You all want brand loyalty and higher sales, but most of you have no idea how to obtain them. What I’m about to do is enlighten studio heads, project leads, and anyone else reading this that works for a game developer. This is a free service, and if you pay attention, I might even give you some of my hard earned dollars in the future. Once this is posted I don’t want to hear anymore bickering about lack of sales, or loyalty to your brands.
First and foremost, put more effort into your single player campaign experiences. I understand that a lot of you think you are doing this, I am here to assure you you’re not. Personally, I am looking for an experience I won’t forget. Unfortunately for developers, that can’t happen in a measly 7 – 10 hours. And it certainly cannot happen if you aren’t thinking outside the box. Also, charging for mediocre campaigns and a multiplayer component that nobody plays should be a crime.
I want a single player campaign that lasts beyond the norm, and I want it to be fresh. Please stop giving me good guys vs. bad guys. For the love of god start catering to those of us that give a damn about story and narrative. Shooting people and things is fun, but after doing it in every single game it’s starting to get old. Give me a game that has no guns (or a substitute, like a stick), has an engrossing story and narrative, and lasts for 15-20 hours minimum.
Secondly, having full blown multiplayer options is not a necessity. If you put more effort into your single player campaigns, you won’t need a multiplayer. People will appreciate the game for what it is, a great single player experience. Tacking multiplayer onto a game like Bioshock wasn’t necessary. The single player experience stands on its own. The only multiplayer experience that game should have, if any, is a co-op mode.
The only games that should have multiplayer options are those where it makes sense. For example, Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, and any other game similar to those. As an example, if I see multiplayer options in the next Alan Wake, I will commit Harry Carey. It doesn’t belong and should never see the light of day.
Lastly, and certainly the most important—give a shit about your brand. I’m going to do something I rarely do, hate on Microsoft. I’m a Halo fanatic, and I love Bungie more than anything. However, I’ve seen more Halo than I care to have ever seen. I would have been perfectly fine with Halo 1, 2, and 3. Hell, I’d have been happy with just Halo 1 and 2. However, Microsoft pushed for more, and by doing so they ruined the brand for a lot of people.
Even though developers and publishers (especially publishers) say it isn’t about money, it’s about the games, it’s definitely about the money. Microsoft saw how huge the series was and proceeded to ruin it by saturating the market with new iterations. I’m just using Microsoft as an example, they aren’t the only publishers to do this. Activision is horrible about it, they’ve decided Call of Duty needs to be around for the next decade, at least.
Selling games is a hard business, there are lots of them and the majority are the same. I’ve seen publishers release statements blaming slow sales on “slow economies” which is rubbish. It’s time developers’ stop making excuses, and start making quality products. If it helps, think of developing a game as delivering a service instead of delivering an experience to gamers. We are your customers and we want great service. Please do not try and sell us items we do not want, or need.
Gamers want new and exciting things, not something they can find in another box on the shelf. It’s time to start thinking creatively, and out of the box. Increasing sales and brand loyalty needs to be earned; it can’t be had by rehashing old concepts. I’m a gamer, I know what I want. It’s time you start listening to your customers.
But what do I know, I’m just a gamer.