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This is why Modern Tomb Raider Games aren't good...

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#21 emcconnell   Members   


Posted 05 December 2013 - 05:59 PM


It's because business and marketing departments actually design games, and not the developers. Sad truth. And what do business and marketing care about? Money (Well we all care about money) To get the most money, you must appeal to that 14 year old male. Tomb Raider stars a beautiful women who kills and adventures and wears tight clothing.


We must make those teenage males feel empowered! Lets make them able to kill and conquer with pressing as few buttons as possible! Cool, now lets do some user testing. Oh no, the people we brought in to user test, who have never played a video game before, can't jump over a ledge. Metrics driven design to the rescue!!!! It seems these numbers go up if we make difficulty go down, oh man, I'm a hot shot producer and designer.


Ok I could go on and on. But yeah, pretty much the story of this generation. Rail shooters, QTE based combat, regenerating health, no game over state, etc. From the outside, I always wondered how such crappy games got made. But, after working (programming) on a crappy game, you see exactly how this happens. Most programmers, artist, designers who work on these games know the flaws and how to fix them. The problem is the producers and marketing teams hold all the power. Even though you may have a MS in computer science and more shipped games, some banker who got hired on his first game as a producer is going to be making most of the decisions. And those decisions will be made for monetary reasons based on numbers and projections provided by the marketing team, not fun/quality/community/making a great product.


I'm sure we have all experienced this. Anyways TL;DR: Make your own games that rock ;)


It's quite understandable that the companies investing their money into you hold the power. I'd also like to point out that the new Lara Croft is holding to the same consensus it always has, being hot. The only difference now is that the graphics level is to a point where you can feel outraged at this supposed 'specification to teenagers'. Are you saying adults are any more mature when it comes to women and their looks?


So let's get to the core of the problem, you hate that the people who are trying to make money, try and make money when designing a game? To me this makes no sense. It should be a given that a company investment will seek to maximise that investment, this includes pandering to a more casual audience that has no interest in playing a demoralising games.


Oh no I'm not saying that, I'm saying I hate when people in charge make short sighted decisions for immediate gains. This happens all too often in the game industry. For example, a F2P company sells amazing items for a discount and everyone buys them and the company makes a lot of money. But then a month later the MAU drops like crazy because the integrity of the game was compromised to make short sighted money. Now 90% of the game's items are worthless and the other 10% aren't worth their return in time investment considering you got these amazing items for doing next to nothing.


So for Tomb Raider it's the same thing. Instead of developing a well crafted game that is difficult, and challenges players; the producers wanted a super easy, appeal to the lowest common denominator, game with simple puzzles, non-challenging combat and tons of QTE events. It was lazy and just development by the numbers. What's selling? COD? Ok we're going to make Tomb Raider ala COD.


The game industry is just short sighted. How many times has DLC been released on a constant stream until players stopped buying it? I mean you can say "Hey, they made lots of easy money off DLC", but in reality they beat the DLC horse dead. Now players are left with a bad taste in their mouth and the franchise/developer lost a lot of fans.

#22 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 05 December 2013 - 10:00 PM

So for Tomb Raider it's the same thing. Instead of developing a well crafted game that is difficult, and challenges players; the producers wanted a super easy, appeal to the lowest common denominator, game with simple puzzles, non-challenging combat and tons of QTE events. It was lazy and just development by the numbers. What's selling? COD? Ok we're going to make Tomb Raider ala COD.


That really sums up what I was saying. hehe. 


But out of all of this, there is a major opportunity for indie developers. I don't know how much indie developers will end up profiting from their games, and I am sure we will get some bad ones (hopefully their will be some sort of quality control set up, but not like at Apple headquarters). I mean, innovation is just innovation, doesn't mean everything will be practical. 


One thing I always look for however is the money men. A money man is that rich billionaire who looks for the next big thing and buys his cut to control it to make it even more "profitable."


