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The most overused themes in video games right now are... [roundtable]
 
Alright, I've been thinking. I loved the Resident Evil games. But man, zombies seem like the new "modern warfare" trend right now. Or in some cases, both are combined. Actually, that is a pretty cool mode, but it's not exactly disproving my point. Zombies are everywhere, and it is starting to get, dare I say it, a bit overdone.

I also feel like Greek mythology is being used too often. And no one seems to know how to do it without ripping off God of War, which wasn't even a very original game to begin with. Also, using Norse mythology instead doesn't count as being original.

I could talk Space Marines and World War 2, but those almost seem old hat now. Especially World War 2, is anyone still making those games?

Did I miss anything? What do you guys think? Which themes are a bit overdone in the current industry landscape? Keep in mind, we're talking themes here, not gameplay genres or styles.

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Posted: 01/17/11, 23:21:12  - Edited by 
 on: 01/17/11, 23:59:51
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Zombies or a "horde mode" seem to be the biggest things right now. Red Dead Redemption even got a zombie DLC to it.
Posted: 01/17/11, 23:31:02
Zero said:
Alright, I've been thinking. I loved the Resident Evil games. But man, zombies seem like the new "modern warfare" trend right now. Or in some cases, both are combined. Actually, that is a pretty cool mode, but it's not exactly disproving my point. Zombies are everywhere, and it is starting to get, dare I say it, a bit overdone.

I also feel like Greek mythology is being used too often. And no one seems to know how to do it without ripping off God of War, which wasn't even a very original game to begin with. Also, using Norse mythology instead doesn't count as being original.

I could talk Space Marines and world War 2, but those almost seem old hat now. Especially World War 2, is anyone still making those games?

Did I miss anything? What do you guys think? Which themes are a bit overdone in the current industry landscape? Keep in mind, we're talking themes here, not gameplay genres or styles.

I think you nailed it.

The whole 8-bit/16-bit retro theme is starting to be a runaway train too. Developers are doing some cool stuff here and there, but it's really drying up the nostalgic appeal for me.
Posted: 01/17/11, 23:42:23  - Edited by 
 on: 01/17/11, 23:42:50
Not overused at all, but I just happened to notice the other day that Skyward Sword, Bioshock Infinite and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are all in the sky.

Well okay, Skyrim isn't really in the sky but it has the word sky in it so yeah.
Posted: 01/17/11, 23:45:36  - Edited by 
 on: 01/17/11, 23:46:16
@missypissy

I actually like the 'horde' modes, it's a really fun idea and I have no idea why shooters didn't start doing this arcade type mode a looong time ago.
Posted: 01/17/11, 23:57:07
RPGs are full of overused themes. Kid from humble beginnings grows up and saves the world with his/her giant sword. Though some western RPGs are moving past that, most modern RPGs have been done. To death.
Posted: 01/17/11, 23:57:32
@ludist210 Hmm yeah, that's true. I didn't clarify this so well, but I meant themes that are new to being overused.
Posted: 01/18/11, 00:01:04
I found it funny that IGN had a "Best use of Zombies" award this year lol.

However a lot of the overused trends I don't mind. As long as the game is fun that's cool with me if it's modern warfare or has a zombie mode.
Posted: 01/18/11, 00:06:01
@Zero

Oh. Oh oh ooooooh. Hmm.

Can I include the "Call of Duty" theme? That's been overused. As has the "Guitar Hero" theme.
Posted: 01/18/11, 00:08:17
multiplayer...


seriously though. i know it's been discussed to death, but the trend doesn't seem to be ending. It's like devs know people don't care so much for tacked on multiplayer, but they keep trying until they hit that perfect balance between SP and MP. Unfortunately the SP almost always suffers.

And I know the SP in Dead Space 2 isn't supposed to be compromised to make room for MP, but the atmosphere, gameplay, and story would never have allowed for MP in Dead Space 1, so they must be making some changes to DS2. And unfortunately it looks like they're going in the wrong direction.

