Veteran games developer John Romero has said clones of popular indie hits are hindering the rise of new genres that could expand the games industry.
Using one of his personal favourites – smash hit construction title Minecraft – as an example, the id Software co-founder and designer of Doom said copycats should be looking at how they can build on the foundations of the games they’re copying, rather than simply trying to cash in on the original’s popularity.
“If people take the lessons of Minecraft, if some brilliant designers take the idea of creation, the playing environment and all those things that just happen naturally, think about what the next version of that could be and start to refine it, they’ll take the idea to something that becomes a real genre,” he told MCV @ Gamescom.
“Minecraft would be seen as the beginning of that genre – the Wolfenstein of the creation game genre – but we have to have plenty of people push that genre forward, not just make clones of it for a quick buck.
“People need to take the design elements that make Minecraft great and push them to the next level. That’s the kind of thinking that indie devs can do, and are doing, but some people are still trying to rip it off.”
He went on to say that new genres such as these could rival the usual blockbusters in both sales and impact, with far less investment, as the success of Minecraft has already indicated.
“Minecraft has made about the same money as Call of Duty with hardly any marketing,” Romero commented.
“Just because a game is big and makes a bunch of money really quickly; that’s really a testament to the marketing department and not necessarily the quality of the game.”