The gaming industry is growing steadily and rapidly, with hundreds of new games being released every year. Trends in the gaming world constantly change as each year sees the introduction of new and more advanced features.
Furthermore, the industry probably benefits the most from advancements in technology because as technology advances, so does gaming. Seeing the difference between now and ten years ago, we can only imagine what the future holds for game development.
Is There a Future in Game Development?
Game development companies and studios have a lot to consider to ensure their next game performs better than the last. When asked what they thought about the future of game design, Zachary Walter and Jessica Vazquez had interesting things to say.
These game development experts predict that game art will overshadow other forms of entertainment and art, to say the least. Additionally, they foresee an increase in AR and VR games, gaming communities, independent game design, and inclusive games.
Revenue derived from gaming is more than that gotten from other entertainment sectors like movies and sports combined. According to Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist, the potential for gaming to become even more mainstream is high.
The question is, what trends are going on with game developments right now, and what tech innovations are causing them? According to experts Zachary and Jessica, below are five trends to watch out for in the future of game design.
Growth in VR and AR Popularity
If virtual reality and augmented reality are popular now, they will become even more popular in the near future. Inventive hybrid forms, virtual reality, and augmented reality are a form of extended reality (XR).
These tech inventions are the major trends in game development right now, says Zachary Walter. There will be more advanced creations and gaming platforms enabling designers to produce more rich virtual environments.
Furthermore, there will be a development of more sophisticated eye-tracking technology, which will give gamers a more intuitive experience. In other words, the virtual worlds of these games will feel more real; the sense of reality will be heightened.
Also, we should expect to see a blending of virtual reality and tabletop gaming, according to Vazquez. Already, RPGs (role-playing games) are being augmented by digital spaces, allowing players to add maps among other things to their gameplay.
Zachary Walter says the gaming world should expect immense growth from this kind of hybrid experimentation. Besides, people are already hacking the Quest virtual reality headset to experience the hybrid world.
Expansion of Online and In-Person Gaming Communities
Another trend to expect in the future is an increase in the building and development of more online gaming communities. This trend is especially more likely when you consider the social interaction games have provided to many people.
This interaction has gotten many people through difficult times, particularly in the isolation caused by the COVID-19 lockdown. According to Vazquez, people are looking to build gaming communities, thus there will be an increase in socially-networked gaming.
Additionally, Walter says we should also expect more IRL gaming communities, especially now that the pandemic has eased and people are getting out. There will be game nights that will bring communities together around card games, board games, and RPGs at game stores and cafes. More so, some stores are sponsoring gaming events for gamers to come together and paint miniature player characters.
In the future, gaming will no longer be a private thing you do at home, says Walter. Games present an opportunity and safe space to rethink and refashion social relationships.
Game Designers will Become Entrepreneurs
Both Vazquez and Walter say game developers will be transformed into entrepreneurs with full control of their products. Vazquez says game design funding software will become more accessible, and crowdfunding and online distribution platforms will fuel their growth.
From building the game to distributing it, gamer designers will independently move their games from the laptop to the market. This transformation will be even easier because there will be affordable professional-quality tools with which game artists can design their dream games.
Once designed, the game creators can share directly with gamers through distribution platforms, completely bypassing the studio system. Game designers can get crowdfunding directly through platforms such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter without needing venture capital.
According to Walter, the gaming world is on the horizon of a golden age for individual game creators and artists. In the future, they would not need the gatekeeping of industrial studios to move their game design into the market.
Game Art Boundaries will become Blurrier
There is already a blur happening between game arts and other entertainment forms and industries, says Walter. For example, Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokemon, among other games, have transited into the narrative film industry.
Another example is the coming of the Assassin’s Creed game to Netflix, among several others. Jessica Vazquez predicts that we should expect more gaming influence beyond adaptations in the near future as animators and filmmakers use game creation platforms.
Furthermore, D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) going from being a personal and ephemeral game to becoming a passive entertainment form is proof of the blurry lines. Also, the gaming world should expect the barrier between games and other aspects of life to go further into the ground.
Meanwhile, although a blur already exists between gaming and marketing, Walter predicts that the fusion will become more seamless. Games will cross boundaries in more ways than one in the future, including in genres, platforms, technologies, and cultures.
There Will Be a Larger Number of Independent Game Designers
More independent game designers and small studios will emerge in the future, which will result in more inclusive games. Unbound by the necessity of attracting mass audiences or venture capital, this set of people will transform the face of game development.
They will achieve this by creating more personalized games featuring diverse characters, storylines, and worlds, says Vazquez and Walter. The RPG space is already exploding with inclusive games, especially with games like Into the Mother Lands becoming very popular.
According to Walter, we should expect games that explore feminism, Jewish identity, disability, and queerness. The trend has already started as students in game art programs now look for inclusive games that incorporate queer characters, among other things.
Game developers are creating games to reflect their individuality, which makes the game more exciting. Meanwhile, the emergence of diversity-promoting organizations is another sign of the inclusiveness of game development.
Some examples cited by Vazquez to illustrate this point is the convention put on by Game Devs of Color and GaymerX. She says there are more events globally that are serving to expand diversity around games.
Latest Game Development News
The creators of The Machinery, a game engine billed as an alternative to Unreal and Unity, are shutting it down. The Machinery consistently provided updates for its engine, but both the updates and the developer’s Twitter page have been silent for a while.
In an email to its users, Our Machinery thanked them for their support, apologizing for the change in direction. Other than stating that it was no longer possible to continue in the current direction, no other explanation was given.
The Machinery was billed as an alternative to Unreal Engine and Unity Engine by Epic, the most popularly used game engine. According to its official website, the Machinery combined the convenience of a ready-made engine with the flexibility of a custom one.
