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EA's Game Cloning machine: Does it need to stop or is it a viable way forward?
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Tue, 05 May 2009 20:18:34
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Has anyone else noticed that EA seem to be cloning a lot of games recentely?

  • Dead Space was RE4
  • Dante's Inferno is God of War
  • Dead Space Extraction is Umbrella Chronicles
  • My Sims Racing is Mario Kart
  • EA Sports Active is Wii Fit

Is this shameless? Do the copies ever beat the originals? Does it lead to better games? Is it a viable approach for a company? How do you feel about them?

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Tue, 05 May 2009 20:50:29
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I think it depends on the level of effort that goes into the project.  Dead Space was a really high quality game, and for me, it was good enough to be considered more than an RE4 clone, regardless of the fact that their inspiration came from RE4.

I think this industry, and the fans of it, are interesting though because people do treat games like they are all ripoffs of whatever game in that genre that came before it.  Dead Space has similar controls, but for the most part, everything else is different.  The story and setting are very different from RE4, and it introduces plenty of cool new things on its own like the low gravity and low oxygen sections of the game.

Movies are, for the most part, allowed to stand on their own merits even when they have similar elements to movies that came before.  I don't ever really hear anyone say that Harold and Kumar is a Dumb and Dumber clone, but I think they have more in common with each other than Dead Space and RE4 do.
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Tue, 05 May 2009 20:56:18
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Everyone copies Mario Kart at some point...
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Tue, 05 May 2009 20:58:03
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Oh there are plenty of movie rip offs. Godamn horror movie clones and Aliens type movies that usually end up shite. 

Does reskinning an existing design and adding a few tweaks qualify as changing things up......... enough? Though?

Should EA be doing more original Mirror's Edge type games?

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Tue, 05 May 2009 21:08:55
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gamingeek said:

Should EA be doing more original Mirror's Edge type games?

 They definitely should... I'm not necessarily defending EA for stealing ideas, I'm just saying that fans of gaming seem to be less tolerant of it, and more quick to label something as a cheap knock-off, when they might miss out on a quality experience like Dead Space.

I'll always take a fresh idea over a stale one, but I still think there are quality games out there that aren't original.  At some point games with guns stopped being Wolfenstein/Doom clones in people's minds and started being FPS games.  I think that sometimes the things that make a game unique are enough to make that game into a whole new genre, and it makes sense when other developers try to make a game in that genre.

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Tue, 05 May 2009 22:05:25
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My personal feelings are that I have no problem if the games are good, but that I would think that all that effort would go hand in hand with more creativity. Not just for our benefit, but for theirs. To differentiate their product and not be seen as a clone. You have to do something that stands out. 

EA does seem to be a lot of me-too like titles recentely. 

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Tue, 05 May 2009 22:32:09
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But you don't get to be one of the biggest dev/publisher companies in the world by taking creative risks on a constant basis. Surefire bets earn them enough money to risk ventures such as Mirror's Edge and not going out of business when then game bombs because people were too busy buying clones and rehashes to notice its quality. As long as their efforts have the same quality as Dead Space, I'm happy.
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Tue, 05 May 2009 22:38:45
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How are games like Dead Space a surefire bet? It's widely regarded as an underperforming game. EA's sure bets used to be licenced material, that's how they got to the top of the dung mountain. Madden this, Harry potter that, James Bond this.

EDIT:

EA fast facts -

- EA had 31 titles that sold more than one million copies in the year – as compared with 27 titles in the prior year.
- FIFA 09, Madden NFL 09 and Need for Speed Undercover each sold over five million copies in the year.
- EA generated 14% of its total non-GAAP revenue on the Wii – as compared with 8% a year ago. EA to ship EA SPORTS Active in May and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™ in June. Also in June, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 10 and EA SPORTS Grand Slam® Tennis – both bundled with the Wii MotionPlus™ accessory (Tennis bundle available in Europe only).

EA PR


Edited: Tue, 05 May 2009 22:45:58

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Tue, 05 May 2009 23:01:13
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i think i mostly agree with rag on this in that a good game is a good game even if not entirely original.  if the effort is there, the production values are good, and it has enough of a twist to help it find its own niche (even in tiny ways) not every game has to be (in fact it cannot be) a revolution like the RE4s and the Mario Karts of the industry.

there are people who can get through many games like they can watch many films in a short period of time.  i'm sure they don't expect every one of those to be a revelation (or a revolution) and they are happy with an all around quality product even if it wears its influences on its sleeve.

so to answer the question i think a company can easily get away with and even be very successful, making products which fall under previously proven formulas, so long as the quality is there.  i think EA does do at least that much.

