Game Genres with the Least Innovation

HexMozart88

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I'm trying to branch out into some new game genres, and in doing so, I'm noticing a lot of patterns with some games. A lot of game genres have been turning into "the same game over and over". So I'm curious as to which ones people have found to have very little innovation, and if possible, say what you'd do to change it. For me, it'd have to go to Match 3s and Racing games. With the racers, though, I kind of understand that because there's not really much you can do to make it more innovative.
 

tiabuni

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Visual Novels tend to be pretty same in terms of mechanics (when the game has any), but I don't think the target audience is particularly bothered by that.
 

The Stranger

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Visual Novels tend to be pretty same in terms of mechanics (when the game has any), but I don't think the target audience is particularly bothered by that.
This! You'll be hard pressed to find a visual novel that isn't about school, teens, melodrama, slice of life bs, or romance in general. Even more Westernised VNs contain all this crap. I thought the genre was called visual novel, not visual romance novel. :p

Played a handful that have none of this, but they really are few and far between. My own VN won't have any of the typical VN stuff in it, either.
 

Finnuval

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Fighting games, but like racers that's to be expected o guess.

These days tho a lot of 'tycoon' or sim games also follow the same concept (a little too much) imo.
 

NatePlays

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Hey, there's some great racers with new ideas out there! Art of Rally, Inertial Drift, Team Sonic Racing. Even simulators, whose whole purpose is being 100% accurate, are adding new stuff like real time weather, live tuning and stuff.

I do feel the lack of sports games these days, with licenses being hella expensive, leaving only the big names (2K and EA) to do their own stuff, with almost no competition (not even Konami's Pro Evo Soccer). A monopoly on sports games, basically.
I remember the times of NBA Jam, International Superstar Soccer and Mario Strikers...
 

Celestrium

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There was an old game called Choro Q, it's like a racing RPG that was quite neat.

Anyway, I understand the point of the question and support your thinking but I feel some of the best game ideas go further than that and defy genre or create new ones. The great thing about AAA games sticking to the mold is it lets indie games really stand out when they have an awesome original idea. I totally like your line of thought though, a simple thing like what a genre is missing could be that spark...

Every genre is subject to overused settings and ideaology. Even RPGs, almost always european middle ages or science fiction (Or both).

Tactical rpgs seem to stick to the same mold since FFT. I loved Fell Seal, very similiar though.
 

overlordmikey

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This! You'll be hard pressed to find a visual novel that isn't about school, teens, melodrama, slice of life bs, or romance in general. Even more Westernised VNs contain all this crap. I thought the genre was called visual novel, not visual romance novel. :p

Played a handful that have none of this, but they really are few and far between. My own VN won't have any of the typical VN stuff in it, either.
Not to be mean, but just actively trying to avoid overused tropes does not a good game make. These tropes get used a lot because they are familiar and comfortable to the audience.
I'm not saying you shouldn't make a game that defies the genre conventions, but there are reasons those conventions exist and suggesting that they are bad by default is kinda shallow in and of itself.

The best games usually take a bit of the familiar and mix them with a bit of the unfamiliar - that way they aren't to alien to the audience, but are also fresh enough to stick out.
 

The Stranger

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@overlordmikey There's an audience for non-romantic, non-slice of life, non-teen melodrama visual novels. That audience struggles to get what it wants because most VNs are glorified dating sims. Games such as Vampire: The Masquerade - Shadows of New York, Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest, and a few others show there's a demand for VNs that don't focus on typical VN stuff.

I also never said generic VN stuff was bad, I said that it was difficult to find a VN that didn't contain those tropes. I'm tired of slice of life melodrama. Not all VNs need to be romances. You know, just as not all adult VNs need to be ridiculously creepy. xD
 
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overlordmikey

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@overlordmikey There's an audience for non-romantic, non-slice of life, non-teen melodrama visual novels. That audience struggles to get what it wants because most VNs are glorified dating sims. Games such as Vampire: The Masquerade - Shadows of New York, Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest, and a few others show there's a demand for VNs that don't focus on typical VN stuff.
Of course there is an audience. My point wasn't that. My point is it's reductive to say the common tropes are "crap" as you called them.
 

The Stranger

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Of course there is an audience. My point wasn't that. My point is it's reductive to say the common tropes are "crap" as you called them.
It was a turn of phrase not a direct insult to those tropes. Christ! Perhaps I shouldn't use common, local speech on here. Language barriers and all that.
 

Finnuval

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These tropes get used a lot because they are familiar and comfortable to the audience
This i agree with

My point is it's reductive to say the common tropes are "crap" as you called them
This is what in Dutch we would call pouring Salt on snails...
(Actively searching for problems)

This is the internet. It's not always easy to read someone's intentions.
So one should first check intentions before assuming then xD
 

Tai_MT

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Real Time Strategy
Look, I'm here for the story. I know it's "the cool thing" to basically make a game based around rushing and getting players ready to play the Multiplayer... But, I don't care. It's boring. I played Starcraft for two reasons.
1. The story was very good and very cool.
2. The gameplay was about building up a base and defenses before going out to wreak havoc.

