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Gamasutra's Top 20 Trends of 2008

December 17, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 10 Next

11. Hollywood And Games - Equals?

Given the cinematic aspirations of so many game developers, it's surprising that true collaboration between the media has been so rarely seriously attempted or truly achieved.

To oversimplify this saga, let's simply say that it appeared that until recently, Hollywood talent never took games seriously as a medium, and that, in the context of film-related products, game developers have been too constricted, in general, to provide anything that rises to parity with the film medium.

But recent moves have shown a much more promising light. Steven Speilberg's deal with EA resulted not in an overblown cinematic project, but Boom Blox -- a game that truly took advantage of the Wii.

While the fate of next-gen followup LMNO is in flux in the wake of the EA Blueprint closure and EA LA layoffs, EA's signing of 300 director Zack Snyder to make three original titles makes it seem a little less troubled.

In other promising news, Cory Barlog, formerly of Sony Santa Monica, is working directly with original creator George Miller to bring the Mad Max film franchise to games -- in a much more collaborative way than most license-based projects, judging from his blog. The long-feted marriage of film and games may finally work.

12. Peripheral-Based Gaming Blasts Off

The explosion in popularity fostered by Guitar Hero III and Rock Band at the end of 2007 continued into 2008. Though analysts once wondered if this year's editions were selling in sufficient numbers, it appears the trend isn't dead.

Guitar Hero: World Tour, even with an increased peripheral count, has still proven extremely popular -- with almost every version of the game showing up in the NPD top 20 for November 2008.

But it's not just music games that benefit from including a peripheral -- Nintendo's non-traditional Wii Fit, complete with Balance Board accessory, has been a runaway global success for the company. It's finding traction in the Japanese market, too, where peripheral-based music games are old news and no longer chart.

Recently, Activision even teased that next year's relaunch for the Tony Hawk series, which has taken a year hiatus in the face of markedly decreased sales for its most recent installment, is one where "you're not going to be playing this game with a controller in your hands."

Peripheral-based games sell for more -- and thus make more money than a peripheral-free SKU. Peripherals are also widely seen a way to make games more understandable for an audience daunted by traditional controllers. Taking these facts into account, it seems likely that until someone's burned by an warehouse of unsold Chinese-made plastic, the peripheral fad will continue.

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