Posted by: markfender | March 26, 2014

PS3 – The Grim Generation

I own a Playstation 3. I use it for Netflix and streaming. Occasionally, I play a video game on it.

PS3S-GRIMRIDERSo, I’m standing on the sidelines of the console wars. I’m invested by the fact that I own one console and not the other, but it doesn’t go much beyond that. Regardless, I do keep an eye out for what’s out for the console and occasionally purchase one of those things. Now that the PS4 is out, I guess it’s just a historical look back at the past generation and the types of games that came out for it. And I notice one odd trend.

Sony has always brokered exclusive deals with developers, even going so far as to purchase some of them. In the PS2 era, three of their highest rated developers were Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch, and Insomniac. All three of these developers had long-running platforming franchises on the PS2. Naughty Dog had Jak & Daxter, Sucker Punch had Sly Cooper, and Insomniac had Ratchet & Clank. All sold well and were fairly well-liked. But then something weird happened.

When the PS3 came out, all three of these developers were still exclusive (several of them being owned outright by Sony), but they all decided to try their hands at more “realistic” games. Naughty Dog did Uncharted and The Last of Us, Sucker Punch did Infamous, and Insomniac tried their hand at a first-person shooter with Resistance. I’m sure that people would consider that Naughty Dog were the winners in that particular battle, having received nearly universal acclaim for Uncharted and The Last of Us (Although I wouldn’t say that Sucker Punch necessarily “lost” either, since they’re getting the big “1st PS4 exclusive” thing with Infamous: Second Son). Only Resistance turned out to be kind of a flop, even though various games in that franchise received general praise.

It’s odd to me that the cartoon mascot style of game just all but died out on the PS3 and that those developers went for more “realistic” games. Naughty Dog, in particular, just seemed to get grimmer and grimmer with each release. And Infamous isn’t exactly happy sunshine. Only Insomniac returned to the Ratchet & Clank series. I get how the video game audience is aging and so it doesn’t seem strange to me that developers would want to make some more mature games. But, it’s a little odd that the entire cartoon mascot genre died off between console generations.


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