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Urban-Themed Video Games 'Basically Dead'?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the fewer-boyz-less-hoodz dept.

346

simoniker writes "Midway CMO Steve Allison has been talking about why he thinks the urban game genre isn't worth entering, suggesting of the cancelled Snoop Dogg/John Singleton collaboration Fear & Respect, which was in development at Midway: 'We killed Fear and Respect... because we have enough data-points to know the hood thing is basically dead. It would be dead before it came out. And you don't want to come out on a dead vibe.' Do people really not care about GTA-style urban shooters any more?"

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346 comments

FP! (5, Insightful)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706972)

I think it's more a matter of every game genre can be cloned to death and the GTA-clone genre has reached that point.

-uso.

Re:FP! (2, Interesting)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707133)

I think that there is such a glut of these games on the market and that they have such high replay value that the need has been satisfied.

Re:FP! (2, Interesting)

Desco (46185) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707428)

Glut!? Sure, there've been a bunch in very recent history, most of them crap, but here's what I don't get-- every year, there's hundreds of new games based on tolkien-esque fantasy (dragons, elves, drawves, etc) and no one ever complains about that glut.

I was amazed how many of these games got passed off as a "GTA clone" or a blatant rip-off or bandwagon... I don't see the hundreds of tolkien genre games all being called rip-offs of Rogue or Wizardry. I don't see every new racing game being dismissed as a clone of Pole Position. I don't see every damn FPS in space being subjected to the "Doom-Clone" treatment or WWII ones shot down as copying Wolfenstein. (although in this last case, many do) Why does GTA and the urban/gangster genres consistently get this kind of treatment???

Re:FP! (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707486)

I think that there is a lot of variety in the D&D esque games, where many of the "Urban" games are largely the same.

Re:FP! (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707558)

every year, there's hundreds of new games based on tolkien-esque fantasy (dragons, elves, drawves, etc) and no one ever complains about that glut.


I do, at length. Seriously, I know Tolkein was great and everything, but can we get a decent non-starwars sci-fi or post-apocalypse MMOG please? Or just something without any goddamn ORCS?

Re:FP! (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707747)

Seriously, I know Tolkein was great and everything, but can we get a decent non-starwars sci-fi or post-apocalypse MMOG please? Or just something without any goddamn ORCS?

City of Heroes is oodles of fun... in the sense that you can call any MMORPG "fun."

Re:FP! (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707787)

City of Heroes has trolls. Which are kind of like Orcs.

Me have body by Superdyne!
-- anonymous Troll in Skyway City

Then again, maybe not. It IS fun, though.

When everyone does it... (3, Funny)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707750)

... when everyone is into it... well it just isn't cool anymore!

Spoiled white kids don't want to be into "Hip Hop / Gangsta Hood" or even "Goth". It has been way too overdone.

Unfortunately many of them are geting into "Emo/Screamo" bullshit.

Here let me make an analogy for geeks and nerds: Having a Linux desktop today is not as cool as having one say 10 years ago. Too many people have one, hell almost anyone can burn a knoppix cd and boot one. If you want to be cool in the geekdom now you have to run exosteric shit like Hurd on an UltraSparc under an emulated virtual environment or some crazy shit like that. Oh, is that GNU/Hurd, *wink* my bad.

New Ideas (5, Funny)

mrxak (727974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706976)

Gee, are they saying that they're actually going to try a new game genre? Here's an idea for a new one, WWII shooters!

Re:New Ideas (1)

rtconner (544309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707283)

in honor of the movie I saw last night... how about some pirate shooters!

Re:New Ideas (4, Insightful)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707561)

Flintlocks take too long to reload.

As far as reality-based shooters go, you're never going to see much set in the pre-repeating-rifle world (I'm aware that there are some mods for this, but it's not exactly common), and WWI is out because no one wants to play "sit in a trench and get gangrene", and any war between the US Civil War and that one isn't well-known enough to be made in to a game.

As for the post-depression wars, no one cares about Korea (sad but true, I bet most people aren't even sure of which decade that was in), Vietnam's confusing and hard to make a game about ('You are in a very dark forest. You are likely to step on a landmine.' -]go west 'You step on a landmine and die. Game over. [l]oad, [q]uit, [n]ew game')

For everything after Vietnam, the tech is just too advanced for it to be much fun. For most wars, the game would consist of lots of missions with objectives like, "secure the area around the already-bombed target. Don't worry, everyone's probably dead, we just want you to check", and, "accept the surrender of some surviving tank crewmen. We blew up all their tanks from 50 miles away, and they're waving white flags, just go put 'em in zip ties and get 'em back to the POW camp". Anyway, as with Korea, no one really gives a damn about most of those wars. Grenada? Panama? Hell, lots of people probably don't even realize that we've invaded those countries within the last half-century. The only one with enough recognition to sell games would be the first war in Iraq, and that'd lose too many sales due to the tastelessness factor brought on by making a game like that while we're over there fighting again.

