Everyone has an ideal game, their dream game. Mine also comes with a question: "Am I the only one that likes this?"
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Right now I'm re-re-playing Horizon: Zero Dawn, this time on the PC. I started playing on Ultra Hard with no UI from the start. For those that don't know H:ZD – this means that everything in the game is very expensive, and fights are very unforgiving. This is a game that gives you a plethora of tools to deal with each and every enemy. Without them, there is no real chance of winning. You need fire, frost, electrical arrows to detonate weak spots. You need traps and disabling weapons to deal with multiple enemies, you need specific resistances on armors, or potions to compensate. You need healing items and so on and so forth. On ultra hard, you won't have them for a very-very long time. It was designed for NG+ but it's perfectly doable from a fresh start, but it has implications.
These implications are that your early game and even mid game is rather slow. You need to farm machines, kill a shit ton of wildlife, sneak and very slowly progress. It can take two dozen hours before you have all the gear you need to take on large machines, and you probably still won't have the gear needed to take on the largest of foes.
For me, this is perfect, because I love inhabiting this world. I love playing as Aloy, I love being a hunter gatherer. Just with composite / recurve bow, firing missiles attached to sticks. I love just going out on a two hour hunt to replenish all my health potions and stock some extra crafting mats. I don't mind having to avoid dangerous enemies for 100 hours before I get my god-like gear. 100 because I love RP-ing. I don't really fast travel and I slow walk.
I just love being in this world.
Monster Hunter: World
But H:ZD isn't really designed with this in mind. A game that is though, is Monster Hunter: World. That game wants you to spend hundred of hours in the world, doing rather mundane stuff. It pretends it's not mundane, by having BAMs (Big Ass Monsters). But it is. Most of what you do is collecting berries and honey. But I love it.
I wish more games would have activities like that, and absolutely not like anything Ass Creed has ever done. I want to want to do stuff. Not have it as a chore. So there's a fine line to walk here. But that's a discussion for another time.
Thing is, a lot of games don't really care much about you inhabiting this world, long-term. For example, Witcher 3. It's a beautiful game, I love it to bits, in my top 5 games of all time. It has a magnificent world, worthy of exploration and easy to RP within – to a limit.
There's no small tasks to do, no repetitive tasks. Nothing like hunting, skinning and selling your catch like in RDR2. H:ZD is also like this, but with the huge need of resources on a vanilla ultra hard playthrough, it compensates.
Also, once you finish all your quests, the world is … dead. Void. Empty. Depressing. Your friends are mostly gone, they never have any new dialog, there's no activities to do with them. There's no tasks to do in the world, no purpose to even pretend to have.
There aren't a lot of games that cater to this, that aren't MMOs or gatcha. And – while I don't want to have this discussion or debate – MMOs are going the way of the Dodo. The few other games that do this, have micro-transactions. This means they are designed to fuck you over. Play our game, all the time, always, forever – or miss out (FOMO) or pay us shit-ton of money.
I cannot think of many games that let me boot my pc after a day of work, and give me some farming task to do for 30m to 1h. Things that feel like I'm progressing or doing something worthwhile. Or simply let me enjoy their finely crafted world – that don't also want to fuck me. This includes MMOs.
Is this simply not profitable? Are there not enough people that want to play a cool looking character in a 3rd person perspective where you can just enjoy the world? And is the only way of making it profitable to gouge the customer?
Monster Hunter seems to think it's perfectly fine. But not many others.
1st person perspective also has games like Skyrim and Fallout. Buuuut I personally hate them with a burning passion and not that much of a 1st person perspective person myself. And even if this weren't the case, that just adds 3 Elder Scrolls games, and 3 (arguably 1) Fallout games.
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