In response, Keighley agreed that “we need great new IP/ideas,” but maintained that “there can be great innovation within licensed worlds too.”
Predictably, this was only the start of the debate about innovation in gaming. Thousands of followers weighed in on the issue, with both sides bringing compelling arguments to the table.
“Truer words have never been spoken,” one user replied to Straley. “I am sick and tired of the gaming industry right now. All I see is generic games with no original ideas or risks, remakes and remasters. Where is the originality nowadays??”
To another user, Straley’s comment was “out of touch.” As they pointed out the universally acclaimed The Witcher franchise is, in fact, a licensed IP. Come to think of it, so is CD Projekt Red‘s other big title, Cyberpunk 2077.
A similar argument held that licensed games like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order might serve as effective gateways for newcomers to get into gaming.
And then there was the guy who threw Straley’s retort right back in his face:
Of course, this is not the first time that the issue of innovation in gaming has been hotly debated, nor will it be the last. Many journalists are also tired of the gaming industry’s ever deeper tilt into Hollywood franchises, and vice versa.
It all gestures toward the fact that games are now the biggest entertainment industry on the planet. This means that, at least for the big publishers, money is more important than creativity, a sure sell more tempting than innovation.
Whether they use licensed IPs or create entirely new ones, the triple-A gaming industry in particular clearly needs to try something new. Sadly, when a hefty bottom line combined with minimum effort remain viable options, this is unlikely to happen.
But perhaps, as the culture of gaming continues to evolve, avenues will open for more auteur developers to try something genuinely new and exciting without having to make do with an indie budget. Hey, if Hollywood can do it (through, say, Christopher Nolan), then why not games?