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Let's Go Green

Michael Cunningham

Here's the typical life of an RPG game engine.

  1. Create game engine
  2. Use game engine
  3. Watch as game engine proves successful
  4. ???
  5. Profit
  6. Discard successful game engine and never use it again

I'm a fan of innovation, really, I am. I'm not asking for endless recycling of older battle systems or game engines, but when developers strike gold, one extra use of the golden engine shouldn't be out of the question. Look at recently released Persona 4. It takes the game engine from Persona 3, tweaks it and shines it to make a technically better piece of work in terms of mechanics. In no way does Persona 4 feel like a cheap cash-in on Persona 3. Why not apply this to other successful game engines? I'm not talking about endless porting or remaking of older titles, just take what worked well, fix the problems, and make a better game as a follow-up.

I know the biggest problem with this is the ease in which developers could get lazy and just keep cranking out the same game over and over again (read: recycling games like The Legend of Zelda). I don't want to see a flood of the same game format over and over, but if a game comes out that I really enjoy, I would have no problem with another game being made to use a fixed version of the original's engine. Some of the prime examples are the more recent mainstream Final Fantasy games, X and XII. I enjoyed the battle system and leveling system of both Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII, and heaven knows that Square Enix likes to cash in on reuse, so why not use those game engines for something else? They even made a direct sequel to Final Fantasy X, but the battle system was brand new. I'm not talking about having each sequel use the same engine or having more direct spin-offs, but if the game engine is built and wasn't free to build, I just can't fathom not milking at least one new IP using an older foundation.

Maybe I should be glad that more developers don't do this, because the temptation to be lazy would bound to be there. I'll just take the most from what I'm given, even if I would like to see more done. I thought that Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XII, and Persona 3 were all really wonderful games with a few technical issues I would have liked to have seen addressed. Atlus did address most all of my technical issues in Persona 4, but Square Enix just doesn't want to recycle anything but older games. Come on SE, let's go green. Just don't go too green.

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