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I feel exploration-based (“collect-a-thon”) 3D platformers could do well in today’s market. Why do they feel so rare nowadays?

Gamingtodaynews1f - I feel exploration-based ("collect-a-thon") 3D platformers could do well in today's market. Why do they feel so rare nowadays?

Exploration is largely the name of the game in this industry since the mid-late seventh gen. It's the whole reason why open-world games have exploded in number, and even some otherwise linear games like Xenoblade or God of War have adopted heavy exploration elements (hence the sometimes-used term "wide linear"). Supplementing this exploration is a general trend of collecting various items such as money, materials, or just plain collectibles to give a reason to explore.

Incidentally, the classic exploration-based 3D platformers of the N64/PS1 era such as Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, and Spyro the Dragon scratched much of that same itch. These games featured sprawling sandboxes that had many things to collect, usually a "minor" collectible like some form of money (coins, notes, gems) and a "major" collectible that dictates your ability to progress through the game (stars, jiggies, dragons/talismans/eggs). These early 3D games drew their appeal from how non-linear they felt, challenging the player to search every nook and cranny and sometimes even take on side-missions that award even more collectibles.

Considering the overlap in appeal, I strongly believe that games made in that style could sell quite well in today's open-world demanding market. They would hold a lot of appeal for both young and old gamers; younger players would enjoy the sprawling worlds they get to explore, and older players would enjoy the sense of nostalgia these games bring.

The question is: why are they still so rare?


There have been a few attempts on the indie side to revive this style of platformer, including Yooka-Laylee, A Hat in Time, Super Lucky's Tale, and Poi. This is understandable, as many indie developers are inspired by retro games, partly due to sentimentality and partly due to budget constraints. Even then, only A Hat in Time and Yooka-Laylee have made waves, and the latter for somewhat negative reasons.

I can understand that exploration-based 3D platformers aren't quite as indie-friendly as 2D games in general, but big-name exploration-based 3D platformers are even rarer. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the big-name ones to really make waves nowadays are Super Mario Odyssey, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and Battle for Bikini Bottom, and the latter two are remakes of some kind.

Maybe I am wrong in thinking that exploration-based platformers could do well in today's market. Still, considering the success of "wide linear" games alongside that of open world games and that exploration-based platformers could be considered "wide linear" at least, it makes me think that there is a market for that style of game. What could be preventing exploration platformers from achieving a full resurgence, or if there's a market, what's stopping developers from capitalizing on the market?

(Off-topic: I will personally not use the term "collect-a-thon" in this topic other than the title because I loathe the term)

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