Creativity Isn’t In Short Supply, Studios That Take Risks Are

There's a reason games like Elden Ring only come around once a generation.

Story Highlights

  • Games have become less creative and taken less risk over the past decade.
  • This is because game development has become significantly more expensive over the years.
  • There is a market for experimental titles, but most studios simply don’t take that risk.

When I think back to some of my earliest days of playing video games, I find them absolutely littered with very creative, and sometimes downright weird, titles. I’m thinking of games like Armed and Dangerous with its utterly insane Land Shark gun, or Legacy of Kain and its dark and incredibly awe-inducing narrative.

My point is that as much as I love and appreciate games in the present day, and trust me there is a lot to appreciate here, there also seems to be stagnation at the heart of the industry.

An Image From The Upcoming Shadow of The Erdtree Expansion.
Elden Ring Continues To Surprise. (Image Credits: FromSoftware)

There are outliers of course like FromSoftware and Larian Studios, whose commitment to pushing the envelope further and further in regard to the fantasy genre is clearly apparent in their works. But that’s just the thing, they seem to be outliers.

For every one Elden Ring or Baldurs Gate 3, there seem to be a dozen different run-of-the-mill Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty titles. Can anyone seriously look at any of the recent entries in either of these franchises and deduce what’s different about them compared to previous entries in the series?

Because it genuinely seems like they have made no impact in the gaming landscape at all. They’re not even bad, they’re inconsequential.

A Lack of Creativity

Basim From Assassin's Creed Mirage
Assassin’s Creed Mirage Almost Threatened To Be An Interesting Game. (Image Credits: Ubisoft)

This is not a new or unique thought that I’m having. Anyone who plays games even semi-regularly will tell you that there seems to be a lack of creativity and innovation in the industry, whether it’s in the form of new and unique gameplay mechanics, or even in terms of storytelling.

And no, the creatives are not to blame here, the fault once again lies with the executives up top chasing trends and making the decisions.

We’ve all experienced the onslaught of battle royale games that have been released over the past few years because those have been big money-makers for a select few companies. And for every success story out there, there are failures like Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, HyperScape, and The Culling 2.

If none of these names ring a bell, don’t worry, you’re not alone there. These were always fated for the garbage bin of history.

No One Wants To Take Risks Anymore

The John Wick Outfit From Fortnite Was Cashing In On The Hype Behind The Movie.
Live Service Games Are Desperately Chasing Trends. (Image Credits: Captured By eXputer)

These resources could have been directed toward more creative endeavors, but that requires taking risks and betting on new and unique ideas.

And more importantly, it requires keeping your greed in check, which most of these corporations are not willing to do. Game development costs have been increasing with each passing year, that much is true, and that is often touted as a reason why so many titles these days feature microtransactions.

Yet it has been proven time and time again that if companies are willing to put out high-quality titles, people will support them and a profit can be made. And the tragedy is that there are moments where that could have been done, but a lack of creativity got in the way.

For The Love of God, Take Risks

The Writing In Baldur's Gate 3 Was Impeccable.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Took An Entire Industry’s Worth of Risks. (Image Credits: Captured By eXputer)

I will keep bringing up titles like Baldur’s Game 3 and Elden Ring again and again because they prove once and for all that gaming audiences are tired of the same repetitive old schlock that we’re used to. We want to be blown away the moment we boot up a game not just by graphics or ray tracing or the motion capture, but by the imaginativeness and individuality on display.

I want to step out into an open world and see it dominated by a golden tree so huge and imposing that it encapsulates the sky. I want to wake up in a nautiloid ship fighting for my life as we pass through hell fighting devils and mind flayers alike.

I want wonder and excitement to make its way back into mainstream gaming, and I don’t just mean in the form of one excellent RPG every few years. I want consistency.

And I don’t want to pretend that there are not some excellent games apart from these either, or that I don’t enjoy multiplayer experiences. I’m having the time of my life playing Helldivers 2, and I have loved some incredible AAA games over the past few years like the Resident Evil and Final Fantasy remakes.

But Helldivers 2 is an exception in the live-service genre, and as incredible as the remakes are, they are exactly that – remakes.

Studios should be taking more risks, and they should stop relying so much on pumping out sequel after sequel and remake after remake. And maybe as a way of extending an olive branch, we as the audience can make an effort to give more creative and experimental games a chance, granted that they are well made and not loaded with microtransactions.

But apart from a select few studios, no one seems to be willing to take that big of a risk.

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Huzaifa is eXputer's Review Editor, who’s all about RPG games. He’s got several years of experience critically judging games and writing his unbiased thoughts on them. You can also find his content published on sites like Twinfinite & GearNuke. Huzaifa has been gaming for 23+ years, during which he managed to amass 400+ hours on Elden Ring! You can follow his gaming activity on his Xbox and Steam Profiles.

Experience: 5+ years || Previously Worked At GearNuke & Twinfinite || Mainly Covers RPG Guides & Latest Games Reviews || Education: Bachelors in Hospitality.

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