Another mandate from Corvus "what kind of name is that anyway?" Elrod, in the service of that videogame-related echo chamber known as The Blogs of Ye Olde Rounde Table.
"Barring any hopes and dreams for your own involvement (i.e. No, "I want to publish," or, "Just let me get a job," posts), what would you like to see happen in games, gaming, or the industry this year and what would be the benefits/consequences of it happening?"
My gaming wishes (not predictions) for 2006:
--Duke Nukem Forever will finally be taken out behind the woodshed and given two shots to the dome, execution-style. The simps waiting in mind-boggling expectation for this treacle will suddenly find themselves whisked from their arrested-adolescence reverie. They will immediately buy Colecovisions in an attempt to rehabilitate their videogame-appreciation muscles.
All but one will fail. That one will hold out for a Daikatana sequel.
--PC Gamer magazine won't repeat the phrase "the graphics look a little dated" approximately 11,000 total times in game reviews throughout the year. Even, inexplicably, when reviewing re-releases of games over 20 years old.
--Nobody will write an article crowing about either (a) the death of Adventure games or (b) the rebirth of Adventure games. I almost wrote a post on (a) at one point. This brings shame upon my family.
--Sony will stop completely fucking up. They'll drop the stupid copy protection horseshit, start looking at alternative revenue streams for their music artists, get a half-decent PS3 dev kit out the door and start showing a few clear ways in which their vaunted Cell processor can improve the experience of gaming instead of blowing more smoke up our collective asses with Killzone fakeouts.
And they'll make a compelling argument for Blu-Ray over DVD-HD to compensate for the higher price point. Or else they're worthless.
--Nintendo will latch onto some great 3rd-party developers instead of tarting up Mario once again and throwing him into a sports game, even though we can be reasonably assured that they will, in fact, tart up Mario and throw him into a sports game; If that's the case, I'd like to see a Super Dodge Ball remake.
We'll see a lot more on how they plan to bring their classic gaming library to the Revolution.
Also, a sequel to Eternal Darkness would be fucking spectacular, and long overdue.
--Gaming magazines will largely ignore the unique advances being made on the outskirts of the industry -- those chaps exploring myriad forms over at Grand Text Auto, for example, or that entrepreneurial git over at Games*Design*Art*Culture or Chris Bateman's demographic game design research -- focusing instead on circle-jerking around Halo 3 screenshots.
Shit, that's not a wish.
Ok, how about this? Gaming magazines will do cover stories on all the aforementioned folks, as well as countless articles on gender issues in gaming, critical theory and game analysis. They'll scour the internet for interesting tidbits and put a much-needed focus away from business-as-usual.
--Guitar Hero will release an Ultimate Collector's Edition, which contains a full-sized touring bus, three skanky groupies (feathered hair and torn jeans!) and twenty ounces of heroin. Also a coupon for five free voice lessons from Axl Rose (don't worry, he's got the time).
--The videogame industry will expand its demographics to better reflect its players. Game diversity will follow suit.
--Spore will demonstrate key elements of procedural asset generation. The techniques will inarguably be useful to other developers, but the game will also have to prove that procedural art on such a large scale can work in a gaming context (and allow players to generate uniquely identifiable creations with which they can connect).
--Someone, somewhere, will realize that there are other, just as interesting, verbs as shoot, reload and kill.
This will result in at least one more game on the level of Shadow of the Colossus.
--SiN will stand up as a decent model for episodic content as well as show off the flexibility of the Half-Life 2 engine. Ritual could set up up a reliable, quick channel for making short games - and could market such a thing to smaller design/dev teams.
And in that vein, Steam will prove the viability of dedicated content-distribution channels. They'll attract more and more independent publishers and continue to improve their initially-broken-but-now-stable launcher.
--G4TechTV will halt their metamorphosis into Spike TV. They'll stop canceling their videogame-related shows willy-nilly and take off those insipid Man Show reruns. But they'll keep Star Trek: The Next Generation.
--Games will come out based on the following wars: The Korean War, World War I, the Banana Wars, the Russian Revolution and the Mongol Conquests. This will make the industry collectively say, "What, there were wars other than World War II?"
--More videogame censorship laws will get passed and almost immediately struck down as unconstitutional. This will cause enough discontent from the wastefulness of creating, then dismantling, such legislation that future attempts will fail right out of the gate.
Jack Thompson will get back to his roots by outing the witches and communists in his midst. He will also point at people while making that noise from the Invasion of the Body Snatchers movie.
--SOE will realize how badly they fucked the dog on SW: Galaxies, and they will give the damn thing back to Lucasarts, already. And, if they knew what was good for their image, they'd release the pre-overhaul code and allow free shards to spring up like daisies.
--Uwe Boll will make a movie based on Q-Bert, starring Liam Neeson as Q-Bert , Kylie Minogue as Wrong-Way and Rudy Ray Moore as Coily.
Then Mr. Boll will be eaten by hyenas while waterskiing.