Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Double Your Pleasure?

The THQ game
Saint's Row looks so much like Grand Theft Auto, that, if I were shown game footage without being told it was a completely different game, I would assume it was, in fact, the next GTA.

We're used to GTA clones at this point, but the game screams "blatant rip-off" in a very loud voice to everyone in its vicinity. Everything is stolen directly from GTA, and I don't just mean conceptually.

I mean artistically. The look of the minimap and the larger pause menu map. The glowy circles that signal available missions or objectives. The cars look the same. Even the fucking font looks exactly like the one from GTA.

This game might be a lot of fun. Based upon their description, though, it sounds like the entire game centers around the San Andreas turf war aspect, which was but a sliver of SA. And intense focus on one theme didn't help True Crime.

There are plenty of interesting skins one could throw over the GTA play specification. Why not attempt to design a brand new world? Steampunk? Post-apocalyptic? Anything but another cash-in of urban thug culture -- Ugh.

With Saint's Row I can't tell if the developers are lazy, or simply lack imagination.


1 comment:

Chris said...

Thanks for the imbedded link. :)

One can guess why developers/publishers aren't interested in designing a brand new world to apply the GTA playground world to - certainly not Steampunk or post-apocalyptic. Because one can reach about two to three times the audience size with a real world setting versus a fantasy or sci-fi setting. You might get 3-5 million units with the latter, but you could get 8-15 million units with the former. I tie this in research to the Myers-Briggs Intuitive versus Sensing axis.

(Of course, one could make a profit with the first set of numbers - but if you're looking for those sorts of figures, your organisation is going to be greed-motivated and will always choose the bigger numbers).

BUT there's something being overlooked, of course. One COULD hit the big numbers by using an existing license: where is GTA Middle Earth? GTA Star Wars? GTA Marvel Super Heroes?

Also, a historical setting could be made to fly with a larger audience (maybe).

These games are monstrously expensive to make, so much so that they must have a giant audience capture to go with them. This channels them into boring regurgitation instead of originality.

In fact, that's the upper market to a tee! New and original content does not tend to occur through the upper market, because the market forces there are resistent to innovation.

Still, like you, I keep hoping for someone to do it anyway. :)