For whatever reason, the gaming community has become increasingly dissatisfied with every new release, trailer, you name it, people just aren’t happy. Now, discourse is not uncommon, people will have always varying tastes and there is nothing wrong with having an opinion. But what’s taking place in the gaming community is concerning. Its going beyond criticism because its not constructive in any way and does nothing to add to the various discussions or conversations taking place.
What you’re seeing on social media is toxic. People are attacking developers, publishers, voice actors, and each other all because they dislike the direction of a game. Childish activity that is usually reserved for the “console wars” have seeped into everyday discussion. If you happen to like a game, you can bet that someone will disagree with you, but instead of a cordial response, its an attack. How we got here, could be the result of any number of factors, but in my opinion its because people don’t know what they want and when they get it, they don’t like it.
To be clear, developers should be creating the games they envision. It’s then up to the publisher to market that title and then it falls on the consumer to make a decision. This decision is heavily influenced by journalists and content creators that happen to receive a review copy or code from the publisher. Regardless of what anyone says, their opinions on that title matter because it opens up that content up for discussion. Instead of individuals discussing this like adults, things escalate quickly into full-blown attacks that stop being about the content and start becoming personal.
It’s unrealistic to assume that every video game that is being developed or has been released will not share mechanics or features with other titles that it happens to share a genre with. Why people are outraged when a game releases and everything is just as advertised is beyond me. Open-world titles are all eventually going to feel similar, there is going to be repetition, it is practically impossible to create a 50+ hour title without everything starting to feel the same when you reach the end. This extends to practically every genre, but the issue is that when a developer takes a risk, people seem to be at their unhappiest.
Fans tend to have an incredible amount of sway when it comes to the development of games, especially when it comes to sequels, but developers should still look to create the title they want. Look at The Last of Us Part II, this was an immediate upgrade to its predecessor, it updated the gameplay mechanics and for good measure, took narrative risks that other video games actively look to avoid when developing sequels. While it was critically acclaimed and sold well, it has been absolutely lambasted by the gaming community, resulting in voice actors receiving death threats and developer Naughty Dog being continuously harassed. Harsh truths are always difficult to digest, if you don’t like a decision, fine, move on and go back to playing what you enjoy.
Try something new, play an indie title like What Remains of Edith Finch or Disco Elysium, but attacking developers for taking a risks to shake up an existing formula isn’t going to make gaming better. Innovation is risk, the same people who scream to the high heavens that there isn’t enough innovation, are the same individuals who cry when something new is introduced. Telling someone to open their mind in today’s climate is an impossibility, people will always find a way to fight this and no matter what you think, developers see this, publishers see this, and then they make decisions that affect their vision.
This will result in newer titles taking less risk. Gaming is a medium with an infinite ceiling, there are so many narratives to be told and mechanics to be introduced, but if the toxicity in the community doesn’t decrease, we won’t ever get to see them. Creators should have not to be threatened or harassed because someone disagrees with their direction. If you don’t want to continuously see the same corridor shooter, battle royale, open-world, recycled narratives, and overused game mechanics, let the developers do their thing. Criticize, but be constructive, give feedback that helps, don’t be a dick because it suits you.
I get that being positive with the world being in disarray is difficult. But there are individuals who are working their ass off to bring light to the darkness and instead of accepting and appreciating that hard work, people are actively looking to discourage it. Don’t make things harder than they already are, the gaming community has an incredible advantage over others because their hobby is actively receiving new content on a steady basis. Being unhappy just to be unhappy must be incredibly exhausting and the community would be better off if they were more open and accepting. Maintaining that mindset is difficult from the jump, but now its downright impossible seeing how quickly discourse arises when something new is announced or released.
What it comes down too is that the gaming community is unhappy and there is no legitimate reason why.