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Software Games

Do Next-Gen Games Have to be 3D? 211

sudnshok asks: "Last week, an article was posted where an EA executive discussed the high cost involved with next-gen game development. While I agree that sports games do benefit from a high-resolution 3D environment, do all games have to be developed that way? Why can't game companies develop 2D games for these systems? I would assume the development cost would be much lower. As a gamer who grew up on the NES, I'd love to see a new 2D side-scrolling installment of Castlevania or Zelda. I'm curious if other gamers would buy 2D games for next-gen systems."
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Do Next-Gen Games Have to be 3D?

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  • Cloning Clyde (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tgd ( 2822 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:30AM (#17234648)
    Cloning Clyde (in the XBox 360 Marketplace) is a blast, a great side scrolling platform game. I wouldn't call it 2-D in the Super Mario Brothers sense... its sort of 2.5D. You're definitely looking at narrow depth 3-D space, but you can only move in 2-D.

    Its got good 2-player action, too!

    I think the XBLA games are good proof that you can have a lot of fun HD next-gen gaming without 1st or 3rd person 3D photorealistic mega-rendering.
  • Metroid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grey Ninja ( 739021 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:30AM (#17234650) Homepage Journal
    I'm still waiting for the promised 2D Metroid for NDS. Or better yet, 2.5D, as is the case of the New Super Mario Bros.

    Of course there's still a market for sidescrollers. The New SMB proved that quite well with astounding sales. The problem is that most developers are completely stuck on 3D graphics still. You know, in some ways 3D graphics are a bit easier than 2D though. With 3D, you have to create models, animations, and textures. With 2D, you have to hand draw each and every frame. It seems like a bit more work to me.

    But the programming side of a 2D game is MUCH MUCH less strenuous.
    • With 3D, you have to create models, animations, and textures. With 2D, you have to hand draw each and every frame.

      With Donkey Kong Country style 2D using prerendered 3D cels, you have to create comparatively low-detail models with low-detail textures, as they won't be seen close.

      But the programming side of a 2D game is MUCH MUCH less strenuous.

      Unless the programming department blocks on the marketing department's negotiations with the console maker's approval department when the console maker wants to focus on games using real-time perspective projection of 3D models (as has been the case for Sony since the original PlayStation).

    • With 3D, you have to create models, animations, and textures. With 2D, you have to hand draw each and every frame. It seems like a bit more work to me.

      Developers always have the option of creating the characters as 3D models, and then prerendering them as sprite animations, as has often been done since Donkey Kong Country on the SNES.
  • Simple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TodMinuit ( 1026042 ) <todminuit@gmail. c o m> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:31AM (#17234654)
    Most people won't pay $60 for a 2D game.
    • Maybe, but I personnaly won't play most 3D games currently produced even if I didn't have to pay for them, they're just not entertaining.
      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

        by thc69 ( 98798 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:13AM (#17235022) Homepage Journal
        It's hard to feel entertained when I feel I guess I could say the 3d games aren't entertaining for me, either.
      • Yes, but in general you have to deal with what they can market. These companies sell a LOT of these stupid little games every year to younger kids and people who need the latest eye candy (heck I like eye candy too). That's what they make money off of.

        What I have just resolved myself to doing, is only playing a very limited number of games. Out of the bazillion and a half games that come out each year, I buy and play about 3. No more than 5 if there's some really good ones that come out. Generally I re
    • by splutty ( 43475 )
      The whole point of this was the question whether it wouldn't be *cheaper* to develop 2D games (I'd like an Aleste/Zanex/R-type kind of game), thus actually reducing costs, thus actually making it cost *less* than $60.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        thus actually reducing costs, thus actually making it cost *less* than $60.

        For entertainment companies in general, reducing costs is a way of increasing profits, not decreasing the retail price.
    • Most people won't pay $60 for a 2D game.

      It also begs the question of whether they would feel cheated if they were playing 2D after spending $600 for their game console.

      I really like Loco Roco on my PSP, even though it's not using all the capabilities of the machine. It's fresh, and that's not easy to do these days. But if the majority of games I played were 2D, I'd feel like it was a waste to buy the PSP. I think the guys buying Xbox 360s and PS3s might really enjoy a small number of 2D games, but they'd

      • "But, ironically, that new controller is so well suited for 3D space that I'd be surprised if anyone even tried to do a 2D game."

