When we normally talk about aesthetics in videogames, we’re referring to the art and music that helps raise the quality and presentation of the game, but for today I want to talk about something else. As videogames have grown this past decade, I’ve seen a trend from niche genres that developers should be paying attention to with regards to making these games easier to digest.
Recently I got a comment on one of my videos from someone asking me about learning how to manipulate a 3D camera in a game. That comment reminded me of something very important, and an area where a lot of developers fail to grasp — understanding and designing around the new player’s experience.
A major element to giving games longevity has always been player customization. The more ways that players can not only stand out but play a game differently goes a long way towards keeping them invested. For multiplayer-based titles, this is critical in terms of avoiding a solidified meta. The challenge is that the more you give the player, the less control you have as a designer, and that can lead to some interesting decisions on design.
This year saw the release of two games: Wargroove and Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark that were designed to emulate the classic games of Advance Wars and Final Fantasy Tactics respectively. I had a chance to play both, and in both cases I stopped caring about them within less than an hour of playing. Now, you may think that’s because I had major problems with them or hated the gameplay, but it was because they were just okay, and as we’re about to talk about, being okay isn’t enough anymore.