Pixel Count: The Next Hurdle

It’s Pixel Count Tuesday, Sushians. Let’s cast us some ballots.

Every generation represents a new set of hurdles for the medium (or art, if you’re feeling fancy) of video gaming. In the current generation — and yes, I do include PC games in this — I think the most obvious hurdles we’ve cleared have to do with graphics, the ease of connectivity and huge, immersive universes. Within the last few years, it’s easier to play with friends than ever before, or even talk to them across games. I can share games with them on Steam or track their progress through PSN or XBL. Games like Skyrim, Borderlands 2 and Arkham City have given us amazing, huge worlds that we can interact with, and feel like we’re a part of. The Uncharted series and Red Dead Redemption have given us high-caliber storytelling and some memorable vocal performances.

But do I think all of these things are perfect? Not by any stretch. The medium still has plenty of growing up to do in terms of what it can achieve, in any number of arenas. Today’s Pixel Count poll is a big one, representing what I think are the biggest hurdles that gaming still has in front of it.

So, if we’re entering the next generation soon, which of these do you think is the most important issue, from a player’s perspective? Vote and tell us what you think in the comments!

What do games need to accomplish in the next generation?

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

8 thoughts on “Pixel Count: The Next Hurdle”

  1. I think that storytelling has a long way to go in video games, and I think that as it gets better, the other elements will fall in line automatically or out of necessity.

  2. I’ve also gone for storytelling. We’ve done better recently but I feel there is still far too much Micheal Bay plots.

  3. Graphics, not the “Everything has to look realistic” type of graphics but just better smarter hardware.

    with better graphics you can create Bigger and more immersive worlds, have Realistic physics/destructible environments, create better Emergent gameplay, and the better the graphics the more tools creators have to create compelling performances and improved Storytelling.

    basically all of the above.

  4. I went with emergent gaming, simply because I believe we’ve come to a bit of a stalemate when it comes to game types. Enter a room, shoot everything, move on. I think gameplay will have a big impact on improving story next-gen as well. Uncharted is an amazing piece of storytelling but it falls into the same trap. There is amazing cut scenes and set-pieces, but they are all tied together with the same old shtick, shoot everybody, move on.

    I think graphics have reached a point where we can finally focus on gameplay and taking it in unexpected ways that break the cycle. Find a way to blend the genres. Maybe make it harder to distinguish “shooter” from “strategy” or “RPG”, find ways to blend the experiences and even extend them in to the social arenas. That’s what I would like to see.

  5. Is it cheating to just say “All of the above”? Obviously different developers focus on different things. If through the course of the next generation all of things are advanced and honed I’m sure most gamers will be happy. Personally, I’m more of a story focussed gamer, but often what draws me into the story is the world I’m in (see Mass Effect, Xenoblade). I guess if I was forced to choose, I’d go for one of those, but I’d a greedy person and want to see All The Things improved

    1. Great points everyone. I selected emergent gameplay myself, but I really like Gadfly’s point that as the developers use the hardware more efficiently, that the other things will start to fall into place in that realm, and also in terms of bigger worlds. And I think when that happens, the stories will fall into place and have some more freedom as well. And honestly, story is the second tier for me here, too. We’ve had some great stories, but most video game writing is still so predictable and subpar.

  6. Storytelling is probably my biggest gripe with the current generation. We either go down the route of “press X to not die” or the route of “zillions of cutscenes” or a crappy merging of the two. Developers keep forgetting that you can tell stories through the actual gameplay. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while, and I just feel like not enough developers take full advantage of their medium. When you wander into a house in Fallout 3, and you see two skeletons huddled together in a bed, that’s storytelling through gameplay. When you walk into the generator room in Left 4 Dead’s “The Passing” campaign and see the battered corpse of an old friend, that’s storytelling through gameplay. Developers keep trying to inject movies into gameplay. They keep trying to enhance the game with experiences that actually subtract from the game. Cutscenes and the like aren’t completely unwelcome, but as an industry we’ve grown too accustomed to them.

    Games aren’t movies, basically.

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