If you’ve been following games coverage and discourse for long enough, you’ll be quite aware of a particular cycle that we can’t seem to escape. It all begins whenever a game introduces a fresh mechanic or a revolutionary system, then, everyone calls for all future games in the same genre – or even those adjacent to it – to start either utilising it wholecloth, or fudge some version of it.
There’s obviously nothing inherently wrong with advocating for developers to learn from the success (and failure) of their peers. Doom is why we have first-person shooters today, and the Souls-like genre was not a thing before FromSoft made Demon’s Souls. It’s also why everyone hoped the Nemesis System from Monolith’s Shadow of Mordor/War would make its way to a Batman game, or any game with a central cast of villains. Alas.
But what I want to bring attention to here isn’t the broad umbrella of ‘games borrowing from each other’ (that has always existed), it’s the idea that ‘triple-A publishers need to make bigger-budget takes on indie darlings’ or mid-tier critical hits.