What If the Next Generation Sucks?

We're all excited for the next generation of console gaming to arrive, but what happens if it doesn't live up to the hype?

Titanfall, Infamous: Second Son, Quantum Break, a future Halo game, something new from Naughty Dog… These are some of the biggest titles headed to either Xbox One or PlayStation 4 over the coming months. The internet is showering these games with praise, based mostly on previews and demos.

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There aren’t many people who have actually been able to sit down and have extensive hands-on time with any of these games, yet we’re already predicting them to be amazing “next-gen” experiences. But what if they don’t live up to the hype?

What If Titanfall Sucks?

What if Titanfall, a game that has been proclaimed to be the greatest thing since the invention of the thumbsticks, absolutely sucks? What if it’s like Call of Duty, only not as cool, not as smooth, and super glitchy? All we really know at this point is that it’s an online first-person shooter that lets you control mechs. Put that simply, it doesn’t sound all that exciting. If the graphics, gameplay, and online functionality aren’t exceptional, this game could end up being a major letdown. And I don’t even want to think about what might happen if the launch doesn’t go smoothly

What If Infamous: Second Son Sucks?

And what about Infamous: Second Son? Sucker Punch is deviating from what has made the first two games in the series so great, in that no longer will you be playing as Cole with the ability to use electricity to take down enemies, but rather you’ll harness the power of smoke and use fire to wreak havoc. So far the game looks pretty and is set in an alternate reality version of Seattle, but what if the gameplay isn’t as fun as expected? What if fans of the series find the use of fire less exciting than electricity? What if the gameplay isn’t as fun as the high-flying, parkour excitement that dominated the first two games?

What If the Consoles Themselves Suck?

Outside of the games, what if these systems just aren’t what we wanted out of the next generation? We already know the Xbox One has had some issues running a few games at 1080p (Call of Duty: Ghosts as an example), but even the PS4 is only built as well as a mid-range PC from 2012. Are these systems going to be powerful enough to last another 7-10 years and continue to push the envelope in the graphics and gameplay departments?

And what about other things like load times, connecting with friends, uploading gameplay to the internet, swapping between apps, and Kinect/PlayStation Camera? What if going all-digital with your games like the companies want you to isn’t quite as good in practice as it is on paper? These are all services or components that are being touted as part of the next-gen experience, but if they don’t work well, then what have we really gained by upgrading?

Sure, it will be great being able to stream your gameplay directly to Twitch, but what if it doesn’t work very well or causes extreme lag? What if the instant swapping between games and apps isn’t really so instant? What if the motion capture devices are not as significant an upgrade in terms of actual functionality as the companies say they are?

As Long As the Games Are Fun…

Look, I’m not saying all of this to scare you, because to be quite honest, even if there are a few hiccups along the way, the bottom line is that your games are going to look and play a lot better than they do on the current generation. Maybe a few of the early promises from the company won’t pan out (I’m still really concerned about Sony’s remote play promise), but for the most part, I expect the games will see a measurable benefit from upgrading. Playing Titanfall with your friends will be a great, fun experience. Infamous: Second Son will be a beautiful, epic, open-world adventure. And at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.

I truly don’t think either company can live up to all the hype that has been built up over the course of the year, but the good news is we’re about to find out. So as you plug in your new console this month, and prepare to dive into whatever launch games you’re anticipating, hopefully, the experience is everything you’ve ever wanted.

Happy gaming! 

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Brian Armstrong
Proud gamer parent and freelance journalist (and fundraiser). I cover anything and everything that's interesting about the gaming industry, and even some stuff that isn't so interesting.