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What not to do: 10 rules for game developers

This post has been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

Top ten lists always devolve into nine losers and one winner (the "best" or "greatest" or whatever). But this list isn't so much about winning as it is about whining. So let's get right into it and see some rules that, if followed, might give us some (slightly) better games.

10. The combat rule.

Guns are better than swords. They're faster, deadlier, and they take less effort to use than a giant sword. I think The Last Samurai proved that if you bring a sword to a gun fight (and you're not Tom Cruise), you're dead.

Games don't like to adhere to this rule. They often have futuristic settings where armies have standard-issue submachine guns and giant robots that shoot lasers, but the protagonists fight with swords, fists, boomerangs, spears, and for some reason, a jacket.

If games did follow this rule, there would be no excuse for a person to not use his gunblade exclusively as a gun.

 

Snow, Final Fantasy XIII

Don't worry, I'll distract the machine-gun-toting soldiers with the scarf stuffed down my pants, then I'll hit them with my jacket. That'll work, right?

9. The "Can I please have my body back?" rule.

Every first-person shooter starts out after some horrific event in which the main character loses his enitre body and has turned into two floating hands hell-bent on getting the rest of their body back.

Wait…they don't start like that? Then where the hell is the rest of my body? Last time I looked down, I could see my legs and my torso. If I look down in a first-person shooter, I see nothing. No legs, no torso. What are my incredibly-stiff-arms-that-always-hold-guns-up-to-my-face supposed to be connected to?

8.  The affirmative-action rule.

Games are seriously lacking in racial diversity. Why won't they at least let me make a non-white character?

Dragon Age: Origins

In Dragon Age: Origins, starting as a human noble, I was able to make a black-ish character. Then I met my very white parents and brother, meaning I was either adopted or a douche who liked to walk around in blackface.

It's not much different for the other origins in DA:O. You meet your family members in each of them (except for the mages), and they are all white. So I can make my character look like anything I want — so long as that character is white.

Bethesda had the right idea with Fallout 3 — your father's race changed with yours. Sure, it's kind of weird to hear Liam Neeson as a black guy…but then again, Kratos was voiced by a black guy.

7. The clothing rule.

Some game characters seem unable or unwilling to get dressed, and they just look ridiculous. Take Monkey from Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, or Nier from…Nier.

Remember, kids: Shirts are never a bad idea.

Put some pants on. You look stupid.

6. The Albedo rule.

Named after Albedo from the Xenosaga series, the rule is simple: If a game has to be censored, then the censorship has to make it more awesome. If a game is too bloody, replace blood with rainbows. When a guy gets his head shot off, have a unicorn pop out of it. It's not violent — it's a unicorn!

This rule specifically comes from one scene in Xenosaga wherein Albedo terrorized MOMO. In the Japanese version, he used a knife to cut off his arm and head. In the American version, he couldn’t use a knife (because knives are violent), so he ripped his arm off and twisted his own head off. Sure, it’s less bloody, but it amps up the crazy.

5. The genital rule.

Keep it in your pants, guys. Please, no more talking penises riding chariots or giant monsters with vagina faces. It’s just weird. (Respectively, the offenders are: Mara [possibly NSFW] from Persona 3 and 4, and the Rakk Hive from Borderlands.)

Rakk hive

Also, let's not take the term "cockpit" so literally, Zone of the Enders. It's distracting.

4. The patch rule.

If you encounter a major and very noticeable glitch within the first 30 seconds of playing, then the game is not finished and should be delayed.

Also, if a game is littered with glitches, like a giant worm emerging underneath my tank resulting in instant death (Mass Effect), or if I start with my main character in his underwear because a piece of free DLC didn’t carry over (DA:O Awakening), don’t ignore it. PATCH IT! 

However, funny glitches, like the Cougar Man, can stay.

3. The title rule.

Square Enix recently revealed that Final Fantasy is going to fight 13 while also pondering Final Fantasy 13-2 (which is 11 if my math is correct). In addition, someone in Kingdom Hearts is going to give birth by going to sleep, and something is going to happen in 179 days.

While none of those titles make any sense (and two of them look like math problems), this problem isn’t exclusive to Square Enix. Titles like Last Ranker, Monster Hunter Tri (because the number 3 was taken? or is the game about trying?), and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together also exhibit odd, ridiculous titles.

This also includes games with horrendously long titles that abuse colons, such as Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army and The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth 2: The Rise of the Witch-King.

2. The star rule.

Whose game is this anyway? Stop changing protagonists halfway through games that feature a series star. It didn’t work in Metal Gear Solid 2. It didn’t work in Halo 2. It didn’t work in Devil May Cry 4. Stop trying.

This also applies to games that ditch their series stars for a bland create-a-character. Tenchu Z was terrible, and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy effectively killed the series.

Good luck, X-Men: Destiny!

Half-Life 2

1. The rule of kings.

There must always be a king of genre, a shining beacon that everyone aspires to be. World of WarCraft rules of MMOs, and Dynasty Warriors is lord of…Dynasty Warrior-like games. But there is one king that shows that path that no one should take: the king of vaporware.

With the imminent release of Duke Nukem Forever, the king has abdicated the throne, and there must be a new one to show the masses how things should not be done. Thankfully, Valve has continuously failed to release Half-Life 2: Episode 3. I think we have a new ruler.

Hail to the Freeman.


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