        Yes, but the new controller also turns sideways and make an excellent NES-style controller.

        If that's not enough, there is that whole "classic" controller thing.

        I personally would LOVE to see a huge spike in popularity of 2D games. The hardware is even will suited for handling the task, and has a lot to offer a 2D game. Scaling and rotation would be a breeze for modern hardware,
        • I personally would LOVE to see a huge spike in popularity of 2D games. The hardware is even will suited for handling the task, and has a lot to offer a 2D game. Scaling and rotation would be a breeze for modern hardware, transparency is a piece of cake, sprites aren't limited to any specific number. There's no practical limit to the number of colors on screen. Unlimited levels of parallax are easily realized. The list goes on.

          this was the case with The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure...or whatever i

        • Wasn't all that actually the case with the gamecube or PS2? Do we need a PS3, Xbox or Wii to accomplish it?

          I'm not saying it's some kind of crime to release games that don't use everything your console can muster, I'm just saying that it's not neccessary. I have a 1.4 Ghz PC running Win98 that I use to play quite a few of my favorite games and the only reason I ever upgraded was because I needed more power for my the more recent ones. In other words, I use next gen hardware for next gen tasks. If you're
    • Viewtiful Joe... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trdrstv ( 986999 )
      Most people won't pay $60 for a 2D game.

      Maybe. But Viewtiful Joe came out for $40 and sold pretty well on the Gamecube. (Awsome game BTW)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CDPatten ( 907182 )
      You really missed the point here.

      Development costs would be much cheaper and the game wouldn't have to be $60.

      That said, I'm not sure you have any reason to make such a bold statement. If the game play was really good than people would buy the game...

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:58AM (#17235520) Homepage
      Do you think any fewer people would have bought Guitar Hero or the latest Dance Dance Revolution if they had the occasional 2D dancing character in the background instead of the occasional 3D dancing character in the background? GH probably has the fret markers come at you in 3D but they could have done it in 2D just as well. I doubt it would have taken anything away from the game.

      One game genre that I genuinely miss having in 2D is the fighting game. Most of them have moved to 3D and IMO most of them were better left in 2D. I miss cool fighters like the older Mortal Kombats, Killer Instinct, Primal Rage, etc. Capcom and SNK still make some in 2D but I've never been that big of a fan of their fighting franchises.

      I believe it's foolish to think that all games have to be in 3D today, I definitely think that certain game types lend themselves to being either 2D or 3D, some of the worst games IMO are those that are better suited to 2D but were squeezed into a 3D framework... just because. Worms, Lemmings, Frogger, Mortal Kombat, Sonic, etc. Some games handled the transition well (like Mario) other's didn't (like Worms). Not everything needs to be bigger and better, some things can do well just being fun and I think they would still sell well on that premise rather then one based on 3D graphics.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Thraxen ( 455388 )
        Hell, no. Games don't have to be 3D. The Castlevania games on the DS are pure gaming nirvana and Symphony of the Night (PSX) is considered one of the best games of the PSX era. I would LOVE to see similar games in full HD glory on a modern system and would gladly hand over my cash for them. Sadly, it seems like the DS has become that last bastion of 2D gaming and that SUCKS (not that the DS sucks, I love that system... just that it's a shame that 2D games are shunned on the modern systems).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by _iris ( 92554 )
        Development costs would eventually be lower, but the initial costs would be much higher.

        * There are costs involved with creating new content tools. Most studios develop new features for their tools to match the new hardware capabilities, but creating good 2D tools that allow creation with real-time preview is harder than you'd imagine. 3D space lends itself to intuitive controls and an abundance of places to put control points.

        * Dinding developers and especially artists who want and/or understand how to fin
      • by peterpi ( 585134 )
        Do you think any fewer people would have bought Guitar Hero or the latest Dance Dance Revolution if they had the occasional 2D dancing character in the background instead of the occasional 3D dancing character in the background?

