Quite different than the console wars, which many view as simply an immature waste of energy and time arguing about an irrelevant factor that is always subjective and based on preference, the war of ideas that takes place between gamers and developers whenever a game has a sizable audience is something that is worth further consideration.
Gamers have traditionally had a far away relationship with those who make them. In the past there were no “AMA’s” (Ask Me Anything live chat events on Reddit) and there was no Twitter, Facebook pages to give feedback on the games we were playing. The closest one could expect would be directly writing a letter, hoping for the best, and/or getting involved with doing journalism at Video Game Magazines.
In today’s day and age however, we are merely a few sentences and a click on the right button away from speaking directly to the creators and developers of the games we play thanks to the era of social networking, one-press blogs, and the vast majority of game-related companies now having an existing online identity to actually speak to which was proven to be a good idea by Viral Marketing experiments during the years leading up to our gradual evolution as an industry.
What happens when a game catches the interest of a gamer’s heart is that the gamer becomes very passionate about the title’s core concepts as well as their subjective interpretation of it. Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Runescape are all examples of what happens when fans turn on the developers that make their games. So why does it happen? Why do gamers hate on games?
It’s because they want to see them evolve beyond what is technically possible and/or thought of yet by developers. In other words, they see a higher potential for the game which, in their belief, developers may be failing miserably to live up to. You may not be familiar with the odd title out mentioned on that list, Runescape. When analyzing the return of “2007 mode” for the game, which lets you play the MMORPG exactly how it was in 2007 before changes that were heavily protested took place forever changing the game. Runescape is a lesson in what happens when a game becomes so loved that design changes to its core are met with hatred and resistance.
The original creation of a game is what gamers fall in love with and developers often take liberties in the way a game plays which are met with contempt by gamers who already have become enamored by the pre-existing functionality of a title.
Final Fantasy and Resident Evil have both seen this response from the gaming community as well and it is well documented. Resident Evil fans typically find enjoyment in the new titles RE4 and RE5 while at the same time being thoroughly outraged at times that the titles no longer posses as much influence from the Survival and Horror genres in recent days but instead resemble more of an Action title. Many demand a remake for Resident Evil 2 as its being heralded as the best in the series despite the fact its lacking major technological enhancements brought forth by future incarnations.
Final Fantasy fans demand the return of towns, open world gameplay, and some even demand a remake for Final Fantasy 7 the game most of the world will concede to being the best representative of the Final Fantasy 7 series. Despite the fact that Final Fantasy 6 was the title that culminated all of its old school heritage in 2D, Final Fantasy 7 which is 3D is regarded as the fan favorite because of the explosion of popularity and nearly one hundred percent customer satisfaction from RPG lovers. You can currently pick up the original Resident Evil 1: Director’s Cut, RE2, and RE3: Nemesis on the PlayStation Store as well as nearly every Final Fantasy title from the first to a high definition Final Fantasy X coming soon.
It would be a shame to say that once gamers fall in love with the mechanics of a game being a certain way, we should not change it too drastically. There will be a game out there that proves we can evolve gameplay without losing its core values. Until then, we should understand that hating on games for the decisions developers take is not going to get us very far. Appealing to change their minds only makes your opinionated design rise to the forefront which may or may not please all fans, since we all have our own idea of how the game would be best designed. Furthermore, we need to find what’s best about a game in the first place instead of jumping the gun on what’s negative about it. Most games no matter how terrible you may think they are, have at least something that is enjoyable. Gamers hate on games because they know their potential is to be even greater.