Money men have a way of taking a good thing and making it a money thing. Every time I see where money becomes the deciding factor on what is played, then I know the quality is on the way out


The case in games, in music, in movies, in this world I guess.


So I am sure the money men will stick their hands in the indie racket if it gets big enough. You can bet. . 

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#23 ActiveUnique   Members   


Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:59 AM

So I am sure the money men will stick their hands in the indie racket if it gets big enough. You can bet. .


Publishers have done this for a long time. Publishers end up putting their face on anything they allow so they're still facing the big company crutch once they get enough customers.

I've read about the idea guy. It's a serious misnomer. You really want to avoid the lazy team.

#24 reenigne   Members   


Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:02 AM

Here is what it boils down to. As I said earlier it has to do with society. What people are willing to buy as many have pointed out besides myself companies are in the business to make money. So they target what they think they can make the most profit on.

We can all sit here discussing it to no end and it won't make a single bit of difference.

The only thing that will make a difference is if we choose to participate in this garbage. I've did all sorts of jobs in my life for money after I left the nuclear power program. I learned my lesson. I'm not going to let some company ruin what I love doing over money. I won't work on a product I don't believe in or like. I refuse to keep feeding a system that does more harm than good. Each of you have the same choice.

Its simple at the end of the day if you aren't happy with what you made it is just going to eat at you. You can use all the justification in the world to go along with something but in the back of your mind your subconscious always knows the truth. 

#25 Grimshaw   Members   


Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:55 AM

I really don't agree the old games were better than the new ones, especially the latest one. The difficulty argument is not really valid because kids will never have the same ability to beat a challenging game as an adult. I remember finding these games difficult when they came out, but now I don't share my old opinion. Design wise, I don't think the older games were that much harder than the current ones.


What made them difficult were the horrible controls. The older games had controls difficult enough that you would fail a single part a lot of times because you couldn't control your character properly.


Of course, in the latest games, you see the "paths to victory" easily in your head, they were designed specifically for that. Game design evolved over the years and one of the lessons learned was to NOT frustrate the player. Challenging is ok, being stuck is not ok. You see older games had game design flaws you don't see these days. And in today's reality, you can't really expect people to take those too-hard games seriously, when they're used to a different kind of difficulty. Tomb Raider developers are just following the society and industry standards, and doing a pretty good job at it.


I would appreciate if Tomb Raider developers tried to mix the best of both worlds but the expectation on that IP is pretty high these days, and they can't just make something most people will not want to play. The industry is having a hard time surviving even with these little design tricks to get a bigger player base. They need to think about all kinds of players, not just the ones that were there for the first Tomb Raiders and liked it insanely :D


You also might be biased by nostalgy when talking about Tomb Raider, since it marked most of our childhoods so much. I agree on the part of over-tutoring the player, but thats also the result of game design evolution, and its something we really can live with.. Who haven't ever ditched a game for bad controls / bad explanations? I did, a lot.

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#26 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 06 December 2013 - 01:20 PM

I won't work on a product I don't believe in or like


I so agree here. Good post also. I really think that if there is any time for indie developers to do something it is now. I know some indie developers are going to be smart about it and set themselves up for the future. Going to gain a fan base while it is early. 


So interesting though. I am sure so many people have a passion to make good games who work in the industry (AAA game development), but are prevented by society trends and money. 


I just thought of a good idea though! haha. We need a sort of Linux of video game consoles. Ouya has tried but it is not up to par. Some people are looking to Steam, but not quite. 


If only I knew how to make a console. Hmm. hehe

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#27 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 06 December 2013 - 01:37 PM

The older games had controls difficult enough that you would fail a single part a lot of times because you couldn't control your character properly.


I give you the controls, but even with good controls the puzzles were still challenging. This is why I used Tomb Raider as an example. And solving the puzzles made me actually feel like I accomplished something (because I actually did). 


I think the aptitude of children these days is actually much higher than in the 90s. They have access to so much more information at a young age. I think that challenging people is a way to improve them. But if we are guiding them on every single thing, and telling them they are good, when they get in real situations they are going to not be good, and have a hard time dealing with these situations. 


