Triple-A Games and Creative Subtext

SUCCESSFULLY marketing a game is a mammoth task.
To make the title of a series recognisable to even the average mother, nagged by little voices, means quids-in for the IP owners. It is the cold front of the industry, where the biggest earners are the annual entries, churned out of the EACTIVISOFT giants. Making these games undoubtedly takes a lot of skill , yet the more ‘refined’ gaming pallets always seems to taste something bitter with the experiences of “CoD”, “FIFA”, “Battlefield” and “Assassin’s Creed.” It has become acceptable to pass any new entry into these series by saying “they’re all the same.”
This is wrong.
These brands are simply the names that sell, if you look past the title and examine what is really being offered, there’s usually a far more original game there than most realise. It is simply selling itself as something that it isn’t, so that the masses accept it.

If you look past the title and examine what is really being offered, there’s usually a far more original game there

Take this example, someone pitches a new IP, where the player captains a pirate ship and ventures across the ocean, taking down trading vessels and steadily improving their crew and mighty boat. Sounds great, but nobody has ever heard of “Awesome Pirate Adventure in the Caribbean.” So, no one will help publish it, it’s creation won’t get funded and if it does reach the market then it probably won’t sell.
Yet, if you take all of those ideas and put them behind a publisher with resources and a pre-marketed brand that definitely sells, you get Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag.
It’s the perfect Pirates of the Caribbean simulator that everyone has been waiting for since the first time they saw Jonny Depp with dreadlocks. But instead of starting a new marketing campaign from scratch it was given the mask of Assassin’s Creed before being thrown out into a world where it was definitely going to sell. Even though it was selling itself on its name, not just it’s sparkly new mechanics.
Next idea, give everyone a suite from Edge of Tomorrow and the powers of the armour in Crysis and then put them all in an arena to fight to the death.
When you put it like that it sounds brilliant, but call it Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and the masses will open their wallets while the snobs turn their noses.
It’s sort of backwards when you think that this system is selling something new to someone who wants something they know while it’s getting ignored by someone who wants something new instead of something they know.
My point is that, the big named games that everyone goes to for a reliable and familiar experience are often hiding innovative gems that we can forget to appreciate.
There’s a creative subtext there that will heighten the experience for anyone who plays it. You just have to remember to read past the title.

It’s sort of backwards when you think that this system is selling something new to someone who wants something they know while it’s getting ignored by someone who wants something new instead of something they know.

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