Plus, where's the danger of losing in these games? Sure, you might fail and die, but it's not like there's a real chance of the "good guys" losing. And if they did, so what? What are the stakes in most of these wars? So, your side loses face and its reputation suffers? One small, inconsequential country remains Communist or at least "too far" left? Oooh, so scary!

WWII just happens to have the perfect balance of tech, action, plot, characters, and participants. It lends itself to games that are, if not great (most aren't), then at least decent, and they're certainly easy (and relatively cheap) to write and design.

Re:New Ideas (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707782)

Flintlocks take too long to reload.

One of the most fun shooters I ever played was "Outlaws", specifically because some of the guns were a pain in the ass to keep loaded. Walking down the middle of the street while thumbing cartriges into my rifle, ducking behind a barn to reload my six-shooter, lighting dynamite with my cigar butt... I felt like I was living a freakin' John Wayne movie. It was pure bliss.

Unfortunately, it was also not very popular. I guess not many people share my tastes.

Re:New Ideas (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707862)

no way man, i loved that game. my favorite first person shooter yet. i wish they would try to update it (graphics wise) and provide better multiplayer. Outlaws could be an amazing lan party experience. In fact I think that it could work on a large or small scale for multiplayer. Though some of the original Outlaw maps probably would be very wierd for multiplayer, i'm thinking of the ones that were like a maze, and all tunnel/cave-like.

Re:New Ideas (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707932)

Outlaws could be an amazing lan party experience.

Holy crap. Deathmatch on a train. With shotguns.

That would put the "twitch" back in "twich shooters."

Re:New Ideas (2, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707427)

Gee, are they saying that they're actually going to try a new game genre? Here's an idea for a new one, WWII shooters!
Most likely they'll just combine the two. GTA: Berlin 1944.

Re:New Ideas (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707604)

Hmm, being able to steal a tank and drive around running over the enemy and shooting the main cannon might actually be kind of fun...

Re:New Ideas (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707663)

Hmm, being able to steal a tank and drive around running over the enemy and shooting the main cannon might actually be kind of fun...

You might want to try this [rockstargames.com] game, then ;-)

Re:New Ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707672)

How about WWIV shooters? As someone was famously quoted as saying, the one that would be fought with sticks and stones? Okay, maybe a few spears and atlatl [wikipedia.org] -- that would be cool.

Let me be the first to say: (4, Funny)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706984)

Thank fucking god! "Urban Culture" is pathetic bullshit to begin with. Games based on it are just sad beyond belief. They're blatant attempts to cash in on "hip." Let's get back to the proper business of killing orcs and zombies.

Re:Let me be the first to say: (1)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707196)

orcs and zombies

I assume that by "orcs and zombies" you actually mean "super mutants and ghouls"?

*Loads turbo plasma rifle* ;-)

Re:Let me be the first to say: (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707232)

My god carries a hammer. Your god died nailed to a tree. Any questions?
If you're referring to Thor, you do realize that Thor is really just a little gray guy who's getting his ass kicked by the Replicators?

Re:Let me be the first to say: (2, Funny)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707360)

So you're saying that replicators have military uses beyond providing "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot"?

Re:Let me be the first to say: (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707637)

So, let me get this straight:

We've got someone who took issue with a sig related to Norse mythology due to something from Stargate:SG1, and that was rebutted by a reference to Star Trek:TNG.

Truly, a masterful exchange.

*golf clap*

Re:Let me be the first to say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707836)

Oh no you didn't just ascribe a Douglas Adams quote to Stargate:SG1!!!

Turn in your geek badge on the way out.

Re:Let me be the first to say: (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707716)

If you're referring to Thor, you do realize that Thor is really just a little gray guy who's getting his ass kicked by the Replicators?

Hey! You got your Skiffy in my religion! Oh, and for the record, the all father spent 9 days stuck to a tree with his own sword and didn't die. Beat that, Jesus!

Re:Let me be the first to say: (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707683)

Let's get back to the proper business of killing orcs and zombies.

screw that - go shadowrun and stick the Orcs and Elves in a bar in seattle working for some Megacorp based in Chiba city.

Re:Let me be the first to say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707804)

That and urban culture is the same as it was 10 years ago with bigger rims.

Re:Let me be the first to say: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707842)

Sometimes it takes corporations a while to see when a trend is dying. Thank god these guys get it.