If you look back on the history of games, you see that games were used to train military personnel on how to behave in certain strategical situations, a term called "War Gaming."  They used it to teach troops military strategy without them having to actually do combat. This gave troops an advantage not only at the game of Chess or other war games, but in real life. 


This is why I see a big difference between Halo/COD people and Ghost Recon people. Halo you just run and shoot, no real strategy required or promoted, but in Ghost recon it is more about tactics.


Now which one would teach you more about how to behave in real war? Of course, you don't have to have it be exactly realistic. 


To me, the best electronic war game I ever played was Desert Storm. Again controls not as fluid as modern games, but the gameplay was so much better. I mean, you had situations in which your left leg is limp and you have to fight through gun fire and tanks and everything just to get to your team mate who was about to die. So you throw down a path of smoke grenades to your team mate and give him the medic kit. The game really felt like a real war situation. If that was your last medic kit, that was your last medic kit. It made me so much better at other war games though. And I won most of the time because of the things I learned from that game. 

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#28 Adam Moore   Members   


Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:41 AM

The new Tomb Raider game isn't bad


Bad controls and glitches generally don't make a game into a better experience for the player, and these aren't the reason you perceive the older games to be better than the newer games. The real reason you perceive the games of the past as being inherently better than modern games is that you have fallen victim to nostalgia and the Golden Age Fallacy. We have a tendency to idealize the past while blinding ourselves to the negative aspects of the past.


Reality is frequently the opposite of the conclusions drawn by the golden age fallacy. Things tend to progressively improve as time goes on. Game development has improved greatly in the 17 years since the release of the original Tomb Raider.

#29 Stavros Dimou   Members   


Posted 15 December 2013 - 09:45 PM

Modern Tomb Raider games are not as good as the originals. 


I remember when my brother first started playing Tomb Raider on the Sony Playstation. He spent weeks at a time trying to solve the puzzles in that game. It took him a few months to get close to beating the game. Of course little brother had overwritten all of his data and he lost his progress. He almost lost his head too. 


Modern Tomb Raider games are more like interactive video tutorials. They hold your hand on everything:


"Press the 'X' button to jump." 


Duh? Or at least let me figure that out by myself.


They don't have challenging puzzles at all, and the game can be beaten in a day. There is no real sense of accomplishment in them anymore. My brother thought he was a real gamer, but when I told him to download the old Tomb Raider from PSN and play it, he couldn't get pass the first level. Complaints?"


1. Controls are bad

2. Graphics suck

3. Died 4 times back to back by a bear

4. Couldn't solve the puzzle


Is that why modern games are so dummified and give you achievement awards for doing simple tasks? 

Question? What type of game do you prefer? Good game or good graphics? 


Perhaps this is a societal issue. Perhaps people just want to be spoon fed and don't want to be challenged? Perhaps people just want to be told they are good, without having to actually be good? 


Perhaps games are just an escape from all sense of reality? Oh, don't worry, if you die you can just respawn from your last save point (which was just a few feet before this point). 


Somebody needs to play Sonic on the Sega Genesis. haha. 


In contrast:


My brother downloaded the indie game "Contrast" (how ironic) and after looking at him play that I was like THAT'S IT! This is what is what I miss about games! That game had awesome puzzles that reminded me of the old Tomb Raider. It even had glitches! Hooray for glitches! Now all we need are some easter eggs


The Tomb Raider devs can learn something from this game. A lot of followers. Few leaders. Smh. 


(rant finished). haha. 


#1 First of all,there is one general rule: What a person might like,someone else might not like. Different people have different tastes.


#2 Usually the gameplay of a series change drastically only if the sales of the series are going bad,or if the development process passes to a new studio. In Tomb Raider's case,that's the case.


