This week I’ve been playing Dying Light, a really solid entry into the AOWSHRPGFPS – action, open-world, survival horror, RPG FPS – genre.
Ok, that’s a silly sentence, and probably not one I’d write in any seriousness, but it does illustrate a problem I find myself facing more and more often when asked to describe a game. It used to be, not so very long ago, that games fit very neatly into a strict taxonomy of game types, such that all the games in a classification had such fixed similarities that describing what a game was could often be accomplished with three letters. These days, you’re lucky if you can do the same with three paragraphs.
I hear people complain from time to time about comparing games to combinations of other games, leading to equally obtuse statements like “Dying Light is Dead Island-meets – Mirror’s Edge, with a hint of Shadow Of Mordor and a dollop of Far Cry.” Games have become such amalgamations of one another, with great swirling features flowing in and out of genres in highly unpredictable Brownian motions, that it’s hard to argue that the word "genre" has any meaning anymore in gaming.
The question is whether that’s a sign of a maturing industry or a creeping malaise of creative bankruptcy.