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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