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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