Trying to figure out what makes certain PlayStation 3 games successful compared to others is like trying to understand why some families are happy and well-adjusted while others are dysfunctional and miserable.
Well, the good news is that there is a pattern that anybody can figure out. While this pattern doesn’t automatically predict that a game title or series will be a hit and make a lot of money, these are good indicators for success.
The following is a summary of the different game design features found in some of the hottest-selling PlayStation 3 games to date.
Whether you’re working with a large game world or a fairly limited one, one of the keys to successful PlayStation 3 games is their ability to engage and draw in the player to an alternate reality.
Some game worlds are simulations of the real world. For example, the Grand Theft Auto series simulates American cities and the inner social dynamics of urban living.
But within this simulation, certain elements are played up. So, people can’t help but lock into this open world that seems so familiar yet tantalizingly alien at the same time.
This is an open world that you can freely roam, and you can see traces of the world that you can recognize out there but in an exaggerated and stylized version.
This is very addictive because let’s face it, we live in a modern world where there are lots of things that we cannot explain, much less control. It’s as if we are watching a movie where we have absolutely no feedback.
Sure, we can take action and when we make certain decisions, it has consequences. But, in the large scheme of things, it’s very easy for the modern individual to feel lost and voiceless.
Well, when you see all of that play out in the Grand Theft Auto series, you regain a sense of control, while at the same time the game retains the largeness of real-world living.
And this tension between the ability to control what you see on the screen and set your own path among the different storyline variations based on countless decision trees triggers a psychological response that makes people feel empowered, adventurous, and engaged all at the same time.
It’s as if the tremendous amount of freedom that you have to shape this experience that you’re going through is a welcome break. In fact, in many cases, it’s almost addictive.
Unlike watching a movie where you are just basically held hostage by the screenwriter, actors, and the directors who spoon feed you the plotline and the action based on their agenda, you call the shots when you play an open-world immersive game.
Now, just because it’s open-world and there’s a lot of action and adventure elements there, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work. The reason why the Grand Theft Auto series is so powerful and popular is that they have gotten the open-world dynamics under control.
You can see the formula play out with almost meticulous precision, and it all comes together beautifully.
Other publishing houses do a much lousier job. Things are very clunky. You can tell that this is a simulation, and things are so exaggerated that you can’t take the game world seriously.
Grand Theft Auto skillfully walks the tightrope between exaggerating certain elements of your day-to-day lived experience, while at the same time maximizing the accuracy of its simulated real world.
It is this balance that makes this title so compelling, and many other successful video games pull this off with varying degrees of success.
But if you are looking for one of the key reasons why certain PlayStation 3 games take off while others fall flat, look for this skillful approach to an immersive user experience.
One of the most powerful games that caught a lot of people’s attention is the Uncharted series. This action-adventure game enabled people to compete with each other with multiplayer options. This game is packed with a lot of character development and interweaving plot lines.
Not only is open-world game immersion important when it comes to physical details, but to truly get to the user’s mindset and enable that person to fully inhabit the simulated game world he or she is in, character development has to be in play.
And what’s fascinating about the whole Uncharted series is that there is a smooth approach to personality and character development that ensures likeability, familiarity, and the willingness to explore the game world through the unique eyes of the different characters in the game.
Play, Create, and Share
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you play the game and mastered it to a point where you can create your own subgame using the content creation infrastructure available within the game?
LittleBigPlanet enables you to do that.
There are other game titles that really pique, engage, and challenge players’ interests, not only in playing the game as it shipped but also to change different elements and mix things up as well as slice and dice different features so they can come up with their unique experience.
Not only do you get to enjoy your own creation by using the game to play the module that you have made, but you can also share it so you can get people to see how much of a game creation genius you are.
It’s not a surprise that platforms that allow users to become “developers” as they play, create, and share become quite successful.
For example, Roblox is such a big hit because not only do people play the main game platform, but it enables you to make subgames — each with its own community.
The possibilities are definitely endless, and it’s no surprise that this feature helps explain why certain PlayStation 3 games are more successful than others.
The funny thing about modern video games like Call of Duty and other highly interactive titles is that they provide a “box” where people are encouraged to interact.
But, within this framework, the real entertainment — if you want to call it that — is how people get along or not get along with each other. This is what draws people to certain PlayStation 3 games while avoiding others like a plague.
You want the game that enables you to create and break social bonds, and this type of community can be quite infectious.
The reason why so many people are addicted to Call of Duty is not so much the first-person shooter dynamics of that game. Let’s be honest.
When it comes to just shooting at targets and interacting with a team, you can find that in a wide range of other games out there. This is not exactly new or is it rocket science.
What makes the COD series so compelling, at least as far as PlayStation 3 games are concerned, is because of the community that has organically grown around this title. This is what truly entertains people.
It’s the community — the banter, the out-of-this-world personalities, and what have you — that keep drawing people back to the game.