Game development is one of the world’s most exciting and fast-moving industries, even though it might not feel like it to some of the people who wait years for the sequel of a game.
So, where do the top games come from? What process is used, and how are some of the most innovative and engaging games made?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the ideas for games and the exciting tweaks and innovations may come from various places.
An interesting theme
Often, the idea for a game can start with an exciting theme, informing the rest of the development. It could be as simple as having an idea to create a wheel based riddled game or a game set in ancient Rome.
The idea for a theme may result in a fully fleshed-out concept for a developer or company to work on. Once a theme has been decided, the whole game development team can start to work on things like locations and artwork and other aspects of planning and pre-production that are needed before the development of the actual game starts.
Sometimes, a simple concept or theme idea might be all it takes to get the ball rolling.
A thrilling storyline
Occasionally, the most engaging games come from a storyline that gets us hooked. Games have a unique way of telling a story, but in a way that puts you in control and may even let you influence the outcome.
Games that have been renowned for their storyline in recent years include The Last of Us, which was turned into an exceptionally-reviewed TV series after first being playable as a game.
The story is emotive and thought-provoking, so rather than just being a game where you can shoot zombies, it has much to offer someone who wants a little more from their entertainment. People are already eagerly awaiting The Last of Us Part Two, which is being developed for TV screens.
Sometimes, it is the storyline that provides the biggest hook. People love something they can get invested in, so much so that the graphics and other elements may take a back seat. If there is nothing for the player to latch on to, then even a well-designed game might fall short in engagement.
Numerous games throughout history have been known for using technology in a new and exciting way. For instance, some of the most innovative advancements in gaming were made when we shifted to open-world capabilities.
While there are technically games that can be dated to the 1980s that are “open world” in their design, it was in the early 2000s that the sandbox style took off. Some GTA games were among the best at innovating and giving the audience a natural feeling of existing in another world.
We’re also in another exciting phase of technological development with generative games such as No Man’s Sky, which uses a clever generative code to create over 18 quintillion procedurally generated planets (there are 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 in total). This is hard to even wrap your head around as a player.
On top of that, the industry is now evolving to incorporate more in the way of AI. Non-player characters (NPCs) are not a new concept, but in the modern age of gaming, they can do and say a lot more, providing more unique experiences for players.
The brightest minds
If we were to question why we are still seeing game innovations, we would put it down to the people involved. Technology has come an incredible distance – it isn’t long ago that Pong was an innovative game, and some people can remember it being released for the first time.
The industry keeps pressing on because it attracts so many people with great plans and even weird and wacky ideas like Goat Simulator and Hello Neighbor, which have been popular in recent years.
The industry may be volatile, but it is also pretty exciting for people to work within, which means that plenty of top designers, developers, and writers help make gaming what it is today.
Nobody knows precisely where the industry will go next, which is a big part of the charm and excitement, but a good story or idea is always required to make an engaging game.