        Yes, absolutely.
    • Ha, I'd pay $50 for those 5 Metal Slug games!
    • A 2D game would sell for $20 and give as much profits as an expensive 3D game, because it would cost hundreds instead of millions to develop.
  • First, the only Zelda game I can remember with any side-scrolling elements was Zelda-2 for NES.

    Now my opinion, one of my favorite game series of all time (Mega Man / X) was 2D. I would love to see another version in the future, though I doubt it would live up to some of the best games of the series (My fav being MMX2)

    I do think 2D graphics are basically up to indie developers now though as there is basically too much hype behind 3D. The consumer market would probably almost immediately reject it just becaus
  • buy a DS. 'Nuff said.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ProppaT ( 557551 )
      Yes, there's plenty of 2D games on the DS, but I sympathize with the original point. You could do some drop dead gorgeous hand painted games in 1080i. There's so much more detail that could be squeezed into games.

      Personally, I'm holing out for a true sequel to Symphony of the Night, fully hand painted, in 2d. 3D effects, sure. Maybe even 3D medusa heads and bats.

      When I play games, I play to escape reality...not look at something that tries to mimick it. If I want reality I can go outside. I'd really l
      • Yes, there's plenty of 2D games on the DS, but I sympathize with the original point. You could do some drop dead gorgeous hand painted games in 1080i. There's so much more detail that could be squeezed into games.

        That's the problem: you'd have to handpaint every single graphic in the game. It would take years and years to do. A side benefit of 3D is that it makes complicated graphics very simple. Make a shape, put a texture on it, let all the fancy algorithms do the rest.

  • Why 2d for the next gen consoles?

    Pretty much everything could do a 2d game today, but gamers don't want them.

    Go to yahoo games and see the large amount of simple 2d games available. I don't see people paying big money for them, although I did enjoy Zuma.
    • by Duds ( 100634 ) * <> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:56AM (#17234830) Homepage Journal
      There's plenty of 2d doing very well on XBLA.

      Geometary Wars and the massively superb Assault Force for example.
    • "Pretty much everything could do a 2d game today, but gamers don't want them."

      That is a huge load of crap, 3D was forced on gamers from the PS1 era. Many 2D games survived on the PS1 platform (i.e. fighting games, Streetfighter 2 comes to mind).

      If gamers don't want 2D games then you have to blame the developers that shoved 3D games down our throats, after all they are paradoxically in control of what games get released. I don't think 'the market' can be blamed, it was more a problem with game dev's and pu
  • Look no further.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:40AM (#17234724)
    The handheld market is still chock-full of 2D games, including the new installments of Castlevania and the like that you seem to be after. It's a helluva lot cheaper and doesn't waste the 3 gigahertz processors and state of the art GPUs the home consoles are built with nowadays. Buy a Nintendo DS and you are guaranteed access to a couple hundred good 2D games (counting that the machine plays GBA games as well). Looking at handheld console sales, it's a golden age right now for these machines - the DS is selling better than just about everything else, and even the underdog PSP has sold more machines than the original Xbox by now. Bottom line: there's just no point in spending $250-600 on a new system to make games with graphics the same as a $40 SNES.

    That's not to say that there aren't those games such as the Xbox Live Arcade hits that aren't in 2D, but for the most part that's just a bonus feature, and not the reason the system is selling. Chances are if it's a retail game and it's 2D it's going to be handheld. And that's okay.
  • 2D more expensive? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cHALiTO ( 101461 ) <> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:42AM (#17234734) Homepage
    As I learned in this [] discussion, apparently it's cheaper to do a game with 3d models than to actually do it in 2d with decent animation and artwork (at least for a graphic adventure.. but I guess It'd be the same for a platform game).

    A Shame, really. When Street Fighter 3 came out I was really happy to see it wasn't some 3d-shit like virtua fighter (which I dislike.. a lot), and the animations clearly take advantage of the updated hardware.

