The eco­nomic and man­power re­al­i­ties of in­de­pen­dent devel­op­ment are in part re­spon­si­ble for these ac­tion­less ad­ven­ture games. They’re cheaper to make than a game with tons of 3D char­ac­ters fight­ing in com­plex worlds, for in­stance, and the lack of the cor­po­rate struc­ture nec­es­sary to make large-scale pro­duc­tions gen­er­ally al­lows more room for the forms of per­sonal ex­pres­sion that colour these sto­ries. Steve Gaynor notes that some pub­lish­ers have al­ready no­ticed po­ten­tial in the style, though. “I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to

Alien:Iso­la­tion,” he says. Made by Cre­ative As­sem­bly, it’s a game that’s “re­ally fo­cused on be­ing at least com­bat light, you know, if not to­tally com­bat-free.”

But Wre­den doesn’t be­lieve the genre’s dis­tinc­tive flavour will be re­tained in the hands of the big­ger pub­lish­ers. “By the time you get up to that level, [the genre’s] so com­mon­place that it’s not even no­table, right? You’re not go­ing to get Ubisoft putting $100 mil­lion into a com­bat-less game un­til the cul­ture and mar­ket is al­ready so sat­u­rated with ac­tion­less games that it’s a safe bet. By the time this is hap­pen­ing a lot, then who cares? We’ve got a lot of games, so it’s not like we need Ubisoft mak­ing an­other.”

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