#3 When a new studio acquires the license to make a game in an already existing franchise,the fact that they weren't the same people who made the prior games of the franchise means they might have no idea what the fanbase of the franchise might be expecting from a new game, and what are these features the fanbase consider most valuable. That's why it's important for a studio to watch player feedback. Especially if we are talking about a studio working on a game belonging to an already existing series for the first time.


#4 There is also the possibility that the studio might decide to target a new audience and use a popular brand for having the game sell by itself just by its name,if the power the brand carries is considerable. This isn't though something that always works. In many cases games that were fun and otherwise might have been succesful got negative feedback which turned to bad sales because they used an estabilished brand. Because what the brand was associated for wasn't there,and thus the fanbase of that brand got displeased and anybody that might have been curious about that game by listening the followers of the brand having negative opinions just didn't bought it. That's why my personal opinion is that if you have new ideas you want to try, and they are so many that change the basic experience too much,or want to reach another audience,its better to make a new franchise.An example of how a brand name can kill a good game is Wolfenstein from 2009. This game was actually fun. The problem is that the majority of the Wolfenstien brand got loyal to the brand because of the game Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory,a revolutionary multiplayer only game. People were expecting a new Wolfenstein game to be a new revolutionary multiplayer experience. When they got a single-player only game,they thought it was bad. They didn't cared if it was good. For them it wasn't Wolfenstein. Those who hadn't played a game of the brand yet turned to the brand's fanbase to learn about the game. When the people that could be new fans of the series heard from the people who are already fans that this particular game wasn't good,they didn't bought. But they might had bought it if the game's name wasn't Wolfenstein,and they might have liked it for what it is.


#5 If a game has good graphics doesn't mean it won't be fun. And if a game is fun doesn't mean it can't have good graphics.


#6 It is generally proven that the simpler something is to learn,the more people might try it. Of course something that is too simple might not offer some people the amount of excitement and fun they could have with something more complicated. But since trying a game nowdays means buying it,you might want to let too many people try your game,so you get too many sales. For example let's take Farmville. Of the simplest of games. Most 'gamers' won't have as much fun with it as with more complicated games. But it reached a far wider audience than other games. You might have even played it yourself.It is known by quite more people than some other more compliacted games. But these games,because they are simple,they also keep the player interested less. They are only played as long as they are 'cool',and when the next new cool thing comes,people will abandon it. If these games come in sequels,you can see how this can be profitable.

In contrast to Farmville,take the pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons game as ano opposite example. You might not have even heard of it. Just getting to play this game requires you to read a huge book with hundreds of pages. It's niche. Quite a few people bother reading that book. Most get overwhelmed. But those few who do learn to play it and play it,have so much fun they keep playing it for years and don't get bored of it.

It's up to the mindset: Do you want to make something that will become too popular easily but because it won't be good enough to keep players interested for long, when you make the new sequel they will jump to the new cool game you made ? If you only think of money,that's the best option. But you can see how this can make each individual game less fun.

Or do you want to make a game that it will be as fun as a game can get,but might not become so popular because fewer people will be willing to spend the time learning how to play it,and in the end the game might end up being so good that people won't care about your new game because they will be playing the old one they already have ? If the only thing you want is to make the best game ever,that's the thing to do. But you can see how this can make it so you make less money.

Edited by Stavros Dimou, 15 December 2013 - 10:09 PM.

#30 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 16 December 2013 - 01:43 PM

Game development has improved greatly in the 17 years since the release of the original Tomb Raider.


Id have to say that game development has actually not improved. Video game graphics have improved. Technology has improved. But it is rare that you find games that are played because they are fun. Usually games are played because brilliant data scientists know how to appeal to the masses with advertisement and manipulation of human behavior. 


I don't like "Old games" because they are old. I like games that are good, and if they are old, so be it. Chess is a good game. It is well thought out, and actually has good design (thinking in terms of games and not video game graphics). 


Games should be challenging. What sense of victory do you get if the game is not challenging? I understand preference, but the overall quality of video games had gone down, while the graphics have gotten better. Creativity was lost for high end graphics. 


