Games that people should stop trying to copy

Not a week goes by with­out some­one nearby propos­ing to take an exist­ing game and “make it bet­ter.” Maybe the hope­ful devel­oper sees a flaw that only they can find, or maybe they love a title so much that they just have to imi­tate it. Maybe they have an unfounded sense of pride and their own abil­i­ties. What­ever the rea­son, what many of my friends and cowork­ers aspire to emu­late … well, let’s say I get the chance to talk a lot about Nathan Drake.

  • Uncharted and its suc­ces­sor made for a damn good time. Are you mak­ing a deeply cin­e­matic game with fully real­ized human char­ac­ters? Done much work with cin­e­matog­ra­phy? Well, good luck chas­ing that. And no, LA Noire is some­thing else.
  • World of War­craft is seven years old. That’s a story in itself. I wish the best for friends at Trion, and for my employ­ers’ divi­sion down in Austin, but the 2000s are over. Stop chas­ing that pony, even if you do have a blank check. Seri­ously though, how is the sub­scrip­tion model some­thing that any busi­ness team approves in 2011?
  • DotA. Do we need three of them? It bog­gles me to say it, but the future of strat­egy is largely turn-based. Again.
  • Dead Space. I know, funny, huh? But the clever min­i­mal­ist inter­face doesn’t actu­ally belong in every game. While we play­ers of so many things love to see some­thing new in every aspect of game design, the audi­ence doesn’t patho­log­i­cally reject a HUD overlay.
  • Medal of Bat­tle­field of Duty. The world doesn’t need another mil­i­tary shooter. No, your twist isn’t good enough to pry any­one away from their cur­rent game or its immi­nent sequel.
  • Far­mVille. Sorry, Step 2 is more com­pli­cated than it looks.

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