The argument for simpler games, in an industry obsessed with complexity

The games industry is obsessed with complexity

  • “Instead of visiting just a few planets, what if you could explore hundreds?” [Mass Effect: Andromeda]
  • “Think: 10,000 players duking it out on the same server” / “Computationally ridiculous” [Amazon executives]
  • “… create battle scenes with thousands of characters on-screen at the same time, in real-time, with you having full real-time touch control over all of these troops” [NaturalMotion]
  • “there really aren’t any existing engine solutions for running networked games on touch devices” [SuperEvilMegaCorp]
  • Every extravagant thing that has been promised for Star Citizen [there’s many examples]

Developers are not talking about complexity

Games Press/Influencers are not talking about complexity

People that play games are not talking about complexity

It’s time to stop talking about “simpler” games as a necessity of platform limitations

  • Instead of Brawl Stars’ sharp, clean, readable visuals and effects, Catalyst Black goes for a more realistic 3D look that looks extremely messy and makes it hard to separate objects that affect gameplay from those that don’t.
  • Instead of Brawl Stars’ well thought-out game modes that very reasonably almost never exceed 2 teammates and help offer massive depth for team tactics, Catalyst Black has teams of 10+ and confusing game modes where you usually can’t affect the outcome.
  • Instead of Brawl Stars’ dead simple and fun cover/hiding system built on excellent visual feedback, Catalyst Black implements a complicated raycasting system that is extremely finicky to use and predict because it relies on arbitrary 3D level geometry (this is a textbook example of ruining a great feature with unneeded technical “improvement”)
  • Instead of Brawl Stars’ reasonably sized maps, Catalyst Black offers vast terrain maps that need a minimap and a lot of free time to navigate, making it very hard to know what’s actually happening during a match.
  • Instead of Brawl Stars’ sharply rendered and memorable characters, Catalyst Black has some generic looking 3D models whose face is almost never seen close to the camera.
Catalyst Black
Brawl Stars

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I’m the founder of Parallel Space Inc, a game development studio in Canada. We are focused on creating fun online games like HADES’ STAR and BATTLESHIP APOLLO.

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Andreas Papathanasis

Andreas Papathanasis

I’m the founder of Parallel Space Inc, a game development studio in Canada. We are focused on creating fun online games like HADES’ STAR and BATTLESHIP APOLLO.

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