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What do you think about multiple genres in a game?

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New poster here. I'm just wondering what do people think about games that combine two or even more genres together? I'm not talking about simply mashing up elements of genres, but actual gameplay can be said to be Genre X and Genre Y.

I don't see too many games like this often, but for me, they are some of the most fun I've had. A few examples of games like these are ActRaiser (a platformer/city building game) for the SNES, Dark Cloud (an action RPG/town building game) for PS2, and Reccettear (an action RPG/item shop simulator) for PC. Is it because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? ActRaiser was a critically acclaimed game, but ActRaiser 2 was mediocre as it had scrapped the city building part of its gameplay. I'm not sure I'd play just the platforming parts or just the town-building parts myself.

I do understand genre lines have largely become blurried but the games I've mentioned above are ones that combined two genres that are not thought of to being mixed together well, yet they work very well. I can't think of others like them, but they games like these work? If so, why do you believe there aren't more games to mash completely different genres together. If they don't and these three are part of the exception, why do you think that is?

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Consider these:
* Take a look at old games, there was a lot of genre mixing, now there are very few such games. Why?
* How many games that were mixing genres ended up as blockbuster games with people loving them?
* When you browse gamer forums (and especially reviews of old games) do you see more people complaing that they liked one part of the game but didn't like the other and how many times you have seen people complaining that a game was too bland and would be best if they added more genres to it?
* How many time you have heard "I love this turn strategy but why, o why, they have not added arcade elements!" :)

To me it's clear, as a rule of thumb, genre mixing leads to degenerated gameplay and should be avoided at all cost.
There are a few exceptions through where mixing was what made the game great, but these are very rare anbd I would not count on it.

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uhm, there is a lot of genre mixing going on... namely everyone and their mother seems to make a game of genre X with rpg elements. Its almost cliché at this point ;)

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I'm fond of games that alternate two genres, or use the rewards of one genre as resources to advance in the other, or have minigames of one inside another. But it's probably more development hours for the same amount and quality of resultant game, so the economics don't favor it unless you can leverage code reuse and maybe also graphics reuse.

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It can work, it has been done before, but if it involves two very different modes of play (e.g. action vs puzzler) then you have a reduced market who would like both things. Of course if it's an optional mini-game it's not too offensive. For example in Fallout New Vegas you can often get into a secret area by the lockpicking mini-game (which also allows quickly "forcing" the lock with a high chance of failure), the computer hacking mini-game, or just skipping the secret area / hoping a plot event will open it later.

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Gamers like movie goers have expectations, many expectations. This makes its easier to market games but it makes it hard to market things outside the bubble of those expectations. The good games stick to their guns (in games quite literally) and don't stray from what works, the great ones and the worst one's break convention and are willing to try something new. Crossing genres is a natural outcome of the mass marketing of specific genres. I think its really important to cross genres in the design, but it is a risk to attempt in production.

In short, I love it!

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A lot of good points brought up. There are plenty of current games that take elements from other genres, for sure. Usually in those cases the elements are integrated enough so that it becomes one seamless experience. What I'm talking about specifically are games like I mentioned in my first post, games that can be considered two different game experiences. Mini-games are indeed a smaller example of that. In Final Fantasy X, you have a small sports game (and a few other mini-games) placed inside of a huge RPG. However I suppose it isn't required by necessity to play them which helps the marketing aspect in case RPG players don't like sports games.

A bit on a tangent here, I know most gamers have their preferences towards game genres, so what different genre combinations would possibly hold as much of the market as possible? (Visually, which genre combinations would have the center portion of a Venn diagram largest?) What would you think about an action/adventure and town building hybrid game in terms of market?

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Some genres are particularly compatible.
In some cases they are not too different to begin with, like stretching real-time strategy to include construction-intensive tower defense (starting with Warcraft II, arguably the birthplace of tower defense) or action-intensive fighting and shooting with single units (e.g. sneaking around with a lonely Ghost in Starcraft to call a nuclear strike) or complex and abstract actions above the single unit or building level (e.g. building roads in SimCity).
In other cases there are straightforward synergies, like the markedly different tasks of designing, building and overseeing deathtraps and other types of automated structures in Dwarf Fortress (themselves only an aspect of the overall strategic development) or choosing a loadout in detail before using it a combat mission in countless flight simulators and some shoot'em ups.

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Why genres and not player skills and interests ?

Most gamers have certain skills and interests and will play games where they can use their skills. I.e. some gamers like fast action and reaction(FPS), other want to take their time and think about options (turn based game), other want to experience with long term strategies, other want to sit down and watch their own creation, others want to fly around, others want to explore huge worlds ...

Most genres only challenge one or two skills, therefore the real question is: Is it suitable to mix skill requirements/interests ?

Yes, for sure, but when you mix two skills, the potential audience will shrink to the intersection of both skills, mixing even more skills could result in a game which many found interesting (ohhh.. that feature sounds cool and awesome) and nobody want to play (yeahh.. I need to do this and that which wasn't fun for me at all).

That must not be bad, most AAA games try to maximize the potential audience by mixing different genres/skills (i.e. FPS + RPG elements), for you this could be a chance to create a mix which satisfy a certain, smaller niche but not the masses, because the masses are owned by the big companies only which don't have a lot of interest in any niche audience (ok, the 'I want to create something' masses are owned by Notch tongue.png ).

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It doesn't count if they just add the elements of rpgs. Most people consider CoD a fps, and no rpg fan would touch it. In order to merge to genres, you have to make something fun for both audiences.

the above post says that, when both skills are required, the audience shrinks. I believe that a genre-mixing game should make it so that you only need one to get by if you have basic knowledge of the other. However, you are still encouraged to discover new things.

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