As it announced the cancellation of its engine, Our Machinery simultaneously requested that its developers delete copies of the engine’s source code. This request is in agreement with Section 14 of the EULA (End User Licensing Agreement).
Meanwhile, this request was unusual; a developer wouldn’t often release a game’s source code nor ask that its source be deleted. However, Game World Observer noted that this delete request was not in the original licensing agreement. Game Developer confirmed this using the Wayback Machine.
Since Our Machinery made the request, the EULA has been updated concerning steps to take after terminating your license. These include ceasing all use of the Service and the Content and destroying copies in your possession or control.
Meanwhile, Our Machinery has told developers who were actively using the game engine, The Machinery, that it will be terminated in two weeks. It reassured them that developers will get a full refund of their annual license fee. However, it reiterates that users must delete every source code or binary of the engine they have in their possession.
A Review of CyberConnect2’s Fuga: Melodies of Steel
Twenty-five years after CyberConnect2 released the classic Tail Concerto, Fuga: Melodies of Steel hit the market. The game, retroactively referred to as the Little Tail Bronx franchise, was created to offer a more immersive gaming experience.
The game is set in a 700-year-0ld era before the Solatorobo events; it is a story about twelve children in a war-torn powerful tank. They traversed the land to rescue their families from the evil Berman army with two children manning each tank’s canyons.
The previous games were more in the action and adventure genre, but the creators of Fuga decided to make it an RPG. The game was initially intended to be rogue-like, but the designers eventually decided to make the story more emotional.
Unlike its predecessors, Fuga the subject matter is much more mature, including the permanence of death and the ravages of war. However, the most striking feature of Fuga has to be the Soul Cannon mechanic, a gargantuan weapon with massive firepower.
The Soul Cannon machine can shoot any player, but one character has to lose their life with each use. Meanwhile, when characters die in Fuga, they stay dead; but, whether a character lives or dies is up to the gamer.
Nevertheless, the gamer may not feel like they have lost much because characters are capable of learning each other’s moves. The impact of the game is more emotional than tactical; characters have to sacrifice their friend’s life, not just a tactical expert.
For the future, Fuga’s creative director, Yoann Gueritot says sales will be a critical determining factor for it. That means it is entirely up to the fans to ensure the game is unearthed; their support will go a long way. It would seem fans rose to keep this hidden gem alive because the developers recently announced an upcoming sequel.
Logitech and Tencent Collaborate to Develop a New Cloud Gaming Handheld
Through collaborative efforts, two tech giants, Logitech and Tencent have created and will launch a new cloud gaming handheld later this year. The console, yet unnamed, will support multiple cloud gaming services, says Logitech, combining its hardware expertise with Tencent’s software nous.
Logitech and Tencent are working with the Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming teams to give players access to triple-A games. With this collaboration, gamers can have access to the games even when they aren’t near their PC or game console.
A Logitech blog post comments that both companies have a mutual vision of what the future holds for gaming. Thus, they work together to ensure a seamless fusion of the quality of experience, delivering the excitement of cloud gaming.
Tencent is already a major player in the lucrative game market in China, but it has significantly expanded recently. The company has invested large amounts of money into western studios, including IC Entertainment, RiffRaff Games, and Inflexion Games.
According to Tencent’s general manager, Daniel Wu, the partnership between Tencent and Logitech is a great opportunity. Wu says companies have the privilege of pushing the frontiers of gaming devices.
According to Wu, Tencent chose to partner with Logitech because of its experience creating console gear and accessories. The company makes these moves, including its investment in western studios, as Chinese officials keep proposing and implementing new, inconvenient regulations.
Cloud gaming offers players a more real-world-like gaming experience, utilizing data center servers to stream games. With cloud gaming, consumers don’t need to download or install games, whether PC or console versions.
Rather than downloading, gamers render and play the games on remote servers, interacting locally with them on their devices. Tencent and Logitech’s collaboration helps to boycott the new Chinese regulations that restrict playtime and game spending to curtail players’ engagement with video games.
Riot Provides Information on Project L Game Philosophy
Riot Games’ upcoming 2D fighting game, Project L, will be a free-to-play game player play without worrying about losing money. Senior Director, Tom Cannon, explains that one of the company’s goals is to remove barriers to enjoying the game.
The Project L game, revealed in 2019, is a tag-team fighter game set in the League universe; there isn’t much information about it. Until now, the only information Riot Games has released concerning Project L is that it was progressing smoothly.
However, the company finally opened up about the game’s philosophy; it announced a new addition, Illaoi, the Kraken Priestess, to the game’s roster. Thanks to this addition, Riot Games will finally transition one of its existing characters into a fighting game.
Illaoi fights and moves physically with a large golden idol and spirit tentacles, which are there to assist not replace her god. Designer Caroline Montano and the entire art team drew the priestess in different action poses to be used as a reference.
Associate director, Shaun Rivera, explained that they chose Illaoi because she fit Riot’s goals for a diverse, inclusive game roster. Riot’s plan is to draw newcomers to Project L’s roster to excite League players, showing them another side to their beloved characters.
While keeping the characters similar to League was important, it does make it feel more like a fighting game. Rivera says the company wants to elevate the fans’ fantasy but also give them more than they expect.
Meanwhile, Montano detailed how the design team, from a gameplay perspective, used the character’s goals and guardrails to determine her direction. Unlike in League, Nagakaouros, Illaoi’s sea god, will be more of a support role rather than a primary deity. In League, the tentacles of her sea god empowered her attacks on an enemy’s soul; in Project L, she has the power to herself.
One thing the current trends and predictions of gaming say about us is that we prefer to connect rather than escape. Gaming is expanding, transitioning from competition to connection with recent games resembling less of an arena and more of a skate park.