Overall, 2015’s been a great year for games. Today, we boil down the past year in video games with the 5 video game trends that defined 2015. Because, while each video game released in 2015 offered its own unique gaming experience, 99 per cent of games tried to incorporate one of these 5 trends in an effort to keep up with the Joneses.
1. Open-world experiences
2015 will be remembered as the year dominated by big-budget, Triple A releases that all tried to boast the biggest and best open-world experience. Sandbox games and non-linear adventuring is nothing new but I can’t remember, if ever, it’s been so embraced by the year’s biggest games. Even Metal Gear Solid 5 abandoned its linear, story-based gameplay that defined the Metal Gear franchise for open world espionage! Same with Witcher 3! And Batman: Arkham!
This video game trend is nothing but a good thing as open worlds tend to signify a plethora of content.
2. Crafting systems
Crafting systems went from a rarely-seen mechanic in RPG games to a must-have in all modern titles this year.
There’s something fun about transforming base resources into useful goods and it certainly helps keep the strategy guide market alive as people rarely want to waste valuable resources experimenting, preferring to get something great right away. Crafting systems are a nice perk in pretty much every video game genre, although it is inching toward overkill territory.
3. “Your choices matter!”
“Your choices matter!” they say in their trailers. Endless outcomes and possibilities depending on your actions and decisions! Sure, whatever, Peter Molyneux.
While interactive drama games from TellTale and Quantic Dream continue to push the boundaries of “interactive drama” games, it’s still not quite there yet. Most of the time, the endings are pretty much the exact same. Maybe the protagonist will have his hair different, if you’re lucky. I’m starting to think that telling us that our choices matter is just a ploy to get us to play the game over and over again, choosing different choices along the way.
The underwhelming results of different choices is starting to get old but all we can hope is that someone will eventually make a game where the choices do actually determine different outcomes.
4. Walking simulators
Sorry to use the unflattering, dismissive name for these games. These are interactive story games and they are great. In spite of what the haters say, atmospheric journeys through interesting settings with no ultra-violent combat only furthers to legitimize video games as an artistic discipline. Tone and plot over challenge and adversity? WHY THE HELL NOT? 2015 was kind to interactive story games and we have our fingers crossed that this can continue for many years to come.
5. DLC shakedowns
For all the boundary-pushing creativity that has defined this year in video games, it’s also been a time where gamers have been shook down time and time again for not that much in return.
Star Wars: Battlefront is woefully lean if you didn’t opt-in for the DLC. LEGO Dimensions‘s unlockables are woefully expenses. Destiny: The Taken King is widely accepted as what Destiny should have been on release.
DLC should be an opportunity for developers to add new, exciting content to games MONTHS after release to reward loyal fans with a fresh challenge and more of what they love. It should not be used to double the cost of a game the day its released. It should not be an excuse to release an otherwise incomplete or unfinished product either.
What video game trends do you think defined 2015? Share your biggest video game trends of the year in the comments below!