There are some topics that flow around my head while I am at work, and sometimes I just need to get them out.
Disclaimer: I don’t actually write while I’m at work. I let the idea stew for awhile, and then post them when its convenient for me.
I grew up in the 90s and I have an appreciation for older games. My first system was a NES, though I don’t have too many memories of playing it, I do know that my chubby little hands first learned button placement from a NES. The first system that I know I abused the heck out of was my SNES and I will always remember the ridiculous amount of time that I put into games like Super Mario World and Super Metriod.
However, this is where the nostalgia train should end. I enjoy the games of my past, but I look forward to the games that will be created with new technology. Every E3, I am taken aback by the sheer brilliance that games are able to achieve and I don’t understand why we are starting to regress.
Before I see some messages that say I am a hypocrite for playing and talking about Octopath Traveler, let me first say that I’m not against some 16bit games that attempt to do something new and exciting….by the way….shameless plug for my on going impressions of Octopath Traveler!
The Conversation Around 16bit
It’s gotten to the point where every other game on the Nintendo Eshop is some type of 16bit adventure. Whether it’s a port of a classic Sega game, or a new IP that feeds on the nostalgia of our youth, 16bit games have taken over and led to some ridiculous conversations.
There was a week when I went to Reddit in order to see what news Nintendo was pushing out about their upcoming game library. I had to scroll for awhile because all I could see were the same conversations. Everyone was talking about how cool this game was because it looked so retro or because it reminded them of a game they fell in love with when they were younger…but why is that a good thing? I’m of the mind set that we should be moving forward and attempting to be better then the past. I understand that most independent studios do not have the budget for a modern game, but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend little to nothing on a project. Octopath Traveler sold over one million copies and I bet it didnt cost them nearly as much as we would assume. Imagine if they actually spent a little more time on it and actually flushed out a great story that involved everyone. Maybe they could actually have a complete voice over for the entire game, and not just some key moments.
I went to the Nintendo Eshop just too see if the post on Reddit were true and was disappointed to see that well over half of the new games that were coming out where of the 16bit variety.
I get to the point where I refuse to look at a game or even read an article that has to do with a 16bit game, just for the simple fact that the market has become over run with them.
Gamers are loosing their minds over games like Dead Cells and Bro Force, and all I can think about is how beautiful these games could be if they were dressed up with modern graphics and a tighter budget.
Cost Effectiveness Of Making A Game 16bit
Because I’m a nerd, I wanted to figure out just how much it cost to make a game. Luckily, Jason Schreier over at Kotakuwrote a piece outlining this very question. (Thank God…I was really about to take a deep dive if I couldn’t find the answer).
An indie studio will spend upwards of $1,000,000 to produce a game with a limited staff. Where as a larger studio with much more people would spend 10x and possibly 100x that.
Again, it makes sense that a studio with limited funds could see that a 16bit game makes more financial sense then a modern game, but my point resides in the idea itself.
Let’s take Octopath Traveler for example.
This game, on paper, sounds pretty ambitious and a model worth striving for. The game designers and producers wouldn’t put this much time into this game if they didnt believe that it would be a story worth telling. They are the same people that put out Bravely Defult on the 3DS (a game that was award winning and a fantastic game to play in my opinion), so logically it would seem like they have the chops to present their game to a larger publisher and ask for the money necessary to produce something really great. If it was me, I would have made this game as graphically ambitious as the gameplay is. You can see how much they wanted to do something different with the art since the backdrop for this game is like nothing that previous JRPGs have done in the past.
Now it is possible that they had always dreamed of making a 16bit JRPG, the likes of which have never been seen before, but I dont think that they would have turned down more money from Nintendo or Sony in order to make something even greater.
I guess my point is that I wish more studios would try and make games that fit the mold of a game worth playing in 2018. The 16bit era of games was great for it’s time and it let to the innovations in storytelling that we have today, however I feel like this needs to stay in the past so that we can continue to make some awe inspiring, visually impressive, and dynamic games that will continue to push the limits of our creativity and technology.