Modern RTS games are all about "don't build up anything, just mass produce a ton of units, and go smash stuff quickly, 'cause every level is timed".

Look, I'm here for the STRATEGY part of the game. That is, I build a base, build defenses, try to smash the other person's base by figuring out how to destroy their defenses. If their defenses are better than my attackers, I need to change my strategy.

All RTS games are these days are giant Cheese Factories for kids who decided to devote their lives to a video game rather than living.

I don't care about anything that much to devote my life to it instead of living. I'd rather be having fun than trying to chase validation through winning at a GAME.

Anyway, I basically quit playing RTS games as a result of this design philosophy. That is, no more strategy exists, it's all about just rushing your opponent with Cheese.

What is the point of building a base in a game if the only purpose of that base is to pump out attackers? If your base can't serve as "area denial", what is the point of having it?

Sorry, I prefer strategy to involve my buildings AS WELL AS my units rather than just my units and speed at which I get them on the field.

Why don't we have innovation in here that revolves less around speedy gameplay and more about WHAT you place and WHERE it's placed? Why don't these games innovate towards "map control" rather than "resource control"? Or innovate less towards "micro" and more towards "macro"?

Heck, at this point, it'd be innovation just to have AI that wasn't garbage or had to cheat to be on par with a human player. It'd be innovation to have DECENT PATHING. Or even the ability to order complex orders!

Can you imagine an RTS that has an order of, "If you have X amount of health missing, move to the back of the formation out of line of fire?" And paired with, "If X amount of health is missing from the squad, the unit retreats to Y location?"

Man, that'd be some interesting innovation if you could create "custom orders" for your squads.

Turn Based Strategy
I'm here for the strategy. I'm not here for time limits.

Here's all these games do:
1. Here's a set of classes your characters can be or turn into.
2. Here's a level up system that doesn't really do much but give you new skills.
3. Half your skills are garbage.
4. Maps are static affairs with nothing interesting going on with them.

The most interesting TBS I ever played was Bahamut Lagoon, I think? If you cast ice on a water tile, it turned into Ice and you could walk on it or fight on it or whatever. If you cast fire on forests or long grass tiles, they burned down and anyone caught on a burning tile would take damage every single turn and even in combat taking place on that tile. You could destroy mountains and walls with lightning.

Maps were fairly dynamic as a result. You could alter the battlefield. You could bait enemies into areas to make it easier on you. Create choke points. Fields of mass death. Create your own exit paths by smashing walls and creating ice bridges.

Why don't many other TBS games do something interesting with their maps and gameplay? Why are maps static affairs? Why are the character classes all the same with about 90% of their kit being worthless?

These could desperately use some innovation to at least keep the gameplay interesting and unique. Would be kind of cool if they went into some sort of "voxel" territory where you could deform the landscape or something. Generally alter the battlefield WITH your battle to gain an advantage.

RPG's
I'm here for the story. Why? Nothing else has been innovative in this genre for quite a very long time. That combat system every single company seems to use? Yeah, saw it before. Back on original Playstation or SNES. It's played out. Can we do something new or different or exciting with it? Maybe introduce some actual tactics or strategy or something into it?

Likewise, can we step away from gimmicks? I'm tired of every single RPG I play having a stupid minigame in it. I'm tired of nearly every RPG I see advertised touting some sort of crafting system. Or skill tree.

I'm very tired of RPG's being "make big numbers, beat game with big numbers". I can just play a stupid incremental idle game if that's what I want to do.

Can we innovate stories and characters too, by the way? I don't mind tropes, but could we use them less frequently? Or, at least, if we're going to use tropes, you repackage them in an interesting way? I don't mind saving the princess from the castle unless it's generic as crap. Seriously, let's at least try to repackage the familiar tropes to try to put a fresh coat of paint on them.

Let's do the same with character archetypes too. Fresh coat of paint on them, please.

First Person Shooters
Can we start innovating in these again? It's weird to me that the last innovation we ever had in this genre was anything Halo 1 ever did. Two weapon limit and every weapon in the game is actually powerful and useful? Yeah, Halo 1 was the last game to do that. First one too, near as I can tell. 5-10 second kill time (TTK) in multiplayer, which allowed for strategic play focusing more on aiming and maneuvering than twitch reflexes? I think Halo 3 was the last game to focus on that.

Seriously, I'm tired of 3 second TTK.
I'm tired of "MOBA Maps" (3 lanes across the map only, not a lot of cover, guns with long range are king).
I'm tired of "Regenerating Health" as well. It works in some games, but it doesn't work anymore. Can we revamp the Health System in some way? Might be interesting if you could only get health back when you make a kill or land headshots or something. Heck, might even be interesting if you could select your method of health restoration based on your playstyle (melee hits... vehicle kills... headshots... kills... objectives taken/held...)