Pants down to your knees haven't been in style for years now. Posing as a gang-banger is no longer hip. Acting Ghetto is wayyyy old. Rap and Hip-Hop are tired and dusty trends that have "jumped the shark".

The whole Urban/Ghetto/Gangsta/Rap/Hip-Hop wannabee thing has become a punch line. A joke. Not to mention only fat chicks like those kinds of dudes now ;-)

Back to shooting monsters with a heavy metal sound track! ;-)

Urban-themed? (4, Insightful)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707008)

This is a bit of a pet peeve, but "urban"? Are they talking about SimCity, or GTA?

It's a BS marketing term that dances around race.

also, FTFA

"We've spent almost a million bucks testing concepts. We're only making games that are in the upper core tile."


Quartile maybe?

Re:Urban-themed? (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707032)

"Urban" means "urban culture". I don't know where you're getting the whole race thing. That's your thing. Last I checked, "urban culture" doesn't have anything to do with race... it has to do with social and economic class.

Re:Urban-themed? (0, Flamebait)

Tenareth (17013) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707202)

That's easy... he just assumes that everyone in an Urban setting is a minority. Racism comes out by how easy you can see racism.

A non-racist generally doesn't understand or see true racism very easily, racists like this guy see it every day.

Re:Urban-themed? (1)

wobblie (191824) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707508)

Yes. We all know social and economic class in the US have nothing to do with race.

Re:Urban-themed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707858)

Tell all of those white people in the cities that they're ethnic minorities and that their culture matches that of the suburbs or the rural U.S. Urban culture is really easy to 'see' when you don't live in a large city. It entails beanies and other odd fashions, the homeless, prostitutes walking the streets, club scenes, food vendors on street corners selling ethnic foods from every corner of the planet, people rocking cop cars in mobs at large-scale social events, aggressive driving, public transportation systems filled with people, schools with metal detectors, tracts of people with hard drug problems, larger amounts of violent crime, having bolts on doors, and a huge list of other things that would seem perfectly alien to you if you didn't live with them every day. If I wanted to walk to a convenience store I'd have to walk six miles and I wouldn't see a building with that stood more than two stories on the way.

Re:Urban-themed? (1)

Dobeln (853794) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707574)

"Urban" means "urban culture". I don't know where you're getting the whole race thing. That's your thing. Last I checked, "urban culture" doesn't have anything to do with race... it has to do with social and economic class."

Why indeed - "urban culture" merely correlates extremely highly with race by... wait for it... complete accident! That's the ticket! On a completely different note, where did you get those ideological blinders of yours? I'd like a couple for some friends.

Re:Urban-themed? (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707799)

"Urban" means "urban culture". I don't know where you're getting the whole race thing. That's your thing. Last I checked, "urban culture" doesn't have anything to do with race... it has to do with social and economic class.

Right -- because there aren't a disproportionate number of ethnic minorities living in urban areas, leading to a strong correlation between "urban" culture and their ethnic culture.

The only thing worse than racism is denial.

Re:Urban-themed? (2)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707583)

This is a bit of a pet peeve, but "urban"? Are they talking about SimCity, or GTA?

It's a BS marketing term that dances around race.

What would you prefer? Are they making a black game? A hispanic game? A minority game?

GTA is a collection of extreme parodies of pretty much every racial stereotype, including the white trailer trash and fibbies. "Urban/gangsta" is pretty much the best tag you can put on it.

Does GRAW count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707931)

It takes place in an urban enviro.

Um... (5, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707017)

How about the notion that they're just out of touch with their demographic? Every time I see an "urban" game (Need for Speed: Most Wanted, I'm looking at yoooooou~) it's always come off as being poser and totally fake. What can you expect? You're getting a bunch of 35 year-old, predominantly-white, middle-class geeks to develop your "hip" urban game!

And NFS:MW wasn't even the worst offender... I can think of many worse...

Careful there, Busta Rhymes (2, Informative)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707088)

You're getting a bunch of 35 year-old, predominantly-white, middle-class geeks to develop your "hip" urban game!

I am a 35 year-old, predominantly-white, middle-class geek, and I like my urban combat set to the preconceived sounds and images pumped out by Hollywood.

Werd. :)

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707247)

I agree. Only one game has actually gotten it right, and that's San Andreas.

However, SA does provide proof that urban shooters can be more than just this generation's version of the Blacksploitation flick. If the GTA team made a new game with the same focus, I'd buy it, and so would several million other people.

Maybe as a gimmick (4, Insightful)

brassmoknets (933133) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707023)

I'm sure 'Urban' as a sell-any-old-crap gimmick may be nearing its demise, but there is no such thing as a dead genre. A well-made innovative game can be in any genre at all and will sell well. Who'd have thought 'puppies' was a genre that would effectively carry a market launch of a handheld?

