separate speaker to statement might be difficult for a lot of us, the statements he gave still fester in my mind. Sure, Cage might be a bit egotistical, he did decide to have himself rendered in the opening of one of his games, but the statement does not sound fanciful. It's understandable, even easily obtainable. Perhaps he is not the correct arbiter for such a movement, that doesn't make his statement less reasonable. 
 

Space Marine Fatigue

I'm curious to eventually play through Crysis 2, and yet at the same time, I already have a feeling of what to expect.
I see aliens, I see New York, I see a dude in an awesome suit running around and shooting things. Instead of a Sci-Fi blockbuster impression, I'm reminded of films from The Asylum
 
It just...I don't know...Looks tired.
 
 -Insert action movie title here-
I don't think this is an issue between getting fed-up with "Military / Sci-Fi shooters!" I've been a fan of Bungie games since the original Marathon, I just see a serious lack of cosmetic innovation.  

It's a delicate balance, because as some immature turd online would reply that me that "We play games BECAUSE THEY ARE GAMES", and then proceed to inject copious amounts of heroin while running out the door after he hits the post button.
 
...
 
...What I'm trying to say, is that I get the feeling that certain aspects such as narrative, theme and setting, might have a far more important role in the future of our singleplayer experiences, specifically in shooters. That I perceive a day, that similar to what has happened to both the point-and-click adventure game genre and JRPG's, where reviewers begin paying more attention to certain unchanging aspects, in conjunction with the rest of the game.  

Perhaps you can state that it's already happening, but I get the feeling that the days of a gaming publication praising the "narrative" quality of the likes of Modern Warfare 2 before the hype has dissipated and reality has sunk in, becoming a thing of the past. I don't think we are exactly there yet though. Crysis 2 is getting pretty good reviews, but none of the complaints in these reviews regarding the game's generic plot and setting seem to be reflective in the game's score. For those of us who don't play multiplayer every day, who are primarily play through a single-player campaign a few times, is there anything worthwhile there?
 
Or perhaps not. 
Reading Cage's comments reminded me of that PC Gamer article. What if he's wrong? What if ten years from now, we will be playing Modern Warfare 6, and it takes place on Mars against Killzone's generic Space Nazi's? Is that a good thing?  

 It's noticeable.
For all the possibilities and limitless potential that I perceive gaming going, there's a part of me that completely understands the idea of getting "Fed-Up with Space Marines". There's a part of me that want's more variety over the basic face-value of "shooting all the bad dudes cause they're bad." At the same time there's the somber reality concerning gaming budgets and lack of risk. As the people who make games get older, and the people who play games get older, can it be sage to say that in-itself will have an impact over how publishers do business?
 
 
 
I don't have a definitive answer. 
I'm not here to state that we need to immediately change now, or that our lack of having games without bald space marines is GOING TO KILL SINGLE-PLAYER GAMING!!!, or that David Cage is a genius who's shit can be used as a vaccine for cancer.

I will say, that I'm concerned if nothing happens, that is something I think we can all agree on. 
I also personally feel that there is a large overarching cycle, regarding our acceptance of certain gaming conventions and how they dissipate as we, and the industry get older. 

Also, that the guy who ran the magazine stand when I was a kid was a dick, because he would get pissed about how I would just stand around and read the magazines.
Posted by Video_Game_King

I like that last screenshot: Modern character designers are very creative. Mind pointing to a time when creativity reigned, Mr. Photoshop Person? The industry's been following trends for a long time, and that's never really going to change. The only change you'll see is in what genre is getting its dick sucked, because people who want money don't exactly see why a game made money.

Posted by Tordah

Games certainly have a long way to go still when it comes to story-telling, but to be fair, most of those "generic space marines" are all featured in first or third-person shooters. If you think the stories in those games are bad, then think back ten years. Stories in shooters were basically non-existant back then.
 
I feel like the "shooter" genre is still very immature when it comes to story-telling, but hey, at least they're somewhat trying now. I think the issue stems mostly from the over-used settings and scenarios. There's only so many times you can do alien invasions before it becomes trite. Also, I blame multiplayer.

Posted by vidiot
@Tordah:  That reminds me of a quote from John Carmack regarding why Doom never had a plot. He said something akin to that videogames shouldn't have plots, because it's the equivalent of sticking a plot in a porn movie. It's there, because it's there.
 
Suffice to say, he was dead wrong, but it illustrates a mentality that slowly deteriorated from shooters. 

 I feel like the "shooter" genre is still very immature when it comes to story-telling, but hey, at least they're somewhat trying now.

That's the "problem" that I have. For every "new" attempt (and they are rare), I see a billion other shooters getting a free-pass. I think it's because I look at other genre's, and I don't see the same set of standards. I don't know if we are on the cusp or currently experiencing slow change, or we reached our storytelling plateau and have no interest trying to do something else from another alien invasion with a plot that's muddled.
 
@Video_Game_King:

  Mind pointing to a time when creativity reigned, Mr. Photoshop Person? 

Oh, god no
My pause for alarm doesn't necessarily deal with trends, just a lack of creativity within these trends. I hate making this comparison, but it feels like most shooters must only obtain a Michal Bay level of quality to regarding their narrative context to pass the requirement of having a narrative. It's here where Cage's ego-stroking comments come into play, he want's more maturity, I see no fault with that because I'm tired of Michal Bay.

 The only change you'll see is in what genre is getting its dick sucked, because people who want money don't exactly see why a game made money. 

Sadly, I cannot give sexual acts to the genre that is popular today. That's GameTrailers job.

It's like, I'm too bitter, and stare at all genre's with the same bizarre standard's of "quality" or something.  
From a hypothetical stand-point, imagine a lack of "trying" with JRPG narrative, is like a country. Then I invade this country and bitch about why you didn't want to invade it. Then years from then, another country starts fucking up, this country is "Shooter narrative". Instead of invading the country, we bomb it by afar, but even the mere-attempt at doing something in this country, makes me, the guy who invaded the country of "JRPG narrative" bitch and complain. Hypocritical much?  
 
...What are we talking about?
Posted by Video_Game_King
@vidiot: 
 
 
I have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe you should be a bit clearer about that. I'm just saying that generic video game design has always been around, and I imagine that no genre has ever been safe from it. Yes, I'm including JRPGs and strategy RPGs (there were two eras for that genre: Fire Emblem rip-off and Final Fantasy Tactics rip-off).
Posted by vidiot
@Video_Game_King said:
" @vidiot:   I'm just saying that generic video game design has always been around, and I imagine that no genre has ever been safe from it. Yes, I'm including JRPGs and strategy RPGs (there were two eras for that genre: Fire Emblem rip-off and Final Fantasy Tactics rip-off). "
...And reviews reflect that. From a critical standpoint, both JRPGs and Adventure games crashed with an unwillingness to attempt to do something more within it's comfort zone regarding how they structure narrative. I find an imbalance of people pointing out the general unwillingness, of developers "trying" regarding shooters. It reminds me what to those previous genre. 
I personally believe, we will eventually get to a point where the lack of narrative context will become more apparent in reviews. Where our maturing gaming tastes become more collectively apparent. 
 
At the same time, and this might be a part of the blog that might confuse some people: I wonder whether or not that such proclamations are wrong. This is another blog where I don't have a definitive answer. Cage believes with almost religious fervor that we must change, while I am reminded about the PC Gamer article proclaiming The Death of Single-player. I wonder if such proclamations and mentality is wise, yet at the same time, identify with the logic backing up his ideals.