Opinion: “Crafting” Is Just Another Gaming Fad

Ever since Minecraft became a mainstream hit there seems to be a slew of games featuring crafting to one degree or another. Is it always necessary? No. Are they just trying to draw people in with the keyword ‘crafting’? Yes.

Not all games do it bad, mind you. The Last of Us did it really well, it was simple and it was in context; you’re in a bleak post-apocalyptic world, there’s not much in the way of resources so you have to do what you can to get by. It made sense to have players find gear and craft their own weapons, bombs and health kits. It actually brought players into the world of desperation and despair by forcing you to manage your resource. You don’t know when you’ll next find a health pack or encounter some zombies or have to cause a diversion to escape a group of hostile humans.

Then there’s Far Cry 3. Far Cry 3 was a great game don’t get me wrong, but the crafting system was bloated and unnecessary. Why would you run around a massive island killing goats to make yourself a bag, or even kill a shark to make a bigger bag? You can buy guns in a shop, why not just get yourself a trusty backpack, or better yet save some of your stolen cash and nick one from one of the many enemies you gun down during you fight for freedom? Far Cry 3’s crafting, to me at least, just seemed to have been chucked in there to appease the Minecraft crowd, you know who I mean, the players who love all things, er, crafting?

DayZ is another one that does is well, simply because it’s in the right context and hasn’t been thrown in for the sake of being able to say the word crafting fifty-million times in a trailer. Oh, you don’t know what I mean? Check out the trailer below for Minimum and listen to the annoying woman place emphasis on the crafting mechanics more than is needed.

Did you count how many times she mentioned crafting? Five times. In a game that’s focussed on shooting enemies in the blocky face (another thing taken freely from Minecraft, may I add,) the trailer lady barely mentions the shooting mechanics. Is all innovation lost? Has it come to the point where the big dogs are out of ideas so they’re turning to the small creative studios to get ideas for their next paycheck? Taking certain concepts from games is nothing new, it’s how the industry works, it’s what allows it to flourish. The sharing of gameplay mechanics is actually encouraged due to the licensing of third-party game engines such as Unreal, but taking Minecraft, re-skinning it as a third person shooter and throwing the word ‘crafting’ around a million times and calling it gaming innovation isn’t right – it’s shit.

Like all fads, this one will eventually fade away, but in the meantime expect to see more cumbersome crafting mechanics in games that don’t need them and many Minecraft clones. I’m looking at you Rust.

What do you think? Has the crafting fad gone too far? Or do you think crafting adds another layer of depth to games? Either way, let me know down in the comments and see if you can change my perception.

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