Why all games MUST be like Borderlands (because I'm a viral marketer for Borderlands)

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Sep 23, 2006
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#1
I posted this over on another site, but I thought it would be interesting to get into a raging debate about it over on the Gaf. I wanted to see if additional viewpoints come up, so I can develop the story further.

Here's a condensed version of the story, though you can read the whole uncut version here.

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Despite all the great games coming out, Borderlands has become my No.1 MUST BUY GAME for the holiday season. I would even go as far as saying that ALL games from now on need to look upon Borderlands as a shining example of what a great game should be like. That’s a bold statement when you realize that I haven’t even played the game.

From the get go, Borderlands has been touting key features which I believe all games from now on NEED to have. In other words, no more excuses for building a game that falls short.

4 Player Co-op
This feature has become so critical in my gaming choices that I would coordinate on a regular basis with friends of mine, and outline which games we would get next time so that we can play together.

Now, there is a RIGHT way to include 4 player co-op.
1. You MUST allow people to jump in and out of a game at anytime.
2. You MUST allow 4 players to play through the entire single player experience. Don’t trick me to believing that you got 4 player co-op and then limited it to 2-3 stages. I’m looking at you Turok: Dinosaur Hunter!
3. Don’t force me to play through the entire single player game to unlock multiplayer features!

I’m sorry Modern Warfare 2, but stripping out 4 player co-op was a big mistake. In summary:

Single player = Masturbation

4 player co-op = Orgy

RPG Elements
Borderlands stands out in the vast crowd of generic shooter games because it incorporates a heavy amount of RPG elements, thus making the experience much deeper, and personalized.

I predict that by next year, if you don’t include customized stats, game reviewers will start to ding you. We are at that turning point in gaming history where the old way of doing things just won’t fly anymore, like when we moved from 2D FPS to 3d FPS. Or when games allowed to you save any time, instead of forcing you to save at arbitrary points in the game.

Unique Character Choices
Borderlands offers up the opportunity to play as 4 different classes, each one with a unique play style. You have the Brick (Tank), The Lilith (Assassin), Mordecai (Hunter), and a Roland (Soldier.) What cool about each class is that you have a skill tree which you can deck out as well, which can result in very different play styles even if everyone on your team is the same class.

Even games like Left 4 Dead and Halo didn't live up to my expectations, because I find that when I play the games with friends, I feel like my character was nothing more than an assembly line created Model T Ford. There’s nothing about my character that stands out beyond some simple aesthetics. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Left 4 Dead initially, but I eventually didn’t really care who I played. All the characters moved the same, used the same weapons, and had no back story that makes you want to play through the game several times to see how each person’s story unfolds.

Why don’t we see more of these features in every game?
Despite my keen interest in doing my part in encouraging every developer to add all of these elements into their game, I realize that there are some real challenges to do so. These particular features require significant additional development resources to pull off. A simple shooter is suddenly complicated by multiple branching paths to how the game could be played. Imagine trying to design, and test a game that introduces hundreds of ways a gamer could do something that could deviate from what you planned for initially. In addition, there is the additional challenge of trying to tell a tightly narrative story, similar to Modern Warfare 2. The developers admitted that the main reason why they removed 4 player co-op in the single player missions is because it breaks the storytelling.

But let’s separate the excuses from the reality. The reality is that you can STILL build in 4 player co-op play into a narrative driven game. And while the story may not unfold the same as a single player game, having the OPTION to play with others is what I seek. I can still enjoy the single player story, and get the added bonus of enjoy the multiplayer co-op.

So the reality is that developers are strategically making the choice to cut these feature, rather than include them, because they are determining that it won’t hurt sale enough if you didn’t 4 player co-op, or RPG elements in a game, or unique customizable characters.
 
Dec 31, 2008
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#2
"All games should be more like the games I like. I will also ignore the fact that any of these features would take time out of a development process that may be better spent on other parts of development for certain games."
 
Dec 5, 2008
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#17
With the sheer powah of caps lock behind it this thread can't fail.

duckroll said:
I agree with the OP. If all games from now on MUST be like Borderlands, I would save a shitload of money every month. :)
:lol

I don't know why they advertise the setting of that game as a desolate place that noone wants to go to.....kind of begs a certain question.
 
May 18, 2005
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John Master Lee said:
Despite all the great games coming out, Borderlands has become my No.1 MUST BUY GAME for the holiday season. I would even go as far as saying that ALL games from now on need to look upon Borderlands as a shining example of what a great game should be like. That’s a bold statement when you realize that I haven’t even played the game.
No one else has to even say anything, this statement alone is quite enough.
 
Feb 12, 2006
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#21
Yes, let's demand more game design by the back of the box bulletpoint committee. Man, I can't wait to have more over the shoulder, cover-based shooters shovelled down my throat! The icing on the cake was when you derided any studio that does not include your preferences with the good old "lazy devs" chestnut.
 
