Why in modern video games are all the enemies still clones?
June 9, 2009 9:49 AM Subscribe
Why, in video games, am I moving through an endless variety of environments but killing the same enemies over and over?
I think this may be changing in the current generation of games, but if you go back just a few years to something like Half-Life 2, you have these games with enormous amounts of work put into creating level after level of unique environments, but then you have just a handful of models and skins for enemies and NPCs. You never see the same place twice, but you see the same characters over and over.
Why the disparity? Does it really take more work to make a single enemy than to make an entire level? Is this just an accepted convention carried over from the days when computers and consoles only had a tiny amount of room for character sprites?
I'd think that even if making functionally distinct enemies was too hard, they could at least create some (random?) variation in the size/shape of the models or in the skins to make the characters as unique as the environments.
And then there's games like Oblivion and Assassin's Creed where they do have lots of unique individual people but they keep saying the same handful of dialogue over and over. Wouldn't hiring a writer to make more dialogue cost about 1% of what they paid the artists to make all the different people? AC is particularly weird because you have different actors reading the same dialogue (when you save a woman from the guards, she'll give you one of three speeches, read by one of a dozen actors) so it's not like they were working within limits on disk space for the audio.