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.