Jan 23, 2007
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#24
This reads like marketing straight out of 2003, when every game had to have RPG elements, regardless of whether they fit in or not. Just because WarCraft 3 did it, doesn't mean everything else should.
 
Sep 23, 2006
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#28
jman2050 said:
thread backfire imminent.
Not sure how it can backfire. Even if you disagree it brings up an interesting counterpoint, I wanted to evaluate.

The piece wasn't designed to hype up Borderlands. I wanted to highlight the game focused in one 3 key features which I feel have been only sporadically included in various games.
 
Jun 24, 2009
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#31
If all games were like borderlands we could save a lot of time with official threads by using this incredibly accurate image.



Just, you know, replace Borderlands with the actual games name.
 
Nov 28, 2005
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#33
Castlevania third-person RPG set in a giant, free-roaming castle with four player co-op.

Fuck yes, I support the OP.

ZOMG, a Mario free-roaming platforming/loot-whoring RPG!

YES.
 

ZealousD

Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
Apr 17, 2007
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#35
Okay, I agree with you guys that every game shouldn't be like Borderlands and the OP is being stupid.

But the haters for the game itself need to stuff it.
 
May 18, 2005
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John Master Lee said:
Not sure how it can backfire. Even if you disagree it brings up an interesting counterpoint, I wanted to evaluate.

The piece wasn't designed to hype up Borderlands. I wanted to highlight the game focused in one 3 key features which I feel have been only sporadically included in various games.
The entire premise of this thread is faulty.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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#38
John Master Lee said:
Not sure how it can backfire. Even if you disagree it brings up an interesting counterpoint, I wanted to evaluate.

The piece wasn't designed to hype up Borderlands. I wanted to highlight the game focused in one 3 key features which I feel have been only sporadically included in various games.
The only thing you have successfully brought up is that you are the sort of gamer who gets excited about a game over marketing bullet points and features from the back of a box. :)
 
Sep 23, 2006
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#40
Slavik81 said:
This reads like marketing straight out of 2003, when every game had to have RPG elements, regardless of whether they fit in or not. Just because WarCraft 3 did it, doesn't mean everything else should.
Well, if it really was marketing 2003, then why aren't there more games that feature RPG elements still?

Your argue is something like "Just because XXX game has smart AI, doesn't mean every game should." Or "Just cause this game has great music, doesn't mean every game should."
 
May 18, 2005
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duckroll said:
The only thing you have successfully brought up is that you are the sort of gamer who gets excited about a game over marketing bullet points and features from the back of a box. :)
I guess he's precisely the audience this design-by-committee drek is designed for.
 

ZealousD

Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
Apr 17, 2007
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Ardorx said:
If all games were like borderlands we could save a lot of time with official threads by using this incredibly accurate image.

http://i33.tinypic.com/11vnv5j.jpg

Just, you know, replace Borderlands with the actual games name.
Uh, you could use that image for just about any shooter, just erase the "+1's" and the word "lewt"
 
Dec 5, 2008
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John Master Lee said:
Not sure how it can backfire. Even if you disagree it brings up an interesting counterpoint, I wanted to evaluate.

The piece wasn't designed to hype up Borderlands. I wanted to highlight the game focused in one 3 key features which I feel have been only sporadically included in various games.
I disagree that it brings up any interesting points. And I doubt I'm alone in that.

And these features have been included in a ridiculous number of games.

ZealousD said:
Uh, you could use that image for just about any shooter, just erase the "+1's" and the word "lewt"
Difference is that those shooters are enjoyed by their fans without needing a loot mechanic to prop everything up. Borderlands seems to be entirely dependent on it thus far.
 
Jun 13, 2004
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#45
John Master Lee said:
Well, if it really was marketing 2003, then why aren't there more games that feature RPG elements still?

Your argue is something like "Just because XXX game has smart AI, doesn't mean every game should." Or "Just cause this game has great music, doesn't mean every game should."

You just equated RPG elements with quality.


auuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh
 
Jul 22, 2005
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#48
John Master Lee said:
Well, if it really was marketing 2003, then why aren't there more games that feature RPG elements still?

Your argue is something like "Just because XXX game has smart AI, doesn't mean every game should." Or "Just cause this game has great music, doesn't mean every game should."
"Just because you can make new topics doesnt mean you should"


How's that for analogy.
 
Apr 27, 2008
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#50
Shoehorning co-op in every game that can vaguely support it in some way is the worst idea ever, especially when it doesn't really change the experience other than having another dude.

Halo 3 tried so hard to tell people that "when you play 4 player co-op you're all individual characters with names and shit" and yet this is never ever reflected beyond Chief and the Arbiter.

L4D gets it right.
 
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