No such thing as a dead genre? (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707249)

I'd like to introduce you to my good friends: disco, adventure games, and traditional cell animation.

Re:No such thing as a dead genre? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707477)

A disco game could sell, cell animation is a medium not a genre, and adventure games aren't dead they're just in remission.

Re:No such thing as a dead genre? (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707543)

Keep in mind that there are enough rabid adventure fans left to eat up anything Dreamcatcher releases(whether it's good or not) to keep that company going.

The next big theme should be (2, Funny)

slack-fu (940017) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707042)

The next big theme should be westerns, Red Dead Revolver was a great title, but it needed more horse riding. Gun (playing now) has plenty of horse riding but not enough moseying.

Re:The next big theme should be (4, Funny)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707069)

I'm still amazed there's not a Pirates v Ninjas v Zombies v Robots MMOG.

Re:The next big theme should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707174)

its because the ninjas would obviously win.

Re:The next big theme should be (3, Funny)

slaker (53818) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707397)

I would so totally buy that if it were
Pirates v Ninjas v Zombies v Robots v Monkeys

and I'd pre-order it if it were
Pirates v Ninjas v Zombies v Robots v Monkeys v Pimps, since that would be proof of the vibrant "Urban Theme"

Re:The next big theme should be (1)

allaryin (564427) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707399)

You forgot Cowboys, Japanese Schoolgirls, and Psychic Mutants! :)

Re:The next big theme should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707773)

>>You forgot Cowboys, Japanese Schoolgirls, and Psychic Mutants! :)

I think you misspelled gay, lesbian, and handicapped.

Not that there's anything wrong with... bad spelling.

Re:The next big theme should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707766)

There's RFOnline:

Robots v Space Pirates v Scantily-clad-Elvish-type-chicks

Actually a good idea (3, Insightful)

edremy (36408) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707860)

I've been playing demos for a bunch of MMORPGs lately for fun (My WoW trial supscription runs out tomorrow) One thing i've noticed is that in all of them rarely are the races really all that differentiated. Yeah, my Undead Warlock can hold his breath a long time, but it's just not that different from any other race. Yeah, your skillset might look different, but overall you basically have the same classes for each race/group. I think back to AvP, where playing an Alien and a Human are so different as to be totally seperate games.

Imagine yours

  • Ninjas: Totally skill based. No magic equipment- everything depends on reaction time and stealth
  • Zombies: Magic users. Spells, curses and cannibalism.
  • Robots: Crafting class. Build yourself
  • Pirates: Always win, since they can call on the FSM at any time. (Ok, maybe not)

You could have four totally different play experiences. Set up the quests so that some that are trivial for one group are impossible for others since the tactics simply don't transfer between them. Forget the fake "Alliance v. Horde" setup where you make the races fight: ninjas and robots simply can't team up since a stealthy assassin isn't going to be any more effective teamed with something out of an anime nightmare. It would be hell to balance, but could be done.

Frankly, after looking over a bunch of MMORPGs (WoW, CoV, Planetside, AO, EVE, Auto Assault) I'm not impressed. The only truly different one is EVE and I don't have the time to have a second career which seems to be about the only way to really get into that game.

Yes, And Here's Why (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707049)

Just look at the 360's array of crappy GTA ripoffs. It's like when your parents start using some word or phrase it quickly loses its cool. When the lamest console of the lot in the Xbox starts flooding the market with a genre it is clear the party's over.

grumpy old man (4, Insightful)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707055)

I remember way back when, thinking that when the technology arrived to make games look "real" it would be pretty cool. WRONG. When games look "real" and are modeling real physics, they are limited in what they can do. All we get in the way of innovation is new environments for running around shooting stuff.

Sprite based 2D games could violate physical laws and we didn't care. Better yet, games didn't have to exist in an analog of the known universe at all.

We got what we asked for, and damn it, it's boring.

Re:grumpy old man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707111)

What about Prey? Antigravity, teleporter doors, psychic projections (that can kill people).
Or even UT2004 - handheld teleporters, respawning, that double jump is a spit in the face of Newton's "opposite reactions". You can do anything you like in a modern game so long as you make it look futuristic.
WW2? Now that's boring. And creepy - real people died in that war.

Re:grumpy old man (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707321)

Antigravity
Which differs from hoverboards and rooms-flipping-upside-down how?


teleporter doors

...Work just like real doors except they make it a total pain to make an accurate map.


psychic projections (that can kill people).

Just another type of ranged weapon.



