Ask CVG Anything: Gaming cliches, is there too much stealth?

Plus: What's the funniest game ever? Which character would you swap into a game?

Ask CVG Anything does exactly what it says on the tin. We ask followers on the CVG Facebook page and forums to send in their best game-related questions, and do our best to answer them.


If you want to see your question featured in a future edition of Ask CVG Anything, either add it as a comment at the bottom of this article or keep an eye on our Facebook page or this forum thread where we'll be regularly asking for more.

What's the funniest game you've played? - TheLastDodo
Tamoor - Monkey Island(s), Psychonauts, Grim Fandago, Brutal Legend. Pretty much anything Tim Schafer has been involved with I guess. Borderlands 2 had some funny writing too. I wish there was a greater emphasis on making games funny.
Chris - LucasArts point-and-clicks are a given. Other than that, the first WarioWare was hilarious at the time because I'd never seen anything like it, and the Mario & Luigi games have brilliant scripts.
Shaun - Probably Stunts, which is an old stunt racer for the PC. You could literally nose dive into the sky if you came off a jump correctly. It was so stubbornly unrealistic and fun. Generally, games that let you do utterly stupid things will get a laugh out of me. Driver: San Francisco is a good recent one.
Rob - Clearly there's not many funny games out there, but Portal 2 shows how it can be done.

If you could add DLC to any game what game would it be and what kind of DLC? After playing a lot of Guacamelee lately I've come to the conclusion that every game should have DLC that turns the main character into a chicken. - El Mag
Shaun - I'd probably suggest to Ubisoft that DLC for Far Cry 3 be a cyberpunk '80s homage with absolutely no bearing on the core game.
Chris - Player likenesses and stadiums in FIFA, sold in packs, one per league. Yes, I appreciate there are tens of thousands of players in FIFA and making them look like their real-life counterparts uses up a lot of time and money (not to mention storage space), but I'd be more than happy to spend an extra tenner if it meant everyone in the Scottish Premier League had their real face and I could play games at Celtic Park, Tynecastle, Easter Road and Ibrox Pittodrie.
If even just 2000 of the more than 12 million people who bought FIFA 13 would pay that for each league, that's £20,000 to go towards wages for someone to do those faces. I know there are a lot of players out there but this only needs to be done en masse once, then every year all that has to be done is the new players.
Sorry, I went on a bit there, but player likenesses is the one area where PES completely destroys FIFA (most of the Celtic squad has 'real' faces, for example), so it frustrates me that a game with an official license only bothers to make the superstars look the part and ignores the rest of world football.

Rob - Half-Life 2, mainly because it's Half-Life 2, and I want to play anything set within the world of Half-Life 2.
Tamoor - I can get behind the idea of Chicken DLC, I loved the Chicken ability in Guacamelee, pecked more than a few enemies. My suggestion is Nic Cage DLC: All faces in your game are replaced with Nic Cage's. It's sold at an OS level and can be applied to any game.

What's your favourite and least favourite gaming cliché? Exploding barrels are a favourite just for how out of place they always are, I've never seen one in my life but in gaming everybody seems to run into hundreds of them. - Barry316
Chris - Meat lying on the floor in beat 'em ups is a favourite of mine. I love how just grabbing a chicken off the pavement is supposed to somehow give you health rather than food poisoning (in fairness, the meat in Streets Of Rage and Final Fight is actually sitting on a small plate... though you do still get it by smashing open bins).
Rob - I laugh and cringe when characters in games show they are attracted to each other in a manner that's as emotionally subtle as a Tom and Jerry episode.
Tamoor - I love exploding barrels too. Hmm, this is a tough one. I think the VERY-OBVIOUSLY-GOING-TO-BETRAY-YOU characters are quite annoying. But, most of all, I'm not a fan of silent protagonists. Yes, that includes Gordon Freeman. I'll take a fleshed out, distinct character with personality over 'blank canvas for players to project themselves onto' any day of the week.
Shaun - My favourite: double jumps. If a platformer doesn't let me double jump, I'm angry. My least favourite: sober military shooters in general. Door breaching.

Why do people expect every game to innovate these days? Meaningful innovation is hard so of course not everyone can do it. - TheLastDodo
Rob - I think it's because the games industry was born as innovation and evolves through innovation, and we haven't seen much in a while now.
Tamoor - When new consoles are released, designers and developers have a whole new set of tools to create with, and generally come up with some pretty amazing, innovative things. As time passes, devs are able to do less and less with hardware. But audiences become bored with seeing the same things over and over, and demand innovation. Can't really blame them.
There's still plenty of innovation happening, but it's on a much smaller scale. You'll find it on XBLA, PSN, and in indie PC games. I expect to see design in console games evolving very soon, we just need to sit tight for the new hardware.

Shaun - The way we talk about innovation is complicated. A new mechanic introduced to a tried template is innovative, technically. I think when we speak of craving innovation, what we actually want is new experiences and new ways to play, and that's reasonable to expect and demand, as consumers. I think the problem is that broadly speaking "people" don't want or prize new experiences, or innovations. It's just not important. They want to have fun and they want to make sure that's what they get for their money.
Chris - I agree with Shaun. Some people expect too much when it comes to 'innovation'. As long as a game doesn't completely rip off another one (I'm thinking of Zynga's Dream Heights and Tiny Tower here) then I'm happy. Sometimes all it takes is a different art style or a different mechanic or a different type of weapon and there's some innovation in there. Some people, however, aren't happy unless they get a game that can't fit into an existing genre, which to me is unnecessary.

