How Much Should Gaming Studios Actually Experiment?

It’s an odd thing to consider because the majority of gaming critics (professional and hobbyist) always give kudos or criticism to new titles for their experimental creativity (or lack of). But, can an over confident development take the ‘fresh ideas’ thing to far? It’s arguably a complicated and subtle issue for gaming studios but one that must be discussed.

When it boils down to it, it’s no secret that most videogames have always had a skeleton that can be placed into one of a few categories. The genre range typically houses sport, third person shooter, first person shooter, action adventure, and side scrolling fighter.

More recently however, the categories have become less and less applicable, and potentially less relevant (we obviously have lots of sub genres now too). With the natural evolution of high quality storytelling, and the credibility of genuinely moving narrative experiences growing rapidly, the old style recipe for good titles is getting some new exotic and complex ingredients.

But character development, clever twists, and intriguing fictions aside; how successful and stable in the long term can games like Heavy Rain be? Perhaps this particular title was well received simply because it stood out from the above mentioned gaming norms? Some would argue that Quantic Dream produced a one-hit-wonder and it should be treated as such and allowed to grow old with dignity. Untouched, as it were, by the sequel treatment.

Considering how many fairly predictable (but enjoyable), ‘regular’, and occasionally innovative titles the industry sees compared to the truly ground breaking, genre destroying video game experiments; it’s obvious that publishers are wary of such fiery original thinking, and in many ways you could argue that we as the gaming audience are too.

Like most things in the world, for us to accept and feel comfortable with something new and different, we have to be introduced gradually to whatever it may be. The transition has to be integrated with what we are already happy with, and melt smoothly into the regular way of things, right? Probably to the extent that we barely even notice it happening.

My question is this: are the more ‘intellectual’ and brave games used more like industry betas and sacrificial experiments for other developers, because when presented in the raw, too many new ideas will get rejected by the gaming audience?

Share your thoughts below folks. Should publishers encourage more fast paced creativity, or stick to what seems to work, and most importantly; sells?