So, as I was hitting my usual sources this morning, I came across this nifty gem of an article. It’s quite good, and you should check it out. It’s definitely on the mark.
However, one of the things I noticed was, it seems to have been written from a mostly FPS point of view. While that is fine and all, one thing that has been missing from lists for games. It’s something near and dear to my heart.
The Eleventh Commandment of Games: Thou shalt include a sandbox mode. Let me be blunt. If there is one thing I hate, it’s being told I cannot have content in a single player game…until some arbitrary point. One thing game developers need to get straight in the head: people play differently, and just because you want them to play one way, does not mean they should be forced to do so.
Some games have a sandbox mode, but only unlock it after completing some other mode, or story mode. Sorry, this does not cut it either. I know one of the reasons you do this is to make the content last longer. Content can be consumed quickly. But, sorry…this does not hold any weight with me either. I paid for the content, sometimes I want to max it up and just play. Outside the norm. It’s how I like to play sometimes. How I like to play is just as valid as how you like to play, or how you think I should play.
I am also looking at you MMORPG’s. You cant allow sandboxing online. I get that. That would be unbalanced. In Emerald Kingdom’s case, we can’t offer story content in a sandbox mode. But you know what? We do intend to offer some sandboxing options. In game. But even if you didnt want to do that, MMO Devs…a local mode would suffice. Something to play with char design, a place you could experiment with char growth. No excuse. None.
Game Developers need to take to heart the very spirit of: once you release something, its no longer completely yours. Stop locking people out of content they have paid you for. Give them the ability for experimental and sandbox play. Stop forcing them to play how you play.
The game industry will be better for it!