Okay, I’ll be the first to admit—new IPs are a huge risk, especially in AAA development. With development times rapidly increasing and development costs being higher than they’ve ever been, taking the risk of an entirely new idea with a new world and characters, and systems can be an insane risk.
Yet some of the best and most influential games are those that take that risk. Death Stranding is one of the best games of the last generation. Returnal might be Sony‘s best game since Bloodborne. Games like SIFU, Pentiment, and Elden Ring were some of the most critically acclaimed games of 2022.
This is exactly why new ideas are so important. It gives the players something new to latch onto, a new world, and an entirely new group of characters to care about. I don’t think anyone could say that the very mystery about what kind of game Death Stranding was going to be, wasn’t exciting to think about.
With a sequel and, even more so, a remake, everyone knows what to expect.
But there’s an appeal to new IPs that’s just so mysterious and alluring. Spending hours with your friends discussing what the game is going to be about, hanging on to every thread to see what new project a studio you like is working on. That is something special that you mostly really get with a brand-new IP.
Before I continue, I feel it is necessary to express that I have nothing in particular against sequels or remakes. I will be the first in line to get the 15th Yakuza game, and you bet I’ll be there for the remake of Resident Evil 4 the very second it hits the shelves.
But I also like to see something that I haven’t seen before. Like Death Stranding making me care about being a FedEx delivery guy bridging the world together or Elden Ring having me explore an entirely new land that I know nothing about.
Returnal is one of the boldest games of this generation. It’s an utterly exhausting and painful trek across alien landscapes that you slowly unpack with each cycle. You’re just as clueless as Selene is when you start, and you uncover the true nature of everything alongside her.
While I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the game’s rogue-like nature, there’s still something unapologetically honest about its relentless challenge. Most games wouldn’t have the guts to make you suffer the consequences of your actions even half as much as Returnal does it. But in that confidence, I find something special and true to heart.
These games aren’t shy about hitting you with something you don’t expect and just expecting you to deal with it with the tools you have.
When I encounter a big bulky brawler in Spider-Man 2 or Dr. Salvador in Resident Evil 4 Remake, I would know exactly how to deal with them.
But when I see an octopus in Returnal that puts a temporary debuff on me every time it hits me with a projectile while also depleting half my health, I will be sobbing like a baby that just landed in a game of chess.
While 2023 is absolutely jam-packed with games, a huge chunk of those are things we’ve already seen before. Hell, the year itself is starting itself off with a sequel to a respected IP and a remake of an old one.
Yet it’s also starting out with two brand new big-budget titles. Atomic Hearts and Forspoken, while both games, have generated their own fair share of controversy. There’s something to be excited about in both of these cases.
Sure the writing in Forspoken is so bad that the devs literally added an option to turn off the banter, and apparently, the review copies being given out are extremely selective. But the combat seems great, and the world looks pretty, so there’s still hope…right?
Even last month’s The Callisto Protocol was a fresh change of pace. Despite a misleading advertising campaign and suggestions that it was going to be a successor to Dead Space. The Callisto Protocol was a game that took big risks, and I think it deserves credit for that.
Despite its poor sales and lackluster reception, it’s definitely something I want to see expanded in the future. The game definitely had good ideas, the combat was unique and satisfying, and the mix of gunplay and melee introduced an engaging flow to it.
The visuals and environments were top-of-the-line. Most of the issues it does have could be ironed out with a sequel…as unlikely as it may be at this point.
Either way, in the sea of remakes and sequels, we’ll get this year. Support the new IPs you see as well. They deserve the love.
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