Author Topic: When being a good film/book/game/etc may not be good enough.

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Dincrest

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When being a good film/book/game/etc may not be good enough.
« on: December 30, 2015, 06:45:51 PM »
With Final Fantasy XV and the Final Fantasy VII Remake on the horizon, a certain movie having recently come out, and many book series becoming multimedia cultural icons in recent years (e.g. Game of Thrones, Hunger Games), I got to thinking:


Does a new installment-of-cultural-juggernaut-series need to be a revolution or a genre-defining masterwork? Is it okay if it's just a really good film/book/game/etc?


If new installment-of-cultural-juggernaut-series is not the revolutionary genre-defining masterwork it aspires to be but is instead just a good film/book/game/etc, will that make it a disappointment?

Is merely being a good film/book/game/etc not good enough? I don't know. I often encounter games/books/films/etc that, in their efforts to be some kind of beyond the pale experience, lose sight of simply being good games/books/films/etc

While I'm always looking for the next revolution, I'm satisfied if a film/book/game/etc is simply just a good film/book/game/etc, no more and no less.  Then again, I'm also that guy who's looking for the next sleeper hit while everyone else is fixated on seeking the next big thing.  I had a similar conversation with my coworkers before any of us saw a certain movie. We came to the conclusion-prediction that, no, it's not going to be a life-changing cultural revolution like the first film of the series was back in the day, but it will be a rollicking space fantasy adventure romp of a film. It doesn't need to be a revolution- simply being a good film would be good enough for us.

Let us discuss.
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Agent D.

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Re: When being a good film/book/game/etc may not be good enough.
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2015, 07:57:43 PM »
In terms of games, I think the problem comes when advertisements try to upsell you on the game with buzzwordy filler and tons of screenshots and cgi vids, no actual gameplay. Take Call of Duty for example. Aside from black ops 3 which basically pulled a shitload of ideas from other games, CoD has been the same game year in and out, but each year they advertise the fuck out of it with big stars doing silly real life things you think you can do in game (you can't), buzzword "stunning 1080p gameplay" and "astounding detail and graphics". However, even the lamest of lame fanboys have begun to smell the giant turd that is CoD and its stagnant repeat performances. Doesn't stop them from buying the next one like mindcontrolled peons, but still...CoD is basically trying to sell you a harley davidson shell sitting on a vespa, and no amount of shiny detail makes the game new and inspiring, regardless of how they try to sell it.

Then you have Final Fantasy. Every new game tries to reinvent the wheel, creating a whole new experience...but they don't actually try to sell it that way. They keep all these common elements, themes, characters, music...make up your mind, SE. Honestly, I feel strongly that if FFXII, FFXIII, and even FFXIV had been named something else and all the recurring elements had been removed, they'd bring in a whole slew of new people. At the same time though, I personally wish we'd simply get another FFVI style game but a different story. Basically, if it's not broken, why the hell are you so damned fixated on fixing it? VI, VII, IX, hell even V all had astounding concepts in game, use them again, goddamnit. That's a lot of the reason Kingdom Hearts is so awesome. It brings back its audience with familiarity but simply evolves upon it, it doesn't try to create a whole new experience each time.

There ought to be a balance between "brand-spanking new" and "tried and true". Uncharted series captured it well, as did Ratchet and Clank for a while. Halo, Breath of Fire (til DQ anyway), Star Ocean to a degree, Tales series (battle systems anyway, though they're getting asterisked)*, dark souls though I personally can't comment on it...all these game franchises deliver a very similar experience without breaking the mold too hard each time, but at the same time (aside from Tales) they generally feel different enough to not feel like you've done it before. I give the FF series credit for being able to create such a new experience every generation, that's a lot of brainpower spent between such a large amount of people, but seriously tell me who wouldn't be ecstatic to go back to an evolved esper system from VI or a materia system from VII in a new game. Even make it in the same world as the game, but a whole new story about it. It saddens me that such awesome concepts are used once and cast aside. Edgars tools, Sabin's Blitzes, Cyan's Samurai skills, Gau's rages...well less his rages than the others, but it was all glorious.....then we get FFXIII and the roles...ungh.

