Less Stuff, More Game

Friday, September 18, 2009
There was a question floating around in my head during PAX that I wasn't able to ask. I had intended to direct it to the good folks at Infinity Labs but they never showed. That's fine guys, I don't need you to answer the question anyway. Honestly, I don't think anyone would give me a straight answer anyway.

The question is this. Should game developers, in light of the economic state and lack of quality content in games be investing so much time and resources into over-priced, over-stuffed uber-editions of their games? Would it be more responsible for them to put that time and money into extra content for the game? Does an established franchise really need these marketing ploys to sell more copies?

There have been special editions for a long long time but it wasn't until the Halo 3 Legendary Edition that the stops were pulled out, tied to a tree and shot in the head. Now we have helmets, Batarangs and night vision goggle galore taking up serious shelf and pocketbook space. I really don't understand the need for this sort of thing anymore.

I'll admit, I bought the Legendary Edition of Halo 3. I knew I couldn't wear the helmet, I knew I wouldn't really watch the special features disc more than a couple times but still the money changed hands.

Maybe it's that I've gained a family since then or generally bemoaned the lack of depth in many newer titles, but I don't see night vision goggles and chintzy Batarangs as money well spent. I think that money is far better spent building the player a larger world to explore, smarter enemies to fight or more maps for our insatiable multiplayer appetites.

Give any player a choice between night vision goggles with game or same game with loads more content at smaller price and I'd bet my life almost all would choose the latter. Or try this, the money spent on the preposterous accessories of marketing could be the difference between releasing the game you managed to finish or the the game you wanted to make. Good and great are measured in tiny increments in this world. Wake up and make your games great.