The indie market is what we are missing from the gaming industry. Creativity. Originality. Challenges. They make games exciting again. 


I looked at the "Let's Play" videos on Tomb Raider, and I have played the last few, hoping they would bring back the challenge. Disappointing to say the least. 

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#31 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 16 December 2013 - 01:59 PM

If you only think of money,that's the best option. But you can see how this can make each individual game less fun.

If the only thing you want is to make the best game ever,that's the thing to do. But you can see how this can make it so you make less money.


Lots of good points. Every product needs an audience. And it is wise to choose your audience beforehand and target your audience. I can see how expanding your audience can reduce the quality of your product. Interesting concept. 


So many people have so many opinions about how things should be done, so to please everyone is impossible. Yet, some games sell so well (bad or not) and others don't. 


This makes it seem that it has to be a societal issue. If the majority of society prefers a certain type of game, it would be wise for game developers, if they are in the money making business, to appeal to them by the standards of society. This is already a compromise. 


For instance, how many COD players know how to play chess nowadays? Who gets excited about chess tournaments? That was popular for a while nationwide at one point. Is chess a good game? Yes. Do people actually care to learn it today? Not really. The comments I get are, "It's too hard."


I think the "too hard" response is a result of this society. Then again, I am the type to rise to a challenge, not just dismiss it. 


It not only makes consumers look lazy, but it makes game developers look lazy also. Perhaps it is too hard to make a good game when you crank out NBA Live 2010 and add one feature for NBA Live2011 and sell it at $59.99 for both games each year. Easy money, especially if you monopolize the market with legal licensing tactics.  


Fortunately in the above example, 2K Sports was allowed to make a basketball game (unlike the football franchise) and now people play 2K because it is actually good and actually improves every year. 2K sports still makes money, but not because they are the only ones who can, but because their games are actually good. Coming from NBA live the controls of 2K were "too hard" at first because NBA live made it easy to dunk from the half court line. Once I got past the comfort of NBA live, I saw that 2K was  a much better game.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#32 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 21 December 2013 - 03:24 AM

Hahaha! Now this is funny! Square Enix just released tomb raider 1 for IOS talking about going back to the old days! First comment I see "terrible controls." Haha. It's only .99 cent and 250mb (games were small then). About to read the reviews now.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#33 NoAdmiral   Members   


Posted 23 December 2013 - 10:50 AM


Really?  Personally, I don't want to have to figure out how to jump


I can think back to a bunch of games from the 90s when your character just appeared on the screen idling. You tap a button to see what it does and then you know what the button does. Of course, if a game is more complex then I would expect a little help. But when I am halfway through the game and you are still giving me clues on how to hang on a ledge....

Games back then had much simpler controls. Super Mario Bros. had essentially a d-pad and two buttons, and it was pretty obvious what the d-pad was going to be used for. Compare that with modern console-games, and you're looking at much more complex control-systems. Not only are modern games more-often in 3d, but new controllers can have a d-pad, joysticks, and way more buttons than the NES ever had.


People are more about flash rather than substance and value by far


I mean, what substance does UNO really have?


UNO is actually a pretty great game. It's accessible to the point that almost anyone can play it, even without really thinking about strategy, but it's entirely possible to set-up strategies and execute them, and it has a reasonably robust set of rules. More importantly, the rules are extremely refined. There aren't any "patched" in rules like you see in a lot of other games because some tactic was unexpectedly OP and the developers wanted to remove that strategy quickly and inelegantly. 


I think substance needs to be defined.


It is the same with all media though and not just games.  For example the films that win at the oscars such as The Kings Speech are not the same films that are being watched by wider audiences such as Expendables2 or Pacific Rim.


