Monday, June 23, 2014

Similar Mechanics =/= Rip Off or Clone

So as many of you already know, there is this game called Destiny.  It is being developed by Bungie, published by Activision, and has a massive budget.  How big a budget?  $500 Million.  Yeah, massive.  This budget is bigger than any movie or game or any form of entertainment for that matter.  So naturally Activision and Bungie will want this game to succeed over the next ten years that is the Destiny project. 

Of course one particular complaint I've seen among "gamers" are various things about Destiny being essentially Halo with Borderlands loot and MMO-esque features.  I've played in the Alpha for Destiny, and while you can see where Bungie might have drawn inspiration from various other games I do have to ask one question: Is that really a bad thing?  Game developers copy and steal from one another all the time.  A mechanic that was used in one game will then end up being used in another.  That does not make it a rip off, hardly.  

Want a real example of a rip off?  Check out gameplay from Lord of the Rings: The Third Age.  Then compare it to gameplay from Final Fantasy X.  It is the same exact combat system with nothing changed or modified.  Even the UI is exactly the same minus the coloring.  In this scenario, The Third Age was basically Final Fantasy X turned into a bastardized cash in for the Lord of the Rings movies.  

So what is the difference with Destiny?  It may use similar loot mechanics as Borderlands, it may also be open world and play quite similarly to Halo, but they take those mechanics and make a completely different experience.  It may not be 100% original, but honestly there are few games these days that are.  Developers make games with So whining about a game having similarities to another is like complaining that Assassin's Creed has a big city you can run around and explore just like Grand Theft Auto.    

In fact, let's take these complaints and throw them into the realm of satire.  

Destiny has strikes and raids that are the equivalent of dungeons and raids in World of Warcraft?  Destiny is a WoW Clone that is the lovechild of Halo and Borderlands!  Destiny has space ships?  Destiny is a rip off of [Insert first Sci-Fi TV Show or Movie you think of when you think of space ships]!  Destiny has guns and is a first person shooter?  Then it is a rip off of every single FPS that has ever come before it.

Do you see?  It becomes ridiculous.  A good game company will take mechanics from other games and use them in a way that is unique, even if it bears strong resemblances to something else.  

Sure, Destiny plays like Halo.  However, Halo was praised for how polished and smooth the gameplay is.  People loved Borderlands and the loot aspect of it, and so they spent hours hunting down that one gun or mod that would allow them to kill more stuff more efficiently.  A game that combines elements of those two without copying and pasting sounds like the recipe for a game that will be insanely fun.  As I said before, I played the Destiny Alpha and I can tell you one thing: It is insanely fun.  Videos do not do the game justice, it is something that you should experience for yourself.

So rather than thinking only of what similarities exist between Destiny and other games, why not celebrate the fact that such a game got the green light from a company like Activision in the first place?  Rather than take it safe and make another generic Call of Duty game that is guaranteed to sell well, they decided to take a chance on such an ambitious project.  This is a good sign in the future, especially if Destiny does well.  I believe that it will be word of mouth that will allow Destiny to become a profit for both Bungie and Activision, as people on the fence will flock to the game when they hear from a good friend about how great the game is and decide to give it a try.  

But don't take my word for it, see for yourself in the beta on July 17th.  Come September 9th, I'm confident that the naysayers with non-valid concerns for Destiny will be silenced for good.  That is, until they find something else to whine and complain and be short sighted about. 

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