    Can any game developers confirm this?
    • by miyako ( 632510 )
      The solution to that problem, as some other posters have mentioned, are games like New Super Mario Bro's. which use 3D graphics to create a 2D game.
      I think New SMB showed that there is a lot that can be done with 2D gameplay using the power of the new systems (of course, NSMB is for the DS, but the DS is quite a bit more powerful than the SNES was) and it also enable companies to take advantage of the ease of working with 3D.
      I agree that well animated 2D games can be absolutely beautiful (along with the a
    • by donaldm ( 919619 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:44AM (#17235342)
      The costs associated with developing a game are getting more expensive because most modern games are getting to the stage were they require a Hollywood style budget. I think gone are the days when you could get a few programmers together and churn out a simple innovative game that would sell well. Now you have to think storyline, concept artists, modelers (both physical and digital), testers, managers, continuity, level designers, actors (voice and motion capture), ..... the list goes on. If gaming houses don't adopt the above strategy then the game will most likely be bad or mediocre at best resulting in poor sales and this affects the company.

      I could not say if 2D games are more expensive to produce than 3D games but once you take all the costs into consideration then there probably would not be much of a difference.

      Like it or not the current trend of gaming is 3D and that is were the money is. It is no good saying "Microsoft or Nintendo or Sony prefers/forces the developer to design 3D games" these companies are not saying this to to be domineering they are saying this so the developer will make a game that will sell on their console and a game that sells means more revenue for said console supplier.

      I still have nostalgia for some 2D games going back to the NES days but those days are over although it may be possible that some interesting 2D games can come from home-brew developers but ask yourself "would you pay for them?" and there in lies the dilemma.
    • As I learned in this [] discussion, apparently it's cheaper to do a game with 3d models than to actually do it in 2d with decent animation and artwork

      I'm not sure about games, but I've heard a reason why Disney has dumped its 2D animations houses is because 3D is cheaper for them due to it not requiring houses of Korean workers to do frame by frame by hand but have the models created in 3d and teams of animators move the model.

      Or at least it makes script changes easier for them... I haven't b
  • good-game-play-does-not-need-a-z-axis

    I beg to differ. I miss my jet pack [].
  • Better question... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AlXtreme ( 223728 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:52AM (#17234806) Homepage Journal
    Do games have to be 'next-gen' to be fun?

    The geek in me wants next-gen, 3D HDMI-enabled toys. However, yesterday the misses and I pulled out Super Mario 3 for an evening of retro-gaming, and it was a blast. Great graphics, 3D gaming on a HDTV are great to impress your friends, but this dinosaur craves for the simple fun games you can play together for a few hours and be done with them.

    Now get off my lawn!
    • by cliffski ( 65094 )
      You are not a dinosaur, your just not seduced by the whizz bang flash of modern games. Good for you. I like some whizz-bang myself, but only on top of a decent, deep, well designed game. Sadly this is rarer and rarer. Oblivion was a good example of balancing the two.
      Generally, I prefer 2D games, more thought and care seems to go into them, and they tend to be more niche games, which I enjoy.
      And as a developer, I can assure you there *is* a market for 2D games, despite what the marketing droids and l33t k1dd
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @10:03AM (#17235576)

      Of course games don't have to be next-gen to be fun.

      My two favourite games of all time, both first time through and for replay value, are still the Baldurs Gate series and Total Annihilation. In the several years since these were released, I've encountered no RPG with better plot/characters, and no RTS that was better for all-out action combined with genuine strategy.

      My other half is a big fan of puzzle games. She has spent many hours enjoying the games from PopCap [], and spent more money buying the full versions of her favourites from them than on any trendy 3D FPS.

      Sure, funky 3D graphics and a rocking soundtrack can make some games more atmospheric. It's not like there's much comparison between Gears of War and Wolfenstein 3D (or perhaps more fairly, Quake) in the presentation department. But much as I have enjoyed many FPS games over the years, the gameplay is still pretty close to the original Wolf3D/Doom/Quake model that popularised the genre all those years ago, even if I can now use different weapon types, lob grenades with my other hand, and drive vehicles.

      Where I personally find the gaming experience lacking is on-line competition/collaboration. Many games I've played are no doubt much more satisfying against real people, but IME pretty much all of the on-line services suck if you're not in the US (lag issues) or not willing to spend silly amounts of time waiting around for an opponent. The only games I've ever played on-line for long and truly enjoyed were Quake and Quake II in my university days, when there was an active student population and getting a good deathmatch game going was easy. For TA, it was too hard to find an opponent of a similar skill level and to set aside an hour or two for a good game. For Neverwinter Nights, I never even worked out what on-line facilities were available, as I'd lost interest because of poor single-player. Lots of people seem to enjoy things like World of Warcraft (and I notice they've been running ads for it on TV here in the UK in the run up to Christmas), but I also hear a lot about powergamers who can arbitrarily spoil it, which puts me off trying it given the cost involved.