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Tue, 05 May 2009 23:26:30

I don't really mind at all. It's not like I was sitting there and thinking, "Gee this reminds me of RE4 only in space." while I was playing Dead Space. I was simply drawn into it as it's own game and enjoyed it for what it was. I basically do that for every game I play so for me it all boils down to if I find it to be a good game or not. Whenever I play a game I just focus on that one game and it's production values. Do I like the graphical and audio asthetics, do the controls and gameplay mechanics work for it, is it's story and/or premise something that I find interesting, etc. I don't care if it's something that's already been done before just that does this game do what it does well.

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Wed, 06 May 2009 06:44:00

To be fair to EA, they finally did try some new stuff, then the new stuff was loved by half the people that got it, and hated by the other half.

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Wed, 06 May 2009 17:41:18

Archangel3371 said:

I don't really mind at all. It's not like I was sitting there and thinking, "Gee this reminds me of RE4 only in space." while I was playing Dead Space.

Gee that's funny because that's pretty much all I felt whilst playing it. I guess the similarity to me makes me wonder why I don't just play the original and forebearer instead and save cash.

Damn Prince of Persia sequels. Grrrrrrrrrr

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Wed, 06 May 2009 17:45:11

gamingeek said:


Archangel3371 said:


I don't really mind at all. It's not like I was sitting there and thinking, "Gee this reminds me of RE4 only in space." while I was playing Dead Space.

Gee that's funny because that's pretty much all I felt whilst playing it. I guess the similarity to me makes me wonder why I don't just play the original and forebearer instead and save cash.



Damn Prince of Persia sequels. Grrrrrrrrrr

 

Well as the saying goes, "To each their own.". Me I enjoy owning and playing both of them as I got two very gratifying experiences from them.
Edited: Wed, 06 May 2009 17:46:43

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Wed, 06 May 2009 17:50:41

gamingeek said:

Archangel3371 said:

I don't really mind at all. It's not like I was sitting there and thinking, "Gee this reminds me of RE4 only in space." while I was playing Dead Space.

Gee that's funny because that's pretty much all I felt whilst playing it. I guess the similarity to me makes me wonder why I don't just play the original and forebearer instead and save cash.

Damn Prince of Persia sequels. Grrrrrrrrrr

well that's it, if you only have time and money for just one game, it makes sense that you play the original.  if you need more then you won't necessarily mind playing some stuff with obvious similarities but which are still quality products.

like if you only have time to watch a couple of mob movies you should probably make it the first two godfathers but if you need more then there's plenty more good ones (and some bad ones you should avoid regardless).

i guess you are the kind of gamer who appreciates originallity more than genre, so you could and should choose to just play original, groundbreaking games without being limited by genre.  that way you should have enough without having to play the clones.  someone else might just enjoy a few specific genres and not want games outside their comfort zone.  for them it's a better choice to go for games within those genres even if they're not all revolutionary, so long as they are good enough.

Edited: Wed, 06 May 2009 17:51:37

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Wed, 06 May 2009 17:59:53

Archangel3371 said:

gamingeek said:


Archangel3371 said:


I don't really mind at all. It's not like I was sitting there and thinking, "Gee this reminds me of RE4 only in space." while I was playing Dead Space.

Gee that's funny because that's pretty much all I felt whilst playing it. I guess the similarity to me makes me wonder why I don't just play the original and forebearer instead and save cash.



Damn Prince of Persia sequels. Grrrrrrrrrr

Well as the saying goes, "To each their own.". Me I enjoy owning and playing both of them as I got two very gratifying experiences from them.

Does it make sense though for EA Redwood with Dante's Inferno too? No matter how good their game is they will always (perception wise at least) be living in the shadow of a long established franchise. Is it a good idea to look to the most popular titles and say, let's do that?

TMNT Smash Up is SMash Bros?

Saints Row is GTA?

Does anyone get excited about Turtles when they can get Smash a couple of years earlier to boot? First person games are easier to clone, Goldeneye clones, Halo clones etc.

Where is the line between familiarity and over familiarity? I think they have to be careful. In think in Dead Space when the character started limping exactly like Leon, it was a little too far for me.

bugsonglass said:

gamingeek said:

Archangel3371 said:

I don't really mind at all. It's not like I was sitting there and thinking, "Gee this reminds me of RE4 only in space." while I was playing Dead Space.

