Meddle with honour
Videogames may be synonymous with innovation, but a great many traditions also endure in them, too: rigid genres, particular ways of doing things, unwritten rules that we all take as read after years of familiarisation. This month’s Hype section provides a cross-section of games that straddle, to varying degrees, these apparently opposing positions.
Take Yakuza 6 (p40), for example, a game steeped in the traditions of both the culture it portrays and decades of Sega history. Its series proudly flaunts its disinterest in modernity as one of its most appealing aspects, but even Yakuza Studio has now softened its stance on a few aspects that were maybe trailing a little too far behind the times.
Thimbleweed Park (p48) is even more obsessed with nostalgia, reviving the spirit of one of the point-and-click genre’s earliest classics and in the process attempting to capture the charm that seemed to leak out of the adventure bubble like a slow puncture over the years. But while those 8bitstyle visuals should whip up a torrent of memories for fans, developer Terrible Toybox isn’t so shortsighted as to ignore decades of progress.
On the surface, Get Even (p44) and Project Cars 2 (p36) both appear to be steeped in the culture of their respective firstperson and racing genres. But both are fiercely bucking against the strictures set in place by years of iterative refinement. Project Cars 2 continues its predecessor’s spurning of piecemeal career modes, but also raises the bar by introducing dynamic puddle pooling, an unprecedentedly detailed tyre physics model, and deformable surfaces. More than that, it chucks out the age-old mantra that driving sims should be challenging not fun. And Get Even continues to surprise with its flagrant disregard for established rhythms and beats.
Traditions are all very well, then, but videogames are richer for the fact that fewer and fewer developers feel honour-bound to adhere to them.