This week, I posed some questions to John Sierra; known best by his YouTube alias, NecroVMX. NecroVMX has been on YouTube for many years now, giving viewers a lot of great video game-related shows, such as Urban Legends of Video Gaming, The VMX Show, The Gamer’s Encyclopedia and my personal favourite, Clearing Confusion, as well as also recording video game playthroughs and critiquing films in addition. Since joining YouTube in March 2006, his channel now has over 16,500 subscribers and has garnished almost 12,000,000 views. I’ve been subscribed to his channel for almost a year now, and it was only natural that I would want to involve as many video game-oriented YouTube users of that caliber into the blog as possible to keep it exciting. So I asked him if he would answer a few questions I had for him about the general state of video gaming and his opinions on the future of the industry, and thankfully he responded and answered my questions. Here are the questions and answers:
What was your opinion on 2013 in video games, and the 7th generation overall?
“2013 was a pretty strong year, to me it started right off with games like Fire Emblem: Awakening and BioShock Infinite and ended with a future classic in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. I didn’t have much to complain about really. As for the 7th generation, it felt a lot like the 4th, with the Super NES and the Genesis and whatnot; it just went on and on and gave us a lot of classics, I think the current generation will talk about games like Skyrim, Dark Souls or Black Ops the way my generation talks about Chrono Trigger, Mega Man X and Doom. Also due to the lack of time I have to sit on the couch and play video games, I’ve become increasingly more of a handheld guy, so the 3DS and Vita are huge for me.”
As I said in a previous article, I’d only found a few standout titles from last year, but indeed A Link Between Worlds turned out to be a very good game, I thought, and although I never got round to finishing BioShock Infinite, the small amount of what I played made it seem like a very decent game, but I still think I need to dig deeper to find some more good games, as the way I see it, many titles seemed to be substandard, like The Last of Us. I think what Necro said will only further encourage me personally to keep looking into 2013 as well as keep up with 2014 in video gaming.
What do you think the future holds for the industry?
“I think the console market will face a collapse, but not in the “doom and gloom” sort of way that most people predict, I think it’s going to be replaced by something bigger and better, and I think we’re seeing the PC and Console market sort of coming together into one thing, the Steam Machine is the first part of this happening, we’re not going to see generations, launch titles, console wars or exclusives anymore, it’s going to be a lot simpler.”
Reverting back to the news of the gaming industry soon generating an annual worth of $100,000,000,000 I personally think that it will come down to how games companies invest the greater amount of money being attached to the industry. But if this does indeed happen as Necro predicts, it will certainly make things a lot easier for not only consumers, but for developers as well, as not only would it more effectively prevent a repeat of the happenings of the video game crash when there were too many consoles on the market, but the level of corporate competition will be decreased, thus alleviating a lot of pressure on games companies concerning which system to release their games on and how to align their games with different types of software.
Apart from Civilization and Breath of Fire, what games are you playing at the moment, if any?
“Mortal Kombat (mostly online matches), Breath of Fire IV (Yes, I’m playing 2 of them at the same time) and Rise of the Triad.”
Out of all those aforementioned titles, Breath of Fire IV is definitely one I am going to review for the blog in the future. I haven’t yet found time to play it, and It’s been sitting on my shelf ever since I bought it. I actually first heard about the Breath of Fire series after watching Necro’s Gamer’s Encyclopaedia series and the account he gave of the fourth instalment in particular seemed rather interesting to me.
What are your thoughts on the new generation of gaming?
“I’m happy for Sony, they were in a bad position and they managed to pull through and come out stronger. The Xbox brand is in trouble, which is really a shame, as I liked the 360. I think Valve is ready to step in and change the way we think of generations.”
It is indeed good to see Sony back on top in my opinion, as they have visibly made a greater effort with the PlayStation 4 than with previous consoles, and their usual pattern of starting slowly at first and picking up pace later on seems to have changed dramatically to maintaining a massive level of popularity possibly throughout an entire generation. Although the Xbox brand does indeed currently face falling behind the PlayStation 4 consistently in terms of sales unless they don’t release better games than what has been released already, I just hope that Nintendo can stay in the competition. I guess as long as the 3DS continues to sell well and if they keep putting as much effort into the Wii U as possible, they will probably stand a chance. But it would be even more interesting to see Valve, another company that has had its fair share of struggles over the years, to change the face of gaming forever. I think that despite the continued success of the industry, change does need to happen to keep it fresh.
What do you think about the influx of indie games in recent years?
“As an indie game developer I’m obviously all for it. I think aside from the console collapse we’ll be seeing another one, the AAA collapse. AAA games are defined by their cost, they cost huge amounts of money to make, and even the big hits are not all that profitable. A perfect example is Square Enix’s Tomb Raider, they reinvented a franchise, gave us a genuinely good game and sold millions of copies, and then it’s like “Oh sorry, it didn’t hit our sales expectations” The budgets are so high that even after they sell millions they’re disappointed with the returns they’re getting. Indie games don’t face this problem and in a less strong economy, people are going to say, I can pay 60 dollars for a big game that I may or may not like, or I could spin the wheel and get a bunch of cheaper indie titles. The indie market is only going to get stronger.”
I absolutely agree with Necro that the indie gaming market is going to get stronger. As long as indie developers can continue to put out a wide selection of very decent games, people will indeed begin to choose them over the more big-name games that are released every year. I think the problem with a lot of AAA games may be their level of linearity in many cases. An audience of gamers may expect big-budget titles to have open worlds and side quests rather than being treated to games where the main objective is essentially to get from point A to point B; but I guess that’s fundamentally a matter of tastes. Although Tomb Raider wasn’t that much of a standout title from my point of view, the fact is that it was from many other people’s, and it still ended up garnishing an unsatisfactory level of profit from the point of view of Square Enix. Whereas, with indie games, a lot of them are either open world games, or games that can be picked up and played at any time; such as Minecraft or Don’t Starve. Those types of game for me are what make them more appealing than some linear big-name titles, as they offer more depth in gameplay. The way I see it, as long as games like that are put out in great abundance, then the indie scene will continue to grow in popularity.
What would you most like to see happen in the 8th generation? Are there any games you’re looking forward to, in particular?
“I’m excited about Final Fantasy XV and the next thing from Monolith Soft. Other than that I’ve only seen some interesting ideas, not anything that is making me rush out to buy the new consoles.”
The one big-name title that has so far attracted me to get the PlayStation 4 has been InFamous: Second Son. But apart from that, I just hope now that future PlayStation 4 releases in 2014 don’t end up being wastes of both time and money. Games like Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Order 1886 all look interesting, but indeed, looks aren’t everything; It all comes down to how the games play out at the end of the day.
What do you love most about video games?
“The immersion, losing yourself in the experience.”
I think because of that, playing video games is much more engrossing than watching any film or listening to any album. I think the best thing about video games is the sense of being part of the experience; like it’s the players themselves who are saving princesses or shooting aliens etc. However, If done right, the experience that gamers can lose themselves in is indeed nothing short of spectacular.
Reading Necro’s responses to my questions certainly gave me a very interesting insight into the current state of the industry and how things will most likely change in the future, and I want to take the opportunity to personally thank NecroVMX for taking the time out from uploading several YouTube videos this week to answer my questions, and that I hope he enjoys reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. I’d also like to wish him good luck with his channel and hope he has a great amount of success in 2014 and beyond. I’ve definitely enjoyed watching his videos over the past few months, and for anyone who’s interested, there’s a link to his channel below. Series 8 of the VMX Show has not long started, and the second series of the Gamer’s Encyclopedia is planned for release afterwards
That also goes for everyone else reading my articles as well. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.