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Developers, Game Achievements, & Shiny New Consoles
With all the attention of news, announcements, and rumors being targeted towards new consoles, the idea of achievements and trophies seems stuck in my mind when a discussion was started on Twitter after the release of the achievement/trophy list for Dead Space 3. I admit I generally avoid looking at those lists so I can be surprised to get them when playing, but there was a lot of grumbling regarding co-op achievements—which for the rest of this article will be interchangeable with trophies.
There appears to be a growing trend for more of these gameplay rewards to be linked to non-solo play. They have, of course, existed in the past. However, we saw them more often in games that were multi-player heavy. On the development side, I understand. By doing so you’re enticing players who may normally skip over co-op or MP to give it a try. With franchises that have traditionally been SP, this makes sense.
On the other side, I dislike being forcefully directed towards a form of play I may not want, simply so I can be rewarded for playing that game [David2SLY's Editor's Note: You aren't being forced if you don't look at the list, silly]. Shouldn’t I be rewarded for playing it regardless? In the example of Dead Space, the game has always been stronger on the single player mode than any other. To my understanding the MP in DS2 was not super well received, but the story didn’t significantly suffer for it (I only played the MP demo).[EN: Ladyluck is too scared to play any of the Dead Space games.]
Admittedly, I am definitely not an achievement or trophy hunter. I’m not sure I’ve 100%ed any game on either of the consoles. PC being slightly different as a couple games give you 100% just for completing them when they are only SP; as in there’s no “kill this many” or such achievements. But I still enjoy the pop-ups that say I’ve unlocked a new achievement or received a new trophy. I like the idea of giving pointless recognition to the gamers playing your game.
All of that said, it has lost the same meaning now as it had when the Xbox 360 first launched. Your gamerscore was supposedly an easy indicator to see what kind of gamer you were.
Side note which applies to this entire paragraph: the idea of the gamerscore or trophy count defining your ‘hardcoreness’ as a gamer is ridiculous. It took me 5 years before my gamerscore broke 10,000 (and then less than 2 to double that >.>)[EN: Also read, she finally finished a game]. I couldn’t even tell you my trophy count, though I’m sure it sucks. But at the same time, I had well over 100 hours on several competitive games like Halo and Call of Duty.
Though as someone brought up perception is reality. Depending on your take of achievements and trophies it can be either a reward—such as for those who specifically seek to get them— or an award—such as for people like myself who just happen to receive them while playing.
Now of course, not everyone viewed it that way. But outside of the much lesser portion of the population that attempts to 100% every game *cough* Paustinj *cough*, nowadays these additions to the game play experience are running dry. Sure, some are an amusing means of getting people to do absolutely ridiculous things in game. Such as the Green Thumbs Up achievement in Bully: Scholarship Edition for picking 50 flowers—completely pointless.
Now since Sony has shown some of their cards, we know that the trophy (and likely achievement) systems are here to stay at least another generation. Do you consider them an integral part of your gaming experience on a Sony or Microsoft system[EN: Or even Steam]? I definitely like the profile tracking of games played and having seemingly pointless rewards for playing games is awesome. At the same time, I feel cheated if I put 100 hours in a game but can’t 100% it (even if I finish the story) because regardless of my hourly dedication to the game I didn’t check off every pre-set requirement.
I don’t really see Microsoft getting rid of the whole achievement system since Sony kept the trophy system. But do you think they can make it better?