      Of course, my system is a little long in the tooth now -- it's about time to build a new ueber-PC but I haven't got around to it yet -- so I'm not running much from within the last year or two. Do the latest "next gen" games have good player-matching for on-line competition as well as the snazzy graphics? If they do, then maybe next gen games are the future after all. :-)

  • by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:54AM (#17234826) Journal
    ...most people do expect it though. I would say that it is highly possible to make great 2D games, or more old-style games with some 3D elements. Take Ikiruga (I might have spelt that wrong), a great game with primarily a 2D action mode, or Paper Mario (if you can get hold of that I'd recomend it). These are "last gen" of course, but they do show well that even in a situation where people expect 3D you can still give 2 and have people happy.

    If they make it, and make it well, people will buy it. Sure some ass-hats might not buy it because they think "it doesn't look good so it can't be fun" - but sod 'em.
    • by The-Bus ( 138060 )
      Well, there's certainly a lot of games on the next-gen consoles' download stores that (new or old) are 2D. And the next Paper Mario installment on the Wii is going to remain 2D and it looks gorgeous [].

      In general, handhelds and download stores are going to be the easiest way to get your 2D gaming fix, and do it for $5-$30, not $40-$60.
  • by reflector ( 62643 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:56AM (#17234832)
    good gameplay is what counts in a game, for me at least.

    something like civilization with GOOD AI opponents and simple 2D graphics would be much better than flashy graphics and weak gameplay.

    even something like nethack with ASCII graphics is still very playable.

    • by cliffski ( 65094 )
      civ is a great example of a good game spoiled by an obsession with making it as 3D looking as possible.
      its a 2D game design. Don't be so ashamed of that. Adding a 3D animated 'virtual sid' put me off buying the latest one. Pure techy willy-waving, and a map that was actually HARDER to use.
      • Civ 4 is the *wrong* example of how going 3d is bad. It's heads and shoulders above any previous version of Civ, and I've owned them all (even that non-Sid version that had future tech). The map takes a little getting used to, but not that much, and in the end is actually *more* useful, IMO, than Civ 3's map. Especially when you zoom out and use the strategic layers.

        No, Civ 4 *oozes* gameplay. Sure, 3d virtual Sid is painful to watch (and listen to), but he's only in the tutorial.
        • by cliffski ( 65094 )
          I'm not saying the gameoplay is bad, but the extra 3d whizz-bangness added nothing. Except system requirements shot up, and no doubt laoding times did too. Wahey for progress.
    • Agreed, gameplay is more important than graphics...however, I'm a virtual fossil.

      So many gamers have grown up playing 3D games that the simplicity and efficiency of a 2D game doesn't excite them, it's not where the market has taken gamers because it's comical to model "breast jiggle" in a 2D game. And most people are too uptight to laugh and still be turned on (it's probably just an American thing).

      So many people would be happy if $omeone would take Mr. Philip Price by the hand and explain how "Alternate Re
  • ... You might want to rethink that. Last time around, it didn't go down too well. All the other 2-D Zeldas are top down.

    Personally I loved Zelda II, but most people didn't. And even I would be loath to play another game like it. It was so utterly evil. Even many years later, playing through the Water Temple in Ocarina, it affected me badly. Shadow Link. Oh God. The memories are coming back! I was slashed to pieces repeatedly because I was simply too terrified to make a fight of it. Ended up tanking up on

  • by Schraegstrichpunkt ( 931443 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:01AM (#17234886) Homepage
    ... but 2D games don't sell next-gen consoles.
  • (This should have been a poll as well.)

    3D games like first person shooters and strategy games have their place, but I have a place in my heart for 2D puzzle games, like Marble Drop or Lemmings. I'd like to see more of them, and more sophisticated ones. (Of course, I prefer Quake 2 to anything newer because the shinier graphics in the newer ones--especially Quake 3--are actually distracting.)