I agree with your point to some extent - Games with a high degree of physical realism can always find ways to allow the player to violate the laws of physics. But I more strongly agree with the GP, that much of the problem here comes from trying to stuff a form of real-world-escapist-entertainment back into something as close to the real world as possible.

It just seems to miss the point, somehow.

Re:grumpy old man (3, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707187)

We got what we asked for, and damn it, it's boring.

Seriously. Before you know it, someone's gonna come out with a game where you get to walk around and do chores and simulate interactions between people via little virtual people. And I bet people would buy it. Oh wait...

Re:grumpy old man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707421)

Sprite based 2D games could violate physical laws and we didn't care.
 
You mean that Pac Man really couldn't hover in real life? Man, that's a bummer.

Re:grumpy old man (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707426)

Looking "real" IS pretty awesome, so long as they don't make the entire game concentrate on realism. For instance, the FFXIII trailer looks pretty "real" with respect to image quality, but, since they stylized a lot of things and didn't concentrate on making the gameplay "realistic", it doesn't come off as boring.

Real-looking graphics aren't the problem. It's the boring "realism" gameplay.

Re:grumpy old man (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707615)

I remember way back when, thinking that when the technology arrived to make games look "real" it would be pretty cool. WRONG. When games look "real" and are modeling real physics, they are limited in what they can do. All we get in the way of innovation is new environments for running around shooting stuff.

Sprite based 2D games could violate physical laws and we didn't care. Better yet, games didn't have to exist in an analog of the known universe at all.

We got what we asked for, and damn it, it's boring.


So what you're saying is the real world is boring and thats why we made video games in the first place - replicating the real world in a video game will just be a boring video game? ;)

Sounds pretty good to me, except that we can replicate real world events that we're not allowed to do or are physically or financially unable to do in a video game environment. Like racing Formula 1 cars around Nurburgring, building insane rollercoasters, or shooting cops in the face with a bazooka. That shit never gets old!

I think the problem for the GTA style games is that when GTA:3 hit massive sales there were a slew of copycat games that sucked. Then all the legal battles drained everyone of what little interest remained.

Re:grumpy old man (1)

Jare (790431) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707725)

"When games look "real" and are modeling real physics, they are limited in what they can do" That's a wonderful way to describe the current push for realism.

More MANHUNT! (0)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707059)


I just want a sequel to Manhunt (and, of course, more in the Thief series)

Wishes (2)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707807)

As long as we're wishing, I want Morrowind re-released under the Oblivion engine (with a blend of gameplay mechanics for a best-of-both-worlds melange). And a non-shitty sequel to Deus Ex. For that matter, a Deus Ex re-make that's exactly the same but with better graphics/physics would be GREAT.

How about another Fallout game? Maybe some company could revive the System Shock series. That would be TRULY kick-ass. Or, as with Deus Ex, just release the same game as SS2 but with new graphics/physics. Hell, it'd be the best game on the shelf at Best Buy. I'd shell out 40-50 bucks for it. For that matter, a Starcraft sequel would almost certainly be the best RTS on the shelves, barring any serious fuck-ups on Blizzard's part.

And someone should really do something good with the FarCry engine.

And Lucasarts should start making adventure games again. Or maybe they could come up with another original-trilogy-based storyline for a game series, in the tradition of Dark Forces.

And I'd like a pony. :(

GTA? (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707064)

GTA - no - lame knock-offs? Yes stick a fork in them.

GTA was never exclusively about hip-hop culture and was about various gangland activities. It wasn't until the same jokers who brought you material of the same level of sillyness in True Crime that the increasingly out of date hip-hop culture tied it's marketing wagon to the scene. I can't even fathom why people find such dated 90's material entertaining myself, and wonder when the next culture trend will finally emerge away from the overstaurated MTV-bling-pimp-my-boredom scene.

Even as far as San Andreas topographically, there's far more open spaces outside the cities than the cities themselves. So are rural games obsolete as well? There's only one to date (well perhaps 2, Destory All Humans had plenty of farmland).

As far as generes being overdone - um - WW2 games anyone? How many Nazis are there to kill? I think we depopulated Germany about 10 times over at the current rate.

Re:GTA? (1)

McD!ck (444861) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707118)

Here, here!

I will buy the next GTA as they are always creative with their settings, From the 80's Miami, to the 90's in LA, and the 2000's in New York. I would love a 60's or 70's setting in San Fran. Or perhaps going global with GTA once again, and getting in GTA: London in the 60's or 70's.

Re:GTA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707282)

Here, here!

Who said slashdot wasn't educational? [wikipedia.org]

Re:GTA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707469)

Thank god you are here to correct this! WOW! I cannot believe that anyone would make that mistake. I didn't even understand what the previous poster meant till you posted.

