GameSided Roundtable: Gaming Themes That Need To Return

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Martin Benn (Twitter)

I would like to see the return of time travel or time as a mechanic to operate the game. Games like Prince of Persia or Majora’s Mask where time was as much a theme of the game as it was a mechanic were of interest to me. At the independent level, there has been Super Time Force and SuperHot in recent years that play with the idea of time in games, but another higher tier open world game operating where time is of great importance has been absent for some time. GTA used time manipulation to simulate the specialties of the characters and Assassin’s Creed uses setting to create the backdrop, yet rare is there a game that utilizes time as more than just something that slows down.

So I’d like to see a return of the use of time as a theme or a mechanic where the way time is used is just as important as to how it passes. Whether it is built around controlling time/dimensional travel and how it overwhelms you like Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time or using it as a mechanic to understand what’s happening in the story such as The Legend of Zelda. I would really enjoy greater use of time in games to return in a bigger way in some titles.

Barrett Womack (Twitter)

Gaming tends to swing on the same vine as pop culture. In the 1980s-90s, Cyperpunk was a hot science fiction genre. Books like Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and William Gibson’s Neuromancer (still great reads, by the way!) grabbed the imaginations of techies everywhere. As games matured and improved in the 1990s, developers began to build games inspired by the gritty, tech-savvy cyberpunk stories that they loved so much. Games like Deus Ex, System Shock 1-2, Perfect Dark and Oni explored tech-dominated future scenarios where things were not always what they seemed. These types of games still persist to a degree; the Deus Ex series has continued, and EA’s Syndicate took a dive into cyberpunk as well.

However, modern cyberpunk has lost its greatest strength: storytelling. Anyone who has played System Shock or the original Deus Ex will remember how involved they became in the world of the game. That feeling of involvement came not just from excellent gameplay and setting, but from the weighty stories that old-school cyberpunk brought to the table. Dystopian futures can be pretty rad, and in a modern world where privacy is becoming less and less plausible, more believable than ever. Cyberpunk is a theme that still has a lot left to give to gaming, and any developer that can develop a great cyberpunk series with a strong story to match will have me as a loyal customer for a long, long time.