Mar 15, 2018
This month in gaming, eight years ago. March 2010. Why eight years ago? Game Informer is coming out with their 300th issue this month. I've gone back and started reading issues beginning at 200, 100 issues ago, to see where gaming was then to draw comparisons for today.
What was the gaming landscape back then? What new releases were arriving in March, that sweet sweet spring spot right before the E3 hype and summer lull?
The landscape was different from today but if you simply switch the key players around, you’ll find it’s not that different.
In 2010, Nintendo was on top but on the decline with the Wii. Third party publishers were concerned with the lack of technological power and the inability to host their high definition (HD, ie 720 – 1080p resolution) games.
Sony, was at the bottom, but working their way up. Developers were becoming comfortable with the “cell” processor (Sony’s proprietary seven core processor). God of War 3 and Gran Turismo 5 were on the way. Heavy Rain, a critical success, had just launched exclusively on the PS3.
Microsoft was the champion among the gaming industry, but still far behind the financial behemoth of the Wii. Xbox 360 reigned supreme with the hugely successful, user friendly, Xbox Live online ecosystem.
Today, in 2018, Sony is the king among most gamers. Nintendo is selling gangbusters with the Nintendo Switch console, rising from the bottom of the Wii U failure. Microsoft is struggling to keep up with Sony. It could be argued whether Microsoft is on the decline or gaining traction; but with little first party intellectual property (IP) to hang their hat on, they’ll keep losing to Sony.
What games were coming out in March 2010, what games are coming out this March, 2018?
March 2010 Highlights: Battlfield: Bad Company 2, MLB 10: The Show, Final Fantasy XIII, Resident Evil 5: Gold edition, Assassin’s Creed II, Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, Metro 2033, Just Cause 2.
March 2018 Highlights: Final Fantasy XV for PC, Devil May Cry HD collection, Burnout Paradise Remastered, Kirby Star Allies, Assassin’s Creed Rogue: Remastered, Sea of Thieves, Valkyria Chronicles 4, A Way Out, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, Far Cry 5, MLB The Show 18.
March 2010 was a stacked month full of fantastic AAA titles. 2018 is cluttered with remasters and remakes with a few good titles sprinkled in there.
What I want to highlight is, have games changed that much in eight years? I would argue no, they haven’t.
Battlefield Bad Company 2, Resident Evil 5, Assassin’s Creed II, Metro 2033, Just Cause 2 are all great, third party AAA action titles. Some are first person, others third person; some are open world, others linear. But, how are they different from Far Cry 5, A Way Out, Sea of Thieves? The biggest difference from 2010 to 2018 is mainly graphical power and social media integration. Fundamentally, they’re the same. In the last eight years, we are still getting games with cinematic presentation, good story telling, and solid mechanics.
I relate with most gamers when we say the jump from the 2D era (Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis) to the 3D era (Nintendo 64, PlayStation and Saturn) was enormous. This fundamentally changed everything about video games. How to tell a story, how to present your artistic vision, how to implement gameplay mechanics with exploring a three-dimensional space. We left the limitations of two-dimensional platformers and entered a whole new way of thinking.
We haven’t gotten a leap in innovation and creativity like this since. In fact, we’ve just been incrementing, a little at a time.
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