Stepping stones for the next-gen: Four games that paved the way

Trevor Stamp

The next two weeks are going to be interesting for the video game industry. New consoles are here, yet no one really knows what the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are capable of. More importantly, many people are asking what new gaming experiences developers will deliver with the new hardware. In order to get an idea of what to expect, the industry should reflect on some of the most influential titles of this generation. Take a look at this list of four games that are the stepping-stones for the next-generation.

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Mass Effect 2

 

The “Mass Effect” series made a huge impact, but it was the second title in the series, “Mass Effect 2,” that set standards for the next generation. Developers design their games with player agency in mind, meaning gamers have varying levels of control over their characters and in some cases, the outcome of the title’s story. “Mass Effect 2” offers gamers a defined player agency. Gamers can dictate almost every plot point of the epic space opera, as well as intertwine their personality with that of Commander Shepard’s, the series’ protagonist. Players choose how they will interact with other characters and events in the game, thus setting off unforeseen consequences that shape the “Mass Effect 2” story into a unique and immersive experience.

 

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

 

The “Call of Duty” series ruled this generation of consoles, it also did so while becoming a multi-billion dollar franchise. However, first-person-shooter developers will undoubtedly take notes from “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” regarding the next generation of consoles. “Call of Duty 4” changed the landscape of multiplayer with a leveling system akin to role-playing games that made it easy for people to sink countless hours into. The game also introduced a perk system that allows players to customize their play style without breaking the balance of the multiplayer. “Call of Duty” has turned into an annual franchise that some say has overstayed its welcome. While it’s tough to say that is true, it’s easy to admit that the influence of “Call of Duty 4” will long be felt in the next generation of games.

 

Wii Sports

 

Of all the titles on this list, “Wii Sports” has had the greatest influence on not just games, but the consoles too. With “Wii Sports,” Nintendo showed that motion gaming was more than a gimmick. “Wii Sports” was intuitive, easy to learn for casual and non-gamers, but immersive enough for the hardcore gamers to get into. “Wii Sports” was packaged with every Wii, which was incredibly smart on the part of Nintendo. It allowed everyone to experience the intuitive motion controls of the Wii, giving the traditional controller a break for once . The industry responded positively to Wii and “Wii Sports,” with Sony and Microsoft releasing their own motion controls. “Wii Sports” influence over games and the industry is by far the largest compared to many other great games that released this generation.

 

Nathan Drake on the run from bad guys in “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.”
Courtesy of MCT

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

The opening moments of “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves” alone are the building blocks for the next generation of video games. Hanging from a destroyed passenger cart of a train, Nathan Drake, Uncharted’s protagonist, must climb his way out of the train to avoid falling to his death in the vast canyon below. It’s a short sequence, but the tension lasts forever, making “Uncharted 2” one of the most important games of this current generation. Naughty Dog, the studio behind the “Uncharted” series, set standards for developing immersive gameplay with “Uncharted 2.” The scale of the action sequences is unrivaled by most games that come out in the current generation. “Uncharted 2” will surely influence many studios for the next generation.