Deus Ex, Hitman, Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, Future Soldier, Assassins Creed, Thief, Dishonoured. What do you people think about the rise of the stealth genre that seems to have happened at the end of this gen? Every game seems to have some kind of stealth element these days, even your Far Crys, Uncharteds, Bat-men and Tomb Raiders seem to have a lot of stealth going on. Why is this, and why do people not whinge that there is too much of it like they do about FPS games? - Reegeee
Rob - Ah, great question. I think it's more the fact that games developers are striving to make their games more cinematic, and a great way of do that without stopping the action is to make a player hide behind a rock or something while NPCs do their acting.
Chris - I despise stealth in games. I'm an impatient type when I play games so there's nothing I hate more than standing behind a wall and waiting ages for someone to turn around so I can run past them and reach the next wall to stand behind. Ocarina Of Time... brilliant game, eh? Yup, except that bloody bit where you have to get into the castle, and then the bit after that where you have to get past the soldiers in the courtyard to reach Zelda. Infuriating. Same with the Forsaken Fortress in Wind Waker. No more stealth please, not until AI is human-like.
Tamoor - Personally, I couldn't be happier. Along with fighting games, the stealth genre is my favourite. The more stealth games the better as far as I'm concerned.
The reason no one whinges is that a stealth game hasn't achieved the same degree of success as something like Call of Duty, and thus isn't as influential game design as a whole. If the next Thief becomes a mega-blockbuster and then every single game starts cribbing it in some form, people will complain. But I don't see that happening.

Shaun - Maybe it's part of the big push for 'emotion' and 'narrative' in gaming? If you're encouraged to opt for stealth over bloodshed, then it's easier to relate to your player character (unless your player character is Duke Nukem). Even so, few of the games you mention are pure stealth titles: stealth is an option and sometimes encouraged, but you can mow grunts down with abandon in most of them.

From a creative standpoint, whether it be because they've lost that spark now or because you believe they can't top the last entry in the series, which game "franchises" just need to stop? - TheLastDodo
Chris - I think the main Resident Evil series needs to step back and have a word with itself. Resi Revelations is the sort of tense, atmospheric game the series used to be renowned for, but Resi 5 was an annoying co-op pishfest and Resi 6 might as well have just starred a walking machine gun who spits bombs at everything.
Tamoor - I can't think of any. As much as I enjoy games like FIFA and Call of Duty, I'd be lying if I didn't say I let out a long sigh when a new one is announced. But I don't think they should stop, especially with new hardware just around the corner.
Maybe Football Manager, I don't get that game at all, and the regularity at which they're released blows me away. But each to their own. Possibly Gran Turismo too, found the last few to be a bit soulless and next to the amazing things Turn 10 is doing with Forza, I feel like it's just getting by on its name and history.

Rob - Final Fantasy! Just honestly, I don't know how a franchise can live off the reputation it made for itself back in the late '90s. And Sonic as well; it belongs in the past era of fabulous 2D games.
Shaun - Personally, the prospect of at least two forthcoming Assassin's Creed titles in as many years does not appeal at all. No iterative improvement on the mechanics nor fresh new settings can pique my interest. I need to take a three year break.

A lot of boss fights seem to be a bit rubbish nowadays, what are some of your favourite ones ever? - El Mag
Rob - My oh my, no idea where to begin! There's so many amazing ones. Gannondorf in OOT, and Wind Waker, are the first things that come to mind. They're as epic as Peter Jackson's best work in film. And M Bison of course; what a terrifying hard-case he was. Fighting Bowser in Mario 64 and Super Mario had that iconic feel to it, as did Dr Robotnic in Sonic 2. I also adore the meaty and monstrous hour long battles in Metroid Prime, especially against Meta Ridley and Metroid Prime itself. And of course, we cannot discuss best bosses without mentioning Metal Gear Rex, Metal Gear Ray (all of them!) and Peace Walker.
Chris - A lot of the bosses in Suda 51's games are mental, particularly the No More Heroes and Lollipop Chainsaw ones. Other than that, I loved the final fight with Mother Brain in Super Metroid, because that little Metroid added extra emotion to proceedings.
Tamoor - Prepare for a lot of Metal Gear bosses: The End, Fatman, Revolver Ocelot (MGS1 and MGS3), Psycho Mantis. All the Colossi in Shadow of the Colossus, Dark Link. Gary Oak, that loser. Seven Force from Gunstar Heroes, Anima from FFX, Hydra from God of War, Ark from Final Fantasy 9, Mother Brain from Super Metroid.

Which characters would you like to swap into a different game? Kratos in Heavy Rain for example? "Press X to Jason" "Na, I think I'll just rip you in half." - phate666
Tamoor - Hahah this is a great question. I'd love to grab a character that only knows conflict and put him/her/it into a something like Animal Crossing, or Tomodachi Collection. The cast of Mortal Kombat maybe. Do Mii's count? Just put them all in Call of Duty. Everyone from FIFA in Rome: Total War.
Chris - Yoshi in Dino Crisis. Failing that, I think we'd all like to see the prince from the Katamari games let loose on Liberty City.