Meh. (5, Interesting)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707071)

Do people really not care about GTA-style urban shooters any more?
Like most gamers, I care about most styles and genres of games if they're done right. The problem is when a genre or even a particular game (especially something like GTA which nobody had seen before) is popular, everyone wants to cash in with their own "me-too" knockoff. These of course aren't as impressive as the original, the market gets flooded with low-quality xeroxes, and the genre loses momentum. It's happened many times before with countless games. In the 8-bit era everyone wanted to make a Mario-esque platformer or a Zelda-like fantasy game. On PS1 there was the glut of forgettable 3D platformers and vectorized fighters, among others. How many Tetris clones can you name for game boy or cell phone?

Also, sorry Snoop, but gamers are savvy these days. Not since "Cool Spot" or "Yo, Noid!" for NES has a catchy license ever been enough to sell a game. In fact, it tends to raise a red flag for most gamers nowadays. "Why do they need to CGI-scan Joe Blow Rapper into the game, or have Billy Bob Actor do a voiceover? What crappy gameplay are they trying to distract us from? Is this another "Bruce Willis in Apocalypse?"

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707229)

Bob Actor- Bob Arctor? Which is it? Who is he really? Can you see him clearly, or does the scanner see him darkly?

Simple answer? (1)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707097)

How about because these types of games are just money-grabs. They're typically absolutely awful games other than the amazingly high-profile superstar gracing the cover.

GTA Clones (2, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707103)

Frankly, the best GTA clones I've played, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Simpsons: Hit and Run did well because they offered a certain amount of novelty which allowed me to not say, "You know, I'd much rather be playing Vice City than this game."

However, the "urban" genre isn't dead. The problem with a lot of these games is that "urban" is considered a marketing tool, and the games released with the "urban" theme haven't been very good.

I'd argue that there has to be a certain amount of enthusiasm when making any game. I get the impression that the people at Rockstar enjoy what they do and didn't pick GTA just as a marketing tool. I think they might've been down at the pub and said, "Hey mates, I think a game where the player could just grab any car on the street and drive it around would be fun." "Crikey, that's brilliant." "Stone the crows, let's get back to headquarters and start programming this, well after a few more pints."

In fact, another "urban" game, the freeware "drug dealer" game I've played a few times, was probably made under a similar level of enthusiasm though a lower budget.

However, I think a lot of recent games with this theme have been more like, "We need to hit on a new paradigm for video games." "Well, that GTA game is popular and Gangsta Rap is popular, perhaps we can cash in on this trend." "Yes, it hits our key demographic group, lets have a concept meeting about it, after I finish my latte."

Aren't we talking about tailfins here? (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707173)

"Urban theme" doesn't tell me anything meaningful about a game's mechanics or strategy.

So, what we're talking about is superficial stuff -- decoration. And if it's decoration, it's subjection to fashion. And if it's fashion, it's subject to going-out-of-fashion.

It's like cars. In the immediate post WW2 years, there was a melted, "jelly bean" look to car body styles. Shortly thereafter, in the era of the nuclear strategic bomber, cars started to get taller and taller tail fins, culminating in a Caddie my father in law had which I swear must have had tail fins 18 inches (45cm) high. Since this was well beyond the ridiculous, the styles swiftly changed so that the tail fins were cut off, leaving a vestigal ridge about an inch high and several inches wide. The result was angular and gave cars a massive and muscular look. My father in law had one of these too (do a google image search on 1972 Plymouth Fury [google.com]. Then the energy crisis came, and cars got smaller, and aerodynamics started to chip away a the broad shouldered look, and finally we had the original Ford Taurus, which was back to the "jelly bean" look.

So, maybe "gangsta" is out until we've churned over a couple generations of gamers.

Publishers Don't Understand GTA (5, Insightful)

ArmyOfFun (652320) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707254)

Sure, part of the appeal of GTA is being an urban sociopath. The real draw of the GTA series though is its open world. GTA 3 was one of the most open 3D games that had come out in a while. You can get fares in a taxi-cab, drive sick people to the hospital in an ambulance, or totally ignore the missions and just cause mayhem.

Instead of publishers trying to copy GTA by focusing on its gameplay, they instead focused on the hip hop vibe. What they don't seem to realize is that GTA was popular despite its urban flavor, not becaues of it. GTA is more similar to Oblivion than it is to Def Jam: Fight for NY. You want to have a GTA or Oblivion style hit? Create an unquie world and make it open and give the player a lot of different stuff to do. It's a little puzzling that the open world genre is really lacking in quantity right now despite the huge success of the few games that have done it right.

