Steal This Feature – Vidjagame Apocalypse 318

Games crib from each other all the time, but sometimes, a new gameplay idea can be a huge hit with fans and still be widely ignored by the industry. With help from John Brandon of Square Roots Podcast, we’ll dig into five of our favorite series with unique features that have yet to be (widely) swiped by other games, and then we’ll immerse ourselves in Blood & Truth, get cranky about Playdate, and look at the universes you wish were secretly connected.

Question of the Week: What’s a gameplay feature you wish more games would rip off?


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16 thoughts on “Steal This Feature – Vidjagame Apocalypse 318

  1. QOTW:

    I’m amazed that so few games have attempted to capitalize on Rainbow Six Siege’s “microdestruction”. With how outrageously popular shooters continue to be (particularly Siege, which occupies a niche no other shooter has made an attempt to fill), it still surprises me that there’s no other large-scale, arena-focused, or round-based shooters trying to ape the small-scale destructability that makes Siege’s core gameplay so appealing. Smacking a wall to make a murderhole, blasting in a wall with a shaped charge, and smashing a trap door inward with a shotgun blast are just a few ways that Siege revolutionized the tactical shooter.

    And yet, large-scale destruction, a la Battlefield, still wins out, even if it’s usually just a one-and-done type deal, like BF4’s “Levolution”. The smaller-scale stuff is always more interesting and exciting in the moment-to-moment gameplay. You never know what wall could come crashing down next.

    1. I forgot to include the runner-up: Lawbreaker’s anti-gravity gunplay. Shooting a minigun over your shoulder to propel yourself forward should be a standard feature in any FPS that lets you wield a minigun. Instead, it’s relegated to a dead game from a dead studio.

  2. QOTW:

    1) At the start of every game of Undertale, a hidden “fun value” is assigned to your file, a random number between 1 & 100. This number can affect minor events through the game, altering dialogue, or even adding characters, based on what number you get (some are quite rare, only 1 in 100 files will have them!) I’d love to see this kind of random alteration in more games, giving players what they think is a unique experience – imagine the arguments kids would get into on discussing events that happened in one’s game, but not another’s.

    2) I just finished the Messenger, and switching between 8-bit and 16-bit styles for the same level is so cool. This sort of switching art styles was also adopted in the Lucasarts adventure game remakes from a few years ago. but imagine it was used for plot purposes – a shoulder button switches between the “light” and “dark” worlds, or something like that, for puzzles.

    1. denno if you’d consider the same…but there’s a 3DS game called Shifting World that uses a similar mechanic….that shifts the world inversely to solve puzzles. It’s honestly not that good of a game, nor does it utilize the concept well, but it’s out there.

  3. Why haven’t games expanded on the way we deal with huge monsters? Instead of being the final word on the subject, I feel like Shadow Of The Colossus should have been the jumping off point for creative battle tactics against large scale enemies. Give me a game where I hold an advantage by knowing the weak points of a kaiju, reward me by making me feel like a god killer.
    Make the impossible task of slaying giants a puzzle I can deconstruct. I don’t have the solution, but I’m sure there are some creatively starved devs out there who would love to make this a reality.

  4. Whenever a game is remade/remastered I love when it offers the HD/SD feature.
    A bunch of games offer this mode (out of this world, Grim Fandgango, Halo…I think did as well)

    I just love seeing how the game looked and how it looks now and switching between the two modes is always fun- usually at the touch of a button.
    I wish it would happen to the music too…looking at you Ducktales Remastered.

    I’m surprised that whenever a game is remastered it doesn’t have this option as a default. I get REMAKES don’t have this ( I don’t expect FFVII or RE2 to have this) But dammit I do expect the new Wonderboy to have this feature!!! (What do you mean it has this feature?…Well, I stand corrected).

  5. I literally can not think of any game besides the Alone in the Dark 2009 reboot that had such a great feature, and I’m baffled that nobody in the survival horror genre has tried to use it in a better game. That feature, of course, is… blinking!

    Alone in the Dark had this neat mechanic where you could switch between first and third person perspectives. While in first person, you could blink to regain consciousness or wipe away the blood splatter on the screen. It wasn’t exactly utilized to its full extent, but just imagine a horror game where every time you blink, you have a chance to see something horrific upon opening your eyes. The game could even punish you for not blinking by obscuring the screen and making everything blurry, but at least you don’t run the risk of being spooked.

  6. Hey Matt, this doesn’t exactly answer your question, but the Gaming Historian recently released this video on LA:, and he mentions all the Mario characters…and his explanation was the dev team more or less wanted to see how much they could get away with putting in non Zelda characters in unchecked.

  7. Hello, All. Since the original Assassin’s Creed came out, I thought the parkour climbing and leaping from building to building suited one particular piece of IP, and to this day I’d still like to see it made. Utilize the Assassin’s Creed engine in The Tick universe. KEEN! The idea of The Tick jumping–and subsequently causing serious damage upon landing–across different buildings while trying to thwart the evil efforts of Chairface Chippendale and the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight, or joining forces with the Civic-Minded Five, are enough to fill me with glee. Mikael, if you know someone at UbiSoft *wink*, feel free to pass along. Keep up the great work!

  8. I’d like to see more fighting games use a Fatality-like mini cutscenes after matches were won. It’s not about the gore, which wouldn’t be appropriate in every game, but rather the post-victory flex of showing up your opponent one last time. I like to picture Street Fighter characters ending matches with entertaining character-specific finishers, like El Fuerte pinning his opponent and winning a countdown or Dan trying to look cool while fucking up and KO’ing himself instead.

  9. Spec Ops The Line changed how the execution animations played out as the game progressed. This was in keeping with the story and the main characters development or decent. These progressed from a simple knockout punch to a mean spirited shot to the knee and a point blank bullet in the face. I started to feel a detachment from Captain Walker as he become irredeemable.
    Imagine this implemented into a team death match of where the loosing team became more feral as the clock ticked down.

  10. QOTW:
    Hidden among the many innovations of Dragon’s Dogma is one seemingly subtle design choice – the way mid-game vocation (i.e. class) changes are handled.
    When changing careers IRL, one often needs to develop new skills and learn new material, yet previous knowledge and experience in different areas might yield broader perspective and surprising advantages over veterans of the new profession.
    In a similar way, changing vocation in DD doesn’t reset your stats and let you respec to your heart’s desire (practically retconning your progress so far). Instead, You pretty much begin from square 1, yet carry over some buffs and attributes. i.e. You can lay down your sword, but not your sturdiness. You can lay down your bow, but not your nimbleness. You can lay down your staff, but not your, er… 10% reduced damage from magick attacks (seriously, don’t start as a mage).
    Using this mechanic is entirely optional, yet it lets players craft their stats in a creative manner more true to life.

  11. QotW: There are 2 features I want every game to have.

    1. Story Recap, I want every game to give you the option for a recap of the story so far whenever you start the game up. Too many games I will take a break from and forget where I am in the story.

    B. I want more games to look at my save files and give me content based on what games I have saves of. I loved it in Metal Gear Solid and I love when sequels add things if you have the game(s) before. Even if it just an Easter egg like in Silent Hill 3.

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