Developer Blog open-comments

Open Comments Day, Unique Games Edition

Posted by Alex Jordan on

Hey, readers of my blog!

Yes, all three of you.

I have a question for you that I'd like your opinions and answers on, which can be added to the Comments section of this post. Hopefully, we can spark a discussion on a subject that's been bugging me for a bit:

"What games have been released in the past 5 or 6 years that are very unique?"

Additional info: Bonus points are added for games that are Unique and Critical Successes. Even more bonus points if the game is Unique, a Critical Success, and a Financial Success (lots of sales). Games in question should be pegged to the current generation of game consoles (Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3) as well as PC releases that came out during the same timeframe.

Background: In the past decade and change, movie studios have learned to maximize their revenue amid dwindling box office returns by over-relying on conventional genre pieces. Furthermore, studios are pretty good at identifying films likely to underperform and burying the film's release (and slashing its ad budget) appropriately, so that the days of major box office bombs (like, say, Waterworld) are actually long gone.

I'd say the video game industry is adopting the same tactics, especially since gamers are even more fickle about what they'll spend $50 or $60 on (rather than a $12 movie ticket). Also, this generation of hardware was incredibly expensive for Microsoft and Sony, who both lost millions of dollars on the Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively and need to recoup it with safe, predictable software sales.

Because of this, I tend to think mainstream developers and publishers are obsessed with playing it safe, retreading well-worn paths that they know gamers will reward them for. So I'm really interested in seeing if anyone has broken this mold in the past half decade and actually made money doing it.

And if we can only think to answer with indie games, then hey, so be it.