I'd like to also point out that alot of this applies to movies. So often nowadays people are just trying to make things bigger and brighter without capturing the original reason of why it drew a crowd in the first place. The marvel movies were great at first because they brought characters we had always wanted to see to life, but now they're just being force fed at us. I'm grateful we've got fresh blood coming out next year (DEADPOOL SQUEEEEEE), but it's all leading back to iron man and captain america and thor again (minus deadpool anyway). I get that contracts are in place now and things can't be changed, but fuck, do these producers and directors and investors not realize that people in general have short attention spans? Give us time to want it again, to miss the characters and desire a new flick. Star wars waited 30+ years to bringvus back Luke Skywalker, I can wait 5 years for the next Iron Man appearance.

I guess I'm bitching about how they can't find a perfect balance if familiarity and excitingly new. This is why I don't creat movies and video games.

TASTY!

Klutz64

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Re: When being a good film/book/game/etc may not be good enough.
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2015, 08:02:31 PM »
I say this a lot, but this is my major problem with most of the primary complaints with the Zelda series. People like to say the games don't deviate enough from each other, are all the same game and whatnot. Like Final Fantasy, it's just the curse of being a "genre-definer." I mean, looking at the details it's easy to see huge differences between each Zelda game, and just because each one follows the same formula it doesn't mean that there's no uniqueness to each experience. I just have to wonder what the naysayers are expecting, because there's a difference between redefining a genre and crossing over into another genre altogether.

The same people looking for Final Fantasy to redefine the RPG genre stick their noses up at Final Fantasy XIII for doing just that. FFXIII showed the world how beautifully one can combine an RPG with the structure of a fairly linear FPS (for example), but people only saw it as a bad RPG because it deviated from their expectations.

So, yes. I think people often hold up these huge franchises to a double standard: expecting them to change gaming in big ways but also staying in the realm of the familiar and comfortable. It's a shame, too, because I think people are missing the forest for the trees (to completely mangle that saying) by doing that. Actually, I guess that doesn't really answer your question specifically.

I guess in a way I sort of both agree and disagree. I think if you're holding the IP that has been labeled the defining game series of a genre (i.e. Square and Final Fantasy, Microsoft and Halo, Nintendo with Zelda and Mario) you do somewhat have a responsibility to keep that genre fresh and interesting, lest someone else does for you and steals your series' thunder. On the other hand, I also don't think there's anything wrong with releasing a couple games in a series that are just really good examples of the current trends.

Tooker

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Re: When being a good film/book/game/etc may not be good enough.
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2015, 11:50:08 PM »
You know, Dincrest, I came to say something, then I read your post and realized I didn't need to - you already did. :)
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Dincrest

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Re: When being a good film/book/game/etc may not be good enough.
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2015, 08:52:09 AM »
Agent D- I think a good example of your overall sentiment is the movie Krampus becoming a sleeper hit this year.  And I have said it often, and in multiple threads, that my favorite FF battle system is FFX's and I'd love to see it used again. 

Klutz- I see your sentiment with music a lot too.  When a band you've loved for years changes their musical style, the kneejerk reaction is that they suck now and/or are sellouts.  When the reality is probably that they're experimenting to get out of the creative rut they're stuck in.  If you're a death metal band that's kinda known for fast paced songs about killing people, you can only write so many songs/albums themed around killing people till it gets old hat.  Of course, when this band releases an album with, say, more politically charged songs and slows down the tempos then fans will kneejerk, "Why the hell aren't they doing fast paced songs about killing people?  This is lame."  Of course, if they'd released another fast paced album about killing people, that same fan would say, "Ugh, another fast paced album about killing people.  Why can't they do something else, like something political or something?"

Tooker- great minds think alike, yeah?
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MeshGearFox

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Re: When being a good film/book/game/etc may not be good enough.
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2016, 02:23:17 AM »
Is merely being a good film/book/game/etc not good enough? I don't know. I often encounter games/books/films/etc that, in their efforts to be some kind of beyond the pale experience, lose sight of simply being good games/books/films/etc

Man, not entirely related, but this hits on why I find working in non-consumer facing IT so stifling. Being better than good enough is inefficient, and creative solutions are often bad solutions that are ignoring more straightforward and proven ones.
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