Remember all the side scrollers that came out after Super Mario Bros? What if instead of side scrollers, publishers figured Mario was popular because it featured a fat plumber and all games of the NES era all featured plumbers or fat blue collar workers, but totally ignored the side-scrolling action that made Mario fun. That's exactly what's happening with the companies that tried to ape GTA by putting focusing on MTV style hip hop rather than on open gameplay.

Re:Publishers Don't Understand GTA (1)

zerocommazero (837043) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707890)

I agree. Not every GTA fan is also into 80's music and look how well Vice City sold if you were going to base your purchase on game "image". In fact, I thought San Andreas was actually less entertaining than the previous games when it came to the storyline. The urban vibe really brought the game down for me. I felt that the whole urban thing was overplayed even then when i played SA for the first time, and I'm a geek with no coolness. The best moments in SA were usually found while exploring the city or doing a random easter egg mission. Which brings me in alignment with your point. The whole GTA experience is totally about the game environment and freedom instead of the "image".

Time to wrap it up, Snoop Dogg, Fo-shizzle! You know you're past your prime when your popularity isn't enough to launch a crappy licensed game.

Really, what's next?! The Gary Shandling Show video game starring Gary Shandling? I hear it comes with a microphone and innovative theme song creator.

Tired settings (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707310)

'We killed Fear and Respect... because we have enough data-points to know the hood thing is basically dead. It would be dead before it came out. And you don't want to come out on a dead vibe.' Do people really not care about GTA-style urban shooters any more?"

Data-Points. Ugh, that carries a bit of weight in telling me the writer/speaker is too much into a suit. But to the point, yeah, I've never thought urban was that cool to begin with. Heck, I live there and always thought it was a blah setting. Gimme open meadows, forests deep, caves and crypts, forboding empty space stations where you know there should be living people, but they've all suddently gone missing...

There's also the rural setting, which I don't think has been adequately explored...

The rains are coming and the crop is in the field, only you can get it into the barn before the storm breaks in

INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER 2007

I want more urban games (3, Insightful)

PuppiesOnAcid (792320) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707311)

Honestly, when I sit down to play video games, I want to escape reality. However, that does not mean I want to slash up dragons or shoot down space ships with lasers. Sometimes I want to play a game in a GTA or "urban" setting just because it's the closest thing to doing something you couldn't in the real world and getting away with it.

Urban MMORPG (2, Interesting)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707416)

Ignoring the intended meaning of 'urban' as in 'all cities are violent and rap plays in the background 24/7 and people shoot each other', I'd quite like a MMORPG in an urban setting.

By that I mean modern to futuristic, since technically Ironforge in WoW counts as an urban setting. Basically, I'm sick to death of witches and wizards and magic spells. I'm also discounting the Anarchy Online style of city: a bunch of simple blocks of texture rationalising a collection of shops.

What I want is a proper interactive city environment. A properly scaled big city would be easily big enough for a MMORPG, and wouldn't require the player to consciously suspend their disbelief because of the distorted geography like all MMORPGs so far. Graphically, you could have more detail up close where it counts, because you wouldn't need to render miles and miles of landscape.

Example: Midgar [wikipedia.org] would make a good environment for a MMORPG
And no, this [toprpgames.com] doesn't count

Re:Urban MMORPG (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707762)

For a long time, I've thought it would be great to see a Deus Ex MMORPFPS.

You could have different servers represent different cities and areas of cities, and to change servers, you find a "train station", an "airport", or something else of that nature. All it would do is transfer your account to a different server and load you up in your new environment, ready for more action in the World of Conspiracies.

Tired Crap (1)

rollomatto (860924) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707446)

The only reason Urban is dying is because lately all you see is games not even worth looking at like that 50 Cent game and other similar fare. If they tried a little harder and put out something with decent gameplay, or continued older games with newer, improved releases like State of Emergency (State of Emergency 2 blew...hard), then it might not be such as bad genre to make games for and people (as in buyers...rather than higher ups who wouldnt know a good game from...finish on your own...) might actually want to see whats up.

who would of guessed this? (3, Interesting)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707546)

With games like

50 cent: Bulletproof
True Crime: Streets of New York (or as it SHOULD of been called, True Crime: Glitches of new york)
True Crime: Streets of LA
Driv3r
Shadow the hedgehog (come on, you can't deny that's what they were going for with this one)

the only ones that were even remotly worth playing in the "urban genre" were Def Jam: Fight for New York, GTA San Andreas that's all I can think of actually.

Maybe if they had gotten people who wanted to make a GOOD game instead of making a Cash grab game the genre wouldn't be a sinking ship with endless clones of two games.