  • If you are desperate for modern 2D Zelda titles, get a handheld console. However, for living room consoles, "Ocarina of Time" has shown that, if there is such a thing as a perfect Zelda game it probably has to be 3D. There are games that are just meant to be 2D, but Zelda is not among them.
  • Is it technically feasible?

    Yes, an Xbox 360 or PS3 won't PREVENT you from writing a 3D game.

    Is it feasible in a business sense?

    No, nobody's going to buy the damned thing. The last 2D game I saw on a home (non-portable) console was Metal Slug 3. I don't know how well it sold, but I only saw it in stores for a couple of months... and of course it was like 80% a port from another platform anyway. Writing a 2D game from scratch is not feasible from a business perspective.
    • Writing a 2D game from scratch is not feasible from a business perspective.

      Probably not as a boxed retail game, no. But XBox Live Arcade has many popular 2d games. They're priced much lower of course, and I think the fact that every XBLA game has a demo really helps sell them.

      The Virtual Console seems to be doing well with classic games and there's no reason original games can't be introduced there. Sony is also doing something very similar to XBLA from what I've seen.

      I think the real answer is "No,

    • What about Viewtiful Joe and Four Swords Adventures? VJ did use 3D graphics, but the gameplay was 2D (I guess you could call it 2.5D). FSA was 2D all the way...the graphics were like Link to the Past on steroids combined with the enemy death and bomb explosion animations from Wind Waker. It was a great game...I played it all the way through by myself using a GBA, and it's rather long.
  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:38AM (#17235286)
    You have to draw a distinction between what you mean by "Do next-gen games have to be 3D?", do you mean "Do next-gen games have to use a 3D engine?" or do you mean "Do next-gen games have to play in 3D".

    In the first case I'd say yes, next-gen games should always be built in a 3D engine, there's simply no reason to do otherwise, you can offer far more animations, a near infinite amount if you include rag-doll physics in your game than you ever could draw each object frame by frame.

    In the second case, what this means is whilst your game is 3D, your gameplay doesn't have to be. Anyone who's ever played Cloning Clyde or Assault Heroes on the 360 knows what I mean - these games play from a side scrolling or above scrolling perspective like the games of old however they are entirely 3D.

    To answer the question, there's little point not building a game in a 3D engine, it really offers little benefit not to in 99% of games however there's still plenty of room for 2D gameplay in a 3D world.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Back in the early days of 3D, everyone predicted the end of 2D side-scrollers. Who knew the best game for the PS1 would be a 2D side-scroller? And it's being released in HD on the XBOX 360.
  • Why stop at 3D? I think next gen games should be played on line printers using the postal system for turn based gaming.
  • I'd love to see a new 2D side-scrolling installment of Castlevania or Zelda

    Well, if you consider the DS to be the next gen of portable gaming (the PSP being the portable's space Jaguar), then you will find your 2D Zeldas and Castlevanias in there, looking better than ever.
  • by slapout ( 93640 )
    I for one miss the old school 2d scrollers.
  • A lot of developers somehow feel compelled to make games 3D even if they don't work in 3D, for example Castlevania. A clip from this review of 3D Castlevania [] says a lot about the problem:

    The real problem with Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is that Konami tried to do too much, too soon: they pushed for another 3D game before they figured out how to it right. Everything that made Castlevania a popular franchise--the platforming in the older games combined with the intricate detail and endless exploration
  • clay animation rocks. Of course it is easier to render in 3d...
  • by KlausBreuer ( 105581 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @11:29AM (#17237080) Homepage
    Remember the game "Settlers II"? Glorious 2D, great fun.
    Since the follow-ups (Settlers III and IV) simply flopped, they now re-created Settlers II. In 3D.

    Sure the graphics look nice - but suddenly, you don't have the overview anymore. 3D means that you *don't* see everything, that this path there is hidden by the nicely detailed 3D trees, that you keep having to rotate around... nice being able to zoom in, but WHAT FOR?

    Some game concepts work well in 3D. Others simply work better in 2D.
  • The cost of developing next-gen titles is mostly due to the game industry's inefficient development model. Every game company I have ever worked at has re-invented the wheel over and over and over and over and over again for every project. Even if you use middleware for some things which most companies do now, you have to keep re-writing AI and gameplay systems and keep re-creating art assets from scratch. There is very little re-use from my experience. Even multiple divisions within the same company will r
  • What you buy a thing for and what you use it for are two different animals.

