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Old 07-08-2008, 10:06 AM   #11
ronnoc10
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Originally Posted by MessiahSimple View Post
it is, maybe, a lot if your definition of originality is incredibly broad. Ham-fisted isn't the right word for it, but it's the first that comes to mind. I mean, to me, 5-10% suggests that bioshock and tetris are essentially the same. "They may be somewhat different, but they're STILL videogames, clyde." I think that in 'The Seven Samurai' Kurosawa's use of slow-motion helped redefine cinematic effects, and his use of the samurai setting to tell what is essentially a interpersonal drama had not been done before; in this assessment I am certainly not alone. I would hesitate to call those doses of original, which are miniscule compared to the originality found in just about any non-standard (non-sports...well, some sports games - like NHL07 ) AAA, a 5-10% originality injection. Because A. K. used actors? Because they were captured on film?

I think what I was trying to say there was that our disagreement is not one of statistics but one of semantics. I think my definition of 'originality' is just narrower and more forgiving is all
When I say originality, I mean compared to other games in the genre. I would compare The Seven Samurai to other samurai movies, to western movies, and to action movies in general. I would compare Bioshock to other first-person shooters, other plot heavy games, other games with light horror aspects, and other cross-genre Metroidvanias. Once again, what was new was at the forefront of the game, in the player's face, as compared to games that hide it. How many people who play GTA IV know that the animations are procedurally generated? Other than in certain instances, such as when characters are on fire, I can barely tell myself. Compare that to Bioshock's narrative, which is instantly recognized as different, taking place through small radio show-like snipits.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
How many people who play GTA IV know that the animations are procedurally generated? Other than in certain instances, such as when characters are on fire, I can barely tell myself.
A little off-topic perhaps, but GTA IV's animations are only partially procedural. For example, in the mission where hanging on and moving along ledges is explained, you can easily spot how this animation follows a strict iterated loop; in addition, your partner on the mission uses the exact same animation loop.

Also, I think Bioshock is a bad example of an un-original game, due to its very original game world, character design and style. If you're only considering its gameplay however...
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:00 PM   #13
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A little off-topic perhaps, but GTA IV's animations are only partially procedural. For example, in the mission where hanging on and moving along ledges is explained, you can easily spot how this animation follows a strict iterated loop; in addition, your partner on the mission uses the exact same animation loop.

Also, I think Bioshock is a bad example of an un-original game, due to its very original game world, character design and style. If you're only considering its gameplay however...
I was using it as an example of a original game...


As for GTA IV, most of the animations are half-and-half, for most non-on fire/-flying through the air situations, the procedurally generated animations follow a mo-caped loop, but will (or are supposed to, anyways) differ if it will cause clipping.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:43 PM   #14
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I was using it as an example of a original game...
I know you did, I was referring to MessiahSimple. I'm on your side in this matter
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:59 PM   #15
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Well, let's break "what compose originality" first.

Within any given genre, there will always be

Audio Dynamic (which is taken for granted nowadays)
Graphical Content
Gameplay
The Telling of a Story


Audio dynamic - this was the big going for F.E.A.R and Silent Hill as the game utilize sound for a variety of purpose. In F.E.A.R, the sudden higher-pitch music combined with the shadows and illusions completely changed the atmosphere even though there was no immediate danger. Previously, it was just soundtrack, bgm and action-cued sounds. There are a few more innovations in this area, but it's very limited. In term of "originality that makes or breaks the game", it doesn't score very high.

Graphical Content - highly dependent on the genre. Remember when FFVII first came out and then the North American fanboy rush? It was a huge thing then, but we don't bash an eyelash at it now. Also, we can look at it in term of franchise. Mario, Sonic, Zelda, etc... sprites and models gets reused quite a bit, but the game still sell. Originality's weight in this category? Depends on the genre.

Gameplay - almost 99% of all games share a sort of rule set with another game. But how the game interacts changes the game completely. In this area, Shadow of Colossus won't be consider "original" since it's just a glorified version of Donkey Kong with amazing graphics. But the interaction, combined with the atmosphere makes it amazing. And speaking of Paper Mario, the gameplay isn't that original since it was used before. Anyone ever heard of the game Crush? It's a PS1 game that plays similar to paper mario, but it wasn't a huge success since there was little story and graphic eye candy to draw sales. Even Katamari isn't exempted from similarities (let's see someone figure this out ). In case of originality a gameplay weight on a game, it is mediocre.

The Telling of a Story
I avoid using the term storyline because almost all games that has story in it shares an archetype or another. But the way the story is told completely changes it. Suikoden I and II were really obscure titles that hardly anyone bought in North America (except used) and they were some of the best storytelling game out there. Final Fantasy 4 was also captivating with the "bad guy is the good guy and the good guy is a bad guy" storytelling. But it didn't do so well in term of sales either. Psychonaut with its insight into psychology was also amazing in term of story, but it too didn't fare so well. Yet, some games have the crappiest of stories, but have sales number that can be considered success. So originality's weight in this? Minimal to Mediocre as well.

In conclusion, originality in any one category weights very little. But like the same the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, when originality is added in different categories tossed into a mix of proven formula, its chance of success greatly improve.


I can be absolutely wrong in my analysis (it's nothing more than my inadequate opinion), but for a game to have a significant chance to succeed, it must rely on proven formula for at least 70% of its content and 1% to 20% originality. The rest is dependent on the market and how polished the game is (an often overlooked fact, Will Wright can attest to this).
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:20 PM   #16
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I see your guys' points, I do - but I still feel that, in the context of the original question, your definition of what originality is is still too broad - it still sounds very much like what you are discussing as 'formula' are really just the restrictions of the video game genre, not the reuse of a 'formulaic' element. To make an FPS is not to adopt a formula, in my opinion.
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