I have come here today to talk to you about AAA gaming, well to be precise I will be talking about what comes after more so than the gaming experience itself. What I mean by this is there comes a period after one has completed a top level, truly immersive game, a period of emptiness, that period is the unfillable void. After you have visited a fully realized world like the ones contained within titles such as Skyrim or Red Dead Redemption 2 then what comes after oftentimes pales in comparison.
This is what AAA gaming can make you do, it keeps your head turned like a seductive ex, you don’t necessarily have the inclination to go back but the known feels so much more comforting than the unknown, even if that unknown looks very enticing, it is still the unknown. We seek familiarity and when the familiar is so awe-inspiring as a top level game then it can leave you in a state of pause. It can leave you thinking that maybe there is something I could have done differently, maybe there is something I missed, a new and different level to the experience that is laying just out of sight ready to be discovered.
Back Instead of the Future
This backward thinking is like a cocoon, it will keep you in this aforementioned state of pause until you learn that what pales in comparison shouldn’t have been held up to be compared with in the first place, that its qualities are its own, albeit completely different than what you had previously been engrossed by but they are impressive qualities nonetheless.
This gradual acceptance of the new title leads you to think that maybe the reservations you had about moving on were not down to any of the new titles inadequacies but they were down to the sheer quality of the previous world that you have absconded from. Then this got me thinking, is there any truer sign of the quality of AAA games than that inability to move on seamlessly afterwards? I have thought about this for a while and I don’t think there is.
I think that is the main reason behind the success of these AAA franchises, because no matter how many games you play in between the last and newest release they equate to nothing more than fodder in most cases. They are the fling in between two steady and fulfilling relationships, they are the one night stand that you will remember but never fully commit to memory.
They will remain as a twinkle in your eye but the rest of your gaze will stay firmly fixed on the thing that caught your eye in the first place or at least something as equally eye catching that lay just over the horizon. This is the allure of the top franchises, they keep your attention for the duration and well past the gaming experience. The memory of the past keeps your appetite satiated until the promise of the future comes to fruition, you have become spellbound, just waiting, one footstep away from steeping back inside these immense worlds.
Keep Us Coming Back for More
This is a quality that AAA games share with the upper echelons of other forms of entertainment, namely gold standard T.V programming and long standing movie franchises. The thing they share in common is the way they captivate the imagination for the duration and how they hold on to it tightly in the intervening time between the entries into their mightily impressive IP.
They are the dealers of delights and whilst we wait to be served we find ourselves lost, listless, just in what seems like the most mundane of holding patterns. This continual captivation is what separates the great from the good, this is what creates hardcore fandoms for a franchise, the ability to hold sway long after the initial experience.
That is why the advent of online gaming and DLC was so very important, this was the gateway back into the worlds we love so much, this is the recognition of the developers of the fallow field that needed sewing. They saw that there was still room from their crops to grow, and maybe even sprout off into new and previously untold ways.
This was a way for the gaming developers to keep their hooks in you in the best way possible. They too know the depths of the immersion of the sprawling worlds that are contained within these AAA titles. The developers know that we do not want to be plucked from this existence just as we have started to become comfortable in these digital realms. They too saw that the gaming public wanted to continue their connection with the worlds they have created long past the allotted gaming time.
Spice Things Up A Little
Although at face value it seems like a great deal, it is this continuous need to prolong the connection to one specific title that in many ways is causing the increasing disconnect with other, maybe less heralded titles. It is in this relationship we have with these ever expanding worlds that causes our minds and field of vision to narrow when viewing slightly less open worlds, that we feel almost too restricted not realizing that it is our expectations that are causing these presumed restrictions and not the game itself.
I think a solution for this may come in the form of more people signing up for the likes of Microsoft’s Gamepass or Playstation Now, this will allow for people to broaden their gaming horizons, both of these subscription based models enable gamers to try out the lesser known titles for a flat fee, making them instantly more appealing.
The appeal comes from not having the need to do the physical search for the titles in question, they are on display for all to see, I believe that it is very important that we take advantage of this increased exposure and not pass them by like a game in a bargain basket. These are the games to fill the void, much of the time they are less immersive---that is true---but they are also a lot shorter and thus leads for more completion, and with more completion comes more games, which in turn offers up more variation, and as the old saying goes variety is the spice of life.
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