    Computer games are used by gamers to achieve flow: a timeless state of mind some use drugs or a multi-year course of hard core religious mysticism to achieve. It seems to me that for this purpose graphical refinement are neither here nor there; they may help a bit they may hurt a bit, but theyu aren't even necessary.

    However, it's quite possible to buy a game because it looks really cool, or owning a console with amazing 3D capabilit
  • The DirectDraw API? Those were the days...the days when 2D programming was actually easier than 3D. Heck, if it weren't for SDL there might not *be* a decent 2D api.
  • Developing a nice-looking, hi-res raster 2D game isn't likely to be any cheaper than 3D. There's still a tremendous amount of content that has to be drawn and tweaked, frame by frame. At HD resolutions, it needs a hell of a lot more detail to look good--maybe not so much for kids games, but adults likely won't be happy with a bland, flat 2D game--than it ever did at 320x240, which adds up to a lot of time spent detailing sprites.

    A vector based 2D game could be done at a lower cost than traditional sprites,
  • In some cases I'd argue 2D games are superior than 3D games. Excluding truly old games, 2D in general ages much better than 3D. NES games, and especially anything produced since then generally still looks good today whereas PS1 and even many PS2-era games look severely outdated. I suppose it's a consequence of how much 3D has evolved but I also think it's that there is a general lack of style to 3D.

    In 2D creativity is required to properly depict a character or environment. And because it's closer to a carto
  • Personally, I don't think so. Look at the success of Icewind Dale or Baldur's Gate for how well done and engrossing a 2d game can be.

    HOWEVER...I think that you have to separate the tech from the game.

    The constant drive to improve render speeds, add polygons, always pushing for ever-faster, ever more expensive hardware? That's little more than phallus-comparison-by proxy, since current 3d games are plenty realistic enough to convey just about any experience visually. Would games get MORE realistic with dy
  • Real, "classic" 2D games require way too much time because of the sprites animation. Let's not forget that these games can be incredibly impressive (most SNK games), but there's always the "Donkey Kong Country" way (3D renders turned into sprites for a 2D game) and the 2.5D way, where you move in a 3D world but only in two directions at once. Think Einhänder on the PS1, New Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo DS, etc.

    Being that all dev kits are now probably aimed at making 3D games, I guess 2.5D games are
  • The problem with the original post/article is that it asks the wrong question.

    3D games, in and of themselves, are not inherently more expensive to produce than 2D games. The reason modern 3D games are getting so expensive is that they're doing their best to be *realistic*, in terms of photographic quality, physics, and (usually) story. *That* is where the time and money is spent.

    I've played some damn good "cartoony" 3D games in my day that cost a hell of a lot less to make than today's photorealistic Doom c
  • Current gen games are 3D. Last gen games were 2D. It's obvious where the future is heading.
  • We are talking about the XBox 720 and PS4, right?

    Why not ask this about current gen?

  • Longer answer: A game doesn't have to be glitzy to be fun, but frankly fun isn't the only thing that sells video games. Hype and eye candy do that. How many of us have at some point in our lives bought a game based on a screenshot on the back of a box and ended up being totally robbed by the experience?

  • If you want to play new 2d Castlevania games, pick up a Nintendo DS. Portal of Ruin is great. It even has a cool co-op over internet mode.

    Dawn of Sorrow was good too. You'll also be able to play the GBA Castlevania games (I think there was 3, with Aria of Sorrow being my favorite).

    There's also Zelda games available like Minish Cap and 4 swords - as well as a port of Link to the Past. 2d gaming is alive and well on handhelds.
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin was released a couple weeks ago on the DS and is a fantastic 2d game, plays just like Symphony of the Night on the playstation 1 and is worth every penny ($35).

    Also note that within a week or two Metal Slug Anthology will be released on the Nintendo Wii. While not next-gen it certainly is fun, and will feature something like six different control schemes utilizing the Wiimote.

    By the way, assuming by 2D you mean 2D control, not 2D graphics only, I like to point at Smash Brother

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