Over at bit-tech, Cliff Harris has a piece up on what he thinks is a way out of the game rut.

We all know that most products these days – be they CRPGs, FPS, or almost anything else – follow the same old formulas, only with better graphics. Harris calls this “The Curse Of The Genre”.

His contention is that designers should sit down and develop a game without regard to genre. That the moment they think of doing a shooter, a role-playing game, a strategy game, etc., the designers have already limited their possibilities of creating something fresh and innovative.

Maybe so. But for those developers who are beholden to some giant corporation that cares only about risk-aversion and the bottom line, that’s easier said than done.

So naturally one thinks of the indie developers as the ones most likely to step out into unknown territory. Harris thinks too many of them are still stuck on “genre”, too.

Yet, as I wrote about in The Rut And Innovation and Who Wants Innovation?, the market for innovative games tends to be small.

An occasional product may get noticed. It may even receive awards and accolades. But it will rarely see any big sales.

Variations on the “tried and true” – be it “A” title or indie – seem to be what most gamers want. Of course there are those who don’t mind trying, and possibly enjoying, something different. Those, however, are the minority.

Me, I think we’re going to be slogging along in the ruts for some time to come yet.

The Curse Of The Genre on bit-tech