Edit: As for themes, I feel that realism is getting quite overused. It's like if you're not on a Nintendo platform, you can't have a AAA game with fantasy and cartoon graphics. Or even just stylized a bit.
Posted: 01/18/11, 00:31:15  - Edited by 
 on: 01/18/11, 00:33:55
-Themes of good/evil "choices"

-MMOs, leveling-up, achievements, "points" for everything, especially menial tasks, and games built around these premises

-"Training" games (brain, vision, etc). Probably more prevalent a couple years ago than today

-Indie sidescrollers with retro approaches to visuals and/or gameplay

-Attempts to make games more and more movielike
Posted: 01/18/11, 00:34:13
Guns always seem to be an overused theme.
Posted: 01/18/11, 00:35:49
Zombies for games, Vampires for movies.

Oh, and Retro videogames. That trend has already annoyed me, and it didn't take too long after Mega Man 9.
Posted: 01/18/11, 00:49:28  - Edited by 
 on: 01/18/11, 00:50:19
Ultraviolent protagonists with a sensitive side. Specifically, the jacked brute whose fury is unleashed when his lady love is murdered. God of War, Gears of War, Dante's Inferno, Lords of Shadow, etc.

It's even worse when they try to tie some redemption story to it. I can get behind the fact that Kratos is clearly just a selfish dumbass (at least until they backtracked on that in GOW3 ugh), but I can't remember the last time I cared so little for a character before Gabriel Belmont.
Posted: 01/18/11, 01:18:59
I don't know if it's a overused theme these days, maybe back when JRPGs were more popular, but I'm playing through Ys 7 right now and as soon as I heard about "the King's tomboyish daughter who likes to sneak out of the palace", I wondered "Gee, I wonder when I'm gonna get her in my party". Same when I heard about the town well being poisoned: "Ooh boy, I can't wait to have to get down there and kill giant rats!".
Posted: 01/18/11, 01:38:35
FPSs centered around a war theme is mostly what comes to mind. I wouldn't mind shooters as much if they didn't share that one theme. I think this was posted here a while back but there's a picture showing several FPSs this generation and I seriously cannot distinguish them from one another. It's kind of ridiculous when you think about it...

Zombies I actually don't mind much. It almost feels like an ongoing joke among the gaming developers. Maybe not though, but that's how I see it anyway Or maybe it's just cause I've barely played any game with zombies. I can count 3... Burn Zombie Burn, Plants vs Zombies and Dead Nation, all of which I've enjoyed.
Posted: 01/18/11, 03:09:51
I hate that greek mythology is overused It's such a cool theme!

Anyone ever play Age of Mythology? It was the successor to Age of Empires II. You could choose between the Greeks, Egyptians, and Norse. In many ways, it was better than the eventual Age of Empires III.
Posted: 01/18/11, 04:05:46
Zombies are definitely it. I do like zombies (the Resident Evil and Dead Rising games are some of my favorites ever), but they're in practically everything today. When a zombie mode gets announced for an unrelated game nowadays, who really cares? It's so overdone now.
Posted: 01/18/11, 23:42:07
@Simbabbad

Huh. Never thought of it like that. You could be on to something.

That's why I've always had a problem with the GTA games. Esp. with IV, they drop you into these gorgeous worlds, but then only give you access to 1% of the structures. It's totally immersion-breaking. I'd add that putting someone in a fictional NYC and then dropping the street population and car density down to 5% of what it is actually like also pulls me out of the game.

That's why I prefer open-world games that are not urban based. Landscapes as found in Red Dead Redemption, Just Cause 2, Far Cry 2, are far more authentic because the structural masses (houses/buildings) and populations are scaled back much further while remaining true to that type of environment. It allows the player to enter virtually every building they come across and makes the world feel far more authentic. They don't have to corral the player down a corridor either. You can still go anywhere you want, whenever you want, yet it still feels real.
Posted: 01/19/11, 01:45:05
@Simbabbad

edit: and no one will ever know...
Posted: 01/19/11, 02:13:28  - Edited by 
 on: 01/19/11, 03:15:55
Ancient ruins. .... I just start losing interest when ancient ruins pop up. Long corridors or dirty brown bricks littering the floor... torches thousands of years old still lit... Resident Evil 4 and 5 come to mind. I dunno.... they all just seem so damn boring.
Posted: 01/19/11, 02:54:40
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