Written by: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor
You stand on one side of a massive river, gazing at the enemy line on the opposing shore. Your composite armor glows from multiple holographic displays, detailing your overall health and the enemy situation. As you plan out your assault, the gang leader taunts you over a megaphone. His words are callous but general, calling you by your title rather than your name. It takes you out of the moment, but only slightly. As you weigh the pros and cons of a direct attack, you notice a looming shadow. The skyscraper behind you is just long enough to span the entire river. Too bad it’s a building and not a bridge.
That’s when you remember the C4 stored somehow in your form-fitting suit. You whip out a few blocks, strap them to the base of the tower, and bring the whole momma down. When the dust clears, you have a quick route to the enemy camp, and the added benefit of a few crushed bad guys.
This may seem like some crazy gamer fever-dream, but this is the reality of Crackdown 3 and the future of modern gaming.
Video games have gone through an incredible revolution in a relatively short amount of time. It wasn’t so long ago that the gaming industry was considered a flash-in-the-pan fad, something for children and adults who lived at home past 40. Now it is a multi-billion dollar medium, rivaling box-office takings every quarter. While procedural cop dramas still can’t make a video game episode without feeling like an after-school special from the 80’s, it has become apparent to just about everyone else that games are here to stay.
When you look at the advances in gaming technology, it’s easy to understand how the industry has grown so quickly. Graphics are nearly photo-realitistic, with games like Until Dawn passing for a real horror movie upon a swift glance. More than just looking good, games are starting to feel more powerful, with quality writing and powerful performances by some of the best voice actors in history. Think about the development of the Voice Actor industry in just the last few years. We went from Resident Evil‘s comically bad reads to Nolan North and Troy Baker making us weep bitter tears on the regular.
Technology has also been improving at a fairly rapid rate. A few years ago, destructible walls netted a huge reaction from the crowds at E3. Now, you have to be able to knock down entire cities before anyone even looks twice. The new Arkham title demonstrated that we are down to the nitty gritty of environmental effects with the Gameworks demo. Even something as impressive as fully voiced MMORPGs seems par for the course.
Gamers today expect persistent worlds, non-linear stories, and expertly crafted AI that anticipates and grows. What’s amazing is that the fantasy is starting to resemble reality. Shadow of Mordor introduced context-generated stories involving the random orcs on the battlefield. GTA V introduced a lived-in country, with flora and fauna that was pretty damn convincing up close. And with the lineup for 2016 looking ever more impressive, I think it’s safe to say that we are entering the next generation of the industry.