Consider the principles involved (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707611)

I think the Urban part is a red herring. John Singlton, has anyone seen Four Brothers, I couldn't even sit though 20 minutes of that on an airplane, the movie was such a bore. I really wanted to like this movie. And Snoop I don't think he ever had much crossover appeal and now he's more of joke of himself.

Urban themes will "revive" when they base the concept on people who aren't worn out and irrelevent.

Just my $0.02.

GTR:Princeton IAS (2, Funny)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707616)

With the recent release of Einstein's private letters indicating that he was a Mack Daddy http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/ne ws/2006/07/11/weins11.xml [telegraph.co.uk] suggests a new series of gritty urban videogame: the GTR series.
You start as a small time patent clerk named Al working your way up the ladder of Organized Physics. Busting up dice games run by God, setting up a convention for tense-hos, projects that are the Bomb, and so forth.

Re:GTR:Princeton IAS (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707817)

With the recent release of Einstein's private letters indicating that he was a Mack Daddy

I'm no expert, but I don't think anyone in the "urban culture" uses the term "Mack Daddy" anymore. Probably not for about 15 years. Hint: if you see it used on /. or your friends say it, it's probably not hip anymore. Sorry. It's like my uncle who thinks that he's hip because he says "man" a lot when talking to blacks (which is about once every five years). You know, like, "hey Ken, it's good to meet you man!"

And yet still more Marios? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707662)

The urban genre is dead, but yet we're still getting Mario this, Yoshi that, Zelda whatever over and over again from Nintendo, and only a small portion of the gamers actually want this crap constantly rehashed. Maybe it's just safe to say the gaming companies don't know what gamers want because gamers themselves don't even know or are unable to express it clearly.

Not that entertaining (3, Interesting)

thepacketmaster (574632) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707675)

<sarcasm>Can I please play a game built on an overused template to make some rapper a bit mo' money?</sarcasm>

I think for most, playing video games is a brief escape from everyday life. Why both escaping into an environment that's identical to real life? I'd rather be slaying epic dragons or bugs, etc. (Is there such a thing as an epic hoodie?)

It's not the genre (3, Interesting)

Nijika (525558) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707754)

It's not the genre that's dead, if it can even be classified as a genre, it's the lame knock-offs that are very dead dead dead. Thus far, frankly, every time I've heard a game industry insider declare a genre "dead" it's because they can't figure out how to release a game that isn't completely ripped off from a more popular version. True Crime: New York City was a great example of this. A wonderfully rendered New York, like, stellar. But... bad cars, a fake CJ is the protagonist, "big star" voice acting that is uninspired, and some of the degrading hoops you have to jump through to get through the story give me a headache just thinking about them. Contrast this with San Andreas, which is BIG, but by no means an amazing rendering of any city (although it's still very cool). The storyline is all over the place, but that adds to the charm. The voice acting is really fun, even CJ is a blast to listen to, the missions are batass crazy and the replay value is endless. By all technical merits, True Crime New York City is the better game, but it's really not at all, because the "play" part of the game isn't all there.

Duh... (2, Insightful)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707785)

After "San Andreas" is there a purpose of building a competing title? That game is a be-all-end-all for the genre solely for the fact that it is one of the greatest user experiences ever created.

Don't predict the decline of a genre because somebody got it all exactly right and nobody has caught up just yet.

rhY

Well, (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707793)

OF COURSE it is a bad idea. This is the result when marketing is the only decision maker. GTA sold well because its FUN to play. Is it fun to play a game that feels like a marketing product and is filled to the top with cliche gansta-hiphop crap? No.
Maybe by putting someone in charge with a REAL game development background (most likely game design) the CEOs/CMOs/ would give games that are actually fun a chance. Til then, expect cold, heartless products designed for making money ONLY. (Kinda like Eisner's Disney).

Damn... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707920)

This development has got to be bad news for the Duke Nukem team: Back to square one yet again.

Dead genre? (1)

aledwards20 (985127) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707921)

I don't think that "urban" games are dead. When any genre comes out and is successful there will be good and bad clones. Its all about the easy dollar. Find an idea that works and exploit it till you have to innovate. That what stopped Midway's "urban game", out of that million dollar concept testing they couldn't think of a single idea to make their game different.
If urban games are dead so is every other genre. how many shooters are there with bullet time. Look at all the games coming out based on unreal 3 or doom 3 engines. They all look the same, granted they look good. But the style is the same. Dark corridors, mutated monsters, monsters with metal implants, and etc. Even the stories are similar; Monster,demon,alien, or underground civilization wants to take over,enslave, or eat humanity. The only thing different is your choice of gimmick. This goes for fighters, RPGs, racing games, and all other genres as well.
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