Innovative Sequels and Low Hardware RequirementsPosted 12 April 2012 by Flux
Here are a couple of nice general gaming site articles that relate to Diablo III.
An article on AtomicMPC brings up the long-debated issue about the lack of original game properties (you hear the same complaint about Hollywood films), but takes a different approach to it. New gaming IPs aren’t needed so long as sequels are innovative.
As far as I’m concerned, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a sequel that doesn’t rest on its laurels and pushes the series (and, ideally, the genre and, hey, while I’m talking from my idealist soapbox, the gaming medium) forward in terms of all the crucial elements: storytelling, characterisation and/or gameplay.
It’s certainly not enough that a sequel fixes the flaw of the preceding title, adds in a few new items and offers up a recooked version of what went before. In fact, as jaded as I may be about the increasing aversion publishers seem to have towards taking risks the higher the number gets after a game name, I’m a willing convert who is waiting to dish out massive amounts of respect to those that dare to step outside the comfort of what is safe and try something different.
You guys can (and do) make a lot of criticisms of Diablo III in our debates about the game, but you certainly can’t say that the devs have been afraid to innovate and change how major game systems are handled. I think D3 strikes a nice balance of continuity with change; the world and story and classes and look and other elements carry on what D1 and D2 established, but enough of the game mechanics have been greatly reworked to provide a fresh play experience.
An article on GamerFront points out that many recent games, including Diablo III, have quite reasonable minimum system requirements, and can be played quite well on systems that are several years old. Why aren’t game developers pushing up the performance requirements as they used to?
…I can play most, if not all games on the maximum or near-maximum settings. And, mind you, this computer is a good 3 years old, with only a few tweaks here and there to it. So, despite the fact that we live in a world with i5’s, and i7’s, featuring upwards of 8 cores in a chip, why is it that the minimum requirements for a game like Diablo III only require an old Pentium 4 2.8 GHz chip, and 1 gig of RAM? Mass Effect 3, which came out earlier this year, hardly requires any more power out of your system compared to Mass Effect 2, even though ME2 came out over 2 years ago. And, if you look at “Moore’s Law”, (which isn’t really a “law” and more of a rule of thumb, but that’s a different story), it says that the number of transistors that can be placed cheaply on an integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years.
In computer terms, that means that the average, inexpensive computer built will be roughly twice as powerful every 2 years, and so far, the average computer itself does seem to be following this path. So, why is it that ME3’s requirements are roughly on par with a game that came out 2 years earlier? Why does Diablo III only require a Pentium 4, a chip that came out well over 6 years ago? Is this reflective of a larger trend?
The author’s theory is that it’s due to the slow development of the next generation of consoles. Since the Xbox360 and PS3 are both over five years old, and since most PC games are created with an eye towards a console port, most game developers are keeping their system requirements reasonable. This may change in the next few years, as a new generation of consoles is finally approaching and PC games may leap up in power as a result.
Happily for many of us, Diablo III and its expansions (as well as other similar ARPG titles) will remain playable without requiring bleeding edge hardware. And what else do you need to play anyway? Those other girls will just break your heart.