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Home » History of videogames » How to make the perfect video game

How to make the perfect video game

by Hypable Staff

Making a perfect video game can be tough. However, according to the boss of Crytek, Cevat Yerli, “graphics make 60% of [a] game.” We’re here to prove him wrong.

His company’s franchise Crysis is well known for its astonishing graphical capabilities. However, here at Hypable, we disagree that graphics are quite as important as Yerli makes them out to be.

Yerli spoke to X360 Magazine, stating that, “The better the graphics, the better the physics, the better the sound design, the better the technical assets and production values are – paired with the art direction, making things look spectacular and stylistic is 60 percent of the game.”

Okay, so let’s take a step back and appreciate that he actually said that art style, sound, and graphics make up to 60% of a game. What about the other 40%? Story? Innovation? Actual gameplay mechanics?

We’ve decided to take on the task of assigning percentages to five different aspects of game design: 1. Gameplay 2. Audio 3. Presentation (including art style and UI) 4. Story 5. Graphics

This is Hypable’s highly scientific formula for our perfect video game.

Gameplay – 25%

At their core, video games operate as a medium for players to do things they’d never be able to do in the real world. Therefore, if the gameplay isn’t up to par, it is often a hard criticism to overlook.

One of the most gorgeous games on the PlayStation 2 is Tomb Raider: Legend. However, it rarely varies its gameplay, lulling players to sleep as zombie leopards in underground caverns attack them.

On the other side of the coin, nearly every Mario game follows the same exact plot formula. However, the gameplay of each new game in the Super Mario 2D sidescrolling series continues to reinvent itself game after game.

If the controls of a video game feel awkward, or its not fun to get from point A to B, most players will toss aside the game. Gameplay is one of the most vital parts of a video game’s composition.

Audio – 25%

Nearly all of our favorite games have fantastic music. Hearing video game music after years away from a game can take you back to that world instantly – try listening to Peaceful Waters or one of the battle themes from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind; silt striders and cliff racers immediately spring into your mind. Bastion’s trip-hop acoustic Asian/western influenced soundtrack rightly has praise heaped upon it, while Sword Sworcery’s audio is woven so neatly into the fabric of the game that it would be worthless without it.

Good music stays with us, sets our mood, and triggers an emotional attachment to the game we’re playing.

Voice acting and sound effects are less integral to a good game than music, but if they’re well executed, they can easily add to the tone and depth of a game.

You’re walking into a cave. All is silent. Suddenly, a swarm of bats screeches past you. The sound whirls around you as you stumble backwards, turning to watch them flee the cave. Video games that have moments like this are hard to come by, but when they do come along, they really are very special.

Presentation – 25%

Presentation is a term that covers both art style and the user interface. Both contribute to the overall feel of a game. Art style can take a game from average to astonishing. Imagine Limbo without the creepy, distinctive black and white aesthetic. The indie game would be just another platformer, but instead, it has become a classic.

Bastion, Guild Wars 2, heck, even Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper used their UI and art style to conjure up a cohesive, striking atmosphere. These atmospheres leave more of an impression than graphics alone could ever do.

From a more functional P.O.V., a slick, well-crafted and user friendly UI might not (and perhaps should not) be noticed by most players. However, you can be sure that we all notice when UIs go wrong. Skyrim’s UI is clunky and practically unusable with PC controls. The Witcher’s UI turns the simplest task into a five-minute slog. We don’t want the challenge to be in navigating the UI. We just want to play the game.

Story – 20%

Sometimes, a game will miss out on other vital parts of what makes a “perfect game.” However, if the game is still able to draw in its audience with an excellent story, it may still survive on in time.

Some examples of this are Kingdom Hearts II and Deadly Premonition. Kingdom Hearts II has a monotonous button-mashing gameplay, but also has arguably one of the most driving stories of any modern game. Likewise, Deadly Premonition has horrific (excuse the pun) gameplay, voice acting, sound design, ect. However, if you dig through enough of the muck, a compelling plot of a twisted serial killer lies underneath.

Regardless of when a game comes out, what remains the most relevant is its story. When graphics, gameplay, and presentation all are overshadowed by games with flashier lights and knobs, a game’s story will always be as compelling as it originally is.

Graphics – 5%

The graphics of a video game matter squat in comparison to everything else. A game can look as pretty as can be (Resident Evil 6) but still be a chore to get though. Vice versa, a game can be as simple as pixel-block graphics (Minecraft) and remain one the best games ever.

If you’re looking to experience amazing graphics, you might as well just watch a Pixar movie. As long as a game fits within the standards of the console its on, and/or its art style is clear and recognizable, nothing else about graphics should have to matter.

Go ahead. Play through Final Fantasy XIII. Just try to stay interested in the monotonous gameplay and sluggish storyline. It can be pretty easy to be fooled by the pretty wrapping paper, no?

Thus, the perfect video game is made.

Overall, we really feel that there’s more to games than photorealism. Give us a game that surprises us, manages to eke an emotional reaction from us, or provides us with moments of magic over high-quality textures, any day.

What do you think about our percentages? Were we completely wrong on one of our sections?

Article written and created by Anna Roberts and Mitchel Clow.

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