Unfamiliarity killed the cat

What is it with this player versus boss genre?

I get it, gaming is in a rat race of simplification and everything pre-gratification is expendable. Imagine Metroid Prime without all the exploration and only the boss battles… Yeah, it’s not as good is it BUT that reduction is where we’re headed.

Just look at Absolver, a game where the bulk of the world is empty beyond players a) wanting to gank you or b) wanting to team up to easy-mode a boss. And more often than not, b) is followed by a) anyway.

It’s empty. Yet players flocked to it because who doesn’t want to learn kung fu.

The problem for Absolver is not that it’s difficult, but the player behavior and fighting system have a learning curve.

Therefore the initial flock thinned, and ultimately the game is spiraling downwards in terms of popularity. The same was true for the Ubisoft game For Honor.

When players can’t be the winner via familiar actions they get turned off.

This is why players don’t get turned off by the challenge in Hotline Miami, Cup Head and Dark Souls.  Familiarity.

What we know is that Death by Game Show, which was challenging, failed to get traction despite having short levels, instant replay value, and countless rewards. It had the ingredients but was unfamiliar to players and despite the market demanding “unique” or “innovative” products, consumers no longer connect when something is unfamiliar.

This is, without doubt, the fall off from mobile gaming culture.  Everything must be obvious and gratifying.

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