At Sierra, I had all these ‘phrases’ that I lived by. Many of them are scattered throughout these message boards. Another one people used to get tired of hearing was ‘Customers vote at the box office’.
Ultimately, game companies build what customers buy. The same goes for films. If there was an adventure game that would sell one million copies, companies would build it.
Which I’m not sure they aren’t…
If you look at where I was trying to move the adventure game, it isn’t clear that we haven’t gone that direction.
My personal vision of the future involved multiplayer gaming. If I had continued to run Sierra, we would have been the ones leading the multiplayer game business. Are these adventure games? It depends on how you define an adventure game. Are you role playing? Are there puzzles? Is there a scenario?
It can be argued that adventure games haven’t died, they’ve just evolved in various directions. I remember the half-life guys trying to convince me that they had adventure game qualities.
Were I in the market today, I would not build ‘2d adventure games’ the way they used to look, because they wouldn’t sell very well. The #1 thing people want is to see something that surprises them. Another ‘Sierra’ expression — this time my brothers: A game has to have ‘wow’ value. If you didn’t say ‘wow’ when you heard about the game, and/or saw it — then it wasn’t going to sell.
So, where does that leave us…
To break-through, and ship a hit, you need something new. Is there something that captures what people liked about adventure games, but does something in a new way. The introduction of story and plot to action games, RPG games and multiplayer games has been done.
What is needed is kind of a fresh look at it.
I wish I had the time… but, I did 20 years in games. Now, I’m doing boating, and working on a book, and have talkspot.com going. I have no free time.
Besides, the budgets are huge these days. To do something new would take 10s of millions of dollars. That means a big company funding it, and big companies are research driven these days. If something seems new, it has a hard time getting funded.
Actually.. new things ARE coming. The market has a great way of reacting to boring products – they don’t sell. Innovative products break through. It’s really just a matter of time.
Sorry to ramble…