I really enjoyed Pacific Rim, and not just because it was about giant robots and monsters. I think that it was often considered just-another-blockbuster by the majority of people, which made it widely accessible. Really though, I found myself analyzing the themes of the movie for hours after I saw it and had some amazing discussions about it with friends in the following days. The design was likewise amazing, as Guillermo del Torro tends to put a lot of thought into the aesthetic of his movies. It also harks back to a lot of del Torro's influences, and proudly references movies from his childhood (That line about the monsters having two hearts, just like dinosaurs is a reference to the original Godzilla movies).



Game development has improved greatly in the 17 years since the release of the original Tomb Raider.


Games should be challenging. 


Games shouldn't be anything. Different games satisfy different needs and wants. There is no thing that all games should be or strive for. I think a lot of this the-game-industry-is-dumbing-down is a response to this. Games on the NES didn't really have a choice, because they were so limited in capability, so in order to have any sort of complexity required a steeper challenge. Sometimes this was controls, sometimes this was based on mechanics.


The games industry isn't trying to simplify for simplicity's sake, it's doing so for money. I don't mean this in the all-corporations-are-evil way, but games like the new Tomb Raider cost a lot of money to make, and how can a company make that back? Sell more copies. That means it needs to be approachable for the non-hardcore gamers. If games weren't as expensive, they could take more risks, and maybe we'd all see more games that cater to our individual wants. The best place to get that, for some of us, is indie games, where developers generally have less money going into a game, and therefor don't need to sell 10-million copies or whatever the norm is nowadays.


Anyway, just my two cents.

Inspiration from my tea:

"Never wish life were easier. Wish that you were better" -Jim Rohn



#34 Tutorial Doctor   Members   


Posted 03 January 2014 - 11:22 PM

I was looking at a lecture and I thought of this post again. Here is the lecture for anyone who might want to see it:


(at 35:44)


This seems to be a real problem with the industry, and it sorta makes me not want to venture further into it. I guess if I really like making games, I will make them for free even. But if I am in it for a profit (even a little profit) I am going to fall into the same sort of money thing. 


Or perhaps I could ignore audiences and such, and make a game that I would like to play, and if other people want to play it, they can. 

Edited by Tutorial Doctor, 03 January 2014 - 11:23 PM.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#35 SuperG   Members   


Posted 10 January 2014 - 01:01 AM

This is how triple a game should be. Easy accesable and rewarding instead frustrating for the mass and more casual gamer. Because big funded games need to sell a lot so aim for a very large audience. So there is the difficulty balanced on.

Poeple who don't like that because it to easy for them. Well the bigger titels is not someting for you.

Games got more expensive to produce with those large investments the depend for sucses on much very larger audience.

Then in those day wenn only the more nerdy smart mostly guy got a PC and play games. Wich where comercial sucsesfull if the hit over 100K sales.

While now 2 mil sales could be a commercial fail.

So i think for those elitair better then mainsteam gamer gamers it won't get better, you depend more on smal titels where the can aim on smaller upper class gamer. And very higher difficulty.
Indie games.

Wich main you miss out the well know frabchises

Wich means those games arent bad on that point but rather good if your mainstream gamer.

#36 Dinner   Members   


Posted 12 January 2014 - 01:08 AM

First of the tomb raider games I have actually played and beat..

Mostly because the controls are at a point where they are not a hindrance

The graphics do help as well, that key I need actually looks like a key, and not a line on the ground, with all the other lines, I need to be standing in the exact spot to pick it up


graphics im hoping is hitting a peak, look at current consoles, while they are 'better' then the previous generation, the improvement isn't as substantial

4k resolution is not rushing everyone out, xboxone is 720p?


so hopefully they can start spending more on the other parts of the game, I like a challenge, I just don't want to fight poor controls and graphics to make the challenge.

#37 Wander3D   Members   


Posted 19 January 2014 - 12:32 PM

We have given a lot of thought on how to revolutionize gameplay for games like Tomb Raider.




Do you think this is a viable solution?


We are interested in partnering with game developers to democratize the playing field of camera-based control systems to offer gamers a more affordable way to physically engage with games in a full 3D experience.


Is this something that would interest you?

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