Cyberpunk is here, and its arrival was a rocky one. Playing on PC, we managed to escape the debacle, and are still having a fantastic time completing every activity from every side of Night City. Those on consoles, of course, have not been so lucky. However, rather than focus directly on the game itself, we want to discuss a reality that Cyberpunk’s arrival has brought to the forefront. This is the idea that big doesn’t necessarily mean better, and, in the cases of an 8-year development cycle, bigger might be an active hindrance.
The Timeless Appeal of Simplicity
To argue for the benefits of simplicity, we want to first turn to the related world of interactive entertainment in online slots. These websites host hundreds of titles like Dwarf Mine, Stamp Wild, and Solar Queen. Each game here loads quickly, doesn’t require enormous resources, and offers experiences that players love. All of this even though these titles are incredibly simple compared to contemporary video games.
So, how do these games succeed so well? The answer lies not in a million complex systems, but rather in timeless appeal. This ties into the age where video games really took off, where they too relied on simple systems that were still endlessly engaging.
Tetris is an example of this in action directly within the video gaming world. Initially released for a device called the Electronika 60 in 1984, the legacy of Tetris remains to this day. With dozens of releases over dozens of devices, Tetris’ popularity has never waned, with major international contests still drawing immense attention from players and spectators. A puzzle game at its core, this single fun element meant it never really needed anything else.
Given the success of simple games, it might seem like that there is no need for more complex offerings, but again the true story here is more complicated. Humans have a drive for new experiences, to do and see things we’ve never encountered before. We love to get enraptured by new worlds, real or digital, with looks and deep systems each playing huge parts in this. This is how new games succeed, and it’s what allows the market room to grow for games to push the envelope as Cyberpunk 2077 has.
In totality, the question becomes where developers should draw the line. Eventually, there reaches a point where additional complexity might only serve to hinder, where better graphics simply aren’t worth the price of admission. This creates an ever-evolving puzzle, where no easy answers are anywhere to be found.
Each year, devices grow more powerful, powerful technology becomes cheaper, and programming techniques and systems continue to improve. What was cutting edge one year might become obsolete just a few years later, making it next to impossible for developers to find the right tipping point.
Ultimately, this makes those developers who want to swing for the fences have to guess. Should they try for something new, or should they invest in the quality of more established simple and base systems? There’s no easy answer, and just as often as not, guesswork pushes too far to one side.
The one saving grace is that, no matter how complex the big games get, the smaller games will always be there. They’re still arriving, they’re still doing new things, and they’re still as popular as they’ve ever been. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we still haven’t finish Tetris Effect.
This article contains sponsored links.