Gee that's funny because that's pretty much all I felt whilst playing it. I guess the similarity to me makes me wonder why I don't just play the original and forebearer instead and save cash.

Damn Prince of Persia sequels. Grrrrrrrrrr

well that's it, if you only have time and money for just one game, it makes sense that you play the original.  if you need more then you won't necessarily mind playing some stuff with obvious similarities but which are still quality products.

like if you only have time to watch a couple of mob movies you should probably make it the first two godfathers but if you need more then there's plenty more good ones (and some bad ones you should avoid regardless).

i guess you are the kind of gamer who appreciates originallity more than genre, so you could and should choose to just play original, groundbreaking games without being limited by genre.  that way you should have enough without having to play the clones.  someone else might just enjoy a few specific genres and not want games outside their comfort zone.  for them it's a better choice to go for games within those genres even if they're not all revolutionary, so long as they are good enough.

Interesting points. It's not about time and money though, just not feeling I need to retread ground, especially when you play the original and it's better and usually still great to play. How much can you take I guess, before getting bored.

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Wed, 06 May 2009 18:03:46

Archangel3371 said:

gamingeek said:


Archangel3371 said:


I don't really mind at all. It's not like I was sitting there and thinking, "Gee this reminds me of RE4 only in space." while I was playing Dead Space.

Gee that's funny because that's pretty much all I felt whilst playing it. I guess the similarity to me makes me wonder why I don't just play the original and forebearer instead and save cash.



Damn Prince of Persia sequels. Grrrrrrrrrr

 

Well as the saying goes, "To each their own.". Me I enjoy owning and playing both of them as I got two very gratifying experiences from them.

 No the saying is "One man's trash is another man's gourmet" hobo.

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Wed, 06 May 2009 18:32:16

gamingeek said:

Interesting points. It's not about time and money though, just not feeling I need to retread ground, especially when you play the original and it's better and usually still great to play. How much can you take I guess, before getting bored.

How can you say this with a straight face and have a sig of  Animal Crossing?  

I mean, come on. As long as their offers maintain a decent quality level, I'm all for gaming experiences that ape established franchises. If we are going to go the other route, we might as well keep playing RE4/The sands of time/Super Mario Galaxy until the next truly groundbreaking game emerges. 

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Wed, 06 May 2009 19:16:52

@GG Sure why not make Dante's Inferno? If it's a good game then it's a good game. I don't really get this "retreading old ground" sometimes. To me I think people use it far too often. In God of War I'm fighting creatures from Greek lore, I'm in it's mythos and setting, I'm experiencing it's storyline. I don't really know anything about Dante's Inferno but I'm guessing it doesn't have anything to do with Zeus, Hades, or Ares. I find most games to provide a different enough experience for me when I play them.

@Iga You're damn straight skippy. Nyaa

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Wed, 06 May 2009 19:55:48

I dont know what else I can add that has not been said already. Rag nailed it from the second point. Bugs covered the GG response.

Me as long as its a quality game I dont care if its similar to another game, especially one I love. I love the RE4 style of action, I want MORE games like it, not less. Dead Space came along, it was not a cheap knock off but a game that used that template and made a fantastic new game, one that will be a new franchise, much like how Silent Hill started many years ago.

I rather play a game in the genre or style I love than play a weird quirky game just cause its original. Odds are I am going to enjoy the one in the genre I love more.

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Thu, 07 May 2009 01:53:38

gamingeek said:

How are games like Dead Space a surefire bet? It's widely regarded as an underperforming game. EA's sure bets used to be licenced material, that's how they got to the top of the dung mountain. Madden this, Harry potter that, James Bond this.

Mirror's Edge didn't exactly do great things for them either. But both ME and DS should have done better. The comparisons to Resident Evil 4 clearly didn't help Dead Space much, which is a shame because it's so much more than just an RE4 clone.

SteelAttack said:

How can you say this with a straight face and have a sig of  Animal Crossing?  

I mean, come on. As long as their offers maintain a decent quality level, I'm all for gaming experiences that ape established franchises. If we are going to go the other route, we might as well keep playing RE4/The sands of time/Super Mario Galaxy until the next truly groundbreaking game emerges.

Oh snap! I'm not anything else I say can top that. Grinning

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