This is the first of many features dedicated to the games of this generation. Following this, and starting on Monday, each member of the VideoGamer.com team will share their own games of the generation which will be whittled down to just three choices.
Lars Gustavsson, Creative Director, DICE
Having been part of Battlefield from Battlefield 1942, and spending from 1999 until 2002 trying to prove a concept [to which] a really old publisher [would say], 'The market isn't ready. You can't do 64 players. You can't sell a multiplayer game'. To finally have multiplayer during this generation of consoles almost surpassing the narrative-driven in terms of popularity and how it drives gaming in many ways forward, that makes me happy.
I like both experiences and I think it's healthy that they both challenge each other. You hear so much about the connected experience and so on, but it is really playing with your friends. I feel relaxed sitting with my kids at home playing Minecraft split-screen, but now the possibilities are endless. To me, if there's one thing that this generation brought us that was previously almost PC-only, it is that.
Mark Rubin, Executive Producer, Infinity Ward
I have a very specific one. During Call of Duty 4, after launch, the first person we saw to catch on to this was Will Arnett, the actor, [who] went on Late Night Show and started talking about how he plays Call of Duty. Then the next day was the guy from The American Office. He basically came out and goes, 'I saw your show yesterday. I saw Will Arnett talking about Call of Duty, too. We should probably play together.' And literally that same week, another guy came on and said, 'I can't believe he's been playing. He hasn't called me. I play all the time too.'
That was a moment that when you look back it... it was the spark that created what Call of Duty had become. Call of Duty 4 was extremely popular, but it was popular within a realm of gamers, of people who know games. When we had celebrities going out and talking about Call of Duty all of a sudden, it opened the floodgates to people who weren't gamers in the past, who didn't know anything about games. And all of a sudden we had an influx of people who were brought on by this public awareness. Call of Duty 4 had huge numbers - 17 million or something like that.
But then Modern Warfare 2 came out with 27 mill and it was this massive spike up because I believe, in part, that our audience went from just being hardcore gamers - or even gamers in general - to this new group of people. This group of people that became aware of Call of Duty through big name celebrities and sports stars. Football players, baseball players and basketball players would go on ESPN and start talking about how, 'Yeah, we take our Xboxes on the road with us and play Call of Duty.'
For me, that was a turning point and is still a big memory for me.
Jonathan Morin, Creative Director, Ubisoft Montreal
There are two things that I liked a lot during this generation and they're actually the opposite of each other, which is fun! There's been a massive increase in the industry's ability to wrap up a narrative envelope, [and] it's also been something that paid off quite a bit. Games like Uncharted started that quite well, and even what I've seen of GTA 5, it kinda wraps it up and they improved that in their missions. I think it's a nice plus for the industry to have this quality. I think for the next-generation - this know-how plus the new tech - I think we'll be able to do amazing things on that front.
The second part is - regardless of the fact that I just said this envelope is being mastered and is going to help games a lot - I'm extremely happy to have seen two or three games of the year in a row that were pure emergent, systemic games. That wouldn't have happened seven or eight years ago. That spectrum of success pleases me a lot. I'm a big fan of narrative envelope, but from a design standpoint and a player standpoint, I'm a huge fan of emergent gameplay. That's how I build every game I do. So it's great just to see those two and then asking ourselves for the next-generation and what's to come, how can we make both sustain in the same game, not compromising emergence but leveraging this narrative envelope in a nice way. Because it does affect how you play the game. It makes it more immersive when it's well done, and it doesn't have to be shoehorned and pressed like we used to do in the past.
So that's what I like a lot. I like the games that manage to push those two things forward, whether it's Skyrim or Fallout on one side, and on the other side, games like Uncharted, GTA and all of that. It's a nice spectrum of success for the future.
Serkan Hassan, Lead Designer, Ivory Tower
That's a tough one! High points, I think in general the move towards online has had a lot of benefits. There are a few downsides to it, a few things I think we can do better the next time around - all of us that is. But I think that going online and being able to have that connection with other players and being able to evolve the game beyond the playlist is cool.
Things moving always-digital, it's going to happen sooner or later. How many people are buying CDs now? So it's coming along, but I think the move to online was definitely something for the better in general, even though I've suffered my fair share of online abuse. But that's just something we just have to deal with.
Eric Biessman, Creative Director, Raven Software
I think that Xbox Live... that was the beginning of everything. And yeah, when COD 4 hit the streets, that was a huge shift in how games are looked at - those are two major, defining moments.
From a different perspective, the App Store, the amount of quick, small things you can do, has been a pretty powerful thing too. It's a totally different world, it feels like…. you see things like the VR glasses, there are so many cool technologies on the market, I can't wait to see where those go.
Mike Bithell, Thomas Was Alone Creator
For me personally, it was the first Assassin’s Creed, which I bought a HD telly to play on. Saved up for a while, got a HD TV, played Assassin’s Creed, saw that world and that promise of what this generation was going to have. It was quite early on in the generation, but that was the moment where I thought: 'Videogames are going this way'.