It'd be nice to have Map Verticality too. I get having sprawling maps at all the same Z level, but they don't really make for all that interesting of combat. It'd be nice to have some maps go up and down a bit more. A few towers or something. Upper Walkways. I don't know. I'd like to see some landscape variation. Battlefield tends to do this well and it makes gunfights very interesting most of the time. Other shooters though? Yeah, they only tend to create "sniper perches" and that's all the further they get in terms of verticality.
---

Alright, that's what I have for now. I want a lot of game genres to innovate, if I'm honest. There's a lot of "done before, done better" out there and few devs who actively take the stellar design decisions and make them part of another game.

Heck, it would be great if we could just collectively agree that "rubberbanding AI" is a bad thing and remove it entirely so that we could FORCE devs to have to ACTUALLY PROGRAM SOME AI to challenge a player.

For me, it would just really be nice if I could get invested in most of the games I play, rather than a miniscule amount. Heck, it would be nice if I could stand playing games for more than 20 minutes before getting bored!
 

HexMozart88

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All RTS games are these days are giant Cheese Factories for kids who decided to devote their lives to a video game rather than living.
I'm probably not understanding the term here. Usually when I hear "cheese" I think of bad dialogue and cliche stories, but you seem to be using it differently here.
 

The Stranger

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I'm probably not understanding the term here. Usually when I hear "cheese" I think of bad dialogue and cliche stories, but you seem to be using it differently here.
Not entirely sure, but Tai could be talking about cheap tactics\strategy in RTSes. Spam nothing but one type of unit to win, or exploit weird map layouts or some other programming quirk. I only play RTSes for singleplayer story campaigns, and I suck too much for multiplayer, so I don't really know any cheesy tactics or exploits in games such as Starcraft 2.
 

Nolonar

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I'd say a game can be innovative in any genre, if it wants to.

For example, Doki Doki Literature Club is pretty innovative as it makes clever use of the fact that it is a video game. For example, it forces you to delete actual game files to advance the story, and when you're running OBS (a video recording and live streaming software) it breaks the fourth wall and tries to jump-scare you and your audience.

Also, Nintendo is pretty good at innovating any genre. Pikmin is possibly one of the few (if not the only) RTS that works on a console, and it's more about solving puzzles than combat. Splatoon is pretty innovative as far as team shooters are concerned (using paintball instead of real violence, and focusing on painting the level rather than "killing" the opposing team). Mario Kart is possibly the first racing game to abandon realism in favor of causing as much mayhem as possible during a race. And Super Mario 3D Land/World is so chock-full of innovation that Nintendo even had to develop a design-philosophy (based on Kishoutenketsu) to not overload the players with ideas. Then there's Super Paper Mario, which has the player switch between 2D and 3D to overcome obstacles (like crossing a chasm by switching to 3D so you can walk on the mountains in the background).
 

Tai_MT

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I'm probably not understanding the term here. Usually when I hear "cheese" I think of bad dialogue and cliche stories, but you seem to be using it differently here.

I'm using it as a term from competitive multiplayer formats.

To "cheese" something is to use cheap tactics that are difficult to defend against. Typically, these are unbalanced builds (weapons, skills, etcetera), exploits in programming, exploits in gameplay, glitches, and other methods for "cheap and easy wins".

In the RTS Genre, this is typically exploiting glitches or the programming itself to create something "nearly undefendable" against.

Starcraft 2 is fairly notorious for these types of wins/gameplay. This is why the game is nearly constantly rebalanced and "patched" to fix the exploits. The last one I read about in that game involved basically making a single powerful unit invincible because of the way you could "stack" SCV's and have them repair. You could stack 30+ to heal damage faster than it could take it, and you couldn't do anything except target a single SCV at a time because of the way the hitboxes/targeting worked. They patched this out after it wrecked the leaderboards for about two months and destroyed the meta (players were now flooding the message boards with tactics to try to counter this, since it became so common).

In any case, most of the RTS games I used to play had a lot of "cheese" in them, especially on the multiplayer side of things and I just got tired of it. It's one thing when your strategy is superior and you played well. It's another thing that you managed to exploit the game programming to get an advantage your opponent has no hope of countering. Or, can never counter effectively.

But, to be honest... this "massive amount of cheese" is also why I never got into Fighting Games. Especially Smash Brothers. When glitch exploitation and modding controllers is part of the "expected meta" to "be good at the game", who on earth even wants to play anymore except man-children seeking validation through games?

I just want to play a game and have fun. I want a fair fight where the better player beats me and I had a chance to learn the tactic and come up with my own counters. I'm not interested in trying to exploit the game mechanics or glitches as a means of countering.

After all, at such a point it's no longer about competition. It's then just about who can "hack" the game better. Sort of like when the Kobiyashi Maru was turned into a hacking test rather than a test of character. All because one person wanted to win so badly that they missed the point of the test to begin with.
 

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