The bor­row­ers


Great artists steal, as Pablo Pi­casso put it, in what we’re just go­ing to go ahead and as­sume was a fore­cast about the state of videogames 40 years af­ter his death. But while in­ter­ac­tive en­ter­tain­ment has for­ever drawn in­spi­ra­tion from other forms of me­dia, it has also been equally fas­ci­nated by it­self. Years ago, lesser de­vel­op­ers would hitch them­selves to the lat­est band­wagon – side-scrolling shoot­ers, fight­ing games, plat­form­ers – in the hope of mak­ing a quick buck. There’s still plenty of that around, ad­mit­tedly, but th­ese days the big boys are in on it too.

Take, for ex­am­ple, Call Of Duty: In­fi­nite War­fare (p42), the lat­est en­try in a se­ries that once looked down upon its host genre from its throne upon a huge pile of cash. COD led and oth­ers fol­lowed. The shooter sum­mit is now more crowded and with that comes a lit­tle hu­mil­ity, an ac­knowl­edge­ment that, hey, other games have good ideas too. So a year af­ter the MOBAriff­ing mul­ti­player of Black Ops 3 comes an avowed nod to Des­tiny (it­self a blend of WOW and Halo), a story penned by an Un­charted vet­eran ( Tomb Raider and In­di­ana Jones), and a cam­paign mode that has you fight­ing ro­bots and go­ing into space (like, well, a lot of things).

While In­fin­ity Ward hap­pily mag­pies from sev­eral sources, how­ever, oth­ers sim­ply find a sin­gle thing they like and pil­lage the heck out of it. Deck13’s de­but game

Lords Of The Fallen might as well have been called Souls Of The Dark­ness, so ob­vi­ous was its pri­mary in­spi­ra­tion. For its sopho­more ef­fort The Surge (p46), the Miyazaki in­flu­ence re­mains, but is bet­ter con­cealed by mov­ing the game from me­dieval fan­tasy to fu­ture sci-fi and, oh well, ro­bots. Yet in di­alling down the Souls in­spi­ra­tion, Deck13 finds it­self bor­row­ing from Dead Space, al­low­ing you to di­rect your blows at spe­cific body parts. But cru­cially,

The Surge looks a bet­ter game than its pre­de­ces­sor. It’s not pos­si­ble for ev­ery idea to be orig­i­nal. Whether you beg, bor­row or steal, just be sure to get it right.

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