There are two distinct schools of thought about the modern gaming sphere: either that publisher greed has reached a deeply uncomfortable apex, or that there’s never been so many brilliant games to choose from at such competitive prices.
Whatever your own opinion, gaming is driven by trends like any other art form: the mascot platformer surged in popularity after the success of Mario, Max Payne popularised bullet-time, and Grand Theft Auto left a trail of me-too open world shooters in its wake.
And while many trends can change entire genres for the better – where would we be without Gears of War’s cover mechanics? – they can also be hugely detrimental to the creativity of games as a whole.
These 10 games were all responsible for kickstarting trends that, while not necessarily harmful in isolation, inevitably led to less-imaginative publishers deciding that they wanted their own slice of the very same lucrative pie.
And as they always do, publishers quickly cashed in on the hot trend of the minute, exploiting each to their full predatory potential with the bare minimum imagination necessary.
Do these trends all signify the end-times for games? Not quite, but they nevertheless paint a picture of a AAA gaming landscape in particular that’s depressingly bereft of new ideas.
Isn’t that why Death Stranding was such a wonderful breath of fresh air, nonsense plotting at all?